Impressions: Space Pirates And Zombies

By Quintin Smith on May 27th, 2011 at 5:06 pm.

LASER! LASER!

I’m happy to say that space shooter S.P.A.Z. (the official abbreviation, not mine) encourages the oldest form of games journalism procrastination. I meant to start writing this three hours ago, but instead chose refresh myself and play the game for “just another few minutes”. If you’re a fan of the space shooter genre (top-down, high-tension battles with plenty of RPG persistency), there’s your capsule review. The game’s currently in a beta that you can access just by pre-ordering for £9, a la Minecraft. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t write a little more, because it wasn’t guilt that finally stopped me playing. It was the latest in a long series of ragequits.

While this is a good game and well worth your attention (and when it emerges from the beta, it might even be a great one), oh my Lord is it irritating. You know the phrase one step forward, two steps back? Well, progressing unsteadily through S.P.A.Z.’s unstable star systems is kind of like trying to tapdance up a staircase.

Here’s how S.P.A.Z. works: Your NPC mothership has a small number of hangar slots. Each of these hanger slots can support a ship, one of which you’ll be taking direct control of and controlling with the mouse, WSAD and a couple of hotkeys, while the others will support you via AI (often showing more competency than your feeble fingers will manage) and even follow orders you issue from a tactical screen. Within this framework you attempt missions, take on the government emplacements that block jumpgates and generally do anything and everything you can to scrape together more advanced tech, and minerals and crewmembers (who are plucked from the vaccuum of space after a battle and subsequently shot out of your airlock if they refuse to cooperate).

At the early stage of the game that I’m still at after some six hours, combat is a slick, tense affair that sees ships pinwheeling around one another at the very edge of control. On the one hand, fights seem to end a touch too quickly, but the game also often manages a perfect state of balance wherein you’re watching two panicked ships racing to wreck one another with absolutely everything hanging in the balance. It’s plenty fun, but I’m looking forward to the larger-scale, slower, more nuanced combat that I can see on the horizon when I finally get access to (and start fighting) bigger ships with more equipment slots.

I really am trying to get there, but that’s trickier than just running a series of missions. Rather than concerning itself with modern conceits like steady player progression, S.P.A.Z. is perfectly happy to let you wander into fights where your ships will dash themselves against superior forces, losing you a tidy stack of minerals and a eye-watering number of crew in far less time than it takes for your ships to make an emergency jump out.

Seeing as crew determine the effectiveness of your ships to quite a serious extent, failing a mission doesn’t just mean you’ve lost resources. It also means you’d probably be better off going and doing some missions that are a couple of rungs back down the ladder.

Developers Minmax say they made S.P.A.Z. because nobody was making the kinds of game they wanted to play anymore, which is obviously admirable. I think a lot of modern PC gamers would cheer at any dev trying to breathe life into the frozen body of the space shooter genre, which has been hurtling through the void of our collective memories for the better part of a decade.

What’s important to understand, though, is that S.P.A.Z. isn’t simply resuscitating a genre. It’s also following quite an old-fashioned and miserly approach to learning curves and content. You can sink a good two hours into S.P.A.Z. and have shit all to show for it except a grudge against any number of identikit “Civilian” and military NPC factions. Ordinarily an indie action RPG that takes twenty five hours to complete might just be seen as value for money. Here, there isn’t quite enough variety, and the game can often seen slow.

Which isn’t to say the entire game is spent rubbing your face against a wall. You’ll have good hours too- the thrill of overcoming a terrifyingly large force by the skin of your teeth and then hoovering up all the minerals, “data” (exp), crewmembers and ship schematics is hugely rewarding, though even here there’s a catch. All of this loot vanishes after about sixty seconds, meaning you’ll have plenty of occasions where you’ll race towards a beautiful cache of space-debry only for all of it, even the experience points, to quite literally explode in your face. Seeing as the combat’s a hectic, wild thing that you won’t be getting better at, when this happens you’ll have genuinely wasted your time. I don’t necessarily have anything against unfair games, but cruelty and tedium are two very different things and S.P.A.Z. offers them both.

Ack, look at all that whinging! This is what happens when you write about a game directly following a ragequit. Don’t take my negativity too seriously. If you’re in the market for a game like this, have a play of the demo yourself. There really is a great deal here to like.

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66 Comments »

  1. Hanban says:

    While the game in question is still in alpha, if you’re into SPAZ and want something a bit more chewy in terms of combat you can try out Starfarer. Bought the pre-order to support the devs a week ago and I am not disappointed despite there only being like 7 missions to play!

