Played: WHAT REMAINS OF EDITH FINCH and ELITE DANGEROUS

What Remains of Edit Finch

Last week I started WHAT REMAINS OF EDITH FINCH knowing only that it’s a beloved and award winning game in the “walking simulator” style. I think that was the best way to go into it. If you liked GONE HOME, or if you like stories that are sad, surprising, and profoundly beautiful, then WHAT REMAINS OF EDITH FINCH is for you. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I can’t really say I’ve played much of ELITE DANGEROUS. I’ve got the PS4 version and I’ve given it several tries. It is too hard for me. The combat is too hard even in the tutorial. Flying is too complicated. Docking, annoying in the original version, is too much like work for me. I understand the latest update makes that aspect a little better but it’s too late.

As a fan of the original game, it’s very disappointing that the new game, which looks fucking awesome, just isn’t for me.

robotfindskitten for Pico-8

In 2014 I was faffing around with PutHTML along with a few people I’d met on IRC. After a couple throwaway experiments I decided to make a version of robotfindskitten, the Zen simulation originally written by the internet’s Leonard Richardson. It was very bad JavaScript code but it worked.

In 2018 I discovered Pico-8 and decided to replicate the experiment. 30-odd days ago I uploaded a working version of robotfindskitten to itch.io. It is very bad Lua code but it works. As of writing, dozens of people have tried it. Dozens!

You can play the game online at itch.io or download versions that will run on Windows, Linux, and macOS. And, you can get a “cart” that will run in the Pico-8 virtual console.

I really enjoyed writing the game. I wrote the code, created the sounds, and named almost all of the non-kitten items. Like I said, it wasn’t good Lua code but it was very satisfying to build it from nothing and get it onto something like itch. I’ve started the next game which I think will be similar to the surfing and BMX mini-games from the 80’s California Games.

Played: THE LAST OF US

I just finished THE LAST OF US. It is roundly lauded as one of the greatest video games of all time and for good reason.

The story is compelling, the writing is top notch, the acting is phenomenal. I played the remastered version: it was gorgeous.

I’m not a huge fan of stealth-based game mechanics but I really enjoyed the balance of stealth and aggression in THE LAST OF US. There was often more than a couple ways to progress past a pack of infected or group of hunters.

The monsters were genuinely scary. Clickers especially.

My only criticism would be the incredibly high human body count – I understand that’s more due to game mechanics but it was really the only thing that stretched my suspension of disbelief.

Still, what a fantastic game. I’m so glad I played it.

Played: Reigns: Her Majesty

In this 2018 GDC talk, Writer Leigh Alexander shares her narrative design process around the tricky political tightrope of women’s power, especially when it has to be both violent and funny.

Reigns was a simple, fun game: make decisions to keep the needs and whims of your kingdom in balance and stay alive. Reigns: Her Majesty adds more depth – the goals that seemed like bonuses in the original make up an actual plot in the new version. Staying alive isn’t the goal. The lack of actual power afforded to the wife of the king leads to more interesting and fun decision making, too.