Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: LIMBO

LIMBO


It's been a while since I updated. Life has had me pretty busy these last two months. I did manage to get in a few shorter indie titles, though. LIMBO will likely be the last game I complete for 2013 unless I play one of the other short indie titles in my library. This was another of my Humble Bundle finds whose style made me curious enough to start this game without really knowing what it was about.

LIMBO is a side-scrolling, puzzle platformer that I mistakenly thought would be simple. I was wrong, very wrong. The game is simplistic in its approach, but it also presents many challenges for the player to figure out how to continue forward in various situations using whatever the environment provides you such as crates, traps, etc. Much like The Binding of Isaac, the simple appearance of this game is deceptive. It's not until you've died your nth death that you realize you're dealing with something more challenging than it let on.
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Friday, November 29, 2013

Grimm Season One: Portland Is the New Hellmouth


I just delved into the (not so) wonderful world of Grimm. My husband and a few of my friends have been dedicated followers of the show for quite some time. I'd seen bits and pieces of it, but I'd never watched an entire episode. I love retellings of stories like fairy tales, and I'm not sure why I didn't give this a chance sooner than this.

The basis of this story is Detective Nick Burkhaldt is a homicide detective and Grimm. Contrary to popular belief, the stories told by the Grimm bothers are not legends. The monsters, called wesen, in the stories have taken on human appearances and live among ordinary humans. Many seem to have reformed their ways, but just as many seem to flirt with lawlessness whether that's giving in to the crueler/mischievous parts of their animal nature or committing more human-like crimes.

The monsters are very good at hiding their true identities from normal humans, but Grimms are able to see them for what they truly are. Grimms are tasked with doling out punishment to wesen who break the law, as well. Most of the magic community is afraid of the Grimms, even the naturally "good" types. There's mutual fascination there between Nick and the wesen community, as well. Just as Nick has never seen them before his Grimm senses manifested, many of them have never seen a Grimm before either.

A skalengeck.
At the beginning of this series, Nick has no idea that he's a Grimm. He had started to see strange things, but doesn't learn the source of it until his aunt reveals they're monster hunters. His aunt meets an early demise, and Nick is left to fend for himself by using the information she left him. He learns more about this new world after gaining a confidant in the form of a blutbad (a wolf), which such a team-up is unheard of. I appreciate that the show doesn't just outright tell us that Grimms are feared, even hated, by much of the wesen community. Instead, we learn this through how they respond to Nick.

However, Nick has no idea how Grimms are supposed to behave. His clean slate is allowing him to shape himself into a Grimm who doesn't automatically assume that a wesen is the bad guy. He's on the side of fairness and justice, and as far as he's concerned, that extends to wesen as well.

The show mixes just the right amount of dark fantasy and cheesiness to melt my heart. There are times when it's a little over-the-top and has me arguing with my television. It's a serious show, but it's not serious. The writers know just how to write this to balance out the serious and non-serious aspects of the story. The monsters are interesting, and I'm always anxious to find out more about the "monster of the day." Many of the monsters have strict regimens they follow to control their animal, such as a blutbad becoming a vegetarian, but they still exhibit some personality quirks that can be attributed to their beast like the need to mark territory or an attraction to certain colors and objects.

The characters... Okay, I like the characters in this series, but they're still a little flat for me. Right now, they're not showing too many dimensions, especially the two prominent female characters. The men are starting to display more facets (although it still feels like superficial facets). For me, Captain Renard has shown the most interesting possibilities as a character goes, but the women still seem to be there to only add conflict and nothing else. They're barely visible or important to the story.

Juliette
Juliette is treated little better than the blindly devoted, sweet girlfriend who endures her relationship with uncanny understanding. She doesn't argue with Nick or voice her concerns with how he's spending less and less time with her. She's the perfect, benevolent girlfriend. I understand that her role shows how dangerous her life with Nick is, especially since she isn't aware that he's a Grimm, but there has been very little done to make her seem like more than that. She's kind, and that's about all we know about her.

Adalind Schade is another female character that seems more of a cardboard female to serve exactly one purpose in the story. I cut her a little more slack since she is supposed to be this mysterious figure who's motivations the viewers are questioning. It makes it hard for me to like or dislike the character because there's nothing that stands out about her (or Juliette) that makes them memorable as characters. I'm hoping that changes as the series progresses, though. This overall character flatness hasn't deterred me from watching because I think the combo of story and character helps to make up for that weakness.


I'm a little past midway for season one right now, and I'm pretty sure that it's going to make it on my "must watch" list as long as subsequent episodes don't get wonky. I won't start watching the current season airing (which has a new episode tonight... so tempting...), though, until I'm caught up with the first two seasons.
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Monday, November 4, 2013

Game Haul: Steam Halloween Sale

Inspired by the book haul posts done by my co-bloggers on our book review blog Bibliosanctum. Click on the image to be taken to the game's store page for more information, screenshots, and videos.

alive  darksiders dd lucius soul soul 2defiance blood omen 2edna zafehouse
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Friday, November 1, 2013

Tempest Plays Zafehouse: Diaries - We're All Gonna Die!

In searching for zombie games that I actually want to play, I stumbled on Zafehouse: Diaries. It stayed on my Steam wishlist for a while before I bought it during Steam's Halloween sale. I know I've said it a hundred times that I usually don't care for survival horror, especially zombie survival horror. However, lately, I've been enjoying more of the story, character-driven survival horror games such as The Walking Dead: Season One. I just care more about the characters and story than chasing down a bunch of zombies.

Zafehouse: Diaries is much more difficult than I thought it would be initially. I wasn't necessarily expecting something easy because the description of the game mentions that tenuous relationships and personal prejudices of the characters would play a huge part in this, but it just takes much more careful planning of the interpersonal relationships than I thought. There's some simulated combat and tense situations due to the zombies, of course, but that is so much easier to handle than these people and their issues. We're supposed to be finding a car that a scavenger told us about and finding parts to make it work. I guess the goal is to escape the town. I don't know where they're supposed to be going, but whatever. I have a mission.

It's a simple enough task that requires scouting and planning by using the resources we can find in the town, but the dispositions of the group members have made it feel like this has been a slow process. I knew it wasn't going to be a quick run to gather everything we needed and just get out, but I've been dealing with so many petty emotions in the group. I've thrown my hands up more than a few times at some of these characters and their antics. I feel like I need to gather my little group together, make them sit down, and have a chat about all these feelings they're having. This is a zombie apocalypse we don't have time for you "not liking someone's look."


I've actually played two groups. The game crashed on me the first time after I made some progress, and I had to start a new game because I hadn't saved. However, I think I got far enough with my first group to kind of make some general comparisons between it, my second group, and general game play aspects.

