My Desert Island Game

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts. (Coconuts don’t come in bunches, that’s bananas)

(This suggestion from @evilnoob)

desert island game

I could be flippant here and describe my favourite game set on a desert island, rather than the implied request to supply a game I’d like to play whilst stranded (presumably indefinitely) on a desert island. But evilnoob is lovely and so I won’t.

Actually, I will: Doshin the Giant for the Gamecube. OK, so technically it isn’t all a desert island, but some of the game is. And it’s great.

As for the game I’d spend the rest of my days playing, whilst being waited on hand and foot by monkey butlers, as I slowly go insane talking to a volleyball, that’s a more difficult ask.

It would need to be a game that is endlessly playable, as it may be my only entertainment for decades. Even a game with a lot to explore would eventually run dry of new stuff, and I suspect even games with randomly generated elements would become stale given enough time. Ideally, the game would also require no electricity, but I think we’ll have to assume the monkey butlers have that worked out.

Perhaps narrowing it down would be the way to go. Pretty much all platformers are out, as they’re finite, usually pretty short, and although some have a fair bit of replay value I’m not sure they have years worth. “But what about Spelunky?!” I hear you cry. Sure, there’s a lot of play there. Lots to discover. But is there really so much that I can play just that for what would probably be the rest of my life? I doubt it. Mario Maker is a possibility, providing I have an internet connection and they provide more levels via it until the end of time, but that isn’t going to happen.

First person shooters are in much the same boat, for mostly the same reasons, and sports games – even those I like – are out too. There’s only so much one-player Sensible Soccer a man can take. Unless I can train up the monkey butlers? I fear I’m relying a lot on having these monkey butlers, and I’ve not even seen the brochure yet. I digress.

I think I’ll have to rule puzzle games out too, because although I could play Puyo Puyo or Jewel Quest for a very, very long time, I can see a point where I don’t want to any more, especially without an opponent. Action games like the Lego titles won’t last more than 50-60 hours, and there’s no fun to be had replaying (especially since, in order to get 100%, you have to replay the whole game more than once anyway). GTA, IV and V especially, are vast sandboxes full of fun, but I suspect the fun would wane once milked enough.

In fact, the only genres that fit the bill are simulations and role playing games. Things like Civilisation V are not only long anyway, but indefinitely replayable. Every game is different, with varied generals to change how it plays out, random landscape and scenarios, difficulty levels, and endings. Role playing games are usually more limited than this, but some allow variation in how you play. Take Fallout 4, for example – you can play as a different sort of character (stealth, melee, sniper) for a different experience. You can tackle tasks in different ways, sometimes for alternative outcomes, and there’s a lot to play with in terms of modding and building.

Obviously other sims and RPGs exist (Oblivion, Sim City 4, for example), but I think Civ V and Fallout 4 represent the most likely from each type of game to entertain me until I succumb to the loneliness, get off my nut on coconut schnapps, and tie a rock to my waist and jump in the sea. Monkey butlers probably can’t swim.

civilisation V

Of the two, and it is hard to choose, I think the one that’ll keep me from intentionally drowning the longest is Civilisation V, especially if I have access to all the expansions and extra modes and scenarios. I’m pretty sure I could play that, without getting bored, forever. Not only that, but it has actual desert islands in it! How very meta. So that’s it – my desert island game.

Oh god, what if the monkey butlers rebel and chuck my laptop in the sea?! Damn dirty apes.

Let’s Play! Gnasher

It has nothing to do with Dennis the Menace.

Previously on Let’s Play (insert 5 minute unnecessary recap here), I wrote about the great Centipede clone Spectipede. The copy I had on cassette was actually just one half of a double pack, the other being another arcade game clone re-released by Mastertronic – Gnasher.

Not so long ago, I said it was a terrible game, but you know something? I take that back. It’s nowhere near as bad as I remember, and I actually really like the big chunky graphics. Certainly, it’s a poor clone of Pac-Man, not least because of the relatively tiny maze and how the small space makes collecting the dots in the area above the ghostbase really, really difficult, but it has its own charm.

gnasher

I’m put in mind of the Atari 2600 official Pac-Man port, which is visually quite similar but is awful to play. Perhaps I was mixing these two games up in my head.

You can make your own mind up, when you play it yourself! What the hell do you mean you don’t know how?! It’s Pac-Man!

Right, fine. Since you’re the only person ever to have not played it: You’re the pizza and you have to eat all the dots while avoiding the ghosts. Eat the flashing dots in the corners, and for a limited time the ghosts turn INK 1 (that’s blue to you) and you can eat them. Their souls then scurry back to the base in the middle, where they’re reborn. Oh, and the tunnel on the left links to the tunnel on the right, and vice versa. It’s really very simple.

