I believe I am discovering the reasons behind these “indie” games not being so popular. Not all, mind you, but some of them are just too “modern” and I guess “woke” for my old brain. Again, I really tried with this one, even gritted my teeth when I realised the entire game would be in these retro “16-bit” graphics with accompanying midi music and sound effects. I’ve played other games like this (Cloudpunk, for one) that I really enjoyed despite these things, but this game just pushed it to a point where you could barely see the characters, and even their “close up” visuals were still not great to me. They definitely did not look like the “trailer” images you see. Those are all full graphics and look amazing… that’s the reason I got the game. Clearly I needed to look further to see actual gameplay. My bad. I’m just not a “retro game” kinda girl. I lived through low-grade graphics once, I don’t need to do that again, right?
But, pushing through this, I started getting into the story – the game is actually very intuitive and offers lots of dialog options for different “attitudes” and a nice simple interface. You can view, touch/interact with, talk to, or use an item from your backpack on almost everything you see in a space. I liked that a lot! You could even talk to your plant! It didn’t answer, of course, but you got responses from the game like “this action will have consequences later… probably” and I love that kind of snarky sarcastic humour! I really enjoyed that side of the game. Your interactions with Turing can be very amusing, as well. Turing is like a child, but with an adult’s brain and understanding… they did a good job conveying that aspect of the little ROM. He is not two-dimensional in character, even if he is 16-bit visually! 😀 *laughs nerdily*
I was really enjoying the story, especially the detective aspect of it, the locations and people popping up to talk to and interact with… until we got to the Starlight Club.
The barman was lovely, and we had a great conversation. The main lead, TOMCAT, was also fascinating and warm and kind and I enjoyed our conversations… but before we got to “her” we had to deal with Jess.
Jess is a “hybrid” and Jess is so fekkin rude and bigoted, and treats you like shyte because you don’t “Get” that she’s a hybrid and she apparently HATES “normal” people… or “genotypical” as she calls them because we’re not as AWESOME as hybrids. We don’t need her at first… but later on, when our plans fall through (through no fault of our own) we then have to go GROVELLING to Jess to get some help. I tried, people. I really tried. But Jess is insufferable and I tried all dialog options – even went back and loaded the save for when I first encountered her and tried all THOSE dialog options to see if there was ONE where we didn’t OFFEND her by breathing.. but nope. She hates us and she won’t help. TOMCAT suggests we “be nice” to get her to help us… and I tried some dialog options, but Jess is so vain, and so elitist and bigoted, she refuses to help. We apparently had to resort to all sorts of other options to “prove ourselves” to Jess just to get her to grudgingly give us a pathetic lead… and I just couldn’t. It’s a game, and a game shouldn’t make you feel like you had to dirty yourself to get somewhere in it. I wasn’t uncomfortable that she was a “hybrid” or that everyone around me was whatever other “life types” and all the other things they are – I do not care what people are, as I believe everyone can do their own thing, as long as their ideals don’t get shoved down my throat, because I don’t do that to other people – I was irritated that they made my character out to be less important or cool than anyone else because I wasn’t augmented or a hybrid. That’s not cool. Maybe that’s just me being “old” and grumpy, but I don’t think so.
I carried on playing for a bit, trying out the various options to continue, but I’d lost my interest in the game at that point, and I have closed it, and I will most likely uninstall it and move on to the next game in my list.
Good luck, Turing. I hope you dream of Electric Sheep.
I tried to finish this game, people. I really tried. The blurb about it looked intriguing, the casual 50’s banter seemed amusing… and then I played the game.
Firstly, it crashed after I reset the graphics and settings (max all the way!) but I soldiered on and gave it the benefit of the doubt, fiddling with settings until it seemed happy. I started a new game, and threw myself into the story. You start out as the man in the can, the incarcerated, Joe, in Alcatraz after what, according to the intro cut scene, was a botched escape attempt. Apparently, he helped with a big heist with some bad characters and everyone thinks he hid the money, so everyone is after him for that.
In prison, you struggle to interact with your surroundings with a strangely clumsy 2-button interface using your mouse. There is a brief (And I mean BRIEF) tutorial and then you are left to your own devices. Right click everything to “view” it – and you get a little blurb about what you are looking at – and then left click to “interact” with the object and/or person. I clicked everything, both buttons, and heard the same one-liners about each item without any real help. Eventually, after lots of clicks and hearing the same thing over and over, I managed to work out how to “make stuff” and how to use that stuff on other objects. Perhaps I was not as focused as I could have been, and perhaps it was explained in the “tutorial” but it really was not very intuitive. Finally, I managed to find some objects I needed to continue (because the story will not continue without certain checkpoints being met… more on that later) and left my cell.
