It’s been a rough year for me in many ways, but nevertheless, I have managed to complete my most ambitious Holiday Card yet. So, without further ado, I would like to present the 2019 Holiday Card: In the Back: A Retail Adventure! This game ended up being so ambitious that, due to its size, it is only available via itch.io.
Another thing that’s special about In the Back is that it is my first, and so far only, playable Holiday Card which is actually holiday themed. In this first-person exploration game, you play a seasonal employee at a big-box store who is asked to check “in the back” for a hot new video game which is nowhere to be found on the shelves. If that doesn’t sound particularly exciting, be aware that “the back” of this store is unlike any you’ve seen before.
This year’s engine is GameGuru. Unfortunately, it is the most buggy, unreliable, and poorly-designed game engine that I’ve used thus far, and thus I can’t recommend it at all. I may write a review for it on Steam later on, but at any rate, if you’re interested in an engine to create an FPS, walking simulator, or similar game, avoid this one. Also, moreso than usual, please keep me abreast of any significant bugs you may run into.
One final note: I’ve already made up my mind that there will be no Holiday Card in 2020. The coming year will be a busy one for me, and aside from that, I just needed a little break.
Please enjoy this year’s Holiday Card, and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!
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“It’s a lovely day in the village, and you are a horrible goose.” This delightful bit of ad copy aptly describes Untitled Goose Game, which came out this past Friday on the Switch and at the Epic Games Store. I picked up the Switch version, having been charmed by it the past couple of PAXes, and was not disappointed. It’s a wholesome and funny nugget of gaming goodness suitable for just about anyone.
As the horrible goose mentioned in the game’s description, I annoyed an assortment of humans in a small town, crossing off to-do list entries along the way. Tasks include stealing items and bringing them to various places; inconveniencing people by trapping them, making them fall, getting them wet, and so on; and just generally being a nuisance. Figuring out how to do some of these things can take a bit of thinking and experimenting, but there are no time limits or other significant obstacles, so progressing through the game is a reasonably leisurely affair. The graphics are simple, flat designs, albeit very well animated ones, and the piano soundtrack, which alters depending on the action on-screen, fits this look perfectly. It’s a short game, but one that’s very well paced and realized, and it can be as much fun to watch as it is to play.
Untitled Goose Game has some bonus objectives after the credits roll, and its these goals which I’m currently working through at the moment. I’m also continuing on with Pandora’s Tower on the Wii and Shadow Warrior on PC, both of which I started over a week ago.
I think it was in Uwajimaya in Seattle’s International District the day before PAX West that I heard, for the first time ever, the original Village People version of “Go West”. It was pretty ironic, considering that earlier this year, we had finished Going West and moved back east, and this Seattle trip was our first return to PST Land since then. We were there, as we had been during the past several Labor Day Weekends, for PAX West (formerly PAX Prime), this time with the added bonus of jetlag.
Panic’s upcoming experimental handheld, the Playdate, was one of the few wholly new things at the show.
This was our eighth West Coast PAX, and our ninth overall, and as usual, it was interesting to see the current state of video gaming reflected in convention form. In the Expo Hall, there was the usual spread of booths from companies both big and small, albeit with two notable absences. Bethesda is one of the more reliable presences at PAX West, but they weren’t on the show floor this year; as if to make up for it, their big fall release, DOOM Eternal, was present at the Google Stadia booth. More startling, however, was the lack of a booth for Microsoft, headquartered in nearby Redmond. While in past years, they could typically be found adjacent to Sony’s plush PlayStation booth, there was no official presence from either Xbox or Microsoft Game Studios.
If you thought I was done with this year’s special side projects after P.S. Triple Classic and the FFVII theatrical commercial uploads, you would be wrong! Today, I’ve completed and uploaded something I’ve been wanting to make for a little while now: DaisyDOOM, a mod for The Ultimate Doom.
DaisyDOOM is set in an alternate universe where Doom‘s protagonist is not Doomguy, but his pet rabbit Daisy. Somehow she is on Mars while Doomguy is on Earth, and the UAC’s scientists have given her a cyborg marine body just in time for the invaders from Hell to show up. In addition to new status portraits and story content, DaisyDOOM features rabbit-friendly health pickups, some new sound effects, and more!
Like my other projects, DaisyDOOM is available both here and via itch.io; one additional download location may be forthcoming. A source port such as GZDoom, along with a valid copy of Doom itself (preferably The Ultimate Doom), is required.
For those who might’ve missed it, P.S. Triple Classic wrapped up a little over a week ago, with a fanart farewell post. You can now read the entire official English-language run of P.S. Triple online, along with commentary and some articles related to this comic. I’m still considering my options for the abandonware iOS apps, but I will try and make them available somehow, probably in the near future.
As for what else has been going on, I’ve been hard at work on the next 10th anniversary project, which will hopefully launch soon. I’ve also been playing a bunch of games, so let’s dive into those.
In my heyday of collecting materials and merchandise related to Final Fantasy VII, I amassed anything that interested me, from action figures to demo disks, and including collector’s favorites like “the SIGGRAPH Disk”, “the Versus Guide”, and the limited-edition version of the soundtrack. Although I’ve since slowed down considerably, and even sold off some pieces, I still maintain said collection, which includes a subset titled the “Cloud Shrine”.
Without a doubt, the rarest—and strangest—part of my FFVII collection has been a set of three 35mm film reels dating from December 1997, each thirty seconds long, and containing an identical advertisement for the game. I got them via eBay sometime in the early-mid ’00s for around $35 (the seller included a Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within lobby card as a freebie). Aside from similar 35mm reels for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that appeared on eBay later on, I don’t know if any other video game theatrical ads from that era have been offered for sale to collectors, or are even still around. Some probably do exist, and are possibly online somewhere.
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