The RPS Bargain Bucket: Memories

Sometime last week or so, my grandfather died. I went back to the ancestral home, met my estranged father and gave his outrageously young wife a hug. In sitcoms, this would normally be where the honey-glazed sappiness starts. But, well. Real life doesn’t work that way. Sorry for not being around, guys. (I don’t usually like linking to anything outside of my specified work scope but this piece about my granddad and this one about my dad seemed relevant to share. I get to be indulgent sometimes, right?) In the meantime, here are a stack of cheap games. This week’s extremely surprised-looking wombat is from kfix. Yay!

Startopia
$1.49/£0.90/€1.09
Startopia might be old, but it’s certainly not a godless mess like certain other builder games. Mucky Foot’s silly, sci-fi station builder features a vast network of planetary stations and the heavenly bodies they orbit. Also, aliens. Racial animosities and slapstick interactions abound in this childhood fixture. Seriously, derelict space stations are comedic hotbeds, kids. You’ve got to believe me. There’s a reason as to why Startopia is so beloved by the older generation. In any case, the game, which will actually require you to stay on your toes, is currently too cheap to pass up.

Aliens versus Predator Classic 2000
$2.47/£1.49/€1.80
Ignoring how giggle-inducingly retro those Xenomorphs look, this is a good game. Nay, this is an excellent game. Colonial Marines needs to take lessons from this old-timer. While I’m told that the single-player campaign is a pretty sharp experience, my fondest memories of the game consists of going head-to-head in multiplayer. All three species play completely differently, something which can change the dynamics of a match terrifyingly. (P.S: This is a good thing.) If nothing else, this should tide you over until the release of the next Aliens game which is apparently quite awesome.

Max Payne 3 and L.A Noire Complete Bundle
$9.99/£6.03/€7.29
On the off-chance you still haven’t picked up one of these games, why not fix that now? Amazon currently has both games neatly wrapped up in a two-for-one package. Best part? Both are purportedly “complete” editions which means you won’t have to scrounge for spare change if you want extra content with your main campaign. Of the two, I think I’m more in love with L.A Noire if for no other reason than the fact it feels like an evolution of my favorite genre. Sure, it’s a little wonky. Sure, it could have bloody well have made the scenery more interactive but it remains a fascinating dive into the City of Angels. Actually, read Alec’s take on it. He says it better.

Rehearsals and Returns
Free!
Ever since I first wrote about The Cat and the Coup years ago, I’ve been patiently hanging around in anticipation of another game from the people involved. And, well, it finally happened. What would you say if no one was listening? Rehearsals and Returns is a videogame about conversations that will never take place, a curious platformer of sorts that will have you bounding through a world populated by the likes of Genghis Khan and Hillary Clinton.

Also of note

Groupees’ Be Mine Bundle 12 – Pay at least $3.50/£2.11/€2.55
Hey, look! I didn’t forget about Groupees this week. Sang-froid is apparently cool but I’m not entirely sure. Half Minute Hero, on the other hand, does indeed rule.

Avernum: Escape from the Pit – $1.99/£1.20/€1.45
Avernum is a fabulously intricate, old-school RPG that will have you plowing through bountiful talent trees and subterranean passages. (Did that sound dirty to anyone else? Because it sounded a bit dirty to me.)

Sleeping Dogs – $4.99/£3.74/€3.64
You know how they say “let sleeping dogs” like? Well, don’t. If you haven’t picked up Sleeping Dogs just yet, you might be happy to know this sleeper hit is going for 75% off right now.

(P.S: Prices may be inaccurate as I’m writing this in a mad rush while trying to get somewhere I was supposed to be 20 minutes ago. Do feel free to leave corrections, criticism and pictures of your plushies in the comments below.)

60 Comments

  1. BooleanBob says:

    Let sleeping dogs likes this article.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      The FTL soundtrack is on sale for $1 if you’re quick, and the extra tracks from the advanced edition are free: link to benprunty.bandcamp.com

      • Wedge says:

        I got the original in a soundtrack bundle thing, but thanks for letting me know there’s more tracks up for free. Never cared for the game much, but the soundtrack is really quite nice.