While we stood in a line outside our cells, I chatted with various other prisoners. The voice acting was great, with some real feeling and story thrown in, but the constant repetition of things until you chose the “right” sequence of events got a little annoying. Once I got that right, we moved on to the chow hall, where we had some more strange and stilted conversations where there was no option to end the conversation until you’d asked all the questions, and you’d chosen each dialog option.. even the ones that made people angry. Maybe it was bugged? I don’t know… but more on THAT later as well.
After these weird exchanges and promises of “favours” a select few of us went to the visiting room and we meet Joe’s wife, Christine. She’s a fast talking, snarky, witty, “hep cat” poetry slinger with flippy hair and a beret. I can’t say I “clicked” with Christine. Her dialog options with Joe seemed very weak and pointless filled with “miss you baby” and stuff like that. Not my cup of tea, but I persevered and we learned things and, again, after exhausting ALL OPTIONS in the chat menu, even ones that were contradictory to what I had just told her/asked her… we then begin playing as Christine.
On the dock, we meet the sleezy Mickey and his enormous thug. He wants his money and gives Christine a deadline to get it – and by deadline, I mean deadline… he plans to kill her if he can’t get the money from Joe, through Christine. Lots of corny/cheesy/cliché “mobster” lines are thrown around, and Christine’s responses are a mix of sassy comebacks and whiny weakness of a damsel in distress. It confused me. Again… all options had to be exhausted until you could move on.
I investigated every clue/item/viewpoint and heard all the blurbs, and then we went home to our apartment. Again, lots of clicking, looking, trying to interact and not really getting anywhere. I clicked on the things that were meant to give me answers and items (clues that Joe gave me in the visiting room, and again on a letter I found from him in the apartment) but nothing presented itself. I then went onto the fire escape (to be met by a neighbour who is desperate to sleep with you.. and YOU CAN SLEEP WITH HIM and apparently (according to the internet) you can learn stuff about the heist that he did with Joe… but only if you sleep with him… I said no thanks and sent him home to his wife and the “secret Marriage Level” went up 10 points or something, but I was left in the dark about important details for the rest of the game… wait… WHAT?) and the roof and again… nothing presented itself despite clicking on everything with both buttons. I went back inside and then used the map to visit the 3 people I am supposed to chat to.
I then bumped into Detective Grassi and was taken to the police station for interrogation, and again, all dialog had to be completed. I was then let go, but only after promising to meet up with Detective Grassi at his favourite restaurant. Er… okay. That’s not odd at all.
So I visited our landlady who lives above her Chinese restaurant. This is where I learned, again, that if you do anything in the WRONG ORDER, it totally messes up your chances to pick up any further clues or advance any further in the story. I went to the kitchen FIRST and picked up a bowl of soup. I tried to read the drawer labels at the back of the kitchen, but apparently “I can’t read Chinese, only the cooks know what these say!” I then went UPSTAIRS to the landlady, who was lying in her bed, under the weather. I clicked all around her room, checking out every single clue and object… got nothing very helpful. I then spoke to Vivian (the landlady) and she begged me to go get her a bowl of soup… oh GREAT, I thought, I already have one here in my purse! I handed it over.. and she said thank you, but she wanted Winter Melon… where the heck am I supposed to find that? I went back to the kitchen, clicked EVERYTHING again… nope. Still can’t read Chinese. Went back up to Vivian… she didn’t want to talk to me anymore.
Bugged, I thought? So you know what I did? I restarted the fekkin game. Did it all again.. all the clicking and dialog and searching and waffle…. this time I went to Vivian first… she asked for soup, I went downstairs to get it… GOSH… I STILL CAN’T READ CHINESE. I had no idea how to get this Winter Melon she kept asking for. I gave up on that one, hoping I’d find something later that would help.
I then went to the church to talk to the priest… I had to break in… to the church… *raises eyebrow* and then I went to confession with the priest. Lots of silly dialog options here, and I asked everything and got nothing. Again. Checked ALL the clues and items and objects… nope, nothing helpful that moved the story along.
I had no choice, I then had to go to dinner with Detective Grassi. Despite complaining every five seconds about how hungry I was… I refused to eat anything, not even the bread rolls on the table because the Detective would “just reach out and hold my hand” and I didn’t want that, apparently, despite going to dinner with him and being “so lonely” all the time. Christine complains about everything, but then refuses to do anything that may help her. It irritated and confused me. I went back to the apartment, as apparently, I could not move the story along anywhere. I was stuck. I did things in the wrong order, and now everything was broken and would not advance me at all.
