Baba is Who?

Game: Baba is You

Developer: Arvi Teikari

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer Blizzard Entertainment. These are my rambling notes to myself as I play the game. I respect and appreciate the hard work of all game developers.

Notes:

I appreciate that there are a decent number of easy win levels before the difficulty ramp up occurred. So often with puzzle games, especially with indie games, I feel like I don’t get to enjoy them before they start getting really difficult.

I’m not sure what the map added to the game. As someone who saw the numbers of the levels I just wanted to play them in order, so having the option to play different levels didn’t appeal to me. For my desired experience it could have just been a linear game.

I really really appreciated the undo mechanic and not having to just start over any time I made a mistake or wanted to try something else. That was so valuable and a great user experience.

I also appreciated that reloading levels was fast and painless. Feels like that’s such a huge win for puzzle games. It avoids a lot of frustration when experimenting

The music is a little repetitive. It’s the first game I can remember my wife asking me to use headphones while playing.

Gameplay was easy to understand and pick up. At first there were some times that I died that I didn’t understand why, but the undo mechanism made it easy to use trial and error to find things out.

The setting to make everything stop jiggling was very welcome.

I like that each level is just a single screen where you can see all your options in front of you at once. It’s great to be able to at least know you’re able to see all your tools and potential moves right up front. And then the HAS keyword appears and ruins it all.

Finding it hard to leave more specific feedback. The underlying game was simple, straightforward, and fun. There’s nothing I’d want it to change or do differently, felt perfect for what it was.

As eventually happens with puzzle games, eventually the difficulty level caused me to churn out. It just started feeling like work and individual maps took too long.

Third time on the dark side

Game: Darksiders III

Developer: Gunfire Games

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer Blizzard Entertainment. These are my rambling notes to myself as I play the game. I respect and appreciate the hard work of all game developers.

Notes:

Playing on easy.

Like a lot of hack and slash games I feel like I’m just mashing buttons and not really obtaining any mastery of the combat system. Most non trivial enemies will damage me in some way and I don’t feel like I dodge effectively at all.

I appreciate the environmental design. Gives a good feeling of exploration and openness while still being mostly a series of single corridor hallways.

The exploration is netting me a lot of secrets to collect, but none of them seem to be very valuable or interesting to me.

The advancement system of putting attribute points into health strength or arcane doesn’t seem very interesting. I’m putting most points into health because I don’t want to die. None into arcane because I don’t feel like I’m using arcane power at all for anything.

I don’t like it when a currency can be spent on permanent upgrades (levelling up) and also on consumables (health packs) because I feel like any consumables I buy are just putting me further behind the curve.

Giving the main character a buddy character (that disappears during combat) was a good idea so their random dialog and banter can be interesting and help advance the story.

I didn’t know I had an auto heal mechanic at all and kept using consumables until I went to google to see what Nephilim’s respite was.

It felt weird that you collect items in your inventory that are just bundles of the currency, but I guess that’s done because you lose all the currency when you die, but not the inventory items. Losing all your currency also feels like a bummer, but I guess that’s done because the enemies respawn – so losing the currency prevents you from farming through dying.

Almost Everything

Game: Everything

Developer: David OReilly

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer Blizzard Entertainment. These are my rambling notes to myself as I play the game. I respect and appreciate the hard work of all game developers.

Notes:

Took a little bit to understand the controls and what I was doing. Not sure if it just wasn’t clear, or awkward, or I just didn’t know what to expect.

I liked the adventure of going up and down in size for the first time and was interested in going to both ends of the spectrum.

The narration was interesting. Thought provoking. Fit the theme of the game very well.

Had a few times where the game started playing itself even though I didn’t deliberately want it to do that.

I definitely have an unexplainable desire to complete an entire category, but some categories seem like they have dozens and dozens of entries.

Watching autoplay is oddly relaxing and interesting to see what decisions it makes and where it goes. This could be a screen saver.

The area inside the golden gate was very sad. So many of those thought bubbles are from real humans, tens of thousands of them a day. It was also very weird, which felt like it took away from the strength of the message.

