From Prey to Predator

I want to apologize. It’s been too long. I wanted to update the blog at least once a month. I have failed in doing so. I’m going to force myself to change; I would like to update every week. I’m going to try and start updating weekly from now on. Let’s get you caught up. I had an unpublished post, so let me give you the cliff notes from that post.

Minecraft. I put in some serious time in that beast. I won’t go into too much detail, but I finished all of my major projects on the server. My island and house is complete. The wall is complete. The rail bridge expansion is complete. The “Sky House” is complete. I’m satisfied. I have plans on making a video to give you a tour. The only thing stopping me is time.

Mario 3D World. I’m finished with that game. I didn’t finish all of the levels, nor do I have plans to complete them. My opinion of the game has been tarnished because of the “secret” levels after defeating Bowser. Most of those levels are frustratingly difficult, and they are not fun to play. Some of the levels implement ludicrous time limits, and other mechanics to poorly test “skill.” It’s an embarrassment to call some of these levels a “Mario” level. That’s all I will say on the game.

Titanfall. I bought the game. I love it. It reminds me of the good-old-days of first person shooters; the days of Unreal Tournament and Quake. It’s very fast paced, the levels are expertly designed, and there are giant robots that you can control if you so desire. What else do you want? It’s so much fun, and I wish that I had more time to dedicate to it.

Playstation 4. I bought one. I went to the store, and there was one on the shelf, and I bought it. It was a week before Infamous Second Son came out, so good timing. I’ve played a bit of Second Son, and it’s fun. It’s not revolutionary, in any sense of the word, but if you liked the other Infamous games, I think this game will bring you more enjoyment. It’s definitely graphically pleasing to the eye. I took a little break from it because of Diablo 3.

Diablo 3. Its expansion, Reaper of Souls, came out last month… I think. Nope, March 25th. A lot of time has passed. I tried looking up how many hours I’ve put into it since the expansion was released. Raptr changed their interface though. I would guess over 100 hours. Maybe closer to 150 hours. I’ve been averaging about 15 to 25 hours a week. I’m working on a write up about Diablo 3, so look forward to that. In fact, I’m going to shoot to have that be my post next week.

That’s what I’ve been playing for games. I a have a few other things I’d like to share, but I’ll save it for another post, because it’s not really game related.

Minecraft Withdrawal

My name is Roy, and I’m a Minecraft addict. It’s been six days [1] since I’ve placed my last pixelated block. I bought Minecraft on December 26, 2013 at 10:51 p.m. In a little over a month, I have put in 144 hours into Minecraft. I’ve neglected my other games that needed my attention. I’ve decided to go at least a week without Minecraft. Let’s see how I got to this low point in my life.

Minecraft Bottom of Mine

Bottom of mine. Hehe. Get it? Low point in my life; it’s a picture of bedrock, which is the lowest layer of blocks in Minecraft. It’s funny! Laugh!

December 26th puts me at my Aunt’s house. The air outside had a nasty bite to it. The wind howled. It was just me and her, and we were getting ready for bed. She went to bed early. I said I was also heading to bed. This was a lie. Instead, I booted up my laptop and paid about $28 and my soul for Minecraft. It downloaded quickly, and I promptly started playing on survival mode, albeit on peaceful difficulty. I knew what I needed to do; I had read some tutorials online. I punched my first tree. Pretty soon I had five or six wood blocks. I built a crafting table. I even found some stone, and started punching it. At the time, I didn’t know I could build tools out of wood. I mined enough stone to build some stone tools. I built a small house out of wood. This is how several Minecraft stories begin, and I am no exception. Alas, this was just the beginning.

Minecraft First House Exterior

My first house

I started digging a mine below my house. I made certain not to break the most important rule of Minecraft: never dig straight down. I stair-stepped my way down. Found coal, iron, and redstone. Crafting and placing torches as I descended. I was happy. I hit bedrock. I was confused as to why it wouldn’t break. A quick search on the wiki lead me to my answer; bedrock is indestructible without mods.

Minecraft First Mine

What every first mine looks like… unless you break the first rule of Minecraft.

I tweaked my house. I added a second story. I didn’t know you could build stairs, so I used blocks to hop to the second story. I had windows, and a door. A bed to sleep in at night. I was living the dream. Little did I know a nightmarish addiction was taking root.

