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 →
Sproggiwood is a turn based roguelike* explorer game, where you play characters from a tiny little forest civilisation of adorable Clogheads, delving into little demense of Finnish mythical creatures. You follow on the behest of – well, at first it’s a condescending sheep, but the story unfolds a little weirdly from there. Really, a little weird is a good little thematic mantra to use for the endlessly smiling, effortlessly charming Sproggiwood.
Now I should feel bad that I don’t really know any of these myths, despite having Finnish relatives, but I’m not fooling anyone if I tell you that my Finnish culture is much more about the baked things that you can stick in your mouth when smeared with butter. Continue reading →
Over time I’ve come to wonder what the purpose of the Game Pile even is. I know that it’s slowly morphed from being a sort of diary listing of the videogames I’ve played in my digital collections, then straight-up reviews to slowly morphing to where it is now where I try to use each game as a launching point to talk about something interesting a game does while still giving useful information about whether or not people might want to play it. A sort of consumer advocacy coupled with artistic analysis, which really is what most reviews are but on a much tighter time scale.
Some games don’t really merit a lot of deep talk though? Some games are just unremarkably good or acceptable or decent?
And speaking of Unremarkably Good: Snakebird!
Snakebird is a puzzle game with a slightly hard to describe mechanism: The player controls one (or more) of the game’s titular snake birds. They are birds, because they can somewhat maintain themselves in the air. They are snakes, because they move in the four orthogonal directions in a videogame space, as real snakes do. Snakebirds can push other snakebirds, they eat fruit – as all good and noble videogame animals do – and … that’s it. The whole game is built around this simple puzzle set and… yeah, yeah that’s it. Is that two hundred words?
There’s nothing much to say about Snakebird because Snakebird is just really good and above my skill grade. For all I know around puzzle thirty, Snakebird is just fireworks and boobs, but I have no idea, because it’s really hard!
I’m not good at puzzle games.
Nonetheless, Snakebird does have one particular thing about it I’d like to point out: The game has an adorable interface quirk. In Snakebird, the birds have faces, faces that react to how you’re doing. You can turn and shift your snakebird and when it gets near fruit, it gets excited. Repeat too many actions? The snakebird gets kinda bored.
There’s so little to say about this game, just because it’s really good? And that’s … really all there is to it? It’s got good cloud saves on Steam? Which is… nice?