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another free game on Steam!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/4...Relics_of_War/
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"This is that human freedom, which all boast that they possess, and which consists solely in the fact, that men are conscious of their own desire, but are ignorant of the causes whereby that desire has been determined." -Baruch Spinoza



Finished Animal Well. Well, sort of. I beat the first "layer" of the game but there's a whole bunch of stuff after, some of which I know about and have done some of already, and some I haven't. But I think I'll stop there. It's one of those games that goes as deep as you want ti to, and not just in a rote "collect all the things" way either, which I never cared much for.

Fantastic game, great little, reasonably-sized first layer experience with lots of interesting puzzles and delightful surprises. And the vibe is immaculate. And a tremendous technical achievement in a few ways, too. Highly recommended.





the only thing I cared about was the Astro Bot game
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Last Movie Watched: Shark Bait (2022).
Last TV Show Watched: Shark Week (S36:E20).



I'm way behind on this, but I checked out War Thunder this weekend. Not a bad game for being free-to-play. Trying to find a good solo military campaign game though.



The Bib-iest of Nickels
Most recently, I polished off Another Crab's Treasure, a Souls-like where you play as a crab underwater. I completed the campaign and unlocked all the Achievements for it (clocked out at around 35 hours).

Now, I have started playing the Final Fantasy VII Remake, a videogame I've wanted to check out but have been putting off for so long. I am really into it, so I betcha I will finish it in a couple weeks. I'm also playing Jak & Daxter, a card-game called Inscyption, and Evil West, but they're not really getting my full attention.



I just bought all 3 Kingdom Hearts games on Steam, I'd always wanted to play them. I hope the games not too dated now



A system of cells interlinked
Have still only been finding a little time here and there to play Breath of the Wild with Stelly, but it's been so nice out on the weekends that we have been finding ourselves at the beach or over at my sister's hanging by the pool. In BotW, have made some more progress and are working on the second divine beast.

However...I had almost forgotten that I had preordered Shadow of the Erdtree, which is the Elden Ring um...DLC. They call it a DLC, but since it is bigger than the entire first Dark Souls game, it is more like Elden Ring 2.



Anyway, that releases TODAY, and I will most certainly have to revisit the Lands Between to check it out. I managed to get some time in last night so I could get my soulslike skills back in action. Sadly, since I sort of forgot about this release, my current playthrough is smack dab in the middle of the progression, so it will be a while until I beat the game again and get into the new content. I could fire up my old character from two years ago, but I like my current one a lot more.
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“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” ― Thomas Sowell



That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
We're moving into the back end of act 3 in Baldur's Gate III. Our "guide" has given the group to July 4 to wrap it up. Being his 6th or 7th playthrough, he's getting sick of it. Too, we 've stretched this out for about half a year now and, lol, me and the other guy have committed to our roles playing idiots in team chat. For example, we keep trying to chat Shodowheart up while he's controlling her for buffs and heals. I pretty much stay in wild shape form 24/7, so whenever we enter a potentially hostile area that we MIGHT could talk our way through, I aggro everything as soon as I enter the space. I forgot the quest, but a spell was cast on us to disguise our characters to safely enter a castle or something. When I shifted to wild form, I apparently lost my disguise aggroing everything in the structure. That fight probably took an hour. The other guy had a cursed piece of gear on that would randomly cast spells. Sometimes good, most times bad. And he would only cast magic missiles, a low level spell that just looks really cool.

Poor Michael. lol. We're constantly asking him deliberately dumb questions that he's answered multiple times. I've attacked (and killed) his minions saying that they were highlighted red. I''ll constantly cast an AOE with team members in range of the damage. It's been great fun! lol.

We got about 2 more sundays left. Maybe we can pull it off?

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"My Dionne Warwick understanding of your dream indicates that you are ambivalent on how you want life to eventually screw you." - Joel

"Ever try to forcibly pin down a house cat? It's not easy." - Captain Steel

"I just can't get pass sticking a finger up a dog's butt." - John Dumbear



Fired up the original Left4Dead the other night. I'll never forget how outstanding this game was when it first came out. Anyone tried seeing if any of the Left4Dead 2 servers are still up to play online?



That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
Machinarium
Old game. Got it cheap on the PSN. Odd, this was the game my old boss would play on her iPad during business flights. Cute. Excellent art design. Frustrating trial-and-error mechanics.

This is a visually cute puzzle narrative following a robot character set to rescue his girlfriend bot (I think?), that you control by clicking hidden hotspots on each room screen. This looks like an old Flash-based interface with excellent illustrative character and world designs, providing little in explaining a damn thing along the way.

It's adorable, though it may lead to a series of broken controllers as each puzzle and screen navigation requirements are not at all intuitive. At times, those cues are even hard to see. But, I still made it through the game. But.... literally every screen and puzzle required a google search through the Machinarium wiki, that often times provided a minimal description of each room and sometimes provided solutions to a puzzle. Sometimes not.

The game was nice to look at but it's over now and I'm uninstalling. Maybe just watch a walkthrough rather than playing it?




