Wot I Think: Space Giraffe

By Kieron Gillen on December 18th, 2008 at 7:05 pm.

Oddly, for someone who likes Minter a lot, I've never actually played much of his Tempest games.

Upon its X-Box 360 release, Space Giraffe was the most critically divisive game of 2007. Scan down those Metacritic scores. Those reviewers who slammed it – like Xbox US which gave it 2/10 and dismissed it as “damn-near-unplayable technoslop” – were openly mocked as weakling idiots by Jeff Minter’s devotees. Others, like Eurogamer, split the difference and did a dual review. In the end, the hailing didn’t matter – it simply didn’t sell. That hasn’t stopped its accolades building up. Stuart Campbell – who remains the world’s sharpest critic of arcade games – said it was “one of the best games released this year at any price”. No less than Braid-creator Jonathan Blow described it as “the arcade game analogue of Ulysses”. So – much-praised-yet-ignored underdog comes to the PC. And this is RPS. And I’m me.

It’s inevitable I’m going to like it, yeah?

Yeah, it seems so. I like it a lot. Which is something of a surprise.

On Monday, when I first decided the previous few paragraphs were going to be my intro, the reveal was “Actually, no. I don’t like it at all”. In the time since – and me wanting to examine my response in detail is why I haven’t got around to posting about either the demo or the full game until now – it’s gone the other way. The game unfolded, or at least my head did. It’s now it’s own creature and it’s something that a good chunk of you will adore. And the others will blow chunks.

(The “you either love-it/hate-it” line’s turned up in quite a few Space Giraffe reviews. I’m not sure whether that’s actually true. I think it’s more of a question whether you can stand it for long enough to love it. It’s easy to reject. In fact, it’s easy to reject for perfectly reasonable reasons. And I suspect that if it wasn’t Minter who wrote it, people would have. But more on that later.)

Space Giraffe is built on top of Tempest’s structure. It doesn’t really play like Tempest – which, for me, is good as it’s the gamer’s-game early eighties arcade classic which has never really moved me – but its scoring system and play style are quite divorced. There’s lots to it, but the basics involve manipulation of what’s called the Power-Zone. Hitting enemies (and a few other things) makes the power zone expand up the map away from you. When it’s in existence, you’re able to barge enemies who’ve climbed to the outer ring off, shoot to either side rather than just directly down the grid and it slows down enemy projectiles passing through it. When it’s not in existence… well, you’re in trouble, really. You better get it back as soon as you can. Barging (“bulling”) enemies off en masse is how you power up your multiplier, which you’ll want to do as otherwise the game will mock your scoring ability. Other main things to consider are your ability to leap off the grid when you pick up one-charge power-pods and a smart-bomb-a-life. And there’s lots more stuff too.

(I’d suggest you head off to Campbell’s piece if you want a fuller breakdown of the mechanics. I’ve got other fish to fry.)

Llamatron was my way in, really.

The second thing you’ll notice about Space Giraffe is that it really is a Llamasoft game. Jeff Minter was one of the first developers you could call an Auteur in all seriousness, and his hoof-prints are all over Space Giraffe (For the uninitiated, Minter’s vision is basically: ungulates + early eighties arcade game + lysergic Graphic Effects). We have music-responsive psychadelic graphical effects. We have English-whimsy text messages (“Top Hole!”). We have nods at whatever pop cultural elements that took his fancy. We have – let’s state the fucking obvious – a game called Space Giraffe. This is the stuff which most quickly lost the people who hate the game – specifically, the incredibly intense graphic effects of the 360 version. You couldn’t see what’s happening, claimed the antis. That’s fine – you’re meant to use the sound effects to locate yourself and (er) use the force, claimed the pros.

The problem here – as it is in the best of arguments – is that both sides are right.

It’s also a problem that you only have to face on the PC if you choose to. The biggest change between the two versions is that… well… there’s two versions. The main 100 levels of the game have been re-jigged to tame the random trippiness. However, they also include the originals as a full-on acid-experience for those who want such things effectively including twice as much content as before. Which is a clear plus. It’s worth noting that the strimming back of the excesses doesn’t actually mean that those people who rejected the game for it being confusing will be able to get it now. Partially because there’s still a mass of information density on the screen, and you’re still going to find yourself cursing at enemies who killed you, and you have no idea how. But mainly because the removal of the obvious information-hiding element of the game makes it clear exactly how much obfuscation is built into it elsewhere.

In short, the game does a phenomenally bad job at explaining how it works. Especially early on, the deaths from not seeing what’s happening are actually deaths about not realising how the enemies work. Even the basic enemy types are left unexplained in-game, requiring a trip to a FAQ or trial-and-error (and probably multiple trials-and-errors before you work out what’s actually happening and why you died and/or won. Introduction of the enemies which you can’t actually bull off the grid are a good example of that). More so, while the major rules remain, the details of how they operate can change on a level for level basis. Is this one where the Power Zone shrinks quickly or slowly? Is this one where the flowers grow really quickly and hang around before exploding or is it one where they’re slow and pretty much invulnerable? Fuck knows until you go in there, and if it’s a sudden and violent change, you need to throw lives onto the sacrifice pyre of the great god of the arcades.

So, when playing, fighting my way through new level after level was hellishly frustrating. It was openly horrible. I hated it.

That’s the point I’d reached when I was about to write about Space Giraffe on Monday. But I decided to play a little more before pulling the trigger and as I grabbed my controller and started shooting, I felt something click inside my head. It was working. It’s a good game. Hell, it may even be a great one.

And Gridrunner ++

The key thing: I wasn’t playing the levels that were making me scream the previous day. I’d just started from the beginning, replaying the earlier ones whose rules I understood and how they were tweaked on each level. I wasn’t playing just to get through. I was playing to play well. Or, at least, reasonably well.

You unlock new levels, the natural urge is to start at those levels. That is totally fatal. You will cry. Beating a level isn’t the point. Mastering the level is the point.

(Well… mostly the point. There’s some levels – and I haven’t completed half of the 100, let alone the unlockable ones – which are just cliff-faces followed by a mass of reasonable ones. I’ll skip those and ride the slopes afterwards, thankyouverymuch. Especially when you get into the middle thirties, and the beautifully graphic-distorting ones show up. The new version walks the line between graphical wonderment and playing bemusement perfectly there.)

The sense of mastering it is also helped by one of the cuter mechanics buried in the game. Complete a level with three lives and if you restart the game from the next level, assuming you beat it, you get given whatever score you had when you started it. In other words, you can build a score from across all the levels without having played all the levels in one go. And if you’re three-life-ing any given level, it’s a good sign you should press on and break new ground.

And then the game will beat you around a bit, and you’ll beat it back, and you’ll both be the better for it.

The key of Space Giraffe is that for something that appears initially such a twitch-based game, it’s actually a strategic experience. It’s a game about managing crowds, creating safe-places and other higher-level thought patterns that don’t require dodging between streams of bullets. It’s its own game, and in its own way, a triumph. You should try the demo, and realise that if you don’t like it, you could be wrong.

That’s why this overview of a game I really like has been so negative – because it’s a game which doesn’t explain itself at all, so I think it’s served best by someone else walking through how miserable it may make you you play, and then say what’s the quickest way past it. It’s a game good enough that I don’t mind being awkwardly down about it, if you see what I mean.

There is that nagging question though. As much as I like Space Giraffe, you wonder exactly how something as simple as a game about shooting can manage to be so fundamentally inaccessible.

That Jonathan Blow guy? Totally right.

I was in a version of Gridrunner ++ which was on the PC Gamer coverdisk once. Man!

A couple of other thing which sits outside the actual critique of the game as a game.

Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, there is the sense that if it wasn’t Minter doing it, I wouldn’t have persisted to crack open the game’s shell and gorge myself on its fleshy innards. In the Symposium I’m involved with, the topic of whether you approach a game equally depending on who it’s made turned up. It shouldn’t make a difference. But it does. Minter – and Valve and whoever else – have earned that tiny benefit of the doubt. It’s totally not fair for the new indie kid making an awkward game… but I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it.

Secondly, there’s another aspect that you may find somewhat grating with Space Giraffe. The 360 release was for 400 microsoft points. That is, about five dollars. The PC version is twenty dollars.

