A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Jurassic Park for the Sega CD: A Short Tribute

Ahh the forgotten Jurassic Park game.

I still cannot exactly remember WHY I bought it back then but I had little in the way of bills when in the Navy and mostly just spent my money on silly things.

This great game is one of them.

It is not an action game like the others.  It is a point and click adventure game, one of the only ones I actually like even if I wasn't able to ever finish it.

In the Navy some other people in my department even got into the game and in those 1994-95 times there were no FAQs or anything.  We just had to try to figure the damned thing out and help each other along as we did in Super Metroid on the SNES.  (Or hope for a magazine to cover the game as one did for Super Hydlide on the Genesis.  Another game I need to pay my respects to here one day.)

We probably should have made maps or something but didn't.

Thankfully one of the people behind the game has.

(And before we get into the screenshots taken in the Fusion emulator credit must go to a silly thread on Something Awful that inspired me to take it out and play a little.  http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3660703&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=1  )

 Littered around the park are these little 4 part videos with voice and limited video talking about the dinosaurs you will be trying to collect eggs from before your twelve hour escape limit is up.

 Dr. Robert Bakker hosts these little mini segments.

 OH WOW IT IS A PAIR OF BRACHIOSAURUSESESES!   Sadly I need a CD to play their information file.  Much of the game is spent in this first person viewpoint mode.  The crosshairs there can be used to look around and interact with things where it turns into a green X, or a couple of white action symbols.  (A magnifying glass for looking at a thing, an arrow for a place you can move to, a hand to use.)  You scroll around in a 360 degree arc with the top right satellite dish blinking a blue light when you have a VIDEO MAIL BECAUSE THIS IS HIGH TECH STUFF.  Obviously in the top center there is your compass.  Top right is your time counter which works in real time outside of when you travel to various locations where your time will jump instead of making you watch a 1-15 minute video of walking through a jungle.  (Instead it is a sped up couple of seconds.  It was the early 90s.  CDs were mostly used for video like this.)  And below that is your life bar.  Because dinosaurs like adventurers whose helicopters mysteriously crash on islands full of dinosaurs.  As a late night snack!

 While most places are standard 64 color Genesis pixel graphics, they stupidly made the Visitor Center from the movie prerendered 3d video.  Which in the color palette and resolution of the Genesis is mostly a semi viewable mess.  It would probably look a little better on an actual CRT TV set of the day.  A little.  I remember being amazed by it at the time however.

 See?  You can barely read the text on the doors.  Trying various emulation filter and video options didn't really help much.  It is actually more legible in the screenshot than in the emulator that I am not even running full screen on a 22" monitor!

(See the keycard?  You have one that gets upgraded to open various things and doors as you go.  You have to use it every single time you open these doors.  Kind of annoying.)

 IT IS A UNIX SYSTEM I KNOW THIS!!!  Actually it is where you save your game and check your video phone mail done in video.  Thankfully Jurassic Park is a Sega CD game where the FMV stuff is mostly just fluff.

Having to traipse back to the Visitor Center to save your game and thus waste in game time is kind of irritating but you can recharge one your weapons, use a First Aid box, and something we will get to.  (And of course get video where this nice lady tells you what is going on.  She is much better and less intrusive than Otis from Dead Rising.)

 I found a pair of pliers.  I can use them to remove a CD stuck in this kiosk at the front gate.  No I do not know why both power and torches are still working in Jurassic Park.

 One of your three remappable control pad buttons opens your inventory window and lets you select items.  Another button uses them on the main viewscreen and the final is your travel button when those arrows pop up.  It takes a little getting used to and the crosshairs stays as an inventory item if said item has been selected.  Which can be annoying when you are trying to survive some nasty dinosaurs or use a thing and get to a place quickly.

 The in game map is not the most helpful of things.

 Having to go here will probably be a bad time.

 Here too.  Your weapons are only stun type.  

 Grabbing a rock and placing it on this wobbly floating log lets me move deeper into this area.  The egg down in the lower right shows me I have some dinosaur eggs to bring back to the incubation chamber back at the Visitor Center.

 You have to get eggs from seven dinosaur species back to the incubator.  Once you pick them up your time is kind of short.  Again, make a map and grab eggs on return trips to save time.  But look out for living dinosaurs.  They do not approve of your baby stealing ways.

 So far I have saved two eggs from one type of dinosaur!

 Uh oh!  What is moving in the growth and hitting me for damage?  

OH NO.  Good dino, nice dino, sweet dino?

Nope!  I am now dead like...Newman.

This is a really fun and forgotten treasure of the Sega CD.  It has dinosaurs!  Dr. Robert Bakker!  Q Sound audio!  A point and click adventure with a time limit and a single place to save to amp the tension and give a little replayability as you try to save as many eggs as you can and complete the game in a faster time!

