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About matt0

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  1. I use "puzzle game" interchangeably to describe on one hand stuff like Tetris, Puyo Puyo, Mr Driller etc. Then on the other hand games about experimenting and refining solutions to physical or abstract systems. Sokoban, Portal, Baba is You, Zachtronics games, Boulderdash etc. They're almost entirely unconnected genres with some slight crossover at the fringes of each one. For some reason though they're both "puzzle games" to me.
  2. Holding both mouse buttons down when you turn it on will take you in to the boot menu.
  3. I haven't even got round to EDF 5 or Iron Rain yet. Still playing 2025...
  4. I'm currently addicted to Silicon Zeroes. A Zachtronics style computer engineering puzzler. It's incredibly satisfying and relaxing to clip together components and tinker with the little machines you build. If you got the Racial Justice benefit bundle then you already have it!
  5. Took my 4 year old to Arcade Club in Leeds at the end of last year. He was a bit too young and it was too much stimulation so he spent the entire time in a state of hyperactive near-meltdown and I was in a constant state of aggravation as a result but... He loved the old sit down Star Wars cabinet. It was one of the only games he was able to concentrate on for longer than 60 seconds at a time and he mentions it every now and then. It's a near perfect game in my eyes. There's something magical about the old vector graphics games and their retina searing brightness. EDIT: the other game he really liked was Ketsui
  6. I can't shake the idea that somewhere there was a kid who was stuck with a Megadrive or SNES in 96, wandered in to Electronics Boutique, walked past all the PlayStation, N64, Saturn stuff seething with jealousy. Got to the 16 bit games tucked away at the back, picked out a game at random that looked alright and slouched out again, depressed. And then the game was fucking Alien Soldier or Terranigma or something!
  7. I was 12 in 1992. Got my Amiga for my birthday so it has to be: Sensible Soccer. Then playing stuff round friends' houses: Sonic 2 Zelda: LTTP Comanche Maximum Overkill Not sure if I actually got to play all those last 3 in 1992 or if I saw them later but that's the year they came out. Was a good time for games! LTTP is a contender for my all time favourite, maybe only edged out by BOTW.
  8. Been a while since I updated my list in this thread, played a lot of random Game Pass stuff. Can't be bothered to do long write ups of all these but here's a few scattered thoughts: Ace Combat 5 (Xbox One): Finished on normal difficulty with the simplified flight model, but still found it pretty tough. Looked decent, played well and brought back lots of fond memories of Amiga era games like Wing Commander, Knights of the Sky, F-15 Strike Eagle 2 etc. that had the trappings of sims but were action games at heart. Gato Roboto (Xbox One): Beautifully made, charming Metroidvania with nicely done 1 bit graphics. Couldn't fault it but also found it a slightly empty experience - like someone had set out to make a textbook example of the genre purely for reference. I couldn't help comparing it to Minit which has a similar style and design philosophy but far more imaginative within its genre. Streets of Rage 4 (Xbox One): Finished arcade mode 5 times, twice on normal (Cherry and Axel), twice on hard (Blaze and Floyd) once on harder (is it called that? the one just below Mania) with Adam. Was not disappointed by this when it finally came along! Ridge Racer 3D (3DS): Managed to get all gold on all three difficulty levels of the Grand Prix mode. 3D effect was cool despite some dodgy pseudo motion blur effect when you boost. You'd think it would suffer from being 30fps with frame rate drops but the sense of speed remains intact. Decent, no frills portable version of Ridge Racer. Nier Automata (Xbox One): Worthy sequel but didn't make as big an impression on me as the first game, maybe because it does a lot of the same tricks and (deliberately) carries over a lot of the same cruft and redundant design. A weird little world to spend some surreal gaming time in during lockdown. Sea Salt (Xbox One): Lovecraftian Pikmin thing where you terrorise the inhabitants of a medieval town with your summoned swarm of eldritch horrors. Low res pixel art visuals reminded me of Cannon Fodder. Good fun for an evening or two but didn't hold my interest past the first playthrough depsite offering up an arena mode, different characters with different perks, etc. Pikuniku (Xbox One): Another indie adventure game that reminded me a bit of Minit but not as good. This one comes across as a slightly arch take on Dizzy with some genuinely funny moments. It's game world has lots of points of interaction and physicsy stuff going on, but the level of interactivity felt a bit inconsistent across the whole thing. Okay. Westerado: Double Barelled (Xbox One): Compact, short open world game. Feels at different times like a lost Spectrum game, a NES style adventure or a 16 bit It Came From The Desert-esque adventure with simulation elements. Hinges on completing quest lines for NPCs who then give you clues to the identity of the man who killed your family, which reminded me of Friday 13th on Spectrum in a vauge way. You can make incorrect accusations based on incomplete information, cause mayhem and generally be an arsehole if you want. Ultimately it falls apart towards the end when the longer, intertwined quest chains start to trip each other up and it felt like I was breaking some storylines by doing parts of other ones in the wrong order. Ambitious and it looks and sounds great, but it doesn't quite pull it off. 2020 so far:
