Gaming without your brother

Tag Archives: humble indie bundle

I just had to google spelunking because I was unconvinced that it could really just mean exploring caves (which my prior knowledge was trying to tell me was true). It’s true – spelunking is just looking around caves.

Anyway, I’ve purchased the last 3 Humble Indie Bundles (I should’ve posted about 5 because it was so amazing, but hopefully you owned all the games already) and have played . . . an embarrassingly low number of those games. Additional sadness came today when I realized I haven’t listened to the soundtracks from those games or those from my GOG.com games. The other day I received a recommendation to try out Cave Story for it’s awesome Metroidvania style of gameplay so I downloaded it and gave it a whirl.

Spoiler alert: it's pretty sweet.

Spoiler alert: it’s pretty sweet.

First thing I noticed was the music. The music behind the opening menu is fantastic! And as I’ve kept playing through the game, the music stays great, but I think my favorite thus far is still the opening theme (to be fair, I’m not really that far). The second thing that I had to notice was the old school art style. Gotta love the classics.

The story took me a minute to get into, I didn’t find myself really caring about Sue or any of these Mimigas for awhile. I was surprised, but maybe shouldn’t have been, by the freedom the game offers. I suppose I associate that art style with older games that stereotypically didn’t give much freedom. Someone was in trouble, you agreed to help them, if you don’t, they kept asking until you said yes, they were grateful. Bad guy asked are you ready to rumble, you said no, and he attacked anyway. Those types of situations. The first “mini boss” you run into asks if you want to fight, so just to try it out, I said no, and he left. Again, that kind of player-driven plot is really the norm in gaming now, right? But it pleasantly surprised me in Cave Story all the same.

My beef? The controls. I like the simplicity, but something about the jump took me longer than it should have to master. And while I love self-deprecation and admitting my own ridiculousness, I felt like I was pressing that damn key just like I should have and the jump wasn’t going as far as it was supposed to. Having said that, every game has a learning curve of varying gradations to get comfortable with the controls, so now I’m a jumping master.

No one tells you the down arrow does stuff!

No one tells you the down arrow does stuff! I mean, maybe they explained it in the beginning, and I pressed ‘Z’ too many times too quickly to read what they were telling me. But I took a few minutes in this room to figure out the floppy and the heart monitor, embarrassingly enough.

I’m getting more and more invested in this game. I realized I needed to take a break to write this and get started on Rayman (GOG.com weekend sale on the first 3 Rayman games, if you’re interested, and other really great games actually. This a good weekend sale on the site).

If you tried Cave Story in the past and didn’t get hooked, maybe give it a little more time to whet your whistle. If you tried Cave Story in the past and played for a long time and hated it, leave a comment because I’d love to hear your critiques. If you tried Cave Story in the past and loved it, then good on ya. If you tried – nah, I’m just kidding, I’ll stop doing that repetition-in-the-beginning-of-the-sentence thing. But seriously, give Cave Story a first or maybe second chance, and be sure to leave a comment about what you think!


I bought Portal 1 & 2 during a Steam sale a year or so ago . . . I think I got both for $20 which is usually too much for my budget but I also knew that I would be labeled a heretic gamer if I never played the games. I figured it was imperative that I play the games in order, so I fired up Portal 1 and was instantly disappointed: it was in the first person perspective.

DISAPPOINTED

DISAPPOINTED! (from this video, if you've never seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O1hM-k3aUY)

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s a bad way to make a game, I just have major problems with it from a medical perspective. I tried to figure it out via a reddit question months ago and got this video in response, which I think does a good job of explaining how developers contribute to the problem of motion sickness in FPS games, but doesn’t exactly explain why CoD is a best seller and people don’t vomit like I do when I try to play.

But at the same time, I think part of it must be developer related because some games I can’t play at all, and some I am able to power a few hours into before having to turn it off. Team Fortress 2 for example is a game that I can play all right for a little bit. Unfortunately, I could generally only do one Portal chamber at a time before I’d have to turn off the game (not even a chamber sometimes, depending on how long it took me).

The other difficult thing about Portal 1 for me is that I’m terrible at puzzle games. I got Braid in one of the Humble Indie Bundles it was a part of (don’t remember which number that was) and googled a ton of solutions because I just didn’t have the patience to sit and figure it out. I’m terrible, I know. So in that respect, it was almost a good thing that I couldn’t sit and play Portal 1 for long periods of time because by the time I was getting nauseated, I was usually also getting stuck, so I’d leave, come back a few days later, and suddenly see the solution. Having said that, I did google a number of things, and felt like a traitor. More than a traitor, I usually felt really stupid because I knew I should’ve been able to figure out the solutions I googled on my own.

So did I think Portal 1 was all it was cracked up to be? Sure. I guess. I don’t really know what it was cracked up to be, since it’s been so long since it was released. I know that it was stepping stone to Portal 2 which multiple people have told me is the greatest game ever made. While I know I won’t believe that, I’m hoping for a good time.

I think the main praise of Portal 1 and I’m betting Portal 2 was the humor. During the last boss battle in Portal 1, I was laughing out loud at the clever, passive-aggressive one-liners GLaDos had. Humor in video gaming is always great, and I think it’s missing from a lot of non-RPG games (and RPGs for that matter), so it was refreshing to hear it in Portal.

lulz

lulz

And of course, at the end of the day, Portal is just a cool idea. Entering at one spot and coming out of another, HAL 3000’s granddaughter, and cake. That is a winning combo right there. I suppose I’m just glad I took the opportunity to play it, get a few more nerd references now, and can relate that much more to the majority of gamers. And of course, now I can start Portal 2, maybe after this nausea wears off . . .