Monday, May 6, 2013

I've Started a New Site!

Hey folks, if you ever visit my site then you're likely aware that I don't post all that much. Between writing for work and school I have found that this isn't really a priority. Yes, I still love video games and all that stuff but end up writing more for other reasons. Despite this, I started my own website this weekend (registered a domain and everything)!

The site is called PixelPacas and is one of the funniest domains I came up with while thinking about this. There were actually a lot of super cool domains out there but they were either in use or simply parked. Either way, this name was free so I decided to stop dreaming about having my own site and to just go for it! My girlfriend is also on board to write on the site as well and her focus is on games like Harvest Moon and dating sims.

Because I am paying for both the domain name registration as well as hosting I assume that will be enough of an impetus to keep me writing there. So far, I've only come up with a few reviews (set to be published in the coming weeks) but want to do other things with it as well. The reviews in queue are probably indicative of what the site is going to include a lot of (rhythm, puzzle, arcade, visual novel, and indie games) If all goes well, perhaps it could even inspire me to stream a bit more gameplay in the future.

Now I've got to wonder what that means for this site. Will I still publish here? At this time, I really don't know. It has already been a pretty slow site so most likely the future for my personal writing revolves around PixelPacas. This site is going to remain online, but I won't import the content to the other one.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Backlog Beatdown: March

Hello again! I've been trying to document games beaten this year (and hopefully beat more than last year). A month ago I posted my first update on this for January/February and it was a pretty sizable chunk of games. This time around I'm making a post for one month because there were definitely enough games beaten during to warrant one.

Seven games were beaten in the month of March:

  • Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand
  • Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi
  • Tomb Raider
  • Richard & Alice
  • Jetpack Joyride
  • DLC Quest
  • Incredipede
As is my new norm, almost all of the completed games are independent, although not entirely. Tomb Raider is of course the one released this year to much acclaim. I enjoyed it too, though it left me wrestling about how I felt about Lara's presentation in the game. Hakuoki was a really sad game as it isn't even a visual novel as the first was. Instead, it's a totally cheap cash grab of a game that, honestly, should have never been given the localization greenlight.

Although none of these are my new favorite, I did quite enjoy them. Incredipede in particular was visually stunning and I recommend it to people looking for a different sort of puzzle game. Nancy Drew games are also pretty awesome and it's a shame that more people don't take them seriously. I had pages of notes taken for the game and it was exciting to reference them to solve in-game puzzles. As I've not played all the Drew games I'm unaware if that difficulty continues, but hopefully so, as it really puts you in the young detective's shoes.

Right now I'm trying to work through Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory and God of War: Ascension. Hopefully they'll be beaten by the end of April!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Backlog Beatdown: January and February

Hey folks, long time no chat! This post was prompted by recalling the backlog adventure other bloggers are undertaking this year (in particular, Chic Pixel's Anne!). I used to think that reviewing games would be the most entertaining thing in the world, but it really just cuts back on your time to play other games without constraints. Well, so does any job, but at least with a job unconnected to games you can still use them as relaxation! Either way, despite being a busy beaver with reviewing tasks I've been trying to whittle away some uncompleted games in my library. Things have been going better than expected....

In January I seriously managed to beat 11 games:

  • My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant!
  • Zombies.
  • Thirty Flights of Loving
  • McPixel
  • Wizorb
  • Slave of God
  • Kentucky Route Zero: Act One
  • Moonbase Alpha
  • The Journey Down: Chapter One
  • The Cave
Okay, many of these were also reviewed by me but at least others like Wizorb and VVVVVV were finally taken down. As you can see, my preference in games is only continuing to trend toward all indie, all the time. It's not as if I planned it this way, but indie games tend to be shorter experiences. And honestly, most of them end up as fun as much more expensive games so why ignore them?

In February things became much busier and so I only beat Oozi: Earth Adventure, which is a pretty fluid platformer. A few days into March I manged to finish up a couple games, but those will be addressed in a later post. What games have you folks beaten in 2013 so far? Which has been your favorite or least favorite?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Killer is Dead Trailer Made Me Have An Existential Crisis

Okay, it didn't really cause me to have a crisis, but the first trailer for Suda51's Killer is Dead game did get me thinking very critically about my gaming life. It made me remember how incredible an experience playing Killer7 was back in 2005. It hooked, amazed, confused, and challenged my perceptions of games. I have rarely had such feelings with other games since. At the moment, I can't think of even one other time since, but I believe they are there.

Regardless, Killer is Dead is not a game I expect to bring back that spirit. It still seems closer to Suda's older works though (rather than his newer school "punk's not dead" credo stuff like No More HeroesShadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw). Granted, it looks to have a large dash of NMH anyway, but what can you do?

The trailer is a bit risque in both sexual and violent content so keep that in mind before giving it a watch.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I Beat 29 Games in 2012

Last year was very interesting for me. Although I was writing reviews before, it really seemed that a new amount of responsibility was dropped on my shoulders in 2012. With that, I ended up reviewing a lot of stuff. So much, that it quickly became impossible to beat everything. Sure, I did my best to complete short adventure games or 10 hour adventures, but when things went on and on past 25 hours, my time became truly limited. Although I always made sure to have a grasp of at least 80% of the entire game before reviewing, it was just too much to be asked to complete each and every one.

Because of this sort of forced "gaming ADD", I beat far fewer games this year than last year. Still, any amount is sizeable to me. This is because, before joining Backloggery, I would barely finish any game unless it absolutely enthralled me. Only since I have been on that site have I been able to see my beat amounts per year sit in double digit territory. Still, my beat/unbeaten ratio on the site is quite paltry, but expected.

