Category: Game Pile

The GAME PILE is a game review column which focuses on videogames. Many of us have a Game Pile, a shameful heap of Steam and GoG and otherwhise purchases we haven’t actually bothered to play since paying and the Game Pile gives me incentive to do that, and tell you about them.

I don’t use any numeric score system for games, because I firmly believe they are (in brief) really stupid. These reviews are sweary but also try to convey clearly both who I am and what I like in games as I try and give you reasons for why you might like them.

Sometimes a game will merit further discussion, with spoilers, and those are ‘Deeper in the Pile’ posts.

Game Pile: Psychonauts

Last year saw the release of Yooka-laylay, a game that launched to thunderous shouts of Okay, a game which some people hated a great deal (because they didn’t like it), and some people hated a great deal (because it’d been edited to kick out a white supremacist, and I’m not linking that disingenuous crap), and some people thought was pretty okay (because they liked it, but didn’t find it that amazing). This conversation put me, particularly, in mind, of the last collect-em-up game that I really liked: The anarchic, quirky and deliberately weird Double Fine excursion Psychonauts. Continue reading

Game Pile: 2017 In Review

This year saw the resuscitation of the Game Pile, perhaps directly tied to my efforts to be taken seriously in games journalism again and the sudden cessation of my work on a honours thesis. In that time, I put out an article, meaning that despite starting mid-year, there have been 24 other game articles – 26 if you include this and the Dark Souls 2 diary.

This year I’ve played a lot of games, games from my game pile, marking off things from my extensive underplayed Steam library – which has been great for a feeling of accomplishment. Still, the Christmas sales are still ongoing, and the odds are good games I’ve referenced in the pile have been going on sale – so which do I think now, with months later, of games I liked? Did my opinion change any?

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Game Pile: Eco Quest

Since a part of my time this year was dedicated to revisiting some of the Lucasarts classics, and complaining at length about the way Sierra hecked everything up in their development of the point-and-click genre, I thought it was important to take a moment to draw attention to a time that Sierra made a better Lucasarts games than Lucasarts made… within some constraints.

Let’s talk about some 1990s Environmentalist Kids’ Culture, in the story of Eco Quest.

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Game Pile: Sorcery!

I wrote once about the Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston ouvre of gamebooks while working on my own designs. When I did it, I was struck momentarily with the thought: I wonder how hard it’d be to convert one of these gamebooks to Twine. It’d be an interesting little project, wouldn’t it? I can even see now the kind of way that you can make the combat system work, Twine can store a handful of variables – it should be okay, right?

Anyway, turns out someone else took one of the best examples in this library of gamebooks and went absolutely hambones on it. Continue reading

Game Pile: Rise of the Triad (2013)

As a gamer who went through the bulk of the period known as the golden era of the FPS and the rise of the console to the impoverishment of the PC in the cultural cachet of gamer culture, I have childhood memories of plumbing my way through the games media of the time that wasn’t focused on control sticks and how great the Playstation or Nintendo were, and that means that when people talk about ‘hey remember when’ I almost always have a bunch of ridiculous examples that nobody else, largely remembers. I’m that annoying guy who bothered to memorise the lineage of film history that leads from Hitchcock to Tarantino and wants to take any opportunity to tell you about it, only for PC shareware videogames, a field that could not matter any less but still has a direct line in it from Marcus Fenix back to furry porn then back further to sticking a fish in a door.

For the majority of you, this isn’t the case, so let’s talk about Rise of the Triad.

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Game Pile: Olympia Rising

As with Snakebird before it, there are some games which you play, you experience, and you set aside. In the case of Olympia Rising my metric is this game cost me as much as a pair of chocolate bars, and I definitely got to have more fun with it than I would have out of a pair of chocolate bars.

There’s your really basic point: Olympia Rising is almost perfectly $5 of videogame.

Sometimes a game gets on the list just because it’s interesting looking! Wanna know more about that? Well, let’s see what we got.

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