[caption id="attachment_1536" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Lines indicate relationship strength. The more broken the line, the worse the relationship. The darker the solid line, the stronger the relationship.[/caption]

Before settling with this current group, my group consisted of four women and one man. Two of the women were uncomfortable around men, and the man was uncomfortable around women. There weren't any "not racist, just doesn't like [x]'s look" characters, as in my current group, but I had quite a few that didn't care for poor people despite being mostly uneducated and poor themselves. My current group consists of three women and two men. Two of them are racists, and one might be an undercover drug addict. I have a feeling this new  group is going to give me many more problems than my first group would have. We're probably all going to die. I accept this.

While feeling my way around the game play, I tried to keep characters together who had good relationships, but quickly found out that, even if they liked each other, if they were doing something together that one character was skilled at and the other was only "okay" to "subpar" at, their relationship would deteriorate quickly if the better party felt the other wasn't doing their part.  Likewise if you put characters together who are suited for the task but hate one another, even though they have the complementing talents to get things done, things can quickly come to blows because they hate one another.  And I mean literal blows.

In my first group, I had two characters (the man and one of the women) trying to secure the house together because they were both suited for it, and they would always fist fight. She'd end up with injuries. Sure, I could've had one of them completing another task, but it was quicker and more efficient to have them both working on it while other characters performed other tasks such as watching for zombies, searching the house for supplies, etc. I actually started wondering if I could somehow orchestrate the man's death because he wasn't getting along with any of the women (possibly due to his discomfort around women) and he was actually physically attacking many of them. I'm playing the mode where you can't actually get rid of survivors unless they end up dying, so I was seriously thinking about sending him out alone on a suicide mission. Sometimes, we have to make these hard choices, and I was about to make it. I was going to send him into the most zombie infested building I could find. Luckily for him, my game crashed.

[caption id="attachment_1540" align="aligncenter" width="520"] "She claims she isn't racist, she just doesn't like the look of Erik." Right.[/caption]

On the flip side of that, when you have characters who like each other and whose skills work well together, you really have something great. In my current group, I have two characters who I always send scouting and breaching together (Kelsey, one of my racists, and Catherine, my possible drug addict) because they have synergy. They're able to handle a fair amount of zombies together with what they have on hand, and I haven't had them to run into any real problems that they couldn't handle together. Their relationship with one another seems to have strengthen because of this.

When assigning tasks, there is a little star indicator that tells you how successful someone will be at certain tasks. There character bios will also mention things that they are good at, but just in case you don't want to keep going back and forth between the task list and the bios, the star indicator is a good enough marker. However, people may still get into conflicts even when you've done the best you can. (Alternatively, it is acceptable to have a character do things alone for the least amount of problems, but beware if it's something that has a high chance of putting them in harm's way.)

You can work on the characters' relationships by spreading rumors. These rumors can be used to strengthen or weaken their relationships. You have some limited control over the aspects of the rumor, as well. However, rumors can backfire. Using Catherine and Brad from my current group as an example, I spread the rumor that they were related, but they lost contact due to a family feud. Suddenly, they remembered being related, but their relationship deteriorated more because of the "family feud" part. There were other options I could've gone with such as saying they lost contact due to family moving away, but I just stuck with the feud part. This made one member of the group become more supportive of Catherine while the other two didn't really care. So, rumors can do more or less than the intended effect when using them.

In another attempt to get Brad and Catherine to tolerate each other, and I think this became a thing because they were starting to argue a pretty good bit, I seeded another rumor about Brad being charitable and helping people. This seem to work to improve the relationship a bit until he found Catherine with the pills.


Aside from trying to patch things with rumors, characters seem to have the ability to gain skills, if that makes sense. In both groups I played, I had one person that was noted not to have any significant skills that might prove helpful, which was the cause of much arguing since I can't really put these people with anyone because they lack skill. However, I noticed that when things such as a chess board and dumbbells were found, the characters who lacked would use them and their strength would increase (by lifting weights) or they'd become mentally sharper (playing chess), so I'm hoping I won't have to sacrifice them--in the case of my new group, it's Erik--to the zombie apocalypse gods in order to keep everyone else alive. Hopefully, this will also help to improve improve relationships, since Erik can prove his worth.


Also, no one seems to trust anything Sandra says. There was a zombie attack and instead of taking her advice and going to a secured area of the house, they all ran in the bathroom and defended themselves with a hockey mask and a motorcycle jacket. I'm not kidding. I wish I was. I laughed so hard when that happened, but they managed to survive somehow. This group needs help.


Anyhow, I'll see how this drama plays out and if I can manage to keep this group from falling apart completely. I'm not completely optimistic at this point, though.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

The Morality of The Witcher

[caption id="attachment_1516" align="aligncenter" width="520"]geraltdandy The outcome of one of my many decisions in The Witcher.[/caption]

Before I begin, a note. The Witcher games do have a whole host of problems that get under my skin, things that I've ranted about before in other spaces. Just because I enjoy something doesn't mean that I'm going to just ignore the problematic parts of it, but this post isn't meant to point out the issues I have with other parts of the games. So, I'll try not to spiral out of control into problematic land.

Reading PC Gamer's article The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Preview made me think about one of the main reasons that I ended up enjoying the series as much as I did, which was how morality was handled.

The Witcher really came at a time when I was still very disgruntled with Mass Effect, which is probably one of my all time favorite gaming series. Also, I was coming off my playthrough of Dragon Age 2, which was highly disappointing to me for a multitude of reasons that I won't even get into right now. So, I was going emotional places with Bioware that I needed to escape.


A few of my friends had played The Witcher games, and a Mass Effect 3 review that I watched on Youtube recommended The Witcher 2 if you wanted a game sequel that was done right. I'm not the type of gamer that starts a series at its sequel(s) if I can help it (see: Mass Effect), so I did start with the first game. It took me a little while to get my bearings with the game. Aside from the hilarious way that Geralt held his sword sometime, the combat and I fought each other until I finally managed to find some comfortable groove with it. The second game was much more polished, but it still threw some difficult decisions my way.




I mentioned in one of my ramblings on the first game that I thought the expressions and voice acting was a little flat at times. However, this seemed to be par for course in Geralt's case who was often seriously sarcastic. Despite that, I did enjoy the game and found myself becoming invested in the story of the humans versus non-humans (elves and dwarves, mainly) which seemed to eat up a bigger chunk of the story than Geralt's actual mission to find Salamandra. I tried my best to keep Geralt neutral in my playthrough since, as a witcher, he's between human and non-human, and politicking is for suckers. But I did have a tendency to err on the side of what I felt was best for the safety of all people both humans and non-humans in face of the monster threat.

One of the great things about this story is that not many decisions were the "right" or "wrong" thing to do. You have your villains, but so many of the choices that Geralt is forced to make are "gray." One of the major struggles in both games is the non-humans trying to find agency in a world that hates them. Being that Geralt straddles a fine line between human and non-human, he's often caught up in this drama.