Yes, the PC version includes many more levels including the possibility of expanding with more in the future. Yes, the 360 version was probably deeply underpriced, especially for what’s clearly an arcade game that only a niche will want to consume. Yes, the 360 version didn’t sell, so the experience must have taught Llamasoft that they should release at higher price or risk starvation. Yes, the standard price for a PC Indie game is basically twenty dollars. And – most importantly – yes, it’s totally worth twenty dollars.

But there’s something that sits awkwardly that the PC version is four times as much as the basically identical 360 one. And more so, that you can assume half the money goes to Microsoft from the 360 one while all the money on the PC direct-download goes straight to Llamasoft. Much like a sudden death on a level you haven’t quite grasped yet, it doesn’t seem fair.

I’d strongly urge you to play the demo. I’d urge you, if you do, to persist on the demo and try and get good at it. And if it clicks, I’d at least consider buying it. It’s its own creature and simply one of the finest works in Minter’s long career.

Also: KLF sound-sample. MU! MU! MU! M! Fuck yeah, y’know?

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69 Comments »

  1. Meat Circus says:

    I played this on that there XBLA, and I admired it greatly, but am not sure I ever got round to actually *liking* it.

    Its refusal to actually let you know in any kind of useful way what exactly expects of you is the kind of curmudgeonly intransigence we’ve come to expect from Minter, but it’s odd too see Jonathan Blow let it get away with such shenanigans lightly.

    As far as I can see, one way or another, this game flies in the face of almost everything Blow managed to do with Braid, and yet, he still maintains that this game is a masterpiece despite (perhaps *because*?) it gleefully mocks all Blow’s theories of game design.

    So, a game worthy more of admiration than enjoyment? Perhaps, alas. But it’s one hell of an experience for that.

    If only they’d found a way to shoehorn in Tammy Wynette.

  2. Pags says:

    As is my wont, I’m going to go ahead and agree with Meat Circus.

  3. Ginger Yellow says:

    This is probably the one game which most needed and most lacked a thorough tutorial. Well, maybe Sins. Do give it a shot, but be aware that it is brutal and most importantly that you should not play it as if it were Tempest.

  4. Shamanic Miner says:

    “this game is about expanding your perception”
    Jonathan Blow

    It may sound wanky but he’s spot on. The mind is an amazing thing and with patience and practice you really can do things that look like you’re using the force, just look at any good musician.

    The PC version does make it a lot clearer and the backgrounds are really pretty, the bonus level one was so good I was staring at it rather than collecting flowers with me hooves.

    10\10 for me as there is nothing else like it.

  5. Alex Hopkinson says:

    I loved this on the 360, and whilst it’s not gotten as much play as I’d have liked in the last year, it’s definitely one to stick back into the gaming queue for ’09. I was glad to see, amongst my friends, that it grabbed some of them who hadn’t been brought up on Batalyx, Iridis Alpha and Gridrunner++.

  6. Larington says:

    Fraid the gameplay for this just wasn’t doing it for me, got so far into the tutorial and realised I wasn’t enjoying the experience and quit out, mayhaps I’m more impatient with gameplay than I thought.

  7. Eli Just says:

    Well, looks like this is going to get pirated to hell. imo World of Goo is more deserving of $20, and it was still pirated. $20 is just too much.

  8. Wilson says:

    Just tried the demo and found it… unusual. But not terribly compelling. Finished the tutorial and did maybe four levels (playing on acid mode). Maybe it gets better later on, but I can’t really see where it would go. I prefer my arcade games clear cut, with this the graphical style seems at odds with the gameplay, which wasn’t especially challenging (I admit this is probably because I didn’t play enough). Anyway, not really my cup of tea I think.

  9. Leeks! says:

    That is something Jonathan Blow would say.

  10. solipsistnation says:

    I played it on the 360 (it was actually one of the reasons I chose the 360, way back when I was looking for a platform on which to play Rock Band) and totally failed to get into it. I think I was trying to play it like Tempest 2000, its spiritual ancestor (and a game I spent way too much time playing back in the Jaguar days).

