Gone home, a wondrous trip to the 90’s

As my previous post indicated, I am ready once again to join the written review world.

You might have noticed that I missed my own deadline of reappearance with a week. My dears, it is flu season in Sweden and unfortunately for me, I was one of its victims.

But as promised, let me tell you about this very interesting, short, but well executed non the less, game called Gone Home.

June 7, 1995. 1:15 AM.

You arrive home after a year abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but the house is empty. Something’s not right. Where is everyone? And what’s happened here?

Gone home is an interactive exploration simulator. Interrogate every detail of a seemingly normal house to discover the story of the people who live there. Open any drawer and door. Pick up objects and examine them to discover clues. Uncover the events of one family’s lives by investigating what they’ve left behind.

Go home again.

Are you a bit fan of interior design? This game will take you back to the early 90’s, when Fresh Prince was roaming the airways and we’ve just left the best decade in pop music, the 80’s. I kid you not when I write that I had several awkward deja vu whilst playing.

You are a young whippersnapper in your early 20’s called Kaitlin Greenbriar. You have been out gallivanting around Europe while your parents are at home worried sick. Children are ever so selfish.

You make your way home after a year only to discover that no one is there to greet you. Like a little kitten that no one wants because it “accidentally” decapitated the precious family goldfish. The feeling of utter neglect. It is a stormy night and the electricity flickers. The TV shows static while the wind whistles outside, causing the branches to occasionally brush against the windows. The only sign of any life is a message on ye olde answering machine from your distressed baby sister. The voice is obviously upset as it tries to explain absolutely nothing. So now you are in your parents “new house” that they have inherited from your uncle with a question “Where is everyone?”.

The ambiance tells you to be fearful and on alert as you make my way through various rooms and corridors, puzzling together a very mentally alluring story. But as soon as something unexpected presents itself that should prompt a reaction of fear, you are faced with a moment of “oooh look, VHS!! I REMEMBERED THESE SHOWS!”.

You have turned into an old tourist visiting a museum of memories past.


How can you not love a game that has this baked into its story?

You find various clues of what have occurred and why no one is there to meet you. While getting a picture painted of the most horrible events taking place you find yourself in awe of the sheer details that went into creating the atmosphere.

I cannot tell you much more about the story itself as it is very very short. I finished it within an evening and I took me time to admire the amazing voice acting performed and incredible attention to details to depict a flawless representation of a 90’s something American household. The characters are deep and engaging. If you have no plans for the evening I’d say get this game, as it is more entertaining than what ever you may find on Netflix.

Gone Home is a first-person interactive story adventure video game developed and published by Fullbright.

Set in the year 1995, the plot focuses on exploration of a mansion in Portland, Oregon, and examining common household objects within the home.-Wikipedia

Spore -the lack of evolution

Human fascination with playing God. Are we really so displeased with how things are? How come that we always think that we can do a better job then anyone else?

Oh, these questions are deep. We are a selfish species aren’t we? No wonder only cows get whisked away into space by aliens and taken to other worlds. Us? naaah, we are to busy wondering why they took the cow and not that annoyingneighbourhood boy Jimmy.

So where am I going with this? Spore of course! The game has slightly taken over this planet by satisfying something you cannot get from anyone. Your constant need to satisfy your megalomania.

To me it seems that we are taking a certain rout in gaming. Where the gamer has full control over their destiny and the destiny of the in game characters. Now being given the control of our own destiny is all fine and dandy, but to be responsible for others is where mankind shows his ugly underoooz. Then again how much control do you have in certain games that claim to give you endless power? In Black & White (if you never played it, you missed out. It was a sensation when it came out because it was actually quite original) your power was limited by the prayers from your people, that is why you had to be extra careful not to have your giant cow step on them. If you accidentally killed them they would be very cross.
Hence unlimited power is an illusion, because you are bound to play servant to thousands of peoples needs. It is tiresome and you’d have to be an octopus to do gods work.

Now, to Spore. You are a little cell in the vast ocean of scary creatures. You can select your diet in the beginning of the game, which I found ridiculous because it took away from the “you are what you eat” concept. Since I wanted good will and peace on Beta Zed (shut up), I decided my spore, What ever planet it came from, to be a vegan. After he bravely evolved to a big cell and had me giving it a light round of applause, it was time to name the species. Since this planet was to be the perfect Eden of people loving each other forcefully by me, I gave it the name Dipshitosorous.

After dipshitosaurus put his first steps on land, it was a loved and often a very pink creature.
Mutation after mutation made him the most dominating species on this planet.(wait a minute, what about all the ones i made friends with??) Here is where the “civilization” aspect takes place. You bring other tribes gift baskets even if they so willingly want to slaughter you. I made friends with all of them and now I was able to establish a City and nation. Now trying to take a pacifist rout I had to convert all other nations into my religion. Once that was done I blasted into space, kidnapping other species and bringing them to Beta Zed for scientific study.
Here is where I stopped, because I played 5 hour straight and the game was just progressing to quickly.
My perfect Eden went to non tolerance of other species because they had a rump on their heads and kidnapping other races. I guess the creators of spore never heard of the Prime directive (watch star trek).