While I couldn't get on board with the non-human hate, I couldn't fully get on board with the non-human movement, even though I did sympathize with them more. Doing this thing, even in good intentions for either side, could cause another part of the story to end in undesirable ways. Many times there is no clear right or wrong choice. And I appreciate they put a spin on the story that didn't reduce it to just "right" and "wrong," but tried to present the other ambiguous areas of such a struggle as well.

That hazy area extended to the characters as well. . Much of the time you weren't sure whether to trust them or not or if they'd truly be helpful to what you're trying to accomplish or if they'd put you in an even more precarious situation. Using the templars and non-human example from the first game, I didn't agree much with the templars. Their purpose was to protect to the people, but they just seemed a really hateful, prejudiced bunch of asses who were given some power over people.

However, I liked Siegfried. Even though he's a templar, he genuinely seems to care about helping and protecting people. Unlike his templar brothers, he doesn't seem to feel any hatred toward nonhumans. His distrust for the Scoia'tael (the name given to the non-humans fighting for equality) stems from the fact that many of their acts involve murder and terrorism rather than from the fact that they're not human.  Siegfried was a very earnest character and even starts to question how his order handles things.

On the other hand, the leader of the Scoia'tael, Yaevinn, left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I sympathized with his cause more because it's absolutely dreadful what the non-humans go through, but Yaevinn spun pretty words that felt deceitful. I just couldn't ever really like the guy much of the time. I didn't agree with most of his methods, even though I did feel for his struggle.

So, I had this dilemma where I liked Siegfried and wanted to do things to help, which most of his missions were of the helpful variety such as eliminating monsters. With Yaevinn, I did things begrudgingly and felt like I was being manipulated even if it seemed helpful. It would've been easy to make Yaevinn some tragic hero and some probably view him as such, but it can't be denied that Siegfried is not just another jerk serving the Order. In the second game, I found that I was a bit more receptive to Iorveth than Yaevinn and appreciated his earnest thoughts about his dislike of humans more than I ever did Yaevinn's pretty words. So, these games make nothing simple for the player in terms of decisions, even if you're trying to be a neutral party.

These decisions caused my playthrough to go on into infinity because I mulled over them forever before making one, even when I knew what I was going to do. I just had to think about it still. I did appreciate that there weren't any situations where I could pull a Commander Shepard, even though I complained about it. It just made these decisions feel more authentic to me instead of there always being some third “better” option for everyone to mostly get their way. No decision ever felt completely right. It was definitely a case of going with the perceived lesser evil for me while I was playing. And I loved every minute of it.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DNF: Final Fantasy XIII-2

FinalFantasy_XIII-2_Logo


It's finally come to this.

I have tried so hard to make myself keep playing this game. I managed to fight my way through 70 hours of Final Fantasy XIII, and this game was supposed to be its superior in so many ways. I haven't touched this game in months, though, since maybe around May. Sometimes, I think I made it through the first game due to divine providence and pure Aries stubbornness. There's a whole book of problems here for me that aren't just underscored by this one game, but manage to effectively come together to make me quit playing this.

I tried to play this almost immediately after playing the first one, which probably wasn't a good idea in retrospect. I was already tired of the story by the time I got to the end of XIII, and while I guess they tightened up aspects of the story, it's still full of all the elements that made me feel some kind of way about the first game. I just find myself so frustrated with these characters and their situation.

The only thing I seem to like about this game, and this can be said of the last one as well, is the battle system. I know some people had their qualms with the battle system in XIII, but I actually loved it. It was the most exciting part of the game for me, especially when facing the eidolons. XIII-2 improved on that a bit, making it even more enjoyable. Adding the beast master element to the combat did make me want explore everything and catch all the monsters... for a little while anyway.

After the novelty of the combat wore off, which was coincidentally around the time I got my ass handed to me by the first tonberry I encountered, the game became a tedious chore as I traveled back and forth through time doing whatever the hell this is that Lightning wanted me to do. I don't care. I just don't care. And this is my punishment for deciding to play this particular game as my attempt to try the Final Fantasy series again. I talked about why I don't think I've ever gotten into this series in some detail in my thoughts about FFXIII.

I'm going to leave this game alone for another couple of weeks to finish some other things. Then, I'll try again and hope that I make it through this before condemning it to the DNR pile. I think I'm really just suffering from overload because I tried to play these two games back to back, which has made playing this seem a bit tedious.
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Monday, October 7, 2013

Tempest Plays Dead Island: I Hate Zombies

[youtube=http://youtu.be/doXNb7-i7yw]

Sorry the quality of this isn't much better. The program I use to stream reset all my settings when it updated itself. The next video should be better.

I hate zombies, and I hate zombie games. Well, I hate zombie games more than any other zombie media. With the exception of shows like The Walking Dead (and Telltale's The Walking Dead Game), I'm just tired of zombie apocalypses. Zombie games and I have never gotten along, though. I'm not patient enough for them it seems, but AJ (alias Surgeronin aka Colery6) and I had been talking about doing some co-op together and we decided to do a zombie game. Not the best decision I've made.

However, I have to admit that this game is really fun. Running around bashing things in the head rather than wandering around a bunch of dark rooms and what have you is my preferred method of play. Once a tank, always the tank.
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Just a quick personal note

I'm hoping to have a few posts up later this week. I have a few different projects going on right now that I'm trying to handle. However, I do have a few blog posts that I'm working on for this site. I just need some time to edit and complete them, which might not be until later in the week or the beginning of next week--depending on how busy I am for the rest of the week.
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Hate Plus

hateplus


A little over a month ago, when I started re-dedicating myself to cleaning up my to-be-played pile again rather than just collecting more and more games, Analogue: A Hate Story was one of the first games I started on this mission. After getting a story that was totally unexpected and loving it, I was thrilled to find out that I'd played it at exactly the right time since Hate Plus, the sequel was due to be released a little less than two weeks after I played the first game.

Hate Plus is both a sequel and a prequel. You get to find out what has happened with the AI you chose to save and her relationship with the investigator (you) while getting an idea of what her futures plans are with the investigator. Once again, you're tasked with finding more information about the Mugunghwa because there's more curiosity about what happened on that ship to cause them to lapse into a  Choson (Joseon) Dynasty style society. If you're as interested in history as I am, you know that was Korea's longest dynasty lasting a little over 500 years.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review: Thomas Was Alone

Thomas Was Alone


Thomas Was Alone is an interesting platformer/puzzle game that follows the adventures of a little, red AI data block named Thomas who is self-aware. No, there are no reapers involved. There's no need to call Commander Shepard. Thomas starts the game alone, but as you progress, you meet other self-aware blocks with different abilities that can be used to complement each other in order to find exits throughout various levels.

The blocks themselves are silent, much like the Kid in Bastion, and in the same vein as that game, the game relies on a narrator to express the characters' feelings and dispositions. This story is told by humorist Danny Wallace who does an exceptional job. Wallace's narration and the ability he has to add such verbal emotion to the game made me care about Thomas and his friends. The light music and simple graphics combined with Wallace's narration definitely made it an engaging experience for me.

