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    THOTH (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jul 16th, 2019 at 09:06:23)

    Fantastic little twin stick shooter from the person who did 140, which was a really neat music platformer. In Thoth, you control a little orb and you shoot other shapes until they die. The shapes chase you. When you kill a shape, it turns into a black ghost version of itself and chases you faster. Each level is a set piece, and like any good game, Thoth adds tweaks and challenges bit by bit to keep you on your toes. So, there are squares that, when killed, fire a smaller square straight at you, which continues to bounce around the level. Some levels have deadly rows of lights running through them. When you kill an enemy, the lights flip on. Kill another enemy and the lights flip off, allowing you to pass. Another enemy type is a circle that expands indefinitely until you shoot it, whereupon it retracts. If you kill it, then its ghost version will engulf everything within about 10 seconds. If you don't kill it, it will continue to expand normally again until you shoot it back down to size, and so on. Key to each level is knowing where the enemy shapes are moving, killing them so that you can move around the level safely (e.g., taking into account rows of lights, expanding circles, and other obstacles), and knowing when to be patiently methodical and when to be aggressive. The later levels had some cool new mechanics like shapes that, instead of shooting squares at you when they die, release pulsing circles. When one of these circles is on screen, the next enemy you kill transports you into the circle. In this way, you can teleport around the level, out of (or into!) harm's way.

    Thoth is a short game, challenging but beatable, though there are extra levels after the main set that are probably really hard! I played through some of the procedurally generated ones, and then there are inverted levels (color swap?), a two-player mode, and one of the most difficult sounding achievements I've ever seen. For a brutal challenge, you can beat the game in two-player mode without the second player ever moving or shooting. When the second player dies, they become a ghost and chase you too. So basically this achievement means completing the game with another ghost circle chasing you around the entirety of every level. Veeeery few people on Steam have that achievement!

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    Scanner Sombre (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jul 15th, 2019 at 14:22:11)

    Well THAT was cool. I wish I had a VR set. Scanner Sombre is a "cave exploration" game by Introversion of Prison Architect fame (or for me, Darwinia). They also did Defcon and Uplink. I've played everything they've ever made. It's always supremely creative. Scanner Sombre looks like nothing they've done before though. You wake up in a tent deep in a cave, find this radar type gun and a VR headset that scans the environment, pixelating and coloring it. Basically, you fire the radar gun everywhere to light your way and explore the cave. Along the way, you get upgrades to the gun that allow you to see more clearly. I won't say anything about the story, but I really enjoyed it, especially when I realized that where I thought I had started and where I thought I was going was not at all where I had actually started or where I was actually going. Scanner Sombre also has a little bit of horror in it with some hideous sounding creatures and oppressive sound design. The boat segment was one of my favorite parts and the most beautiful. The only thing that detracted from the experience was that sometimes navigating through the cave could get frustrating because everything is the same few colors. If you get turned around or can't find a little exit from an area, you can spend some time wandering. Not much though, as the entire game is less than 2 hours long. It's short and sweet and something different.

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    Layers of Fear (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jul 15th, 2019 at 11:54:48)

    Got this for free somewhere along the line. Mediocre horror game about a tortured artist. I wasn't totally clear on the story, but I think he went a little nuts when his wife got burned in an accident. Either that, or he was already going a bit nuts as his career faltered, and then his wife got burned and he completely lost it. The story seemed to get more interesting toward the end, but the game relies heavily on symbolism to convey significance to the player, like this set piece at the end with a checker board. No idea what that was about. The artist's madness playing his sanity in checkers?

    Decent voice acting, some solid artwork with plenty of disturbing imagery. The artist paints his portraits with body parts and whatnot. Oooh ahh, how gross. I suppose one issue I took with the game is that it wasn't scary and didn't instill any layers of fear in my heart. It relied overwhelmingly on jump scares and the aforementioned disturbing imagery to scare and unsettle the player. Jump scares are cheap, and Layers of Fear doesn't pull them off that well. Things predictably move and make noise and change. For example, when you don't see a way out of the room you are in, you can bet that when you spin around, oh no a mysterious force will hurl a vase against a wall! Jump scare got ya!

