Category Archives: PC

Thimbleweed Park Interview W/ Ron Gilbert

Just a few weeks ago at PAX West i had the privilege to interview one of my gaming idols: Video game legend, Ron Gilbert. We talked about his most recent game, Thimbleweed Park, and it’s upcoming release for the Nintendo Switch. If you haven’t played it yet, do it! We thought it was a fantastic game!

Kris: So we’ve been big fans of your work for a long time one of my favorite earlier gaming memories is playing Day of the Tentacle which I know you’re a writer on.

Ron: Actually I wasn’t a writer on Day of the Tentacle…

Kris: Oh you weren’t a writer?

Ron: I wasn’t a writer, no. I think, I think, like, Moby Games has that wrong. Yeah, I was not a writer.

Kris: Okay, so were you like a creative…

Ron: I was, you know, obviously Gary and I did the original maniac mansion and then it’s, like, right at the beginning, I think… Gary and I said, “Hey, do it about time travel!” and that was like, that was it.

Kris: So, Tim Schafer gave you the…

Ron: Well, Dave [Winnick]

Kris: I didn’t know that, now I’ve learned something! But where I was going with that, too, is I remember playing Maniac Mansion, inside of Day of the Tentacle, and it being kind of hard for me at the time but still like being blown away by how creepy everything was and really loving it. So, one of my question is, “What got you into creating video games back thirty years ago, or however long it’s been?” Now, probably more than that.

Ron: Yeah, more than that, cause I started doing games when I was in junior high school, and what really got me into it was my dad was a physicist and so he had access to these like very early microcomputers before anyone could even dream of having them at home and I was really enthralled with them and I wanted to learn how to program, and I think when you’re a kid it’s like, you want to learn, you make games… you don’t make accounting software.

Kris: “Right?”

Ron: “…you get a game so I just started, you know, doing that and I would, you know, I’d go down to like the local pizza place and I’d play the arcade game then come home and I tried to replicate them on my computer so that’s just how I got started doing it.”

Kris: “Yeah, very smart too to think, like, let me go here and play this and then try to recreate it, that’s awesome. So out of all the years you’ve been making games all the different games you’ve made, what would you say is one of your favorite projects? Would it be Thimbleweed Park?

Ron: I think my favorite games to work on were actually the adventure games that we did for kids at Humongous Entertainment.

Kris: Yeah, Spy Fox?

Ron: Yeah, Spy Fox and Putt Putt and Pajama Sam. I think in some ways those were like the most fulfilling games to make because, you know, they were real, true adventure games and, you know, just going after that kid audience, I mean kids just just devoured those games.

Kris: I remember playing them, as a kid, and actually I was at that age where I may have been a little too old. Like, I didn’t need the “Welcome” aspects of it, but I still enjoyed it.”

Ron: Yeah

Kris: It was still fun, it wasn’t dumbed down because I was a kid.

Ron: Yeah, that was very important to us. They’re kinda simplified, but they’re not dumbed down.

Kris: That was fantastic. Because nowadays it seems like a lot of games that are made for kids are just dumbed down, it’s just so boring like “This is what you do…”

Ron: Just tap, tap, tap.

Kris: It makes me sad, cause in the 90s a lot of the games I grew up on… weren’t. Like, even Nintendo and stuff, sure they made it family friendly but they weren’t easy.

Ron: Yeah, exactly, they were actually very hard.

Kris: So that makes sense. I’m sure for many kids, myself included, we grew up on those, they even came out on the Wii, like 10 or 11 years ago.

Ron: I think I think more people, far more people have played, you know, Putt Putt, Pajama Sam than have ever played Monkey Island. I mean, we sold literally millions of copies of those things, yeah, and so I mean I have no doubt that more people play that but it’s like I’m known for Monkey Island even though far more people play these other things, y’know?

Kris: I guess I can see that and now as adults that’s what we think about more. Ron Gilbert. Monkey Island. It makes sense though, that it would hold such a fondness for you. But, I mean, moving on to Thimbleweed Park. What made you decide that that was your next project after all the other stuff you worked on?

