• The PaleoGamer Plays: The Longest Journey – Part 8

    April Ryan goes through a mysterious portal in the back of her wardrobe, only to find herself back in Marcuria instead of Narnia. There she spends a lot of time walking and talking, finds someone with severe verb-tense issues and discovers that artists somehow end up with waitress jobs no matter what world they are in. Another step on The Longest Journey.

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  • Review – Lifeless Planet

    The Steam Sale is under way but I’ve been strangely unenthusiastic about it this time around. I’ve picked up a few things, but what I’ve been playing mostly this week is the game Lifeless Planet. It’s a science fiction game that is less about shooting things and more about exploration and story; in other words just what I usually look for. It’s a bit short and a bit wonky in places but overall was an interesting diversion. This time around Nameless Protagonist™ is an astronaut who has been sent on a 15 year mission to another planet that is around 20 or 30 light years away. Apparently they are using a not-much-faster-than-light drive. They arrive and promptly crash. Nameless Protagonist™ wakes up to find that his colleagues are missing and the supposedly lush world they were travelling to is barren and lifeless. Still, he sets out to explore what he can of the world before his oxygen runs out. You very soon finds that he isn’t the first person from Earth to arrive here; almost immediately you find a road that leads to an abandoned town that was apparently established by the Soviet Union in the 1970’s. The inhabitants are missing or dead, except for a mysterious woman who can somehow live in the toxic atmosphere and who seems to want you to follow her. The story becomes a mystery to find out how this colony came to be here, what happened to it and who this woman is. Strangely,

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  • Random Musings on Dead Island

    The Steam Sale is coming up soon which motivated me to get a bit more serious about clearing out some of The Pile™. The latest thing I cleared was Dead Island, which had been sitting there for about two years now. Well, having played it my only real reaction is “at least it’s off the pile”. I like the general idea of the game. Yeah, zombies themselves are well past their use-by date at this point but there is still something about the “group of survivors after terrible event” genre that I find appealing. I just don’t think Dead Island did it particularly well. Actually, I don’t think that most games do it particularly well, but Dead Island managed to check off everything I find irritating about the genre. As I’ve said many times I play games for the stories, not the mechanics. In this case the characters you can play have some interesting backstories, but they have nothing to do with the game itself once past the initial character selection screen. It would have been nice to see the game world (or the missions you can undertake) react to the background of the character you are playing. I get it, this is an action game, not an RPG, but it would have been nice to see something. The story itself is cliché but not horrible and there are some interesting bits in there, but they’re all a bit buried and you can actually miss a lot of them if

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  • Delta Phase

    The players in my Eclipse Phase campaign were a bit amused at the end of the first session when they were recruited into Firewall by a woman named Sonya Greene. The cause for their amusement was that in an earlier campaign, they had been recruited into Delta Green by a woman named Sonya Greene. They even asked if it was the same person and I assured them it was. It was a quick joke at the time, but some time later I thought about it a bit and realized that Firewall and Delta Green have a great deal in common. Perhaps enough that one could draw a line of connection from one to the other. Of course there are going to be similarities between the two organizations. Both are conspiracies operating under a cell structure and both are composed of people working to protect humanity from a hidden threat. And both must keep themselves and even the existence of the threat secret from the people they are protecting. Both know that their best-case scenario is only to break even; all they can really do is push the inevitable end away for a little longer. And of course both are from games that are equal parts conspiracy and horror. But is there more to it than that? I think there is. If you stop and look at it, there are quite a few elements of Lovecraftian horror in the world of Eclipse Phase. When most people think of the Cthulhu Mythos

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  • The Persistence of Budget

    I try to be careful with my gaming budget these days so I buy most of my games on sale or at discount. The semi-annual Steam Sales (like the one that should be coming up in about a month) are good for adding to The Pile™ but weekly sales and the various bundle sites are good for this too. But sometimes this provokes odd reactions as well. Last week I was looking at the BundleStars site and came across the “Reboot 4” bundle. This one has The Tropico Trilogy, Hard Reset Extended Edition, Combat Wings: Battle of Britain, Inquisitor Deluxe Edition, Zeno Clash 2 and The First Templar, all for around $3.00. Now this is a typical bundle. There are a couple of games that looked interesting (Hard Reset, Inquisitor and The First Templar), a few that provoke a “Meh” reaction (Tropico: I have 4, this is 1 thru 3) and a few others that just add to The Pile™. But for $3 it’s hard to complain too much. But in this case I found myself oddly irritated. Because I had just picked up Inquisitor a few weeks ago from Steam’s weekly sale for about $1. It’s an odd reaction. Instead of getting three games I wanted for $1 apiece, I effectively got one for $1 and two for $1.50. Pretty much a negligible difference. But it annoyed me. I think I’ve just gotten too used to these big sales. In some ways they are good, in that I keep

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