    I’ll probably give it another try, but that will have to wait for an evening when I feel like doing a lot of potentially-frustrating messing around…

  11. Bidermaier says:

    Not only it is twice as expensive but it does not have online scoreboards. Also for some reason the game keeps asking my name after i got killed (something that happens very very often), even if i had a poor score, which is anoying.
    But I am hooked : /

  12. jonfitt says:

    Aw, now I’m going to have to hit up YouTube for some more early nineties dance music.

  13. Dominic White says:

    I found SG (360 version) to be a lot of fun, but it is an exercise in unlearning a lot of what you’ve been taught in gaming. Really, if you go in expecting this to be just Tempest all over again, you’ll get a lousy score, and then the game will stamp on your face and laugh. And you’ll get snarky inter-level messages like ‘You’re rather rubbish’.

    I mean, the core scoring mechanic involves doing exactly what Tempest was all about avoiding. If you want to score big, you need to deliberately let enemies reach the top of the grid, rather than killing them as fast as you can. That, and you need to learn to tune into the games own bizarre language of beeps, warbles, animal calls and phone-ringing.

    There’s a real statement of intent with one particular enemy – the Feedback Monsters literally distort the screen when shot, making those noises all the more essential to listen to. Visually, its all about filtering order from chaos. Kinda fun, but pretty daunting at first.

    I can definitely understand how people wouldn’t like it, but once it ‘clicks’ it’s one of those games you keep coming back to, just to claw a slightly higher score out of a level, or to see how far you can get on a single life.

    Still, I’m amazed at how grown-up and reasonable the discussion has been here so far. Most forums can’t make it 4-5 posts before someone goes on a lengthy rant about how they personally despise Jeff Minter and want him to die.

  14. eyemessiah says:

    Blow chunks?

  15. MarkN says:

    @Dominic White: Thank you – I’ve been trying to come up with something like your comment about the feedback monster’s statement of intent, and failing miserably.

    They do make it clear that everything that’s been done to your eyes thus far was intentional and a key part of the game rather than just pyschedelia for the sake of it. They’re also a warning that things are going to get a lot more challenging later (level 64 – I would be giving you a Paddington hard stare at this time if I didn’t already know that that would leave me hospitalised).

    When I first got SG I wanted to love it but didn’t. After persevering for a few hours, it clicked with a real “Hallelujah!” moment, then I played it obsessively for weeks. Then, distracted by new and shiny things I moved on to pastures new. But a few months ago I became bored of much of what I’d been playing, and returned to SG again, and I’ve been playing it regularly again ever since. It’s an absolute belter.

  16. chhum says:

    I’ll start by saying I’m a big fan of Minter’s work – Iridis Alpha on the C64 is I think that machine’s finest hour, and Minter’s “diary” of its creation published in Zap64 got me into programming in the first place. I don’t own an XBox so hadn’t played this until its PC release. I didn’t play the tutorial – I just got on with it and tired to work things out – and I haven’t been this absorbed by a game since i was a spotty teenager (and that really is a long time ago). Its beautiful, beguiling, fascinating, unique and deeply rewarding. The best game I’ve played in a very long time.

  17. eyemessiah says:

    Isn’t it a bit…blurry?

    EDIT: Nvm, I fixed the problem.
    I can’t say how or we will all go to jail, but suffice it to say I can now see the camel.

    EDIT 2: $8 for HoverBovver? I don’t think I paid $8 for it when I bought it brand new!!

  18. smoothoper8r says:

    A true gem this is, you really must unlearn how to play games to survive until level 100 without using a continue, the hardest achievement in the 360 version. SG is all about listening for threats and managing the flow and grouping of enemies, played well, you can essentially play without looking at the screen – which becomes somewhat useless at points (I’m looking at you level 64 (C64 reference) )

  19. hydra9 says:

    The thing’s that struck me is how much I get the feeling of actually travelling through some strange region of uncharted space. The other thing that’s struck me is things I didn’t see, that cause my death. I’ll have to work on that one.

  20. Jason McMaster says:

    I really wanted to like it, especially since the screens that Jeff Minter released always contained some sort of outrageous foul language as to discourage larger game sites from posting them, but I couldn’t. I tried to play the game a number of times and just found myself not liking it.

    The man does make one hell of a visualizer though.

  21. Jason McMaster says:

    I also must remember to ask Jonathan about the Ulysses quote. Maybe a bit of overkill there.