Minecraft First House Interior

This is where I dream about Minecraft within Minecraft.

I got home from Christmas vacation. I promptly turned on my desktop and downloaded Minecraft. A new start, and a new world. I still played on survival mode with peaceful difficulty. I spawned in a rainforest biome. I knew exactly what to do. I was on top of a mountain surrounded by trees. I punched trees and I leveled off a place to build a house. Pretty soon I had a replication of my first house, except bigger. I built two stories right away. The house was built upon a flat plateau, with a stair stepping of dirt for the slope, not unlike a pyramid. The plateau was only five blocks high. Just then I decided something: I would teraform this entire mountain into a square, stair-stepping plateau. On top of the plateau would be my house, a farm, and a fenced area for sheep.

Minecraft Sheep

Those eyes… they are soulless. However, those soulless beasts provide wool.

I promptly went to work clearing trees, while placing and removing dirt. It was wonderful. I had a purpose. While working on the mountain, I decided my home needed to be classier. I rebuilt my house, but this time built it out of brick. Pretty soon I didn’t have enough room for my stuff I was hoarding (mostly cobblestone and dirt). I built a bigger brick and stone house; Three stories tall above ground, two basements, and a five story tower on top so I could see it for miles. It was also wider than my old house. I can store so much stuff in it!

Minecraft Brick and Stone House

Today on MTV Cribs™, we check out my crib.

My mountain slowly took shape. I have four corners done, but only three sides done; I have one more side to go. But I made a Minecraft server on my home server. I invited a few friends to play on it. I should probably join them. Lord knows that I’ve been neglected them in real life.

Minecraft Mountain

This is the bottom corner of my mountain. To the left is one of the finished sides. To the right, is the unfinished side.

My Minecraft server is hosted on a Debian virtual server. It works well for hosting a small group of friends on it. I can host up to ten people if I had ten friends who played Minecraft on PC. I have three. I wasn’t certain as to what I wanted to do in this new world. Do I want another Mountain? Maybe. I wasn’t feeling it though. I still needed to finish my mountain on my single player world. Instead, I built a small sea shack. I found my buddies, and relocated to there. They spawned near a village. I built a large warehouse there. Dug out a mine all the way down to the bedrock. After dicking around for awhile, I finally decided what I wanted: a large island fortress. Problem was finding an island big enough for my needs.

Minecraft Beach Shack

The beach shack. It’s small, but I like it.

I checked out a few islands in the world, but they just weren’t big enough. I settled on creating my own island. How big should I make it? 50×50 blocks? No, too small. 64×64? No, still too small. 100×100? No, doesn’t work in Minecraft logic. 128×128. Perfect. I set out on it. I found a land mass that I would call my home. I carved out a corner, and pretty soon had a very small island. I connected it to a larger body of land next to it. Now it wasn’t an island anymore. I carved out the land area on one side of my soon-to-be island. Probably about 30 or so blocks away from what would be my island edge. I flooded it with water.

Minecraft Island Corner

Spoiler alert. Ignore the wall. On the other side of that wall is water. This is the first corner of my island I created.

It was tedious, because I had to do it in a special way. The process is complicated, but I will try to explain. You had to hollow out an area with a one block wall separating it from water. You put a layer of blocks about one layer below sea level in the hollowed area. You than flood that top one layer with water. Then, you dig out the one layer blocks. This floods the hollowed area. You destroy the one block barrier between the rest of the water. Then you have water that isn’t running. It’s fantastic! Took forever. One of my friends helped. We finished one side. I finished another side by myself. The other two sides make it an island, but I need to shrink those two sides. It will be worth it in my addiction, twisted mind.

Minecraft Channel

Spoiler alert. Ignore the bridge. This is the area that we flooded. It used to be all dirt between where I’m standing and the other side.

I decided to take a little break from forming the island. I wanted a wall. Not just a normal wall, but an intricate wall. This is how I got creative in Minecraft. I designed the wall in Google Spreadsheet. I just squared the cells, and colored the cells in. It was fun! Then I built it in Minecraft. I built the wall across the entire side of the island we had finished earlier.

Minecraft Wall

This is my wall. It’s beautiful.

I also designed a house in Google Spreadsheet, but I’m not ready to build it. I need to finish my island, and then the rest of my wall. I also designed a cool looking bridge for a mine cart rail system. I built it all the way from my island to the village (which is quite a distance).