  2. MuscleHorse says:

    Seems a bit odd not to mention the rest of the Squenix bundle on GOG, as excellent as Startopia is.

    link to gog.com

    My particular picks are the first two Thief games (will probably never get bumped off my all time favourites list as a) there’s never been quite such an excellent, atmospheric and difficult couple of games with an outstanding, still-going map making community b) nostalgia) and Anachronox, a startlingly weird Western JRPG with fantastic music and is genuinely funny. I also found the story quite moving, though I’m weird like that. I cry at the movies all the time.

    • Jalan says:

      You must’ve been that person weeping while watching Chairman of the Board

  3. melnificent says:

    Forget the games, remember the times you spent with your granddad.

  4. Paul says:

    Sleeping Dogs…finished it twice, including all story DLCs, and I just want more. Where is my nextgen sequel, United Front ?

    • Mittens89 says:

      Sleeping Dogs is fantastic. It’s incredibly rare that this sort of game can hold my attention from start to finish. The combat for me was up there with the Batman: Arkham Whatever games.

      Hated the karaoke though. That was cringeworthy.

      • Prolar Bear says:

        Is karaoke never not cringeworthy?

        • Tams80 says:

          It’s always glorious.

          • President Weasel says:

            I hate and fear karaoke but I loved Sleeping Dogs. Loved it. Better than recent GTAs, for me. You should buy it, hypothetical wavering purchaser who is reading this post; you’d be crazy not to when it’s so cheap.

    • Tams80 says:

      There is no next-gen; we PC here. Well even the new consoles are current gen now.

      Did you use keyboard and mouse or a controller? I’ve found that a controller is pretty good apart from not being able to run and look, which I find really annoying.

      As for a sequel; isn’t ‘triad wars’ or something in the works?

    • defunct says:

      I played through Sleeping Dogs twice, too. I didn’t get all the DLC, though. Just the good stuff that added content, not money. Loved this game so much. I still don’t understand why it wasn’t more popular, and even panned by some players. One guy quipped there weren’t enough stores… And he down rated it because of that. Oh, well. Maybe it’s time for my third playthrough.

  5. Philomelle says:

    Avernum: Escape From The Pit is also 80% off on Steam right now. It’s admittedly a pretty ugly game, but it makes up for that by being a more open world than all the Bethesda games with their real-time shadows and tesselation.

    Shelter and Scratches are 75% off over there. I assume that everyone who wants them, already owns them, but it’s still worth mentioning.

    Finally, I’m very confused why the new StoryBundle isn’t mentioned. It has some amazing video game-related literature on it right now, including some must-reads.

    • Cassandra Khaw says:

      Avernum: Escape from the Pit is on the list there. Also 80% off, though I suppose some people might prefer to buy it straight from Steam.

      Also, thanks for the reminder! I’ll squish that in.

      • President Weasel says:

        Steam will sell me Avernum without my having to pretend to live in the United Ss of A. Sold me, rather. Now I shall go and play it.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          Oh good lord I just spent all night playing Avernum I haven’t slept WHAT HAVE YOU PEOPLE DONE

  6. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Wubbleya Bee Cassandra. Sorry to hear about your loss and the difficult circumstances that you then had to deal with. Nice to see you back in action with some unarmed wombat :) will have to finish reading the article about your dad later, didn’t want people to wonder why i was having An Emotion in the middle of the cafe! Sending good vibes

  7. cai says:

    Something broke in the html for the Rehearsals and Returns link. The url is:

    link to rehearsalsandreturns.peterbrinson.com

  8. gnuif says:

    The link to Rehearsals and Returns is missing/broken. So there.

  9. Bull0 says:

    Welcome back, sorry about your grandpa.

    That Max Payne & LA Noire deal is the kind of crazy bargain that only ever seems to happen when everybody, everywhere already owns the games. =( might be worth it for the DLC? …but probably not?