Ron: Well, Thimbleweed Park, you know came about because Gary Winnick and I, you know, we did Maniac Mansion together. We’re just sitting around we’re talking about the charm that those little games have. You know a lot of modern adventure games are good and I enjoy them but they’re missing that weird charm that those games had and so we were just talking about what is that charm? What made those charming and then thinking about well, you know, what if we made one of those games again, kind of like we made them back then, could we figure out what that charm was?

Kris: Yeah

Ron: and that’s where it kind of all started and, you know, of course Kickstarter is a great place to go for that kind of stuff and you know we’ve gotten a lot of money so I think there were a lot of other people that were also interested in that.

Kris: I would agree, I know, as I mentioned Monkey Island… not Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle was one of the first games I ever played. I grew up on Space Quest and eventually it evolved. Space Quest was like my first point and click game. And one of the first games I ever played with one of my best friends. And then that evolved into, we played Monkey Island, we played Codename: Iceman, and, y’know, we played all these other point and click games. But it seemed like the genre had died in the 2000s especially. But the last couple years it’s kinda seen a resurgence. And Thimbleweed Park is like that perfect throwback to that time…

Ron: Oh yeah, very much.

Kris: Because those games didn’t take themselves too seriously, but yet they were serious and fun, and I feel like Thimbleweed Park is that.

Ron: Oh yeah, very much so, it is a very, very serious story, kind of. But that’s true even on Monkey Island, and if you look at the story of Monkey Island, it’s a very serious story, it’s just that it’s just kind of comedically told and there’s these comedic elements that ride on it.

Kris: It made it easy to stomach as a kid, I guess. You know you can look at the darkness, but it’s so funny! So, having used Kickstarter for Thimbleweed Park, is that something you’d do again in the future?

Ron: Maybe. You know, I think that Kickstarter… I mean Kickstarter is not like a solution to all your problems and so, you know if you get money from say a publisher, you know there’s a lot of upsides to that… there’s a lot of downsides to that. And when you get money from Kickstarter there’s a lot of upsides to that… lot of downsides to that. If you pay for the game yourself out of your own bank account lotta upside to that, a lot of downside to that

Kris: A lot of give and take.

Ron: yeah, and so you kind of gotta to decide and I think, you know, whether I would use Kickstarter again would probably depend a lot on what the game was I was building. Yeah, is it the kind of, you know, story that I can tell to Kickstarter backers to kind of get them excited?

Kris: That makes sense. So I know your first console that Thimbleweed Park was released on was Steam, PC, Xbox – what pushed you in that route first and then Sony and Nintendo later?

Ron: I think the thing that pushed us to Xbox first was, you know, we had went around to Sony and we went to Xbox and we talked to them and Microsoft just seemed really, really excited about it and they were really willing to really promote the game when it came out and a lot of stuff so it really was was just kind of their excitement for the game that’s kind of what kind of pushed us to them first but we’re out on Sony now, we’ll be out on the switch next month.

Kris: I appreciate hearing that too, about any of the “Big 3” when they’re actually easy to work wit, and they want your game there.

Ron: It makes it a lot easier.

Kris: Yeah, I can imagine.  So skip over Sony a little bit and go to Nintendo. Has it been easy working on the switch? Porting it over?

Ron: Yeah, from a hardware standpoint the switch is like really easy for us. then we’re using a custom engine, you know, we’re not using unity or anything and so getting all that over to Switch was really not that hard at all and we had started the iOS version and so I had written all of the code to deal with touch controls.

Kris: Nice!

Ron: So getting all that over to the Switch was all fairly easy.

Kris: That’s kewl, yeah I know I’m excited to play it on the Switch so I can play it everywhere I go. That’s what I love about my Switch now is how easy and accessible it is.

Ron: I don’t think my Switch has been in its dock more than, like, 10 minutes since I bought it.

Kris: Right? I put it in my dock at night, and then charge it and take it – it’s with me right now.

