Premature Evaluation: Garbage Day

Keen RPS readers will probably have noticed by now that nearly every Premature Evaluation I’ve written has contained a not-terribly-secret second article in the alt-text, wherein I make a tortuous segue from the subject of the game to some matter of personal fascination to me: ancient phallic statuary, freaky Renaissance paintings, the unluckiest pirate to slap his naked bum in front of a naval officer. That sort of thing. Writing these alt-texts and seeing them being discussed further in the comments, often in much more scholarly detail, has been a true professional highlight for me. So thanks for that. This week, since it’s my last ever alt-text, it’s only right that the subject should be one inspired, not by the game of the main article, but by RPS commenters themselves: after including a glib comment about Oliver Cromwell’s bloody campaign in Ireland in one of my previous captions, one RPS reader suggested that recent research had rather redeemed him - and this (along with Pip Warr’s extensive Cromwell-knowledge) prompted me to make my way through Tom Reilly’s impressive work of investigation “Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy” which seeks to completely overturn the prevailing narrative of Cromwell’s calumny in Ireland.

Each week Marsh Davies descends like a hungry urban gull upon the reeking heap of Early Access, hoping to yank free a tasty treat without choking on a crinkled Space Raiders packet. This week, he’s been stuck in Garbage Day, a game that is nominally about replaying the same looping time period, again and again, until you piece together the mystery and escape your temporal prison. In its current form, however, it’s no more than a colourful but cramped chaos sandbox, in which you can kill and maim cartoonish inhabitants of a highly-smashable town in the knowledge that any consequences will be reset as soon as the clock strikes midnight. But does its eternal present suggest a plan for reaching a less frivolous future?

The traditional telling of Cromwell’s campaign is that he was about the worst thing to happen to Ireland - perhaps even worse than the Potato Famine or Riverdance. Famously, he slaughtered entire towns, man, woman and child, as he and his New Model Army tore up and down the country, leaving only bloodshed, famine and plague in his wake. Yet, this was always a feature of his biography that sat at odds with what little else I knew about him - a man who was otherwise seemingly fastidious in pursuing what he perceived as just, a man who, in many of the ways in which he opposed the power of both a despotic monarchy and corruption in the Church, seemed remarkably modern. His Parliament may have lambasted Christmas as a papist folly, but he also introduced a period of religious tolerance that saw Jews permitted into the country. His behaviour in Ireland was, it seemed, as aberrant as it was abhorrent, but generally accepted as undisputed fact.

According to Google Docs this is my 57th Premature Evaluation and – perhaps you should be sitting down – it’s going to be my last. There, there. If I’ve been able to discern any trend during the time I’ve been reviewing Early Access games, it’s that no one knows what they’re doing. Developers don’t know what they’re selling, customers don’t know what they’re buying, and I often don’t know what I’m reviewing – each week I play two or three games in the hope of finding one which is recognisable, even loosely, as a product against which even the vaguest expectations might be tentatively measured. The rejected games are frequently so amorphous in their unfinished (or, perhaps more accurately, unbegun) state that to review them at all would just be to bellow pointlessly into their cavernous absence of purpose. Sure, the boundaries between bare-bones alpha, fantasist Unity Asset Store piffle and outright scam are porous indeed, but I think most of the time developers of these games just don’t understand what it is reasonable to ask of a customer, what it is ethical to sell or what they need to show in order to convince people that their game can reach the future they have promised.

It’s probably fair to say that, in terms of the English acting like absolute bastards abroad, a category which is not in want of examples, Ireland has built up a pretty good case over the centuries. Cromwell’s campaign led to a programme of resettlement that was devastating to the local population, and there certainly were atrocities at this time perpetrated by the mercenary armies acting under Parliamentary interests. But many of the key facts around Cromwell’s own expedition have been rather distorted by the shifting politics of the centuries following it. For one thing, this was not, as I had always thought, merely an act of English colonial expansion against a native Irish population desperate for independence. It was a messy extension of the English civil war between Parliamentarian and Royalist - that division itself further fractured by nationality and religion. Prior to Cromwell’s arrival, multiple armies had been chewing up the country for the better part of a decade, and few of these factions were interested specifically in Irish independence. The closest parallel to current day Irish nationalist interests was found in the Celtic forces, led by Eoghan Ruadh O’Neill - but, while he, a Catholic, desired a liberated Ireland to ensure his religious freedom, the intricacies of the political situation led him instead to declare allegiance to the English crown, hoping to negotiate better terms under the English monarchy than he would receive from the Puritan Parliament. In doing so he threw in his lot with forces who he would previously have seen as his antagonists - joining the international forces of the Crown to defend Irish towns against the Parliamentarians. This war was by no means a clear-cut battle between separatists and their suppressors.