What I was hoping for is once you laid down the basics of your design, that random evolution would take its place. For instance, if you have wings but decided to walk a lot, that evolution would deemed them unnecessary and have them made smaller or removed entirely.
I appreciate the concept of the creators giving you full design capability, it is impressive.
But to satisfy my curiosity about the future and look at its evolutionary twists and surprises, I’d say it would be cheaper to just buy a magnifying glass and decide the destiny of the ants in your back yard.

So here we are, In a few hours achieved world domination and all I have is a feeling of emptiness. All sentient beings look like the poor design i supplied the game with. No real surprises.
I guess this entire game just lacks surprise. I hope in future attempts of creating games such as this will gives us more of the element of the un known, because when you given full control you can basically predict the future (just read a history book, same thing).
I think it is interesting how the gaming industry wants to give the gamer all the control. Because if they do and you turn out to be disappointed, then the gaming industry can just turn around and say “Hey, we gave you full control to make it fun on your own, it is your fault that you are so utterly boring”.
This will give game creators a cause to remove the elements of surprise, making us entertained. We are paying them to be entertained, not to entertain ourselves.
Spore was somewhat entertaining yes, I cant say that it was a waste of money for me. I just simply worry that the gaming industry is now becoming very lazy.
If anything this game got me to reflect on Black & White and appreciate it more, since it was a game where you still had some element of surprise.
Non the less, I think that gamers with megalomania and a twisted minds will be very entertained indeed, because they can create a very funky creature with very funky houses and incredibly funky architecture.

Me? I am staying in the void of space for the time being, kidnapping me some creatures and visit the ants outside.

Enjoy The evolution of Dipshitosaurus

Bob came in Pieces

The Swedish game developer Ludosity Interactive has released their latest installment “Bob came in Pieces”. Another edition to the casual gaming market.

Ludosity Interactive believe in making serious games that will last a bit longer. It’s not about using the latest tech, that will look old within a year. It’s not about making “me-too games” that want to be like its bigger brother. We make games with lasting appeal, based on fun core mechanics, fueled by the creativity of the You, the gamer. – Ludosity interactive

Bob works at a call center. Like any intergalactic being that possesses superior technology, he needs to pester people while they eat dinner to sell them some crappy subscription.
(I am glad to see that some things never change in the not so far distant future). Either way, you are on your way to work in your little inexpensive spaceship. He tries this new route that is supposedly going to cut traveling time. Alas he finds himself in peril when entering an asteroid field, loosing control over his heavily damaged ship and crashing on this little convenient planet.

Surviving the ordeal, he finds his ship utterly useless and the important space travel parts scattered all over the place. Now Bob has a new objective. Knowing very well that he will be late for work, he has to focus on getting of this stinking rock. To succeed he needs to piece his ship back together again.

It doesn’t get simpler then this.

That is where you come in, the gamer, our hero!
The controls are simple that even a space chimp can figure it out, (up) (down) (left) and (right). What you do is maneuver your little ship around various obstacles. Evidently this planet is like a giant ant farm. Your first mission is to land on one of these (!).

No little ship! Stranger danger! Run for it!

Other then that the first chapter helps you get used to the control, scenes and kill some very valuable time. Music is decent and the graphics are as expected by a simple recreational game. It’s not annoying in any way and actually quite pleasing. The functionality reminds me very much of Pixel and Axel, during a mini game (in a mini game) where you flew a balloon like thing through caves.

That’ll do pig, that’ll do

Chapter 2 teachers you how to fly through crates. For some reason this uninhabited planet learned how to build boxes. There is no health bar so you don’t have to worry about crashing all over the place. Evidently you can slam right into a mountain wall and not break your little ship, but asteroids are a different story all together. So far all this game is telling me is to move things around and overcome obstacles. So now we can assume that this is a Casual Puzzle game.

As I enter chapter 3, you get the possibility to use the parts you found to expand your ship in a way that will help you overcome other obstacles. It’s simple enough, you grab a piece, twist it around till it fits and off you go towards more large boxes.

No function to put in super mega destroy the planet mega ray? 

It’s a charming little installment and one thing that I actually respect about Ludosity is that they released new maps for this game, for free!! So you get the game for $10 and they release more maps for it…for FREE!!! Do you hear that Xbox ?For FREE! You don’t buy half a game and alter have to buy MS points to be able to buy the rest of the game online. These people have some human decency!

Don’t worry baby, i’ll be gentle..

Minimum Specification PC
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
Processor: 2.4 Ghz or equivalent processor
Memory: 1GB System RAM (2GB recommended with Vista/7)
DirectX: DirectX 9.0c
Graphics: 128mb video RAM and Shader Model 2.0
Hard Drive: 500mb or more free space
Sound: Windows compatible sound card
Input: Keyboard and mouse
Note: The GPU need to be at-least as powerful as Geforce 6600. Please try out the Demo first to make sure the game starts.

Link to the Demo: