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    Before I Forget (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Apr 17th, 2021 at 18:37:40)

    This was a free Twitch game a couple weeks ago and I grabbed it because it sounded different. I'm always looking for games about death and loss. This one is about dementia. It's really short and simple, but so sad.

    You play as a woman, and things start out straightforward enough. Walk around your house, click on objects, find Dylan. Eventually you (the player) realize that you (the character) have memory troubles. You're not going to find Dylan (and I guessed the "twist" immediately). Gameplay wise, it's a walking simulator with some emotive flashbacks. I think the best scenes are at the end (the frantic one and the calm final one).

    In trying to interpret this, you (the player) are of course learning about the characters for the first time. It's all new. But in the context of dementia, you (the character) are also learning about the characters. At one point, she doesn't think that a magazine with her on it actually has her on it. She doesn't know who is calling her. She is unaware of her condition. Hours pass while she looks out the window, sits at a chess board, or thinks about putting the kettle on for tea. At the end of the game, all the notes and things you've uncovered are blank again, suggesting that she has forgotten again.

    She exhibits the fear and paranoia and frustration that characterizes a lot of dementia patients. And the joy of realizing over and over the good things that have happened (her and her husband's successful careers) and the grief of realizing over and over the bad things that have happened. I wonder if dementia is sadder when is happens to people with successful careers and big families. Like, there's an idea that those people had more to lose. I think that's how we frame success though. Would this story have felt different if the main character was an office worker rather than a notable cosmologist? If her husband was a bartender rather than a famous pianist? Subjectively, the illness is just as devastating, and at some point, they won't know what they've lost.

    This makes me think about my family members who have had dementia, and makes me think about my parents and about me in the future. My step-grandfather has severe dementia and is only being kept alive by a team of medical professionals and a girlfriend who loves him very much. He has no quality of life, doesn't know who any one is, sits in a chair with his eyes closed all day. He used to be like the woman in this story, getting up and doing things throughout the day, but then later on getting worse (including leaving his house and locking himself out, wandering outside with his guns, smashing his house windows with a baseball bat, threatening people who came over, eventually forgetting everyone around him).

    This makes me remember that I should write a will and all that and specify that if I can't remember shit and get angry and paranoid and make others' lives hell and have no quality of life, to do all that is possible to kill me.

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    Cultist Simulator (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Apr 17th, 2021 at 17:34:14)

    This is a weird one! I was intrigued by the theme of building a cult and the way you do it through a sort of card game. You will have no clue what you are doing until you try and fail a few times. Then, I suppose like cult knowledge, it becomes clearer with study.

    You start off with a menial job (in subsequent playthroughs you can choose a couple other, better jobs). You have to go to work to earn money because time passes in real time (there is a handy pause button), and I suppose you have rent and need to eat. Soon, you can perform more regular actions, such as studying, dreaming, and exploring the city. You also get other stats to manage: health, reason, and passion.

    You can boost stats by studying them to get more cards, which allow you to use the stat to perform more actions or to make actions stronger. For instance, using your passion for work will let you paint. If you only have one passion, your paintings will suck and you won't earn anything, but if you have four, you can turn profit and use money for other things, such as exploring the city to buy books from the bookstore or to pay entry into a secret club or to hire a goon (who could become a follower or, better yet, a sacrifice).

    Basically this is a game of managing expanding resources and countdown timers, as it takes time to study or do anything else. Eventually, you will learn more about the occult, including getting all sorts of recipes for rites, magic items, incantations, and etc., etc. I never really got past acquiring a bunch of things (I actually exhausted the library and studied every book, haha), improving my arcane knowledge, and getting stuck in a loop of going to work. I had maxed out all my stats, didn't have anything useful to dream about, and just...didn't know what else to do that wasn't going to take forever.

    That was my fourth playthrough and I decided to quit because I get the gist of it. Also, I was out of health. Sometimes you will get sick, which will require health to stave off. I suppose this is like a win timer because I never figured out how to get health back. If you don't stop an illness, it turns into decrepitude, which persists the rest of the game. I had like 5 decrepitude (I must have been really sickly!). Anyway, assuming I didn't die from wasting away, I guess I would have slowly gotten the various pieces of recipes for learning about and enacting cultist things, grown the membership of my cult, moved into a headquarters (I had an empty one but couldn't figure out how to move in), hired a goon to sacrifice in the end, and raised the dead or whatever you do in the end to win. Oh, I did win a "minor victory" one time by becoming chief of police or something. I have no idea. But I sat here for three hours today clicking on things and feel like nothing happened.

    My girlfriend has been listening to a podcast about Heaven's Gate and telling me about it. So, with that plus Cult Simulator, I feel like we're ready to start our own.

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    Alpha Protocol (360)    by   Sup3rCondor       (Apr 17th, 2021 at 13:39:21)

    I played this for about 20 minutes. The frame rate is abysmal! I swear it was running at a solid 10-15 fps for most of that time I was playing. Its bad. Its too bad because the game seems fun and like it has some good ideas! Unfortunately its pretty much unplayable with the framerate like it is. Maybe I'll play if for PC one day, but I will not be playing it on the Xbox 360 again. I would keep playing if I didn't have so many other, better games to play at the moments.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Apr 17th, 2021 at 13:40:16.

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    Outriders (XBX X/S)    by   Sup3rCondor       (Apr 17th, 2021 at 13:34:38)

    I finished the game!