Ron: Yeah, just to charge it.

Kris: Another thing about the new Thimbleweed Park you can tell playing the game there was a heavy influence from shows like that X-Files and Twin Peaks,what other influences? That is correct, right? Those are a couple of the influences?

Ron: Yeah, mostly Twin Peaks. Yeah, I mean the fact that, you know, Agent Ray and Reyes look like Mulder and  Scully that was actually kind of a shock to us.

Kris: Oh really, so it wasn’t planned?

Ron: Yeah, because no it’s like we, you know, create those characters and we put the Kickstarter up and I swear like the second comment on the Kickstarter page was “Oh, they look like Mulder and Scully” and I went “oh shit” it’s like  I did not even think of that, you know, and so yeah I mean I didn’t really even watch the X-Files, you know. I mean I’ve seen some episodes and stuff but I was never really a fan so I would say far more influences has been Twin Peaks and David Lynch.

Kris: Yeah, it has that vibe. David Lynch is […?]

Ron: Yeah, he is. Have you ever seen Eraserhead?

Kris: I haven’t.

Ron: You HAVE to go watch Eraserhead.

Kris: I’ll do that.

Ron: It is the bizarrest thing…

Kris: I can only imagine, because Twin Peaks and I watched Mulholland Drive, and I’ve never been so confused than after watching Mulholland Drive. I’m still confused by it. Would you say, what other influences did you draw from?

Ron: Well… when I when when we were putting this putting the Kickstarter together and first like plotting everything out I was also watching True Detective right and so there’s the whole… there was, at least the first season there was a really kinda nice… there was an animosity between the two leading characters.

Kris: I haven’t seen the show but I’m familiar with it.

Ron: Yeah there’s a lot of animosity between them. There was a lot of mistrust between them and, you know, we wanted a lot of that to come out in the way Ray and Reyes kinda see each other. Whereas Mulder and Scully, I mean they’re friends right?

Kris: Well they slept together.

Ron: You know one of them’s a skeptic, one of them, whatever. I mean they’re friends, right? And we wanted there to be a little more animosity and also, uh, Stephen King was a big influence because you he does a really good job of writing these very kinda creepy stories that all take place in these small towns where there’s a whole lot kind of going underneath you know everything. I think those are really our three big influences.

Kris: And you can see that! True Detective I haven’t watched to truly get that.

Ron: Watch season one, ignore season two.

Kris: That’s the one with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey?

Ron: Yeah

Kris: I’ve heard its good and the second season isn’t good – i’ll have to watch it. Now that you’re pretty much finished with Thimbleweed Park, I know you’re finishing with the porting, are you going to make another Thimbleweed Park?

Ron: Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t tend to think about my next project until I’m totally done with my current one and had some time off, so as soon as these two ports are done, I’m gonna go, like, actually what I’m gonna do as soon as these ports are done and I’ve had a little vacation I’m gonna like download the Unreal Engine and because I’ve never played with it and I’m gonna spend like a month just understanding the Unreal Engine.

Kris: yeah?

Ron: I mean nothing may come of it but I just, I want to understand it. So that’s kind of my vacation in a way.

Kris: And as a programmer I’m assuming that that’s fun in itself.

Ron: Yeah, it is, yeah. It’s been more fun than laying on a beach.

Kris: Yeah, I agree, I mean I don’t program but anytime I’m playing with anything electronic I have more fun than laying on a beach. So I hear you. One final question for you: Who was your favorite character to create in Thimbleweed Park?

Ron: Probably Ransome the Clown.

Kris: ‘Cause he’s the best!

Ron: Yeah, he’s kind of an asshole.

Kris: He’s fantastic. He’s what you want a clown to be. An ass, and not a creepy happy clown!

Ron: I think the thing with Ransome that I really want to do with him is I wanted to make sure he had no redeeming qualities, right? And you’d look at, like in the Simpsons you know there’s Krusty the Clown and he’s kind of a jerk, but you can tell he’s got a heart.

