I never want to hear about sake again after this…

00 Cover image for blog post

… and not because of a diabolical hangover.

So, I last updated this blog in January, made some vague aim to update once a month, it is now June and there has not been an update. Things have happened during that time, things are still occurring, I’ve also played a few games, took a lot of screenshots, made some notes and well, at least there’s no shortage of stuff to go on this blog… over the course of the next ten years. Figured I’d start with Okami, seeing as I have some history with this game… evidently haven’t got much flow with writing at the minute, but I’ll persevere anyway.

Continue reading “I never want to hear about sake again after this…”

Unravelling like a new year’s resolution…

00 Fish hug

Alright so for the first blog post of the year, it’s a look at what little I’ve played of Unravel prior to getting side-tracked. I also adjusted my aim from getting this blog updated once a week – a bit much, that – to getting at least one update done on any one of my blogs each month. Because setting concrete goals for personal things I like to do in my free time has this extremely pernicious habit of draining all the joy out of it; operating under pressure is not my thing… so, anyway, Unravel.

I was pretty much along for the ride with this game when I tried a demo, heard the folky music and saw the lush, unkempt, lived-in garden in the first level. It hit me in the nostalgia so hard that I was just “Take me now, I’m yours!” but then life happened and what do you know? I’ve only got 2 levels deep so far. And that was months ago. I’ll get back to it sometime this year and hopefully see more of it, because it’s a really lovely game. In the meantime, here are some screenshots.

The time with the yard of Jäger…

2019 is approaching, glad to see the back of 2018 and in the spirit of the occasion, Wander and Agro have gotten completely slaughtered. This one happened on Summer of the Colossus a while back and I’m trying to catch up with the narratives (using the term pretty flamin’ generously there) before they all get buried in the folder of images that been uploaded to Instagram but not put on the blog… Anyway. Happy slightly early new year! (And if you’re going on a drunken rampage, please rampage responsibly.)

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“GERONIM-OOOOOH SHIIIIIIT!!!

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Yeah so just because you have a yard of Jäger, doesn’t mean you should drink it all at once.

40 Choose your battles wisely...

“COME ON THEN, I’LL FUCKIN’ ‘AVE YER.”

“I don’t… just… Y’know what, go home, Wander. You’re drunk.”

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And then it becomes apparent that Wander and Agro tore it up a bit more than they realised on their little rager…

And now… gryphos-related backpedalling

Wander and Agro have some competition

Looks like Wander and Agro have got some competition – look at him go, he’s rusticating up a storm!

Anyway. The end of 2018 is rapidly approaching, and “rusticate” is my official word of the year, it has to be. It’s just… my life has been enriched by the discovery of that word (in the context of enjoying the countryside, that is – it has many other definitions that don’t really inspire me in any meaningful capacity.)

But yes, onto what this blog is actually about. I started another go on The Last Guardian, which maybe wasn’t one of my smarter ideas because it’s turning out even more of a shambles than before somehow (probably down to being unable to focus…)  and I haven’t even got up to where I hit an impasse last time. I do hope to complete this game sometime, because I am along for the ride, but it will probably have to be taken in steps of the right proportions and approached when I’m feeling very patient… to be fair, it’s the Yoroi that are the thorn in my side. Everything else, I’m more than happy to engage with, but those buggers? Not a fan of ’em, to be honest. But that’s enough kvetching – onto the pictures!

“FUCKING HELL, NO.”

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My thoughts exactly, Stephen.

Emotional scars about Little Chef aside, which I’m thinking this building was likely based on – wait, just as I was about to drop that thought, I went to look and found that Little Chef died as recently as January 2018, just couldn’t confirm whether or not it specifically happened on the 13th; that would’ve been my birthday! What a gift that would’ve been! At last, the childhood trauma of being cooped up in a stuffy car for hours on end and being dragged to shite caffs in the middle of nowhere can be laid to rest. (Well, I say that but the mere thought of being in a car is still enough to make my stomach churn – didn’t like it then, still don’t like it now. Give me fresh air or give me death!!!)

But yes, anyway, tangents aside as well, here are some pictures from in and around Little Tipworth, of which I quite gladly took far too many pictures because that dusky light is very agreeable. Despite apparently having not taken all that many pictures of it, I also really like the light making it way up the power lines, but this is the kind of thing that happens when you’re half on a mission and half going “Ooh, look at that!” I can always revisit it another time (because it’s not like I’ve taken over 400 pictures in this game already and have a lot of organising and catching up to do.)

I completely forgot to give this post a title but it has one now.

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Alright so I finished The Last Day of June a while back, meant to do a post about it and never got round to it because life, what else is new? Well, at long last, here are some pictures and some thoughts; this game provided some refreshing surprises and I’m grateful for that. The thing is with these arty games, they are – overall – really hit-and-miss. If I’m lucky, I find something great, like this, and if I’m unlucky, I end up with something that had potential but suffers from being mishandled, like Kholat or Fe. It’s a risk you have to take when you like to look out for things that are a bit off the beaten path.

