Giving Stitches my Friendship Sparkler in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Whenever there’s a special item you can give to a single villager in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, I always give it to Stitches. Now I’ve given my Friendship Sparkler to him! I also reviewed all the past special items he’s given back to me as a thank you.

Crucible’s Bugg is awesome and cute!

Bugg, the Crucible hero, is super cute, and I had to record this audio log. In game, he grows little plants that attack enemies. In lore, he used to be a gardening robot who was happy that people liked his vegetables!

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This is his Honey Bee skin. I want it!

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Here’s a closer look at it even though you can’t see the wings.

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His Garden Grower skin is pretty cute too!

Joining Amazon Games

I joined Amazon Games a couple weeks ago as a technical writer on the Automation, Tools, and Insights team. I mentioned it on Kor’kron 501st, my other blog, where I talk about World of Warcraft and other MMOs and Blizzard games due to Amazon Games having a new MMO called New World coming out soon. I wanted to mention it here as well because I’ll talk about non-MMOs on this blog.

Crucible is a hero-based shooter released last week developed by Relentless Studios and published by Amazon Games. I don’t have much experience with this genre, but I’ve been playing it a lot this past week and really enjoying it. I included the trailer at the top!

K.K. Slider arrived on Luna

K.K. Slider visited Luna for the first time last week! I’m excited to get him to visit!

I finally spoke to Isabelle because I was curious how my island was doing. I wasn’t focusing on anything in particular to get K.K. Slider to visit. As soon as I checked with her, K.K. Slider wanted to visit!

Now I get my buddy K.K. Slider every Saturday! I love his songs and am glad he’s back again!

Some friends visited Saturday to listen to the concert.

gem even had a special request! 🙂

Dapper Day on Luna

Sunday was supposed to be Dapper Day at Disneyland, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19. They encouraged Dapper Day at Home, so I threw a Dapper Day party on my island, Luna!

From left to right, that’s Jenn, Joe, gem, Duncan, me, Aren, and Haley! While they weren’t shown in this screenshot, Niki and Steph visited as well.

gem from calamansi was looking very dapper on her third day of owning the game!

DrAstroPhD (Joe) from Drapland was quite the striking duck.

Tarok (Aren) from Thighland was oh-so-handsome.

Duncan from Robot Isle was stylish and our second duck.

Jenn from Calico had a variety of cute outfits and was our third duck! I especially liked the outfit you can see her wearing at the top of this post. Disneybound Donald Duck!

HAywinz (Haley) from `meruem` was not only looking good, but she brought me a cherry-blossom wand, and I’m so excited to be able to transform my outfits! Thank you!

Nikē (Niki) from Avalon was fabulous and quite purple.

Stay_Fresh (Steph) from Sty’lnd was indeed looking fresh in her dapper dress!

I hosted a scavenger hut by burying a ton of junk, a few bags of bells, and two pieces of fencing around the island. The fence pieces could be redeemed with me for Nook Miles Tickets! Congratulations to Joe and Duncan (I think)!

At one point Duncan led an assault on me!

Niki, Jenn, gem, and I played in the aquarium a little.

Jenn also shared the pitfall with us so we could all learn the recipe. Plus, somehow a few of us fell in accidentally!

Happy Dapper Day! It’s too bad we didn’t get to have it in person, but I enjoyed playing on Luna with my friends!

 

Animal Crossing with NikÄ“ (who might be a monster)

I visited NikÄ“ recently, and we spent some time exploring her island. I can’t believe it was our first time playing together!

Okay, I’m dumb and accidentally took a screenshot instead of taking the photo in the game. Oops.

She invited me to her island so she could craft me cherry blossom items that I was missing. Sounds nice of her, right? But deep down, Nikē had scary motives. She came in the bathroom and watched me as I try the bidet! You can already see how alarming it was when the water hit me, but it was so much weirder with her watching.

And then she used the toilet with me! What happens on this island? Why are there side-by-side toilets? Why is the bathroom covered in turnips?! Oh god!

Cherry blossoms in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The cherry blossom seasonal event in Animal Crossing: New Horizon was great! I wish we could get a little longer with them, but I guess they want to be true to reality.

This is the side of my house – a little place for a picnic!

As the sun set, the cherry blossoms looked extra beautiful!

I have this nice little swing chair in the back.

Here it is fully-equipped with all the cherry blossom items, which I didn’t have earlier in the day.

After the event ended, the trees outside returned to normal. I moved the cherry blossom items inside with the sakura wood floor and walls.

I like the cherry blossom floor and wall even better! Isn’t that magical?

I decided to make it my bedroom. I think I’ll just stay in this bed all day!

Bunny Day in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Bunny Day was the first major holiday in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and I’m just glad it’s over. If you didn’t play it, basically everything you do could drop eggs, and those eggs were used as materials to craft items. But there were way, way too many eggs. Nintendo nerfed the drop rates a couple days into the event, which is good, but this is still a bad sign for future events.

That said, it didn’t stop me from collecting everything and creating a Bunny Day room.

Here it is with the lights off. I really like the Bunny Day lamp, which is an egg, and the garlands that can be turned on and off.

You can see a little clip showcasing my Bunny Day room above!

P.S. Zipper is creepy.

Social distance with Speed Dating for Ghosts

Speed Dating for Ghosts is a dating sim and visual novel in which you’re, as you might guess, a ghost.

I like Spooky Peter because of his name! Unlike most dating sims I’ve played in the past, Speed Dating for Ghosts doesn’t involve a long campaign in which you choose a single partner over the course of the game. In this game, you’ll end up on a date after a few minutes of playing. Afterwards, you can return to the speed dating location and choose to go on another date.

Speed Dating for Ghosts is definitely a little out there compared to similar games. It’s less about romance and more about companionship, loneliness, and self-discovery.

Plus in the DLC, you meet a dog! Oh, and you also meet a demon and the ghost of a vampire. Speed Dating for Ghosts was funny but frank about death, and I really enjoyed it. It’s available on PC, Switch, and iOS, and it was under $10 when I bought it on Switch. It looks like it’ $5.24 right now. I recommend it!

Another week on Luna

It’s been another beautiful week on Luna in Animal Crossing: New Horizons! I’m loving all the cherry blossoms everywhere right now, but I guess I’m getting ahead of myself.

I built Nook’s Cranny, the new store. It’s great except that it closes at 10.

Luna also now has its first bridge!

Do you ever wake up with Duncan standing over you? How frightening!

While I was hanging out with Duncan, Joe decided to visit! It was pretty unexpected, which was hilarious.

I also visited Joe’s island. He has a pizza oven! I have on in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp but not New Horizons. I need it! I really need it!

I ran into this monstrosity on his island! Ahhh!

I also visited Kristine, and she gave me cherries – the last fruit I needed!

I did a lot of fishing. April has some fish that are only found on the pier.

The stringfish was one of the fish that was going away at the end of March. It was March 31st and approaching midnight, and I still hadn’t caught it. The clocked rolled over into April. And then I saw a shadow of a fish. I ran for it, and I got the stringfish I needed!

Here I am enjoying a nice bamboo island.

When lightning strikes, the sky flashes for a brief moment.

I really love the sky in this game.

Look, a shooting star!

Lastly, my resident services and plaza got upgraded today! Hooray! Now, I need to continue searching for Stitches!

Exploring Luna, visiting Avalon, and making friends

I’ve been exploring Luna, my island more! Isn’t it beautiful?

Gulliver washed up on my shore, and I helped him fix his phone so he could get rescued.

I made a new friend named Wisp who likes to visit at night. He’s a little bit… easily frightened… but if you’re careful around him, he’s quite friendly!

Cherry likes to appreciate the local bugs.

This is my buddy Kody. Sometimes we like to hang out and fish together. I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like because he goes to bed early.

Okay, okay, Kody. I know you like to work out.

We built a new museum near my house, which is great! I love to appreciate the local exhibits!

I decided to venture into parts unknown and visit a mystery island. I love this spiral! I met Marina and asked her to move to my island.

I wasn’t prepared for the rain, but Marina was!

This island beat me up a bit, but I managed to capture tarantulas.