    Game takes 3-4 hours better spent playing a better, perhaps more interactive horror game. This one is borderline walking simulator. There are no enemies to run from (technically there are a couple "enemies" but they can't do anything to you), no weapons, no items to use (except in the most basic sense of like finding a key that unlocks a door). That's another reason why the game isn't scary. There's no real danger. You can't die (as far as I know). It's very linear. No choices. Nothing you do matters. I didn't feel like me playing the game mattered. It just needs someone to walk the tortured artist through his insanity.

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    Detention (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jul 8th, 2019 at 19:15:04)

    Ah, Detention! I never had it in school, believe it or not. I had in-school suspension once but never detention. This game is not about detention. It's about a Taiwanese school during part of a long period of martial law. In this point-and-click horror game, you play as Ray (most of the time) and uncover events in the school's past and her own past. The game has highly disturbing images like rivers of blood with dead bodies in it, creepy eyes that watch you cross the screen, and the "lingered" which are malevolent spirits with lanterns and awfully long serpentine tongues that you have to hide your face from. There are lots of hangings, blood, rituals, blood, cryptic writing, and blood.

    In the first chunk of the game, you are exploring the school, avoiding the lingered, and piecing together a couple story threads. As the game goes on, the lingered disappear (I don't know why), which fundamentally changes the feeling of the game. You're no longer afraid of anything, running, hiding, or being careful. From then on, it's simply a matter of doing the (relatively easy) puzzles and reading dialogue. In the end, even the puzzles disappear and the game becomes more like a visual novel. I assume these shifts in tone were done on purpose, but I don't think I liked the shifts. The game settled me into the first horror tone, and I spent the rest of the game thinking the lingered would return as enemies, but it just told me a neat story and ended. I'm okay with that. Cool imagery and a unique story made me glad I played, but it wasn't anything magnificent. Howeverrrr, it does have me interested in learning more about Taiwan, about which I admittedly know next to nothing. So, that's a win?

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    Life is Strange (PS4)    by   jp       (Jul 2nd, 2019 at 21:47:51)

    I was going to play Life is Strange: Before the Storm, but that disc included the first episode of Life is Strange so I booted that up instead...and, it turns out that I already had Life is Strange (thanks PS+) so I've kept on playing the rest.
    I had a saved game from 3(!) years ago, but that was only the beginning.

    Wow, three years?

    Time really flies.

    In any case, I've already finished the first three episodes and I've really enjoyed it. It's a different kind of story that's told froma different point of view.

    There's more puzzley elements than I'm used to when compared to, say, Telltale's games and Detroit. The achievements are all tied to taking photographs of certain moments/places/things and I enjoyed the clues you get in a little scrapbook of sorts (there's actually a lot of info in the scrapbook - lots of stuff to read).

    Other than that...I'm SUPER surprised by the time-travel twist at the end of the 3rd episode and I'm really curious now to see where it all goes. I wasn't expecting a twist that big...

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    What is GameLog?

    GameLog hopes to be a site where gamers such as yourself keep track of the games that they are currently playing. A GameLog is basically a record of a game you started playing. If it's open, you still consider yourself to be playing the game. If it's closed, you finished playing the game. (it doesn't matter if you got bored, frustrated,etc.) You can also attach short comments to each of your games or even maintain a diary (with more detailed entries) for that game. Call it a weblog of game playing activity if you will.

