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Video Games

Voting for Shadowland’s Free Mount

Blizzard is gifting us with a new free mount in Shadowlands and they let us vote for the one we’d like to receive. The mount isn’t created yet, we vote for the concept that will serve as base for the final design. Of course, community artists have already created fan art for the contest.

Both Soforah and I voted for the Nerubian Swarmer. We thought that the Ancient was more for druids, the flying book for mages and the other mounts didn’t really look appealing.

Unfortunately, as we voted, we discovered the results and, so far, the Nerubian Swarmer is last while the Ancient is first… The poll will run unil September 19th, so everything can still change.

No matter which mount wins, I’ll be very happy to receive a free mount and I found the contest to be an excellent way to include the community in the design of the game.

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Video Games

The Best Possible Date

Finally a release date that’s perfect for Soforah and me. First, it’s far from the heat of the summer. Second, it’s only a month away from our end-of-the-year holidays. For once in a long time, Blizzard’s timing and ours seems to match perfectly.

But this isn’t only the best release date possible, now is also the best moment in a WoW player’s life… We’re only a few weeks from the pre-patch, the new expansion is around the corner, the hype is going up, there are news every day, Blizzard releases shorts to introduce us to the new lore, we even have a book to read.

Since I started playing WoW, I hear people say that Blizzard is going down or that World of Warcraft is dead. To me, it seems that what’s changing the most are the players, because Blizzard still provides amazing entertainment and I’m proud to be part of it.

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Video Games

ACNH Island Designer

After weeks enjoying the peaceful life in Animal Crossing New Horizons, KK Slider finally visited our Islands and, by doing so, Tom Nook unlocked the terraforming app. We recently had a week off and we enjoyed our days away from our office laptops reworking the shape of our beloved Islands.

Sardoken

I had planned to keep as faithful as possible to the original design of my island. I would only move what was really necessary in order to build great yards for the residents and correct a few things like the position of the bridges.
By the end of the week, the island had changed much more than I had anticipated. I changed the path of the rivers, deleted a cliff, moved most of the buildings and relocated my house.
I am completely addicted to terraforming and I can’t stop changing the design of Lonestar to further improve it.
I only wish that they would have kept the entry of the buildings and the bridges to even numbers. For example, the exit of the airport is 2 blocks while the entry of the museum is 3 blocks, which makes it harder to center the paths. But it’s just a small complaint, the app is really well done and fun to use.
I wonder what my island will look like after my next week off…

Soforah

I remember playing Animal Crossing in 2006, Chris had bought me my first gaming platform, a Nintendo DS, and AC Wild World. I was so happy at that time roaming around in my little town, it already seemed so huge. Fifteen years later, we’re actually terraforming, crafting, and decorating an entire island. I knew that New Horizons would be different from all previous AC games, but I never expected it to be this great. When I created my island, Miskatonia, I chose one that I thought would be the perfect lay-out to begin with. 100+ hours later my island doesn’t look at all anymore like the original map. So far, I’m having tons of fun creating little nooks and crannies all over the place. So much has changed already, I wonder what it’ll look like in another 100+ hours from now.

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Video Games

Deconfined and Swimming

My first week back at the office felt horrible. The day before the big come back, my left ear got inflamed, probably because of allergies, so I felt like crap before it even begun. I also had a little problem under my right foot which made walking painful. At the office, people didn’t care much about social distancing, I spent the day walking backwards to keep a safe distance. As if it wasn’t enough, I had an allergic reaction to soy (my kryptonite) on Friday.

Happily, we can now swim in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and it is super fun, especially doing cannonballs and meeting Pascal, the wisdom otter.

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Video Games

Thimbleweed Park

I remember this kitchen from somewhere…

It seems that I’ve been catching back on games that were on my list for much too long. It may have to do with the fact that we’ve quit a long-played MMORPG that was taking all our precious free time…

The very first game that I’ve ever completed in my life was Maniac Mansion on C64. From the moment that I had figured how to use the key that was hidden under the doormat to open the front door, I was sold to point-and-click games. Since then, I’ve been playing a lot of them, mostly on Amiga and PC.

Even if many of these games are excellent, my favourite ones have always been those developped by Ron Gilbert. So, it is no surprise that I highly enjoyed playing Thimbleweed Park. I love everything about it, the graphics, the setting, the characters, the music, the voices, the sense of humour and the dialogs. Thimbleweed Park is very high on my top ten favourite games of all times, it could actually be my number one.

Things I didn’t know about the game:

  • Many names found in the game’s phone book are from Kickstarter backers from around the world. When you call their numbers, you will hear individual messages from them;
  • Dr. Fred, Nurse Edna, and one of the tentacles from the game Maniac Mansion attend Ransom’s performance;
  • Ransom’s insults are censored. However, for 0,79€, you can purchase a DLC that enables the unbeeped voice;
  • From the start, Gilbert says, they wanted to parody the TV shows Twin PeaksThe X-Files, and True Detective.
Categories
Video Games

AI in Adventure Games

Yesterday, while watching an episode of Westworld, I thought about how cool it would be if point-and-click games would use an AI… Instead of scripted characters who are always at the same place, saying the same things, we could find them speaking to each other, wander around, have different dialog lines following their moods.

