October 05, 2017

That's A Wrap: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

warning: may contain spoilers

I went into Rapture knowing only one thing, which is that it's described as a "walking simulator", which, to me, means the game will be reasonably short and not very demanding of the player. Sounds like everything else I've played lately, right? In fact, I was reminded of the game's existence after my blogging pal Sarca mentioned it in her Journey entry. I recalled getting the game from my PS+ subscription but, like most of the games I get there, I completely ignored it despite being intrigued by the name.
So upon booting it up, I took a moment to get myself acquainted with the first-person view, thanking my lucky stars that there won't (as far as I know) be any shooting to do. The game really doesn't give you much to work with beyond a short introduction to one or two characters called Kate and Stephen. Given the title of the game, I knew we'd be dealing with an "end of the world" scenario and assumed I was playing as Kate for a while. For the next hour or two, I found myself a little frustrated with the lack of direction - I had literally no idea what I was doing; my objective, how to find things, what to interact with? And at the same time I found myself amused by how much this situation looks like what I'd probably do if I was "left behind"... wander around and explore people's houses and shit. The aimless nature of the game is actually kind of welcoming to a native explorer like me, but I still wish I had some idea what to do. Eventually, I noticed the repeated mention of the observatory, and assumed I needed to head back there. Before I reached it (I went the complete opposite direction, didn't pay much attention to that map on my first spin...) I started to figure out what was going on and how to play the game.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a 2015 first-person walking sim developed by The Chinese Room with the help of Sony's Santa Monica Studios. It's a story-heavy experience released exclusively for the PS4, until 2016 when it was ported to PC.

August 24, 2017

That's A Wrap: Journey

warning: may contain spoilers

There's a game that's been on my radar for many years now; it's received much praise as well as criticism, some calling it a masterpiece while my internet bro Player 1 calls it "push up, the game". That didn't stop him finally conceding to make it a game of the month for the Cartridge Club, though, and I figure that makes this as a good a time as any to finally check out Journey.

Journey is a 2012 interactive something-like-a-platformer game made by indie studio, Thatgamecompany, and published exclusively by and for the Playstation 3 (it was later ported to PS4, I played the PS3 version). The physical copy of the game - which has been collecting dust on my shelf for some time now - hosts the aforementioned as the lead in a three-game lineup, including flOw and Flower, which I also checked out! As the name suggests, the game is centered around one's (or many, for that matter) journey across the land, towards a looming, lit up mountain peak in the distance. Take this time to insert your own "it's not the destination..." joke here.

August 17, 2017

That's A Wrap: Papo & Yo

warning: may contain spoilers

The next in what's becoming my 'month of adventure puzzle games' is Papo & Yo on the Playstation 3. Papo & Yo, which - to the best of my somewhat respectable language knowledge - translates to Monster & Me, where "monster" sounding an awful lot like "papa" was not a mistake, is yet another game I received for "free" with my Playstation Plus subscription years ago. I checked it out in a Game Binge a while back and decided I liked the cut of its jib, so it sat on my Playstation for another year and change until I realized that these shorter games are about the only thing I have time for this summer. I don't know if you've noticed, but ATSG always gets a bit... tumbleweed-y in the summer months, since my work schedule picks up significantly, I have little to no time for games, much less writing. But with a roster that includes games like Brothers, Journey (coming soon!) and Papo, which can be finished in one sitting, I'm working towards a somewhat busy summer for ATSG! That said, if you can recommend me any other games that fit this mold, drop me a line! I'd like to keep this momentum going!

Anyway, Papo & Yo is a self published, adventure puzzle game made by Minority Media and released in 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. As I said a moment ago, I got my first look at it during a random Game Binge, and was intrigued by the light/dark tones of the game, the cute delivery system for tutorials, and even the "little kid" writing for the menus and dialogue. The game has a very free feel to it, like you can do anything you want, but your purpose becomes quite clear very soon.

