Live Free Play Hard: Mavis Beacon Teaches the Primordial Chaos Beyond the Veil of Sanity

By Porpentine on August 18th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

Falling from the sky simulator. “Use your sword to kill mofos”. Girl-fishes.

 

 

Sealed & Secure by Rhys Davies

An idyllic look at small town postal delivery. This is about the little things in life: motorscootering down the dirt roads of Lawrence, BC, developing an appreciation of rural existence, and getting to know your neighbors.

Sealed & Secure establishes a routine–wake up, cook breakfast, ride around–methodical but never annoying. The sounds are satisfying (the thunk of mail delivery, the tick tick bubble of setting water to boil), and the art is lovely. I especially like the tongue’s licking animation, it reminds me of an icon for some old point and click adventure.

The everyday nature of your job is used as a device for learning about your fellow townsfolk, seeing how the town changes over time, and watching relationships unfold. A tender story about the connections between human beings.

Destroy / Wait by Pierre Chevalier

Destroy / Wait is an interactive poem structured along a single elegant mechanic that you’ll never guess in your wildest dreams–destroy or wait.

You have the seed of a word. Cities, for instance. If you wait, the city grows. But in the end, nothing can escape entropy. Growth requires patience, but if everything does someday, was it worth it? I say yes. The worth of something is in the living. Nothing lasts forever and that’s okay. We idealize permanence, seeking to prolong the initial pleasure, but the best way to destroy love is to cling to it.

I can’t read French but I’m assuming, as the author says, that the original version is best. This is good too, and I found the language affecting.

The Sea is Another Story by Ruth Jenkins

The Sea is Another Story is about girl-fishes, ashamed of their scales and the language they speak, which some call “useful only for directions, sourcing food, theft”, while others say it “only really comes alive in song”, and about the story of a mother to her daughter, and about the pain and longing of assimilation.

This flows along multiple paths. If asked, I could not say what those paths were. They were loose, enveloping, and did not easily reveal their borders. Across several plays I read a composite story: The sea, women, land vs. water, shapeshifting, relationships with other women. I love how hypertext can give angles and facets to sentences, three-dimensional stories to rotate in your hands like puzzle cubes.

The sea is another story, and another story, and another story.

Death from a 1000ft fall by LeSam

You’re falling 1000 feet. To survive, you’ll have to tweak factors like your position, using/combining objects, and landing zone. Landing in a swimming pool is probably better than landing on a house, for instance.

From what I’ve gathered, since you’re gaining speed the whole time, the early stages are best for planning and the later stages are where you’ll want to do the actual slowing down.

Your fall is illustrated by more than 500 drawings and enhanced by plenty of randomized elements, like the incredibly useful objects you’re carrying (anvil…flying squirrel…marshmallows), and the inventive intros.

 

SHAMBLES by Notch

Zombie survival FPS based around a few simple elements:

Civilians drop health. Soldiers drop weapons. Zombies drop points. Yes, you will have to murder innocent people for their precious health packs.

This drop-based system, along with the old-school fixed angle and dark streets and relentless zombie mobs keeps things tense and frantic.

My last game ended with a score of 55.

 

 

Cole Slaw by DBuck-Eye

The storyline, as far as I’ve gathered, is that you blew up the winners of a race with a bomb so you could steal the trophy, which is a golden sword, then someone called Jaromir Jogger kicks you in the balls, and you have to chase after him and get your revenge, slashing and dodging through the spiders and cyclists and golfers that get in your way, and the announcer deftly switches from narrating a race to narrating…all of that.

To catch Jaromir you’ll need to build up combos (killing people without getting knocked down in between) which makes power-ups drop, my favorite of which is the Horse, which makes you go fast and blow up everything you touch.

You can stab your sword, throw it, or raise it up high for a killing blow (if you time this last move just right, you can destroy golf carts and reflect rockets).

Every time you get knocked down, you have a chance of breaking your pelvis and losing the game. I like how specific that is. My precious pelvis. I also like that health isn’t a number, it’s this chancy binary thing that combines one hit kills with having a fighting chance. The whole game has this delightfully idiosyncratic feel.

 

Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing by Holy Wow Studios

Remember back in the 90’s when typing games were primed to be as popular as RTS, FPS, or other genres with three letter acronyms? Was Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing the Doom of typing games? is Mavis Beacon a strong female character? Why didn’t it take off?