Continue reading “Let’s Play! Gnasher”

The Masterpiece of Cinema that is Batman and Robin

Dinner dinner dinner dinner.

(This suggestion from @JayTay. At least it isn’t jam, I suppose)

the masterpiece of cinema that is Batman and Robin

It is hard to tell if he is being sarcastic or not, and not only because I’m surprised he’d ever even seen it. I know, up until this request, I certainly hadn’t.

Like many films of the era, compared to modern ones at least, the acting is school-play level terrible, the costumes and props are laughable and it’s far too long. Whole sections where nothing happens, such as a car driving down a street, or a guy sat at a desk doing zero of interest or relevance to the story should have been cut completely.

The dialogue is vapid and the characters completely characterless. Bruce Wayne appears to be a generic salaryman in a wide-shouldered suit, while Batman is uncomfortable and podgy in a badly fitted costume. Robin looks concerned with his high-hipped pants (and dresses like he’s in Showaddywaddy when in civvies), and Wayne Manor is, on the outside at least, simply a large house. Hardly a mansion befitting a billionaire playboy.

batman and robin
Just look at Robin there, smuggling a budgie.

Alfred is psychic, knowing to walk to the phone before it starts ringing, and to go to the window and look at the Bat Signal without actually knowing it is there to look at. Said signal is somehow projected via a microfiche viewer too. Totally unbelievable. Vikki Vale looks old enough to be Bruce’s mum, and the undynamic duo drive a normal car, albeit a convertable.

batman and robin
The climax of the film is here, when Robin realises he needs a wee and heads for the trees. Batman rolls his eyes and says he should have gone before they left.

The plot revolves around Batman and Robin trying to stop The Wizard (no, not Fred Savage’s little brother) who can control cars with some electrical gizmo and turn himself invisible, but most of the film consists of Batman or Robin getting trapped and needing the help of the other to escape. It’s a shambles, a farce, and utterly devoid of any entertainment value at all. Oh, and get this: it has a an ending that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Scooby Doo. Spoilers, I suppose.

batman and robin
The Wizard returns his computer to PC World, where he’s fleeced out of £100 before being told it “has a virus”, while the tech guy in the hat rummages through the downloaded porn folder.

Masterpiece? I don’t think so. It has very few Bat-Gadgets, no proper Batmobile, and the fighting is atrocious. It’s more like a cross between a Famous Five book and a western than a Batman film.

I give it two stars. And that’s only because of Robin’s pants.

Alphabest: Mega Drive – Z

Z is for Zat’s All Folks!

It is with sadness, and joy, actually mostly just joy. Solely joy. It is with the utmost amount of joy that I bring to you the final Mega Drive Alphabest installment. Yay!

Apart from numerically named games. Crap.

Z

Like some of the more recent letters of the alphabet, Z isn’t exactly overflowing with games, regardless of quality. However, it’s definitely an improvement on Y. In fact, the only truly awful Z title for the Mega Drive is Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel, which suffers from Anthropomorphic Animal Platformer Disorder in much the same way Bubsy the Sodding Bobcat and Aero the Goddamn Acrobat do.

Zool, also a platformer (only this time starring, uh, a comma?) is much better, but doesn’t feel at home as well as it did on the Amiga or Archimedies. Something about controlling it with a pad just feels off – perhaps it’s the speed of the game and the unusual physics.

Others not making the final cut, but certainly not terrible, are a clutch of other games. Zoop is a fun puzzle game which would have been great for a tenner or so but a full £40-odd quid, when it wasn’t nearly approaching Puyo Puyo or Tetris was a bit much. Zoom! is also a puzzle game, only more arcadey and not unlike Painter or Crush Roller with a 3D perspective. It’s a very early Mega Drive game and it shows, but it’s actually rather good and quite addictive.

Zero Tolerance is a brave attempt at a first person shootmans for the Mega Drive. It’s technically incredible considering what it is trying to do, but suffers badly due to the console really not being up to the task – it’s blocky, the main game screen is in a tiny window, the draw distance is barely past your nose and the graphics are very plain. It plays OK, but seems like more of a proof of concept than a proper game.