Garbage Day is therefore not only a frequently all-too-accurate alternate name for this column but paradigmatic of its problem. The central premise is currently entirely absent in any meaningful way from the game; the nuclear power plant accident which has apparently trapped you in time, Groundhog Day-style, is an event entirely confined to the Steam Store description. The power plant itself comprises a handful of empty rooms, and so it is with many of the buildings of this very small town, hemmed by unclimbable mountains. The occupants are similarly vacant, offering only the phrase “Blah blah blah” as they wander aimlessly back and forth. There are no clues to find in the sandbox mode that is currently the entirety of the game, and, moreover, no clue as to how such clues might be inclu(e)ded at a later date. Garbage Day in no way suggests how it will become more than it is, how it will seed its world with interactions that might unlock a complex plot.

This confusing international conglomeration of Irish Catholics and Protestant Royalists were bolstered by Catholic English settlers of several generations past, and Catholics fleeing England in fear of religious persecution. The fear was very well justified, but it would be a mistake to cast the influence of Rome as entirely benign, seeking mere religious tolerance. Rome was keen to recapture England as a Catholic country, militarily if necessary, and its efforts to do so posed a substantial existential threat to both Protestantism and England’s fledgling democracy. In no small way was this threat facilitated by Ireland’s geography, if not always its people: it had acted as a launch pad for the Spanish Armada within living memory, and Ireland’s coastline was busy with pirate vessels sponsored by the Confederacy of Flanders to accost all enemies of the Catholic cause and the English Crown. Its reaving was a substantial operation: by the time of Cromwell’s invasion, Wexford-based pirates now threatened shipping from the Irish sea to the Mediterranean. These were fears which informed such a swift and ruthless effort to subdue Ireland, and they were not unfounded.

This said, nothing about the game suggests it couldn’t meet such expectations, either. It is a fine, frivolous and passingly funny thing, and I’ve enjoyed all the minutes I’ve spent in it, even if I don’t feel compelled to spend many more. There is a naive slapstick to the low poly animations and a simple pleasure in the physics-enabled destruction of this chirpy, cartoon town. There’s a quality to the modelling, to the high-saturated blue-tinted palette, to the infuriatingly chipper music, to the way the moon rises right in the crevice of a mountain pass, which confirms that aesthetic choices have been made – and good ones, too – rather than emerging semi-accidentally from an assortment of Unity Asset Store parts. There are systems too, albeit disconnected from any real function: cash registers and bank vaults can be looted. Donuts can be ordered. Lawmen can be angered – although your wanted status can presently be erased by getting in or out of a car. It’s not the only bug: run over a shotty-toting sheriff and sometimes one of his identical mates will instantly explode in sympathy.

There were more venal interests, too, at play - albeit informed by a degree of necessity; Ireland’s land was needed to pay Parliament’s long-serving armies. And it was undoubtedly a bloody conflict that had tragic consequences for the country. There had been grotesque massacres on every side, although, confusingly, many of the key figures responsible - indeed, entire factions - switched allegiances, making it even harder to keep track of the moral high ground. But if Cromwell’s contribution to this war was decisive and ruthless it was also, according to Tom Reilly’s book, scrupulously fair - and entirely within the rules of war as they were defined at the time. Much of the supposed evidence for the massacre of civilians, he asserts, emerges only after Cromwell’s death, reported by people who were not eye-witnesses and were perhaps prone to embellish their tales with details more pleasing to the contemporary powers. To get a sense of the new politics to which these narratives appealed, it is worth remembering that the English monarchy had since been reinstated and Cromwell’s dead body exhumed and beheaded. It was not a good time to be a Cromwellian. So, too, do the reports of a bloodthirsty Englishman appeal to the later developing interests of Irish nationalism. The vagaries of politics in both England and Ireland have uniquely suppressed any appetite to debunk the claims of Cromwell’s cruelty.