So, what about The Last Day of June? Well, what stands out to me most is the poignant way it handles themes that are so easy to screw up on, such as losing a loved one, the pressures of struggling to live up to someone else’s expectations, dealing with loneliness and having to accept that no matter how hard you try, some things just can’t be changed. It’s interesting to see these kinds of issues being handled so well with such a sweet and charming cast of characters and in a really beautiful, idyllic setting. The whole thing gets surprisingly intense towards the end, which I wasn’t entirely prepared for, but it does so in a way that works really well. Then again, the unexpected ending could well have been the result of another thing about this game, which is its atmosphere – I got very immersed in that in a way that’s rare for me, getting right in the moment and just feeling the tone of the story as it changed. While Carl and June are down by the lake, life goes on in the village and it does so at a nice, sedate pace that I was happy to be swept away with. Joining the various characters as they go about their day, collecting their memories and learning about their individual concerns is really enjoyable in its own right, particularly when it comes to seeing all the subtle threads that tie into the main narrative. The lack of intelligible dialogue works in its favour as well; it fits right in with the cute art style and there’s a lot that can be conveyed through a sort-of language based solely on inflection, which really adds to the charm.

The only issue I have, which is a common complaint of this game and is an inevitable double-edged sword, is the repetition. The plot relies on it in order for the final message to have its proper impact, I understand and respect that, but flipping back and forth between different characters’ narratives, changing minor details, ending the day and washing/rinsing/repeating is the kind of thing you need to be in the mood for. Still, that one issue aside, I found this genuinely rewarding and satisfying to play. Had a good time with it, would recommend it. So those were some thoughts anyway. How about some pictures? Because that’s what this blog is for!

 

 

It is December…

Alright, time to take a breather from the joys of flat-hunting (hence the grouchiness) to unleash some more pretty pictures. I haven’t got much to write in this post because what is there to say about Fe? It’s a very beautiful game to look at but actually playing it just falls flat for me. I like minimalist gameplay, but it needs to be intuitive and this really isn’t, it’s verging on the tedious. I’ll persevere and see if I enjoy it more later, but yeah. Not what I was hoping for at the moment. You can’t please everyone. But here are some its lovely visuals, anyway.

Somewhat of an oversight on my part… (not sorry.)

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Just when I thought the computer had my back for once, there it goes being a passive-aggressive arse.

Anyway. It’s been one day short of three weeks since I last updated this blog. That is a little bit unforgivable, especially given the backlog of screenshots I have to catch up with, but nattering about it in those terms kind of makes it sound like a chore, and that’s not the case. I am doing this for fun and I’m genuinely pleased to be sharing these pictures with people, and hopefully other people enjoy seeing them. I do kind of have a valid reason for not updating anyway, what with one thing and another (upheaval at home and at work, an incident on the bus a couple of weeks back that fried my nerves six ways from Sunday, and my hands are currently a mess of cuts/scrapes/holes from working with drills/hacksaws/very sharp metal rails/generally lethal things on a day-to-day basis so typing is somewhat painful right now) but that aside, here’s a follow-up to the previous post and a look at Asemblance: Oversight.

So this one my favourite of the two so far, while I did really enjoy the original Asemblance – with the computer being an entertainingly unreserved tosser and the mysterious, tense, laconic atmosphere – I think this sequel does a nice job of taking the concept and giving it  a bit of a shot in the arm. It feels more ambitious in its scope; the sparse narrative style is still there but this time it feels like the tension is coming from a potential threat to the human race overall, whereas the original focussed more on an individual, personal conflict. I could be a million miles off the mark but my takeaway from Oversight is possibly a cover-up of nuclear weapons testing, along with some ominous scientific anomalies, but there is still this undercurrent of personal threat to bring the tension home. Our unnamed protagonist is being pursued and whoever is after them, I’d hazard a guess that they’re not going to be precious little fluffy sweethearts in protecting their secrets. So yes, to my mind, this game does a great job of balancing a large-scale threat with a claustrophic, looming atmosphere and for a game that is essentially very simple and stripped-down, I think that’s a pretty rollicking achievement. As mentioned previously, I’d be more than happy to check out any further games that might hypothetically happen in this series (subtle hint.)

Those were some words anyway… before leaping into the screenshots, it needs to be said: seriously, fuck that random bastard in the hazmat suit. Scared the living daylights out of me. Sneaky git. 😐

Dude. It’s a STAPLER.

00 How did you KNOW

All day, every day.

Okay, so when did I last update this? I’m tired, words aren’t happening but long and short, I checked out Asemblance and its sequel recently and I’m very glad that I did. These games are very stripped-back, mysterious and laconic, and I’ve always had a soft spot for things like that. If there are ever to be any more, then I’ll gladly come along for the ride. (Despite having not entirely finished either of these because they require very precise timing to get all of the possible endings, and that’s not my strong point.)

So today’s post is all about the first of the two games. Splitting it into two posts because even though the number of pictures from this game is fairly minimal, I got very snap happy with the sequel.

Still haven’t done a post about The Last Day of June, either, despite having finished it… quite some time ago and sorted through all the pictures soon after. But that’s beside the point, here’s the first Asemblance.

Open letter to the Yoroi: Quit harshing my vibe. Sincerely, Alex.

22 A peaceful moment

*prrrr*

(I don’t think Trico does actually purr but that’s beside the point. He does make some ace noises, though.) Anyway, I had something in mind to write about this but ended up being sidetracked by “Old Dirty Pasty” – whoever came up with that, I salute you. That has just made my evening. Anyway, here are some more pictures from The Last Guardian, sans pasties. It’s still a very pretty game, though.