Mike Bethell created something amazing here. He's taken a very simple concept and managed to involve your emotions. He's weaved a story around the puzzles, given the players a different way of viewing this game. Instead of just thinking of each level in terms of trying to find the "end" to proceed, you begin to think of them as the characters do. They're doors leading the characters to some fantastic destiny, and you're just helping them along in this journey.

Games like Thomas Was Alone prove that you don't need a bottomless budget to create something that gamers will enjoy, that you don't need impressive cinematic to get your audience involved. It shows that sometimes simplicity really is the best method of getting your story across.
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Tempest Plays Brothers

http://youtu.be/wZrghjwPqrQ

I had some issue with the game crashing when I first started playing. I'd fought off the urge to buy this on the XBLA just to wait for the Steam version. No way I was going to let these crashes defeat me. No commentary. I don't normally do commentary unless I'm gaming with friends because a.) as a mom/wife my house usually has a ton of background noise going on when I game in the evenings and b.) I'm not one to just ramble while gaming. I mean, I have moments while gaming and mutter some ridiculous stuff, but I'm not the ramble into infinity type. I'm much more likely to start flailing at friends over Skype or Google Talk.  Besides, this game doesn't need a bunch of my chatter over it.

Spoiler warning, obviously.
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: The Binding of Isaac

[caption id="attachment_1355" align="aligncenter" width="300"]the_binding_of_isaac_by_pixel_league-d54e2gp By Pixel-League on dA[/caption]

Isaac and his mother were happy until the day that Isaac's mother started hearing the voice of God. God told Isaac's mother he was corrupted, so she took away everything from him including his clothing. God told her that wasn't enough to save his soul, so she locked Isaac away in his room. Finally, God called on her to sacrifice Isaac, to show that she loved Him above all else. His mother's reply? "Yes, Lord."

The Binding of Isaac is based on the eponymous biblical story  of Abraham and his son Isaac where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, but spared Isaac in the end because Abraham had been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Him. Unlike biblical Isaac, the Isaac in this game isn't about to stand for that. He escapes to the basement where he fights his way through various level of horrors. The player takes control of a naked, crying Isaac as he fights through the basement using his tears. Along the way, the player picks up various objects that usually help, though some hinder, Isaac's quest.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tempest Plays The Binding of Isaac: Holy S#@%!

isaac


No pun intended on the title.

I just finished The Walking Dead Season One and its DLC 400 Days over the weekend, so I figured it was time to start on another new game. Well, another indie title, that is (even though I'm not quite sure if Telltale falls into the indie category). I've been playing various indie games around the "big titles" that I'm playing right now because I've managed to snag so many.

Usually, indie games are much shorter than the bigger titles I'm playing, or at least, that has mostly been my experience with them. The only indie game that I've played that took up a pretty good chunk of my time was Bastion. I'm not saying there aren't more out there that are lengthy. I'm just saying that I haven't encountered them, and I'm not opposed to encountering them. This method has been working out pretty well since I want to get my "to-be-played" stack under control.

I've sort of been going in alphabetical order through my PC "to-be-played" pile with priority being given to games that I really want to play right now. After completing Anna, The Binding of Isaac was up next. I'd actually been on the fence about this game for a long time until the Steam sale. I'd finally decided that I didn't need it when it went on sale. I'm weak against a Steam sale, so I snatched it up.

First, this game is a bit difficult, especially when paired with my lack of coordination where the controls are concerned. When I first died, I had no clue that I was starting from the beginning. I thought I was starting from the same level. You're not going to even believe how much I freaked out when I realized that wasn't the case. You die and start all the way from the beginning of the basement. However, it's not demoralizing enough to just start you all the way from the beginning. Oh no, they have to change the level on you every time you die. You can't "learn" a level because it's never the same if you die, even the boss can change.

It was that moment when I said: "F*** DYING!" and proceeded to die nine thousand more times after trying to be a bit more careful and strategic with my attacks. I had so many near wins, but near wins just aren't good enough, sadly. Why am I still playing if it's so difficult? I'm enjoying the challenge. Yeah, I've had some near rage quit moments, but nothing would be right in the world if I didn't rage at least once during any given game.

Besides, I like the fact that it keeps you on your toes, even if I do want to flip my computer at times because of it. I also started playing with my controller thanks to Joytokey, which has made the experience much, much better. I managed to get pretty far before calling it a night yesterday, I think, but there's still so much I need to do. I've only earned 13 out of the 80+ achievements the game has. I can see myself racking up some serious hours in this game.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tempest Plays The Walking Dead Season One: Episode Two

Since I last posted about this, I've switched blogs and consoles. I started playing this game on my Xbox, but I've continued it on my PC. I made all the same choices in episode one of my PC game as I did in my Xbox game with one notable exception. I chose Doug for the different perspective. I do plan to finish my Xbox playthrough, where I'll probably continue down the road of very nice Lee. I'm not playing Lee to be a total jerk on PC, but I am making some "harsher" decisions on my PC playthrough that on my Xbox playthrough. Spoilers after the jump.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Anna Extended Edition

Anna


I have finally beaten Anna Extended Edition. Anna is a psychological horror set in the mountains with most of the "action" taking place in an abandoned sawmill. A college professor's mind is haunted by a woman he claims not to know. These hauntings lead him to the sawmill where he takes the first step in reclaiming memories lost.

Anna's story is told through visions, books, snippets of ghostly dialogue, letters, and various objects found in the abandoned sawmill. The story becomes very curious the further you venture in, if you stick it out. I liked the concept of the story even from the beginning, but it wasn't until I was nearing the end that the story really seemed to gain some steam. Even though I managed to get an ending where I learned the whole truth, parts of the story were still confusing or just not addressed. Some of those unexplained moments I felt added to the atmospherically creepy vibe this game had. Other moments just seemed to lack follow through and left me a little befuddled.

With the gameplay, I still think many of the game's puzzles are a game of chance rather than logic. The notebook provides great insight on things you need to do when the protagonist encounters information that he feels may be useful later in the game. On others, though, you're really just clicking around while hoping something happens. As I neared the end of the game, though, I felt like the puzzles did stop being less about chance and more logical.

Another element I liked, but feel was fundamentally flawed, was the "intuition" system they used which is something like questions and theories the protagonist has, but how it's supposed to be used isn't very clear. Honestly, I can actually see some players thinking you don't use them for anything at all. That is a very important part of the game that is probably the easiest to overlook. It's a part I would've overlooked if I hadn't stumbled on utilizing it.