Waking at 7am, my first instinct is to trash my house, slinging its unanchored physics objects about and seeing what breaks. The game is a little inconsistent here: glass shatters and wooden doors can be obliterated, but a basketball will survive a point-blank shotgun blast. People don’t, though. Bits of them splurt off and roll about independently. Disappointingly, feeding them into a woodchipper produces no particular interaction. In fact, I think I’ve pretty much covered all the game’s interactions over this and the last paragraph. An array of weaponry sits in front of your house in the sandbox mode, and it does largely what you might expect. Melee weapons elicit an illicit giggle, but since cops will shoot you on sight after any act of violence, you might as well take a gun to even things up. As yet, climbing over the counter of a shop and emptying the register does not count as an infraction, and the citizens are remarkably tolerant of wanton property damage, too.

However, the forensic detail of Reilly’s book, with its wealth of contemporary sources, makes a pretty devastating case against this prevailing narrative. Reilly makes plain that not only are most of the sources claiming civilian massacres untrustworthy in the extreme, but he scours every contemporary account and primary source and finds barely anything to corroborate stories of civilian death. Even Cromwell’s enemies report no such atrocities in the immediate aftermath of Cromwell’s various successful sieges - and they would have every reason to propagate this narrative. In some cases, Reilly discovers that those who were later reported to have died at Parliamentary hands somehow live on in the minutes of local council meetings for years afterwards. Not that Cromwell was exactly soft - in the first instance of a siege, he demands surrender and makes it clear he will offer no quarter if his terms are rejected. And they are rejected, the walls fall beneath Cromwell’s cannon and the besieged forces are not spared, but slaughtered almost to a man. This may not have been against the rules of warfare at the time, but it is nonetheless shocking. Yet shock was its purpose. Cromwell knew Parliament could not long afford a war, and to that end he hoped a decisive and merciless rout would break the spirit of his foe, hasten the conflict’s close and prevent, as he frequently liked to say, “a further effusion of blood”.

After a half an hour, I feel like I have exhausted most of the entertainment to be had ploughing through picket fences and gunning down donut retailers, and so I seek a way out. A mountain pass leads out into desert. Cacti disassemble most satisfactorily, I discover, though my car handles the terrain poorly, slipping, sliding and sometimes snagging on a vertex and flipping end-over-end. I make my way towards a lighthouse which I can see peeking over the dunes, but my car spasms itself into the water of the bay instead. Luckily it appears impossible to drown, and I am able to clamber slowly up a murky polygonal shelf to the surface. Dusk is setting now – I have scant few minutes of real time to reach the lighthouse before the day resets. I clamber up and around, but there is no way in.

Furthermore, Cromwell - in this communication as in later ones - also makes plain that no civilians were to be harmed, nor their property ransacked, so long as they did not take up arms against him. There’s every reason to believe he was true to his word: only days before his first supposed massacre, Cromwell had hung a number of his own soldiers who had stolen a chicken from a local woman. He was quite clear in his declarations to his own highly-disciplined forces that the native populace was not to be molested, under pain of death, but instead generously compensated for whatever intrusion the New Model Army made upon them. As the campaign drew to a close, and victory became more certain, Cromwell proved lenient in both his terms of surrender and his offering of quarter. In some instances, he shows tremendous patience. Reading his letters is a delight - the exchange between Cromwell and the governor of Wexford is a masterclass in polite menace and dry wit. The governor, playing for time and overplaying his hand, asks for exceedingly unlikely terms - Cromwell is marvellously withering, dismissing the demand that all hostility end while negotiations are laboriously spun out: “I consider that your houses are better than our tents, so I shall not consent to that”. But Cromwell nonetheless does allow the governor many further chances, presumably again being reluctant to cause a further “effusion of blood”. After receiving an exasperating letter in which the governor relates an excuse for his various delays, Cromwell replies: “Sir, You might have spared your trouble in the account you gave me [...] These are your own concernments, and it behoves you to improve them.”

Before I started doing this column, the excellent Chris Livingstone used to walk RPS’s Early Access beat, writing under the title “The Lighthouse Customer”. It was a phrase that I hadn’t heard before and I had to get Graham to explain it to me: like the canary in the coal mine, a lighthouse customer might warn others of dangers ahead. It seems fitting that, for my last review – of a game which is typical of Early Access in its embryonic formlessness and unknowable destiny – I discover the lighthouse doesn’t even have a door.

Garbage Day is available from Steam for £11, which is quite a lot for something this thin. I played version with the Build ID 940948 on 22/01/2016.