Kris: He has redeemable qualities.

Ron: Yeah, he does! I want to make sure that Ransome is just an asshole. Period. That’s all he was.

Kris: And you’ve succeeded.

Ron: (laughter) Well, thank you, I think, I think thank you.

Kris: No, it is a success! Because he’s laughable, in a good way, in a bad way-good way. Well I appreciate your time – very much, it really is an honor to meet you. I know, not just myself but a lot of us grew up on your work and this is why I like doing this is the hopes to meet people who created my childhood and my adulthood.

Ron: Right.

A Major Minecraft Update Is Being Crafted

You have to love being able to load up Minecraft on your Xbox (PS4, PC, iPhone…) toss your friend a controller and work together with your buddy to survive those seven minutes of night time / build a neighborhood / castle / dig a hole. But what about when your other friend texts…

You’re about to invite him into your virtual world and set him to work, when you remember he’s a Nintendo Switch Fanboy! Different console versions of Minecraft will never play together, why that’s a disgusting level of cross play that just can’t be allowed. It’s unheard of! Without precedent!

That is, it was, until 2017.

The “Better Together” Update is in the works! Soon they’ll do away with most of the separate versions and unify Minecraft console, mobile, and Windows 10 versions into one shiny, yet blocky and pixelated, version: Bedrock Engine. Soon you’ll be able to create, mine, dig, build and discover on massive servers with your friends no matter what platform they’re using… almost!

The developers of Minecraft are still trying to convince Sony to jump on board, and start building in the shared biome, but as of yet there is no confirmation.

Look for it Autumn 2017!

Update: The Beta is available for Xbox

Links:

Minecraft: Bedrock FAQ

Old Time Hockey Review

Here’s the thing about Old Time Hockey, it’s very true to it’s title. It is a game about Hockey, in the kinda “old time” setting of the 70s. Now that was before my time, but I still expected the game to be more like the 50s or so. But nonetheless, it really does capture that feeling that I assume is what hockey in the 70s looked like. It is to be commended for that.


Were you a fan of the Arcadey sports games in the 90s/00s? Then I can see you loving Old Time Hockey. The game definitely is reminiscent of the old NFL Blitz and even more so, the NHL Hitz series. It does a pretty decent job or recapturing that feel, all well making sure to do it in it’s own unique way.


The things the game does well, it does exceptionally so. The Career mode is rather clever and well done. I found the creation of the Bush Hockey League and the fact that they didn’t hold back on content to ensure an E rating refreshing. And the collectible cards in the game of its fictional characters were a neat addition. There was just something missing for me as I played, and for me I think it was the controls. There are 3 different control settings: two button, advanced, and beer mode. I played mainly with the two button. It did simplify the controls enough to help me have a more enjoyable experience. As far as the advanced controls, I never got the true hang of them.. maybe I’m just not advanced enough.

The graphics and character design are to me, a bit lacking. Sometimes I found them exceptionally hard to look at. I know it was what the game was aiming for, and they do hold true to their old time feel, which I respect a lot. The game also never toted that it was a graphically impressive game. But I just found the look hard to stomach sometimes.


What impressed me about Old Time Hockey is that the things the game does right, it does exceptionally right. I love the callback to old school couch co-op that the team at V7 Entertainment used as a focal selling point for the game, and said multiplayer does work. Plus the inclusion of the beer mode control scheme I mentioned earlier, made specifically for you to be able to hold a beer in one hand and play with the controller in the other, was ingenious. The career mode and creation the Bush League Hockey work well in this game. And frankly I love that they made this game very real, and the mature rating sells that point.

Old Time Hockey may not be my favorite game or my go to sports game, but when looking for a fun multiplayer game that’s rather easy to pick up and play, it will be added to the list. Especially if we’ve had a few beers! It’s not without its flaws, but Old Time Hockey is some good old time fun.

Alwa’s Awakening

In Alwa’s Awakening you’re thrust into a fantasy world where you’re tasked with freeing the people from their harsh ruler and his four minions. Prepare to indulge in a wonderland of 8-bit graphics.