  10. Sinomatic says:

    Really sorry to hear about your loss Cassandra. And yes, you do get to be indulgent. After reading those two pieces, I can only imagine how strange – and probably strained – this last week or so has been. Hope you’re as well as you can be right now.

    • Prolar Bear says:

      Agreed. Plus, writing a column about cheap games mustn’t be the easiest thing to do after such emotional turmoil. Welcome back!

  11. AngelTear says:

    I send you all my hugs Cassandra. <3

    I would also like to send you a pic of my newly acquired siamese cat plushie, in a bucket, but all the pictures I take (from a phone that is 8 year old at best) are incredibly granulated, to the point that it would be embarrassing to send them, and the cuteness would be ruined D:

    • mr.black says:

      No. It. Wouldn’t.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      I dunno. GranuloCat might be quite adorable. Like a new rule of cute

    • Cassandra Khaw says:

      SEND ALL THE PLUSHIES

      • AngelTear says:

        My other comment is in moderation because of too many links, and last time that happened my comment never appeared, so, this is a workaround (it’s not shameless advertising, I don’t even use twitter)

        link to twitter.com

        I’ll let you people judge.
        It’s supposed to have a devious smile, like “I’ve done something naughty and you still don’t know it and I’m almost gonna burst out laughing I can’t wait for you to find out”, but you can’t really tell can you? >.<
        (These are the best 6 out of almost 30 pictures I took…)

        p.s.: @CookPassBabtridge & all the other usuals, or anyone with a Ph.D in Plushification, she is only a week old, so suggestion for a name are welcome.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Hmm well.. she looks really annoyed, but then pure breeds are often a bit imperious. I guess it will need calling something like Sheba or Cleopatra. Cleopatra, Shredder of Curtains.

  12. mr.black says:

    Sorry to hear/read about your hard family life and the death in family. If I could, I’d acquire all of the plushies to cheer you up! Don’t lose rhythm, keep on dancing!

  13. OJ287 says:

    buy Sleeping Dogs coz it’s good.

  14. trjp says:

    Startopia – if nothing else – gives you a chance to listen again to the dulcet tones of William Franklyn

    He took over the job of ‘The Guide’ for Hitch Hiker’s after the death of Peter Jones and he was excellent.

    Sadly he’s no longer with us – we’re running out of guides!!

  15. Premium User Badge

    kfix says:

    Yay! His name is Sam, by the way, and my niece loves him. Hope he helped.

  16. Blackcompany says:

    Sorry for your loss Cassandra. Thanks for coming back so soon. That must have been tough. And thanks for the Wombat. Saturday morning cuteness never hurts!

  17. Ahkey says:

    Thanks for sharing those two articles Cassandra, in addition to the weekly.

    I don’t think losing someone ever gets any easier. I wonder if it ever should. I really appreciated (enjoyed doesn’t seem entirely appropriate a phrase) the piece on memorialization and would be very interested in seeing a further or expanded article on the same topic, on RPS or elsewhere. Death in fiction is so often exploited for shock value that it’s refreshing to see any exploration of the subject beyond the most superficial or melodramatic.

    (Spoilers for Two Brothers, Mass Effect 2/3, Half Life 2 Episode 2, Bioshock Infinite and Halo: Reach)

    Two Brothers strikes me as a recent example. While perhaps more overtly a tale of sacrifice than of loss, its committal to a dual input system right up until the final chapter has a spectacular payoff when it likens the loss of a brother to the physical loss of a limb, of half the control interface. What’s barely possible together becomes unthinkable alone.

    Mass Effect 2’s Normandy Crash Site? I can’t decide whether the dog tag collection is a necessary mechanism or a needless gameification (if there is such a thing within an AAA release) of an introspective, interactive memorial. I found this more moving than any of the series’ heroic death scenes for the simple fact that the Normany crew don’t sacrifice themselves for anything in particular, but die needlessly in a surprise attack.