Which leaves us with these, actually rather decent, three:

zany golfZany Golf is an excellent crazy golf game by Electronic Arts. You may perhaps expect it to use the engine for the already decent PGA series, but instead it’s isometric. Some varied holes, from the “normal” crazy golf sort to some impractical on a real-life course (such as the pinball and Breakout style ones) make it a lot of fun, and it’s only let down a little by being a bit jerky and slow, although this doesn’t really affect the gameplay.

zombiesZombies, known as Zombies Ate My Neighbours (without the “u”, shudder) in other regions, is an excellent comedy horror B-movie themed co-op arcade game not a million miles away from something like Gauntlet. A massive range of silly weapons (water pistols and ice lollies, for example) and enemies right out of the films (zombies, evil dolls, giant babies) make for a memorable and unique game. Unfortunately, the SNES version is a little better simply because of the extra joypad buttons, which help greatly with weapon selection.

zero wingZero Wing is, as everyone knows has the most hilariously bad dialogue ever. So bad that it became a viral internet meme before viral internet memes were even a thing. Remember All Your Base? That was Zero Wing. Terrible localisation aside, Zero Wing is also an excellent side scrolling shoot ’em up with all the stuff I like in such games – great power ups and massive bizarre bosses. And your ship looks like Thunderbird 4. Sort of.

And the Alphabest?

As good as the other two are, and despite it not being the best version of the game, the winner here – by a long way – has to be Zombies. It’s genuinely funny, from the characters (both those you save and those you defeat) to the weapons, the locations, the music and the level titles (many of which are a play on words of horror film names). It’s a shame the SNES works just a little better thanks to a more suited controller, but Zombies is still excellent.

And that’s that. There can’t be many games that begin with a number (and this is supposed to be Alphabest after all) so see that episode as a brucie bonus.

My 265th Favourite Game

Yes, lets just put ALL my games in some order of bestness. That’ll be fun.

(This suggestion from @JollyNiceSoup)

I think the question on all our lips is what is your 265th favourite game.

I can tell you this: it’s not as good as my 264th favourite game.

When I was asked this question, I immediately thought of a really easy way to figure it out, which I have since forgotten. I do hope I remember it before I type much more, as otherwise this is going to be tedious. Um. Nope. Going to have to do it the long way round.

resident evil 2Let us assume that the only games I like are those that I own. Crucially, this doesn’t work the other way round, although I do own one hell of a lot of crap. At the last update (it’s a few games behind, but it’ll do), I have 2575 games in my collection, which means that, when ranked in order from Run Baby Run on the Spectrum to Resident Evil 2 on the game.com, game 265 is only just outside the top 10%.

Using another assumption, that the top 10% will be the very best games, it could be argued that game 265 is the very best game that isn’t in the top tier of great games. Does that make sense? Think of it this way: burgers are great, yes? If all the best burgers are beef based (and they are), then game 265 is the best chicken burger. That’s a terrible analogy.

So which is the best game that isn’t one of the best games ever? And have I just made the game more complicated?

Looking through my collection, I jotted 1 down all the almost-bests I could see. Did I scoop 264 games out of the list first? Hell no.

Right then. That list, spoilered for length:

Spoiler Inside Show

 

xiiiBut which of these is best? Some are easy (Daytona USA is better than Sega Rally, Tony Hawk’s Underground is better than Underground 2, Kirby and the Rainbow Painbrush is better than Canvas Curse), but others are harder – is XIII better than Fable III? Akiba’s Trip or Street Fighter Alpha?

The only way to do this is pick the first game from the list and then go down the list until there’s a better game. Then go down the rest of the list with that game, unless there’s a better game. And repeat until the end of the list is reached. So that process, in list form:

A Boy and His Blob
Affordable Space Adventures
Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate
Geometry Wars Galaxies
We Love Katamari

Which means, that the best second tier game – and therefore by my reasoning above, my 265th Favourite Game is We Love Katamari for the Playstation 2!

we love katamari

Cake and balloons for everyone!

Notes:

  1. Nobody used that word any more.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2016-09-19

Fifteen Hours

I played some old games! And some games that weren’t No Man’s Sky! And a LOT of No Man’s Sky! Mmm, No Man’s Sky.

no man's sky

No Man’s Sky (PS4)
Fifteen hours it took to find an outpost that would give me an Atlas Pass V2. Fifteen. Hours. And guess what it lets me access? Small amounts of readily obtainable things! Yay! You’d think I’d be angry but no – it was a great 15 hours. All on a single planet. Besides that, I finished the Atlas Path and, with way past 80 hours on the clock, it’s time to head for the centre of the galaxy. I’ve a handful of ranks to obtain (like spend longer on a killer planet, and shoot more ships) but I should get them en route. Choo choo!

StreetPass Games (3DS)
Completed two of them this week – Stocks and Slot Racer – although you can take each further so will be doing that. I think Explorers and Ninja are both near completion too. Enjoying them!