Like a baby who is starting to crawl, you’re not initially equipped with anything except your feet. What more do you need? Why back in my day I controlled a fast moving hedgehog, and I liked it! We didn’t ask to give that hedgehog weapons! Okay, but in this game you do need more and soon you get your staff, which is good for smackin’ baddies. While none of the non-boss enemies provide any real challenge, they do eventually cause you to dodge the best you can on a 2D plane. It’s a good thing Zoe can drastically change direction in mid-air. Eventually, after more exploring, you’ll find gems that fit in your staff and give you powers. For example you’ll be able to create green blocks to get to higher places, or to float across water, and floating bubbles to transport you even higher.

The controls – much like the NES games Alwa’s Awakening tries to give homage to – are simple, they don’t burden you down with expansive control schemes and instead focus on just what’s important. There’s only four buttons: attack, change magic, open map and jump. If you want to use your magic you press up + attack.

You’ll find yourself wandering back and forth in Alwa’s Awakening. If you’re hitting a brick wall in one area, perhaps it’s time to go visit another area and see if you’re able to unlock a new secret. Speaking of brick walls and secrets, don’t forget to check the walls, sometimes they’re passable and will get you into a hidden passageway. That’s the same with pits of spikes – while I’m not suggesting you go jump into every pit, that could be dangerous to little Alwa’s health, there are some that allow you to fall through into the room below, usually to collect a blue orb. It took me a few bosses before I figured out what those azure spheres were for – the more you collect, they do bonus damage to the boss before you even start battling! I thought that was an interesting feature and would like to see more of that in other games. While the pacing between areas does get old, especially hiking back to a boss after repeatedly dying, the puzzle aspect of it provides a level of enjoyment every time I discovered a new location.

Beating the bosses interspersed throughout the world is mostly a matter of watching for a pattern and attacking accordingly. Several of the bosses weren’t too difficult after you recognize the pattern. The final boss, though his actions seemed random, was one of the easiest of the five.

This retro platformer transported me back to when I was younger. Those days when we used to play such classics as Super Metroid, Zelda, Super Mario World, it all comes flooding back. Dive in and play through a dungeon and you’ll find that next-gen graphics just aren’t what makes a good game. Elden Pixels opens up the game with a note to the gamer, letting you know that they spent the last two years pouring their heart into this game. It shows! We look forward to seeing them step up their game and what they bring to the table next.

Grim Fandango

Every once in a while a game comes along with so many great pieces that you just know it’s going to be a smashing success – and then it proceeds to flop like that kid in your hometown community swimming pool. These games become cult classics. So many people know their names, but how many people actually played it? Not that many. Grim Fandango is a classic example: LucasArts was on a roll with their point & click adventures in the 90s; It was a brain-child of Tim Schafer (@TimOfLegend @DoubleFine); Grim Fandango had story, graphics, voice acting; Haven’t even mentioned the critical acclaim.  It was sure to be a slam dunk! Unfortunately, sales proved otherwise. 


Grim Fandango’s stage is set in a land that’s part film noir, part Aztec legend of the afterlife. You play the role of Manny Calavera, travel agent for the deceased. It’s your job to sell the dead an attractive travel package to get them to their final destination. The most virtuous get a golden ticket to take the short ride on a fast train, while the others… well, it might take 40 years and a journey fret with peril, but there’s always walking. 


The adventure revolves around your attempts to track down Meche, one of the newly dead who gets picked up by your office. A lady who’s life was so clean, she should’ve applied for being a saint. Not just that, but she’s attractive too! Surely, she would be a shoe-in for a golden ticket… only, you can’t find her information on your computer. Embarrassed, she sneaks away to begin her long walk, leading to you following on her heels the whole way. 

The voice acting is delightfully well done, and riddled with quirky quips that are bound to bring a chuckle. Often times these interactions aren’t required to move the story along so you may miss them if you’re not on the look out. 