  9. The number one thing I'd say is to start drawing stuff from observation and do it every day. In the short and long term that's going to get you better results then abstract exercise like drawing and shading balls (although exercises like that can be really useful). A good starting exercise is to take a few objects that are incredibly familiar to you in terms of their shape, their heft, their texture, could be anything - videogame controller, key fob, little ornaments or knick knacks. Arrange them on the table and then draw them. Then take stock of that first drawing, pick one or more things you like about it, pick one thing you think it's missing or didn't work and that's your guide for how to approach your next drawing. Other stuff you can just sit and draw without having to think about it before hand (sometimes the biggest killer to getting started): Draw the view from your window. Draw the mess on your desk. Draw the interior of a room. Draw a random street on google street view. Draw from old photographs. Also constantly swap between drawing on paper and drawing digitally and try and draw as big as possible when using paper (A3 is a good size for rough sketches). Digital and traditional methods both compliment each other in terms of things like penmanship / hand control, understanding the different tactile sensations of both approaches etc. And drawing on paper you can put your whole arm in to the movements in a way that you can't on an iPad. You don't need expensive pencils or sketch pads - just anything you have lying around to start with.
  10. Anodyne got added? (or maybe I just missed it when I was browsing...). Nice one. I started Silicon Zeroes last night. It's a beautifully made game but any of the puzzles that lean more towards maths over logic or system design are going to destroy me. I've earmarked a bunch of the tabletop RPGs rule books and zines to have a look at too. I haven't played a tabletop RPG since AD&D second edition but I used to mess around trying to dream up my own systems before I drifted away from the hobby so I'm curious to see what's out there.
  11. Sound effects infuriate me because they're so rarely done well. Mignola is the master at perfectly composing a panel or layout with well thought out effects. Although by the time he got to Hellboy in Hell 9 times out of 10 he just put a massive "BOOM" behind every punch. At least they looked good. I got the 1st edition Dark Horse Akira paperbacks when they came out in the early 00s. I was massively hyped for them and I remember reading a big interview with Studio Proteus about the retouch job and how they were using a tweaked version of the original Marvel/Epic English translation and the retouched pages from the French editions. They went in to loads of detail about how some of the effects made no sense onomatopoeically in English (like "Spout!" for a punch effect) and how they'd painstakingly create new effects in the same style to make everything as seamless as possible... ...The effects they put in were rank - looked like Windows Text Art pasted over the panels and then they stopped bothering to retouching the sound effects around volume 3 anyway and the "Spout" panel is still there in all its surreal glory. Their retouched, hand drawn sound effects for Appleseed and Ghost In The Shell were superb so I don't know what went wrong given how high profile a series Akira was.
  12. There was a bunch of stuff in here that I'd had my eye on for a while but the first thing I'm going to check out is Silicon Zeroes - a Zachtronics style game where you build working CPUs. It looks amazing.
  13. matt0

    Xbox Game Pass

    Just bought Battletech in the GOG sale., so obviously that was the mystic ritual required to bring it to Gamepass. Dungeon of the Endless is decent. Part roguelike, part MOBA, part tower defense and some nice atmospheric pixel art. If No Man's Sky is play anywhere I'll be all over that. Not played it since before the first big update and on a creaky setup at the time.
  14. matt0

    Less is More

    To echo @Parksey's post, there's more implied world building and hooks for the imagination in a well chosen line of intro text from an old arcade game then any given AAA title. For all the lore and tie in comics and TV shows and novels, Halo's story is basically a very inefficient version of: Then, there's this, which piles a lot of world building in to a single sentance: A slightly wordier one from Arkanoid: The ropey translations instill an otherworldly magic to a lot of these.
  15. matt0

    Less is More

    In defence of Geometry Wars 3, there's a surprising number of levels buried in it that I thought were easily as good as the 6 modes from 2. In a perfect world the GW3 we got would have been GW Galaxies 2 and then a true third main game would have been a refinement of a well chosen 5-10 levels from that.
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