Archive for June, 2016

random links (8)

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is far more awesome than your average trading card game

Catching up with the guy who stole Half-Life 2’s source code, 10 years later

Hadean Lands dev offers ‘no-hint pledge’ certificate as $35 DLC

I am Adam Reed, creator of FX’s Archer. Ask me anything

Farewell to Person of Interest, one of the best shows about spy tech ever made

Alien: Typeset In The Future


Ever since Firefox 47 Beta… 7? Firefox keeps throwing these errors:

Failure Log
(#0) Error Detected rendering device reset on refresh
(#1) Error Detected rendering device reset on refresh
(#2) Assert [D2D1.1] 3CreateBitmap failure Size(76,76) Code: 0x8899000c format 0
(#3) Assert Failed to create DrawTarget, Type: 7 Size: Size(76,76)
(#4) Assert [D2D1.1] 1CreateBitmap failure Size(30,30) Code: 0x8899000c format 7
(#5) Error Detected rendering device reset on refresh
(#6) Error Detected rendering device reset on refresh

I hoped it would vanish in the final, but (shocker) it didn’t. Firefox 48 Beta 3 shows the same behavior. Another horrible thing about it is, no crash reports are created. Nothing that can be reported. Long-term I’ll have to switch to Chrome, because this is unacceptable. The windows keeps flashing during these events and it can crash too – as I said without a report…

I frequently like to complain about XCOM and its story (because it is one of my favorite games), this is basically where Valkyria Chronicles comes in, because it could roughly be described as XCOM with a more fleshed out story and characters. I know right? Why isn’t everyone playing this right now?!? Lack of marketing?
Anyway, I myself discovered it by accident and quickly fell in love with it. Music, story, characters and gameplay are mixed into something that makes a quite solid game. The PC version also comes with all of the DLC.
I liked this setting so much, that after finishing the game, I watched the anime too. It’s roughly the same story with the same people, but with lots of small and some bigger differences. Although I preferred the story version of the game, I still enjoyed the anime quite a bit, it was a good way to “let go” after finishing the game.

One of the few ways how they could have spiced things up even more, would have been to also introduce different outcomes for story and characters (this is supposed to say how good it already is). Pretty much everything else, that is fun in such games, was already there. One unusual and innovative feature the game did include, was a list of all the soldiers names at the end, showing whether they had survived the war or not – reflecting the player’s current playthrough of course…
I also can’t say I encountered any bug in all my time with this game. This is so rare…

So, uhm… go play it, I guess.


Wot I Think: Valkyria Chronicles

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In one single characteristic this game reminds me of StarCraft II – Dreamfall Chapters Book Five actually managed to resolve a story that was also begun 17 years ago. While this alone obviously is so unusual and so crazy, Dreamfall even tops that, because StarCraft’s story was never this complex anyway (and hardly the focus of that game).
It goes without saying that I’m very happy that they decided to give this a real ending and not drag things out even further, I mean SEVENTEEN YEARS. :D Let’s all go completely nuts now! :P

While I’m not necessarily even this impressed by many of the reveals and/or twists themselves (this ending offered), I’m completely blown away by the sheer amount of questions and story threads they answered and gave (at the very least some) closure to. Merely remembering all these bits is an accomplishment by itself. But they really went all out here, they jumped back to stuff, I was sure they would never touch again. This extreme amount of effort towards NOT sweeping stuff under the rug alone, makes this ending unforgettable to me. In a (gaming) world all too often dominated by not having any endings or only typical lackluster ones, this could count as a singular event. I mean, 17 years! Holy *beeeeep* – if there was a hall of fame for such things, this game would now be easily in it.

I was really happy playing this yesterday (directly after its release) and all the many details (if you go look for them) made this ending truly matter to me; it intrigued me enough to make me want to play it again, to experience it in a slightly different manner. I was definitely asking myself what would have happened, if some characters would have had a different fate. I don’t (however) think anyone, who just picked up this game and didn’t play all the previous games in the series, could have had the same experience and reaction to all of this. There is a recap, of course, but watching a short recap is hardly a perfect substitute for playing all the games yourself, over such a long period of time no less.
Thus, this game is yet another positive outcome in my book, among the games I backed on KS. So far I can still honestly say I never regretted using KS.


Dreamfall Chapters Closed, The Longest Journey Ended

I recently played Shogo for the first time. I often made the experience with games of this era, that either you’ve already played them back then (and you still love them because of “the good times”/all the fond memories), or they kinda suck now/don’t generate any kind of enthusiasm, if there is no such nostalgic connection to them.

I’m happy to say this isn’t the case with Shogo. It almost feels a little bit like something that was ahead of its time. The controls hardly differ from shooters that were created much later and there are even some choices in there, which can lead to different outcomes. Levels aren’t just filled with enemies to shoot at, but also with all kinds of other NPCs/non-combatants that might show up/be present in the places the player visits. They have their own remarks and sometimes even short conversations. Let’s be honest: There are games today which don’t really shine in this area. :)

One of the draws of this game supposedly was, that it’s possible to also control huge combat robots, but that part didn’t matter much to me, since the controls are pretty much identical to running around on foot.
Especially noteworthy is the intro song which totally holds up today. GOG thankfully even included it as an MP3. It helps a great deal in making Shogo a game I’m never going to forget.

There are some funny shenanigans here and there, the most infamous would be the epic ending credits, which – at the very end explain how to speed up the ending credts with a remark like “oh, maybe we should have told you that at the beginning”. :)
Some jokes I also never would have gotten, if I had played it back then, there’s a building in which some crazy people literally plan on eating a cat and the woman you are in radio contact with calls you a pervert when you tell her about it. :D
The experience is rounded up with some nice references, like a certain “M. Kusanagi” having her quarters right next to yours.

I don’t think it’s very often the case, that especially pop culture references still work 18 years after a game/piece of art was released, so their choices turned out to be really good ones and play a big part in making this game feel like it’s somehow still holding up.

It also nicely lines up with my experience of never having played a bad Monolith game. Speaking of being like other Monolith games, this too apparently didn’t sell very well (what is wrong with people?!?), because it never got any sequels. Too bad!

There are even some mods for this game, but I didn’t use any, since I don’t like that, when playing something for the first time.