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.

So much potential!

Game: River City Ransom : Underground

Developer: Conatus Creative Inc

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:

Really conflicted on this one. There were elements of it that really brought back memories of the original and they introduced some new cool things. But the difficulty level was just too high and frustrating.

Achieving the stat and ability progression that was so fun in the original took way too much grinding of trash mobs and death was too much of a punishment for how often it happened.

Having more characters that had pretty significant fighting styles and moves was cool.

Much like the first game the story progression wasn’t clear, although the introduction of the map with objectives on it did help somewhat.

The platforming was far too frequent and punishing especially compared with how difficult the controls for jumping accurately were.

The chase sequences that completely reset you back to the hideout were also too punishing.

I really enjoyed the art and music.

Too many one shot mechanics on bosses.

The nerd boss in the mech was really frustrating – having to pick him up and throw him and block him as he ran back to the mech was difficult and didn’t feel good.

My guy’s default special move was a really powerful spin kick but even with friendly fire off it would knock down my allies. Not a great mechanic.

I think that a lot of the problems with this game might just be 25 year old game design that just doesn’t hold up in a modern world and not enough thought was put into deciding what to refresh and improve and what to keep. My guess is that if there wasn’t so much grinding required it would really easy to max out stats and then the game would be too easy, especially since it’s not linear.

I liked that there were shortcuts (subway system, sewers) to other parts of the map so it wasn’t always necessary to travel the full length of the map to get to other locations.

The Oxen are free

Game: Oxenfree

By: Night School Studio

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.

Thoughts:

I really love the art style.

I really love the music.

I wish I had more time to make dialog choices. It’s stressing me out a bit, trying to read all the options quickly and decide which one I want. I’m guessing this is done for two reasons – so the players who want to remain silent (since that’s an option) don’t have to wait too long, and so there’s a deliberate forced decision so you don’t overthink and agonize about the choice.

I’m not sure why sometimes other characters heads pop up in chat bubbles above each character.

I’m enjoying the voice acting a lot

When the characters are having discussions, the travel time doesn’t seem bad. But when you’re backtracking or there’s no conversation, it really feels like it drags along and takes a while to get to places.

The tense/dark atmosphere is so great. There are times I’ve literally gotten goosebumps while playing. And I haven’t gotten any jump scares yet, which I appreciate.

I think I expected more from the ending. I tried playing friendly and nice and it seems like the result wasn’t exactly “happy.” It does seem like the game is meant to be played more than once though.

I didn’t understand the part where you get to make suggestions to other players (if that’s really the way it works, that’s what the internet said). I interpreted it as needing to say the same things as what was said to me, which is much less interesting.

I liked the simplicity of the controls and interactions – it prevented the game from having to teach me too much and it made good use of the tools that I had.

I’m glad there wasn’t any romance for the main character. That’s refreshing. I enjoyed building relationships with the step brother and friend, although apparently I didn’t do well with the friend.

I don’t think I fully understand the plot or what the game was trying to tell me. It seems like the decisions were interesting but probably make it harder to tell a discrete story.

There were secrets but I missed all of them. I only knew about them because of achievements.

I guess it wouldn’t be the Age of Jackson without him.

Podcast: The Age of Jackson – Washington Burns

From: American History Tellers

Link: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/wondery/american-history-tellers/e/53875994?autoplay=true

Notes:

Jackson had a lifelong hatred of the British that originated from his capture as a 8 year old boy as a courier for the Colonial army during the War of American Independence.

Jackson was ruthless against American Indians, British and Spanish civilians during his various battles and campaigns, often executing his enemies.

He fought in a good number of duels and had a couple bullets lodged in various parts of his body.

He owned as many as 300 slaves over his lifetime and would offer rewards for the capture and lashing of escaped slaves.

Despite having Creek Indian allies during his battles, he negotiated a treaty that took roughly half off all lands from the tribe.

Jackson was very loyal to his own troops.

Jackson suspended habeus corpus and put New Orleans into a state of military occupation during the War of 1812.

His defeat of the British during this battle made him a national hero.

He led a campaign that essentially took Florida from Spain.

My thoughts:

I forget that Washington D.C. was razed by the British during the War of 1812. It often seems left out of history or discussion when talking about terrible defeats or disasters on American soil.

Jackson seems like a very flawed, aggressive, ambitious person that had quite a bit of willingness to suspend the law of the land for his own ends.

That bit about the duel seems like some pretty far fetched mythology to me.

Drink the water.

Podcast: How our drinking water could help prevent suicide

From: Future Perfect

Link: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/10/24/18010592/future-perfect-podcast-lithium-drinking-water-suicide

Notes:

Lithium is used to reduce the risk of suicide in patients.

Long term high dose use of lithium can lead to kidney problems.

Even really low doses of lithium may contribute to a decreased risk of suicide and even lower levels of aggressive behavior. Areas that have higher levels of lithium in the water through natural sources have lower suicide and homicide rates.

Having a program to put lithium in the water could potentially save thousands of lives a year.

This would be an extremely controversial topic.

My thoughts:

I wonder if there’s been more talk and concern about the government “poisoning” our water supply with fluoride than there has been about our water supply actually being poisoned, like in Flint Michigan or the numerous other places with aging or obsolete water infrastructure.

Are there other things we could be adding to the water that could help save lives or reduce health problems?

How many people still drink unfiltered tap water? Bottled water seems everywhere.

It’s an interesting debate. Adding lithium could help a small percentage of the population at risk of suicide but does expose the entire population to the potentially very small risks of lithium. It seems like it needs more concrete data, and maybe small trials.

Don’t hold your Breath(s)

Book: Warbreaker

By: Brandon Sanderson

Themes:

We have a hard time accepting people of different cultures and religions.

Sometimes fate is avoidable (Vivenna) and sometimes it isn’t (Lightsong).

People can change.

You can’t judge a person by their exterior (Vasher, Susebron)

Countries can be manipulated into war against their own interests and desires.

Notes:

There’s a really cool magic system in this book – it’s described in very high detail and isn’t like anything I’ve seen before.