Love that game. I've written about it previously in this thread, should be easy to find. Part of it's the game itself but half of my love for it is circumstantial, too. Anyway, just glad to see others playing it and enjoying it in any measure, even if it's not as much.



The Adventure Starts Here!
LOVED Machinarium, but then again, this sort of game is right up my alley, so...

In other news, the free-motion update of Cyan's RIVEN game released today! And where am I? At a large conference in the state of Indiana, and I won't be home to start this game till July 3! Gahhh...

https://cyan.com/games/riven/



That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
you folk are masochistic! this game was beautiful, but stressed me out to no end! lol



I will accept many criticisms of the game, but to hear a game about an adorable little robot where one of the puzzles involves forming a small robot band described as being stressful is fairly perplexing.



I'll post my thoughts on The Stanley Parable here, as per the Movie Things Most People Like But You Don't thread. Here's something I wrote on it on Discord some time ago.

Regarding my statements on The Stanley Parable the other night, I've been thinking about it and I honestly don't think it does a good job making its point. I kind of hated it this time around, and I'm looking forward to discussing it with someone here. The visual humor is pretty funny and the dark undertones are effective, like how the narration and design of the office sometimes changes. It also has a unique concept, so I'm not willing to write it off. The rest of the game though was really misguided. The story of the Freedom ending is a metaphor for the point of the game. You're under control of your boss, who dictates everything you do, but you eventually break free of his control and, as a result, this opens up multiple new paths (endings). Essentially, Wreden is criticizing how, in many games, you have no choice but to obey whatever is guiding you along in the game, whether it be a narrator, a set of goals, or a linear path which offers you no choice but to push forward. The final scene of the Freedom ending seems to be encouraging you to divert from the narrator's path as it will open up, as the narrator describes, an "immense possibility of the new path" before you.

After I got past this ending, I started playing through the other endings. While going through them, however, I got an overwhelming sense throughout most, if not all of them that I was being discouraged from playing through them. The narrator often looked down upon and resented me for going down these paths whilst many other endings evoked a strong sense of meaningless, as if I would've been better off obeying him. This heavily undermined the thesis of the Freedom ending. Having the game criticize me for doing what it encouraged me to do was really uninteresting and it grew quite exhausting. I really disliked the game this playthrough. There is a way for this thesis to work, as the game would have to give a sense that it was worth going down these paths. For instance, have the narrator stop looking down upon you for disobeying him, give you various tasks to do in those endings, and give a sense that it was worth diverting from the path of the main storyline. I rarely, if ever, got the sense that the game provided this. I remember disliking a couple endings in my past playthroughs for this reason, but this time around, I mostly hated all of them.
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Also, I still need to play Machinarium. I think I played the free version awhile ago, but I don't remember it much. In terms of underplayed point and click/puzzle games, you guys should check out Windosill as well.



Regarding my statements on The Stanley Parable the other night, I've been thinking about it and I honestly don't think it does a good job making its point. I kind of hated it this time around, and I'm looking forward to discussing it with someone here. The visual humor is pretty funny and the dark undertones are effective, like how the narration and design of the office sometimes changes. It also has a unique concept, so I'm not willing to write it off. The rest of the game though was really misguided. The story of the Freedom ending is a metaphor for the point of the game. You're under control of your boss, who dictates everything you do, but you eventually break free of his control and, as a result, this opens up multiple new paths (endings). Essentially, Wreden is criticizing how, in many games, you have no choice but to obey whatever is guiding you along in the game, whether it be a narrator, a set of goals, or a linear path which offers you no choice but to push forward. The final scene of the Freedom ending seems to be encouraging you to divert from the narrator's path as it will open up, as the narrator describes, an "immense possibility of the new path" before you.

After I got past this ending, I started playing through the other endings. While going through them, however, I got an overwhelming sense throughout most, if not all of them that I was being discouraged from playing through them. The narrator often looked down upon and resented me for going down these paths whilst many other endings evoked a strong sense of meaningless, as if I would've been better off obeying him. This heavily undermined the thesis of the Freedom ending. Having the game criticize me for doing what it encouraged me to do was really uninteresting and it grew quite exhausting. I really disliked the game this playthrough. There is a way for this thesis to work, as the game would have to give a sense that it was worth going down these paths. For instance, have the narrator stop looking down upon you for disobeying him, give you various tasks to do in those endings, and give a sense that it was worth diverting from the path of the main storyline. I rarely, if ever, got the sense that the game provided this. I remember disliking a couple endings in my past playthroughs for this reason, but this time around, I mostly hated all of them.
I guess the big meta question is: is that, too, part of the point? Is having a "Freedom" ending sort of one big joke, showing you that the player is chafing at a level of control that, if removed, would ruin any game? That's kind of how I take it, that like art in general, restriction and structure are what distinguish one form from another, and not actually a detriment. In some cases they're literally built into the definition of an art.

All that said, I admit I just love it because it's fun and interesting and inventive and would love it on those grounds even if whatever larger point it was making was totally obscure, or totally dissonant.