I also visited my friend nil on the island of Avalon.

His neighbor wasn’t around, but she apparently stacks up fish and bugs in her backyard. What a weirdo! Also, I think nil wanted to kill me.

nil came back to Luna with me next. We explored the museum together and had a great time.

Ooo fish!

Look, I’m part of the exhibit!

nil left this nice note on my bulletin board for Kody, who he didn’t have the chance to meet.

Thanks for visiting, nil!

Welcome to Luna! My first day with Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Welcome to Luna, my island paradise! I decided to get away from civilization and move far away to a remote island. I’ve set up my tent here next to water where it was so peaceful and serene. I made it perfect with some tiki torches and a little fire so I can step outside and stay toasty.

My time on Luna hasn’t been perfect however. I’ve been attacked by wasps… twice… during the single day of my new life here. But no matter, because I learned how make a medicine from Cherry, one of my neighbors.

I caught this hermit crab friend practically first thing. I think deep down it wants to be friends with me.

So now I have a roommate.

[It’s nice to play such a relaxing game. Even the calm music is nice in the background while I do other things. I have to admit, it juxtaposes Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp so harshly! That phone game is nothing but stress and timed chores! I’m really loving New Horizons though!]

Ghost Pokemon escape from Ghostbusters Firehouse!

While in New York City recently, I heard there was some trouble with the ghost containment unit down at the Ghostbuster HQ. Everything seemed okay to me at first, so I had fun taking some photos.

And then a Gengar spooked me! The containment unit had failed, and the ghost Pokemon had broken out!

These two bystanders seemed oblivious as they approached the Gastly.

Earthwormgem and I fought the ghost Pokemon, fixed the containment unit, and started trapping the ghosts back inside Ghostbusters HQ.

Shedinja seemed harmless, so Earthwormgem posed with it before we recaptured it.

You’re not scaring her, Haunter!

Ghosts like to haunt places that were significant in their lives. One got away from us, but I knew where it would go. It was time to venture to the New York Public Library.

A free-floating, full-torso, vaporous apparition! It fled inside, but I was in pursuit.

She just wants to be with her books, eh? Maybe I can let this one hang out in the library…

And, uh, here’s some more ghost Pokemon that escaped from HQ:

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp neon dance club!

Welcome to my neon dance club! I just love all the colors and lasers. Plus, I like K. K. Slider! I’d like to visit a place like this 🙂

gem came to visit, too. She didn’t intend to match me so exactly, but she chose most of the same items!

And here’s Stitches, my favorite villager; he’s ready to party with me!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Pizza Place

Did you know you could have your own pizza place in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp? You can if you build it! At my Pocket Camp Pizza Place, we can bake two fresh pies for you a time and offer plenty of seating to enjoy the hot slices.

Ready for dessert? A sweet treat is always a good compliment to pizza. Just visit the other side of the campsite to sweet pies, cupcakes, ice cream, or candy!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Mario campsite

Welcome to my Super Mario-themed campsite. It’s so cute that villagers can slide down the flagpole!

Stitches is proud to wear a Super Mario shirt.

Maple looks fabulous as Princess Peach.

And I think the Wario hat goes perfectly on Hippeux!

Here I am hanging out with another Mario – or wait, is that gem?!

Can’t forget the cabin, which in my case is now an aquarium of underwater Mario fun!

 

Finished a Boss Challenge and earned Costume dragon in Dragon Mania Legends

I hate Boss Challenge events in Dragon Mania Legends. Most events have a refresh period of 6 hours or so – meaning you have certain objectives you have to complete every 6 hour period. That’s nice because even if I have to play 15 minutes, I don’t have to worry about it again for a while.

Boss Challenge has a 2 hour delay delay between each part, which is much more annoying. It’s also hard to know how much of a grace period you have. If you wait three hours, you’ve wasted an hour. If you waste too much time, you probably can’t finish.

Well, I finally finished one. Yes, I had to spend some gems at the end, but I never purchase gems with real money so I’ll consider this a win! I also never needed to interrupt my sleep or anything important during the day. I just tried to be more punctual about checking the event when I was able.

Giving my best-friend confection to Stitches in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

For Valentine’s Day, Nintendo gave each player one best-friend confection to give to their animal of choice in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. When you give it to an animal, that animal gives you a bell-jar bouquet with a note attached. There are three types you can get, but I didn’t think about what reward I wanted. I knew I had to give my best-friend confection to Stitches! He’s the best!

2-man Attack Forme Deoxys EX raid

I had two EX Raids to do at the same time and didn’t get a response in the Discord for the second about a later group. I went anyways, and no one was going for a second round. I figured I might as well attempt it despite neither of the two accounts with me being 40. Turns out, this raid is incredibly easy. I had about half the time remaining!

Divine New Year in Dragon Mania Legends

Dragon Mania Legends is a typical phone game in that there are multiple currencies in the game, and one of them is purchased using real money. Their events ramp up in difficulty in what I assume is obviously an attempt to get people to spend money to finish them. And I don’t spend real money on this game.

In this style of events, you go through multiple levels unlocking chests. A chest can contain the key to the next level or a puzzle piece toward unlocking a dragon. (Collecting dragons is the primary goal of the game.) The last level has a chest that will contain the a dragon itself, and this is basically the goal of the event. This event celebrated Chinese New Year, and the final dragon was the Nezha dragon.

For the first time, I was able to get that final dragon! The event ends tonight, and I got it this morning. And yet I did some quick math and found that it would be impossible for me to get the puzzle piece dragon at this point without spending real money. Still, I’m happy I finally got the end dragon in one of these events!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – New Year

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I’ve been playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp recently. Is it time for a new hat, or can I wear my Happy New Year hat for a little longer? I realize I haven’t blogged here much in a while, and part of that is because I think I need to say something specific. Should I explain what Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is and review it before I start to write about it? No, I don’t want to do that. I just want to talk about the game. But if you want to add me as a friend, my ID is 2604 7697 654!

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Also, this amuses me. These are my only two friends in the game that I actually know, and for a moment I wondered how my friend could be in two spots at the same time. It took me a second to realize that they just dressed similarly today. That’s gem on the left and Anela on the right. Nice fashion!

Polygons and Pixels blogging in review for 2016

It was quite the slow year for Polygons and Pixels in 2016. I only published 4 articles total. This has been my slowest blog since I created it, but it’s still surprising.

Besides the homepage, the top articles include topics such as Castle Doombad, World of Goo for Android, “bob’s game,” Lifeline, and Papers, Please. I got more visits from the US by far, but following the US are Brazil, UK, Germany, and France. Thanks!

Here are the views by year:

  • 2012: 593 views, 91 visitors (blog started in June)
  • 2013: 6,858 views, 3,933 visitors
  • 2014: 7,891 views, 5,010 visitors
  • 2015: 4,029 views, 3,106 visitors
  • 2016: 2,251 views, 1,690 visitors

I didn’t do much serious gaming in 2016. I played a lot of Hearthstone, Overwatch, and some World of Warcraft: Legion. I tried Lifeline 2 and was disappointed. The only console game I played was BattleBlock Theater, which I finally beat. I also played a couple storylines of Hatoful Boyfriend after my friend, Tram, suggested it. I played a ton of Sailor Moon Drop, Dragon Mania Legends, and Pokemon Go. Super Mario Maker got a little playtime (and blog posts) as well. KOMRAD finally was released for iOS, and I played that. If you count party games, Jackbox got a lot of play. In December, I started playing Ingress at the suggestion of my friend Chuck. Finally, I downloaded Super Mario Run and tried to resist paying for the full game. I lasted two days.

@gameboycameraman’s photography

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Jean-Jacques Calbayrac posts photos taken with his Game Boy Camera to his interesting themed Instagram account, @gameboycameraman. The earliest photo I see on his account is from May 7, 2016, so it seems like this is a relatively new endeavor despite old hardware. He’s based in London and seems to take photos around his city (despite the recent photos taken of the game No Man’s Sky, which I find to be quite the disappointing subject for a neat experiment). It’s neat to see the world through the more restrictive lens of the Game Boy Camera, an accessory for the original Game Boy first released in 1998. Restriction can lead to beautiful results.

