Grumpy Owl: Annoying Sounds of the Night

I live in an apartment right next to a street with shops, a café, a small meadow with trees – in short, a little bit of everything. When sleeping with an open window on hot nights, I’m sometimes awakened by the annoying sounds of the night.

This is my attempt at rating these sounds.

  1. A pair of magpies going KEKEKEKEKEKEKE (probably because some cat found their nest)
  2. A blackbird singing aggravatingly close to my window
  3. A group of night owl teenagers talking very loudly sitting outside the café across the street
  4. Two cats decide they hate each other and of course it has to happen just below my window
  5. One of the largest trucks on the planet (certainly one of the loudest) driving by
  6. A depressed woman that hates everything about life and everyone needs to hear about it
  7. That one rapper walking by while reciting one of his favorite songs
  8. A strange crow that sounds like it swallowed a laser gun
  9. A wood pigeon in a tree repeating the Forbidden Forest jingle

Never Alone

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Developer: Upper One Games | Released: 2014 | Genre: Platform, Puzzle

This was a cute puzzle platform game with a small Eskimo girl and a white fox. It sometimes felt like it was inspired by both ICO and Limbo. It could be played either as a true co-operation game, or single player by alternating the two characters. The latter worked well enough on its own.

The game itself was a side-scrolling puzzle platform in very convincing icy landscapes with a cold blizzard sometimes delivering gusts of wind that made it necessary to crouch down. Jumping and climbing was very easy for a while, in fact so much that it felt like it almost belonged in the facile adventure genre.

It didn’t last – it became plenty challenging.

Without spoiling too much, I was fleeing an ice bear on several occasions, a bad guy throwing fireballs, there were cooperation puzzles, even swimming through tunnels. The girl soon got hold of a bola to throw at targets – like ice to break it down or fragile wooden boards – which was also the only use of the mouse to aim her arm in the direction she wanted to hit. Everything else were keys only.

The Story of DeepSID

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It’s funny how it can sometimes feel like you’ve had your proudest creation behind you.

Maybe it was the time in the 80’s with the editor and the C64 tunes. The couple of maps I created for Half-Life. Or the years where I became overly obsessed with PC games and I fell off the face of the Earth for a few years. Then I created a games checklist-and-database called GameDeed and thought, I might actually have a web site that might steal some of the thunder from The BackLoggery and HowLongToBeat. Was I on the way to my proudest creation yet? No, not really.

GameDeed turned out to be a resounding fiasco.

GameDeed

Nevertheless, GameDeed was still very important and I don’t regret the time I spent coding it. I learned so much about web development from it that later benefit DeepSID. Before GameDeed I made a few static web sites and even my own theme for WordPress, but none of that would have prepared me for the monster site that DeepSID would eventually evolve into.

Layers of Fear

Developer: Bloober Team | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, Horror

This game was a mixed bag. It had a lot of clichés and was really too repetitive, but it was also pretty and atmospheric. It had enough of the latter to see my through to the end – about 3½ hours later.

It was a horror adventure that took place in a dark and of course haunted mansion. There were enough opening doors to mock it as being a door opening simulator, and it was also not very original. It reminded me of other horror adventures such as e.g. Outlast and even used the popular interactive gimmick of dragging the mouse to open doors and drawers.

It was quite linear and frequently used the trick of changing the rooms and hallways. There were too many jump scares and ghostly transformations, while actual puzzles were easy and far apart. This, together with the linear nature of the game with no real dying, made it feel like a haunted funfair attraction.

And it had an abundance of almost pitch black rooms.

What I did like about it was the idea of having to find six objects, each time returning to a small atelier to continue a painting with this object. The protagonist, which was a man barely visible in blurry mirrors, had a limp and walked to the rhythm of a heartbeat. After a stretch of uninspired hallways I also found a set piece in the office that suddenly turned into a vertical challenge hunting down ringing telephones.

This part even gave me vertigo – it was unexpected and made it worth persevering.