Minecraft Rail Bridge

This is my rail bridge. It connects to the island via the wall, and goes all the way to the village, which you can see the edge of it. It’s very long, and took a long time.

After completing the monstrosity of a bridge, I decided I needed a break… from Minecraft My mind began to clear. I need to finish a few games I have been neglecting. I played some Call of Juarez: Gunslinger the other night. I was having fun. Then I got pissed off and rage quit (stupid armored shotgunners). I also need to finish up Blacklist and Mario 3D World.

My mind is slowly clearing up, and I’m getting the ambition to play other games again. One day, I will finish that island. Maybe, then, I’ll even change  the difficulty up, so mobs spawn. For now, I’ll have fun with other games. But one day, I’ll relapse…

Minecraft View of Wall From Bridge

One last screenshot for this post. View from the rail bridge of the wall.

*Editor’s Notes:
If you want more in depth information, I’m working on a screenshot tour of my worlds. Stay posted.

  • [1] If you look at my Raptr history, you’ll note it says I played on Saturday. This is true, but it was to gather screenshots for this post. I didn’t do any world manipulation.

Games of 2013

Looking back, 2013 was a great year for video games. Lots of stuff happened in video game news; mainly the new console hype. I feel I played a lot of quality games this year. So, for my game of the year post, I’m going to highlight the games that I played in 2013. Just keep that “played” part in mind when you see a few games from years gone by on the list. I separated the list into categories to make it convenient for you… except each category only has one game.

Made Me Feel

Gone Home

Games of 2013 - Gone Home

Stairs that are proportional to your character; never seen in a video game before.

I said a lot about Gone Home in my review. I suggest you read that. To summarize: I didn’t think I would like it, but ended up being one of the best games I have ever played. It captured so many emotions, and it had me hooked throughout my entire playthrough.

Best LSD Graphics

Antichamber

Games of 2013 - Antichamber

“What the fuck,” indeed, Antichamber.

Antichamber is a game that surprised me. I saw it on sale for dirt cheap on Steam, and picked it up because I heard great things about it. You can read my review for more information, but the short version of it is: it’s really fun, and longer than I expected. It’s a fun world to explore, and it’s fun to learn the world’s rules.

Entertained Me With A Hilarious Narrator

The Stanley Parable

Games of 2013 - The Stanley Parable

Two roads diverge in an office building… I took both on different playthroughs, and that makes me happy.

The Stanley Parable is a game that came out of nowhere for me. Markiplier played it on his channel. After I watched his first episode, I decided I need to play this game. And so I did. It’s a parody on choices in video games, all wrapped with a hilarious narrator. The game has multiple endings, and each ending can be found in short bursts. If you want to, you can play for a half an hour at a time, or find all the endings in one playthrough.

Surprisingly Really Good

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

Games of 2013 - Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

Just click on this screenshot and enjoy it… it’ll put you at ease.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger surprised me. I haven’t played any of the other Call of Juarez games before Gunslinger. I read and watched a few reviews and it sounded good. It came out right on the heels of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (which I haven’t gotten around to playing) and reviewers were spewing mad praise for these two games from Ubisoft. Gunslinger is an over-the-top, bloody, western, arcade shooter. It’s tons of fun. It has a well implemented bullet time mechanic, which makes it nice to watch the blood explosions. The upgrade system is well implemented. The story is also interesting; its told from the perspective of an old bounty hunter who wanders into a bar, and he is retelling his stories to the eager listeners. Of course, he exaggerates some of the details. He paints himself into a corner, making him say things like “And right before my eyes, the path appeared before me,” causing the landscape to change for you while you play. It’s a good game, and worth the low price of entry.

Still Fun

Torchlight II

Games of 2013 - Torchlight 2

I’m a god damn purple, ghost wolf!

I’ve played a lot of Torchlight II. I actually beat the story finally. I’ve also played some coop with a friend, and that’s so much fun. So much better than vanilla Diablo 3 (we’ll see how that ends up in March). So much interesting and useful loot, and it is so satisfying to kill monsters with your items and skills. It’s great, and it’s a steal at 20 bucks (and is usually on sale for cheaper).

Still Really Fun

Dishonored

Games of 2013 - Dishonored

Neck stab!