Though Cromwell was amenable to surrender, the situation at Wexford got out of control. It seems a Royalist commander of the town’s external fort decided to surrender unexpectedly, and unbeknownst to Cromwell, who at the time was writing yet another letter to the governor. Once the fort’s cannon were turned upon the town wall, the defenders abandoned their positions, and the Parliamentary forces - not waiting for Cromwell’s command, seized the advantage and began to storm the town. The result was the demolition of many of the buildings - which Cromwell seems to regret only because he’d wanted to capture it intact - and the drowning of many of those alarmed defenders who tried to flee by boat, piling on until the vessels capsized. This, of all the sieges described in Tom Reilly’s book, looks to be the one in which civilian deaths were most likely to have occurred, albeit without premeditation and against the explicit instruction of Cromwell himself. Nonetheless, Reilly maintains that most if not all townsfolk left in the town at this stage were likely to have been armed and prepared to fight; the commander of the Royalist forces had long since issued an instruction to evacuate all people non-essential to the town’s defence. And again, no contemporary sources describe civilian deaths - even though a larger number of defending soldiers were this time spared and so would have had the chance to pass on such accounts of atrocity.

Thanks for reading the column over the last year and a bit! You all look very nice today.

None of this makes Cromwell an angel, but Reilly’s book convincingly acquits him of being a devil - and, in the context of his times, makes him out to be a better man than most. I find Reilly’s investigation fascinating, not just because of the detail it brings to Cromwell’s remarkable life, but because it demonstrates how entirely the lens of history can be distorted, how regimes will dig up the past and mutilate it for the purposes of their present convenience. It might make you wonder what other dearly held beliefs are also waiting to be reappraised and overturned. Though, given the vast knowledge RPS commenters have shown in response to these alt-texts, it’s likely you already have a suggestion or two...

52 Comments

  1. int says:

    link to youtube.com

    So sorry. I just had to.

    • anHorse says:

      It’s in the game, as (probably stolen) audio

      Is Marsh leaving RPS or is it just this series that’s coming to a close? It’s been a pleasure to read either way, even though a lot of the games featured have been rubbish in one way or another

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    Spottswoode says:

    Thanks for this series Marsh, it’s been absolutely brilliant.

    Hope this is just the end of the Premature Evaluation though, and not your writing on RPS.

  3. heretic says:

    Thanks Marsh for a great series, have to admit I did skim over the game and paid more attention to the alt-text more than once.

    Might be worth another column, take a game and expand on the historical perspective! I’d read that, I would think others might too :)

    Again, thanks!

    • IonTichy says:

      ….
      It’s only now that I realized that there is an alt-text…

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    phuzz says:

    Aww, no more Marsh :(
    Who among the hive-mind will wear the crown of alt-text now?

    I never studied that part of history (the Civil War, who needs to know about that?) but I had always wondered why Cromwell seemed to be so demonised for what he did in Ireland, but generally well spoke of in England (except amongst Royalists/Catholics).
    Perhaps bad press against Cromwell in England was disputed more, whereas him being known as a killer of the Irish might not have been seen as particularly negative and so not disputed?

  5. Boronian says:

    Thanks for your articles, Marsh! I am not really interested in Early Access games but I always loved your alt-texts and came only for reading them!

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Yeah, me too. I couldn’t care less about all the Early Access games out there these days, considering my backlog, but I’ve always got time to read well-written historical musings. It’s like a warped version of History Channel and that’s exactly what I like.

  6. rexx.sabotage says:

    this one was my favorite.

  7. April March says:

    Your stint has been fruitful and entertaining, Mr Daves. I echo the thoughts that I hope you’ll remain a RPS contributor. It is only too sad I sometimes had to miss your alt-articles because I like saving articles to Pocket, which doesn’t show alt text.

    So, where is the alt-article about a pirate showing their bum to the navy?

  8. Oakreef says:

    How I remember Lowtax and Shmorky playing this. Amazed to see it’s still in development.

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    Bluerps says:

    This was a good column, Mr Davies (including the alt-texts, of course). I enjoyed reading it, thanks for writing it!

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    Serrit says:

    Aye thoroughly enjoyed these columns over the past year or so. Entertaining and insightful thoughts on the games themselves, Early Access in general, and of course the fascinating alt-text essays! *Raises a glass* thanks Marsh!

  11. Dorga says:

    :(

  12. JB says:

    So long, Marsh, and thanks for all the alt-texts!

