Tag Archives: gaming adventure

Moving Time

Due to being “let go” by my company 2 weeks before Christmas in 2023, I am currently financially “pinched” and this means a few things have to be sacrificed until I get my groove back.

One of these things is a self-hosted website. In the meantime, I will be here harmoniouscrow.com adding to the Gaming Adventure and ranting about whatever gets my goat. As they say. Come join me!

A Plague Tale – Innocence

My next game in the Gaming Adventure (and now so very close to 700 games altogether.. SHUSH! Don’t judge me! Blame Steam Summer Sale and GOG and their ridiculous discounts!) is the tragic and beautiful, A Plague Tale – Innocence. Some may say it should have been played in the “P” part of the adventure, but I’m going by GOG’s list, as it shows all my games from various launchers/sites in one place, and it said that it was next. So here we are, and here we go…

First impression is that the game is GORGEOUS – the colours and textures are detailed and beautiful, and you immediately feel like this is going to be a game where the story is made even better by the amazing scenery and character design. The story, even if this had NOT been as beautiful as this game is, would still have kept me playing.

You start out in a beautiful moment, father and daughter (and beloved dog!) having a lovely evening stroll in a French forest in the 1300’s – Idyllic, peaceful, filled with Autumn colours and bird song. Here, you meet Amicia De Rune, and her noble father, and her gorgeous hunting dog, Leon. Father and daughter discuss her mother, and her little brother, Hugo, who is, apparently, chronically ill with a mysterious disease. Amicia doesn’t see her mother very often as she is dedicated totally to looking after Hugo, who Amicia also doesn’t see very often or know very well. Amicia is daddy’s girl, and is wanting to prove herself to her father, and impress him. She does this in various ways, and you can tell her father dotes on her and clearly knows her better than he knows his son. It’s a lovely scene, and you can thoroughly enjoy it… then some things happen (won’t spoil it) and Leon runs off after something. He is a hunting dog, after all, and a well trained one.

So we walk through the woods, discussing many things including the current war and the Inquisition, your ill brother and absent mother, and your father tests your skills with your (soon to be indispensable) trusty sling. It’s a lovely, gentle intro into the skills you will be using, and advancing, throughout the game. Amicia is innocent and, while a little sad and a touch jealous that she never gets to see her mother because she is always taking care of Hugo, kind and sweet.

That’s when things turn a little dark… not going to spoil the story, but some things happen and it’s downhill and pretty much running and hiding from there on out!

You start out very strained in your relationship with your little brother, Hugo, but through the misery, heartbreak, and sheer terror that you go through together, and the understanding that develops, you end up being incredibly close and loyal to one another. It’s quite touching at times. Hugo also starts out very innocent and gentle, but you are both changed tremendously by the things you see, have to do, and the people you discover along the journey. There are some incredible characters with their own deep stories, and these characters are not 2-dimensional in the least.

Yes, the story is linear – you don’t get to choose where you go or when you go there, but even that does not detract from the game or the story. Some places you revisit, and they are forever changed. Some of the people you lose along the way for various reasons, and each time it tears a little more at the heart. By the end of the story, after you accomplish your goals and help some of your companions accomplish theirs, you are emotionally exhausted, but tentatively triumphant. It’s bittersweet, and the ending is not quite what you expect.

As mentioned, the story is very dark, and quite gruesome in some places, and there are rats…. lots and lots of rats. So if you have a phobia, I would not recommend the game. As for the story, and the period it’s set in, it’s a dark, tragic time filled with violence and atrocity. Be warned. You will be changed as much as these children are.

Even the NPCs and guards and soldiers and everyone else you come across are very interesting and their dialogue makes sense in their position/location. I had many moments where my heart was pounding in my chest – and sometimes these were the _sneaky_ moments!

The visuals are incredible, and the music is absolutely on par with it. It’s a soundtrack you can get lost in. Each location has its own theme and song, and the action/sneaking music is also superb.

It’s a game to get lost in for a good few hours. This is my second attempt at the game – I don’t remember why I stopped playing the first time – but I remember exactly where I stopped, and when I managed to get passed that point and move along in the story, I was pretty proud of myself. When I reached the end of the game, I was even prouder.

I can heartily recommend this game. I have hundreds of screen shots and I will remember it very fondly.

Au revoir Amicia. Bonne chance Hugo. J’attends vos prochaines aventures avec impatience!

PS – Let the credits roll to the end for a little bonus…

PPS – all images are taken in-game.

2064 Read Only Memories aka I Am Old

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.

“1954 Alcatraz” aka I Guess He’s Not Getting Off That Island

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.

Game uninstalled. Moving on.

Around The World In “80 Days”

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)

We Begin – “35MM”

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.”