Games

This page collects recent reports on my gaming activities. This complements the GameReviews with some empirical evidence. Which games am I actually playing? Something I have been wondering myself. Right now it seems that I’m not playing much, anyway. RSS Search

2020-06-06 Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

Today, I bought the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality with over 700 games and I have no idea about how to start exploring this. I’m actually expecting that I can’t play most of them as I don’t run Steam on this GNU/Linux box.

Any recommendations?

I tried Guppy and DreamingSarah. Guppy had an Ubuntu version, which didn’t run on my system because it couldn’t find libz. I installed wine and tried to run the Windows versions of both but they wouldn’t run and wine told me to install win32 which I can’t find – and I’m on an amd64 architecture. When I try to install the Debian package (even though I’m not on Debian) it tells me: “package architecture (i386) does not match system (amd64)” – and I cannot find an amd64 package, which makes sense, since 32 is in the name, I guess. All of this makes me very tired.

Next I tried Autumn which had a proper Debian package but it was made for an old version of LöVE and wouldn’t start because of some Lua errors.

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Comments on 2020-06-06 Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

Just going off of the ones I know, Quadrilateral Cowboy sounds like it would be right up your alley. It’s a first person puzzler about writing programs in order to hack and bypass security systems. Very fun, but also fairly short. Definitely one that leaves you wanting more.

Malcolm 2020-06-06 22:49 UTC


Thank you for the recommendation!

– Alex Schroeder 2020-06-06 22:54 UTC


@JordiGH mentioned other famous games: Micro Mages, Celeste, Night in the Woods, Long Gone Days, 2064, Minit, Oxenfree, Bleed 1 + 2, Nuclear Throne.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-06-10 14:38 UTC


Found this nice Linux focused summary on Gemini.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-06-11 15:32 UTC


@darius has some recommendations on fedi.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-06-13 20:24 UTC


Quick impressions - Bundle for Racial Justice with dozens of capsule reviews.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-06-29 08:54 UTC


@splitbrain has reviews: part 1, part 2

– Alex Schroeder 2020-06-29 19:14 UTC

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2019-07-12 Morrowind

I played Morrowind for a bit on the old Xbox. The first one! I felt super retro. People tell me I should play it using OpenMW. Sadly, that isn’t packaged for my laptop’s distro (PureOS). I guess I need to use flatpak.

Get flatpak:

sudo apt install flatpak

Get OpenMW:

flatpak install --from https://flathub.org/repo/appstream \
/org.openmw.OpenMW.flatpakref

Update the system?

flatpak update

Run it!

flatpak run org.openmw.OpenMW

More info here: How To Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind On Linux With OpenMW. Got my GOG copy. And it seems to work! This didn’t work when I tried it back in March. But now it does. Happy!

Morrowind works!

To allow the Xbox 360 controller to be used:

sudo apt install xboxdrv
sudo rmmod xpad
sudo xboxdrv --silent

There’s a more permanent solution involving blacklisting the default xpad driver on How To Use And Configure Your Xbox 360 Controller on Linux. I haven’t tried that, yet.

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Comments on 2019-07-12 Morrowind

Switching from the console to a laptop keyboard + touchpad isn’t easy. Mostly because I cannot use the touchpad while pressing a key, apparently! I guess I need to play with the Xbox 360 controller, or I need to get a real mouse.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-07-12 20:15 UTC

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2019-06-08 Space Games

I loved the original Elite game which I played on the ZX Spectrum. And yet, I just don’t make time for gaming in my life. That’s how I missed out on EVE Online, Elite: Dangerous, No Man’s Sky, played FTL until I got to see the boss monster (and shot to pieces), played a bit of Out There: Omega Edition but never got far. I even gave the Ur-Quan Masters a try and failed to get anywhere. And now I just read about Endless Sky and it sounds super exciting – but I fear I won’t find the time...

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Comments on 2019-06-08 Space Games

Oh, the memories. I dread to think how many hours of my life were sunk into Elite on the Speccy. Subsequent games in the same vein never caught me though, being too complex, too hard, too demanding...

As irony would have it, I only learned of Space Trader, a Palm game from 2000, when the Android port was recently added to F-Droid. But better late than never: been catching up, on both platforms, and even wrote a review, my first in too many years.

It’s not too late yet. Be kind to yourself. Catch up on fun.

Felix 2019-06-08 11:37 UTC


I poured many hours into Ur-Quan Masters but never finished it (even using a spoiler-y map). That game was super fun and I still sometimes think about the weird alien interactions that happen throughout.

There’s something about that combination of wide open world and evocative scripted interactions that made for really memorable gameplay.

Matt L 2019-06-09 00:12 UTC


So cool!

As for myself, today: Endless Sky.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-06-09 21:41 UTC


I must definitely stop playing Endless Sky. I get the same feeling as when I watch TV: hours wasted. Now I remember why gaming isn’t my hobby but simply a distraction in between other things.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-06-12 14:35 UTC

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2019-04-19 Roguelike

I’m listening to Roguelike Radio, a podcast about roguelike games (check out the wiki). Now I want to read the book Procedural Generation in Game Design, since I’m listening to the episode about it.