The remastered edition features two types of controls, either “tank controls” where pressing up moves Manny forward, left and right makes him rotate like a first year ballerina, and pressing down makes him back up. (Hint: playing the whole way through using these controls will fetch a pretty trophy on the PS4) or a standard mode for the kids where you just press the direction you want to move. 

The puzzles are entertaining, but mind numbingly difficult at times, as there’s sometimes little to no instruction, and you’ll have to re-do things repetitiously in hopes of finding the right combination. A couple of the maps were more like mazes, as well. It’s difficult to find where you need to go because the path isn’t so clear (or is just plain hidden) I found myself referencing a walk thru at times so that I could enjoy the story. 

As mentioned, the PS4 comes loaded with opportunities for trophies which only go to further the point that this game is really difficult – only 9% reached chapter 2? – but for the completionists will give plenty of reason for a second playthrough. 

Overall I’d highly recommend downloading and giving it a shot. With the resurgence of point & click games hitting it’s full stride, it’s a great idea to go back and play one of the classics and as long as you don’t give up early, Grim Fandango is sure to not disappoint. 

Space Quest 3 (PC)

If I told you that the galaxy needed to be saved from a nefarious villain, and I needed your help to pick the best fit to save it – who would you choose? A famous national hero? A world renowned hacker? How about a janitor? Yes, a janitor… a broom jockey, sanitation engineer extraordinaire. That’s who you play in the Space Quest series.

In the third installment of this classic point & click adventure we join Roger Wilco right after his stolen escape pod was picked up in a garbage scow. Seems like a perfect place for a janitor, plenty of work to keep him busy, right? Well there are places to go, people to rescue, so our hero needs to get some proper transportation (a defunct escape pod won’t do) and find an exit. It doesn’t take long to find the right ship and after a bit of repair work you strap in.


 Like the rebirth of a Phoenix, you fire up the engines to start your rise from the ashes… errr, garbage. Engaging the Aluminum Mallard’s front lasers, Roger effectively blasts a gaping hole in the side of the scow which forces your ship into the vacuum of space. But wait, you forgot to arm the forward shields! Your ship destroyed, poor Roger is sucked into the vacuum of space and dies. Fortunately Sierra makes the game over screens almost as enjoyable as the story itself!


After you’ve successfully released yourself from the maw of your prison, now captain of your own ship. The adventures never stop until the end. Plenty of interesting locations grab your interest and keep you sucked in for hours. Even after all these years I still find myself chuckling at the humor of a stereotypical redneck alien on the planet of Phleebut. 


There’s the Monolith burger where you can fill your gullet with any number of greasy space foods, before jumping on to play Astro Chicken – a game within the game, that’s much like Lunar Lander, with trampolines. Fiery Ortega (maybe these days it would’ve been called habanero?) with its ever changing landscape affording you the opportunity to pole vault over flowing molten lava, or potentially see another game over screen. 


The controls allow you to use a mouse to control Rogers steps, but this game is from the early days of mouse use so you’ll find yourself micromanaging his movements. I find it’s best enjoyed using the keyboard, most often. 

The graphics, while dated by today’s standards, were praised at the time of it’s release. Don’t expect 3D rendered CGI cutscenes, but I think you’ll enjoy the beauty this 16-bit gem holds. 

Overall it’s an amazing point and click adventure, one of the greatest developed by the famed Two Guys from Andromeda, and will forever hold a place in my top favorite games. 

 

Fallout 2 (PC) Review

It’s been over 160 years since the world went down the toilet, everyone who’s anybody gave up their posh life on the surface in exchange for holding on to their lives in an underground fallout shelter. But, like that dirty little secret you tried to hide in high school, everything has to resurface at some point and so people started moving out of their vaults, rebuilding their lives. You’re a direct descendant of one of the vault dwellers which puts you in the unique position of being volunteered to rescue the, umm… flourishing village that you currently reside in. Well, “flourishing” except for the fact that you’re in the middle of largest drought in recent history. How does a small village that depends on growing it’s own crops survive something like this? If only there was an advanced piece of machinery that would revitalize the landscape for you and your fellow villagers, removing all trace of radioactive soil. Hold on, there is! Those pre-war scientists thought up everything… Donning an original vault dweller suit and PIP-Boy you’re sent out into the foreboding wastelands in search of a GECK (Garden of Eden Creation Kit). You hope to find an unused one from Vault 13.