For example, we would enter Thimbleweed Park and Delores could be home but she could also be at the arcade or at the dinner, living her own life.

Of course, there would be boundaries, for the sake of the story, but everything else would be left to the AI. I could spend days looking at game characters interact with the environment and with each other in a completely unpredictable and unscripted way.

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Video Games

Zelda – Link’s Awakening (2019)

Link’s Awakening wasn’t only my first Zelda game, it was also the first game I completed, not only on Game Boy, but on any Nintendo gaming system. Yep, you read well, I never owned a console before the Game Boy. I was a computer dude and by the time that the original Link’s Awakening was released, I was gaming on an Amiga 1200.

Anyway, that year, I had a very nasty bronchitis that kept me home for several weeks (smoking sucks, glad I quit). All I had to cheer me up was the video club and my Game Boy.

I was already used to play adventure games, but this was entirely new to me. The island exploration unlocking as I solved dungeon puzzles and gained new powers that enabled me to jump further or carry heavier rocks, it was brilliant.

Soon, I was known to be the dude who had completed the game and my friends were calling me everyday to know the next step of the trading sequence. Were those my 15 minutes of fame?

When I found out that Nintendo was about to release a remake of the game, I was overjoyed, especially because I instantly loved the art of the new version. I purchased the game and added it to my backlog.

Last week-end, I’ve finally completed Link’s Awakening and I have enjoyed every minute of it. The game is almost identical to the original, only with cute new graphics. I’m probably going to play it again soon… Some day… (let’s be real, my backlog is huge).

A few facts about Link’s Awakening that I didn’t know until recently:

  • Development began after-hours by Nintendo staff. It grew into an original project under the direction of Takashi Tezuka;
  • The majority of the Link to the Past team reassembled for Link’s Awakening;
  • Tezuka wanted the game world to feel like the television series Twin Peaks.
  • Princess Zelda is not featured at all in Link’s Awakening, though she is referenced by Link, initially confusing Marin for her;
  • Peach isn’t the only thing from Mario that you can find in Link’s Awakening, there are also Goombas.

To many people Breath of the Wild is the Zelda Game of the Nintendo Switch, to me it’s the remake of Link’s Awakening.

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Video Games

The Charnel House Trilogy

The Charnel House Trilogy, developed by Owl Cave, is a point & click game with pixel graphics. As the title states the game is in 3 parts: Inhale, Sepulchre, and Exhale. The story is about a horrifying and fatal night aboard a train bound for Augur Peak. Even though the game is pretty short, the developers managed to create an eerie atmosphere that puts you at ill-ease in times.

My favourite scene is the one at the station, waiting for the train while snow’s falling on the abandoned tracks is so dreamy. Despite the current summer temperatures, Alex gave me the chills though. I mean, who goes out in the snow in just a T-shirt? I’d be wrapped up like an Eskimo!

Anyway, I’ve played this game a few years ago, and remembered how much I loved it at that time. Meanwhile, I’ve played so many other games that I’ve forgotten most of the story of The Charnel House Trilogy so, I planned to re-play it this weekend.

Today, after a great walk at the park, a super delicious sandwich, and a damn fine cup of coffee, I installed myself at my desk, and booted this little gem. Two hours later, I had already finished the entire story. While it was very short, the adventure was worthwhile. The puzzles are a bit too easy, but it made the trip go smooth, and without any challenge. I can understand that some people may have an issue with that, but it didn’t really bother me that much. Props for the pixel graphics cause I’m a complete sucker for these. All in all, an absolute must for all adventure games fans.

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Video Games

Doom Eternal

I can’t believe what I’m about to write, but I don’t enjoy Doom Eternal. In fact, it has been the low point of my week-end.

The game is visually stunning, the music is cool and I really enjoy the character customisation. As in the previous Doom, my favourite part is to discover the hidden secrets.

However, the action scenes are pretty frustrating due to the lack of ammunitions. I usually don’t mind searching for ammo crates and I even enjoy replaying a scene once or twice just to make sure I collected everything, but having to switch the chainsaw in order to get restocked disrupts the action and works on my nerves.

Maybe, I’m getting to old to change habits that were built throughout decades of gaming. But, reading the comments on forums, it doesn’t seem like I’m the only one frustrated by this.

Why not giving us a fun shooter where you decimate the legions of hell in a non-stop action spree? After all isn’t it what Doom is all about?

I’ll probably give it another try when the bitter taste of this launch week-end has faded…

Categories
Blog Video Games

Countdown to ACNH

Tomorrow Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be released, and as you can see, I am ready for it!

With the COVID-19 pandemic, my flu-like symptoms and quarantine, this couldn’t be a better timing. If you would have told me at the beginning of the new year that the whole world would be on a lockdown at some point due to a deadly virus, I would have laughed, thinking you watch way too much survival stuff on TV. Yet, here we are, and it would be pretty boring if it were not for netflix and video games. So yes, ACNH is more than welcome at this very moment.