    (Seriously though, I hope you’re still going to be writing for the site. I won’t hugely miss Premature Evaluation, but I would miss your work)

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    Ridiculous Human says:

    Between this series and Fail Forward, Marsh has been my favourite RPS contributor for the last while – hope he’s sticking around!

  14. amateurviking says:

    Aww. These were the tops.

  15. Dingbatwhirr says:

    I’m very sad to hear that. I’ve loved your erudite delves into obscure areas of history or art. Oh and apparently you also wrote some words about games too… (I’m kidding – they were all excellent words.) Thank you for taking the time to write such an engaging and unfailingly interesting column.

    As an act of remembrance, I think I’ll work my way through the Premature Evaluation tag over the next few days. Exams? What exams…?

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    picniclightning says:

    Thanks for the good reads, Marsh! Always looked forward to reading this column.

  17. celticdr says:

    Good luck Sir Marsh in your future endeavours… When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.*

    *Sorry whenever I think of your name ‘Marsh’ my mind instantly relates it to ‘swamp’ which becomes an instant Monty Python quote in my mind, hope you don’t mind.

  18. Pantalaimon says:

    Thanks, Marsh! Hope you’ll stick around in other forms.

    On Garbage Day, as said, it’s one of those games that is frustrating in showing signs of the eventual good game it might be, without actually being that game. I really hope that they nail the concept since it’s something that I’ve always thought that would be incredible in game form if it offered actual freedom to play around within the storylines set out by popular films like ‘Groundhog Day’ and ’12:01′.

    Devs would do well to hold off on pushing their babies out into the world too soon. A strong force to resist, but entirely necessary if their game is going to be received in the manner that they really want (ie, as an actual game, and as a game that’s worth playing with for longer than 20 minutes).

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    Skabooga says:

    Thanks for all the great words, Marsh – those of the regular variety and those magically stuck in pictures.

  20. InfamousPotato says:

    It has been absolutely delightful.

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    Hodge says:

    All the best, Marsh.

  22. SpiceTheCat says:

    Oh, that’s a shame, but thank you for one of RPS’s best series. I don’t think I remember all 57 so at least I can archive binge PE for a bit. Can we look forward to another Fail Forward?

  23. Tom Camfield says:

    I really liked this column (so much so that I reset my password and cycled through browsers to post this!), thanks Marsh.

    Where can I find more words by Marsh Davies?

    • Ross Angus says:

      I’d suggest listening to The Crate and Crowbar: Marsh is usually there, along with Our Graham and Tom “Gunpoint” Francis.

      • SpiceTheCat says:

        I’ve tried listening to The Crate & Crowbar, but given up because the sound quality is generally atrocious, and it’s especially insufferable through headphones. They need to spend some money on a better microphone and find somewhere that doesn’t echo; Daft Souls and Shut Up & Sit Down managed it, so maybe TC&C could ask The Boy Quinns and Matt Lees for a few pointers.

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          Graham Smith says:

          We bought four new microphones and pop shields at the end of last year. It’s used on every episode now, except when we need to move from our regular recording place.

          • SpiceTheCat says:

            Really? Excellent, my apologies. To Downcast then, to reenable the subscription and catch up with whichever pop-free and anechoic podcasts I’ve missed.

          • iainl says:

            Cool – I’ll give the C&C another go, then. Though my problem wasn’t clarity but a high-pitched buzz that snuck through filters.

          • SpiceTheCat says:

            Well, that’s a lot clearer. :)

            Also the show notes got much better at the end of October, I see. Cool. Archive binge ahoy.

  24. Tetrode says:

    Been lurking RPS for a few years now but I had to finally register just to say thanks for the articles Marsh, they’ve been really great. The alt-text has been consistently awesome to read and it’s made my mornings at work much better! Sad to see the column go, definitely one of my favourites.

  25. jeeger says:

    Sorry to see you go! Using a strange browser, I never got to see the fabled alt-text, but I really liked the “regular” Premature Evolution.

    There’s all sorts of interesting games coming out, and I’m glad someone was there to wade through the garbage (hem).

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    Phasma Felis says:

    Can the next person to do this sort of thing at RPS keep the name? It’s not scientifically possible for there to be a better Early Access review name than “Premature Evaluation.”

  27. Butts says:

    Well, Mr Davies, I suppose I’ll join in with the crowd thanking you for writing this column. It has been my favorite feature on the site, and something I quite looked forward to on Mondays. Two well-written features at once, as it were, and I’m sad to see it go.