August 10, 2017

That's A Wrap: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

warning: may contain spoilers

A much talked about game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons first came to my attention shortly after its release. Everyone remarked on the unique use of the game's dual controls - that is, you must control one character with one half of a single controller, and the other with the opposite side - which honestly made me groan. 10-year-old me wouldn't have thought twice, but not-so-10-year-old-me is noticing a distinct loss in fine motor skills as I age, and everyone knows patience isn't my best feature... so a game that requires both sides of my brain to work simultaneously didn't appeal to me that much. But that wasn't the only thing people were talking about, many discussed the emotional story, the acute sense of adventure and the somewhat complex puzzle design of the game, and those are all dead ringers for a game I'd like to play. So I thought I'd give it the old college try, and see if I could handle two brothers. Historically speaking, having one has been a pain in the ass...

I actually came to own Brothers after it was given away for free ("free") to PS+ members some time ago, so I'm plum out of excuses!

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (stupid subtitle) is a unique dual-control adventure game made by Starbreeze Studios and originally published in 2013 for the Xbox 360. It popped up shortly thereafter on PS3 and has since been ported to PS4 and Xbox One as well, among others.

July 13, 2017

That's A Wrap: Shining Force

warning: may contain spoilers.

You've probably heard me raving about Shining Force 2 more than a few times on this site, and that's because it's my favorite game of all time. But I seldom talk about its predecessor, Shining Force. The way I see it, in a world where SF2 exists, there's little reason to reach for Force 1 much, but that didn't stop me downloading it on my iPhone just in case I got bored one day...

...one day is here. After my pal DukeTogo from RF Generation mentioned that the Playcast's game of the month is Shining Force 2, I somehow got roped into a Shining discussion that ended in me mentioning that I had Force 1 on my phone. I was asked if it was terrible, and I realized that I didn't actually know... I dabbled with it a bit after downloading (and that was years ago) but never actually tried to play it on my phone; I always just play on my Genesis. So I decided to give it a look and see if it belongs in the Shining world...

Shining Force is 1992 strategy RPG made by Sonic (hahaha) and published by and for the Sega Genesis. It was ported to iOS in 2010.

June 15, 2017

The E3 Blog: 2017

Every year now, the video game industry breaks into two groups; the first gets very excited for E3, and starts making predictions and wish lists for certain content, the other are nay-sayers who insist E3 is becoming obsolete and is a waste of time. I fall somewhere in between. I'm never really excited for E3 anymore; it's become really difficult to avoid rumors and leaks, so surprises are rare at a convention like this, and the rest is usually a bunch a predictable ports and sequels... I'm often left uncharged at the end. That said, I also think the event serves more than one purpose, and just because we aren't jumping out of our seats in shock and awe, doesn't mean the annual activity is worthless. I quite like this platform for people like me, and I just hope for something truly interesting every year... a new I.P. is always welcome, and perhaps a confirmed released date for something I've been waiting for (although we all know release dates are bullshit these days too). I'm ready for some good information. Here's hopin' at least one of these guys has an ace up their sleeve...

Oh, if you're new here: hi! I'm Lo! Every year I watch each of the major press events at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), America's largest video game and tech convention, and tap out my thoughts in real time here, for the E3 Blog. Thanks for joining me!

I'm already so confused by this schedule. We don't normally start on a Saturday, do we?

June 01, 2017

Tales of Opinia: Demos

If you've paid any mind to the assault of Game Binges here lately, you've no doubt picked up on the fact that I'm no stranger to demos. And why should I be? Demos are an excellent answer to the problem of having some interest in a game, but not knowing if it's worth your money. I think demos have always been an awesome way to introduce gamers to your content and potentially sell your product.
That said... there's no shortage of absolute shit demos out there. You think it'd be pretty straight forward, but developers are often coy when it comes to revealing certain aspects of their game on the first date. And I suppose I understand, I'm not asking for a movie trailer containing all the best parts of the movie here, I just want to know what I'm getting into before I sink $60+ and countless hours of my time into something. So when I'm not 100% certain of a game, I look for a demo, and after so many years, I've noticed what it takes to sell me from one. Listen up, industry! I'm going to tell you what I think it takes to make a good demo!

