May 5th, 2013
April 3rd, 2013
I’d have to admit I haven’t played a Lucasarts game in over a decade, and couldn’t really tell you anything about their current output. But this is still a sad moment for those of us who were PC gamers back in the 90s. Apart from Star Wars stuff, they were of course one of the big names in graphical adventures, bringing us some inventive and characterful classics like Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle.
A better blog than us would write some lengthy retrospective, but for a little tribute, here’s just one of the most memorable scenes from their games, the intro to the original Monkey:
April 1st, 2013
A few years ago I reviewed a game called King of the Road. My main motivation for doing so was that it seemed like quite an original idea, and the prospect of doing some normal, open-world driving without distractions like speed boosts, handbrake turns and jumps was fairly appealing.
Unfortunately the game was a bit dull and also lacked a little polish, but it was interesting enough for a while, and I was glad to have covered something a little unusual that hadn’t been done to death before or since. This mild self-satisfaction soon dissipated upon my later discovery of the prolific 18 Wheels of Steel series, and the fact that there had been numerous lonely truck driver games released between the time that King of the Road came out and the point at which I came to write my review. Ahem.
Whether any of them are any good, I don’t know – I’d lazily assumed not, to be honest, and my KOTR experience didn’t prompt a rush to find out for myself – but my head was recently turned by one of the writers from Rock, Paper, Shotgun speaking of a game called Euro Truck Simulator 2 in fairly glowing terms.
At first, I thought it was a big joke, especially given the extremely un-promising reputation of any game with the word ‘simulator’ attached. But, according to Metacritic, it seems not.
The trailer seems to be simultaneously taking the piss while also making the game look quite appealing:
The guy from RPS seemed quite taken with it, too.
March 5th, 2013
Recently we had some great news in the world of retro gaming – System Shock 2 finally made its way onto gog.com. So after many years in the wilderness, you can once again buy a copy of the classic scifi-horror themed shooter-rpg hybrid.
This did however inspire me to ponder, other games that are yet to make an appearance on digital distribution. The list of available oldies is ever growing, but there are still a few conspicuous absences left. Here are a few suggestions (note, I’m talking games we’re unable to buy anywhere, not just on gog).
Okay I admit this was something of a niche interest. I intended this list to be more games more objectively in need of recognition, as opposed to my personal favourites.
However, as I just mentioned we do now have the sequel. Also Shock is still the second most requested game on gog (after Grim Fandango), so there’s clearly demand. The Thinking Man’s Doom, as it was called, was in several regards far ahead of the standard shooters of the day. So I hope we can one day see it available to modern audiences. (probably with the mouselook mod installed).
The fiendishly frustrating-yet addictive strategy-puzzler. We all remember lemmings, surely? Has to be one of the most popular games of the early 90s. I’m sure this would sell quite readily. What’s more, apart from desire to see it on gog, this strikes me as something that should be sold for tablets. The controls are suited to touchscreen. lso, ipad is the perfect platform for grabbing the attention of those who are only casual gamers but do recall Lemmings from their childhoods.
Sadly, since original publishers Psygnosis were owned by Sony, the only release we’ve had in the past decade was for PSP, in 2006.
Most of the Lucasarts Back Catalogue
By far the most glaring omission. What’s going on here? A few years ago they created special editions of the first two Monkey Islands, and a scattering of other oldies like Loom got Steam releases too. Since then, nothing. We’re still waiting for some of the very greatest point-and-click adventures, like Day of the Tentacle or Sam and Max. Not to mention, outside of adventuring, the X-wing series.
Those are the most obvious picks to me, but feel free to chip in with any suggestions you feel are priorities!
February 10th, 2013
Hi and welcome to the latest in our ongoing series of game discussions. This time we thought we’d try ourselves against a big-name, relatively recent title.
If (like us) you live under a rock and don’t keep up with modern gaming, Mass Effect is an action-RPG from the prolific Bioware. It uses third-person cover-shooter type gameplay, and also gives you control of up to three characters at any one time. It’s also known for the epic scifi-story that takes place over three games, and for the range of colourful sidekicks who join the lead character.
Warning: this discussion is totally spoiler-iffic. (Of course if you already know what happens you didn’t need me to introduce the game, heh).
January 20th, 2013
No, I’m not having another eBay clearout. But something’s got to give. Another year has passed and the cupboard under the stairs is still overflowing with unplayed games. And yet, I still buy more: a trip to CeX at lunchtime here, an idle browse of eBay there…and don’t even get me started on the digital archive of unplayed items that is my Steam account (there’s one or two on GOG, too, I think).
I was explaining this problem to a work colleague, who shared with me his own strategy for purchasing games. “Essentially,” he said, “I buy a game and play it until I finish it, or get bored of it. Then I buy another one.”