The end of tutorial cinematic was fun.

The game is filled with just so many objects. It was often surprising and amusing to see what was added to the game. Some items just felt so random.

I wonder what it would be like experiencing this game with great graphics and animations. Better or worse?

At the end of the day it’s hard to know what I think of this experience. I’m glad I spent time on it, I guess. It definitely raises the question about what a game is, and what the medium of games is capable of sharing.

Wrecking things with physics

Game: Besiege

Developer: Spiderling Studios

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer Blizzard Entertainment. These are my rambling notes to myself as I play the game. I respect and appreciate the hard work of all game developers.

Notes:

Building was pretty intuitive and it felt like the editor was working with me rather than against me most of the time. Occasionally I would get the camera into a weird state and need to reset it.

Really appreciated being able to save and load my machines.

Building and testing was a very cool lego type feel, reminded me why I loved building things with lego as a kid. I liked being able to rapidly iterate and feel like you were close and just needed to make a few tweaks to finish the level.

It seems like sometimes the game was non deterministic or the physics is just really twitchy. I could run the map and sometimes parts of my machine would fall apart right away and other times they wouldn’t and I didn’t understand what the difference was.

Because of the above point, a few times I would just brute force my way through a level and just play it like 20 times in a row with the same machine until finally just luckily getting the results I needed to beat the level.

Unsure why pistons seem to be the most explosion resistant piece there is. Is that a bug?

As it seems like is usually the case with these types of indie puzzle games, I felt the ramp up in difficulty was too steep. I would have appreciated way more tutorial style levels that show me the basics of each type of part.

The second land, where flying was introduced out of nowhere, got way more difficult and frustrating way too fast.

So many of my frustrations boil down to not knowing what certain pieces did, how to use them, why to use them, or why things weren’t working as expected. I had to go to the internet for tutorials, something which I never enjoy doing.

Basically I want my hand held much more for much longer until I’ve clearly been introduced to every mechanic and piece.

Having to then operate the machines was fun as well, and being able to iterate and make tweaks was cool.

For levels that had achievements for completing them a certain way it would be cool to see them written out.

I want to be able to recommend this to kids who are interested in engineering but I think the difficulty level is just too high. It’s a shame, this could be such a tool for good for teaching fun engineering problems and solutions.

The levels that don’t have objectives at all are kind of frustrating. Not sure why they would do that.

The sheer amount of flexibility and power when building is awesome. I think with better level design and more tutorial levels I could play this game for a really long time.

I liked the mixture of kill everything, destroy everything, and achieve a specific task levels. It was good that it kept you from just trying to make an uber machine that could beat everything.

Towards the end, the sheer amount of time necessary to build a successful machine was off putting.

The whole “skins” feature seemed unnecessary

Fenix Down

Game: Gears 5

Developer: The Coalition

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer Blizzard Entertainment. These are my rambling notes to myself as I play the game. I respect and appreciate the hard work of all game developers.

Notes:

I’m not really interacting with the Jack upgrade progression. I don’t go out of my way to find the currency and rarely even open up the UI to upgrade anything.

Each sequel increases the complexity of the game in ways that just seem frustrating to me. I miss the days of just hiding behind cover and shooting, but I understand why they have to evolve the gameplay beyond that.

The area where I had to use a Jack upgrade to get past the fire was frustrating. I spent quite a while trying to find a way around the fire without knowing I could go through it.

The local multiplayer experience isn’t great. Text is so small.

The open world part in the second act was unexpected. I more or less ignored it and just went on with the plot. But piloting the skiff was interesting. Ended up doing a few of the side missions and I appreciated how obvious, short, and quick they were. Didn’t care about the progression but the level and encounter design was interesting enough that it ended up just being more content.

There are quite long stretches without encountering any enemies

The secret lab seems to be channelling a horror game. But to me that feels very antithetical to the series, which is all about massive guns and macho characters. While they don’t appear to be afraid, the mood seems to go against main themes of the series.

The slight open world of the second and third acts was welcome and it added to the game rather than detract from it. I’m glad they went that route.