May 25, 2017

That's A Wrap: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

objection! may contain spoilers

I got my first look at the Ace Attorney series when I did a 3DS Game Binge for the site a couple months ago. I've been hearing people raving about these games for some time, but I guess I just shifted it to the back burner to focus on the more "heavy duty" games I wanted to play. Doing that binge helped me learn that, in fact, it's Phoenix I need in my life right now... he's all I've got time for!
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a 2001 interactive courtroom "drama" game by Capcom, originally made for the Game Boy Advance and later ported (and expanded*) for the Nintendo DS (and others) in 2005. It's the first of many in the Ace Attorney series, which, as the title suggests, follows a number of elite lawyers in their bid to bring justice to all.

I suppose I expected AA (teehee!) games to be puzzle in nature, and obviously law themed. I wasn't too far off. The game plays like an interactive novel, where a number of cases play out and it's up to you - as Phoenix - to memorize facts and point out inconsistencies in the stories of all people involved. A slight departure from the law theme, the game also includes an investigative portion in which Phoenix acts more like a detective than a defense attorney.

May 18, 2017

The Scenic Route: New York Comic Con 2016

I told you I hadn't given up on it! Just in time for this year's New York Comic Con ticket race, I whipped together this quick look at what your NYCC ticket gets you, as well as a few other things you can check out while you're in the true home of my heart.

Shoot me a sub on YouTube if you want advance access to content like this! My supporters there got the video early! And you never know what I'll dump on there...

May 11, 2017

Don't Panic: Too Many Chili Dogs

I'm back! I'm back in saddle again!🎶 Good luck getting that unstuck from your mind...

Yeah, so 2016 was... dismal. Just a complete write off of a year, really, in all respects, but especially for And Then She Games. But I seem to be getting back into the swing of things here, just in time for... get this... my FOURTH anniversary! May 2017 makes four years of me editing the overuse of the word 'fuck' out of my articles so people might actually read them! Fuck! Yay! Anyway, after last year's failure to launch, so to speak, I thought I'd do another anniversary celebration for those of you who've stuck with me through thick and thin.

A quick glance at my collection proves that this past year (or two) has definitely been the year of Playstation. I've basically added nothing to my collection since paring down a while back (remember my midlife crisis?) except PS4 games, so that will be the theme of this year's giveaway! Apologies to Xbone and 'Tendo fans, but c'mon. You need these games.
As always, I'll be conducting the giveaway from twitter... it hasn't let me down yet, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it! If you haven't found me there yet, you're looking for @nintenlo. (Ironic, I know.) I will host each prize as a separate raffle, so you won't win something you're not interested in. You can enter for both if you like, but you can only win one!

April 13, 2017

The Elite Four: Video Game Crushes [Ladies Night!]

A little over a year ago, I published what ended up being one of my most popular articles to date, The Elite Four: Video Game Crushes. I was glad to see that everyone found the humor in that list, but
I deliberately limited this goofy collection to 'no girls allowed', knowing full well that there were enough ladies on my mind to fulfill a list of their own. But I think it's important to note that as video game characters go, I'm indifferent to gender. A great character is exceptional regardless of their sex.
That said, being a woman, I've been subjected to my fair share of sexism in games (like always having to play Chun-Li or Blaze, because they're girls...) so an amazing female character still impresses me that much more; I'm happy to see strong female leads and supports, even though they always attract a ton of questionable attention... fuck it. Here's one for the ladies! My Top 5 Video Game Crushes - Ladies Edition!