So give it a shot!  It is a very good introductory styled adventure game!

(And way better than most of Sierra's output...)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Kickshart My Heart: Or: Why Kickstarter Sucks Yet Should Not.

Ahh Kickstarter.  A brilliant idea ruined by greed and basic human selfishness like every other good idea in the history of ever.

For those not in the know, Kickstarter is presumably a way for small and start up companies to get ideas the large idiotic corporations (who ruin Capitalism every day speaking of good ideas gone horribly wrong..) simply will not do because of lack of vision and the modern aversion to risk and selling crap to the lowest common denominator until it doesn't sell any more and they run something else into the ground.

(See Call of Duty and the Guitar Hero games for electronic examples of this.)

Sadly instead Kickstarter is mostly a preorder program.  A preorder program of failed promises.  Almost nothing but failed promises.

Companies whose products are all but guaranteed success use it now constantly even when their previous KS item in the same franchise succeeded in the first week.

Much like it's spiritual cousins Patreon (a way to give money to people who make stuff you enjoy so they can keep making Youtube videos instead of working a real job), Indiegogo (its like Kickstarter except where Kickstarter has to reach a funding level by a certain date to succeed and only then is your money taken out for the project Indiegogo gets it anyhow), and Steam Early Access (basically you pay money for unfinished computer games and hope the developer actually finishes and makes the game good eventually) Kickstarter is like low price investing.

Except for things you might like.

If they come out on time.

And keep most of their promises.

However you are giving them money months if not YEARS in advance and very rarely get what you want or even know if it is good ahead of time.

Just like every other preorder program in the history of ever.

Instead of waiting for a good sale or good reviews or seeing if a game community forms up to make it even worthwhile you have to give your money now and hope.

All the while the producers get to pretend you are involved and helping them make something great.

It's really just low risk production for the producers which I honestly cannot blame them for even if as a consumer it SUCKS ASS.

I am basically done with Kickstarting anything.  Nearly every project I have interest in succeeded by leaps and bounds regardless of my involvement and having to give money to a thing within a month window is generally bad for my finances.

But let us take a look at what I did Kickstart so we can see exactly why I am sick of it and what I have gotten out of it eh?

(The answer is mostly disappointment.)

See this is pretty much everything I have Kickstarted.  Of these items and note the dates I have only gotten FIVE of them at all.  Four of them are not out yet by their own estimated date.  Thirteen projects.  Nine supposed to be out by now.  Almost half of them aren't out yet that should have been.  And as far as I can remember not a single one remotely was out on time.




So if you were buying any of these sort of projects as a gift for another or in preparation for a convention or other sort of holiday or event?  You done screwed up!

Now that we have seen the master list and how much money I wasted sight unseen, let us talk about each one so I can go back and see exactly how much I got screwed?

Cosmic Star Heroine: It isn't out yet.  I mostly just see the odd update once in a blue moon about it being worked on and here is a screenshot of a thing.

Shantae:  Again not out.  Higher tier backers get to vote on enemy sprites for the game and stuff.  I've seen pictures and the like.  Yay?

Warmachine Tactics:  So far it is mostly coming out when prescribed or close enough.  Except well.. two problems.

1: The solo campaign isn't due till LATE NOVEMBER.  They had a series of limited edition miniatures you could buy as well with a special coin.  For 20 bucks.  In general the now normal wide release (but coinless) versions that came out four odd months later have better sculpts. For 15.  Yes.  I grabbed the Mercenary figure because I disliked the Khador sculpt.  And guess what he looks like?


That's right kids!  HE DOESN'T WORK FOR ALL THE FACTIONS!  And as far as I could tell his stat card wasn't spoiled or anything till well after the purchase window closed.  He works for three out of six depending on your viewpoint of Mercenaries as a separate faction.

2: The game is.. so far not so good.  In fact a lot of people are unhappy about it.
 You see, mostly the game has been selling to Warmachine/Hordes fans as a way to play the game online or against the computer with an RPG Tactics styled solo campaign.  Well the game takes serious liberties but keeps just enough to annoy while playing slow as hell in multiplayer.

One nice thing they eventually did was open Early Access play to all backers while earlier on suckers who backed at a higher level got to play it early in a MUCH less polished state.  Or suckier suckers who paid the equivalent (65 dollars US) to get in early after the fact.

And I just did normal game backing due to funds and not wanting to pay more for a WORSE GAME.  So I got to see what they did recently.  The game changes a lot for the hell of it and most of the changes make for a slower game and a more boring one.  Squad units are now individuals who always have Hit Points even if they did not otherwise in tabletop.  A number of attributes are no longer listed in numbers even though the game uses die rolls.

