Video Game Review – Nintendo Switch

At the beginning of my summer break from teaching, I purchased a Nintendo Switch and have spent the last two months playing it quite a bit. Here are some of my thoughts about the device and the games I have for it.

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Steam Summer Sale 2019 Recommendations

It’s that time of year again and here are some games I’ve played in the last year that I would encourage you to check out during the annual sale.

Forager
Sometimes you want to resource grind without all the annoying narrative in the way. Forager is just the game for that and brings together core elements from other games like Minecraft and those clicker style games. You are a little guy who is just trying to build things to get to the next thing, so you make the bigger thing. I guess you could say the purpose of playing Forager is, so you don’t have to play Forager anymore. The more you develop, the more automated your resource gathering becomes. There are lots of satisfying sounds and flashing things on the screen so that your dopamine centers will be lit up continuously. If you want an easy pick-up and play for a couple of minutes style of game, then Forager will scratch that itch.

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Favorites of 2017 – Video Games & Tabletop Games

My Favorite Video Games and Tabletop Games of 2017

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Video Games

Dead Cells
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From my Steam Summer Sale write up on this one:

“Dead Cells is an Early Access title, but one that overcomes the stigma that label can sometimes bring. Like a side-scrolling Dark Souls, Dead Cells drops your nameless protagonist in the middle of an island dungeon with no knowledge of how they got there. As you run, jump, and kill enemies, you collect the two currencies of the game: gold and cells. Gold helps you purchase items in the shops and unlock treasure doors during play. The cells are spent at the end of each stage to upgrade and unlock new weapons and abilities. When you die you start over with your primary weapons, but everything you unlock carries over from playthroughs, able to be discovered and purchased. Addictive, smooth gameplay.”

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Steam Summer Sale 2017 Recommendations

steam-summer-sale-2017

It’s that time again. Gabe Newell opens the floodgates and lets loose the sales. Here are some of my recommendations for games I’ve spent a lot of time on in the past year and thought you might enjoy. If you missed my list from last year, check out my Steam Summer Sale 2016 Recommendations for more titles.

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2016: My Favorite Video Games, Music, and Books

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My 10 Favorite Video Games I Played in 2016

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Civilization VI
– For some foolish reason, I didn’t think I would get hooked on this sixth installment in the series. How wrong I was. 36 hours may not be most for some people, but for my more restrictive gaming schedule that is quite a bit. I have barely scratched the surface of Civ VI but I know it will be a game that eats up my life in big chunks.
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Video Game Review – Asemblance

Asemblance
Developer/Publisher: Nilo Studios
Available on Steam and PS4

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You’re immediately greeted by the sound of alarms and a computerized voice issuing warnings. As your vision goes from dark to blurry to focused you find yourself a dimly lit, cold metal chamber. A console sits in front of you, a room resembling Next Generation’s holodeck beyond that. This is the stage set for Asemblance, a game in the walking simulator genre that is heavily influenced by the mechanics and gameplay of P.T.

And like P.T., who you are is a big question. It would be easy to assume you’re the scientist who built all this equipment, the same scientist where the virtual memory simulations were harvested from. But the game is a mystery without clear answers. The first memory the computer allows you access to is a simple walk in the woods where you saw a butterfly. That butterfly serves as a motif through all the memories though it is not so easy to spot as in the first. The game is fairly small, only four memory files can be accessed in total. There are multiple endings though and each ending sheds light on different parts of the overall mystery.

During my own playthrough I found it became important to pay attention every single detail, no matter how significant. The contents of memos spread across office desks or placement and absence of framed photos were crucial in uncovering and progressing the story. The graphics are not spectacular. They are attempting to reproduce the near photo realism of P.T. but have some muddied textures and are rough around the edges. The biggest problem is the pacing of reveals. Early on you uncover one secret after the other and then suddenly there’s a wall. I spent an hour or so wandering back and forth between memories trying to figure out the next step. This is where those minor details play a crucial role.

The developer has said they see this as a potential anthology franchise, along the lines of the brilliant Black Mirror series. With some more polish I would be all in on something in that style. I’m personally a very big fan of the P.T. style of gameplay, particularly because I see good horror not as something where the protagonist can successfully fight back, but where exploration of the horror is encouraged and stepping into darkness is inevitable. Asemblance doesn’t break new ground but it provides a decent story and the promise of interesting things down the road.