Regardless, here are the majority of games I beat this year. It's possible I may be forgetting a few, but my list will no longer be changed/updated. The reason no titles are included is because it would make the image too cluttered for my taste:

Here's hoping that 2013 is a year when I can beat this score!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Reviews in Review

With 2013 beginning, it's hard not to reflect on the past year. 2012 was a very interesting year for me in regards to writing. It is probably obvious to see that my blog has been much quieter than it was at the start, and this is mostly due to the shift in reviewing habits. As the year went on, I reviewed more and more, and became more comfortable with it.

Although it is fun to review games, it did make me think about a few things. For one, with reviews very often on my plate, I felt that I was rarely able to enjoy games that I wanted to play "just because". Instead of flipping through my PS2 collection to find a new gem, I was usually forcing myself to play a game for review. Thankfully, most games I ever review are ones I'm interested in, but there is something to be said for free gaming time as opposed to gaming with a goal in mind. In this post I will share a couple charts which show off various stats for my year of reviewing and links to all my 68 reviews.

Monday, December 17, 2012

ERIE Review

I wasn't sure what to expect upon starting up ERIE. Possibly because of that, it ended up being a very neat half hour gaming experience. The game is pretty simple overall. You begin in a pool of water with no idea of where you are. Quickly, you read papers scattered around which start to inform your understanding of the location and what happened.

Unfortunately I'm still not completely sure as to the specifics, but it seems like a game best played when you are unaware of the story anyway. Without knowing anything you can enter the game with a fresh perspective! I would recommend that as it helps make everything a bit scarier and interesting as events unfold.

In regards to gameplay, it is quite simple. There's little you ever have to do aside from marking your pathways as well as collecting a few key cards. Well, you don't have to read letters or mark your way, but it just seems something most players are going to do. Although you are not given explicit goals, it quickly becomes easy to understand what to do. Level design is also not bad. Even for someone like me who tends to get lost without looking at a map every second I was able to get a feel for my surroundings (eventually).

The game is very eerie and contains a few "boo" moments. For a little while, I felt legitimately annoyed, until discovering things were not as hard as I was making them up to be. Overall, this is a great little gameplay experiment if you want to play something spooky.

PS: The video up top is my first playthrough of the game, which took around 30 minutes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Won a Copy of PlayStation All-Stars!

If you are on my blog, then chances are you're well aware of Bryan over at The Gay Gamer. If not, then I don't know how you found me but you should totally check his site out. A little bit ago, Bryan had a contest to win a copy of PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale for Vita. As I have been pretty interested in checking it out I threw my name into the pot. Someone else actually won but apparently never responded. He drew a new name and... it was me!

So here's a post to say thank you Bryan for hosting the cute little contest! I'm thinking of doing my own (for a less popular game) soon, but we'll see if that works out. In the meantime, I'll be fussing around with PS All-Stars and hopefully becoming good with one of the characters. Even if I do, I'll still probably be too scared to try hitting up an online match.

As a final note I will say that anyone who is still interested in getting a Vita should make sure they grab a high capacity memory card along with it. Although I only have a few digital titles on it, I'm now required to regularly uninstall them to make room. Of course, it doesn't help that Persona 4 Golden is one game that has taken residence on my card... It is over 3GBs by itself! Here's hoping that the prices for Vita memory come down drastically in the next year.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED Review

When one attempts to come up with a list of good adventure games there are a few names that tend to come up. Series like Monkey Island are obvious choices, as are many other LucasArts and Sierra titles. But who out there who loves adventure games would think to try out something from the Nancy Drew catalog?

I gave Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered a shot and found it to be surprisingly great. The "Remastered" in the name comes from the fact that is a full on remake of the very first Nancy Drew adventure game released in 1998. This version arrived in 2010 and signaled the end of the original game. This is because, after the launch of the remake, the original was no longer available digitally from Her Interactive. However, as it will not run easily on modern machines, this was probably the only option they had left.

How is the game overall? The characters are more interesting than I expected. I have never read Nancy Drew books but they must do something right to have so many available. As such, I can't compare the characters to the fiction but they seemed fairly "real" and worth listening to. If anything, strangely Nancy Drew herself ended up being the most unrealistic of them all. I'm not sure what it was, but she seemed wholly unfazed by the fact that a murder totally occurred, and that someone was after her life as well. More than anything, she seemed haughty and above everything, including the awkward flirting from men in the game.

What really stole the show though were the puzzles. I had an expectation in my mind that the puzzles would be ridiculously easy. As such, I almost chose the harder difficulty of the two. Thank goodness I didn't though because a few puzzles ended up being fantastic and difficult. In fact, very few games I play manage to scratch that puzzle itch so creatively at any point. I would almost compare one of the puzzle ideas to things that Team Silent would put together. They worked on Silent Hill 1-3 primarily and those were the games which included the most creative and worthwhile puzzles of the series.

If there's one detriment to the game it is simply that it ends too quickly and with a silly twist. At least, it sure felt silly to me. Apparently this Remastered version features a different ending from the original and makes me wonder what the end for the first game had been before. I wonder if it was better, or somehow managed to be even worse. It's a shame, because as soon as the game starts to get into a great groove, it ends. Still, the two or so hours leading up to it are a blast.

Overall, Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered is a perfect introductory game for a "gamer" into the more casual world. Obviously the puzzles are not casual, which would appeal to them, but I assume they grow easier as the series goes on. Or perhaps these puzzles are actually much harder than the original game! I don't know as I haven't played the rest yet. Still, this is a fun, if brief adventure game.

PS: Pay attention to the little things in this game. There are a handful of Easter eggs (including one literal egg) which are quite cute.
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