When it comes to character creation some RPGs shoot for being overly simplistic and allow for no customization while on the other end of the spectrum we have titles that are so in-depth they allow you to micromanage every thing. There are games all along that rainbow that I appreciate and enjoy, and I think you’ll agree that the team behind Fallout 1 and 2 struck gold with the SPECIAL system (Black Isle had a thing for acronyms apparently) It stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. You get to pick your base points and then get additional character points for every level you gain. These will have effect on your hit points (HP), armor class (AC), the amount you can carry, resistances, critical chances, and more – including all your skill levels, of which three are referred to as your “tag skills” – these grow at a much faster rate than the rest. The cherry on top of the character creation is your two (or less, I suppose…) “optional traits”. With these you could choose to be more resistant to radiation and poisons, have a faster turn sequence, get more skill points, have a higher appeal to the opposite sex, or just choose to have enemies (or yourself) die in a bloody mess. So pick wisely, what sort of character do you want to play? Plenty of options!

fallout2-special

What is the post apocalyptic future going to be like? You’ll need your wits about you because at home in the family of Black Isle’s characters are two-headed brahmin, giant radioactive ants, and mutants who have adapted to the radiation.  Not everything is out to kill you, though. Fallout 2 is quest oriented, so your PIP Boy is forever being updated with major quests (Find the GECK) and minor quests (Find replacement parts to fix a radio). Being non-linear, you won’t feel forced into walking a single line to get to your end goal. If you need to release someone who has been captured by slavers you might decide to bargain for the man’s life, purchasing him yourself, or convincing the leader to release him. You may be feeling aggro and decide to kick down the door, shouting “Say hello to mah little friend!” and slaughtering the whole disgusting bunch (they are slavers, after all), or maybe just give up any hope of being a force for good in this world and join the slavers, which will grant you a tattoo of your intentions. Options… Fallout 2 gives you plenty of options.

You control your character using point & clicks from the mouse generally. When entering combat you’re given a set number of Action Points (AP), with each action consuming a certain amount of points. The map is divided into hexagons and each step costs you 1 point. If you get close to an enemy and want to attack with your sledgehammer it might take 3 points, while throwing your spear costs an extra point. Included in these costs is using an item from inventory during battle which will snag two AP. You don’t have to use all your points, as each one left over when you end your turn adds one to your AC, making you stronger against attacks.


Another interesting feature (and fun to use!) is that for each attack you can choose to target a specific body part. For example, you could target that slaver’s leg and, on a critical hit, send him limping away (curious side note: he now tells everyone “I used to be a slaver, then I took a sledgehammer to the knee”)


Overall Fallout 2 is one of the greatest games that I’ve ever had the honor of playing and one that I would recommend to any gamer. It has humorous dialogue, an action filled plot, and a believable story line. The graphics are dated, but I’m a fan of the style and I think you would be too – it fits the setting. If you haven’t played it yet, give it a shot for Point & Click month. If you’ve already played through, then you know how awesome it is! Sit down and give it, or another P&C, some love this month!

Space Quest 4: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers (PC) Review

 

If you’ve spent much time on APG, at this point you most likely realize that Bigfoot and I have been friends for a rather long time. About 25 years actually. That was before I even started Kindergarten. Crazy right? Ok I’m not just trying to get all nostalgic on everyone here, there is a point. The first time we ever hung out together all that time ago was at his house. What did we do? We played a little game called Space Quest 4. Now up to this point I hadn’t played many PC games, I had mainly only played on Nintendo. But this game blew my mind and stuck with me till this very day.