    Linky for having a looksie here: http://fractalsoftworks.com/

    • Premium User Badge Diziet Sma says:

      Starfarer is good but a lot lighter on content than SPAZ at the moment. It’s a bit like GSB with manual control during battles.

    • Hanban says:

      Well, I assume that will change as the devs’ work trot along. Given that SPAZ and Starfarer are not in the same stage of production I don’t find it fair to compare them in that way. Both are good, certainly, but I find the combat a lot more fun in Starfarer than compared to SPAZ.

      I’m just putting it out there, anyway. The planned metagame for Starfarer has piqued my interest and I hope more people try it out so the devs can afford to keep up the coding.

    • dadioflex says:

      I pre-ordered Starfarer and I find the flight controls a lot easier to use, but yeah not much content.

      I wish SPAZ worked with a controller, I’m patting my stomach and rubbing my head trying to get the M+K thing working, and that’s after thirty something years using mouse and keyboard controls.

    • karry says:

      You do know there is a special soft for things like these ? Joy2key for instance. Helped me stomach DMC3, dont know what i would do without it.

    • mechabuddha says:

      @karry:

      It doesn’t account for mouse pointing. Holding a joystick in one direction takes quite a bit longer than moving the mouse. It would take the developers adding actual gamepad support, which would be nice, but I think they’ve got quite enough on their plate as is.

    • sexyresults says:

      It kind of annoys me when the first comment links to another game. Isn’t that a bit… disrespectful?

  2. Duality says:

    I love SPAZ, but like many others I find it a little frustrating and grindy in its current iteration. I have given up on it until it gets a couple more updates for the moment.

  3. Premium User Badge Diziet Sma says:

    So ol’ blue eyes would be ace at it then? :P I’ve been struggling to make steady progression too but it is damn good fun when it comes together.

  4. goodgimp says:

    It’s true that the game lets you dash your ships against superior forces, but I LIKE the fact that the pace is controlled by me, not arbitrarily set by the game developer. Different star systems have different difficult “Level” ratings associated with them, so it’s easy to pick and choose your battles. If you find things too difficult, go hang on in less dangerous systems.

  5. Ergates_Antius says:

    I can attest to the frustration of having “loot” disappear just seconds before you get to it – sometimes it’s as if it’s waiting for you to get close…

    I guess this wouldn’t be too difficult to change though (just increase the time it hangs around for), and the game’s still in Beta, so fingers crossed.

  6. mcwill says:

    I am not remotely ashamed to say I’m a fan of SPAZ. But you are definitely right, the 60 second timeout on pickups is really vicious, and while the AI is better than it used to be at picking it up, you still pretty much have to use a ship with a tractor beam during the early stages of the game if you want to keep up with the level curve.

  7. Dave Mongoose says:

    I’ve been having fun with the game so far: bought it after watching TotalBiscuit’s ‘WTF is…’ video.

    Most of the fun for me comes from acquiring new ships and equipment, since there’s such a large variety. The ‘blackbox’ system of unlocking ships by defeating them is a nice mechanic: there have been times where I’ve turned on allies because they’re flying a ship I don’t have yet, and that need for tech means you end up playing the ‘space pirate’ role without the game forcing it on you.

    One frustration I have is that some systems (particularly the smaller ones) only have one or two missions available at a time. If I need a blueprint from a strong station (2/3 or 3/3 [Faction] Strength) where I have poor reputation, often there isn’t an appropriate mission to raise that reputation and I just have to jump around hoping one will spawn.

    • Archonsod says:

      Yep, the same thing is currently bugging me. Trying to get friendly with a civilian faction in a system but there’s not enough missions spawning to help, plus my AI wingmates attack their ships as hostile whenever a conflict breaks out, so the end result is I’m hated by both factions.

      Can’t say it’s a huge issue though, I’m still having a hell of a lot of fun. My only other complaint is the randomness of the system generator could do with tweaking; it seems to have a tendency of sticking high level systems in the middle of low level ones, so you spend a couple of hours grinding minerals to hit and run or bribe the blockade to pass a line of level 20+ systems only to find a bunch of level 6 systems behind them.

  8. Uglycat says:

    Load times worthy of Gothic 3 on my machine :|

    • Retro42 says:

      Note on the load times:

      Devs went with loading everything upfront. Takes a bit to start but practically 0 downtime while in game. Fair tradeoff if you ask me.