It all sounds rather straightforward when you put it like that. I’m not sure when it all got out of hand: perhaps it was the extended period of time lumbered with an old and wheezy machine that couldn’t handle anything released after 2002, which left a good six years’ worth of gaming to catch up on; or maybe there’s something about FFG (or any similar website) that leads someone to make strange and unpredictable choices on the basis that something “might be interesting to cover one day”. Or perhaps I’ve just always bought more games than I’ve been able to play.
This is hardly an unusual problem, and if I showed you a picture of the cupboard itself, it would certainly look rather pathetic when compared with some of the mighty collections I’ve seen documented elsewhere. (Oh, go on then…if nothing else the sheer messiness of it all might raise a chuckle).
Also: I generally do get around to playing most things, eventually, even if some considerable time has passed since the moment I pulled it off the shelves. (The game I completed most recently was purchased from a branch of Zavvi, a chain that went bust at the end of 2008). But, of course, by that time, others have appeared.
However – it’s time to break the cycle. So, here goes: I’m going to ban myself from buying games in 2013. New, or used, physical or digital, it’s all out of bounds. Instead, I’m going to focus on that backlog.
I actually don’t think it’s going to be difficult, and it’s certainly not something I’d want to be construed as a bizarre and unnecessary form of self-flagellation, as I force myself to invest all of my spare time in murderously unenjoyable strategy titles that I wished I’d never bought in the first place, while complaining about it on the internet.
On the contrary, I think it’s going to be fun – most of the games are ones that I do genuinely want to play, but for reasons unknown I just, well, haven’t. Anything I can write about on FFG, I will, and anything I can’t, I won’t.
I also won’t bore on about this self-imposed ban, either. I wanted to write about it here, though, just to state my intention, on the record. Whether it works, or lasts, or whatever, remains to be seen, but I’m looking forward to it.
January 1st, 2013
Happy New Year! As it’s the season for continuing unwelcome traditions, here’s my annual roundup of the year in FFG-land. [Yay! - a reader].
Overall, we managed a reasonably steady stream of content across the year, roughly on a par with what we’ve produced in previous years (with the exception of the magical, industrious 2007, but we’ll have to dismiss that as a miraculous one-off). A couple of monkeys were removed from backs in 2012, as I finally managed to play, and review, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, while my esteemed colleague produced the long-promised King’s Quest VI write-up. I think he had slightly more fun than I did. Jo’s review of King’s Quest VII followed later, further boosting our coverage of Sierra adventure series (okay, it’s incomplete, and out of sequence, but it is there, at least).
The FFG sports section was bolstered by significant football game coverage this year, with a Kick Off vs Goal! face-off early in the year, and reviews of not one, not two, but three FIFA games. (Although don’t expect any more anytime soon). The best thing that can be said is, at least we had a cricket-free year.
April saw the introduction of a brand-new feature on FFG, the discussion review. Following our brief experimentation with the format while revisiting some old favourites for last year’s anniversary features, we decided to take the plunge and apply it to some games we hadn’t previously covered. Hardball III was the first, followed by Bio Menace and Delta Force.
Elsewhere, more modern games started to feature, with 2006-era titles such as Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (I reviewed an RPG, mum!) edging themselves onto the site. Another modern(ish) game to feature was The Movies, which saw the two of us immortalised as a buddy-cop duo.
So, what will 2013 bring? I’d be lying if I promised anything other than more of the same, in roughly similar quantities. Although somewhere, FFG v3 is being worked on by, ahem, top men, and I imagine we’d hope to have something to unveil at some stage in the next year or so. As always, if you have any requests, be sure to let us know. Otherwise, thanks for reading, and here’s to the year ahead.
November 8th, 2012
November 8th, 2012
And it looks like there’s some Morrowind-style buildings. iirc some Dunmer fled there after Morrowind itself got trashed. Could be a good way of appealing to player nostalgia, without having to do a full-game-sized landmass.
I’ve held off from expansions so far, after spending far too much time playing Skyrim itself, but this is the first one to seriously risk luring me back in.
November 1st, 2012
If you follow geek news, or movie news, or probably any news at all, you’ve probably heard that Disney has spent about a bajillion dollars buying Lucasfilm from George Lucas.
The most important aspect of this is, of course, that they plan on making new Star Wars films. Which I’m cautiously optimistic about – after all, this is the same group that brought us Avengers. I’m confident they can beat the prequel trilogy, anyway.
For the purposes of this little blog though, our interests are regarding Lucasarts’ back catelogue. A few years ago they gave us remakes of the first two Monkey Islands, and put a few other oldies on Steam, but then they seemed to lose interest. So despite the ever-increasing ease of buying old games, we still can’t get TIE Fighter or Day of the Tentacle. Will their new corporate overlords be more eager to make the full range available?
As for what this means for *new* Lucasarts games, the future may not be bright. Rock Paper Shotgun suggest we could be in for a run of mobile and social media games and little in the way of big-budget releases.
(RPS seem as cool and trendy as it gets in terms of gaming sites. Does linking them make us slightly fashionable by association?)