  22. eyemessiah says:

    I lol’d furiously at this quote from a ‘teamxbox’ review.

    “It’s like trying to do a tough sudoku…but the paper is on fire and there are a couple of madly barking dogs..”

    BTW: I think Jonathan is referring to the bit where the strobing Minter-head screams

    “Enjoy a bath now: clean trough of water, cool enamel, the gentle tepid stream. This is my body.

    He foresaw his pale body reclined in it at full, naked, in a womb of warmth, oiled by scented melting soap, softly laved. He saw his trunk and limbs riprippled over and sustained, buoyed lightly upward, lemonyellow: his navel, bud of flesh: and saw the dark tangled curls of his bush floating, floating hair of the stream around the limp father of thousands, a languid floating flower.” at you.

  23. malkav11 says:

    I’m pretty sure the maximal enjoyment this game will ever deliver to me is the knowledge that it is called Space Giraffe. High score quest games do just about nothing for me to start with, and ones that expect me to figure out from first principles how to play them? No thanks. But that’s a great name.

  24. SuperNashwan says:

    Bit off topic, but hooray for reviews that aren’t quite reviews and have no score. More Wot I Think please.

  25. Lucas says:

    $20 is a lot for an indie game I might hate. Demos sometimes help, and sometimes hurt. Acceptable game pricing these days seems mostly sensitive to the time I’m willing to invest.

    Games I paid $20 for each in the past month: Left 4 Dead (PC), Burnout Paradise (PS3), Boom Blox (Wii).

    Games I have not yet paid $20 for: Hinterland, World of Goo, Space Giraffe.

    At $10 or less, something I’ll probably enjoy for several hours is a good deal: Multiwinia, Super Stardust HD, anything on GOG.com.

    At $20, they’re competing with AAA titles less than a year old. Even without holiday sales, big game prices drop fast, often %50 or more per year. The notable exceptions are first party Nintendo titles, the recent Call of Duty titles, and … indie games.

    Even in such a crowded market, a new game is worth full price if it’s outstanding, but who has the time to play average games anymore? The time and money trade-offs matter. Gamers aren’t going to throw money at every developer they want to succeed.

    $15 or so is probably a better “standard” indie price they could launch with and maintain. It’s a middle ground between “too cheap to be good” and “wait for a price drop” territory.

  26. Eamo says:

    Henceforth all one line quotations from Jonathan Blow shall be referred to as “Blow chunks”

  27. GriddleOctopus says:

    Personally, when I reviewed it for OXM UK it got 2/10 (independently of the US score, but with a similar thought process I assume) because the design was completely inaccessible and alien to our Playstation-weaned readers. I can accept that the design was intentional, that it might eventually reward extreme persistence and that very hardcore gamers with a large attention span and nothing else to play might persist with it. But that’s going to appeal to such a small percentage of gamers that I couldn’t honestly recommend it.

    And that it’s a sensory-fascist game – I’ve got bad eyes, hearing and reactions, so I couldn’t see a bloody thing on the screen, even at the quietest moments, every geek culture reference felt ham-fisted, and every sound effect set my teeth on edge. Surely games should be accessible, not merely because more people can enjoy them, but because there’s an egalitarian imperative not to exclude anyone from any part of society, if we can help it?

  28. Kieron Gillen says:

    I think almost any “should” when applied to what a media can or can’t do is dangerous.

    KG

  29. GriddleOctopus says:

    You’re saying we shouldn’t use “should”?

  30. Kieron Gillen says:

    I contain multitudes.

    KG

  31. Thirith says:

    If we accept that games might be art, then I have to say that accessibility is not that high on the list of important criteria. Yes, good, interesting art *can* be accessible, but it doesn’t have to be – some of the most interesting art is pretty inaccessible. (Ulysses was mentioned earlier…)

    However, most games review magazines don’t judge the artistry of a game – they evaluate its success in terms of the mainstream, and that’s where accessibility is much more important.

  32. GriddleOctopus says:

    (You’re right about the “should” BTW – it hides implicit premises that are assumed to be shared and by denying it, you’re denying you share those premises. My premise was that I want media to be as accessible to as many people as possible, where that doesn’t impinge on the underlying message/enjoyment conveying mechanics. Sometimes, as with Planescape: Torment, the enjoyment is conveyed by pure complexity, and I could understand if that’s what you’re arguing for Space Giraffe.)

