What Remains of Edith Finch

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Developer: Giant Sparrow | Released: 2017 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

This is probably the best walking simulator facile adventure game I have played so far. The variation of the minigames told through the stories of the family members was out of this world, as was the detail of the abundance of small prefabs inside the house. A lot of love went into this game.

The game told the story of the Finch family, as the protagonist moves through the many rooms of a house with strange protruding expansions on top. At first it felt a lot in the vein of Gone Home, which also moves you through various rooms of a house, telling a story. But this one was superior because of the individual stories of the Finch family. It turns out all of the family members are deceased, and most of their stories explain how their death came about. It was often weird or dramatic.

DeepYouTube

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In the end of August I introduced a new SID handler in DeepSID. But not just another emulator – this one allows you to play YouTube videos. This was something I added after I recently discovered that YouTube actually has an IFrame API that allows you to control YouTube videos using my own controls.

I made sure to make a full package out of it in the first release. Each SID row has support for up to five tabs, each with their own YouTube video, and a context menu option makes it possible to edit these tabs and even set one as the default. Even the individual subtunes of a SID row can have their own set of tabs.

Later I also added support for the ?t=123 time switch.

One of the final touches I added before releasing it was to make sure all SID rows were disabled until one or more YouTube videos were present. This instantly spawned a dark ocean of silent SID rows everywhere. Time to start adding YouTube videos. I eagerly flexed my fingers – and then it dawned upon me.

There are tens of thousands of SID rows, and I have to add this manually. 🙄

The Old City: Leviathan

Developer: PostMod Softworks | Released: 2014 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

Time for another short one that took me approximately two hours to complete. It was a thoroughbred walking simulator facile adventure where all I could do was explore by walking – or light running that was actually just faster walking – open doors, read typewritten letters mostly glued on walls, and sometimes listen to a sentence or two by… myself? A friend?

That was sometimes hard to tell, but his audible acting was excellent.

Most of the time it was borderline pretentious nonsense, but there were exceptions where he aired a philosophical opinion that was actually interesting for once. Like the stuff about depression and suicide, for example. And then it was back to “truth having to be compatible with itself” and blah blah blah.

Fortunately the surroundings were often detailed and pretty, although also infected with reusable prefabs such as conspicuously dead rats and an abundance of littered soda cans. It did start out with samey rooms, corridors, pipes and factory stuff that perhaps overstayed its welcome, but it soon meandered into surreal crypts, medieval architecture, a beach with flooded trains, a subway, and the return of an enormous Minotaur statue. And several of the total of 11 chapters ended by me leaping into nothingness.

Sometimes it felt like sort of a surreal version of INFRA.

Apart from just walking around, I sometimes found and unlocked a cube. I found a total of seven of these. I don’t think they served any other purpose than as a collection to see if I explored thoroughly. Most of the levels had multiple paths around the facility. Having to accept missing out on a hallway or two was not uncommon. Later I learned to postpone opening doors clearly marked as the exit.

7/10

NaissanceE

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Developer: Limasse Five | Released: 2014 | Genre: Adventure, First PersonSpoilers: Medium

June 19, 2021

I’ve played almost 4 hours of this exploration adventure game today and it is probably the most egregious example of a game I have a strong love/hate relationship with. It has the most epic levels with an expanse I haven’t seen probably since Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria. I’m a drooling sucker for such things, and when it also have really interesting architecture like it did here, I’m definitely in for the long run.

Unfortunately, the wonderful walks or casual jumping was sometimes spiced up with demanding jumping puzzles, some of which were downright sadistic. I don’t think I’ve been cursing and shouting like this at a game for years. Sometimes I was wondering if the developer was secretly hating its audience, especially during a tunnel sequence on a long rotating shaft.

But I get ahead of myself.

Etherborn

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Developer: Altered Matter | Released: 2019 | Genre: Platform, Puzzle

Another short one. Took me less than 3½ hours. Not that I mind – I like short games these days. I’m trying to dry out my backlog, so it’s usually either that or a sample for my blog series about short sessions.

Etherborn was a third person puzzle platform game with a beautiful art style. The rules were actually quite simple. I could change the direction of gravity by walking around certain curved edges, changing floors into walls or ceilings. Gems picked up could be put in placeholders to e.g. slide out a bridge, swoosh in a piece of additional level structure, or raise a set of stairs from a pool of acid.

