RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Jul 3rd 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Fathers Day, Retro games, Barcades, Arcades, Star Wars Arcade

Even though this piece won't post until a couple weeks after Father's Day, as I type it up, I'm on a plane with my father and my stepmother this holiday weekend, off to sunny Arizona for a vacation with them and some family we have there. It got me thinking a lot about how my dad has influenced my favorite hobby over the years, especially since only a few months prior I was able to share with him what may be the most surreal and personally moving gaming experience I've ever had.

I wasn't exactly surprised when the retro barcade opened up in my hometown about a year or so ago. In fact, I was surprised it had taken so long. In the last decade or so, with the explosion of geek culture and the proliferation of nerdy being the new cool, barcades seem to have sprung up all over the country ready to pander to both the crowd looking to reconnect with their youth, as well as the college crowd riding the wave of gaming as the next "in thing." 

It was during my first trip to this barcade when I saw a machine that completely blew me away in a fit of unexpected nostalgia, even in the midst of so many arcade games I played growing up. Walking into the 16-Bit Bar+Arcade in Lakewood, OH, just west of Cleveland, most of what I saw there was welcome but unsurprising. Upon seeing a particular cabinet, however, everything else around me faded away like one of those flashback triggers in movies where the camera zooms in on the character and they get taken back to their childhood. In my case, I fell back to a memory of my dad, a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away.

Continue reading Father's Day in a Galaxy Far Far Away

Posted on Jun 3rd 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Firewatch, Modern games, walking simulator, narrative

One of the most interesting and recent evolutions of the adventure game genre is what many have dubbed the "walking simulator." In a similar way to visual novel games like 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors and Danganronpa, their minimalist approach to gameplay and action allow the story to become the primary focus. Despite claims from some that these are not "games" in the traditional sense, the fact that we've benefitted from some excellent story telling from this space in recent years can't be denied.

Three of the best walking simulators in the past few years are Gone Home, Life is Strange, and the debut game from Campo Santo, Firewatch. I've just come off playing the latter two in fairly close succession, and boy have I been having a lot of thoughts about them lately. I had high hopes going into Firewatch, as the developers have some serious pedigree both in games media and production. Unfortunately, right from the start I found myself struggling to connect with the characters and had trouble reconciling the story it seemed to want to tell, the choices I was being given, and where I expected things to go. This continued throughout the game, and I was ultimately unsatisfied and conflicted.

**Be warned: there be spoilers ahead! But if you're interested in this game, it's only about five hours long so it won't be hard to play it through and come back**

Continue reading Firewatch - A Lesson in Wanting to Like Something

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