Episode 14: VA-11 Hall-A

It’s the cyberpunk future, and it’s your job to mix drinks and change lives in a grungy bar. Meet regulars! Watch people get drunk and fall asleep! Discuss your clients’ personal problems while you decide how much alcohol to give them and Glitch City crumbles around your ears!

Listen for our thoughts on:
– The “mix drinks to make choices” mechanic
– The colourful (crazy?) cast of characters
– Dorothy the sex worker who inhabits the body of a 12-year-old (yes, really).

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Now Playing: VA-11 Hall-A

Glitch City 207X A.D. A city that shouldn’t exist. A tax haven where corporations and criminal empires reign supreme. In this place, all human life has been infected with nanomachines to keep them in check. The only way to make sense of it all is to…serve alcoholic drinks?

In VA-11 Hall-A (just say “Valhalla”) you play as a cyberpunk bartender. Let that just sink in for a moment. You are not some idealistic hacker. You are not an overpowered mech dude. You are a cyberpunk bartender. It is such a simple yet thrilling concept. It borrows aspects from the visual novel but you make narrative choices by mixing different drinks, all while slowly uncovering information about this dystopian world from your clients who just want to forget it all. Few ideas have made us run faster to download a game. We hope you’ll do the same. VA-11 Hall A can be found on itch.io here or on Steam here.

Episode 13: Panoramical and Islands: Non-Places

You are feeling very relaxed. You see an escalator. Some palm trees are riding the escalator. This is fine. This is all perfectly fine. You remember something about a French anthropologist…
This month we played two strange games: Islands: Non-Places (featuring escalator palm trees) and Panoramical (which Jamie describes as “conducting a dream orchestra” and Andy describes as Hello Games dropping acid at a game jam).
What did we discuss? Here’s a list!
  • What’s the goal? We don’t know – there are no extrinsic rewards!
  • Is it a game? Who knows? Who cares?
  • A French anthropologist on “non-places”
  • A brief foray into absurdism
  • Vignettes are cool, so is sound
Lists are fun! 😀 Give us a listen for all that, and MORE!

Now Playing: Panoramical and Islands

You are in a chilly blue space. You feel relaxed. There is a bus stop here; a bus pulls up and some eggs get out. This is perfectly normal.

This month we’re playing Panoramical and Islands: Non-Places, two interactive pieces that are relaxing, abstract and totally unlike anything we’ve looked at before.

You can buy Panoramical on itch.io here or on Steam. Check out the itch page for Islands here or the Steam page here.

Episode 12: The Curious Expedition

Day 25. We grow weary. I was delighted by Sister Mary’s sermon this evening – a pity she accidentally-on-purpose set fire to the forest and died screaming horribly. Only remaining companion is Robert, deranged cannibal. Friendly chap.

Day 26. Supplies getting low. We possess only a solid gold llama, a mystical crystal ball (useless for another week) and a strange object we acquired from a trader. He calls it a “podcast”, and claims it will bestow great wisdom upon us. I am curious…

This month we played The Curious Expedition! Explore strange, untrodden lands in search of fame! Annoy natives who only want their sacred artefacts back! Collect golden statues, hunting trophies and… shudder… BUTTERFLIES.

Here are just some of things we delve into this episode:
0:32 – Overview of game mechanics and setting
4:30 – A look at the combat system
9:04 – Thoughts on unlockables and roguelikes
15:00 – The influence of Lovecraft
17:30 – In-depth discussion of colonialism in the game
32:56 – How the game handles native populations
39:00 – The long-lasting appeal of the game
41:20 – Closing thoughts

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