I played quite of bit of Dishonored this year. Probably because DLC’s came out. I replayed the main story, and beat it without being detected and without killing anyone. I had  a blast doing that. Then I played through Knife of Dunwall twice; one high chaos, and one low chaos. Still a freaking fantastic game and I’ve been thinking about playing through it again. I gotta play the newest DLC, The Brigmore Witches.

Still Really Really Fun

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

Games of 2013 - Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm

That Leviathan is french kissing that Ultralisk, and that Ultralisk is all like “NOM NOM NOM EXPLOSIONS!

I almost forgot that Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm came out this year. I never really stopped playing Wings of Liberty. Heart of the Swarm added a lot, and is a value at only $40. Of course, I think you need Wings of Liberty to play it; it is an expansion. I liked the story a lot better in Heart of the Swarm than in Wings of Liberty. They redid the Battle.net interface when they released Heart of the Swarm, and it is infinitely better. They also added experience, which is a nice little bonus. You unlock portraits, decals, animations, and skins with the experience. What else can I say? I still love me some Starcraft and they did a lot to improve upon it.

Disappointment

Hitman Absolution

Games of 2013 - Hitman: Absolution

I want to just point out that this game looks fantastic on PC, and I took this screenshot. You can knock people out, and it will look cool.

I gave Hitman Absolution a fair chance. It was one of the few games that I played this year that I did not like. I didn’t finish it, but played quite a few levels. I just felt like I was being punished no matter what I did. I didn’t like it. As a fan of the stealth genre, this just wasn’t my cup of tea. However, I did have to play a little bit to nab that screenshot, and that was kinda fun, so I may give it another go.

The Burnout

God of War: Ascension

Games of 2013 - God of War: Ascension

Oh boy! A two hit combo!

I didn’t beat God of War: Ascension, which is weird, because I’m kind of a God of War fanboy. I played and beat all of the previous games right before this came out, and I got burned out. It was fun; the combat is silky smooth as usual, and it is a little different, and more interesting, from God of War 3. I’ll pick it up again sometime in 2014 and play it to completion.

Fear and Insanity

Far Cry 3

Games of 2013 - Far Cry 3

Look at those two scaly devils! They are all like, “Look at that chicken shit standing on that jeep. Shall we go fuck with him? I think we should fuck with him.”

I can’t remember why I bought Far Cry 3. I kept an eye on it ever since seeing the Vas “Instanity” trailer, but I was more curious than interested. I ended up buying it, and it’s a really fun game. It’s about fear. I really really really hate snakes. Snakes were pretty easy to avoid or kill in this game, but I dreaded hearing their rattling and hisses. I also learned that I really hate komodo dragons. Those bastards hide in tall grass and are speedy when they smell blood. They sneak up on you, which I hated. Other than that, the game was a lot of fun. Upgrading your abilities and weapons was enjoyable; maybe a little bit grindy.  The outposts were the highlight for me. You were able to approach the outposts however you wanted. I like the stealth approach, but I did go in guns blazing a few times if I was in komodo dragon territory (I didn’t want to get snuck up on while I was crouching outside of the outpost). On a side note, I didn’t mind sharks, but a lot of people learned they were afraid of those things as well.

Much Better Than Expected

Tomb Raider

Games of 2013 - Tomb Raider

“Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away…” into a group of psychopaths who want me dead.

I followed the Tomb Raider reboot for a while before it was released. I bought it on sale from an Origin sale of all places. The reviews really surprised me; I didn’t think it would do that well. Tomb Raider is so much fun. It takes the combat and exploration of Uncharted, and makes it so smooth. I never realized that I didn’t want to press a button to go into cover before this game. It was a blast, and showing a strong, female lead in a video game is important to this lovely industry. If you didn’t pick this one up, I recommend that you reconsider.

I Haven’t Beaten Any Of The Other Games In The Series

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Games of 2013 - Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist

I’m the bat!