The photo shown in this post can be found here.

Super Mario Maker: Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

No celebration is complete without some Super Mario Maker! It was my birthday last month, and while I was spending the day with some of my closest friends, I wanted everybody to come together to make a level with me. Our creation was Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash! If you look closely in the screenshot above, you’ll see “Happy birthday Peter” spelled out in the level.

For those interested in playing it, you can find it using the ID BBD9-0000-01E1-1F90.

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

Anela kicked off the level with some springs, pits, and a number of enemies. She didn’t pull her punches either. Just when you think she might be nice, she has a trick up her sleeve.

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

Antonio worked on the next section, and his girlfriend Kaleigh contributed as well. His section contain projectiles, fire beams, thwomps, and more. The POW comes in handy though!

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

You can usually tell gem’s sections because they’re filled with coins. The areas void of coins in her section spelled out “happy birthday.” You have to take your time here or you could fall to your death.

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

Edward started his section by spelling my name. He also filled it with lakitus. You really need a star to get through this part (which we added when the level was too hard).

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

This section was also created by Edward. It seems like he likes enemies.

Super Mario Maker: Peter's 30th Birthday Bash

I ended the level with some Bowser, Jr. enemies and one Bowser.

It was a blast making the level with everybody. I love how you don’t have to be super into video games to enjoy Super Mario Maker. Check it out using the ID BBD9-0000-01E1-1F90.

Thank you to everybody who celebrated my birthday and made Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash with me!

“bob’s game” Kickstarter updates after twenty months

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For an overview of bob’s game, see my post The strange tale of “bob’s game.”

Robert Pelloni’s Kickstarter for his game “bob’s game” succeeded back in May of 2014. I wrote about it in a post called “bob’s game” Kickstarter succeeds. Since it succeeded, he made a single Kickstarter update a year late rin May of 2015. Of course, I wrote about that too in post titled bob’s game Kickstarted: one year later. Now we finally have another update. You can check out the update on Kickstarter under the name Small update.

The condensed version of his update is that it seemed pretty honest about his troubles. He “set the bar low for the Kickstarter,” but it seems he set it too low. He used the money to get an apartment for eight months but eventually ended up living out of his van for the next six. She pitched the game to invenstors without success. He eventually got another apartment and enrolled in online classes. (It’s unclear if he’s still in school.) He also discussed some issues he had porting “bob’s game.”

It looks like he’s hoping to port the bob’s game puzzle game first to multiple platforms to help give him income to work on “bob’s game” the RPG. (For some context on the name, bob’s game is a puzzle game. It’s a stand-alone game, but it’s also the final game within the RPG “bob’s game.” “bob’s game” is a game about bob’s game.)

Both bob’s game and “bob’s game” have been listed on Steam Greenlight.

Good luck, Robert!

I’ve linked the original sources, but I’ll reproduce the update as well as the Steam Greenlight descriptions here:

bob’s game (puzzle game) from “bob’s game” Steam Greenlight description:

bob’s game is the best puzzle game ever made.

The legendary bob’s game is the final game from the infamous homebrew Action-RPG “bob’s game” (a game about the puzzle game- note the double quotes!). You can check out the separate Greenlight entry for that game here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=604630184

bob’s game is a multiplayer puzzle game- but not just any puzzle game, *every* puzzle game! It’s a build-your-own puzzle game with a puzzle game creator where you define all the rules to your own custom game!

More than that, great care has been made to ensure that bob’s game is the *best* version of every puzzle game. I went through every puzzle game forum and wiki I could find and made sure to implement every detail and feature required by tournament level hardcore players. It has wall kicks, floor kicks, spin kicks, T-spins, adjustable timing, powerups, you name it.

The rules of bob’s game change in real time as you play it, morphing from game to game and making every round completely unique. Or you can choose to play just your favorite game type against your friends with fantastic controls, super tight timing, and features and powerups from other games.

bob’s game is completely customizable, allowing the player to create in-depth rulesets to mimic existing puzzle games or create entirely new ones to add to the online library.

Create your own puzzle modes! Invent custom rulesets or challenge your friends to a sequence of all your favorite games. Compete in an online world championship and improve your skills to reach the top of the public leaderboard.

bob’s game is constantly evolving with new theme packs, new rules, and user-designed puzzle packs.

This game is not complete, the Java demo featured in the video is an early alpha “MVP” version and I’d like to add many more features. I am also currently porting it back to C++ from Java so that it runs as smoothly as possible with no garbage collection hiccups and can be ported to any platform.

It will be released and continuously updated for desktop PC both standalone and in browser, and on mobile for Android and iPhone, with the source code available to be ported to any other platform.

You can play the alpha version that appears in the video as an embedded game inside the “bob’s game” RPG Demo 3 for PC here: http://bobsgame.com/files/bobsgame_demo_3_dist_win.zip

“bob’s game” is a game about a game called bob’s game. I worked on it for a long time. It’s not done so I want to get it on Early Access.

See more about it on http://bobsgame.com

Please download and play the demos if you have questions about the gameplay.
(Remember: Don’t give up on Tetrid, there is a trick to it.)

Download Demo 1+2 for PC here: http://bobsgame.com/files/bobsgame_demo_2_final.zip
Download Demo 3 for PC here: http://bobsgame.com/files/bobsgame_demo_3_dist_win.zip

Also see the separate Greenlight entry for the bob’s game puzzle game (the best puzzle game ever made) here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=603367632

I’ve also listed the custom BobEdit tools and “bob’s game” engine used to make this game on Greenlight, so that others can make games using them if they want:http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=604913553

“bob’s game” Kickstarter update #2, Small update:

I set the bar low for the Kickstarter but I was hoping it would make enough for at least a year or two of development.  Unfortunately it barely made the minimum amount, but in my situation I had to take what I could get.

I chose to get an apartment instead of trying to live in a van, thinking I’d be better off with the convenience and hoping that I’d be able to figure out something else in that time.  This only gave me an 8 month extension, and I spent most of it still very traumatized and frustrated and I did not find any other solutions.

Once I ran out, I ended up living in my car again for another 6 months until I could find another way to support myself.  I tried sending a pitch deck to over 300 investors and even went door to door on Sand Hill Road.  I emailed every publisher I could find.  I applied for YCombinator and 500 Startups.  None of that worked, so I ended up enrolling in online classes and taking out student loans.

So now I’m back in an apartment and I’ve slowly started getting back into development after almost 2 years of sleeping in a car.

I’ve listed both the puzzle game and the RPG on Steam Greenlight, in hopes that I could get on Early Access, which would really be great for my situation since I could possibly make some steady income as I worked on the games.

I’m still moving forward with the games the best I can and I will still fulfill the backer rewards when I am able to do so.  I am still living on borrowed time, but I’ll do the best I can with the time that I have.

I’m currently porting the Java puzzle game to C++ so that it runs as smoothly as possible. It will be released and continuously updated for desktop PC both standalone and in browser, and on mobile for Android and iPhone, with the source available to be ported to any other platform.

I am doing this as it is the fastest way that I can possibly gain some reliable income, so that I can work on the RPG without worrying about my situation.​

I am not sure what I’m going to do with the RPG. I rewrote it in Java as an MMO so the game world could be continuously updated on the fly.  I was successful at doing that but it is very cumbersome to develop on at this point and it needs to be worked on by a team with funding, not one person with no resources.​

I had gotten caught up in the Silicon Valley hype and thought it would be possible to get investment for a fairly large existing project with a cool online demo. Unfortunately that was not the case.  It would probably have helped to have had some traction and numbers, but maybe it’s just too small of a project for big investors to care, or maybe my background is too risky, or maybe it’s just not good enough.

I’m also unhappy with the state of Java, and the client doesn’t run well enough on mobile which I was really hoping for and one of my deciding factors.​  I had anticipated that Java would become more popular because of Android and hence also more supported on the desktop, but because of some security issues and the lawsuit between Google and Oracle it became less popular.  I would really like to port it back to C++ but that will take a long time, so for now I will stick with Java. I will probably just scale it back to a single player desktop game and release manual updates, or have a good upgrade function built in.

