Far from any road

Far from any road

 

Beyond the curtains of my tiny room, I can see the town still enveloped in fog. Nobody is outside. Nobody is allowed outside. It was one of the first rules we set up after seven of us died during the first decent of fog. While I wait, I do what everybody would do. I read, I check my body for holes, I get bored, I repeat. Around noon the fog is finally gone and I can take my first step outside for the day. My joints still feel rusty which I should probably take care of at some point. Only slowly do the others emerge from their homes. Small eyes peeking out the door, reluctant hands grasping for something they hope is no longer there. I walk faster now, never leaving the wooden planks we call road. “Never step off as long as the ground is still wet after fog or rain or else you might lose a leg.” Another rule we made, not the second one, but among the first ten. I pick up a small part, an SD card if I am not mistaken. It must belong to Janice, she had a habit of losing it. Continue reading

Critic’s Choice Award

Critic’s Choice Award

 

The squeaking sound of rubber gloves danced on the keyboard as he carved word after word into the digital document. A cold dispassion filled both him and his writing as he tried to word disgust with a sense of elegance and chic. The premier had been far too crowded which had already rubbed him up the wrong way and the actual “experience” hadn’t been much better. Frustrated, he pounded the desk and regreted it seconds later. “Cliched and overacted” is what he would have written about this outburst. Continue reading

Atrocious Art Design – Darksiders Series

Atrocious Art Design – Darksiders Series

 

Tea: Vanilla Black Pepper Tea (goes together a lot better than you’d think)

 

Remember last week when I mentioned the amazing minimalistic art design in 999? Well, it was all a clairvoyant taste of this week’s article made possible by the release of Darksiders 3’s footage. You don’t believe me now, do you? You have every right, but as a matter of fact it is a welcome opportunity to talk about art design in games and the absolute abomination that is the Darksiders series in this regard. And I might as well kill any hype for Darksiders 3 in the same breath as it looks to be the worst offender yet.

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Handling Multiple Playthroughs – 999 Zero Escape

Handling Multiple Playthroughs – 999 Zero Escape

 

Tea: Assam

 

– Spoiler Warning for 999 –

The Zero Escape series is one of those always-on-your-list-but-never-quite-getting-around-to-actually-playing-them type of affairs. Recently, I finally played through the entirety of the first title 999 (9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors) and was left with a generally amazing feeling. One of the best parts, however, was the handling of multiple playthroughs, especially in a puzzle game, something seemingly dull the second time around. That is why today’s essay is about the construction of branching narratives within multiple playthroughs.

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Something resembling an update of sorts

Something resembling an update of sorts

 

Tea: Greek Herb Tea

 

Critical Teatime is almost 2 years old and do not worry, this is not a sentimental outburst of any kind. Rather, I have been thinking about my content, the content others produce, and how I want to position myself within this fought over space. Blog culture is an interesting one, but also a form that grows stale rather fast. To prevent myself from becoming formulaic, I want to shift the focus of my work. Continue reading

The Tragic Humanity of NieR Automata

The Tragic Humanity of NieR Automata

 

Tea: Assam

 

Of course, I have to write something about the masterpiece that is NieR Automata. That being said, you, you know what follows: Massive Spoilerwarning! If you have not finished the game, you are not allowed to read any further. If you do not plan on playing the game: Plan to play the game and leave now. Nobody who has not experienced Ending E should read any further. Now that this annoying little necessity is out of the way, I can fully turn my attention to the topic at hand: The concept of humanity in NieR Automata. Continue reading

Beware of Papercuts

Tearaway Unfolded

Tea: Chocolate Tea

With phantom thieves banging on my window to start playing their game already, I cut out some time to make a little bit of space for Tearaway Unfolded. In hindsight, I couldn’t even tell you why. Partially because it was free and the remaining portion is due to a podcast backlog I have to work through and this seemed like the kind of game to do that. So before I can finally enjoy approximately 100 hours of typical Japanese highschool life, take a quick dive into the paper crafted world of Tearaway and prepare for some nasty papercuts. Continue reading

Falling to new heights

The Fall

Tea: Peppermint

Not every game has a place cut out for it. Sometimes certain elements are lacking to satisfy the palate of the general consumer, or a game is simply released at the wrong time and has to face the towering competition of other titles. When one of these titles soon to drown in the now sluggish swamp of oblivion has won several awards for the best story in the medium, I, of course, grow interested and this is how I ended up playing The Fall by Over the Moon Games. With my nerves still echoing with the tingling sensation of NieR Automata, it was nice to find a title that strikes a similar tone this soon and thus I began the short journey of A.R.I.D. Continue reading

The Weight of the World

NieR Automata

 

Tea: Yakushima (Japanese Black Tea)

 

I want to approach every game as unbiased as possible and judge it accordingly, but NieR Automata is a special case in more than one way. The original NieR is one of my all-time favourites which flew so low under the radar one could reasonably fear for it to go underground any second. The prospect of a second title never occurred to me. Gems like these are released and then forgotten, treasured only by a select few. The announcement of another title was the first dream come true, the second came in the form of Platinum Games whose combat design I always adore. After then hearing that even the composer would return for this title, nothing could contain my anticipation. Without seeing much of the game, it already had sky-high hopes to live up to. Up to the moment that I started the game for the first time, I still was in a dream-like state and could not believe this actually existed. I tell you all of this to make you understand what impossible odds this game faced and had to accomplish and now enjoy my thoughts after spending a lot of time with it. Continue reading

Embracing the Gimmick

Thoughts on Gimmick Horror Movies

 

Tea: Rooibos Lemon

 

After recently watching the more than mediocre Hush, a movie about a deaf and mute writer being stalked in her small house in the woods by a redneck hunting enthusiast, I thought hard about those kind of horror movies with a certain gimmick. In this example, the deafness of the main character, or you can think of others like the monster from It Follows, the self-awareness of Cabin in the Woods and so on and so on. Therefore, I thought a few notes on what these movies are capable of doing that others may be not or where they sometimes fall short would be appropriate. Continue reading