Tom Clancey’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist caught me by surprise. I played the first Splinter Cell game on the PS2, and didn’t like it too much. I even bought the HD collection for PS3, and tried to play through it again, but lost interest. Anyways, when a buddy of mine recommended it, I watched a few reviews. I was a bit intrigued. I picked it up on one of the Steam sales for $30. I have gotten so much joy out of it. I love the stealth genre, and this game is tons of fun. I might write up a full review of it. Playing the game to try to unlock the next weapon or armor upgrade is a blast. I love that the experience and upgrades  spread across game modes, multiplayer and single player. Each level is sculpted with stealth in mind, but you could go in guns blazing if you so desired. The coop levels are designed with the same love as the single player levels. It’s a joy to hop on with a friend, and figure out the best route to the objective. There was a lot of love put into this game, and I would have bought it day one for full price.

Best Hack and Slash Fix

DMC: Devil May Cry

Games of 2013 - DMC: Devil May Cry

Look! I found a screenshot that I didn’t use in my review! And it’s relevant! I’m so happy!

DMC: Devil May Cry was tons of fun. You can check out my full review if you want to know my thoughts. I really enjoyed the combat, and I have been thinking about revisiting it again on the harder difficulties. Plus, 60 frames per second on PC.

Over The Top Fun Cranked Beyond 11

Saints Row IV

Games of 2013 - Saints Row IV

Has nothing to do with the gameplay, but a fat dude eating pancakes is the best screenshot ever.

I fell in love with Saints Row: The Third. I bought Saints Row IV right as it was released, and absolutely enjoy it. It takes the over-the-top nature of Third, and cranks up the dial beyond the max with super powers. I was worried that they game would be stale since they rehashed the world from The Third, but the super powers in IV adds a whole lot of fun options. The mission structure is a lot better, and all of the dialog is hilarious. Plus, all of the customization from The Third is back. Nothing like being a fat dude, wearing a school girl outfit, while flying through the air. If you liked The Third, you’ll love IV.

Definitely One of the Games In The Series

New Super Mario Bros. U

Games of 2013 - New Super Mario Bros. U

The console still has “wee” in its name… tehehe.

I got a Wii U a few months ago and the first game I played on it was New Super Mario Bros. U. I really enjoyed it, and I recommend reading my review. If you enjoyed any of the New Super Mario  Bros. games, this is probably the best one, and you should play it. However, it’s probably doesn’t justify buying a Wii U just for this game.

Ditto

Super Mario 3D World

Games of 2013 - Super Mario 3D World

There’s a lot of cat Mario in this game, but a picture of giant Mario is more entertaining. Mario loves smashing crates.

I recently finished Super Mario 3D World. Well, not 100% finished. The very last world after Bowser is a pain in my ass, as they generally are. I’m having an extra bugger of a time this time though. Other than that, the abilities are lots of fun. The kitty suit is the highlight, but there are others that are just as fun. The only negative thing I can say is that it is similar to New Super Mario Bros. U. It’s three dimensional, but it just feels like a side scroller most of the time. It’s a lot of fun, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the Galaxy games, or even Mario 64.

The Best AAA Game

Bioshock: Infinite

Games of 2013 - Bioshock: Infinite

My teacher always told me to fight against racism… so I took that literally, and cut this racist’s head off.

Of course I played Bioshock: Infinite, and I loved it. There’s so much to love. The story, the combat, the abilities, the characters, and so much more! We’ll be talking about this game for so long. If you play one game from this list thing, it should be this one. I don’t want to spoil too much, so I’ll keep this short. Since I should probably pick a Game of the Year, this is probably it. Really, most of the games on this list are worth your time.

I Didn’t Get To Play In 2013

This category isn’t really a category, therefore, exempt from the “one game” rule that I made up. These are the games that came out in 2013 and I want to play them, but I didn’t get a chance.

The Last of Us

I started playing The Last of Us. I played the opening sequence, and fell in love with it. It introduced me to an emotional journey, and sprinkled some action in. I played for about an hour or so, and just couldn’t handle it. You fight mostly human enemies in the beginning, which I was okay with. Once I got to a building full of zombies, I just froze. I saw them drunkenly shuffling around. I even killed one. I just froze after killing the one and watched the other two shuffle around in the background, like blind drunks. It wasn’t a proud moment of mine. I just shut it off. I plan on playing with a buddy of mine, which will allow me to pass to controller if I ever freeze again. I’m hoping to start that playthrough soon.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

I kinda shrugged off Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons as another indie game, getting praise because it was indie. But then I played Gone Home, and the same videos that talked about Gone Home were talking about Brothers. It sounded intriguing too me the more I looked into it, so I picked it up on a Steam sale. I just haven’t gotten around to playing it yet, but it’s next up in my queue.