Polygons and Pixels blogging 2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

I would have guessed that most of my traffic was due to bob’s game, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Besides the homepage, “All done with Castle Doombad” got most of my views.

  1. All done with Castle Doombad – 318 views
  2. Backing up Android’s World of Goo saves – 292 views
  3. Energy Drinks – 175 views
  4. Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game sprites – 99 views
  5. The strange tale of “bob’s game” – 81 views

I only made 28 new posts this year. This has always been my slowest blog, and as I find myself not playing games much, it obviously slows down much more.

I thought it’d be neat to show my views per year. I started this blog in June 2012, so let’s start the data with 2013.

  • 2013: 6,858
  • 2014: 7,891
  • 2015: 4,027

Click here to see the complete report.

32AB – bobsgame.com’s forum is online

bob's game

It looks like something happening with bob of bob’s game. Frequent commenter Nox pointed me in the direction of bobsgame.com, which is now titled “32AB” and contains a forum with little information.

bob’s posted on the forum once in reply to a thread asking for his life story that he once posted.

“Please do not post the story, thank you. I will post an updated version in the future.”

I’ve talked about it a bit in the past, and I have an archived copy. Honestly, I have little hope he’s going to release anything, but he does have my money already, and I’d be pleasantly surprised to see a release of any sort. It’s been an interesting ride regardless of the outcome.

Super Mario Maker Level: Sinister Den

Super Mario Maker Sinister Den

Instead of making levels with friends, I recently decided to try playing alone and designing my own level. This is Sinister Den! It’s really not so sinister, but I have realized I like lots of jumping and bouncing at the beginning of levels apparently. And don’t worry, this bouncy part is only one section.

Super Mario Maker Sinister Den

Be careful not to kill friends. Also, remember that coins can help guide you. There are no traps in the level. Trust the coins.

Super Mario Maker with friends

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Super Mario Maker was released Friday. As the release date approached, I really thought I could resist. I know I just don’t care to devote as much time to playing games as I once did, but I cracked pretty quickly on Friday and bought a copy. Even if I barely play it, it’s more than just a game. It’s a celebration of 30 years of Mario and the culture surrounding those games.

Super Mario Maker

I see it primarily as a social tool, so I designed my first level with friends. Here’s Anela, gem, and Antonio working on our level. We each took turns adding to it. The joy of Nintendo is how it brings people together and creates such rich culture around their properties. I knew gem would have fun with Super Mario Maker because we played it at SDCC this year, but what about Anela and Antonio? At least Antonio plays games and owns consoles, but I wasn’t confident Anela would have fun. However, they both did. Anela went crazy adding as many mushrooms as she could to her part of the level and then insisted I get those mushrooms when I played. Antonio and gem both set up traps in attempts to trick the players. There was a lot of laughter, so I think everybody had a great time. We’ve also been playing Super Mario 3D World. Like Super Mario Maker, even those who don’t play games often have had fun with it. Sure, Anela requests that we carry her through some parts, but she has as much fun, if not more, as the rest of us! Nintendo’s amazing at making their games accessible and enjoyable to people who don’t play games often.

Here’s our masterpiece – “Super cool friends Petanegemio.” It’s a majestic level! Okay, maybe not majestic, but I’ve played it a couple times, and I have fun when I do. Better than just enjoying some random Mario level, this one reminds me of my friends – Anela’s mushroom block maze, gem’s Money Zone of coins and trap (in which I totally fall in that video), and Antonio’s journey into the sky and trap (that I managed to avoid). It’s a masterpiece, at least to me.

“Mario Myths with Mr Miyamoto” helped push me into purchasing it. It’s such a simple video, but it helps accentuate the beauty of Nintendo and their games. It made me tear up just a little, especially the idea that it’s been 30 years since Super Mario Bros. Oh, and that hard hat Mario wears for Super Mario Maker. It’s so cute and representative of the game that’s a perfectly designed icon.

Super Mario Maker (and Super Mario 3D World and so many other Nintendo properties) are really works of art, beautifully created to bring people together accompanied by a soundtrack of their own laughter.

Thank you for the fun times Nintendo, Miyamoto, and all my friends who have played Mario with me!

Immerse Virtual Reality Headset

Note: This review was originally posted at Game Boyz.

Flying over Stormwind on Azeroth, piloting a Jaeger, running with dinosaurs, and tearing off the headset after getting scared are all new experiences I had with the Immerse Virtual Reality Headset. This headset uses your smartphone and side-by-side video to show 3D content. While there are some imperfections, it delivers a fun experience limited primarily by what 3D content is available. After playing with it for a week, I’m very excited for the future of VR.

ivrh_psa_2

The headset

First, let’s look at the headset itself. The main body is plastic with a door that flips down. Inside is a bracket in which I placed my iPhone 6 before snapping it closed. There’s a small hole on the side so I can connect headphones, a strap to fit around my head, and foam where it fits against my face. The eyepieces can be adjusted left and right as well as forward and backward.

The 3D effect is generated due to half of the split screen video being shown to each eye. There’s a plastic divider that blocks the left eye from viewing the right side of the screen and vice versa. The slightly different angle in each half of the video is combined to create the 3D effect.

It’s fairly comfortable, but there are a few limitations due to the nature of the device. First, I’m unable to use my glasses in the headset. Luckily my eyesight isn’t too bad, so I could still enjoy it. I can’t say whether that’s good for my vision though, and I suspect it isn’t. Second, the screen divider didn’t quite touch the screen. This allowed each eye to get a slight peak at a sliver of the opposite side. When viewing 3D content, this creates a small, vertical strip on the very left and very right of your vision that’s incorrect. In addition, the quality of the image is limited by the resolution of your phone. Lastly, I wasn’t so sure about aspect ratios. When I viewed side-by-side 3D YouTube videos, the video itself is widescreen but split into two halves. Each of those halves is then not a normal video aspect ratio. While some videos still looked fine, some were obviously stretched.

Videos

I started my exploration by looking for 3D content on YouTube. This was accomplished by searching for “side-by-side 3D” or “sbs 3D.” A nice proof-of-concept was “World’s BesT SBS 3D POP OUT EffecTs EVER” that was filled with 3D effects. There were also a variety of trailers and even music videos.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t really a large catalog of 3D videos that were more than what I’d consider proofs-of-concept. Netflix does apparently have 3D content, at least from what I could tell doing a bit of research, but it doesn’t look like the iOS app is aware that someone could be using a device like this one. There was no 3D content on the Netflix iOS app. There are other choices for streaming video though, and pretty much every site had some appropriate videos. Of course, you can also just put your own videos on your phone. I was able to watch my own side-by-side 3D video files, and that was pretty cool! I just hope in the future that Netflix gives me the ability to watch them.

Apps

This is where I get most excited. These are all basically interactive films. Unlike the 3D video I discussed above in which the 3D consists of effects that seem to pop out, these videos allow you to look around by turning your head. It’s really cool.

ivrh_psa_4

First, there’s DinoTrek VR Experience. In this experience, you’re tagging along dinosaurs – running away from predators, soaring through the air, and looking for food.

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Next, there are a couple neat videos in the Legendary VR app. First, I experienced (I used the word “watched” at first, but it’s more than watching) The Skies of Azeroth. Be sure to download it rather than selecting the “YouTube 360” option. This puts you on the back of a gryphon, flying over the human city of Stormwind in Warcraft’s world of Azeroth. Moving your head moves your vision, and you can look anywhere – behind you, below you, even at the gryphon itself.

ivrh_psa_6

The Legendary VR app also has Pacific Rim Jaeger Pilot. As soon as it started, I couldn’t help but exclaim, well, let’s just pretend I said “fudge yeah” because I don’t want to cuss in this review. It was amazing – short but awesome. To be honest, yeah, it was mostly proof-of-concept. But please, please, give me more. If you haven’t wanted to pilot a Jaeger, Gundam, Evangelion, or some mecha suit, you must be nuts.

ivrh_psa_7

Lastly, I’d like to mention Insidious Chapter 3. This VR experience corresponds to a film series with which I’m unfamiliar, but I can say that’s it horror. Less than thirty seconds into it I yelled “shoot” before pulling the headset off. Again, I cleaned up my language a bit. A VR headset certainly brings horror to the next level.

