I am sometimes asked what games I play by people who don’t play games. I try to explain what an adventure game is by mumbling words like “story-driven” and “object puzzles,” and often the faux-interested response is, “Like, role playing games?”
That’s around the time I suckerpunch them in the face repeatedly until their teeth sail out on a steady stream of crimson cranial fluids.
I like RPGs as a concept. I don’t like playing them. Managing stats makes me feel confused and stupid, and engaging in combat makes me aggravated and convinced that the computer is somehow cheating.
This is why Florian Kasper’s new game, Corven: Path of Redemption, has me excited. It’s an RPG at heart, but you can turn off the RPG elements and play it like a normal point-and-click adventure game.
It’s a mystery game in several ways. First of all, the story in itself is a mystery, as in it’s one of those stories you’re thrust into that gradually unfolds with twists and turns that you hopefully wouldn’t expect. Second of all, it is a genuine mystery to all of us, as the Backwoods guys didn’t want to ruin said mystery by talking about it on the show.
That makes sense, of course. But it also meant that, going in, we had no idea what the game was about. All we knew about the game was that it has very, very pretty graphics:
Our main focus for this episode, therefore, was to talk art style. What made them go for this very stylized, hand-drawn-looking type graphics?
Startling news and revelations! One of the Back Seat Designers quits on the air! And, for some reason, we didn’t stop recording, kept going, edited, and released the episode anyway!
Well, of course it’s just a joke, because we really are quite terrible at pretending on this show. The joke about me selling t-shirts was a criticism that was hilariously levelled at me in the SpaceVenture Kickstarter comments (that I was just in it to sell crappy SQH t-shirts from my Zazzle shop — which, incidentally, I don’t make any money from). My co-hosts seemed to relish the opportunity to freely insult me for a few minutes, and it was fun to just play the sort of selfish, money-grubbing bastard I really, truly hate.
It was sort of a last-minute attempt to frame the fact that we’re going on a short two-week mid-season break from the show in a humorous context. We’ll be back on April 23rd with a new show.
What follows is what was supposed to be a short retrospective of how far we’ve come since the first season of the show — not in a self-congratulatory sort of way, but more of a “we can’t believe how lucky we are these days” kind of way. And at the same time explain the origins of the show to newcomers who don’t feel like going back and listening to the show from the beginning.
They say, “Never meet your heroes.” Luckily, they are sometimes wrong.
With apologies to my two lovely co-hosts, I’d like to start this blog post with a personal anecdote.
Through the magic of simply switching on a microphone and yammering into the void, I have been fortunate enough to actually talk to people I used to just merely admire through their work. Two game series in particular helped shape me into the socially awkward, sarcastic bastard I am today — Sierra On-Line’s Space Quest and Access Software’s Tex Murphy.
When The Two Guys From Andromeda, Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe, called me up back in February 2012 and asked me to be part of their Kickstarter campaign for SpaceVenture, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. This week, I had that same feeling again.
Because this week’s guests were none other than Aaron Conners, Mat Van Rhoon, and Chris Jones — better known as, respectively, the writer, the 3D artist, and the man himself of the Tex Murphy games.
If you’ve listened all the way to the end of our episode with Tom Hall, you may have noticed he talked about having made a Commander Keen level in Super Mario Maker. We promised Tom we’d link to those levels in the episode’s blog post, and … did we remember to do that? No. No, of course we didn’t.
So, with apologies to the always-phenomenal Tom, here’s some extra content for you cool kids out there: Tom Hall’s “Keen Mario” level, as well as some bonus levels by Tom.
(Of course, you’re going to need one of those Nintendo-ish things — the WiiU or 3DS — and a copy of Super Mario Maker to play these.)