The choice to kill one of the main characters off was a pretty bold step. Not sure I liked it, and it feels like it’s going to make more work for the sequel. Also, the controls for this part were awkward enough and different enough from the other choices I had made in the game that I died the first time I encountered it, and almost the second time, before figuring out how to choose. That kind of disrupted the emotional impact of the moment.

I miss some of the fun departures from standard gameplay that I’ve had in previous games in the series, like piloting the massive robot in the previous game. I like the occasional moments of feeling immensely overpowered just to add some diversity.

The mind control and shield mechanics of Jack were pretty cool and could make for some fun situations.

Once again I didn’t like that the game ended in the middle of a cliffhanger without a true triumphant ending feel. I wish the Gears and Halo franchises would stop doing that.

Bringing color back to the world.

Game: GRIS

Developer: Devolver Digital

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer Blizzard Entertainment. These are my rambling notes to myself as I play the game. I respect and appreciate the hard work of all game developers.

Notes:

The 2d with platformer depth takes a little getting used to. Hard to tell what I can jump on sometimes.

I like the way the camera zooms in and out to have more intimate moments or to go out and give a sense of scale.

The world is really interesting to me. What is its story. Why are things run down. What happened here.

Use of color is really interesting.

I feel like I’m missing exploring huge sections of the game. It feels like there are often two paths and I choose one and the other one is cut off from me. I’m constantly making forward progress though so maybe this is a wrong perception.

I like my little box buddy who eats box apples.

I wish I had a bit more knowledge of what I’m trying to do – what the plot and backstory are here. I don’t feel like I have a purpose that I’m trying to achieve.

The part with the huge bird shadow creature was cool. In a game where you can’t die and don’t fight, that still felt like a fairly suspenseful boss battle type moment.

I enjoyed the water section quite a bit, especially after getting the boost swim upgrade. Movement felt very natural and fluid.

The eel chase scene was interesting, but maybe a bit long. Not sure why I got limited control over my character on a narrow track.

The fireflies that act as flashlights to reveal terrain was pretty cool.

I like the singing upgrade that can make plants bloom. I also really like the song itself, no matter how many times i bring it up I don’t get tired of it. It really has the fantasy of being able to change and manipulate the world, and in this case make it more beautiful and alive.

There are moments in this game that just inspire awe and appreciation of beauty. Like this point where I sang and it created this massive tree in a cutscene.

I’m enjoying how much more elaborate the environments are getting over time.

The mechanics have a cool way of blending in to each other and building off each other too. The water, and the gravity reversal. Very cool stuff.

I can’t hold the whole map of most areas in my head, so I really don’t know where I am or how to get back to anywhere. But it feels like for the most part, the game doesn’t ask me to do this and leads me to the correct location.

That ending felt like a triumph. Though I’m still not sure what was going on.

The revolution will be all over social media

Podcast 5G: Welcome to the Revolution?

By: Science Vs

Link: https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/j4h39x/5g-welcome-to-the-revolution

Notes:

5G involves much shorter wavelength EMW than 4G. These waves have less penetrating power and cannot travel as far, so there will be far more “towers” all over the place.

5G will be a massive increase to potential bandwidth

There’s thought that 5G can harm the migration of birds since they use the EMS from the Earth to navigate. A study in germany found that EMW can disrupt bird’s internal systems, but the waves are much longer wavelength, from AM radio, not from any cell phone. This study is usually cited by anti 5G folks but they’re not reading it correctly.

5G waves cannot penetrate human skin and thus don’t pose cancer risks to humans.

A study found that people “sensitive” to EMW found that people couldn’t tell when they were being targeted by EMW or not. The symptoms are real but they’re in people’s minds. In fact there are machines that are sold on the market that claim that millimeter EMW can cure all kinds of ailments (also false). Multiple studies have reached a similar conclusion.

Editorial: I’ve also read articles claiming that Russian accounts are deliberately spreading misinformation about 5G to try to cause a political outcry about its supposed dangers and put the US behind Russia and China in the race to develop and roll out 5G