    • Nyst says:

      Unfortunatly reloading a game takes just as long, as I found out.

  9. Premium User Badge Napalm Sushi says:

    From what I’ve seen of SPAZ’s website and forums, the devs’ awareness of feedback about the game – and desire to act on it – seems refreshingly high. I have little doubt and high hopes that this article will grab their attention, because while I utterly adore SPAZ and greatly look forward to what Minmax have in store for it, I can’t honestly disagree with a word Quinns says here.

    Apart from his spelling of “hangar”.

    • svge says:

      What’s wrong with his spelling?

    • Premium User Badge Napalm Sushi says:

      I think he’s fixed it, but he spelled it “hanger”, as in what you put coats on.

  10. Aganazer says:

    Its grindy yes, but the core gameplay is fun enough that it reminds me of old coin-op games that I would keep dumping quarters into just for the thrill of playing it.

  11. wcanyon says:

    This game looks a lot like Starscape from Moonpod games. I’m interested for sure. Starscape was tons of fun but lacked depth.

  12. Love Albatross says:

    Interested, but this…

    “All of this loot vanishes after about sixty seconds, meaning you’ll have plenty of occasions where you’ll race towards a beautiful cache of space-debry only for all of it, even the experience points, to quite literally explode in your face. ”

    …sounds horrible. XP disappears? I’m already frustrated and I’ve not even played the demo.

    Sounds like it might be a case of the devs doing all the playtesting with no idea how tough it is on everyone else.

  13. Mr_Hands says:

    I studied at Debry University.

  14. nootron says:

    I have played spaz for about 25 hours now and I have a few opinions on it that i’d like to share.

    Firstly, for a small team, this game is excellent and well worth the price, so go and buy it. Secondly, its beta so nothing’s final just yet and my hope is that many of my personal issues with the game might find themselves fixed before the game goes “gold

    I would like it to be less grind-y with regards to rez gathering. I also would like better in-game documentation to aid you in making tech/ship decisions. Finally, I wish ships weren’t so expendable. It seems that most of my battles involve losing/rebuilding many ships, even if i do well. Or maybe im just bad at this game :)

    Anyway, great game. Go buy it you cheap bastards. I mean, please buy it you thrifty handsome devils!

    • Tssha says:

      My advice is to pick a ship to be your main tank and stick with it. Preferably it should have tractor beams and high cargo space, but that’s secondary to high hit points and lots and lots of armour. I like the Tug for early game tank, the Yacht for early-mid and the Right Hook is my current tank for the Midgame. Three beams of shield sapping pleasure, and it’s fun to fly but the AI flies it particularly well which is the best part of all. I can fly it into the fight, switch out to my Gopher shotgun and own face while my Right Hook takes all the heat and brings down the shields while I hit them on the flank armour.

      The only downside is that when I need to control the Right Hook directly the Gopher often goes into a back and forth strafe, which often gets it killed. It’s cheap to replace though. Only a few fights have been too much for this combo…and that’s out of hundreds. Also, it won’t salvage cargo as well as it should under AI control. Especially during a fight, where you can just say goodbye to the minerals. At least my gopher can tractor the data.

      Also, having a backup tank in your secondary hangar slot is a good plan, but it’s also a good place to put a well armed ship that isn’t a glass cannon (a glass cannon like the aforementioned Gopher or the super-fast Gyro).

  15. Vinraith says:

    This looks absolutely wonderful, and that includes the old school difficulty curve. I’m definitely going to pick it up as soon as its available from an acceptable distributor.

    • Premium User Badge mechtroid says:

      The more I see you in the RPS comments, Vinraith, the more your icon becomes appropriate.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’ll take that as a compliment and get back to building my doomsday device.

  16. DK says:

    Yeah you are massively overestimating the impact crew has. And that’s especially true for the early stages this review is about .

    Also, it’s kind of wierd to complain about the game being too hard on you right after talking about how it lets you go wherever you want. Why aren’t you going to an area that’s not too hard then?

  17. Premium User Badge Terics says:

    SPAZ and Starfarer look pretty cool. Steam just needs to accept both of them.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Steam’s already rejected Space Pirates and Zombies for reasons unknown. At the time the team were crushed, but they’re doing what they can.

    • andrewdoull says:

      That’s the second ‘worthy’ game (Din’s Curse being the first) rejected from Steam without explanation. I’d like to see RPS investigate this further… I can understand rejections, but rejections without explanations seems a little harsh for developers for a platform that is becoming a de facto monopoly in many ways.

