Story Game Round-up: Sarah Is Missing

I am in the midst of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so naturally I am seeking any method of procrastination I can think of. I have denied myself my beloved Stardew Manor (more on THAT another time) but quick games that I can play for one hour at a time are still fair game.

Enter Sarah Is Missing, developed by Monsoon Lab and recommended to me by my friend Dan the Video Ninja, who has suddenly become my supplier for new and innovative story-driven games.

And yes, this is counting toward my word count. I’M BEING CREATIVE SO IT COUNTS!

Sara Is Missing (or SIM for short, an awesome play on words) is available on PC, Mac and Android. Because of the nature of the game which I will obviously get to I ended up downloading it for Android. If you decide to download the game for yourself and happen to own an Android, I would recommend getting this version. Even without having played the other versions, I know for sure this is the best one. Read the rest of this entry

My Name is Manda and I Can’t Play Crafting Games

I hate crafting games. Or rather, I hate crafting games because I suck at them. Yes. I am one of those people.

It’s not limited to digital games either. I was never a lego kid. We had legos. We built little lego towns around our pool during the summers. But my job was never to build the actual houses. It was to build the story of what went on in those houses.

I preferred it that way. Anything I ever built usually took the form of basic boxes. If I was feeling particularly creative I would make room for the hole in the box that would serve as a window/door. It was not an option to make the effort to put in an actual window that the Lego set provided.

lego

These blocks were a means to an end.

The stories my siblings and I made up though were the stuff of soap operas. There were epic and tragic storylines involving orphans and tidal waves (they lived next to the sea/pool after all). I loved it and was even happier I could depend on my other siblings to do the actual building for me.

Whenever we could get our hands on overpriced playmobil I would opt for that instead. Everything was already built and perfect looking. It meant that it was less time for me tediously attempting to build some dilapidated hut.

When the Sims came out it was much the same. My friend Kelsey had amazing houses. She made fun of me because I had square boxes with walls inside.

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And yet we never thought to comment on the fact that we would regularly do things like this…

So when the likes of Minecraft came out, I had no interest whatsoever in it. My friends would beam and expound the virtues of the game. They would tell me that anything was possible, that anything could be crafted, that you could experiment with materials to make anything.

I tried it myself once. I chopped a tree. I hopped around. I made a tool when my friend told me how. I dug a hole. Some monsters came. I stayed in my hole. I never left. I got bored.

I suck at crafting games.

minecraft

I don’t even know HOW you would begin to get to something like this.

I saw Youtube videos of grand digital cities being built and recreations of famous movies/tv shows. In all cases I was thoroughly impressed and agreed it was a great tool for creativity but remained resolute that this was not the game for me.

 

Errol got Terraria a couple of years later. Errol loves crafting games. He lives for them. Give him a crafting game and he will become its master within days. Terraria was no exception. When I asked him what it was like he told me it was basically Minecraft in 2D.

“Pass.” I thought but ended up reneging because while I hate crafting games I do love playing with my friends. So I bought it for myself to play online with him and his daughter. I tried single player mode first.

I walked around. I hit some slimy things. I built a hut out of dirt. It stayed up long enough to grow grass. I built a tool when Errol told me how to use it. I mined some stone. I got bored but instead of leaving I joined Errol to see his progress.

He had a castle. It was grand and complex and lit by torches. It had banners on the wall. It had a room full of chests to store the many treasures Errol had crafted or found. He now had a lightsaber as a weapon. I was still holding the default wooden sword.

I suck at crafting games.

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Though admittedly getting to see all this stuff was awesome.

I don’t want to suck at them. I feel as though I have somehow failed at being a good member of society because of my inability to picture and experiment with buildings and materials.

I see many of my friends venturing out into the world of crafting games and flourish having never done anything like it before. I see them laughing and exchanging their favourite crafting stories. I see them proudly displaying their designs and am astounded by their technique.

minecraftmario

Like this…I just…how do you even…

I tried once again to attempt crafting, this time in a Minecraft clone in which we had cheat codes which would allow us unlimited access to all resources and the ability to fly. How could I go wrong with that?

I accidently set a digital house on fire in my attempt at making a fireplace. My friend’s nine year old daughter had to put it out for me and then wonder what on earth was wrong with her mom’s friends.

legofalcon

I’m just putting this here because Star Wars.

The closest I came to being somewhat competent at a crafting game was Don’t Starve if for nothing else than the fact that dirt hut is a luxury in that game. Even then, it was rare I would survive alone. We always waited for a server to play with each other.

I can write scripts. I can craft a narrative with a beginning, middle and end. I have comedic timing. I can cook a soup and experiment with the recipe. I can build a jigsaw in a day.

But ask me to make a pretend building and I am stumped. Ask me to make something out of the resources around me and I will be weeping in a corner when you come back to check on me.

I keep seeing ads about Lego and creativity. I see articles calling Minecraft the pinnacle of creativity. And then I wonder if something is wrong with me that I am completely unable to ever go further than dirt huts.

If this were an evolutionary issue, I would have been wiped out by now.

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This stupid movie made me feel guilt for not being good at Lego (okay, it’s awesome, yes, but still!)

Perhaps someday I will get better at them. Perhaps I will not be left behind by those with so much more talent and/or time. Perhaps whatever is blocking my ability to visualize anything other than simple hollowed out box will dissipate and I can join the ranks of those who love crafting and resource management.