I tried to switch over to Joe, but I couldn’t actually find where to do this. The “tutorial” mentioned it for a second, but there was no real clue for me to show how to switch over to him. Not even sure what that would have accomplished anyway, as I hadn’t advanced anything for Christine that may have helped Joe in the clink.
At this point, I gave up. I was frustrated and irritated and finding this game was NOT what I was expecting and it was nothing like the trailer had made it seem. I was disappointed.
My next game in the Great Gaming Adventure was “911 Operator” which is produced and developed by Jutsu Games, a Polish crew, I believe. They also developed various other sim games in the same vein. This is not my usual fare, but it came with a Humble Bundle, I think, and as per my Gaming Adventure rules, it was next in line.
I completed the game over 3 evenings, but I think the “Career Mode” can easily be completed in one sitting, perhaps 3 to 4 hours on the Easy level, which is what I chose. There’s a “Free Play” mode, where I think you can pick a city and just play until you get overwhelmed, growing your teams and adding firepower and technical support. (MORE HELICOPTERS! MORE MOTORBIKES! Cue the “Chips” theme!)
Surprisingly, once I got the hang of it, I rather enjoyed the challenge of the game. In career mode, you start out in a small town in Hawaii, with minimal crime and few incidents. Obviously, this is all on Easy Mode, as I prefer “story” over challenge – I’m a bit of a wuss like that 😀 – but there are 3 other modes of progressively crazy difficulty to choose from. Once you successfully complete a few duty shifts in this town, you are moved to a slightly larger town with more crime and incidents.
Loading screens were various helpful REAL LIFE hints and instructions for a multitude of medical or safety issues! Ranging from hostage situations to poisoning, burns, and, as seen below, hypothermia.
You have the 3 services to control, with incoming dispatch reports that you have to send out teams to as needed. Once I played a few rounds, I realised your “efficiency” rating depended on your response to each incident – Did you sent the SWAT team to a pickpocket report? Or did you send a single motor bike team to a gang shootout? Was the main fire truck sent for a cat in a tree? I was then able to prioritise and send the right unit for the appropriate incident level.
Scattered in between these incident dispatches are the bread and butter of this game – the 911 call. You get everything from men trying out their pickup lines (yes, seriously – “This woman must need an ambulance… because she just fell from heaven!” along with some other gems) to stolen cars, illegal parking, hostage situations, bank robberies, burning hotels, terrorists, and random political bombings.
Each city was progressively larger and more complex, or, in the case of your final city, Washington, not the largest, but filled with politicians and intrepid journalists – and yes, they call you, asking for information and comments. Sometimes, people even attempt to bribe you not to send the police, or they inform you that they know “important people” and that they could end your career, and you are given various choices regarding your reaction things like this. One caller wanted us to send someone to sort out her 14-year-old daughter who was throwing a tantrum and breaking things, and another as a politician who had gotten himself into a little pickle and wanted an ambulance, but “no cops!” I sent the police anyway.
The voice acting was pretty good, with about 9 pages of “Voice Actors” with about 4 to 6 actors listed on each page. They did a great job! Some of the calls were repeats, but generally, each call was unique in some way, even if just in the dialog options you were offered, or the location and level of threat that was present.
Overall, I would actually highly recommend this game for people who enjoy the “simulation” genre – and there are more games like this one under the same umbrella, made by the same small development crew.
I played this game a few months ago when I first got it (part of a Humble Bundle, if I remember correctly, as it’s not something I would normally buy for myself) but I made to the other side of Russia and that’s where I got stuck. I didn’t have enough money to pay for the ship across the ocean to the Americas, and I didn’t have the time left to go up and across to Alaska.
I learned from my mistakes, and this time I avoided Russia completely until ending up in Vladivostok to take a ship from there. I went through the Middle East, India, China, and Japan instead. I crossed the USA in record time, and before I knew it… I was back in London where I started with 3 days to spare!
Yes, you heard that right! I made it around the world in 77 days! I also didn’t run out of money, even after being hijacked by Jesse James himself! *flex*
The possibilities of this game are endless, truly. The story is complex and there are so many choices and paths and ways to get where you need to go that it can be a little overwhelming sometimes! This time around, I took the “speak to the little people” route – I spoke to the deckhands and the pilots, and the engineers, and the cooks, and the maids, and the merchants, and the sailors, and the soldiers. I learned their stories, and Jean Passepartout (your character in the game – the trusted valet of Phileas Fogg) became a well-travelled, kind, compassionate man, with a surprising little tidbit and secret in New Orleans. Play it to find out for yourself! Although, with the character building and storylines of this game, you may actually arrive in New Orleans with a completely different palette of tricks and traits which will give you a completely different story in the city! Isn’t that incredible?