Your typical shooter begrudgingly hands over a meager WASD, Spacebar, and a couple other letters lucky to escape the breadline (looking at you, “E” and “R” (To be honest, I don’t want a Use key, I just want a game with the moral fortitude to replace the Use key with a series of elaborate Rube Goldbergesque reactions to your bullets. I want to open doors and make toast with my gun. I want to perform delicate hacking operations with my gun. I want to have thoughtful conversations that lead to mutual understanding and nuanced character development, with my gun.))

Typing games, on the other hand, say: let’s make this about the whole alphabet. Let’s have a party.

Sure, there was Typing of the Dead, which merged killing zombies with typing in a way we’d never seen before, and featured innovations like “A player who types out the entire credits is rewarded with a dancing zombie that breaks out from a test tube.” But what happened since then? Where was our Golden Age?

Maybe Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing, with its robust character creation, riveting storyline, and powerful combos will give us a second shot. Maybe the lead character in the next Bioshock will be Mavis Beacon. I’m ready.

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21 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    Too bad I have enough to play until the day my health drops.

  2. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Postmortem was released.
    More of an interactive narrative than a game, or something. But it’s interesting to an extent. (and free)
    http://postmortemgame.com/download/

  3. Nim says:

    From a 1000 ft drop, isn’t landing in a swimming pool pretty much the same as landing on solid concrete?

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Depending on speed, yes. Not sure what the limit on speed or terminal velocity is for either surviving or dropping at 1000f though…

      • elevown says:

        Terminal velocity – in a normal skydive position is like 120mph – slower than he is going in that screenhot – and reached in 10 -20 sec – and yes a water landing wouldnt help- i think thats fatal from like as little as 100m or so and at slower speeds – unless you land just right – and the water is deep.

        • HothMonster says:

          Surface tension is too great. At that height it might as well be concrete. Doesn’t matter how deep, dead on impact.

          • Syra says:

            If you minimise surface area hitting the water (ie feet first, pencil stance) you might get lucky and only shatter most of your bones. Has to be really deep though.

            Thanks baywatch!

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Rogulikes taught me that bones are overrated.

  4. OrangyTang says:

    Hmm, google is enlightening: http://zidbits.com/2010/12/can-you-survive-a-freefall-without-a-parachute/

    Water landings are best done landing feet-first with legs tight together and arms tight against the front of your body with your hands protecting your groin, while leaning back very slightly. Leaning back helps to reduce forced unnatural movement of the neck and the amount of water that will rush up your nose. Also, contract your buttocks so that water does not rush in and cause severe internal damage.

    Possibly the most painful sounding advice I’ve been given today.

    • GHudston says:

      Thankfully, if I were falling into a body of water from 1000 feet, I wouldn’t need to be reminded that I should contract my buttocks.

  5. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing was entertaining, but for some reason it would only accept tilde/hash as the proper input for apostophes and I could only use my soul guage with the control key. Hardly a massive problem, but it chafes the perfectionist in me.
    Really though, what game can possibly hold a candle to The Typing Of The Dead? The Citizen Kane of video games? Pah, where’s the The Typing Of The Dead of film, eh?
    It was great. And some of the phrases in that game were strange. Very strange.

  6. Baines says:

    The storyline, as far as I’ve gathered, is that you blew up the winners of a race with a bomb so you could steal the trophy,

    Cole Slaw is supposedly a sequel to Feed the Children. Feed the Children is also a foot race game, but one where the other racers are faster than you and you get a gun after your first lap. It becomes increasingly chaotic after that, as you try to stay alive and finish in first place.

    • Porpentine says:

      “and you get a gun after your first lap”

      i’m sold

    • crinkles esq. says:

      It’s also in extremely poor taste, given the recent, horrific bombing at the Boston marathon.

  7. toastie says:

    Shambles really reminds me of an old DOS game called Last Rites.

  8. MarcP says:

    “along with the old-school fixed angle”

    Took me three takes before understanding this meant hip shooting exclusively. Indeed, sad times we live in.

    I played Shambles without killing humans, harvesting their loot after zombies got to them. A bit hypocritical, as I ended up more often than not doing a little dance waiting for people to drop, but hey. No human blood on my hands!

    • Mad Hamish says:

      I thought it meant fixed like Doom, where you can’t look up or down. I remember first experiencing iron sights in Operation flashpoint and I thought “every game should have this.” Never thought it would happen though.

  9. MacTheGeek says:

    Call of Typing: CAP LOCKS.

  10. brau says:

    Typing games rock! and that one you posted is pretty fun! good find! Now i will reinstall the type of the dead and play that haha

  11. Josh W says:

    That combination of title and image strikes me as the beginning of a wonderful game.