In a surprising turn of events, I ended up liking Anna more than I thought I would by the end. That's not to say that I didn't still have extreme bouts of frustration with it, but sticking with it didn't turn out to be the terrible decision I feared it would be. Thankfully, it didn't crash on me again after I complained about that in my last post. That allowed me to immerse myself in the story more without worrying about if it was going to die if I even looked at it the wrong way. It may even turn out to be a game that I revisit one day with the intent to 100% it (I am 6 achievements away from that goal).
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tempest Plays Thomas Was Alone: But They're Jumping Blocks

Thomas Was Alone


Thanks to the Humble Bundle weekly sale, which has about 1 day left as of this writing, I was able to acquire this game along with a few other indie games for a few bucks. I'd been eyeing it for some time, but whenever I thought I'd take a chance on it, I'd back away slowly because I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy a game, even a platformer, about jumping blocks. Ten bucks isn't much money, but I'm a parent. I drive to work everyday. I pay bills. I have other interests. So, spending ten bucks on something I might not like is sort of a big deal to me when it could've gone to some other use. I've been doing my best to play more indie games lately, so these Humble Bundles and Steam sales have really been great for helping me to indulge that interest.


Thomas Was Alone is actually a very charming, engaging game. When I read the description about the game being about friendship, I said to myself: "But they're jumping blocks!" Now, I'm saying: "Emotions, what are you doing? This is absurd. These are jumping blocks that you're attaching my feelings to." It can't be helped, though. Danny Wallace's wonderfully expressive narrating has really brought this game alive for me along with the simplistic visuals, soothing music, and puzzle-oriented gameplay.  I always say that I'm only going to play ten minutes of this game, and before I know it, an hour has gone by and I'm still playing.


I may try this game with my oldest to see if he'll like it. I think he'll love the story, but I'm not so sure about the actual mechanics of the game since I typically try to stick to the PC games he can use a controller with. This might present a new way for him to challenge himself.

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VGM: Yesterday When I Was Mad (Jam & Spoon mix) from Lumines Electronic Symphony







Full version of Yesterday When I Was Mad (Jam & Spoon Mix) by Pet Shop Boys as heard in Lumines Electronic Symphony.
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DNF: McPixel

McPixel


The DNF tag is where I dump all games that I stopped playing for whatever reason. Sometimes, I come back to them. Sometimes, I don't.

McPixel is an action puzzle game. You have twenty seconds to stop a bomb from blowing up in various situations. This game was part of the weekly Humble Bundle that included Botanicula, Thomas Was Alone, Amnesia : The Dark Descent, and The Showdown Effect. There was an option to download and play this game on Android devices, so given what I already knew about the game, I thought this would be great to play on my phone when I was short on time.

As much as I tried to like this, I just couldn't. I was so annoyed with it after about 10 levels that I wanted to throw my phone phone somewhere and forget that I'd ever heard of a McPixel. What did I hate? I don't know. It wasn't the graphics since I'm not a graphics snob, and it definitely had nothing to do with how crude it is. I'm just not sure what's to blame for this lack of interest in this game. I was just annoyed with it.

This will probably also go on my DNR list as well. DNR stands for "Do Not Resuscitate." It's where some of my unfinished games go to die.
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tempest Plays Anna Extended Edition: Frustrations, Frustrations, and More Frustrations



Image

I'm a huge fan of horror movies, shows, and books, but I'm not much of a horror game fan for whatever reason. I'm not exactly sure why, but I tend to avoid most horror games, especially survival horror, but that's another story. If I'm going to play anything in the horror genre, I prefer that it be more in the style of a interactive fiction/puzzle rather than an action based game. That's not to say I haven't played and enjoyed more action based horror games. I have, but just not as much.




Anna seemed like it would fit my personal preference, but this has been one frustrating journey with this game for various reasons. To be fair, I'm still in the process of playing this game. As of this writing, I'm just now getting to the second floor of the cottage. I've already managed to unlock one of the endings for the game. I wanted to quit there and wash my hands of the game, but I pulled up my big girl panties and reloaded my last save. I want to give this game a fair chance, and I want to like this game. I do. I really, really do.




This constant crashing is my biggest complaint, and probably the reason I have so little patience for the other things that irk me about this game. There was a moment there on the first floor where I was freezing every couple of minutes to the point that I was almost in a blind rage. I am an intense person, and I have intense emotions about everything. When I say I was in a rage, I was in a RAGE. It would freeze when things were shifting in game. It would freeze if I moved the camera quickly. It would freeze if I breathed the wrong way. The fact that I was even able to stick that out is one step from amazing.




Next, what the heck is going on with these puzzles? I'm a big fan of puzzles and games that prominently feature puzzles. I could spend hours lost in a puzzle game. Anna's puzzles aren't difficult more so than there's very little clue about what you should do. It's not that I need a game to hold my hand while I try to figure out what to do, but so many of the puzzles are basically just a game of click and pray instead of a path of logical steps. I will say that some of the puzzles, the ones that did follow the logical reasoning path, were pretty brilliant such as the leaf puzzle (SPOILER ALERT), which has been my favorite so far.




It isn't all bad, though. Anna isn't so much of a scary game, but I say that as a longtime horror fan who is probably not as sensitive to certain elements of the genre. For me, the game is just atmospherically creepy, and there's nothing wrong with that. I enjoy it. There are a few cheap shock moments, but most of the events have been interesting more than scary.  The story, while a little broken in places, has an eerie vibe that continues to grow more curious as you unlock pieces of the story.




My main concern with the story, though, is that people might not understand what's going on if they're not reading the protagonist's journal. I'm not a fan of games relying on the journals/codex to tell the story. I always read them, and I know I shouldn't worry about other gamers not reading them. However, I'm one of those gamers that still feels like the story should be understandable through gameplay with or without the journal/codex.

Right now, I don't know if I really want to continue with this game or not. I'm stubborn and I hate starting games and not finishing them. I'd rather finish them, even if it takes me a million years to do it, but when I do quit something, you know it had to hit a point where I just couldn't do it anymore. With two games coming out this week that I've been anticipating, Anna might find itself on the back burner.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

VGM: Build That Wall from Bastion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz8c17upEwM

Just finished my second playthrough of Bastion last night. That game has an amazing soundtrack. This is one of my favorite songs from the game. People who have played the game will recognize it as the song Zia sings in game.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mom Approved Gaming: Bastion

I thought I'd highlight some games that I've been playing with my children that might not necessarily be considered "kids' games," but have been enjoyed by both my children and me. Also, I may talk about kids' games that have actually appealed to us (the adults) as well. For reference, I have a son and a daughter, age 7 and 4 respectively, as of this writing. Being that they live in a household with gamer parents, they're turning into mini-gamers themselves. We try to limit what they play to age-appropriate games, but obviously, there are some games aimed at older gamers that we feel they can handle. Bastion is one of these games.

I don't think I ever get tired of singing this game's praises. I purchased this a year or more ago during a Steam sale for a little over a dollar. This game was worth that and more. The story follows a silent protagonist known only as the Kid as he navigates through his devastated world after a cataclysmic event called the Calamity. He goes in search of supplies and survivors for Bastion, a safe-haven where survivors are supposed to meet up in case of events like the Calamity, while facing various beasts. The story is narrated by another survivor who sends the Kid in search of cores needed to power Bastion.