Final thoughts

While most of the 3D content floating on the web seems to be demonstrations, there is some really cool content. These 3D, 360 degree experiences are the exciting aspects in my opinion with regular 3D films being icing on the cake. I’m hoping that Netflix, my streaming service of choice, makes finding 3D content easier in the future. In the mean time, I’ll have to go hunting for my own 3D videos. Really, I just can’t wait to find more 360 degrees, immersive experiences. The ones I discussed above were so exciting, and I bet there are more great ones I haven’t yet found.

The Immerse Virtual Reality Headset is available for $39.99 from Sharper Image.

This review was based on a free review sample.

You can contact me at @TheUser on Twitter.

Live action FPS in Chatroulette

This is probably one of the most amazing games ever made, and I’ll never get to play it.

Realm Pictures put together a live version of a first-person shooter video game played over online the online chat services Chatroulette, Omegle, and Skype. The “player character” asks the chat partner what to do, and the unsuspecting chatter gets to take control. How come I never got something like this when I tried Chatroulette?

I love all the touches of FPS culture – finding better weapons, starting with a crowbar, needing to connect the battery. I especially love the HUD, the over-acted grunts and exclamations, the exaggerated recoil and reloads. It’s really a thing of beauty.

Source: Realm Pictures
Via: Engadget

9 Months In

9 months in

Back in March, I mentioned wanting to come back to 9 Months In, a point and click adventure game about a pregnant woman in prison who claims to be innocent. I finally got around to playing it again recently and enjoyed it. Despite some minor flaws, I think it’s worth the hour or so to complete it. It doesn’t hurt that it’s free.

The protagonist claims to be innocent despite being convicted of attempted murder. She believes she was framed by someone because she made a lot of enemies working for the DA. When she finds her cellmate dead with signs pointing to her as the murderer, she investigates who could be setting her up.

Let me cut to the chase and say that I found out you can double-click to skip animations. I didn’t know that but read it in a forum. That would probably make things go quicker. The voice-acting also highlights the fact that it’s an amateur game. That’s okay, but I found it the weakest aspect of the game.

Anyways, I managed to get the end that hints at some interesting reveals, but with only 90 of 100 points, I didn’t earn the ending that actually revealed everything. I read some more information online that talked about the reveals – enough that I can infer it – but I didn’t actually find out exactly what was happening. Even when replaying the game, I didn’t get the 95 points needed.

If you choose to play it and want to try for the best ending, here are a couple hints. Don’t read them if you don’t want any spoilers.

Ready? Yeah?

Examine everything, and always tell the truth.

Chip’s Challenge 2 (finally) released!

chip's challenge 2

Chip’s Challenge has always been one of my favorite games since I first played it with my dad, grandpa, and uncle on the Atari Lynx. Chuck Sommerville made a sequel, but due to issues beyond his control, he wasn’t able to release it. Twenty-five years later, Chip’s Challenge 2 has finally been released.

chip's challenge 2

It was released alongside Chip’s Challenge 1 on Steam and can be purchased in a $5 bundle that contains both games and the CC2 level editor.

chip's challenge 2

It’s a tile-based puzzle game tasking you with helping Chip collect keys, unlock doors, avoid deadly traps, and plan how to retrieve important items that allow you to get past obstacles. Chip’s Challenge 2 appears very similar but adds a variety of a new game elements.

chip's challenge 2

It’s probably too early for me to talk about it too in-depth as I’m only eight levels into the game. However, I’m having a lot of fun, and it’s almost unbelievable that I’m finally playing this gem of a game. It came at a time when I’m about to be extremely busy for the next week, but I’ll see if I can squeeze in a few levels while at my conference next week!

Congratulations, Chuck, on finally getting Chip’s Challenge 2 released! Go Bit Buster!

bob’s game Kickstarted: one year later

bob's game

[Updated on 5/30/15. See bottom of post.]

bob’s game was successfully funded on Kickstarter one year ago today. Right now the official bob’s game site just links to the Kickstarter and we’re no closer to the game. What happened exactly? Let’s look at what Bob has said in the comments since it was Kickstarted.

bobsgame, 5/23/14: Thank you to everyone who pledged, you are all fantastic and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to continue working on this game. For those who are wondering, it made it on the last day thanks to a very generous backer who has been following the project from the beginning.

His site noted that he was going on a 10 day meditation retreat.

bobsgame, 7/31/14: Hi, I realized during my meditation that the best course of action was to spend some time with my parents and then get an apartment for a year, so that’s what I’ve been doing. As soon as I’m settled in I will put up a registration form for backers to provide an address for the business cards and then ship them out. Thank you and sorry for the delay.

Backer, 8/1/14: You guys should relax a bit. lol He will give us updates when he has something worth letting us know about. Obviously, he didn’t feel like “spending time with family” would be a good update but some of you guys being impatient made him come here and post that. There was no ETA on the cards in the pledge rewards description so people who pledged to get those need to wait until they’re ready to be shipped. This game is obviously going to take time and there is only one person working on it, so give it time guys.

Gran PC, 8/2/14: There was no ETA? Wait, so what does the “Estimated delivery: Jul 2014” mean right under “Original business card blah blah”?

bobsgame, 8/2/14: Thank you for being understanding, Backer. GranPC is correct, I missed that shipping date. I’m very sorry for the delay, I’ll do my best to make up for it.

Massimiliano Luisi, 10/31/14: Progress so far?

bobsgame, 10/31/14: Working on stuff

bobsgame, 12/31/14: Happy New Year!

At this time, there was a Forbes article by Michael Thomsen about bob’s game. It noted that, at least at the time, “Pelloni claims his Kickstarter backers will be ‘reimbursed,’ and the game will be released in its current unfinished state as an open source bundle of files.”

Bob’s Game Kickstarter To Be Refunded After Developer Moves On, Michael Thomsen, Forbes.com, 1/14/15.

bobsgame, 2/8/15: Everything is back on track, more or less.

Giroro, 2/26/15: I’m bored. Anybody know of any fun games to play?

bobsgame, 2/26/15: Go running

Gran PC, 2/27/15: Was the ‘welcome to “bob’s game”‘ text on top always animated? I swear it only started pulsing now.

bobsgame, 2/27/15: I didn’t change anything

Peter Anargirou, 5/23/15: Hi, Bob. The Kickstarter funding closed one year ago today. Any update? Thanks, and I wish you good luck!

And that’s it. Honestly, I only pledged $20. I already got $20 worth of enjoyment, but I do hope it reaches a more polished release of some sort, both for his backers’ sake and for his own sake.

I guess we’ll see. You can read my complete coverage of this strange tale here.

Edit on 5/30/15: Bob responded.

bobsgame, 5/24/15: I am turning into God.

Trimming the backlog

In an effort to get through my backlog, I played a lot of my games in the last couple months. I found most of them boring and didn’t give them much time, but some were entertaining  for a while. Let’s look at some of the games I tried and decided to stop playing.

Tyrian 2000

Tyrian 2000

Tyrian 2000 is a scrolling shooter with nothing special about it. It didn’t grab my attention at all.

hell yeah wrath of the dead rabbit

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit

I’d call this a run ‘n’ gun game, but I guess that’s not really a genre. It’s like a fast-paced Contra, only not as good as Contra. I do like the visual style, but there’s too much happening on the screen all the time. You control a rabbit who’s the prince of hell, and you travel around killing enemies in bloody ways. I know it’s trying to be over the top, but it felt too over the top.

ben there dan that

Ben There, Dan That

This point-and-click adventure game obviously draws inspiration from Lucas Arts. It references a number of early, pioneering games of the genre, which I think is neat. From the few minutes I spent with it, I feel like it could be a good choice if you’re craving a point-and-click adventure game with some chuckles, but it wasn’t doing enough for me.