    The gameplay stayed strong pretty much all throughout the game. This game was advertised as a co-op game, but I played the whole thing solo. I never really felt like I needed more people to play with. The game works great as a single player game. As I previously mentioned, the gameplay is fast and exciting.

    The game suffers from the same thing that Revenge of the Sith does. The overall story and world are fascinating and interesting. However, the moment to moment scenes and dialogue is not good, and even really bad sometimes. There were plenty of head scratching moments when characters would say one liners that didn't fit the situation at all. Given that Bulletstorm and Gears of War Judgment had very passable dialogue, this is disappointing. It doesn't drag the game too far down though.

    Finally I want to express my gratitude for gamepass that allowed me to play this game in day one with my subscription. It really is the best deal in gaming, and its only getting better. Anyone who games on Xbox or PC should be subscribed.

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    Observer (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Apr 14th, 2021 at 23:05:45)

    This is soooo much better than Layers of Fear, the other Bloober Team game I've played. Everything clicks here, and all that I remember disliking about Layers of Fear was improved upon. The setting--holy shit, it's so dystopian cyberpunk. The whole game takes place in these awful, run-down tenements full of drug addicts and people addicted to virtual reality. Your character himself needs a drug to stay sane; if you don't take it (and it's optional!), screen effects like tears and pixelation make it difficult to navigate. Plus, your software (you're heavily augmented) keeps letting you know you need to take it (which, irritatingly, interrupts any audio recordings you might be listening to).

    The tenements are on lockdown because of the outbreak of a virus that wreaks havoc on augmented people. So you, a detective, are stuck in there, and of course, there is a crime to solve. Not any crime! You find the body of your son, missing his head. You follow a trail of murders, eventually confronting the killer, and then, well, then the story gets really, really good. But the whole game until then is intriguing, largely thanks to the tenements that you can explore, knocking on people's doors and chatting with them. These were some of the most entertaining parts, learning that there is some religious cult, talking to a woman trapped by an abuser, talking to the addicts or criminals who freak out when you say you're a police officer, talking to a VR addict who thinks he's woken up captured by the enemy and locked in a dingy room, and even completing a couple little side story quests.

    But after the confrontation with the killer, some puzzle pieces fall into place, and then from there the story gets meaningful, largely, I think, with some parallels to transgender identity and issues around transitioning, as well as themes like digital consciousness and genetic modification. I liked the main character and thought the voice acting was fantastic. The visuals are creepy and beautiful with a ton of horror effects like screen distortion. The end part with the trees in the pond in particular was beauuuutiful. The audio is phenomenal. Like I said, all the elements work together.

    Gameplay wise, you're mostly walking around looking for what you can click on. You can activate two types of detective vision, one to examine technology and another to examine biological matter, which are especially useful for investigating crime scenes. You can pick up objects and look at them, and sometimes you'll need to solve puzzles, which are never too bad. I think I looked at a walkthrough for one that I was stumped on, and one time because I was tired of trying to figure it out (my least favorite part of the game, the forest that masked a warehouse).

    Occasionally, there are stealth sequences with a monster to avoid. These are bland, as the monster is easy to avoid. They can just take a little while because you have to go so slowly. Plenty of these stealth sequences (and other locations) are really messed up, like bad dreams. The main character is not entirely in touch with reality, and there are four or so really interesting sequences where you have to hack into the brain-chips of murder victims, where you get to see their own lost grips on reality. These were always very cool and changed up the gameplay. There was a bit of a pattern--explore, follow clues, find victim; hack victim and play through their memory/consciousness; learn some info, and then explore, follow clues...

    Definitely worth a play through if you like cyberpunk, detective stories, and horror. Great merger of the three.

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    GameLog hopes to be a site where gamers such as yourself keep track of the games that they are currently playing. A GameLog is basically a record of a game you started playing. If it's open, you still consider yourself to be playing the game. If it's closed, you finished playing the game. (it doesn't matter if you got bored, frustrated,etc.) You can also attach short comments to each of your games or even maintain a diary (with more detailed entries) for that game. Call it a weblog of game playing activity if you will.

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    1 : dkirschner's Pillars of Eternity (PC)
    2 : dkirschner's Before I Forget (PC)
    3 : Sup3rCondor's Pure (360)
    4 : dkirschner's Cultist Simulator (PC)
    5 : Sup3rCondor's Alpha Protocol (360)
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    Kirby's Adventure (NES)    by   dchattin

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Friday 19 January, 2007
    The eatable powers in this game were also quite surprising, both in their quantity and quality. There's quite a wide selection of abilities: projectiles, hand held weapons, area effects. Many of them are good enough that you are reluctant to give them up for another ability. All of them are good enough that you could beat the whole game with any one. Furthermore, you could also beat the game (or at least all the enemies) with none of them, because Kirby's innate eating and spitting power is quite strong as well.

    That brings me to another good point about the level design. Many of them have branching paths, secret doors that you need a certain ability to reach, or shortcuts. And yet you can also just go for the obvious path and beat the level that way. Also I like that not every level is going from left to right, the direction changes up enough to keep it interesting.

    Getting extra lives in this game is very easy, and it's not too challenging to stay alive. You can win an extra life after every level, you can win them from minigames, and of course there are 1UPs to be found within levels. I would have made extra lives less common, or maybe added a Hard mode.

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