RiME

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Developer: Tequila Works | Released: 2017 | Genre: Adventure, Puzzle

This charming third person adventure came very close to making me relive the pure fondness I had for PC games almost two decades ago. Now I understand why Nicouse found it so enchanting.

In fact, it was so beautiful and imaginative that I just can’t for the life of me understand why so many of the professional review sites mashed it down to typically a rating of 6-7. It’s a crime, plain and simple. A typical complaint is that the game feels too much like boring busywork solving puzzles barely challenging at all, but that’s not fair. Although it’s true that many of its puzzles were fairly pedestrian, the game really did its best to vary the rules and surroundings, and the level graphics were often epic and jaw dropping.

I wonder if some of those cynical game reviewers weren’t just worn down veterans?

The story was quite simple, almost non-existent, until the final hour of the 6+ hours it took me to complete it. A boy was washed ashore on a small island and I had to run around, shouting at figurines to make their energy empower an avatar in the middle. There was no dialog. It’s true what they said – the inspiration of games like Ico was quite apparent, and the climbing was virtually Tomb Raider.

Beyond Eyes

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Developer: Tiger & Squid | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

Regarding brightness, this game was the polar opposite of Among the Sleep. Here white was consistently dominating the screen. It was short – about two hours, including one level restart because of a bug.

Rae, a little girl blind after an accident, had to go look for her friend, Nani – which was an orange cat. The game was quite unique in the way it used her blindness as a gimmick. I was walking her around removing white “fog of war” that was drawn depending on being in close vicinity. Sometimes, a noise in the distance could temporarily show a hotspot, like a woodpecker working a tree or a church bell. There were also permanent hotspots created by constant sounds such as a streaming river or a waterfall.

Most of the game was about finding my way through fields and a village, uncovering white fog. Sometimes she was smelling the cat thus showing where to go next, and there were very light tasks such as throwing bread for seagulls to get out of the way, or fetching a ball for another girl.

Among the Sleep

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Developer: Krillbite Studio | Released: 2014 | Genre: Adventure, Horror

This was a short first person horror adventure in control of a little toddler that could barely walk. After a birthday cake from mum and a later put to sleep, the majority of the game went through surrealistic set pieces with elements from the house itself. Most of the game was very dark with a lot of walking/crawling, sometimes with light puzzles like dragging a chair to climb on or finding “memories” for a portal.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again – I’m not really fit for horror games or movies anymore. I’ve become completely numb. I really should stop touching this genre.

Nevertheless I bought the game and I am trying to work through my backlog.

But in spite of the absence of screaming in my apartment, the game did its best with a spooky atmosphere, it didn’t go crazy with cheap jump scares, and the ambient sounds were really good. Humans that can still experience the feeling of horror may find a lot to like here.

Playing PC Games

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Today I thought, why not let the first blog post of 2021 be sort of a rambling post. Some personal opinions, things going on in my life – you know, the purpose blogs actually served in the first place. In fact, I’ve been thinking about letting it become a regular series to take over the diminishing posts about PC games.

And then, what better place to start than with that – PC games.

Oh no, you might be thinking. This is going to be one of those blog posts where he denounces playing video games ever again. Well, not quite. Maybe. Sort of. It’s complicated.

The thing is, the past few couple of years it’s actually been a struggle for me to write these blog posts about PC games. Having to take abundant notes while playing, lots of screenshots, writing the blog post, inserting the right images. It’s not just playing a game as relaxation like watching a movie for me. I need to have this on the side to make PC games mean something special to me.

Recently, I’ve been asking myself a question. Have you actually enjoyed playing the latest five or ten games you played? I thought about that for a few days. At first I took a look at the blog posts I wrote about those games and admitted to myself that, why yes, I did get at least a little bit of joy out of playing these games. So, maybe it is still worth doing? Well, the problem is exactly the amount of work I just described in the previous paragraph. So what I needed to do was to ask myself the right question:

Does the joy I get out of a PC game match the work I have to prepare for its blog post?