Time Gentlemen, Please

Time Gentlemen, Please

This is the direct follow up to Ben There, Dan That. As the first didn’t interest me, I didn’t give the second more than a minute or so before decided it didn’t interest be either.

dead mountaineer's hotel

Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel

This point-and-click adventure game was translated from a Russian game based on a Russian sci-fi detective novel (at least according to Wikipedia). It seemed very forced, like the game was dragging from to each scene, and nothing seemed particularly engaging. The voice-acting was odd too. Reviews claimed it was very anti-climatic, and it seems that some pretty major plot points were changed with negative consequences from the original novel. I decided to pass on this.

limbo

Limbo

While I probably put less than an hour into Limbo and don’t feel like playing it more, I’m glad I experienced it. This screenshot alone does a decent job of summarizing the feel of the game. It’s a strange puzzle platformer game that’s a bit eerie. Deaths are definitely gruesome as well without having too much gore and shock value. From what I understand, it’s a fairly short game too, which is nice.

hotline miami

Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami reminds me of Grand Theft Auto in a number of ways. You commit crimes, you beat people senseless, and it’s pretty brutal. It has an arcade vibe that I liked, but I just didn’t feel like I was getting enough out of it. My friend Michael loves the game though, which does push me a little bit more toward putting more time into it. I just don’t quite care enough.

Nidhogg

Duncan bought this simple game on his PS4. It doesn’t quite fit in this list because I didn’t really give up on it. There’s a single-player  that mimics multiplayer, but it’s basically a multiplayer game. And I played it a bunch! In a pixelated, stylized setting, two players engage in sword duels in relatively quick matches. It’s great when people are at the house and has lots of settings you can change to mix the gameplay. It also supports tournaments if you have more than two players.

superbrothers: sword & sworcery ep

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

I’m not really sure how to describe Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. It’s definitely visually and aurally beautiful. From what I played, it was mostly an intellectual game. There is combat, but the game is mostly about exploring, figuring out what to do, reading minds, and dreaming. Oh, and music is important too. Yeah, it’s a strange game. Compared to most of the other games I discussed, this game appealed to me a lot more.

Snapshot

Snapshot

Snapshot is a neat idea for a platformer. You control the character with the keyboard but are able to cut and paste objects using the mouse. That’s it. That’s the idea. The visuals are neat, with a cute main character too. If I didn’t have so many other things asking for my time, I’d probably play this one a bit more.

 

 

More Papers, Please

Two minor things I wanted to mention after talking about Papers, Please recently.

First, Collin shared this video with me. It’s fantastic. Glory to Arstotzka!

arstotzka civilization 5 papers please

Second, there’s a mod for Sid Meier’s Civilization V that adds Arstotzka as a nation. I don’t play Civ V, but the mod seems interesting to me anyways. It’s created by Snakeeater337 and can be found on Steam as Arstotzka (Requires BNW) for Sid Meier’s Civilization V).

Papers, Please: Complicit in tyranny through paper-pushing

Papers, Please

Every day is exactly the same. “Papers, please.” She slides her papers to me – hopefully all of them. I look at her passport. I check the Entry Permit. I validate her Work Pass. I verify her Certificate of Vaccination. I compare the papers, looking for discrepancies. Just when I’m about to approve her for entrance to Arstotzka, I realize her Work Pass expires before her Entry Permit. She seems so sincere about it being a mistake that I’m torn; for her sake, I want to grant her entry, but I’ll get fined if I do, and I desperately need money. Putting my own well-being first, I could deny her entry.

Papers, Please

But if I’m going to think of myself, I could have her detained. I get a kickback when I detain people.

Papers, Please

Choices like this are the crux of Papers, Please by Lucas Pope. You’re awarded a job as an immigration inspector in the labor lottery. While the job starts simply with only a few pieces of information, the rules become more complex as political tensions grow.

Papers, Please

Do you look out for your self and family, uphold the ideals of Arstotzka, or work to undermine the totalitarian government? Papers, Please is filled with fascinating moral choices. Unlike most games that have choices that either don’t matter or are quite obvious, you’re presented here with ambiguous situations. Is it right to let a suspected sex trafficker into Arstotzka if his papers are in order? If he really is a sex trafficker and you grant him entry, you’re harming people. If you deny him entrance, you help people, but you get fined, and you desperately need money. And what if he’s not really a sex trafficker at all? It’s scary to me to think that real people have to make decisions like these every day. By playing Papers, Please, it gives you perspective on how one becomes so complicit under a corrupt government. The job seems so dull but can have vast impact. And as you mundanely follow your orders, just being a good citizen, you allow corruption to spread.

Papers, Please

While it sounds like such a simple game, Papers, Please has an exciting story with many endings. With so much ambiguity, I don’t even want to talk about the major story branches of the game, but there are some drastically different turns with a handful of successful (albeit very different) endings and a multitude of failures. After beating the game, you also unlock the endless mode, which didn’t interest me as much.

Papers, Please

Papers, Please has been one of my favorite games since I first played it. I sunk more than 40 hours into it and earned all the achievements. Writing about games isn’t very difficult, but writing about games I love is. It’s hard to do the great games justice. (Note the lack of a post on Portal.) However, it seems appropriate that my 100th published post on this site is about a game I truly love.

Papers, Please

Glory to Arstotzka.

Lifeline for iOS gets you texting with a stranded astronaut

lifeline

Lifeline is a piece of interactive fiction released on iPhone and Apple Watch recently by 3 Minute Games. It’s told entirely through incoming text messages from Taylor, an astronaut who crashes on a far away moon. You shape Taylor’s survival by choosing one of two replies whenever he or she (the game doesn’t specify) asks you a question. It tells a intriguing story through a very interesting method.

lifeline

Sometimes Taylor just wants to chat, but other times Taylor asks something more important. Once I was asked if a certain amount of radiation was safe. Taylor asked me to look it up. I did, and I gave my answer, helping Taylor to survive that night. Other times the choices are less significant. Taylor nervously jokes like a real person might, even acknowledging the absurdity, and sometimes just asks which way you think he or she should walk.

It takes Taylor real time to do things too, which helps makes the game feel like Taylor’s someone with whom you’re actually communicating. If Taylor says it’ll take an hour to walk somewhere, you’ll have to wait an hour to hear what happens. This isn’t like those terrible Facebook games that make you pay to boost through an artificial delay; these delays add to the story. In addition, there’s no in-app purchases, DLC, ads, or anything else unsavory. You simply buy the game for $2.99 and enjoy it.

lifeline

In addition to touching a notification to jump into the game, you can also choose a reply directly from the notifications and even from the lock screen. This isn’t always perfect, because if you missed a lot of messages from Taylor, only the most recent handful will be displayed. Your choices can sometimes be cut off too, but it’s still pretty neat to be able to do that. You can start there and if you need to click through, click through.

As a fan of both interaction fiction and sci-fi, this was pretty perfect for me. The story was more interesting than I expected as well. It was $2.99 well spent.

 

 

 

Chip’s Challenge 1 & 2 releasing on Steam next month

Chip’s Challenge being released on Steam would be big enough news, but the bigger news is that Chip’s Challenge 2 is releasing as well. Shortly after finishing Chip’s Challenge, Chuck Sommerville created the sequel. Unfortunately, the copyright holder wanted him to front the money for publishing, so it was never released. CC2 has been simply a legend, a myth to fans. It’s really exciting to know that we’re going to be playing it soon!

I’ll have to get used to the graphics. It seems like most fans played Chip’s Challenge on Windows, but I played it on the Lynx, which features different graphics. I’m sure I’ll learn to love the new graphics as well.

chip's challenge

My autographed copy of Chip’s Challenge is the highlight of my game collection. Yeah, I’m definitely excited.

You can read the full press release below:

25 years later Chip’s Challenge 1 & 2 come to Steam in May

Twenty-five years have passed since Chip’s Challenge 1 was released on the Atari Lynx & Windows 3.1, a game fondly enjoyed by millions. However what’s not commonly known is a sequel was also created by Chuck Sommerville shortly after, but never released.

Chuck created Chip’s Challenge 1 in just ten weeks, he then spent two years designing Chip’s Challenge 2. However disaster struck, on finishing the development, Chuck found the trademark had been sold and the new owners wanted him to fund the publishing. Having just spent two years working onChip’s Challenge 2, Chuck couldn’t afford this, so with colossal personal sadnessChip’s Challenge 2 was shelved.