Kids will enjoy smashing and shooting things with the various weaponry in this game, and the cartoon-style graphics (beautiful hand-painted environments) make the world colorful and eye-catching. The game on normal isn't overly difficult, neither does it demand much skill, but there is a "no-sweat" mode that does away with the lives and just allows players to soldier on without restating an area if they die. The game supports a gaming pad (we used an Xbox controller in our case), which comes in handy since the WSAD can be a little tricky to maneuver for kids.

Warning: There are some mild references to smoking and alcohol drinking, but again, not so obvious that a child would know that's what's going on. The Kid can access past memories by clicking on an object that sort of resembles a hookah, and many of the Kid's passive abilities come in the form of spirits (alcohol). However, neither has the kid actually engaging in these activities on screen, and the spirit bottles will just look like ordinary bottles that kids might see in other games, and they'll possibly equate the bottles to other things. My daughter thinks the hookah pipe looks like a perfume bottle, and she thinks the kid is being knocked out by perfume. Also, since this is a bit of a beat-em-up type game, there is cartoon violence, but nothing overly extreme.

Depending on the age of your child and what you feel they can or can't handle, they may not get all the nuances in the story, but they'll be able to grasp the basic concept of what happened and what they're trying to accomplish in the game. While the story is heartbreaking, it's done in a way that doesn't make it overly graphic or too grim to handle even for younger kids. You may find your kid emotionally invested in the story and the Kid's plight as they help him shape this world and find out more about the events leading up to the Calamity.
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Monday, August 5, 2013

[Game Thoughts] Analogue: A Hate Story

Analogue: A Hate Story was one of those impulse buys during last year's Steam Summer Sale. While the screenshots didn't do much to inspire me, the premise seemed a bit interesting, and it was only a couple of dollars. So, I figured why not. If I didn't like the game, it would be no big deal since I bought it on sale. I'm pretty terrible about buying games on Steam and then forgetting about them. Recently, I said I was going to start cleaning out my catalog. Okay, this will be my second attempt at that. I said that last year, but then, Mass Effect 3 was released and with its release, all my ambitions were lost.

Analogue is more of a visual novel with the story being told in a non-linear fashion as the player unlocks more of the ship's logs. I was able to do two complete playthroughs in one sitting and unlock all the Steam achievements for it.The description of the game says that this is the story of a ship lost in space. In the 25th century, a ship was sent into space in hopes of creating an interstellar colony. The ship disappeared, but has finally been found 600 years later. It's only inhabitants are two AIs named *Hyun-ae and *Mute. The player can decide to explore what happened on that ship or do the simple assignment they've been tasked with and end the game.

I'm not going to say that description is misleading because it technically isn't, but this game ended up being an emotional rollercoaster of a ride that I wasn't really expecting. It's a very emotionally driven story that revolves around a "saying" found in the game: "Men are honored, women are abased." With that in mind, the treatment of the women in this story might be off-putting and disturbing for some gamers. This is intentional since it is a commentary on gender equality. Anyone who knows me knows that topics like that are very relevant to my interests. And yes, this (what happens with the women) is very important to what happened to the ship and its people, but I do advise caution for those who might be triggered.

I have two chief complaints with this.

This is more a sympathy complaint, but the console system can be a bit tricky. I can see where using the system might be confusing and frustrating for some players, even using the "help" command can be a little vague. This might cause many gamers to not fully experience the whole story as they'll complete the easiest objective and move on from the game unsatisfied. Personally, I thought it was fun to figure these things out, but I majored in Computer Science. I love tinkering with consoles.

Also, I think the art might make some think this story is sillier than it really is. Admittedly, I sort of felt that way about it and worried that I was going to get some gross story with the sexualized schoolgirl thing. I think that makes it easy to overlook or keep pushing to the backburner, which is unfortunate since this is a very thoughtful story.

Playing this now was apparently the perfect time since Hate Plus will be released on the 19th of this month. Also, the creator Christine Love sounds like someone to keep an eye on with her twitter bio stating: "I write games with too many words in them about women and queerness and technology. Please, let’s work hard together to make the world a cuter place!"
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

[Book Review] Medicus


Medicus
Medicus by Ruth Downie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Crossposted at The BiblioSanctum.

This story follows military medicus (doctor) Gaius Petreius Ruso who is a Roman man living in Brittania (England). He's escaped to the Brittania to heal from a disaster of a marriage that ended in divorce and the death of his father that left the family with many undue debts to pay. Brittania is considered a backwater town but important nonetheless. It's too small to be considered grand, but too large to be ignored by the Romans. As if going from everything to having nothing wasn't bad enough, women continue to bring trouble for Ruso after he examines a dead woman found in the river and rescues a slave from her callous owner.

This story takes place during a time when modern medicine was just beginning to emerge. Doctors were regarded as suspicious conmen and "healers" still ruled surpreme. I loved how Downie weaved that into the story, showing how doctors began to record treatment and discover new ways to deal with various medical ailments and conditions. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Ruso ushered around the new doctors in training and reveled in their naïveté after one fainted (and the others just barely made it out) when Ruso showed them a particular gruesome case. The description made me chuckle because it was just so Ruso-like.

Ruso is a bit cynical and serious, but he does have a little bit of a dry comedic side. He's very sure of his abilities as a medicus almost to the point of cockiness, but unlike his friend and fellow medicus, Valens, he keeps to himself in a world where knowing the right people means everything. He often feels awkward in social situations and almost always says the wrong things in his mind, so he tends to keep to himself. His bedside manners are cool because he's a man of logic, even by his own admission, but Ruso cares more about people more than he shows. This care extends beyond mere medical interest, but he's not sure how to "fix" people beyond what physically ails them.

Ruso complains that he shouldn't get involved in certain matters, but still he finds that his underlying compassion and concern causes him to do the exact opposite, which is how he ends up "investigating" a murder that he insists he's not investigating. He's also terrible at being a hard ass as shown when he became Tilla's "master." Tilla is just one of a group of ragtag friends he picks up during the course of the story which includes the charming Valens who thinks that Ruso needs a new wife, an overenthusiastic scribe named Albanus, and a dog he claims not to care for. He complains about them, of course, but I don't think he'd know what to do without them.

Despite all the elements that could make this a complicated story to listen to, it was very easy to follow. Nothing really went beyond my grasp or caused me to pause and rewind just to make sure I was understanding what I'd heard. Downie didn't use language that was too complicated, and the things that seemed a little unfamiliar she was able to explain in the simplest terms, even when it didn't really seem necessary. However, this was a surprisingly light listen. I was afraid that I would get partway in and decide that I need to read the book rather than listen to the audiobook.