But I know I no longer read long books. I just think I want to read them. 🤔

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2019-04-07 Minecraft

Yesterday we were visiting some friends and their little daughter was at home, I dunno, maybe ten years old? And she played Minecraft on her phone when I looked over her shoulder. We started talking and then she explained that if we were in the same network, we could play in the same world even without a “realm” – and so we tried it, and it worked!

We played for a while, and it was good fun, except that she also thought it was funny to kill me every now and then. Sneaky bastard!

But fun was had and now I’m back at home and thinking about Minecraft.

DM Peter runs a Minecraft realm which I can visit using my Java Edition Minecraft on the laptop.

I have my own little world on the iPad and apparently the phone Minecrafts and the Java Minecrafts are incompatible? Oh well.

On the laptop I also have Minetest installed, but I don’t know anybody playing it.

Well, today I’m going to visit DM Peter’s realm again. See what he’s been up to. I haven’t been there in ages.

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Comments on 2019-04-07 Minecraft

I don’t know why I like building roads. Cobble stone roads...

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-07 17:01 UTC

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2018-11-26 Fennel and Bussard

@bussard said “OK, I went ahead and rebooted the Bussard codebase with a fresh start. The new version lives at https://git.sr.ht/~technomancy/bussard and is written in 100% #fennel”

Yay!

I won’t have much time during the week, but I’m still interested in figuring out how one would write quests. I’m imagining myself as a kind of Skyrim-mission-writer, and then the kinds of stories evolving from that would dictate the feature requests for the game engine.

Which means that the first step is: how does one write missions. :)

Actually, perhaps a common touch point would be the genre. Is this going to be solarpunk? What sort of happy future is it going to be? What are our literary inspirations?

@technomancy was thinking of doing some kind of contrasting where the outer colonies are a solarpunk post-scarcity type society and the inner planets are capitalist, and having the game start with your ship being rescued on an outer colony world after drifting for decades following a struggle and botched launch from an inner-planets colony.

I mean, there’s inspiration in the Culture novels: artificial intelligence, space travel, post-scarcity.

Schismatrix used to be one of my favorites as a teenager. Basically it has life in the outer solar system, longevity, miners in the astroid belts, post-humans going for hardware, post-humans going for biotech, the earth lost... there’s a lot of grit and a message that basically says, life goes on, even after the apocalypse. For the solarpunk angle, one could deemphasize the grit. The idea of circumlunar space being full of political experimentation is very cool.

Saturn's Children might be relevant because of the idea that robots/ais are all that’s left and life’s still interesting. The sex bot angle is weird but that’s not the most interesting part for us, perhaps.

Both Saturn’s Children and Schismatrix find some sort of resolution with the protagonists moving to the outer solar system.

I guess in terms of political experimentations one could also look at the Mars series. Red Mars in particular had an interesting start. I didn’t enjoy the endless geography but politics was interesting.

Perhaps waking up in the outer system, and working your way back up into good standing, and in doing so, discovering (and at the same time determining) your past might be a cool metaplot for the beginning.

I like the Skyrim structure. It’s the CRPG I’ve played the longest. You can decide whether to join the empire or the rebels; you can join all the major guilds; you can become a thane to multiple jarls; and that’s all outside the main plot which is about fighting the bad dragon that is waking/resurrecting the old dragons.

I’m thinking that I should get it to run, and then write little 100-word stories that I think might fit until we have maybe ten or twelve, and then start thinking about how we could put these into the game? See how that goes, figure out whether that’s a good way to go about it?

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2018-09-05 Pick Five Video Games

This is a companion piece to Pick Five RPG Games. #Pick5Games is this: “If you had to recommend someone play 5 games to really get a feel for you/your tastes, what five would you pick?”

  • Mass Effect – I finished all three games in the series. Given how few games I actually finish, this is surely a measure of success.
  • Soul Calibur II – I think this one was the best of them all. The earlier one was clunky and the later ones are too sexualized. The women look younger and younger, the boobs look bouncier and bouncier... I don’t like that. Zeno and I played this for hours, always ending with me playing Mitsurugi and him playing the guy with the bo stick. Best beat-em-up game. Not too hard to learn but still fun.
  • Burnout: Takedown – I liked it better than the sequel (”Revenge”) and again, Zeno and I played this for hours. This was the best racer.
  • Skyrim – I’ve played this for many hours. My orc specializing in making my own enchanted weapons and armour was the best. And I finished the main quest, too. This is rare! And I still like playing it. It was much better than the previous one in the series: Oblivion got on my nerves because I was playing a bad combo (archer wood elf) and when I gained a level, everybody else kept getting stronger and stronger, and so one of the last things I did was disturb a troll at the bottom of the dungeon, then running all the way up and out onto the street until I met a guard who then proceeded to kill the troll for me. That’s when I decided that there really was no point.
  • Ultima IV – I’ve recently tried playing it again and it wasn’t as interesting as I remember it being back when I was fourteen. This was the best! Sadly, I never got the answers right at the bottom of the last dungeon (or mistyped them?) and then I decided I was done trying. I also played Ultima V for the longest time and don’t remember why I didn’t finish. I did finish Ultima VI. But really, IV was the one that showed me how great this game could be.