“When I couldn’t release Chip’s Challenge 2, it hit me really hard. Not only had I spent two years perfecting it, I also felt I’d let down the fans too.” Chuck Sommerville said. “I generally thought the only way Chip’s Challenge 2 was ever going to see the light of day was by having my wife leak it on the internet on my death.”

However two decades later, with fans continually pleading with Chuck to release Chip’s Challenge 2 and nearly five years of negotiation with the trademark owners, Chip’s Challenge 2 can now finally be released in all its original glory with every unseen levels and game elements on Steam, along with Chip’s Challenge 1.

“I’m so excited about getting to finally release Chip’s Challenge 1 & 2 on Steam, it’s defiantly one off the bucket list.” Chuck Sommerville said. “We are now just adding some additional Steam features such as Trading Cards & Steam Workshop to the original code. Oh and the ability to save your game progress, rather than using the old code system.”

Chip’s Challenge 1 & Chip’s Challenge 2 will be available on Steam on 29thMay:

Chip’s Challenge 1 is $1.99 on Steam for PC:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/346850

Chip’s Challenge 2 is $4.99 on Steam for PC:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/348300

Chip’s Challenge 2: Editor as DLC for CC2 is $2.99 on Steam for PC:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/356630

Or all three are available as a bundle at 50% off the combined price for $4.99.

YouTube – Chip’s Challenge 1 – Trailer – https://youtu.be/tJZfuei-psU
YouTube – Chip’s Challenge 2 – Trailer – https://youtu.be/drZgseY2_Jk

About Chip’s Challenge
Before Chip can join the Bit Busters computer club and hang out with the girl of his dreams, Melinda the Mental Marvel, he must solve all 144 challenging puzzles.

Your bird’s-eye view can help Chip rush through the puzzles and mazes before he’s deleted by monsters, traps and the passage of time. Show Chip how to use blocks of soil to overcome water traps and cherry bombs, find keys, and pick up the computer chips which Chip needs to solve some puzzles.

Can you help Chip win the cold heart of his one true love and become an official Bit Buster? If you can’t, no one can!

Niffler Ltd.
Niffler is an independent games studio founded by Chuck Sommerville and friends, which believes video games should not simply be a passive experience. Their aim is to create games that are fun for the player to both play & make, with the make component being as easy to use as playing the game themselves.

For further details please contact PR@Niffler.co.uk

Groove Coaster, Taito’s iOS music game

groove coaster

This piece was originally published as a review on Game Boyz on 8/7/2011.

Groove Coaster was released on the iOS last week, and I’ve had trouble staying away with it. Following in the footsteps of Space Invaders Infinity Gene, Groove Coaster is Taito’s newest offering. At only $2.99 it delivers a fantastic music experience that I highly recommend.

In Groove Coaster, your avatar follows along a set line. Icons on the line set to the music indicate when you should tap the screen. As the game progresses, the complexity increases as well. Besides regular tap notes, Groove Coaster introduces holds, sliding holds, flicks, and more. The game gets especially crazy and fun when a fast song is playing and the line begins to plummet into the screen, forcing you to pay attention to the music since the graphics are too simple to indicate depth. Interestingly, Groove Coaster also features notes called ad-libs. The game doesn’t penalize you for tapping if there’s no note near. Because of this, you’re free to tap along to the music even if there’s no icon. While doing this you can sometimes find hidden ad-lib notes! This system rewards paying attention to the music rather than just the screen.

groove coaster

The simplistic graphics suit the game quite well. Groove Coaster features the same style as earlier iOS game, Space Invaders Infinity Gene (another awesome iOS game). Throughout the game, you can unlock additional skins to change the appearance, keeping the graphics simple but giving it a bit of flavor. The whole game has that HD retro look, even though it’s not a remake. It is, however, absolutely gorgeous. The music is exactly what you’d expect as well – electronic, techno, with a bit of pop and hip-hop. It’s the perfect blend. The soundtrack, by Taito houseband Zuntata, is available on iTunes already.

A variety of tracks are available in Groove Coaster, each with three difficulties. The game also features leaderboards and achievements. Additional avatars, skins, and items are available as DLC, but these seem overpriced to me. While another song for $0.99 isn’t terrible, items that provide a benefit for a single track just don’t seem worth it.

groove coaster

The game is short and not very challenging, but I definitely don’t mean that as a negative. Taito doesn’t seem to be setting out to create a challenge or long game. Groove Coaster is a wonderful music experience. It’s definitely one of the “must plays” of the iOS, and at only $2.99 on the App Store, you should go grab it right now!

 

Peggle Blast for iOS is fun but flawed

peggle blast

This piece was originally published as a review on Game Boyz on 2/13/15. Each Game Boyz review is structured with sections for introduction, graphics, sound, gameplay, and conclusions.

Peggle Blast for iOS is the latest game in the Peggle series by Popcap, now owned by EA. Peggle was a minor addition to the Orange Box that ended up being a pretty big deal to me. The mechanics were simple, but it was so addicting and fun! I went on to play Peggle DS, which contained Peggle and Peggle Nights. There was even an addon to play Peggle within World of Warcraft. I skipped Peggle 2 because it wasn’t released on mobile platforms, but I was ready for more. I purchased the iOS port of the original Peggle as soon as it was released. I paid a flat price, and I received a game that I could play. It was a good deal. Peggle Blast, on the other hand, is completely free! Good deal? No, pretty bad deal actually. While I’d be more than happy to pay for a new Peggle, Peggle Blast does the typical microtransaction mechanics of having time-locked aspects that can be unlocked immediately for real money. You can buy power-ups for real money too, and it certainly feels like the game pushes you to use them. But I’ll get into that shortly.

peggle blast

Graphics and Sound

The graphics and sound haven’t really been improved in Peggle Blast, but the series didn’t need improvement in this regard. Colors are bright, the Peggle Masters are cartoony, and the music supports the graphic style in its cheery way. It’s just fine in presentation.

Gameplay

Let’s start with the good, shall we? At it’s core, the gameplay is much the same as previous Peggle incarnations, and that’s a good thing. Line up shots, watch the ball bounce around pachinko-style, and use power-ups. Not everything is the same old same old though.

There are some new mechanics that are quite fun and add some new, interesting challenges to the game. One I particularly like is sludge-covered pegs. These halt the ball’s momentum. That can be bad if you don’t want your ball to stop, but it can also be used to control your shots. Another feature are eggs; some levels task you with breaking eggs open by hitting them multiple times. If the egg falls off the bottom of the screen before you break it open, you lose, but if it falls into the bucket, it’s saved. There are also levels in which you need to collect gems. These objectives add new life to the series. They’re a welcome addition and quite fun.

peggle blast

Unfortunately, everything’s not great with the new Peggle. First, there are now lives, and I don’t mean the multiple balls you get per level. Each time you lose a level, you lose a life. Lives recharge, but if you run out of them, you can’t play until at least one recharges – or you purchase more. This can be pretty annoying, because it means that while I might be in the mood to play more Peggle Blast, I have to wait. On the other hand, I’m the type of person that always has a lot to do. I don’t really find myself bored, so it’s pretty easy for me to switch to another task.

Sadly, it gets worse. You have to wait for lives to charge, but you also have to wait hours to unlock a world after you complete the levels leading up to it. At least with lives you’re forced to wait only when you run out of lives by losing. By gating additional levels behind a time delay, Peggle Blast is punishing the player for completing levels. Again, you can pay money to skip the wait.

peggle blast

Peggle Blast prompts you to spam your friends too, but I avoided that. There’s still one more problem though. You can purchase power-ups. Anyone familiar with the phrase “pay to win” probably understands the problem here. Peggle Blast is designed with being able to purchase power-ups in mind. The levels get insanely hard, and the difficulty in many later levels depend more on chance than skill. Peggle Blast is significantly more difficult than previous iterations of Peggle, and I have a feeling it’s because EA wants us spending money to overcome those challenges. One new mechanic I didn’t mention earlier were bombs. They need to be hit in a certain number of turns or the explode, causing you to lose unless you purchase additional time. And how about boss battles, in which you must score more points than the Peggle Master competing against you? It doesn’t sound too bad except for the fact that they’re basically multiple stages in one. If you lose on the final stage, you’ve lost the whole level and have to start again (or you have to pay for additional balls).