One of the chief complaints I'd heard about this book was that the language was "too modern," but that's the usual complaint of many historical fiction settings ranging from books to television. I wasn't surprised to hear the complaint, but it just seems like old news now since many shows and books take this approach. I think that's because it makes it easier on the reader and the writer. How many people would really be interested in reading this if written in the style of that time? What writer would stick to writing a story in such a style? It would be tedious for both the reader and the writer. I agree that maybe some word choices absolutely were too modern, but that's such a nitpicky thing. However, I can only say that it doesn't bother me. Your mileage may vary.

My chief complaint is that, while I liked Ruso, he could be a bit annoying at times. I'd get mad at him for how he tried to treat Tilla, calling her property and trying to force her to call him master, even though he was terrible at being bossy--at least to Tilla. He does show a surprising amount of sexism that can be a bit annoying, too. Not because it's sexism, however. This is ancient Rome era we're talking about. It's annoying because it's obvious that he's not as sexist as most, but has defaulted to sexism because of his general disillusionment due to a bad marriage, which is understandable but so frustrating. Some of his actions were so obtuse to the point that I had to wonder if Ruso was okay mentally at times. An example being how he wanted the rumors about him investigating the murder to stop since he "wasn't investigating," but he made it his business to ask every person around if they'd heard he was investigating the murders. Really, Ruso?

As far as the narration goes, Simon Vance is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators. He has a voice that is perfect for reading. This will be the third book I've listened to with him as the narrator and he never fails to impress me with his read. He's remarkable; his narration is always so impeccable. I have never encountered a narrator with such clean narration skills. Also, he understands that timbre not pitch determines how realistically a female voice will come across when reading, and even when faced with multiple female speakers in one scene, he gives them all their own personality that makes them easily discernible one from another.

The only real complaint I have is that he's a fast talker. I tend to speed up my audiobooks between 1.25 to 2.0 times faster than normal. With him, I have to get used to the pace he's keeping before I can speed it up, but that's really a trivial complaint when compared to how extraordinary he is as a narrator.

This was a great opening for the series, and I look forward to following more of Ruso's misadventures as narrated by Simon Vance.



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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Tea with Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende



What I'm Drinking: Mango Green, Passionfruit, and Hibiscus chilled with a side of mint and a squeeze of lemon for a summery, fruity taste

What I'm Listening To: Two Become One by Govinda

What I'm Reading: Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

Quote: "I strike the ground with the soles of my feet and life rises up my legs, spreads up my skeleton, takes possession of me, drives away distress and sweetens my memory. The world trembles."
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Tea: The Garden of Last Days with a Sprinkle of Bloodlust



What I'm Drinking: A personal blend of blood orange, ceylon sonata, and pomegranate for a tangy, tarty taste that I've named Bloodlust.

What I'm Listening To: I Belong To You / Mon Cœur S'ouvre à Ta Voix by Muse

What I'm Reading: The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III

Quote: "But he has wasted time. And money. So much of it. It is this alcohol. He has become too fond of it. The feeling of freedom it gives to him, of floating above all that is here he cannot control. And it makes him more brave to talk to an uncovered kafir woman in a place of evil that holds him. When he approached her in the shadows, her body so close to his own, his heart was speeding and it was difficult to look at her face and into her eyes and request time alone with her. It was something he could not have done if he had not been drunk. Again the wisdom of the Provider and the Sustainer as taught by imams he had ignored. They know these vodkas and beer and cognacs and champagnes, they are the colors of water and earth but they have been made in the fires of Jahannam. They only cloud men's minds and weaken their discipline and turn their hearts to caring only for the flesh that does not last."

Note: Tea drinking, listening to music, and reading are some of my favorite past times, and I usually do them all at the same time. I've recently gotten serious about blending and brewing my own tea more often, so I'll post these occasionally on Tuesday.
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Monday, June 10, 2013

[Comic Review] Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection


Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection
Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Crossposted at The Bibliosanctum.

Full disclosure. I stopped reading the New 52 after four comics. I read Mister Terrific #1, Justice League #1, Detective Comics #1, and Swamp Thing #1. Out of those four comics, I was only impressed with Detective Comics and Swamp Thing. Justice League was only “meh” and didn’t feel like it was worth the trouble of continuing at that point, and Mister Terrific was terrible when it had so much potential to be great. Even though I did enjoy Detective Comics and Swamp Thing, I still put them on the back burner in favor of other comics that I wanted to catch up on. Admittedly, I was one of those people who wasn’t that excited to see Barbara assume the Batgirl mantle again. I love Barbara. I really do, but I always felt that she was a more formidable hero as Oracle than as Batgirl. That’s neither here nor there now, and there’s no point in rehashing old thoughts. Moving on...

I decided to try Batgirl for two reasons. I wanted to try another comic from the New 52 to see how I would enjoy it, and I wanted to read more Gail Simone after sort of shying away from her writing because of a volume of The Atom I read that made me want to run away screaming. Friends and fans of Gail assured me that I would enjoy either Birds of Prey or Batgirl much more than I enjoyed The Atom. After some resistance, I finally decided it was time to close my eyes and step off this cliff again.

The Darkest Reflection follows Barbara Gordon who has made her return as Batgirl after an experimental—or at least it sounded experimental—medical procedure returns her ability to use her legs. For those of you not quite familiar with what happened or only have a vague idea of what happened to her, refer to The Killing Joke pre-DCnU. After some downtime rehabbing while living in her father’s home, Barbara decides that it’s time to spread her wings, move out of her father’s house, and take up the mantle of the bat again. What Barbara didn’t count on was her survivor’s guilt and PTSD (which is triggered when she’s faced with guns) making her return to crime fighting more difficult than she’d expected.
I enjoyed this much, much, much more than I did The Atom.

At first, I was a little afraid that I might have to put this book down because it started a bit campier that I like. Actually, no, I should explain that better. I love when writers use campy writing to their advantage, but sometimes, I feel like writer’s try too hard with it. In turn, that turns me off because it comes off feeling so artificial and forced and makes it hard for me to enjoy the story.  This was one of the main problems that I had with The Atom. There were points in the beginning of this story where I worried I might be traveling down that road again, but after a while, the story found its footing and turned into an enjoyable read.

Barbara is a survivor struggling with the thought of having her legs back. She struggles with conflicting feelings that make her feel blessed for this miracle, but questions why did she, out of all the people in the in the world, deserve such a miracle. After thwarting a murder attempt on a family, Barbara’s next foe challenges her miracle as well and brings out deeper psychological fears.

I really enjoyed the portrayal of Barbara’s struggle. She’s of two minds for most of this comic. She’s a superwoman and a frail all in the same breath. One minute she’s praising herself for her strength and smarts, and the next minute, she doubts herself and if she’s even doing the right thing. She wonders if she’s squandering her miracle by pushing herself too hard, but then she feels that this miracle wasn’t given to her for her to sit by idly. A brief confrontation with Nightwing shows the feelings she stills hold for him while punctuating that she doesn’t want the others to believe that she’s not capable--to the point that she lashes out at him in order to show that she isn’t helpless. She doesn’t want their help. She wants to prove herself, her strength and ability to overcome, to the bat family.