    • Dominic White says:

      In a lot of cases, it’s not even rejections – Valve just stops talking with developers for no reason. It took months upon months of trying for Bit-Blot to get Aquaria (an IGF award winner and big indie seller at the time, even) onto Steam, because Valve just said a few words and stopped all correspondence.

      They definitely need to set up a division specifically for interacting with indie devs.

    • Vinraith says:

      Didn’t they initially do something along those lines with World of Goo, as well?

    • Premium User Badge Napalm Sushi says:

      And Revenge Of The Titans. For ages.

  18. Dominic White says:

    I agree that the game should be half as long, and be a lot less stingy with upgrades. It’s good, but they’ve put in waaaaaay too much padding. Getting to each quest location basically requires fighting your way directly through a half-dozen star systems, which don’t offer any new gameplay, just more identical enemies to shoot.

    There’s nothing to say they couldn’t give it a bit of a balance overhaul, and give the player a larger fleet with more control over its structure, but I don’t really see what happening.

    It’s a good game. It COULD be great, but it’s merely good right now.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Heh. Yeah, a final act like something out of Gratuitous Space Battles would be a thing of beautiful.

    • BooleanBob says:

      ‘a thing of beautiful’

      Calling it now; this is the next rps title bar status thing.

    • Dominic White says:

      I know I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, but Starfarer is currently in preorder alpha (it’s just the combat layer so far, no campaign stuff stringing it together yet), and already comes a lot closer to the Freespace/Gratuitous Space Battles style of space combat that I wish SPAZ had grown into.

      I did an article and 25 minutes of gameplay video over here:
      http://www.diygamer.com/2011/05/starfarer_alpha_video/

      It’s definitely one to keep an eye on. From what I’ve heard from the developer, it’ll eventually have a semi-randomized 4x’ish campaign mode ala SPAZ, but with a it more focus on fleet tactics, rather than levels and stats.

    • geldonyetich says:

      In just about any kind of game with a progression mechanic, the difference between enjoyment and grind comes down to whether or not you can enjoy the core gameplay. As long as you do, filling bars and crossing geography filled with identical enemies carries no real downside. I think S.P.A.Z. has a pretty solid core gameplay but, in all maters of entertainment, enjoyment will be a subjective. To those who feel the current product doesn’t quite evoke enough satisfaction to grind through sectors, there’s some respite to be found in knowing that the game is considered in a beta state and so should be continuing to undergo improvement.

    • Dominic White says:

      The core gameplay is good, no question about that, but it does make you go through a lot of effectively identical stuff just to travel between locations. It’s like random encounters in an RPG – they can be fun and interesting, but when you’ve got to go through 20 of them to cross from one side of a field to the other, it’s annoying.

      If there were 2-3x as many events and mission types, maybe another NPC faction or two, and levelling in general happened a little quicker, I’d have no complaints.

    • geldonyetich says:

      I agree, greater variety to missions would be interesting, as would introduction to a faction other than UTC or Civs. Presumably, the later game involves a third faction, the titular Zombies, but even so… perhaps the issue is that they’re not being introduced early enough.

    • Tssha says:

      While I agree with getting more missions, I don’t think an extra faction would really add anything more than another group to grind for. I mean, the Civs and the UTA possess enough of a dichotomy that all you really need to do is plop the two down in every system, generate relations randomly and you’ve got a dramatic fight for the system and a moral dilemma that’s slightly different every time. Sure, some systems it’s hardly worth fighting in, but that’s the beauty of this system. If you don’t want to hang around, you can just bypass the system and if you’ve got a solid fleet, just blow your way through to the next system. Get a good fleet with a strong core tank and it doesn’t matter how many ships are in your way, you will break through to the next system.

      Only hang-ups are the UTA friendly systems. Gotta get your favour up with them and that’s always a grind. Still, it gives you a reason to bank your goons and come back later to breeze through those systems.

  19. jonfitt says:

    Would the harshness of the battles where you are completely outmatched actually mean scouts were useful?

    Aside from the tedium it would seem like a cool idea to have a small fast expendable ship that would scout a system first.

    I know in AI War you can be quite boned if you try and take a system without scouting first.

    • geldonyetich says:

      It’s a bit tedious in the current implementation (a means to save and recall designs would help), but you could replace your fleet with a bunch of low-cost ships so as to have minimal drain on your REZ and Goons prior to emergency warp out.