But for now I suck at crafting games and will depend on my friends to carry me through them. At least these franchises have managed to stay separate. There’s too many to keep track of.

minecraftlego

OH COME ON!

 

10 Soundtracks to get you in the Halloween Mood

I love Halloween. More than love it. Lurve it. I love watching scary movies involving hauntings or exorcisms. I playing spooky games. I love candy. Sure, it all leaves me in a fetal position of terror. But I still love it to bits.

Naturally, when October rolls around my playlist becomes populated with spooky instrumental soundtracks to help get me in the mood even more. My original plan was to post a song every day on Facebook, but then I thought…why not just do it all in one post?!

I’m lazy.

So I am sharing them here in no particular order! Because most of these come from video games and movies, I am going to post a mild spoiler warning here as I might discuss the context in which the song appears. Enjoy! And comment with your favourite Halloween soundtracks as well! Read the rest of this entry

Walking Sims Roundup!

So there is a new genre of game out there. They are called Walking Simulators. Why? Because that’s what the majority of the game play involves. Walking…and story…and some interaction and minor game play…but mostly walking!

I’ve become a sucker for these games. I mean, I love a puzzler or shooter or candy crusher as much as the next person but sometimes I only have a couple of hours of free time and just feel like getting involved in a good story. Read the rest of this entry

How to Survive a Murder Mystery

Admit it, you all at one point or another wanted to be in an Agatha Christie murder mystery, complete with intrigue, quirkly/tortured characters and a denoument in a drawing room of some sort. ADMIT IT!

…Okay, maybe that’s only a desire of mine. I may have been binging a lot of Miss Marple, Midsommer Murders and Shetland lately and I have yet to stop jonesing for more.

And yet watching these murder mysteries, I can’t help but notice…many, many patterns. So I feel compelled to write down some basic rules should you find yourself in a murder mystery situation. But I am not talking about the murderer or detectives. I am talking about the poor innocent suspects who often find themselves dead halfway through. And so I present:

The Top 10 Rules to Surviving a Murdery Mystery (feel free to add more!)

  1. Never utter the words “Oh it’s you” upon turning around and seeing someone you recognize. Death always follows.
  2. If you get information about a dangerous murderer, do not make a vague phone call to the the police detective and say “Listen, I need to talk to you! It’s incredibly important! But I can’t explain here!”. Death is assured. Instead, rush straight to the police station the first moment you get and announce it out loud to all who can hear.
  3. Never sleep secretly with anyone. Death will be almost instantaneous.
  4. Be an obvious suspect. It almost always means you are never the actual killer and guarantees you getting arrested halfway through the murder investigation and safe away from the actual murderer. At the same time…
  5. Be an obvious suspect, but not TOO obvious. Remember, the more obviously evil you are, the more likely you are to be murdered halfway through, causing the detective to have to rethink his strategy.
  6. Don’t be too well loved. Being a well known and beloved figure in the community almost guarantees that you are either harbouring a deep dark secret, that someone has it in for you or both.
  7. Don’t hold any important local events. It doesn’t matter how many years Beet Fest has been going on. These things tend to be murder magnets.
  8. Dinner parties. Enough said.
  9. Never utter the words “You’ll have to kill me if you want (blank)”. It does not matter if the thing in question is the last slice of pie, stating this type of foreshadowing will doom you as the next victim.
  10. Finally, do not rely on the detectives. They may seem like they are making progress, but they are actually just putting in time before a second or even third murder occurs. Instead, invest in a good security system. Secretly.

    Sidekicks Episode 6

    Welp, it’s finally here. The sixth and final episode of Sidekicks.

    It feels a bit odd to see it all out here. Three and a half years ago I thought of an idea and then Errol and I wrote a script. Two years ago we filmed that script. And now it’s all edited and out to the public. Read the rest of this entry

    Sidekicks: Episode 5

    Episode 5 of Sidekicks is here! This week we have a change of location and people talk about feelings more. Lots of feelings actually.

    This was about the point in the writing where I realized I was very much writing this for A Reason. Did it come across? I have no idea. But it was good for me to keep going at it and to see it through.

    This was also my favourite to film because it was indoors and I felt far more free to act the way I wanted rather than being scared of the neighbours complaining about the loud noises coming from the backyard next door.

    Also, that is my apartment. It is in Errol’s basement😀. I had just moved in two months before. It looks much the same now.

    Sidekicks Episode 4

    Episode 4 is here! And we finally start to get conversations that are not entirely antagonistic.

    We’ve been getting great feedback so far! You guys have been awesome! Continue to share and like if you can😀.

    Sidekicks: Episode 3

    Episode 3 is here! Complete with one terrible vacuum/buzz saw. Seriously, that thing was awful. It pretty much took over and there was no cheap way to cover our tracks😀.

    What IS impressive is the tracking shot we got. Fun fact: the moving camera is achieved by putting the camera in the back of DOP’s car while he pushes the ENTIRE CAR down the street. It was awesome.

     

     

    Sidekicks Episode 2!

    Sidekicks Episode 2 is out! See if you can spot the continuity errors😀. Fun fact: Errol’s monologue is completely improvised. But that’s pretty darned obvious.