Pokémon Y (3DS)
But not for long. Wandered round the beach for a bit, shuffled my Pokémon about, that sort of thing. Really should head on!

Pokémon Go (iOS)
I haven’t been into this so much this week. I’ve had a few 10km eggs in a row so it’s slow going there, and I’m growing tired of catching weedles and ratatas so often can’t even be bothered most of the time. That won’t help me gain XP, though, will it.

Running Battle (MS)
Hahaha! This was awful. I don’t know why I played it, nor why I completed it, but there we are. I wasn’t even drunk.

Ranma 1/2 (SNES)
And this was completed too. It was OK, but hasn’t aged well, and certainly can’t begin to stand up next to Street Fighter II. Kicking pandas is always a plus in any game, I find.

Some other games
A go on Alex Kidd in Shinobi World (MS) (got onto a bit where you have to do wall jumps while smashing blocks – gave it as it’s too stupid), Penguin Land (MS) which I was recommended a while back but couldn’t get into it, Pang (Arcade) because Pang is Great, My Hero (MS) which is plainly impossible, and Alien 3 (MS) which looked fantastic but wasn’t fun at all.

Want

The usual things – Paper Mario Colour Splash (Wii U), hopefully with the “u” when it’s released over here, an NX, Zelda for said NX, Pokémon Sun or Moon, and Sonic Mania.

Bin

My Hero and Running Battle.

Expense

Duelyst (Mac) – free
Twinkle Star Sprites (PC) – free
Starseed Pilgrim (Mac) – free
Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! (Mac) – free
Splice (Mac) – free
Watch_Dogs (PS4) – £5
Myst (DS) – £2
New International Track and Field (DS) – £2
Dragon’s Dogma (PS3) – £2

Alphabest: Mega Drive – Y

Y is for Why Oh Why Oh Why

Oh my this is going to be good. As in, terrible. The list of Y games is… minimal.

Y

Let us begin with the two Yu Yu Hakusho games, as we’re pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel before we even start. There’s one called Gaiden, and one called Makyo Toitsusen, and they’re both terrible one-on-one fighting games. Maykyo Toitsusen is even made by Treasure and manages to be awful. Avoid both of these.

That’s it. That’s all the games begining with Y. Well, except Yogi Bear: Cartoon Capers which is not being included for obvious reasons, and the shortest shortlist I’ve done so far. Which is:

ys ii wanderers from ysYs III: Wanderers from Ys is a side-on platform role playing game, similar in style to Zelda II and Wonder Boy in Monster Land, with some Castlevania similarities. It’s pretty good too, if nothing outstanding. Better than Zelda II, anyway. There’s a remake for the PC and some Playstation platforms now, which is probably the best way to play it. Also, I have no idea how you say “Ys”. “Wise”? “Eees”? “Why-Ess”? “Is”? Who knows.

And the Alphabest?

Let’s not beat around the bush here. There’s only one option and it sure as hell isn’t going to be Yogi Sodding Bear.

Ys III: Wanderers from Ys wins by default, and although it isn’t as good as most of the other winners it certainly is far from terrible.

Next time: Z! Finally! Then I can sto–what do you mean I haven’t done numbers? Geez.

How to capture Mac desktop audio with OBS

Because by default it’s so dumb. Literally.

OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is a great program for streaming and recording gameplay on a PC. I’ve used it quite a lot, but it has frustrated me for a while that the Mac version has – through no fault of OBS – no ability to capture game audio. On the PC, you can capture “desktop audio” or “what U hear”, but that’s not an option on OS X. On older Macs, you could run a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable from the headphone socket to the line in socket, but on newer Macs there’s one socket that does both directions, so that’s out.

A year or so ago I tried to get either of two solutions working: Soundflower, which sort of did but was really fiddly, and WavTap which never seemed to work at all. Recent versions of OS X have actually prevented Soundflower from working as intended at all, so there was no (free) solution and I stopped using OBS on a Mac. Until last week.

Soundflower was still in my system settings, albeit unused, and I’d never got round to uninstalling it. It irritated me every time I saw it there but was always busy doing something else and kept forgetting to remove it. This time, however, I finally looked up how to and in the process came across a new utility which effectively replaces it, and works: IShowU Audio Capture. There’s a full (paid for) software package called IShowU, but all you need for this purpose is the audio capture part, which is free.

How to make IShowU work with OBS

Firstly, download IShowU Audio Capture from this link, and install it as shown. You don’t need Step 6 yet, so do 1-5 and come back.