      I haven’t really found the necessity, though. Given that enemy difficulty is based on tech level and tech level is clearly printed on every system, you’ll know you’re outmatched long before the need to scout manifests.

      The main way you’ll find yourself losing REZ and Goons is when you try to force issues, bulling your way through gates or station conflicts that are slightly (but not insurmountably) out of your league. If you’re relatively patient and don’t try to bull your way through anything, you’ll actually find yourself at an excess of Goons and REZ for the greater majority of the game. If you find yourself having to restore depleted reserves, this is akin to a death penalty for sloppy gameplay.

    • jonfitt says:

      Oh snap! I think he called you sloppy Quinns. :)

    • geldonyetich says:

      Skimming the article a few times, I don’t see where Quinns says he spent a lot of time replenishing Rez and Goons, though some of the commenters here did.

      To backpedal a bit, it’s not that S.P.A.Z. is a game that doesn’t reward you for sticking your neck out. If you’ve got maxed out Goons and REZ, by all means try to bull your way through a higher-level UTC gate blockade, try to take down that starbase instead of buying the blueprints, or just hang around in a higher-tech system reaping better data, black box, and blueprint rewards.

      It’s just that, if you do this enough, you’ll eventually deplete your Goons and REZ to the point where you’ll have to retreat and grind asteroids and helpless ships to replenish it. If you hate grinding, the solution is to stop pushing things before your Goons and REZ are that badly depleted. If you take on stuff more appropriate to your level, these things will increase towards maximum naturally without ever having to deliberately seek them out.

  20. Buttless Boy says:

    Every time I see this game I hope beyond hope that it’s the game I’ve been dying to play since Operation: Inner Space stopped working on my computer.

    I have yet to play a game that gave me NPC interactions as entertaining as Inner Space. I cared more for my nameless teammates than I did for anyone in a Bioware game, and I hated the enemies I made far more than any Big Bad from a JRPG.

    • tungstenHead says:

      If you’re after the NPC interactions of Inner Space, you won’t find it here, I’m afraid. The AI NPCs in each system belong to either the Civilian or UTA factions but they don’t talk to each other across borders at all and friends and foes definitely do not follow you across space. You kill them, loot their stuff, and that’s it. Or optionally, let them kill each other, loot their dudes, and that’s it. Nothing as charming as the Fuzzy One that’s got your back against that Renegade (who is armed with batteries and has been hounding you across five directories and has a kill list against the Knights as long as your arm).

  21. malexmave says:

    Just purchased it, after reading the comments. On a partially related note: The SURVEY2010-Coupon for Impulse is still working and shaped another 1,06 € off the bill for me. i’ll take that. ;-)

  22. therighttoarmbears says:

    Color me (extremely) intrigued. However, I’m a bit hesitant to take up with another digital download service (gee, that sounds like having an affair). Especially a service recently snapped up by a company that it seems to me is the gaming equivalent of McDonald’s. Anybody able to weigh in on the impulse experience, especially post-Gamestop purchase?

    • fuzzyevil says:

      So far, Gamestop hasn’t affected impulse at all, it’s still the same old platform. What they do with it remains to be seen of course. I’ve been using it for years for Sins of a Solar Empire and WindowsBlinds, and I haven’t had any issues.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      That’s not quite true, they have been adding Steamworks titles recently now. Magicka and Dawn of War 2 Retribution for example. Otherwise yes, it remains largely unchanged, but I think adding Steamworks titles is a real boon.

  23. MythArcana says:

    I want Space Rangers 3, but Katauri says no. This game is too simplistic for my taste and dangerously close to being an arcade title. I really don’t know what to think about this, so I’ll pass for now.

  24. roethle says:

    They just patched it today making resources stay on the map for significantly longer.

  25. ArdentPenguin says:

    I just created an account – after YEARS of reading this site never leaving a comment – to express my SHOCK and DISMAY that nobody has mentioned Escape Velocity in relation to this game! Or its sequels, EV: Override and EV: Nova. Did nobody else on this site grow up with a Mac and play Ambrosia Software’s shareware games?

    Sadly, instead of enjoying the SPAZ demo, it just brought back all of the reasons I loved Escape Velocity. The slow expansion of your galactic map; meeting new factions and races; eyes bugging out at your first sight of some huge capital ship, and immediately thinking, “one day – that will be mine.” Being able to conquer planets who subsequently pay you tribute? Searching out good trade routes? Random encounters with pirates in frontier systems? It was totally open-ended in a way this game sadly isn’t – you could always try to run blockades or hostile systems if you couldn’t fight your way through.