    I’m sure there’s also something to be said for HL2’s Eli Vance. It’s so long ago now that most of the details of the game faded from memory, but that final scene in EP2 remains standout. All the more so when you consider that Valve have remained unwilling, or unable, to move their story on beyond that point. Eli dies a hero of the Resistance, but there’s nothing particularly heroic about the method of his passing.

    Death is rarely so grandiose as Mordin’s sacrifice in ME3 to save the Krogan, Noble Six’s final stand in Halo Reach, or Booker’s drowning in Bioshock Infinite to prevent the birth of Comstock. Far more often it is pointless, needless, embarrassing, unheroic, but no less deserving of remembrance and celebration of the life that came before it.

    • Prolar Bear says:

      Look, your comment is fairly intelligent and insightful.

      But spoiler tags please, you just spoiled the endings for two games I’m currently playing.

  18. thedosbox says:

    {{Cass}}

    Also, I was moved about your writing on GTA V and the parallels with your dad:

    link to usgamer.net

  19. Universal Quitter says:

    And I thought I had a stressful week, living next to Fort Hood during a shooting. Again.

    Sorry (in the empathetic sense) about your Grandpa. I lost both grandparents a couple years back, and it absolutely sucks. Self-indulge your heart out.

    This always makes me feel better when I start thinking about dead family and friends: link to youtube.com

  20. drewski says:

    Wombats are fnargling awesome.

  21. Randomer says:

    Cassandra, the story about your father reminded me of this beautiful song by the Dresden Dolls:

  22. Arona Daal says:

    I had to learn some Time ago that Avp Classic 2000 comes in 2 Versions.
    With or without working Multiplayer.
    As the linked Webpage avoids mentioning Multiplayer,i assume its the Singleplayer only Version.
    Public Multiplayer is dead anyway,but if anyone wants to play it with Buddies,the Steam version still has working MP.

  23. Lemming says:

    I can see I’m going to have to buy a small bucket to send in some new plushie pictures. That one looks fairly ropey! I have some classics. Cassandra, are there any preferences for image size?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I imagine the best thing is to crop the image to the size of the images on any given RPS article, or at least ensure that it looks good when scaled/cropped to that format.

    • Cassandra Khaw says:

      No! :D Nothing overly weird-looking aka phallic elephants (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) and if you could have it adjusted to 640 pixels in width, I’ll love you forever.

  24. kalirion says:

    Re: Groupees Bemine 12

    “at least $3.50” is for the full bundle. It’s $1 min for the base bundle, which does still include Sang-Froid plus a ton of other stuff including all the unlocked Bonuses.

    $1+ tier:
    Sang-Froid – Tales of Werewolves
    BeatBlasters III
    Gun Metal
    Ilamentia
    A New Beginning – Final Cut
    Luminosity
    Brave Wave Productions – World 1-2 + Encore (music)
    Chuck G. & The Napkins (music)
    matryoshka Collection (music)

    $3.50+ tier:
    Half Minute Hero
    Echo of the Wilds
    Epigenesis
    A-Train 8
    and some Mystery Game on Steam which will be revealed at some point hopefully soon

  25. Colonel J says:

    Indie Gala store has Europa Univeralis IV and all DLC packs for 75% off, including Conquest of Paradise. $9.89 for base game, plus VAT added at checkout in the EU. EUIV has been a bit cheaper than that (I got it from GameFly) but first time I’ve all the DLC on sale at 75% too.
    link to store.indiegala.com

    • Leb says:

      Thanks for linking this! Was disappointed the latest steam sale only had the american dream and pre order pack on sale

      EDIT: Drast! Conquest of Paradise is “out of stock”

  26. xaphoo says:

    Thanks for the piece about your dad. My dad did a similarly enraging thing about a year ago and I’ve cut him out in the same way and with the same complicated feelings. Now I, too, may be at the brink of my own divorce, and it’s harder without a dad who knows how to stay true. Even as an adult you need someone to look up to.