Grand Theft Auto V

Of course I want to play Grand Theft Auto V. I’ve already played some at a friend’s home. I’ve been holding out for a PC version, like any member of the PC Master Race. If it doesn’t get an announcement  for the PC before it is $30 or $40 on console, than I’ll buy it on PS3.

Battlefield 4

I need to upgrade my computer before I can get Battlefield 4. And I also have a fairly large back catalog of games to play, and another FPS (no matter how good) isn’t at the top of my list.

The Wolf Among Us

A Telltale game that isn’t based on a kiddie franchise, and doesn’t have zombies (at least, I don’t think it does); well then I’m going to buy The Wolf Among Us! Telltale are masters at the adventure game genre. I’ve heard really good things about this one, and I didn’t hesitate buying it when it was on a Steam sale. I’ll probably play this one after Brothers.

Rayman Legends

I bought Rayman Legends a while ago. Right after I bought a Wii U. I needed to buy something and I heard good things. I’ve heard it is a better platformer than Mario, which is impressive. I’m looking forward to it. I just need to finish some business with Super Mario 3D World.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has been in my backlog for awhile now. It’s over the top, with 80’s action movie cliches everywhere, so I’m looking forward to it. Not much else to say, except that you can flip enemies the bird.

Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD is another game I need to play. I beat the original Gamecube version, and, honestly, it’s my favorite 3D Zelda game. It has so much charm, and is fun. The only reason I bought a Wii U, is because I wanted the Wii U controller that has Wind Waker artwork on it. Worth it.

I want to thank you for reading this post. I spent a lot of time on it. You have no idea how long it takes to capture just one screenshot that best represents each game, especially when they are across several platforms. I hope you continue reading my website, and I hope your 2014 will be full of games.

– Royfuss

Gone Home Review

I wasn’t going to play Gone Home. I read some articles and watched some YouTube videos about it, but it didn’t seem like my kind of game; it didn’t sound like a game at all. After reading Gone Home was being nominated, even winning, Game of the Year from gaming outlets, I figured I’d better check it out. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I gathered it was about a daughter who comes “home” after an extended period of time being away. I figured it’d be you just wandering around the house, and really no game play. For the most part, it is; however, it is one of the few games that can pull it off.

Gone Home is a narrative driven exploration game. The story is told from the first person perspective of Katie, a daughter who has been away from her home for a year. However, she didn’t grow up in this house. Mom, Dad, and sister moved to a new house while she was away. You arrive, late at night, fresh from the airport. A thunderstorm is howling outside. You approach the front door, and notice a mysterious note from your younger sister, Sam. It appears no one is home. The front door is locked, but you find the spare key easily enough. This is how the game starts, and it sets up the atmosphere of the game perfectly.

You wander around the house, interacting with various objects. You learn a few things about Mom and Dad, such as why they moved. You find out what the family has been doing since you left. The main story of the game is actually the story of Sam, and how her life has changed since you’ve been gone. When you interact with certain objects audio diaries from Sam will begin to play. Apparently, you were lucky, because Sam had to go to a new high school. She left all of her old friends behind. I don’t want to spoil too much more, but it is more interesting than it sounds. I’ll get to why in a bit.

Most of the rooms have their doors closed, and the lights off. You go into the room, and flip on the lights. You can interact with almost everything in the room. These items give you a glimpse into the lives of the people you haven’t seen in a year. As you progress through the house, you need to find keys and combinations to open locked doors and storage areas. While you are doing this, the thunderstorm is still clattering outside, and the low, bass-filled music quietly tickles your eardrums. The world is crafted to give you this experience, which is why I think it is important to tell you the emotions I felt.

There isn’t much for gameplay, but the emotions the game imparts is what makes the game special. I feel only a video game could tell a story such as this. The sound of the thunderstorm was organic. It didn’t feel like a short set of sound effects on a loop. The storm got loud and you would be very aware of it; other times it was quiet and hardly noticeable. The house made house noises! Air expanding in pipes, floors creaking for no reason, clicks and pops! It truly felt you were in the house all by yourself. I played the game while I was home alone, with the lights off, and with headphones on. This was an excellent choice, and I recommend you play the game this way as well.