    I remember playing EV: Override in junior high school, spending days doing missions for the humans fighting the Voinian threat off to the left of the map. That’s all I thought the game was – that’s all they tell you about in the backstory. There aren’t any obvious “go forth and explore” missions; there isn’t even a main quest. But finally one day I got bored and started exploring upwards, for the heck of it. And after three or four systems, in the middle of nowhere in space, I ran into… some strange half-saucer craft that I’d never seen before. And I slowly realized that the game map was FOUR TIMES BIGGER than I’d thought, and had at least five other major races and factions, each with their own component of ships, weapons, and other crazy things.

    What a great series of games.

    • unimural says:

      EV: Nova was also released on windows, and it’s a great port. No idea if it’s compatible with Vista/7 though. And it does cost $30. EV was a great series, and Nova in many ways was the finest game out of the box. The multiple plot lines give it a great deal of replayability. Too bad Ambrosia only does casual games these days.

      http://www.ambrosiasw.com/games/evn/

      Also, trade is something that I do kind of wish SPAZ had, even though the devs have clearly focused on the action side of things. Still, I’m quite loving SPAZ, even if Quinns is right.

    • Thants says:

      Oh man, Ambrosia Software was the best! For what it’s worth, I thought EV Override was the best one. Nova’s graphics are much better, but it just felt a bit too linear to me. Oh and I see they’re selling EV: Nova for $30, because they’re crazy. And the original EV is $20, despite being 15 years old and only running on Mac OS 9.

      Man, their new games page makes me sad though. Solitaire, Mahjong, and Sudoku as far as the eye can see.

    • Tacroy says:

      The neat thing about Escape Velocity: Nova is that its capabilities are a superset of the previous two games, so you can download plugins that literally turn EV:N into EV and EV: Override. It’s been a while, but IIRC both plugins work on Windows too.

    • Qeyleb says:

      Man, Escape Velocity was awesome, but I’m disappointed to see the prices are still stupid, especially now that you have to go digging through their archives to even FIND a price. The first two (and Ares, also by Ambrosia) were the only reasons I was envious of a Mac-owning friend. I rejoiced so much when Nova came out for Windows. That was long ago… I bought it and it was worth the price back then… but I’d probably buy copies for at least 5 friends if the price was something reasonable (nowdays) like $10.

      SPAZ feels like a cross between Escape Velocity and Starscape, but not nearly as good as that sounds. Still, it scratches an itch I’ve had for quite a while, and I will watch their beta with interest.

  26. Balm says:

    Looks like Star Wolves only in 2D and with less of everything.

  27. Tei says:

    Theres a patch!.

    Judging by the patchlist, it fixes some of the most grindy things in the game.

  28. Dawngreeter says:

    I have learned this a long time ago – I am no longer an “old school gamer”. For the longest time I thought I was one. I acted like one. I talked like one. I reveled in my moral superiority in the face of all the newness of gaming, as one does.

    I can play games that look like shit because back when they looked like shit they had soul, man. Beauty is only graphics card-deep but gameplay is eternal. I spent more time playing games than many professionals have spent doing whatever it is they are professional at. You want to talk to me about how difficult and exhausting your basketball practices were, back when you were 16? I was stuck doing a single goddamn puzzle in Eye of Beholder longer than you played your goddamn basket of balls in a week. I’ve spent more time playing the original Civilization than you spent studying in a semester. And I did all that as a kid who could barely comprehend bits and scraps of English. I’ve got “the shit” and I can “bring it” is what I’m saying.

    Except I don’t and I can’t. It’s been years since I’ve bothered with any of that. In fact, I can’t be bother to be bothered with any of that. And for this reason I won’t be playing SPAZ. Because the times have moved on and as crushing as it might’ve been for my sense of gaming superiority, I am no longer old school. I don’t think being old school is a good thing. Being inspired by old school is awesome, of course. But I no longer have days upon days to waste on unpredictable progression curves which do not respect that an hour I spent playing the game wasn’t just lying around waiting to be filled. It was won in a bloody brawl with all the daily chores and obligations, rusty hatchet in hand. I don’t win those so often, these days.

  29. mipearson says:

    Spent all of last night playing this at home after a really shitty day. That’s $15 well spent right there.

    This would be an excellent lunchbreak game … WTB OS X version!