Apparently, this game won many awards, and I can see why.
Merci beaucoup, au revoir, and I’ll be seein’ you, “80 Days,” thanks for the dates and the salty crackers.
These are the only screenshots I took – when I completed the game – as I was actually so intently focused on reading and planning and shuffling things around in my suitcase, that I forgot to take any while I was playing!
(PS – it is currently available on GOG.com for a mere $2.49 in their Summer sale) (No, I don’t get anything for saying that)
I initially played this game back in 2018 and only got about 30 minutes into the game before something distracted me and I forgot about it. Cue the Gaming Adventure, and, according to my GOG.com launcher (Which shows all of my 640+ games in alphabetical and numerical order) this was the first game on my list.
The game is not particularly intuitive when it comes to using things, or interacting with people or objects. I randomly found the inventory, and how to switch between your knife, other weapons, and, most importantly, your 35MM camera. That’s the reason I actually got the game way back then – the gorgeous atmospheric landscapes and locations, and your handy camera that was number 1 in your inventory and first in your “weapon wheel” so to speak.
I didn’t really know what to expect with this game – it’s made by a very small indie developer (1 person did pretty much everything except the music and the voices) and originally made all in Russian. The translations are not perfect, but they convey the meaning of the characters and some basic instructions in the beginning, with a few hints scattered throughout the game to attempt to guide you through the quite complex puzzles! There’s also some action, and I have to admit, the scenes in the metro had my heart pumping. The sounds and visuals were quite suspenseful and I was pretty terrified in some parts! The story is tragic, both on a “global” scale and on a character scale. The global tragedy is explained pretty much from the beginning, and it gets elaborated on quite well – simply seen from each character’s point of view, and with a few notes and journal entries and newspapers found in the various places you make your way through.
The more personal stories are heartbreaking and very dark, and they come to fruition at the end of the game in the final scenes. Until then, you only get little tidbits, not quite understanding the full extent of the story.
This is a once-off game – once you know the story and the puzzles, there is not much “replayability” to the game, but I think this is okay, because this is a game and a story that will stick with you for a while.
I definitely don’t want to go down in those tunnels again. Once is more than enough.
So, thank you, “35MM” for showing me a dark, sad, tragic tale in a very new way, and I’ll say “Do svidaniya, moy novyy drug.”
And The One Where We Set Out On A Gaming Adventure
I was astounded when I checked the date on my previous post! So much has happened, and, as usual, that’s my weak excuse for not writing sooner.
Let’s start with the bad news, or at least, the things that were not so fun.
First thing, a few months ago we gave the dogs a nice bath in our new elevated dog bath (it works SO well, and takes a huge strain off our backs and allows the dogs to lie down if they want to, without getting covered in grass/dirt) and I noticed a lump between the toes of Gina’s front left paw. It had not been there a couple of weeks earlier, I was reasonably sure of that, and it was pretty large. We took her to the vet and the lump was biopsied – mast cell tumor, grade 2. It was terrifying news… these are aggressive and often reappear in the same spot after they are removed. We were given some options – surgery to remove it, or very expensive chemotherapy that is no longer sold in the US, only in the UK, that we would have to import, may not work, and would cause massively nasty side effects. Gina already has delicate kidneys and liver, and has a very sensitive GI tract, and these were the main things affected by the therapy. On the surgery side, Gina is 13 years old now, and a Bernese (so very sensitive to anesthetic) and surgery was a frightening thought. We discussed it at length, with both the vet and each other, and we decided to go through with the surgery and hope for the best. Thankfully, our tough cookie came through with flying colours. There was also good news – the tumor was grade 2, not grade 3, and they found no evidence of metastasis or lymph node inclusion. These were massive wins. However, we now have to keep a VERY close eye on her paw and look for any signs of recurrence. I have also started researching natural/alternative options to chemotherapy to prevent any recurrence of this nasty lump.
Other bad news were the struggles that my cousin has been going through with cancer. She is such a fighter, and she has been through so much… but the punches just keep coming. Every time something positive happens… something negative comes along and derails the hope… but she continues to fight, and her family (and mine!) continue to hope for the best. I love you, cuzz, and even though I am far away, I think of you often, and I wish I could do more.
Now, some good things.
Firstly, after a wait of over 10 months, my new passport finally arrived from back home. Thank you, Home Affairs, for allowing me to continue my dream of learning to fly! I also (Very recently!) made the final payments and filled in all the final document requirements with the TSA and FAA, coordinating with my flight school, and now I wait, again, to see if everything has been approved and I can resume my lessons. Unsure if I need to do another background check and fingerprints… but we will see. And if I have to, I am happy to do it! No excuses here!
