So, I finally buckled and starting something I've been wanting to do for a while; a lets play series!
I picked to start with the zombie, action-adventure, role-playing game "How to Survive" by 505 Games.
With Diablo-esque perspective, weapon and armor crafting, character leveling, and survival elements, this game has it all.
The graphics aren't great, but who cares?! It's a fun game!
Anyway, check out my video below and give it a like! (And go easy on me; it's my first time...)
I sound like a fuckin' mid-afternoon radio DJ on the least popular station, but I'm having fun with it!
If you want to check out the game, you can buy it on Steam for $15; which is a great deal for a game that in my opinion will net you at least one play through by yourself and maybe one with a friend.
Welp, let me know what you think in the comments down below if you like the video, want to see more, maybe suggest a different game to play, or you could just hassle me to finally make a tutorial video that I promised like 2 years ago....
In this blog post, I'll be exploring why I feel that The Stanley Parable by Galactic Cafe is a game that every game enthusiast should play.
It's not a fast game. It's not gory, action-filled, or over-the-top. It doesn't even have the most impressive graphics.
But, if you're a game developer or a player, there is something to be learned and enjoyed from the complex and beautiful game play of this game.
(Video trailer from StanleyParable YouTube channel)
In The Stanley Parable, you as the player take the title role of Stanley and begin to explore the world of free choice and options. A freedom that Stanley hasn't taken for himself before and as you play the game, you find the choices you make go deeper that you thought. It's a rabbit hole for your mind to wander and enjoy. It's littered with moments that lift you up and those that wash over you like a dark cloud.
Now, this isn't a review, because I feel like there may be some spoilers, but if you want the short answer; yes, this game is amazing and you should probably buy it.
For realsies, if you haven't experienced this game yet (and it is an experience), I highly suggest you go give it a few hours of play before you keep reading.
Now, I'd like to say that this game is a great example of player gating and the illusion of choice. Player gating and the illusion of choice are ways of forming a more linear story while letting the player feel like they have more control. All games have this; some do it with giving dialog options or some use cut-scenes. A more apparent way of reigning in the player is the use of locked doors, piles of rubble, or even the dreaded invisible wall. But all games do it because it would be impossible to create a game that has every unique choice and all of the outcomes for every action, but if I taught a class on game design, I would bring in The Stanley Parable and share its strengths to the students.
Every choice that the player makes, there is a reaction. There is script and planning behind every choice the player can make; though the choices are limited. And that is part of the beauty of The Stanley Parable; the player is given direct commands and clear choices. You're told to go through one door, but there are two open. By giving this command to the player, they ignore what is essentially a third option, which is to do nothing but that doesn't stop the narrator from egging the player into making a decision, essentially making that disembodied voice into a sort of antagonist.
And this is why we need The Stanley Parable in the world today. Its a finely crafted example of how to create a story driven game and the importance of choice, be it a real one or not. With games becoming more and more open, its refreshing to see a game do the exact opposite and some how without the player caring. It gives the player choice with real changes and consequences in the game all while keeping the player in check, even telling the player that everything is falling apart just to keep them in line. And The Stanley Parable is beautiful in its detail. The fine folk over at Galactic Cafe made this game in such a way to keep the player within its boarders, but with the freedom to explore.
But what does this really mean? How does this game use all of this player gating to its advantage?
I'm no expert on the game; I didn't work on it and I don't know the developers, but I believe it was to craft an experience that it's players can hold on to just the same as directors and writers pour their hearts and souls into their work.
Speaking of movies, it's not difficult to place a game to a film genre; take Rock Star's latest release, Grand Theft Auto 5 and you can make a reasonable argument that it has parallels to many heist films or look at Undead Labs State of Decay and you can put it along side a pile of zombie flicks.
So many games can be categorized this way, but there is one genre I feel has been lacking in games; psychological thriller/drama.
As you play and replay from the subsequent restarts, subtle changes in the narration and game play start to surface. Where the hall turned to the left, it now bends to the right; where once a room is described as majestic, a repetitive, jarring monologue now takes its place. And further narration changes remind you that the game itself is keeping track of what you're doing. When you make your way to a point where you can intentionally kill yourself, the narrators voice resonates with real concern and sadness; you as the player make the choice to rob him of a sense of happiness and the game strikes you with heavy, dark emotion.
I don't want to give everything away in this game, but what I will make a note about is how The Stanley Parable breaks that fourth wall and does it in such a way that it brings you as the player deeper into the dynamic story it weaves. The narrator speaks to you, acknowledging you as a player of a game, but in his world.
From the subtle humor to its most shaking moments, The Stanley Parable is a game that takes you on a ride in your own mind. It doesn't have jump scares, heavy handed jokes, or huge explosions but it does raise questions to ask yourself. For me, it created a dialog about the meaning and definition of choice; it showed me both the futility and liberation in conformity and freedom.
In short, its a great game that shows us as gamers; developers or not, that a game can hold our attention and guide us down a path without beating us over the head or giving us some elaborate cut-scene to try and force a feeling.
This post is more of a personal rant and me whining than a fun update, so sorry about that.