March 30, 2017

In RETROspect: Beyond Oasis

Once again, the Cartridge Club called upon the genius of the Sega Genesis for March 2017's game of the month, and landed on Beyond Oasis, an "action RPG" developed by Ancient and released on the Genny in 1995 for North Americans. The game is frequently described as "Zelda-like" which is a descriptor that drives me nuts, but nevertheless serves its purpose here rather well. Beyond Oasis is about as much of a RPG as Zelda. In fact, the game makes me think, if Prince of Persia and Streets of Rage had a baby, and then Zelda became its stepmom...
It's true title is The Story of Thor, which is all kinds of weird when you consider the character's name is Ali, and you couldn't name him Thor even if you wanted to (you're stuck with a 3 character limit!). But the truth is, the game has nothing at all to do with Thor or Norse mythology, and to my knowledge the name is thanks to a transcript error.
The game boasts a rather simple design for something called a RPG, but doesn't come up short on design or story, and might even be fun sometimes!
Blah blah blah, spoilers n' such, blah blah blah...

The story of Thor Beyond Oasis is a classic tale of why you should always put your money in gold... er...
Our boy Ali is a shitty prince with nothing better to do but go treasure hunting. While he's at it, he happens across the legendary gold armlet... that talks. The armlet tells Ali his days of boredom are over, 'cause now he has to seek out and defeat whomever has the accompanying silver armlet, which is evil 'cause it's not gold. Okay, I know I'm not doing it any favors here, but the plot is actually quite well done. The game doesn't waste your time with boring details or long conversations, but rather lets you actually play the game, and sort the details out on your own, which is not difficult or convoluted. You get snippets of story in short cutscenes between chunks of play, and the story itself is easy to follow and suits the adventure genre the game truly sports.

March 23, 2017

Game Binge - Episode Six [3DS Edition]

A few months ago - and by "a few months" I mean basically a year - I was greeted by a shiny new member of my console family: a Nintendo New 3DS (Fire Emblem edition!). I've been meaning for some time now to get back to conquering my DS collection, but I'm sure you can guess how that's going... and now I'm tasked with getting acquainted with the newest addition to the DS league. You know what that means... it's time for a GAME BINGE!

March 16, 2017

In RETROspect: Gunstar Heroes

Erm… so this was supposed to be published back in December 2015 when the club played it, and when my website went haywire and I went rogue. By the time I got everything sorted out I was little turned off by the fact that everyone else had posted their two cents, and they all closely resembled mine. So I decided to stow this away for a rainy day when everyone has forgotten the game instead, and today is that day.

I love it when the Cartridge Club chooses a Genesis title for game of the month, because the Genesis is awesome. Also I have a fuckton of experience with it and I love all these games! For December 2015, the club and I dove into the face-paced (it was supposed to say "fast-paced" but screw it, "face-paced" is more epic) run-and-gun action film wannabe that is Gunstar Heroes. This gem was developed by Treasure and released for the Sega Genesis (slash Mega Drive) in 1993, and I brought it home shortly thereafter and fell in love. And that kinda says something… I'm not the biggest fan of shooters and repetitive games don't normally stay with me (see River City Ransom) but Gunstar has that certain somethin' special… something between solid gameplay and charm, and it just keeps bringing me back for another round. I've played GH numerous times now - too many to count - which is surely testimony of my first impression. I have to say, the game has aged pretty well and reigns supreme as not only one of the best Genesis titles, but one the best shooters of all time. I don't normally need an excuse to whip out GH but since the Cartridge Club rarely reaches out to my beloved Genny, here's your article, guys!

February 16, 2017

8-Bit Minute: Xbox One Wish List

There's been an awful lot of 'PS4' on ATSG lately, so I thought we'd mix things up a bit and have a look at the one last, lonely, remaining console on my to do list: The Xbox One.