This was the second game I played with my Xbox One gamepad. The subtly tilted or skewed camera angles didn’t work well with keyboard and mouse. Good thing I’ve found my peace with gamepads.

For the most part I enjoyed this casual game. Apart from the brilliant graphics and a generally good feel of controlling the transparent silent protagonist, the music was also exquisite. I especially liked how the music moved into complex jazz chords in the the most intricate parts of the fourth level. That was fitting.

The game did have some issues, though.

Journey

Developer: thatgamecompany | Released: 2020 | Genre: Adventure, 3D

Being a PC gamer I’m quite late to this exploration game, but now that I’ve played it, I sure understand why everybody have been so excited about it. It was pure bliss. Like playing in an interactive series of the best wallpaper art you can imagine. No words – just amazing violins and cellos.

The basic rules were as simple as the controls. I could move (sometimes glide down sand dunes) and gain a limited floating ability by touching strips of living cloth. A strip on my back worked as an energy bar for it. Sometimes I reached and chimed at an altar and watched a history emerging on a wall.

I could meet other players too. There was no exchange – they were just sort of there.

The art, the level design and the lighting was fantastic. The hot desert in the beginning had layers of sand rustling across the dunes. As I got closer to a mountain, snow took over. There were even blizzards where I sometimes had to seek cover to avoid a setback. Later I also had to sort of sneak past big rock birds. If their spotlight found me, a laser beam blasted me backwards. There was no dying in this game.

It took me less than 2 hours to reach the end. Short, but definitely worth it.

10/10

Short Sessions, Part 4

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This is another post in my series about the odd games that I have decided not to complete, although I will at least try them out for up to an hour. This no longer just applies to free games or games given to me by a friend that had several keys of the same game to give away. It now also applies to games that I just didn’t feel like continuing. I want the game to really grab me before I want to see the end of it.

  • Kholat
  • Mark of the Ninja
  • The Darkness II
  • Munin
  • Miasmata

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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A question I’ve been asked from time to time about my web site DeepSID is how the SID composers in the MUSICIANS folders have been divided according to the quality of their songs.

All of the composer folders in each letter folder inside MUSICIANS have received a rating from 1-5 stars. I then decided that a certain amount of stars, say 3, determines that the composer is at least okay, maybe even good. If the rating is 4 or more, it’s a great composer.

This was done because I needed this division for at least three features of DeepSID:

  • The list of recommendations, available from a link in the top line.
  • The “All”, “Decent” and “Good” sort options for every MUSICIANS letter folder.
  • Jumping to a random composer of a decent quality from the front page.

I knew that judging the composers to fit these three features would be a sensitive area. Even a minefield. I thought for a while about how I wanted to proceed doing this. I really wanted to involve a lot of people, but there were complications. Let’s go through each of these.

Homesick

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Developer: Lucky Pause | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, First PersonSpoilers: Puzzles

This first person adventure looked crazy good. Yes, it was mostly gray and samey corridors and dilapidated apartments, but the level of detail was marvelous. In one of the bigger halls, the wallpaper was coiling off the walls in the most convincing manner, I have ever seen in a video game.

It was also relaxing for the most part, although it wasn’t just a walking simulator facile adventure.

I woke up in a bed in an apartment complex where the sun coming through the windows was unpleasant. Getting too close oversaturated the light in a hurtful way. Some corridors had too many windows and thus were impossible to traverse. The dilapidated state of everything made it look like something straight out of Pripyat near Chernobyl. Of course none of the switches or faucets worked.

And to make matters even worse, the papers and books found everywhere were written in gibberish.

Short Sessions, Part 3

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This is another post in my series about the games I only taste for an hour or even less. Originally it was meant for the odd games that I would normally discard anyway such as free games, games given to me by a friend that had several keys of the same game to give away, or games that for other reasons just kind of popped up in e.g. my Steam library without me knowing how they ever got there in the first place.

However, as I’ve grown even less enthusiastic about games, I’ve decided to expand this to whatever I just don’t feel like continuing, even if it’s a game I originally intended for a larger fate. The reasons may be many and perhaps sometimes even petty, but I’ve decided that I want the game to really grab me before I want to see the end of it. This also means that you may be seeing a lot more of these posts in the future.

  • DeadCore
  • Color Symphony
  • Her Story
  • Exanima
  • The Descendant