7/10

Event[0]

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Developer: Ocelot Society | Released: 2016 | Genre: Adventure, First Person

That was a really cool game. Sure, it was pretty short – I completed it in about 2½ hours – but it was also very atmospheric and often fascinating. And to think I’ve postponed playing it for the longest time because I heard rumors about having to deal with a psychopathic computer AI. It made it sound like an excruciating experience. Like masochism – or sadism – however which way you want to look at it.

But it wasn’t like that at all.

Instead it was a sweet first person adventure where I sometimes had to talk to the computer AI, Kaizen-85, using oldskool terminals, in order to make it open doors, show logs, or move an elevator for me. It could get a little stubborn a few times, but it was friendly and usually approved of my request. That being said, I did decide to roleplay a very friendly and forthcoming attitude. Lots of asking using the magic word.

Gemini: Heroes Reborn

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Developer: Phosphor Games | Released: 2016 | Genre: FPS, Adventure

Time for something I haven’t played in a while – an FPS. The ironic part is the third letter in the abbreviation as there wasn’t much shooter about it on my part. Sure, I had powers, but I still missed a rifle like crazy.

The game took place in the Heroes universe but was its own story. I played Cassandra, a young girl entering an abandoned structure together with a male friend. Soon they discovered it wasn’t that abandoned after all. Her friend was kidnapped by a couple of soldiers, Cassandra discovered she had time shifting powers, and off I went searching for her friend – as well as some information about her past.

It was one of those game with powers getting more diversified and powerful as the 15 levels went by. In the beginning I could only shift between two time periods – the past (2008) where the facility was new and undamaged, and now (2014) where it was in ruins. Think Soul Reaver, only without any color filtering. Also, time shifting was not possible if the location was inside solid stone in the other time period.

Quote from Gizmodo

Gizmodo posted an article about the movie Don’t Look Up yesterday.

I really liked Adam Withers’ comment to that post:

I think the reason so many of us aren’t really talking about climate change is because we’re fucking tired and hopeless. We’ve reached the point the characters reach in the final act – we’ve talked, we’ve advocated, we’ve “raised awareness,” we’ve supported politicians we thought would do something, and we’ve realized that there is nothing more we can do about this. Nothing more than we’ve already done. The people with the power to actually save us, who could make choices that would make a real difference, aren’t going to and won’t be swayed by anything we have the power to do. The public is too stupid, self-involved, or out of touch to give enough of a shit to put enough pressure on those people. We’re out of moves, and while we can see what needs doing, we don’t have any power to force it to happen.

So, we’re focusing on the people in our immediate sphere and trying to enjoy life as much as we can so we don’t just go crazy with grief and fear and anger. Climate change is coming, it will not be averted, and at best our only hope left is that, once the effects start really ruining life for/killing people, it’ll shake the rest of the populace hard enough that they’ll finally stand up and give a damn. But until that day, we don’t have the strength left to keep caring so much about something we are powerless against.

The Witcher: Season 2

Just finished watching the second season of The Witcher on Netflix.

  • Henry Cavill is still absolutely brilliant as Geralt. He really nails it.
  • The episode with the cursed boar guy felt like a side-quest in The Witcher 3, and I really liked that.
  • I didn’t like how they wrote Vesemir. In the game he was wise and competent, like a father figure for Geralt. In the show he was a bit of a bumbling fool and Geralt was the one that kept giving him advice. It also thought Kim Bodnia didn’t quite fit the role.
  • A bit too much fantasy politics for my liking.
  • They dyed Triss’ hair red. Good move.
  • The actress for Yennifer is okay, but I still think they should have found someone slightly older.
  • I really didn’t like how they “nerfed” Yennifer’s magic for most of the season. It felt it was something they wrote because she was too powerful and would have fixed many things too easily. Kind of like how they also treated some of the characters in the second season of Heroes.
  • It sometimes feels like almost everyone and his dog is a magician in this show.
  • I was hoping the dwarf from the games would pop up. Maybe next season?
  • They killed someone I never saw coming. Someone that was always there for Geralt in the games. I really wish they didn’t, but maybe they wanted to make it clear this is not the games.

Generally the season was okay but not fantastic. I also watched The Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime at the same time, and I liked that a lot better. More epic vistas and less fantasy politics.

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.