    Let’s put it another way; if I’d been able to get to the strategically strong and clever bits of Space Giraffe, I would have almost certainly loved them. But because there were multiple intentional-design barriers in the way, I am one of many, many people who might have appreciated playing it that couldn’t. (The lack of a good tutorial being the biggest barrier). Every extra barrier is another demographic sliced away who could appreciate a game, until there’s only a small percentile who can actually easily access the game; them, and those people who’ve heard of and care about, Jeff Minter’s games (caveat: I hadn’t before I met him, and wouldn’t let that influence my judgement anyway.) When you say that Jeff’s followers denigrated others who couldn’t or wouldn’t stick with it as “Weak” confirms that this is a very particular elitist, cultist experience

    And, ye gods, I *hate* Ulysses. Experimental writing is fine for providing techniques for other writers, but Flann O’Brien’s “At Swim Two Birds” is a superior, experimental contemporary that’s actually entertaining!

  33. Dominic White says:

    GriddleOctopus: I put forward the idea that you’re just legendarily crap at the game. Didn’t Minter (via the XBL scoreboards) find out that you only got to level 30 or something with an astoundingly low overall score (I think my first game took me to level 8 with a higher overall) before giving your 2/10 verdict?

    My kid sister – a total non-gamer – managed to jump into the game perfectly easily. She even figured out the scoring mechanics by herself within about twenty minutes. She’s not playstation-weaned. She’s Solitare-weaned, and she managed to handle it.

    Really, a 2/10 score should be given to a game that crashes every thirty seconds, not one that you’re bad at.

  34. GriddleOctopus says:

    Nah, that was the OXM US reviewer. I did for the UK (just checked my review score, I actually gave it 4/10 not 2/10, oops.)

    Even so, I’m part of the gaming population and I simply couldn’t appreciate that game in any way. Should my opinion be excluded, along with all those other people who can’t (or can’t be arsed to) play it?

  35. Kieron Gillen says:

    Gril: I love At Swim Two Birds. Only because you leant it to me.

    Worth noting that I’m not saying that an open slagging of Space Giraffe is unsupportable. It’s the imperative thing.

    KG

  36. fearian says:

    Honestly I dont see who could be divided about this game, Its gets 7/10. Obv.

  37. Dominic White says:

    Griddle: I cannot understand the appeal of sports management games, and am seriously crap at most RTS’s. If I were getting paid to professionally and objectively review games, I would probably choose not to review such things, as I would not be able to give them a fair assessment.

    You don’t send someone who considers Scary Movie 2 to be the greatest film ever to review There Will Be Blood. You don’t send a Spice Girls addict to review the latest Godspeed! You Black Emperor album either.

    I am part of the ‘gaming population’. If I had to write a review of Space Giraffe, I would be able to actually explain what it’s about, its strengths and weaknesses, and point out that it isn’t for everyone and the reasons why it might put off people. I wouldn’t pan it because I’m bad at it, though, because that would be very unprofessional.

  38. GriddleOctopus says:

    Well, obv, I got other people in the office to play it and confirm my opinion; the sample size wasn’t statistically significant at a 95% confidence interval on a poisson distribution, but it was more than a couple of brains that didn’t get it. I made those points about the game’s features. How about you check the review before you say what I didn’t do? :)

    I play most games; sports games are the only ones that I try to avoid reviewing. In the context of shmups, Space Giraffe is deliberately obtuse and inaccessible, and, for OXM’s readers with a massive selection of superior arcade titles (Assault Heroes, Geometry Wars 2, Omega Five, N+), I’d argue the effort isn’t worth it. By the low conversion rate from demo to purchase on Xbox, I’d say I nailed the readership. (OXM reader comments here about Space Giraffe: http://www.oxm.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2305)

  39. Larington says:

    “I’d say I nailed the readership.”

    Ouch.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. Could’ve been worse though, I could’ve used the other definition of nailed.