I was willing to watch video advertisements for power-ups, but I refused to spend any money on the game. That’s unfortunate for EA, because if the game didn’t have any pay to win features but simply had a static cost, I would have gladly purchased it. Yes, I had to let my lives recharge, and yes, I had to stop playing for hours (eight, I believe) each time I got to a new world. Some levels I played over and over, waiting for the lucky shot that would let me win. It took me a long time and many attempts, but I finally beat the last level. Well, let me save you some trouble: you don’t get anything for beating the game. I don’t mean no credits, and I don’t mean no cutscene. I mean nothing. After beating the final level, I was shown the level select screen. It didn’t even indicate that the last level was completed. Thinking it was a bug, I even beat it a second time. Nope, nothing registers. Thanks a lot.

Conclusion

EA has taken a great franchise and buried it in unfair difficulty to push microtransactions. It’s sad, considering Peggle Blast introduced new, enjoyable mechanics. To be fair, I did have some fun with it. I didn’t beat it for review purposes; I beat it because I enjoyed playing it. However, I put up with a lot to get that little bit of enjoyment out of it. I can’t recommend Peggle Blast, and it seriously hurt Popcap’s reputation with me.

I am MrDevee on Apple’s Game Center and @TheUser on Twitter.

Friday the 13th

Amnesia

Today’s Friday the 13th, so I thought I’d urge you to play Amnesia. I’ve spoken about it extensively in the past, and I still feel it’s one of the best games I’ve played. Most of the game is spent utterly alone, but once in a while shambling enemies will grace you with their presence. You spend the game attempting to keep your own sanity while you struggle between using light while attracting enemies and staying in the dark while losing sanity.

Bodies

One of the best aspects of the game is the effect of losing sanity. Eventually you’ll begin to hear monsters approaching, but you won’t be sure if a monster is really approaching or if it’s due to your lack of sanity. Coupled with your possible real (player) paranoia, it’s a big source of fear.

I love this game, although I definitely play it alone!

Trimming the backlog with the AGS Bake Sale, Part 1

In an effort to get through my backlog, I’ve played a lot of games recently. I own a lot of games that I’ve even tried, so I decided to try as many as I could. Honestly, I prioritized games that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy so I could try them and cross them off my list quickly.

I owned a bundle of adventure games from the AGS Bake Sale from Adventure Game Studio, and I had never tried any of them. It seemed like a good place to start. Here’s my thoughts on the first half of them!

As  these are all indie games, I feel the need to preface this post with an apology to some of the creators in case they happen to find this. I really do realize that I didn’t give many of these games more than a couple minutes of play. I own a lot of games that just aren’t my cup of tea, so sometimes I judge quickly.

9 months in

9 Months In

9 Months In is the most interesting game of the AGS Bake Sale that I’ve tried. This adventure games stars a woman in prison who claims she’s been set up. The title comes from the fact that she’s pregnant. I like the art style, and I quickly found that I was interested in the starring character. I’m leaving this title on my backlog and plan to come back to it.

escape the barn

Escape the Barn

In Escape the Barn, you find items, clicking to add them to your inventory at the bottom of the screen and then figure out what items to use on what other items to escape the barn. It was pretty boring, but as it only took five minutes to beat, I decided to finish it.

entrapment

Entrapment

Someone’s been repeatedly framing you for murder, and you have to get away and figure out who is doing it. It’s a much better premise than Escape the Barn, but it still pique my interest enough to get me to keep playing it.

ben chandler paranormal investigator

Ben Chandler, Paranormal Investigator – In Search of the Sweets Tin

Honestly, I can’t really remember much about this AGS Bake Sale title except that it didn’t hold my attention more than a couple minutes.

ben chandler

Barn Runner: The Rich Dame Who Cut The Cheese

This is a pretty interesting world that’s been created. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic future in which humanity is contained to enclosed cities in which almost all work is done by robots. There are 11 titles in this series as of writing this according to this page. I like the idea of the setting, but I played for about five minutes and got bored.

abner

Abner

In Abner, you play a character who appears to think he’s a heroic knight. It’s definitely full of comedy even though it starts with a tragedy – all the world’s color is gone! It was a cute idea and style, but it didn’t hold my attention.

falling skywards

 Falling Skywards

Let’s end this half of AGS Bake Sale games on a high note. Falling Skyward is gorgeous. It’s set in the future after an asteroid has struck the Earth, launching chunks of cities into the sky where many still orbit. You play a young boy who scavengers these ruins that are, as the game describes, “perpetually falling skywards.” I only played for a couple minutes, but I couldn’t cross it off my list. I’ll need to return to play it more!

Papers, Please, Gamer’s Edition is full of collectibles

papers please

The Gamer’s Edition of Papers, Please was just announced, coming with a Steam key for the game, a keyring, a full set of Arstotzkan password and paperwork, Arstotzkan stamps, a Glory to Arstotzka poster, a suitcase, ink pad, approved and denied stamps, an inspector’s pin, and an immigration rule book for Arstotzka. Amazing. You can see an idea of what they believe it’ll all look like above. Note that I took the image from Gamer’s Edition.

Papers, Please is the 2013 game simulating work as an immigration officer in Arstotzka, a fictional, totalitarian country borrowing concepts of Eastern Bloc countries as well as dystopias such as that of the government in 1984. It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played, leaving the player wondering if each action they take is good or bad. For a game based on paperwork, it’s fun and really opens your eyes.

Gamer’s Edition is a new site that aims to deliver “the ultimate version of great digital games,” similar to the collector’s editions that tripe-A, physical titles get. It was designed primarily with indie games in mind, but the important requirement is that it’s a digital game. I think it’s a neat idea.

The Gamer’s Edition of Papers, Please costs $70, and they’re only producing the number that are ordered. I wish I had more money to spend right now, because I don’t have the money to spend on something like this right now. However, Gamer’s Edition seems to be a site worth watching.

Glory to Arstotzka!

The Last Arcade on the Planet’s finale party

Last Arcade on the Planet

The Last Arcade on the Planet is a private collection of arcade games owned by Juan Sanchez that he opens for public parties once a month or so with his girlfriend, Satu. I’ve written about it previously, and it’s really awesome. Saturday night was the last party; Juan’s going to turn his warehouse into a workspace to fix up the machines and sell many of them.

the last arcade on the planet

I wore my Space Invaders t-shirt from Threadless because it seemed appropriate. And don’t worry, I played a lot of Space Invaders.

the last arcade on the planet

Edward came with me, and you can see him in this photo playing High Speed. Sadly, the next two pinball machines over were both out of service – Pin·Bot and The Machine Bride of Pin·Bot. The Machine Bride of Pin·Bot is my favorite machine, so it was bummer that it was out of service. gem and I played it extensively on previous trips.

last arcade on the planet

Luckily, Jack·Bot was working. It’s such a gorgeous machine, although I still prefer the rotating box of The Machine Bride of Pin·Bot representing your quest to improve her.

Juan collects machines from 1986 or earlier and charges a $10 cover charge for the parties with everything on free-play. He knows what he’s doing with them too. Throughout the night, he could be found working on them and keeping the machines running smoothly.

asteroids

Here’s gem playing Asteroids in her Asteroids t-shirt back in September!

This was the first night I had a chance to talk to Juan and thank him for the good times. I’m glad I got to talk with him, because he’s a really interesting person. He works as an animator at Turtle Rock Studios. His latest work can be seen in February’s Evolve. I haven’t had the chance to play it yet, but I posted about it back in February 2014 when I first saw the trailer because it looked so awesome. Juan plans on keeping some of the machines and wants to continue doing some kind of events. He talked about the ideas of Arduino workshops or game jams as well as some personal projects. I’d love to attend some of these events, so I’m looking forward to learning what happens.

I’m sad to see The Last Arcade on the Planet go, but I’m glad Juan’s moving on to his next projects. Good luck, Juan!