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    1 : jp's Thief (PS4)
    2 : dkirschner's Wuppo (PC)
    3 : dkirschner's Scanner Sombre (PC)
    4 : dkirschner's Layers of Fear (PC)
    5 : dkirschner's THOTH (PC)
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    Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (Arcade)    by   TKYROS

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Wednesday 27 October, 2010

    It has been almost 4 years since I've touched San Andreas. I still remember when I was really into it when I was younger. I had always been about trying to complete all the missions, get all the extras, and do the main part of the game, with of course occasionally having a little fun with all the different stuff you can do. Considering how long it had been since I had played this game last, I had decided to start this game simply by playing the missions straight through and refresh my memory of the general feeling of this game.
    At the start of the game, right away I am framed by corrupt cops for a crime that I did not even commit so they pretty much have me to do as they please. Along with this, I discover that I return to find out how my character's mom was killed and meet all of my “bros” and “homies”. I am introduced to my brother but I am not welcome back to my character's old neighborhood at first. You learn about your brother Sweet and how you don't have the best relationship at this point. You also have smoke who is for the most part on your side as well.
    You're also explained how you're old home is used for a save point at this point of the game. After learning what I've learned, I'd give this a general sign of video games. How you're home, or base in other games, is like your safe haven and where you are able to sleep, and save your progress. You're also introduced to Ryder, a smoker and another one who is on your side, aside from Smoke (who I think is the most hilarious character). Overall, you're not very well respected as of right now in your area since you've ran away. In what I would consider the first real mission we need to take out a pizza joint and take out the owner. Right off the bat, you are given a choice. Similar to how we had discussed in GOW3 with Kratos, the only way to move on through the storyline in this game is to kill a person who was cleaning the graffiti off of walls to keep his place clean. A little Ethical Egoism is in there with a hint of Utilitarianism. By killing this man, you gain respect from your homies, and if you don't, not only can you not move on in the game, you lose respect as well. So of course, I had to do what I had to do, which brings me to another point. In GTAIII, if I remember correctly, all missions from the get co was simply cash. Now, in the first mission and I believe the next one to come, you earn more respect.
    With this, I feel it is a little stereotyped in the black neighborhoods, how you need to earn respect to make sure you are safe in your area and in order to do that, need to kill people, etc... The next mission, in my opinion, is even more stereotypical, how I need to spray paint some of our walls to make this neighborhood again “ours” and to get it away from one of the main antagonists of this game known as the Ballas, who are for the most part Mexican, surprise surprise another minority.
    In the next major part of the game, you learn how the hood is getting “messed up” by the fact cocaine has been sold to your people and you need to stop them and “clean up” the hood and, not surprisingly, the only way to do this is to take out the Ballas who have been making the crack. Again, this game is showing the stereotype of drugs and having to kill people and again leaves the player the choice of killing the Ballas to move on in the game and develop more of the plot, along with getting more respect, or not being able to and essentially you get killed and fail the mission. In other words, to do what is considered “good” in this game, you have to do what most would consider “evil”. Of course, most would find this offensive, however, it gives the player a sense of what truly is going on in these types of neighborhoods, specifically in LA. Although this is stereotyped for the most part, I am a firm believe that stereotypes exist because 75% of the time they are true and accurate.
    In the next mission, they waste no time by going on to another major stereotype in these types of neighborhoods. However, they decide to show a little humor in this next stereotype by showing how blacks love fried chicken and how certain ones can eat a ton of it, even in certain situations. However, in the midst of their feast they get interrupted by a drive by by the Ballas and you of course are driving at this point and need to help Ryder and Sweet take them out, and of course if you drive away, you get yelled at to go back and possibly fail the mission. Again, left with that choice. Seems to be a common scenario in these first few missions, and unfortunately, I do not remember if that is the case throughout the rest of the game, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't.
    So after this mission is where I ended my first GTASA session. And overall, there is a lot of stereotyping in these first few missions, but in my opinion, accurately depicts what goes on in essentially what I would call the ghetto. Family is important among this group along with respect that one needs to earn amongst his “bros” and “homies”, and you do that through doing these missions, in which for the most part I, along with others, would consider evil. I know that it is fake in this game, but these are events that happen in real life in these poor areas amongst different minorities. Rockstar, I believe, tries to show this in their game and does a fairly good job, except for a few unrealistic aspects, such as the fact that the cops simply ignore you as you are shooting at a car, but then again, it is possible that they are so corrupt that they don't want to even get involved. There are many different interpretations that can be taken at this game. My interpretation is that it can inform someone of what truly goes on through what essentially is entertaining, but does contain a deeper message.

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