The "Xbone" has been on an endless roller coaster since its debut at E3, where it took one very long, steep fall to the bottom of not only the coaster track, but my wish list, too. It's the only 8th generation competitor that I have yet to dabble in.
The Xbone got off to a really rough start with its initial operational policies, and even though they rectified many of their horrible decisions - for which I give them credit. Never have I seen a game-related manufacturer respond to user feedback so quickly - it seems a lot of people still just don't love their Xbones. A lot of people, once very excited to bring home their console, have confided in me that the system has a number of less than stellar features, requires a lot of updates and just doesn't run as well as anyone hoped.
But Microsoft's questionable juggling act isn't the only reason a lot of players aren't excited about the system... there just really aren't a lot of games.

If you're one of Xbox's patented FPS gamers, then sure, there's plenty of Halo and junk for you, but the Xbone's diversity is lacking. Hard. They recently came under a lot of criticism after canceling the much anticipated Scalebound, not only because people love Platinum games, but because it was set to add some much needed variety to the Xbone's roster. Personally, I never really liked the look of Scalebound, but I can't deny that the system desperately needed it.
For a RPGer like me, there's next to nothing on the system that meets my needs. BUT! There are a handful of (non-RPG) games that I would like to check out, so let's have a look at my Xbox One Wish List.

February 09, 2017

Les Dispositifs Terribles: Playstation 4

Well this is long overdue. I blame my mother. One cannot conduct a "mom test" when one's mother is in other countries! I'm not sure how helpful this is going to be, more than three years after the release of the console but, shoot, there must be people out there like me who wait to buy consoles, right?

...right? *crickets*
Um. Yeah. Not only is this way late for me, but Sony went ahead a released two new versions of the console recently, so this information is basically obsolete. But fuck it, this article has been half written since last March, so I'm posting it!
To be clear: we're talking about the original Playstation 4 unit. Not the slim, not the pro. The O.G.. Without further ado...

February 02, 2017

Game Binge - Episode Five [PS4 Edition]

In a strange turn of events, I found myself with a small scraping of free time (and also Chinese food!) and thought it was time to clear off the accumulated demos and try out some of my digital purchases on the PS4. It's not quite the caliber I'm accustomed to here on ATSG, but here's a small episode of the few things I was able to check out! Let me know if you've played these!

January 19, 2017

GAME OVER: 2015 & 2016

...whaddaya mean "it's the middle of January..."?

Oh shit. It is. My bad. Well, as they say: better late then never, yes?

In fact you may have noticed 2015's Game Over article is altogether… non-existent. Yeah, whoops. The end of 2015 through... well, pretty much all of 2016 turned out to be some of the worst time in my life, and sadly, I had to prioritize my well being over my well blogging. Thus the poor excuse for a 2016 in my archives, over there. Driving me nuts... 
Anyway, I had intended to come back and post a G.O. super late last year as well, but it just didn't work out for me, and eventually I gave up and decided I would just mash 2015 and 2016 together! It kind of made sense to me at the time, since 2016 was lined up to be the year that 2015 was supposed to be. Then, as per usual, I missed the 2016 deadline as well. Typical Burton! I considered skipping another year but in addition to feeling like a failure, I figured if I'm going to allow myself to cheat you like that, I may as well just cancel the blog forever. But I'm not cool with that. I quite like these year end summaries of mine...

And here we are. Hello. Happy 2017! Even if you're still writing '2016' on everything, like me. But I hope the past year hasn't sucked as much for you as it has for me and And Then She Games. But I must admit, I'm rather impressed with how well my 'little website that could' is doing. I never really comprehended the thought of there being this much content on my site, and it seems to be leaving its grimy little footprints all over the web. Regardless of my truancy, my traffic has been pretty consistent, and I learn fantastic little things from my analytics all the time, like the person who found my site by googling "Seymour's stupid hair". You, my friend, are my favorite person ever.
I must extend my thanks to all the loyal readers, and the folks who share my stuff with their unwitting friends, the pals who retweet me when I inform the universe of the occasional update, and the randos who google Seymour and decide to click on me anyway. Thanks for keeping ATSG alive, and for giving me the hope and motivation I need to keep doing this, even when I can't.

So let's relive the past together in this massive, tardy, two-year retrospective in gaming!