Some Monday mornings, as I plonk myself down at my desk at 6.50am and load the RSS feed for the Steam Charts, I think to myself: you know what? There are so many other things I'd like to write about today. Anyway, here are the top ten games on Steam from the last week.
Yorkshire Gubbins is a point and click adventure you might have missed. And you shouldn't, because it's completely lovely. Funny, silly, a bit rude, and all delivered with a warm hug. Even the tutorial is extremely funny and shouldn't be missed, no matter how familiar you are with verb-led adventuring. And it's only £4!
9. Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online
Do U Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddnesses Online | 四女神オンライン CYBER DIMENSION NEPTUNE | 四女神ONLINE 幻次元遊戲戰機少女? As the kids used to say.
(Methinks it might be a slow sales week for Steam.)
Anyway, I was replaying The Witness recently, a game I've only ever hated, despite being a rabid puzzler. I was trying to work out why I hated it, to see if it was more than just its deliberate obtuseness. And then I read this from 2016 by Liz Ryerson that explained it to me with words I'd never have had.
"Yet the island can also feel oddly plastic, which places it at odds with the game’s serious tone. Occasional details — like the mawkish, cornball statues of people gesturing plaintively that are strewn over the island — reinforce this dissonance. You are constantly reminded you that you are, in fact, playing a product of the game industry and not the game you might think you’re playing."
Do you know what programme I don't hear enough people talking about? It's Ash Vs Evil Dead. Good gracious, it's great.
Following on from the trilogy (of sorts) of movies, it follows Ashy Slashy into his middle-age, beginning with his working at a hardware store, and then eventual unravelling of the scrap of a life he'd pulled together after he gets high and shows off to a girl by reading from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis once again. Not only is it incredibly funny, extraordinarily gory, and surprisingly frightening, but it seems to exist to confront its own problematic ways, in an endless cycle, that's at once fascinating and dreadful. Also Lucy Lawless is in it and she's utterly badass.
Talking of TV shows, I recently discovered Comedy Bang! Bang! I know, I know, I'm many years late to the already over party, but goodness me what a treat it is to find a show so completely brilliant, and then learn there are 110 episodes of it.
I think I'd not watched it because of the name - it sounds like it's going to be "wacky". Then I'd heard "comedy talk show" and figured it was yet another sincere plug-fest of comedians congratulating each other. I finally clicked on it on Netflix the other day, and discovered that no! This is the spiritual successor to Mr Show With Bob And David! It's bizarre, stream-of-consciousness comedy at its best, with incredible turns from celebrities you wouldn't have thought would be able to run with it (Dane Cook?!), and a surprising amount of murder.
(Everyone says, "Listen to the podcast too!" But I say, "Actually, it's a bit of a disappointment after the TV show, because while they still have the likes of Paul F Tompkins doing great turns, it's also far too sincere, and weirdly Aukerman reveals himself to be as bad an interviewer as he pretends to be on the TV version.)
I recently discovered, via Richard Cobbett, the YouTube works of sceptic Alan Melikdjanian, Captain Disillusion. He's been going for over a decade, presumably ever-increasingly regretting his original decision to wear face paint for the character, debunking viral videos by exposing the special effects and video editing techniques they use. Which doesn't sound too exciting I realise, but he does it with flair, humour, and an awful lot of impressive video FX of his own.
Highlights include explaining how those spectacular basketball shot videos are faked, a splendid takedown (including the many racist connotations) of the so-called Mandela Effect, and some wonderful expert debunking of the Cicret Bracelet.
You know what game I've been playing a lot recently? Er... Animated Puzzles. I'm not sure one is supposed to admit such things, but I keep coming back to its uniquely computer-only options for the ancient art of jigsaw puzzlin'.
There's something really awesome about putting together a moving photograph as a puzzle, working out piece positions because of the rotation of a windmill, as the sails cross through an otherwise blue sky piece. And when I realised the time on the big clock tower puzzle was accurate, I realised this is probably the greatest game of all time.
In Other Waters looks like it could be good. Subnautica plus a text adventure, to create some mad hybrid. It's just under £4k shy of its Kickstarter goal, with three days left, and I quite fancy playing it. It might be rubbish, of course, but it would be convenient if you could all fund it so I can find out. Kthx.
It snowed last week! Every time it snows in the south of the UK - something so rare that there was an eighteen year gap in my lifetime - I, rather obviously, build a snowman. And because of my love for Calvin & Hobbes, I try to make it a grotesque snowman that offends passersby. Since 2009 it's snowed properly a total of four times (which, by the way, is why you should scream in the stupid face of people who moan about the UK's inability to cope when it does - if we spent the money on the infrastructure for something that occurs for one week every three years, it would be idiotic), so I've four of them. The first three are here.
This year I had the added difficulty of a three year old, who was only interested in sticking the arms in, even before I was halfway through the body. Then there was the added inconvenience of not wanting to traumatise him. So my idea - a snowman who'd had a snowball thrown at him so hard it had gone all the way through his tummy and out the other side, was built in a more innocent PG version, before Toby went in and I added the blood.
Oh dear, it turns out I only had eight things I wanted to write about. Ummmmm, Nier is currently half price, and stays that way until the 14th? That's probably the sort of thing that's useful to pop in these spaces, right?
This by Random Rab in 2011 is an incredibly pleasant piece of music.
The Steam Charts are compiled via Steam's internal charts of the highest grossing games on Steam over the previous week.