Let me talk briefly about the ending of this comic. No real spoilers, but just some thoughts. When I realized that Barbara’s threat was eliminated in the fourth issues but there were still two issues left in this arc, I was thinking, “Okay?” It ended perfectly, and I was thinking that things were about to get odd since what could you possibly accomplish in two more issues? I was pleasantly surprised. You can say the next two issues in the arc were a mini-story, but still tied into the “reflection” theme showing Barbara what she could’ve been if she hadn’t had family and support.

The first part dealt with accepting that miracles happened to people whether they deserved them or not and that there’s no one who can decide that someone is undeserving of such a miracle, even if it’s a personal miracle. The second part dealt more personally with the idea that not everyone may see his or her miracle as a miracle. It showed how fragile the line between miracle and damnation is in some people’s mind, and it showed a thing about compassion and understanding, as well

Overall, this was entertaining. There were some hiccups for me, and I’m back to questioning why it’s so easy for some people to find out who the bat family is over other more intelligent criminals. That's a general annoyance of mine with Batman and the bat family, not something that's limited to Gail herself. However, I still enjoyed the story and appreciated it for showing Barbara’s return as a struggle that she’s working to overcome for physical and psychological reasons. I’ll definitely read more of the Batgirl books.



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Tempest Plays The Walking Dead Season One: Episode One

I just finished up episode one of this game. I'm so sorry that I waited so long to play this game. Friends had been trying to get me to play this game forever, but I kept putting them off. Finally, I decided to blow these Xbox points I had on episode one. (And got the rest of the episodes free during the XBL Gold membership deal thing.) I'm enjoying this way more than I thought I would.

This isn't a terribly hard game, but they don't allow me eight million seconds like Mass Effect to make decisions, which makes me tense. I guess that's the point, though, to make the player make their first choice without mulling over it forever. This is a tense situation. You have to think fast.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the choices I made during the course of the episode, so if you're not trying to be spoiled, you may want to leave now.

Go ahead.

I'll wait.



Still here? Good.


My decisions versus other players


Lied to Hershel? You and 63% of players told the truth.

That’s not exactly true. I stopped one step short of telling Hershel the complete truth. Up to the point where Hershel asked who Lee was riding with, I’d been honest. Of course, Lee’s answers were vague, and perhaps mentioning he’d been riding with a cop would’ve been equally as vague. I just didn’t chance it, but I was mostly honest! That should count for something. I guess there's not anything Hershel could've done about Lee in a zombie apocalypse besides try to kill him like Lilly's dad.

Duck or Shawn? You and 47% of players chose Shawn.

I actually got to do this part twice because my game did something weird and I had to shut down the Xbox and all kind of stuff. I chose Duck the first time, thinking if I saved Duck first Lee would do it quickly and could help Shawn. Duck's a kid. I have a weak spot for kids. Talk about being horrified when Shawn didn’t live. My game must’ve felt my horror because it gave me a do-over and I chose Shawn this time. Only to be trolled by the game. We could’ve saved Shawn if Kenny hadn’t ran off with Duck. KENNY!

Side With Kenny? You and 48% of players defended Kenny.

Even though I was pissed off at Kenny because of what happened at the Hershel's farm, ol’ girl’s dad ain’t just about to go killing kids when he's not even sure the kid has been bit. There seems to be an adequate amount of time to observe someone to see if they've been bitten before they become dangerous. That shit dad pulled wasn't cool. I’ll throw his off the hinges ass out there first with his damn daughter before that happens. I know everyone’s tense, but Lilly’s dad is out of control and dangerous. He’s not the ideal person to have around in a crisis like this, especially after he tried to get Lee killed. Do you think anyone gives a damn about what Lee’s done when there are ZOMBIES trying to kill them and Lee has been nothing but loyal and helpful. GTFOH, dad.

Gave Irene the Gun? You and 55% of players refused the gun.

This was actually an accident. I wasn’t going to give it to her at first, but then, I’m like… man, she probably should put herself out of her misery before she turns. She says something about becoming a walker not being Christian, but neither is suicide, I thought? Either way, I was going to let her do it, but then chose the wrong answer. So, I just let it stand. I’ll do another playthrough.

Doug or Carley? You and 76% of players chose Carley.

Game, no. Why did you do this? I wanted them both. I WANTED THEM BOTH. In the end, I chose Carley, though, because of her expert marksmanship. The fact that Carley liked Doug and tried to tell him before he died…? A bloo bloo bloo

On to episode two.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Things That Managed to Piss Me Off Today: Certain Book Readers

Just reposting this from my G+ account. No spoilers.

The thing that bothers me about this whole Red Wedding deal on Game of Thrones and the reactions is how snobbish many book readers are coming off right now to the people who DIDN'T read the books. This is a problem that I usually only encounter when my fellow comic book readers are being purist jerks to the point of needing to be slapped in the mouth. That is what's going on with so many of the book readers of A Song of Ice and Fire right now, and it's annoying me to the point on being downright combative toward them. Some readers are joking around and you can tell the ones who are just ribbing from the ones who are being openly snobbish because they read books and they just happen to have read these books.

1. "You know this was coming," is not an appropriate response to me. Book readers seem to assume because we (other book readers) knew this was coming that we shouldn't act all surprised. Just because I knew something was coming doesn't mean I'm not allowed to react with surprise, shock, and pain to the scene. I'm reacting to the scene as it was presented in this format, and it was an intense, emotionally driven scene. Knowing about the scene doesn't take away from the scene for me or many other people who have read the books. We live the experience as it is happening on the screen, not as it played out in our heads when we read the books.

2. "You should've read the books," is not an appropriate response to people who haven't read the books including other book readers and people who plan to only experience the world through the show. It is not okay to insert yourself into a conversation only to try to shame someone because they didn't read the books. That includes passive-aggressively using gifs and triple-play Scrabble words to basically call someone an idiot for not reading the books.

The one thing that I liked about this scene is that it fostered conversation between the book readers and the show watchers. It allowed a free flow of conversation where everyone could discuss how they felt about the scene and many of the show watchers were very receptive to what the book readers had to say about their experience with the scene in the book versus their experience with the scene on the show until the Book Reader Elite started coming in with their "read the book, didn't read the book" reaction gifs and just general boorish attitude that ruined a perfectly fine discussion between people.

Am I being testy right now? I might be, but this is one of my peeves when it comes to books/comics versus their tv/movie counterparts. The purists who feel their only goal in life is to disrupt conversation because "Haha! Read the book." You can't sit with us. Get out!


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This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

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Tiara's bookshelf: read

Deceived
really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

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