We added 2 more birds to our Budgie Cohort – Gaius, and Aulus (Bros for life!). They are delightful, sassy little spitfires, and we love them dearly. There were some hierarchical battles a few months after we got them as they all sorted out the pecking order (literally!) and the babies grew older. Their personalities have really blossomed, and the flock is now wonderfully loud and obnoxiously cute. Brutus and Commodus are tentatively rekindling their OG friendship (before Gaius came along and Brutus lost himself a little bit, completely spurning Commodus in the process) and Gaius and Aulus are living up to their ancient Roman graffiti and becoming very close buddies!
After a terribly boring period in a culinary rut, we decided to try a meal kit service (and yes, we were incredibly wary after the Blue Apron kale saga) called Every Plate – it’s made by HelloFresh, but far more reasonably priced, with simpler, more accessible recipes, simple steps, and NO KALE! We have had some great times with these recipes so far – and we’ve even made a few of the recipes on our own on the side! Once you get the hang of it, you can easily figure out what the steps will be and prep becomes a breeze. We’ve also learned some handy tricks and taste combinations that we will definitely be using in the future. Before Every Plate, we were using a service called Butcher Box (disclaimer – that’s a referral link where you can get some money off your first box, as well as New York strip steaks free for a year, and I get a small bonus) where you pick some select cuts (all hormone free, pasture raised, humanely kept and slaughtered) from small farms (and they often use local farmers where possible, which makes it even better) for a set rate, and it gets shipped to your door. We loved the service, but I put it on pause while we try out Every Plate for a few months. We will definitely go back to it when we have enough recipes from Every Plate to allow for a nice variety of meals every week. Each week, EP has some NEW recipes, as well as customer favourites, and you pick the meals you want for the week.
It was also recommended I try a subscription box with Japanese snacks, which comes FROM Japan and contains items from local and small mom- & pop-owned bakers and confectioners. You get a little booklet in each box with information about each treat and who made it and where it comes from in Japan. Each box is also themed – sometimes the seasons, other times the festivals, etc. It’s fascinating and delicious stuff! It’s called “Bokksu” (literally, “box” in Japanese) and I encourage you to try it out! (That is linked to a referral for Bokksu where you get $15 off your first box, and I get $15 off my next box.)
Our first Bokksu – Sakura celebration
Right, and now the cryptic “Gaming Adventures” reference…
I looked at my game list in GOG Galaxy (Which has all my various gaming accounts/launchers linked in one place) and I saw that I have over 600 games (643 to be exact) and I have never played or INSTALLED about 90% of them! Virgin games, so to speak! I felt bad for these games… scrolling through them all… games ranging from old beloved games like Baldur’s Gate (1 and 2) and Age of Mythology or Dungeon Keeper (1 and 2!), to brand new games like Icarus and Microsoft Flight Sim 2020, and indie games like Among Trees and Ashwalkers, or the Bad Dream series, and Deliver Us the Moon. The list goes on…
So, I was thinking of starting a Gaming Adventure where I load up GOG and start from the top (alphabetically and alphanumerically) and install each game, on its own, and play it. I will ATTEMPT to finish each game before moving on, but this may not always be possible. For MMO/MMPORG games, I may start by creating a character and playing for a week, just to say I played it. Yes, there are a few MMO’s that I have not played, like Black Desert Online, and games like that. These can obviously not be “finished” really, and I don’t think trying to complete any “main quests” would be viable if I want to keep a semi-regular schedule and not get lost in the abyss of the game.
Additionally, I will keep a few games permanently installed such as Microsoft Flight Sim 2020, because it will now be an install of over 300 GB with all the updates and addons, and I don’t have time or energy to go through that again, or to set up my flight gear, plus, I need it for flight training. I will also keep ESO installed to play with my friends, as we play this quite regularly, as well as American Truck Sim, to play with my husband. I will also skip certain games as I have played them extensively already and need to keep ticking off the list – games like Icarus, for example. It will actually be quite exciting to reinstall Icarus later on after a bunch of new updates have come through. I may also skip Skyrim, as I have played a vast number of hours in that game. I will consider each game as it appears in the list and decide whether it will be installed and played, and for how long, or whether it will be skipped.
Wish me luck!
My first game, according to the GOG launcher, will be “35 MM“ – I briefly played the game a few years ago (2018!) but something else came along that required my attention, and I uninstalled it after only a few hours of gameplay.
I will try and remember to post each time I start a new game with a few details about the game. I may save these posts when I am finished playing, before I start another game next in the list. That way, I can do a little synopsis and write down my feelings/impressions of the game.