Oh, and lots of mechanics aren't working like tabletop though they are supposed to.  Some of this will be patched in later but not all.  And much like Mechwarrior Online I am guessing online play metagame will quickly show this to be a bad idea.  Either go for 1 to 1 translations as much as possible, or don't even try.  Going half ass is just a big mistake.

It looks pretty though it runs very slowly in both game design for multiplayer and in engine FPS speed.

I am not ready to write the game off yet but their "everyone is an individual" design conceit actually makes the game slower and clunkier than just having squad movement options.  A fair amount of people I have talked to are less happy with it than I am.

Robotech RPG Tactics:  Well this one is super late.  Like ultra late.  And it is even worse than it seems.  You see they had a "poll" to see if they could be allowed by backers to sell some of the first copies of the game at Gen Con this month.  Well magically a near 80% of voters said it was ok for people going to a midwest gaming convention to purchase the game before people who paid money for it over a year past.  Thankfully the game got "Held up at the customs port" and nobody got it.

Even worse?  I am one of the people who just bought in for a couple of the LE figures.  We aren't even in the first wave of products.  Probably our stuff is due NEXT YEAR.

Keep it classy Palladium!

Torment:  Not out yet.  I've seen a couple pictures I think.  It might already be declared as late.

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls:  Well it isn't out yet and they do not know when it will be out.  They are working on it.  On the upside they have given preview PDFs and various freebie PDFs from RPGNow/DriveThruRPG which is nice of them.  Disappointing in being so goddamned late but at least they are giving extra goodies.

Sword of Fargoal 2:  Another late as Hell with no release in sight project.  They have given us the original remake that I paid money for on iOS for free (which is quite good), and a couple early alphas.  Disappointing.

Transforming Collections:  It was a couple months late.  But we got a lot of full or nearly full PDFs of the book in development.  He later on did a second book but I decided to not bother given the short(ish) delay on this one.  Again if the first book did well why would you need proof a second one would do ok?  Its sending risk over to the consumer.  Because in our modern world of Ron Paul's Blessed Randian Free Market the consumer is always the bottom.  Because we take it where it is uncomfortable.  And not in the backseat of a Volkswagon.

Reaper Bones:  I cannot recall how late this one was.  It might have been close enough to ship date for me to be ok with it.  But the end product was.. I was unhappy.

See these miniatures don't want you to use spraypaint or spray primer.  You are supposed to paint right on top of the unprimed plastic otherwise you end up with eternally tacky feeling paint.

I am still not sure how this model ended up allowing me to prime her.  (She has a bit more paint on it than this now.)

You DID get a lot for your money if you don't mind painting right over unpainted white plastic.

Most pieces are single part but a few of the larger ones are not and need a little glue and gap filling.

I traded and sold off a few and a few more I am keeping but overall I am gonna trade/sell these off once an IRC friend gets off his Philly ass.

Oh, and they did another Bones Kickstarter in spite of this one doing super amazingly well.  I passed given the sheer disappointment I felt with the model's inability to accept any form of spray paint ever.

Sedition Wars:  Another one I recall being late.  But not too too late.  The included rulesbook was generally considered to be massively flawed but I got a revised book for a couple bucks and they have had beta PDFs with new missions and a solo mode option.  The game did NOT do well to the point the 100 dollar core game was on flash clearance sales for 35.

The models are very nice but use that kind of plastic that is kind of rubbery when warm and needs super glue.  Which is good because getting the infantry figurines for the humans together would be hell other wise.  And I still have not assembled everything.

I did mostly paint up the cybernetic zombie figures for a Gamma World game that never even got to the point of using them.  I still need to finish these guys up but I don't need them immediately so you know, why worry about it?

Ogre Designer's Edition:  Its great.  But it was an entire YEAR late.  I have covered it previously so no need to post pictures and the like.  Plus whenever I get around to posting about my Ogre collection there will be more pictures.  Until then just search the blog if you want to see how absurdly BIG it is.

http://wargamedork.blogspot.com/search?q=ogre  here.  I did the work for you.

Shadowrun Returns:  This one was about six months or so late.  And is tied with Ogre in being one of the only KS projects I am overall pleased with in spite of a massive delay.  However if I hadn't KSed it and waited a couple of weeks I would have had a generally slightly better game.  The expansion I got free (Dragonfall) was EXCELLENT.  So excellent in the next month or so it is being released as a stand alone release with expanded content.  If you are silly enough to want to replay the whole game.

Or like so many things based around preordering or the like:  I COULD HAVE WAITED SIX-TWELVE MONTHS AND GOT A BETTER AND CHEAPER EXPERIENCE.  You see this is another reason why Kickstarting or preordering things is bad.  Unless you are one of those who simply has to be first and at the forefront why not wait and get it better and cheaper?  See if it is any good.  See if a community exists for it if needed.  Wait till the flaws get fixed with bug patches or an FAQ.  A sale.  You know, what a non consumer whore does.  Do you really need to talk about it online current events style?  If so.. ask yourself WHY.