I spent way too much time on this silly meme! I removed Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story because Skyrim and Ultima IV were stronger influences on me. FFT reminds me: I also didn’t mention Advance Wars although I liked that a lot. Oh well.

As for racing games, I guess I also liked Project Gotham Racing. I never played any of the follow ups.

I really liked Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 + 2. Perhaps I should have put these in place of Ultima VI. Those first person shooters that moved slowly, where patience is valuable, where the number of enemies is fixed and picking them off one by one actually works. Those were good games!

I sort of liked the authentic feel of Medal of Honor: Frontline. I didn’t play any other game in the series. I remember seeing movies about World War II and finding scenes eerily similar to the game. That was well done. But the entire concept of endless waves of enemies is so stupid. That always annoys me. Same for Call of Duty8.

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2018-07-25 MUD

I remember in the early days – back when I didn’t have email and nobody had Internet at home and FidoNet was a thing – I was at the University of Zürich and me and my friends, we knew about free computer access in a room at the ETH (the “university for science and technology”) and we went there and we played in the LochNess MUD. Apparently it’s still up!?

Anyway, I recently decided what with the weather being so hot and me having a lot of free time at hand that I wanted to give it a try. I asked around on Mastodon and @ersatzmaus suggested Nanvaent and @klaatu suggested Ancient Anguish. I created characters on both and took a look around. Nanvaent seemed livelier than Ancient Anguish and so I spent three hours on Nanvaent, explored the starting village, the forest, the wuzzie village, the lake in the south, walked along the abyss in the east, killed a few orcs and bandits... and... I don’t know. Nothing?

I guess I was bored. A MUSH or MUD should shrink when fewer people play. As it is, the map is huge and thus you’re lonely. I guess I’m comparing it to the constant stream of new and exciting things in Skyrim: places to discover, quests both big and small to do, interesting dialogue... That’s what I would like to foster, if I were to run a MUD. But here, you see a score of people on who but most are idle, a few nice high level wizards, maybe a newbie like me on the channel, asking questions, and I’ve spent three hours in this world and haven’t found a simple quest to solve.

Later, I discovered that at the bottom of the tower is a library where you can get a little blurb for all the quests. But you have to read all the quest infos... and they are cryptic, referring to people and places I haven’t seen. And I got tired.

Perhaps I’m too simple minded for these setups. I like the text interface, but I also like the easy sliding into the world, the drawing into it, the starting experience modern computer role-playing games provide.

I was talking to @jos about shrinking worlds. Jos mentioned vast and abandoned areas in Second Life. That’s exactly what I mean. And I don’t want it to be populated by artificial intelligence (AI). Wouldn’t it feel strange to be playing in a world populated by thousands of of slightly stupid AI characters and a bunch of characters run by humans? I think I’d like to know that most characters are run by a human. Thus, making sure that I will meet humans is important.

I guess what I would like to do is for the world to “forget” connections to coherent chunks of abandoned areas. These lands slowly go offline. We think that the work we put into them is so wonderful but really, if there’s nobody to look at it, does second life still exist in meaningful way? Is there a sound if nobody hears it?

The only reason I don’t want to downright delete swathes of virtual land is that it might be interesting to still find your way into these abandoned lands at a later point, if and only if player population rises again.

In other news, I killed Alduin in Skyrim. I guess there’s no point in continuing to play, now? Perhaps I should get the old Xbox (the first one!) and play Morrowind? I think I still have that game somewhere.

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2018-05-15 Game Development

Game Making Tools Wiki, by @ryliejamesthomas. This sounds great.

A while back I mentioned some minimal game development environments:

  • LIKO-12. LIKO-12 is an open source fantasy computer completely written in the Lua programming language where you can make, play and share tiny retro-looking games and programs.
  • TIC-80. TIC-80 is a fantasy computer for making, playing and sharing tiny games. Same thing.
  • PX8. Open source Fantasy Console in Rust (with Python and Lua).
  • PICOLOVE, an implementation of the PICO-8 API for LOVE.
  • Pyxel, a retro game engine for Python.

All of these descendants of PICO-8, I guess?

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Comments on 2018-05-15 Game Development

Game Making Tools Wiki ;3

All these other Pico-esque things are news to me, thanks for sharing!

Rylie 2018-06-18 10:14 UTC


Thanks, fixed!

– Alex Schroeder 2018-06-18 12:30 UTC

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2018-03-18 Cendric

I’m always surprised to find game developers in Switzerland. Just, now for example, C-Keen pointed me at Cendric. I must give this a try.

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