  40. Cycle says:

    Assault Heroes, Geometry Wars 2 and Omega Five are all pretty medicore and boring games. I guess that’s why they’re more popular with the mainstream. I think it’s funny that people slam SG for assaulting the player with over the top visual effects, when I think Geometry Wars does it much worse. I died from shit I couldn’t see in that game far more than I did in SG (because I could hear them).

    N+ is alright, the ill-placed difficulty spikes put me off ever finishing the game though.

  41. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    a massive selection of superior arcade titles (Assault Heroes, Geometry Wars 2, Omega Five, N+),

    Cough, splutter, choke, etc.

  42. ZenArcade says:

    “the arcade game analogue of Ulysses”~

    hahahahaha jesus fucking christ

  43. GriddleOctopus says:

    Assault Heroes, Geometry Wars 2, Omega Five, N+
    Cough, splutter, choke, etc.

    For OXM readers anyway – and N+ is way better than Space Giraffe in every field. :) (I think I just turned into a fully-fledged troll, sorry.)

  44. Gnarf says:

    The “you either love-it/hate-it” line’s turned up in quite a few Space Giraffe reviews. I’m not sure whether that’s actually true.

    It’s just a stupid line. “You may not like it” goes without saying. Some people do like The Bold and the Beautiful and do not like Twin Peaks. That’s not some insightful observation that needs to go in every other review. Though it would be kind of cool if they put it like “A lot of people will be too stupid to understand enough of the game to even have a valuable opinion on it.”

    And what was the point with that Eurogamer business? It’s just admitting defeat. The only reason why you’d need a second opinion is because the first one wasn’t good enough. You don’t need a separate review “for those who are into that sort of thing” or whatever. That’s what the one review should be in the first place.

    “Holy hell! The public opinion is split on this one! Then how can we know if the game is any good? It’s not like we are capable game reviewers!”

    $20 is a lot for an indie game I might hate. Waffle waffle waffle waffle.

    Hot damn. Let’s write more about $20, guys! It is so much more interesting than games! And why only money paid for games? I still don’t know exactly how cheap and/or poor Lucas is. How much would he pay for a meal? Which Christmas gifts have he bought, and how much did he pay for them? How much money does he have left? This is so intriguing.

  45. Woges says:

    I’ve played his games through the years, Gridrunner, Llamatron and the like, he’s always taken classic/gameplay and put a twist on them that uses the medium in a fairly quirky and interesting way. I don’t think the industry is any worse of for having a Minter the last thing I want to see is an homogenised game industry (even though that’s how it’s turning out).

  46. Craymen Edge says:

    “I felt something click inside my head. It was working. It’s a good game. Hell, it may even be a great one”
    Yes, I had that moment too, also when going through earlier levels again. Suddenly the music coming through my headphones, the weird pulsing stuff on the screen and my thumbs on the controler were all working and it seemed perfect. Then that thought dawned on me, and just as quickly my game fell apart.

    I love the game, despite being shit at it. (although despite only completing about 30 levels, I’m higher than all but one of my firends in the leaderboard)

    I really like the Stuart Campbell review. It’s one the best analyses of the game out there, and genuinely made me think more about the intricasies than I probably would have. I love it even more now someone has shown me that the first letter of each paragraph spells “MINTER IS A BIG TWATTY SPACKER TRUFAX”

  47. Woges says:

    I really should proof read but nevermind.

  48. Space Beast says:

    Downloaded the demo yesterday eve for a gander, played for 15 mins (my magpie mind decided at that point it wanted a good Skirmish in DOW: Soulstorm) and judged it to be a lot like my Girlfriend.

    Pretty, but fundamentally incomprehensible. ALIEN.

    My thwarted gaming instincts and growing boredom tore me away from it, but I vowed to return for a proper heart-to-heart.

  49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    and N+ is way better than Space Giraffe in every field.

    Presence of abstract giraffes? Similarity to Tempest? Number of shades of purple used? Frequency of sheep noises?

    YOU KNOW NOTHING.

  50. GriddleOctopus says:

    I’m too young for Tempest, am red-green colour-blind so purple is an alien concept, and I couldn’t hear the sheep over the sound of my own screaming. :D

    Giraffes are cool though. A bit like Llamas in disguise.

    At least I know that know nothing now. You’re like an accusatory Socrates!