But the game is so fun I cannot say I wouldn't mind going through it again though.  Eiger is totally cool.

Shadowrun Dragonfall kicks butt.

Wasteland 2:  It is so late it isn't out until next month!  To be fair I could play Early Access for months but why play a limited and less patched version of the game?  I should not do this.  So why not wait?  They did give some free digital downloads of older titles though which ones Wasteland 2 gave me and which ones Torment did (or if they both did) I no longer recall.  Still.. a YEAR late?  REALLY?


But at least they try.

And that is the biggest problem.  Kickstarter wants to be a way to patronize projects that otherwise wouldn't be made.

Instead it is a preorder program so companies can constantly be months if not years late giving you anything.

And that is why I simply avoid almost any and all Kickstarters.

Well, for the hobby games segment there is another reason too.  Perhaps that will be another post eh?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mechwarrior Online Update: Still No Content. Still.

Well yeah.  But the game has had some nice improvements in between piles of nothing.

So let's get started since we have a couple months of nothing.

 Improvement of wait time was a lie.  Like most of the time it seems to be a 2-5 minutes or so wait even on PLAY ANYTHING EVEN KILL EM ALL MODE.  Fall damage hasn't really been a thing I have noticed.

 Being able to go back to any size (almost) group games is VERY VERY NICE.  It brings back fun and casual pick up play with the Something Awful Goons.

 The out of match interface is still odd and clunky honestly.  It works but it takes time to figure it all out and never feels "right".

 Falling in my robots, these actuators they do not work?

 More money to sink into modules plus XP!

 Some Clan weapon tweaks that do little.  Clans win in general.  Its not impossible to beat them and they do tend to be run by bad players but they have an advantage.  Most of these tuneups help them.  Plus stuff with the Zoom vision modes.

 Targeting Computer into.  Plus some Command Console changes to actually make the thing use... BWAHAHA NO.  Its stupid and terrible.  3 Tons is armor, heat sinks, ammo, weapons.  This is not that useful outside of 12 man dedicated team play.  And you are still boned for not having Clan Assaults as opposed to an Atlas.  

Some bug fixes.

Well that was a big patch eh?  Let's see what a fortnight or so got us!

 More cockpit toys.  Yay.  

 The ability to rejoin a match is a very nice thing indeed!  The reduced damage for Clan LRMs in close is nice but still gives them the edge over Inner Sphere.  Without being absurd.

(Yet LRM fiends still try to avoid engaging in fights.  Because giving people less targets is GOOD I guess.  Sure LRM swarms are scary.  But 100 ton Clan mechs mounting 3 Gauss Rifles are far scarier.)

 Repair Tool being in the game client is nice.  Should save some headaches.

And some of the usual minor fixes.

Moving swiftly along...

 Now every mech can have gobs of modules.  On one hand you can actually USE THEM now.  On the other it becomes massive CBill/MC, and XP sinks for usually modest gains.

 Charts explain it kind of.

 FINALLY HALLELUJAH!  This is something I have wanted for months and months!
You do have to take the modules that reload out, then put them back in to get it working right the first time however.

 Clan modules for guns and gun accessories.

More minor tweaking of falling plus some stuff with Arm Locking and things to kind of make each Mech somewhat special.  But not really.

Not too many things dealt with.

Then the most ultimate and amazing patch came this month:

Can you handle this?

Can you handle the next patch?  I know it is a lot to take in!

 A nice bit warning one of GHOST HEAT in game client.  Because it is a confusing stupid thing that non dork people are not going to know of or understand.


 I have no idea when this popped up but now zooming has a nice smooth effect and the zoom level number counts up and down quickly as it changes.

 Another thing I didn't remember popping up!  Now you can buy half ton ammunition!  Use up that last pesky half a ton or save weight for those weapons where you don't need a whole load.

And the "content" I generally don't post about any more because it isn't content.  New mech chassis.  In this case another stupid real life money for fake robot one.  The Vindicator!  Here being killed by another of the same Hero chassis version.  Its nothing special at all really.  

And there we have it!  Nearly two months of Mechwarrior Online changes.  As usual it continues to fix things, break things, fix the things they broke because the fix was stupid, and no new content we really need to enjoy the game.

This lovely Gundam cost around 25 US though online stores could have it as low as 19.  A quality physical robot you can lovingly craft in 3-6 hours (pre painting/panel inking time) and which I may do a full review of soon.  Use money for this not virtual robots because that encourages them to not put anything interesting to do in their game.

(Because much like this blog, the game needs meaningful content.  Except I have the excuse of nobody caring and not getting paid for this.  PGI doesn't.)


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