(time passes)

Done? Hello again!

So, step 6 is going into System Preferences > Sound and choosing IShowU Audio Capture as your sound input device, which will work, but keep reading for an additional tweak.

obs mac audio

All you need to do now is open up OBS and choose a new Audio Input Capture source (click the + under the Sources box), then choose IShowU Audio Capture as the device. That’s it!

obs mac audio

obs audio mac

Only… there’s a snag. This will indeed capture all “desktop audio” (so you’ll probably want to close or mute email notifications and so on when streaming or recording), but crucially it won’t actually output any sound to your speakers or headphones so you’ll be playing mute. This might not be a problem, but if it is, read on.

Open up the Audio MIDI Setup app from Applications > Utilities. In here we’re going to create a multi-output device, so you can output your desktop audio to both IShowU and headphones/speakers/whatever at the same time.

Click the + in the bottom left, and choose “Create Multi-Output Device”. Then, in the right-hand pane for this new device, make sure you tick “Built-in Output” and “iShow Audio Capture”. Leave drift correction set to Built-in Output.

obs audio mac

Close that, and head back over to System Preferences > Sound. You’ll now have an output option for your new Multi-Output Device. Before you choose it, make sure you set your volume level how you want it: you can’t adjust the volume of a multi-output device!

obs mac sound

 

With the volume set, choose Multi-Output Device as your, er, output device, and you’ll notice the volume slider grey-out. It’s time to go back to OBS and configure the Audio Input Capture there – same as before, choosing IShowU Audio Capture.

You’re done, although you might want to remember to choose your usual output settings in System Preferences when you’re finished recording!

Let’s Play! Spectipede

Not mushroom in ‘ere.

After presenting the wonder that is Tank Trax to you last week, Lorfarius mentioned he’d bought a Mastertronic collection, and I asked if he’d got Spectipede. He had!

Like many games I’ve written about before, Spectipede is another clone of an arcade game, but I knew the clone first. You’ve probably guessed that the game it shamelessly copies – as was the style at the time – is Centipede, cunningly using “Spect” in the name because it’s a Spectrum title. As with Tank Trax last week, Spectipede was released before Mastertronic got hold of it, but it received a much wider audience on the big M re-release.

spectipede
Woo! Level 2!

I expect you’ve played Centipede before so know the basic idea: shoot the cen–er, Spectipede on its way down to the bottom of the screen. When you shoot a segment, it turns into a mushroom and the creature splits. If it hits a red mushroom, it immediately drops to the ground, so watch out!

Other bugs and things appear too, such as spiders and scorpions, but I’ll leave it for you to find out what they do!

Exciting bonus aside: As a kid, I’d use the size of the mushrooms in this game to describe how big a TV is. “Imagine playing it on a cinema screen!” I’d say, “They’d be 20 centimetres tall!”. I wonder how big they are on a 65″ LED TV? Hmm.

Continue reading “Let’s Play! Spectipede”

Recent Game Over, Yeah!! videos

Death comes to us all. In these games, rather sooner than hoped.

It has indeed been a while since I did some Game Over, Yeah!!s 1. A few people had contacted me and asked when I was going to do some more, and since it coincided with me finally getting an audio recording solution working with OBS on the Mac (I might write about it another time), here’s a few Mac games I’ve attempted since.

In case you’re wondering, the premise of Game Over, Yeah!! is that I play a game, without instructions or practicing, and stop when I die for the first time. How far will I get? Not very, usually.

Race the Sun

I played this on the Vita once. It was terrible. I was terrible. On the Mac, I didn’t have a clue what the controls were so it’s amazing I didn’t die sooner.

10 Second Ninja

No, not the new 10 Second Ninja X – this is the original. I also couldn’t figure out the controls in time (I think in a past life I must have reconfigured them?) so, er. Yeah. Game Over, Yeah!! in fact.

Hotline Miami

I fare somewhat better here. OK, I’m lying, I don’t. But the video is much longer, if that counts for something. Which is doesn’t. Wow, that mouse and keyboard combo is hard for a game which feels like it should play like Commando or something.

Mushroom 11

More control issues here, not so much because I didn’t know what the controls are, more I wasn’t sure how to actually use them. Anyway, I seemed to pick it up reasonably quickly, and was just enjoying myself then… oh.

Ballpoint Universe

And finally, for now, this odd little title which you play with a mouse even though keys or a pad seems to make more sense? I’m not sure if the scrolly shooty bits count when it comes to losing lives, but if you think it does, then just stop watching after I get hit for the first time in the first one.

Notes:

  1. That’s the official plural, by the way.