I experienced feelings of curiosity, creepiness, comfort, relief, worry, and hope all throughout this game. I was curious to know what my family has been doing. Walking down hallways, having just read about the previous owner of the house, gave me the creeps. I was comforted to see my parents kept my postcards I sent from Europe. I was constantly switching between worried and relief when I read and heard the adventures of my little sister. I hoped the next journal entry from my sister left her in a better place than the previous entry. In the end, the game made me feel like Katie. These people that I used to know had changed, and there was so much I wanted to learn about them.

Should you play this game? This game, that has very few of the normal gameplay tropes. Yes, you most definitely should play this game. Games that don’t have the normal gameplay tropes are usually not games in my opinion, but Gone Home is able to capture emotions in a way only a video game can. If a movie, or a book tried to tell this story, it would not be able to get anywhere close to being as good as Gone Home. You owe yourself this experience. I’m not going to say that it’s for everyone; there are few absolutes. But I would recommend this to every one of my friends, gamer or non gamer. If that doesn’t convince you, then I’d say that the small studio, who made this game, is made of people who worked on the Bioshock franchise. So, they know how to do this narrative and atmosphere thing. I sincerely hope you check this game out.

Antichamber Review

Antichamber

Screenshot from Antichamber.

I recently bought and finished Antichamber. It’s an indie title made by a handful of people. It was released earlier this year. I bought it on a Steam sale and decided that I should get acquainted with it. I didn’t want to spoil the game, so I only posted one screenshot so that you can get an idea of what the game looks like.

Antichamber is a puzzle-exploration game. Each corridor opens up to a new puzzle. At the beginning, you can only run, walk, jump, and learn the rules of the environment. Figuring out these rules helps you progress through the game much faster, but it does take a bit, because the game does not hold your hand, and rarely follows normal first person game tropes. One example, which is a MINOR SPOILER, is you will run down a hallway and turn the corner to reveal two sets of stairways. Going up one set of stairs puts you back at the beginning of the corridor with the two sets of stairways. Going up the other set of stairs, also puts you back at the beginning of the corridor with the stairways. Turning around and going back the way you came is the only way to progress from this puzzle. END MINOR SPOILERS.

There are some minor hints throughout the game, but it is mainly up to you to figure out the rules. As you progress, you get items to manipulate the world, which adds more depth to the puzzles. Figuring out the rules of the game and solving puzzles is immensely satisfying. I played the game without any assistance for about two hours. This allowed me to get comfortable with the rules of the game. After that point, I looked up a spoiler free guide, which just had a bunch of tips. That guide came in handy without spoiling the game for me. There were two puzzles that absolutely stumped me. On each one I spent about an hour before caving in and looking up a guide for it. One of them I was on the right track, but required a very specific way of the getting the solution, and I didn’t have the patience to use trial and error to achieve the goal. The other one I was just plain stupid.

There’s no story, at least not in the standard, narrative way. There’s no disembodied voice guiding you through the puzzles. There’s no cut scenes. There’s no talking at all. It’s just you exploring. There are posters guiding you along and giving you minimal hints, but that’s about it. There is an end, but it is very open ended allowing you to craft your own reasoning for why you are in this world, and what exactly you are doing. I was very satisfied with the ending of this game.

Graphically, the game is interesting. As you can see from the screenshot above, it’s mostly a black and white world, but seemingly random things are colored. Some of the colors from puzzles match up to a required item that you get later in the game, so that helps so you aren’t trying to solve a puzzle that you just cannot solve at the time.

Antichamber has very minimal sounds, but the sounds that are there really creates a creepy, but comforting atmosphere. That’s the best way I can describe it, even though it doesn’t make much sense. There’s subtle music going on most of the time. Sometimes you’ll hear the fluttering of birds. It’s weird, but it completely fits the atmosphere of the game. I liked it a lot.

Antichamber is definitely not for everybody, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. It really depends on your tastes. If you are up to a weird indie titles, then definitely recommend it. If you have an open mind and want to look into some indie games, this is a good game to start. It’s definitely worth the cost of admission. I clocked in at over 10 hours and solved all of the puzzles.

One thing that popped into my mind that I should let you know about. The game crashed right away when I first installed it. A quick look at the Steam forums for the game revealed a quick solution. I wanted to let you know so you don’t get frustrated if you do decide to buy it. It was created by a handful of people, so I give them some slack.