I kind of promised to do indie games and Tropico doesn’t quite fall into that category, but I definitely think it’s an overlooked gem in the genre of city builders. Games like SimCity and Anno get far more attention than Tropico, and as far as I can tell, I really don’t know why. Even Cities in Motion got more credit after the kerfuffle that was SimCity than Tropico, which I do believe to be the superior game. I heard some mention of Tropico but only ever as a comparison to SimCity which I don’t believe is a fair comparison. Sure, they’re both city builders but Tropico does it in a very different way. The gameplay in Tropico reminds me much more of the gameplay in old Sierra games like Pharoah and Zeus: Master of Olympus, which incidentally I poured days of my life into as a kid (and then recently re-bought for near pennies from good old gaming).
I was first introduced to the works of celebrated fantasy-geek author Neil Gaiman in the form of the graphic novel series The Sandman. I have always loved the medium of comic books and graphic novels, and I think people get the wrong impression of them. Most people I know would be quick to dismiss them as either childish or far too nerdy for them. It is a shame that in the Western world, we have such an attitude to cartoon-drawn mediums as I think these prejudices prevent many from accessing a whole body of fascinating and unique literature. Graphic novels in particular are perfect for me (comic series are a bit more of a commitment for me) as I happen to be someone who finds it incredibly difficult to picture things in my mind. It takes an obscene amount of concentration for me to actually summon a coherent picture of something as I read. I know others have no problem imagining things visually, but I’ve always struggled. Hence, graphic novels essentially do that work for me. I love reading books but I rarely get a sense of the visual from them; I’m much more of a conceptual analysis type. I’m one of those weirdos who actually likes TV and movie adaptations of books and films (provided they’re at least semi-passable) because it brings a whole new dimension of life to the stories I love. So when I was first starting to get into graphic novels, The Sandman topped my list of recommendations and I bought up the first of the series of ten collected novels which collates the full run of the original comic series.
Recently greenlit on Steam, the full release of this game came out only a month ago. Before that, it was offering a cheaper beta version with regular updates every 2 – 4 weeks. I picked it up for £8 back in beta, and for that price I got two Steam keys and two Chrome keys as well. A few notes on technical stuff before I delve into the gameplay. It was the first time I’ve ever used a Chrome app but it worked pretty well. I couldn’t get the Steam version to work for the longest time, but when it made the jump to full release, I decided to try it on Steam. It makes a world of difference; things were prettier, more sharply defined, and ran a lot smoother with no lag. I definitely recommend playing on the Steam version over the Chrome version, but if you’ve only got Chrome handy, then that version is perfectly adequate.
The question I want to answer today is: what went wrong? Sure, there are some of you reading this who probably never watched Glee and were never interested. But I suspect that there are some of you, like me, who did enjoy it at the start, but rapidly lost interest at some point. Maybe there’s still some of you who watch it avidly, but I suspect your numbers are dwindling. So today’s investigation is going to be about Glee: what was good, what was bad, and where did it just turn into the most atrocious show I’ve ever followed?
I think I’ve decided to cover more indie type games than big AAA titles on this blog. Mostly because all that has been said on those huge games has been said, and I wouldn’t be adding anything. And also because I imagine those of you who like reading about games probably already know about the major titles and don’t want to hear me telling you what you already know. So, in that vein, today’s blog post is on Recettear, a weirdly titled game which I picked up as part of a Steam bundle (quick edit: I was told this hasn’t been in a Humble Indie bundle, I got it confused with Steam sales, my bad!) way back when. I think I got 5 games for £8 or so, which was an absolute bargain, especially because Recettear is worth all that and more. It currently retails for £12.99 on Steam which is a little dear, but if you see it in a sale, it’s worth a pick up. Alternatively, if you’re like me and weird and really love this odd genre of game, go get it now. I’ve put 40 hours into the game, and I’ve never even done the really end game stuff like some of the final dungeons. So yes, it might be a small indie game, but it will give you hours and hours of gameplay if you like it.
I just want to preface this by saying I am a complete Doctor Who noob. I have literally only seen the latest season, which brings my Doctor Who knowledge to a grand total of about 13 episodes (minus the ones I only just half watched and the ones I skipped entirely). I am painfully aware that my opinion here will not be reflective of a hardcore Doctor Who cultist, and is instead one by someone who was effectively roped into watching the show by the cumulative pressure of a boyfriend, several close friends, multiple not so close friends and general English society. It seemed to me that Doctor Who was a mainstay of British culture and by missing out on it, I was missing something fundamentally British.
I wanted to do a blog post about SimCity. But then I realised that all I had to say about the game can be exemplified by this one story.
A few weeks ago, Virgin Media decided to throw a hissy fit and I didn’t have internet access in my flat for about 3 days. It was apparently a local disruption, which was first going to be resolved at midnight, then the next day at 6pm, then the next at 4pm and then the next at 2pm. Pretty typical of any ISP. Anyway, the initial disconnection happened whilst I was trying to load into my city on SimCity. As most gamers know by now, SimCity was met with a lot of controversy as it forced users to be always online for a single player game. As it turns out, if your connection drops whilst you are loading into a city, you will more than likely lose your city to the ‘SimCity could not load your city at this time’ error which means SimCity will never load your city ever again.