    You’ve not mentioned future plans, but hopefully you’ll stay on at RPS. If not, though it might be bad form to ask, I imagine Premature Evaluation readers would be happy to know where to find your writing in the future…without having to check Twitter(though possibly only I feel that way)?

    Either way, great series, and best of luck with whatever’s next for you.

    • Butts says:

      Oh, and thanks for covering Hardland! It’s the lone game from this series that interested me, and I’ve been looking forward to it since your article.

  28. theapeofnaples says:

    Thank you for your writing here, Marsh. I’ve… actually learnt things from these articles.

  29. edwardoka says:

    Thanks for all the alt-texts, Marsh.

    It’s been an education, particularly the one about the Battle of Tyre. Good luck!

  30. colorlessness says:

    Thanks Marsh, I’ll miss this column; particularly enjoyed how you usually explored some aspect of what being ‘Early Access’ meant in a more general sense than just for the particular game under review.

  31. GWOP says:

    I have really enjoyed your words here, Marsh. Good luck on all future endeavors.

  32. Person of Interest says:

    Thanks for the excellent series of articles, Marsh! I’m eager to read/watch/listen to whatever you’ve got lined up next.

  33. trout says:

    would like to echo the general sentiment; found mr. marsh’s writing to be top-notch; & fail-forward is ace – hope you continue to contribute in the future sir

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    FatOak says:

    I always looked forward to these articles so it’s a shame to see the end of PE and the accompanying alt-texts. At least we can still enjoy Marsh’s talk of games and phalluses on the C&C.

  35. Thurgret says:

    Cheers. I enjoyed this series, and as a consequence of it, spent a surprising amount of time reading up on perhaps lesser-known bits of history. (Also liked the Early Access related writing, but I’ll admit, I was here for the alt-text first.)

  36. Will the wtf says:

    Well I still think your time with this feature was worthwhile, even if it was unsustainable.

    Your writing has really ascended to the best heights of Gillen’s vision of New Games Gonzo Journalism… It probably moved past that here. Its personable, honest, its got that immersive travel journalist of the mind style that captures more of the experience of game. It progresses critical understanding without getting too lost down any one rabbit hole of Theory. Its radically subjective but not frightened of working constructively in that that grey space of shared best accepted truths. I think it does a good job of telling us what we want to know as consumers (participants it might be better called), whoever we are. (A thorny problem, eh).

    I suppose this game was inspired by Twelve Minutes but doesn’t have the programmer chops from the looks of things.

    Once again, really beautiful arrangement of words Mr. Marsh! Bon voyage.

    Enough of my fawning.

  37. richard says:

    I hope it is the writing about early access that you are stepping away from, Marsh, and not the writing of wonderful sentences about games? (or history).

    Since your column started I’ve used it as my example to family and friends of how good games writing can be. Everyone has received a link, and then suffered through repeated “so did you read it?”s and “you did check the alt-text too right?”s.

    Please leave us a note to let us know where and what you’ll be writing next.

    Thanks for all the lovely words and wordplay Marsh.

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    Mungrul says:

    Sad to see you leave Marsh!

    A minor Cromwellian tidbit for you as you leave:
    I’m not entirely sure if it’s based on fact or not, but the folklore in my home town of Berkeley in Gloucestershire is that Berkeley Castle surrendered quite quickly after the New Model Army knocked down one wall.
    The story associated with this claims that Cromwell threatened that if this one wall were ever rebuilt, he would come back and destroy the entire castle.
    The wall remains in rubble to this day, with local superstition believing that Cromwell’s threat extended beyond his death, and that if the wall ever was rebuilt, Cromwell’s ghost would arise and personally destroy the castle.

    As an historical aside, you may also be aware that Berkeley Castle is where Edward II was held prisoner, tortured and killed. The rumoured details of how he died and the reasons for the method of his death are particularly gruesome and indicative of the inherent intolerance of the time.
    However, they did lead to a band choosing for their name the delightful “Edward the Second and the Red Hot Polkas”.

    • Pharoah Nanjulian says:

      I must say that was one of the more unlikely things I would have expected to see in an RPS comment. I think I’ll just go and put on my LP of their album “Polkasteady”!

      Thank you Marsh for reviewing the games that I can never imagine playing (or trying to play). A trying experience I’m sure (perhaps another name for the column in its new guise?)