Since December’s monthly genre is Point and Click I thought what better way to start off the month on my end then writing a review for the game that definitely proved to be a stepping stone for this site. Over the last 20 years I have played the SQ series a lot and have grown to love them all (Yes I even enjoy the ones without original SQ creators Scott and Mark, though not as much as 1-4) but my absolute favorite is the one that introduced me to the series, Space Quest 4:Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers.

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“Are you Roger Wilco?” “Uhhh, yeah.”

In SQ4 you continue to play as the series hero, Janitor extraordinaire and all around lovable guy, Roger Wilco. The game starts out with Roger in a Cantina/Bar, bragging about all of his heroic accomplishments to whoever will listen, rather they want to or not. Before he knows it he’s being yanked outside by the “Sequel Police” to find out his arch nemesis, who he thought was long gone, was still very much alive and was hungry for revenge. But before you know in come two mysterious strangers with overdeveloped hairdryers who before they have any time to explain whats going on throw you in a portal that then starts your time traveling adventure.

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Go ahead.. Smell that guy! I dare you!

Space Quest 4 is, without a doubt, a point-and-click adventure. Unlike the previous entries in the series, SQ4 is all done by choosing an action and then clicking where you’d like to use it. Gone are the days of typing in your commands. Want to put your hand in a mysterious hole? Go ahead! Want to bug a guy in a crowded game store where they are waiting for the Two Guys From Andromeda to sign copies of their latest release? Don’t just beat it even if they call you a jerk, do it! Want to touch yourself there? Well it is a family game, but you can sure try! Half the fun in the game is trying the different options in every way possible. It sure makes for some funny one-liners! Not to mention since the game is all narrated by the great Gary Owens all of those quips and one liners are even more humorous!

As you play through the game you will find yourself traveling through time and while doing so, traveling into the timelines of different SQ games spending almost no time in the actual SQ4 timeline. instead playing in SQ10,12 and even going back in time to the barren wasteland that is Kerona from SQ1, EGA graphics and all. The locales are fantastic each offering fun areas to explore and some fantastic story telling and narration. The whole Space Quest 10 part of the game will always live in my mind as some of my favorite video gaming moments. From the ever so attractive Latex Babes, to exploring the stores in the Galaxy Galleria Mall, the game doesn’t disappoint. I mean you literally dress up as a woman at one point to use her ATM card! Oh and the mini games in SQ4 are so good. Ms. Astro Chicken proves to be an even better “sequel” of the Astro Chicken game from SQ3, and the part time job you get at Monolith Burger is both fun and challenging! Oh and talking to the condiments proves to add even a bit more extra fun to the game. (This being where I learned that ketchup has more sugar then ice cream… See its educational!)

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Another thing that makes the game so great is all the death sequences that can play out and the humor in both the scenes, and game over text to follow. Normally you aren’t supposed to die in games… but in Space Quest, its almost encouraged! Go ahead and get yourself shot or walk off that edge! You’ve just got to know what that game over screen says! Just don’t forget to save first!

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One of many hilarious death sequence possibilities

If you can’t tell I love this game. The graphics, while somewhat dated (I mean the game is 25 years old) still hold up surprisingly well. The music and voice acting were totally on point. The whole SQ series is one of those rare examples of games that were way ahead of their own time with both narrative and humor that still hold up today. Oh and did I mention there is a point system? Yea its there. It has no effect, to my knowledge, on how the game plays out, but it sure adds some fun in trying to figure out how to get the 315 possible points. But amongst all the greatness in SQ4 one of the best parts to me is the story. The other games up till this point hadn’t been story heavy per say, and really neither is SQ4. But the story that is here is so compelling and unique leaving the player with questions that we still hope we will get answers to one day and a future for Roger that we desperately would love to see play out.

SQ4 isn’t just one of my favorite point and click games, its one of my favorite games of all time, from one of my favorite series of all time. Period. If you’ve never played the SQ series, do yourself a favor and play it. I doubt you will regret it. If you have, let us know your thoughts on the series in the comments!