I know I haven't been posting stuff I find cool from the land of video games and I'm still trying to make it in that crazy world, but I've had some set backs.
My lady-folk and I had a (very) rough patch and frankly, things are still shaky from time to time. When that all started, I moved into a spare room at my sisters house... that was used by their massive pot-bellied pig. It is a nice room actually, especially since it got brand new flooring when I moved in and my own AC unit for the hot summer days. The down side was that I was now 90 minutes out from the city, horrible reception, and internet with some band-width issues. Thus, no real way of getting consistent work. I figured it'd be okay and I'll rest on my savings for a bit, work on myself and my portfolio and let things cool off.
My career counselor from ITT Tech called me one day right after I had finished helping around the house/ranch/post-apocalyptic-compound and told me he sent off my resume to this one place and they want to have an interview with me. After setting up the meet, I made myself a little less sweaty and began my trek into the city.
Everything went great and after about a week, I started staying in town again and had a new job as a Digital Media Specialist. Now, as far as I can tell, that was a nice way of saying web-dev who can do some trouble shooting and graphic stuff. Some of you may know about me, I'm not the strongest programmer, but I can do it and do it fast, so if my great, new employers want to give me money to hammer away at HTML and little issues, than I'll gladly take it. Yeah, it's not my dream of being a producer/writer/illustrator/all-around-indie-dev, but it's in the same general direction, so on ward I go.
Everything was going pretty well; I got a couple pay checks under my belt, things were looking up with the lady-friend, and I bought some tools to help me work, and started paying off some bills.
Then, Yesterday happened.
I woke up Wednesday morning creaking a little since I had been sick for the first couple days of the week with horrible body aches and other nasty feels, but I was determined to get back to my cozy cubical and working on all kindsa fun stuff.
After loading my bag with cough-drops and day-time meds, I was out the door and greeted by the crisp morning air. As I turned the corner to my car, I notice something odd. My passenger window was gone and little cubes of blue-hued glass littered the driveway.
First thought, "fuck."
Since this was a less friendly part of town and not the country home of my sister and her family, I wasn't too shocked.
I called in to work and let them know what had happened. I reported it in with the police and the insurance; the insurance companies have a better response time in my city as I found out. I caught up with my neighbors and found that they were hit, too. Still, the cops didn't show and not even a call back after 5 fucking housed had cars broken into in less than a week.
(side note: My city also announced on the news last year that they had so little money, that they weren't going to stop petty theft. So, good job guys! Keep pushing for a bigger budget while doing less work!)
And then I started going through everything in my car....
This person(s) must of been some kid looking for something to pawn since some cheap hand-tools and a pair of Chucks were taken, but they also didn't know how to break into a car very well.
See, this mental-giant used some sort of pry-bar to pry on the window frame, pressing their greasy head into the glass and leaving tons of prints and evidence. Significant body damage aside, the window ended up being smashed anyway, probably from them trying to pry open the window frame I'm guessing.
Now, I'm not some jack-ass that leaves valuables in their car. If I weren't scared of some crack-head using it as a bed/toilet, I would have probably left it unlocked.
That's when it hit me; I had left my sketch books in my car.
I had maybe the last 15 years of my sketch books in my car in 3 over-stuffed bags.
My heart began to sink and my throat began to tighten. Sketch books I had in high school were gone. Yeah, some books and some tools and other stupid shit was missing, but none of that shit held as much value to me as those sketch books.
Doodles and illustrations and ideas from half of my life were gone.
Immediately I began to patrol around the area, checking dumpsters; hoping that they were just tossed once they found them. After 3 empty ones, I realized it was the day dumpsters were picked up and I had probably lost them forever.
Then it fucking rained.
After getting home from my heart-breaking journey, I took my now damp and glass filled car to the body shop my insurance lined up and went about my day; pretending to be a laid back and nice guy; hiding that inside I was nothing more than a devastated child who was bullied by a complete stranger that had nothing to gain.
Today I found out that the repairs to my car will come to $815 and some change because there was some serious bending to the door and all that.
Basically, this criminal master-mind was thinking "Dur, me need use big metal bar open lock, not just break clear hard stuff! DUR!" as he attempted to not swallow his own tongue and enter my car.
It all cost me real money and real emotional pain just for maybe $25 worth of shit from me.
Sad thing is, this is the thing that prompted me to write another post.
I've been procrastinating over what I should do online with this blog or on YouTube or work on a game or anything for months. I've been in this slump for a while now where I make excuses of my personal life being rough, then being in the middle of no-where, and then my hours being long at work as a reason to not do something.
Now, I'm going to do something.
I'm going to down-grade my car to something I don't mind getting a little...ugly.
I'm going to dooms-day out a Jeep Cherokee (not a "Grand" cause I don't like 'em).
Reinforced endo-skeleton. Metal plates one the doors. Rusty hooks on the bumper. Steel mesh on the windows. Bear traps around the door handles. Spikes and shit all over.
I want people to fear walking near my car, let alone touch it.
I want people to bleed if they look at it too long.
Anywho, I'll keep you guys updated on the progress!