You’ve bought your VR system, set it up, maybe upgraded your computer, and now you’ve downloaded and played a lot of the free experiences that act as an introduction to VR. They’re quite fun, if a bit short, but now you face the question of what to do next. The answer is to invite round friends and family and show off those same introductory experiences to them as well. Because you’d told them that you bought a VR system, and now you have to prove that it wasn’t a huge waste of money.
After a few stumbles in their latest outings, Telltale’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 1: Tangled up in Blue (“GOTG” from here on out) harks back to their last truly excellent offering of Tales From the Borderlands, with the familiar action-comedy setting of the latter to tell… a tale.
These things are episodic, so any review at this point may not be necessarily useful. For what it’s worth though – it’s pretty good. If you’re a fan of Telltale experiences or Guardians of the Galaxy, then you’ll probably enjoy this, as I certainly did.
However, there’s enough here to get me pedantically analysing the thing, and that’s always fun!
This article contains spoilers for Spec Ops: The Line and early spoilers for Undertale
In my previous article I compare the actions-with-consequences that are forced upon you by two games: the excellent Spec Ops: The Line and the amusing Accounting. These are actions that garner much criticism from the games’ characters but are outside the control of the player – they are the only options presented and the game doesn’t proceed until you take them. I tried to argue that being criticised for such forced decisions in Accounting is annoying but it is tolerable (and maybe laudable) in Spec Ops because it fully embraces this theme as a means to empathise with the protagonist. In Spec Ops you play the tunnel-visioned Captain Walker who sees no alternatives to his actions and stubbornly forges onward without considering the bigger picture. The game’s story introduces tragedies that are then the result of this obstinance and openly blames Captain Walker for them. Spec Ops then goes further by telling Walker (and perhaps also the player) that these hideous consequences could have been avoided if only he “just stopped”. But what does this mean in gameplay terms?
An irresponsible splurge recently had me picking up one of those HTC Vives and so I’ve been lost in a wonderland of Virtual Reality. I’ll write up an article some time about my experiences with VR but for now I’d like to write about one particular game, the recently-released Accounting by William Pugh (of Stanley Parable) and Justin Roiland (of Rick and Morty). Don’t consider this to be a review, but rather a jumping off point for a discussion about decision-making and player responsibility in games. Actually, no wait, I’ll give a short one-sentence review of Accounting right now. It’s very entertaining and terribly fun, but I don’t know if I would even call it a game.
A few days ago RPS reported that Firewatch is getting a movie adaption. It looks like the rights to this movie adaption and other “future projects” have been bought by a production company, for what that’s worth.
I’ve already written about how I liked Firewarch (and hated the introduction), and I’m pleased that the game has been as popular as it has that media production companies have caught the whiff of a potentially money-making property. It’s always good to see something different receive acclaim and find an audience, so good-going developers Campo Santo!
However, let’s pretend for a moment that this isn’t just film-studio speculative purchasing of a potentially popular brand-name (are there plans for a Firewatch franchise?) and have some fun doing some speculation of our own!
How could a Firewatch movie be handled if it were actually going to be made?
It had started like any other job. Some Pablo-Escobar-wannabe in Chile and his son were in the coke trade together, and had stepped on the wrong people’s feet. I’d been called in to dispense some high-roller justice. Discretion is always the plan, but sometimes things don’t go to plan.
The tabloid rags reported my failing like the salivating lapdogs they are; 15 dead and one injured. I’d hit the targets, sure, and I got out of there relatively unscathed, but there was a civilian casualty and another poor mook laid up in the hospital. Worse, I’d been seen and a cool fifteen-gees were needed to keep the gawker from flapping his yap to some upstart investigators.
Just another day, but I could’ve done better. I don’t need to admit that often. In my mind, I couldn’t stop replaying the moment that the bullets started to fly and when it all went south. I was never this rattled; what was going on?
Then Diana called.
“Agent Forty-Seven” her cold, sophisticated voice did things to me.”I think I’ve got just what you need.”
“Listen baby – This ol’ Hitm’n isn’t what he used ta be!” I told her matter-of-fact-like.
Suddenly her voice changed. It was warmer and slightly amused, “how would you like to go to the opera in Paris, Forty-Seven? Tickets on me. You could use a vacation!”
Vacation… that was the plan…
Moirai is a free game that can be downloaded on Steam. It’s a short, yet delightful little experience that is hard not to recommend for the roughly 10 minutes of play-time that it offers.
It has simple, yet effective pixel art in a 2.5D style, along with an atmospheric soundtrack that effectively engages you in this world and its unique conceit – especially in the caves; the foreboding is palpable.
The game opens with the player character standing in the middle of a village, where an over-protective mother is warning her children of the dangers of the world.
A priest stands nearby.