The Demise of Skywalker

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Since I blogged about the first two movies in the new trilogy of Star Wars movies, I’ve felt kind of obligated to write about the third one too. It was delayed on my part because I only saw it on a streaming service at Disney+ which came to Denmark this summer.

Apart from The Mandalorian, Disney+ has really opened my eyes for both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels – quite late to the party – but that is, as they say, an entirely different story.

But even when it was available at Disney+ a few months ago, I kept postponing my first viewing of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker both because of the general lacklustre reviews and because of how I found the first two movies lacking in so many departments. I only got to finally watch it yesterday.

Maybe it was because I had lowered my expectations, but I actually thought it wasn’t that bad!

One of the criticisms I’ve heard is how the movie kind of hit the reset button, ignoring many events taking place in the second movie, but that’s not true. For example, Rey’s parents and her heritage are revealed and turns out that she did indeed have quite an interesting ancestor, yet Ren still insists that her own parents were still nothing special. That’s okay. I can live with that.

The movie was also more coherent that I expected, and it had epic set pieces. I was never bored.

One of the biggest points of critiscism I had about episode 7 was how much it had aped from episode 4. I thought that at least for the first two thirds of this movie, the writers tried to do mostly their own thing. Then in the end they sadly just had to go and repeat the end of episode 6 with barely a few surroundings and details conveniently switched around.

That was certainly disappointing, but at least is was so infused with epic that I almost bought it anyway.

Let’s move into more specific spoilers.

Corpse of Discovery

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Developer: Phosphor Games | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, First Person

Although this was another one on the brink of being called a walking simulator facile adventure, it had enough exploration with jump puzzles, goals in the distance, and the rare searchlight monster to avoid, to just about make it a proper first person adventure.

I was an astronaut alone in a small space station, which was a series of tubes with a blurry holographic communicator for messages from the wife and kids. There were also the typical lab, the greenhouse, the computer room and the briefing room. This part of the game was certainly facile. I could merely click a few hotspots for explanations and get a briefing for exploring the planet outside in a space suit.

The game had a smattering of Groundhog Day about it. I explored the vast areas of a planet running around, double-jumping – later using a jet pack that had to recharge after a few seconds – running towards goals that were each about a kilometer away. After finding about half a dozen of these, the space suit ran out of oxygen and I awoke back in my bed in the space station. After getting the next holographic family message, it was off to explore the next planet.

And so it adhered to this template for a total of six planets.

The Beginner’s Guide

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Developer: Everything Unlimited | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

This was a short walking simulator facile adventure again by the same developer that also created The Stanley Parable. His style in level design and narrative was unmistakable right from the first few sentences. But where his previous games had a conscious focus on humor and sarcasm, this game was a little more serious. A least most of the time.

The developer himself narrated consistently all the way through the less then two hours it took to play it through. He told about his friend Coda and the small first person games he created, each presented in a linear manner with usually nothing to do but move forward and listen. Sometimes there was one door switch puzzle that was sometimes repeated, and I even had a rifle two times for a very short time.

There were 17 chapters (including an epilogue) and the levels were amazingly varied.

What I Played in 2001

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This is a new series related to my previous attempts at transcribing my diary sessions to this blog format. I did a couple of those starting with The Beginning of the Millennium (2000-2001) and then the two single posts about Outcast played in 2001 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare played in 2011.

Since it’s a lot of work transcribing the diary sessions, I’ve decided to make this series instead with just a sentence or two for each game, along with a small gallery of six screenshots and the rating bar from my page with all the PC Games I’ve played. The screenshots will be my own unless stated otherwise.

Quote from Reddit

What do you find annoying about your neighbors?

Whenever the elevator doors open up there are two situations:

1. I’m well dressed and sober, heading out for a productive day. The elevator will be empty.

2. I’m a hungover disheveled mess on a Saturday morning and smell like disappointment. All I need is greasy food and coffee. The elevator will be packed full of my neighbors from every damn floor. They will all silently judge me. One time a lady even pulled her young daughter closer with the “stay away from that man” look.Corporate-Asset-6375, /r/AskReddit

The original thread is here.