Alex Acks on writing for games.
I think my main take-home from this is that maybe, just maybe, microtransaction-based puzzle games are not, yanno. “Story-first” experiences…
Video games are both an artform and a cultural artifact, which means there are various libraries out there that preserve them. So, yes. It really is someone’s job out there to collect every single game for the Fairchild Channel F and ensure they stay playable. So far so good.
Except… fast forward twenty-plus years, to the advent of online gaming. Of the sort that runs on proprietary tech held on private servers run by the game publisher. Who then shuts them down. And in this world of overreaching copyright (cough DMCA cough)… how do you preserve that? And, more importantly, as a third party, should you have a right to?
Aah my beautiful pastel danger noodle I loves him so much. 💜
So when I was a kid, I remember really, really wanting a particular videogame, solely based on the box art. Dad, the big meanie,1 would not buy it for me.
Fast forward twenty-something years. For whatever reason, I was suddenly reminded once again of this forgotten game, and swore to track it down. Only problem? I barely remembered anything about it. I remembered I thought the art was cool, and that it was kind of that Beetlejuice-cartoonish horror-but-comedy sort of style. I remembered the title maybe had a number in it. I went scouring places like GOG looking for my Lost Game, but to no avail. People on Twitter try and help, to no avail. Eventually, I give up.
Fast forward twelve days (according to the Mastodon timestamps), where I’m watching old hbomberguy vids to procrastinate writing the final scene of the dragon book. I come across this video, talking about Dragon’s Lair—a game many people had tried to helpfully suggest as being my Forgotten Game—when…
… when he just…
… he just. Says the name. Of the game I’ve been looking for. For twenty years. And I know, just from the name, Brain Dead 13, that it’s The Game. The Forgotten Game. And so I eugooglize it, and there’s a pic of the goddamn box and… and I remember it. It’s The Forgotten Game! It’s here! It’s real! It even has a freakin’ iOS port that I can’t even freakin’ buy because it’s not available in the Australian iOS store because auuurrrghhh!
But you know what I can do? Oh, I can find a Let’s Play of this terrible, forgotten old game on YouTube. Because the internet never forgets, no matter how obscure the thing.
So here it is. The game my teenage self obsessed over. Hell, I even remember now I had a character at the time called Fritz, because I thought it was a cool name, although if I recall correctly he was more a The Maxx rip-off than related to his namesake in Brain Dead 13. But… whatever. I found it! I found the game!
Also, unnerving in retrospect: how similar the protagonist of this game is to what my husband looked like when I first met him (long red hair, worked with computers) which… is probably something best not thought about too much, y’know?
So as someone who didn’t love the first Pillars of Eternity I… am really kinda enjoying the sequel? Mostly because, a) you can adopt like every stray animal in the game, and b) lawlz naked dicks.
Update #1: You can romance the huge, buff, bisexual shark man. He claims in dialogue to have a bioluminescent dick. GOT-fucking-Y.
Update #2: Sexy shark man successfully romanced. And it… turned out surprisingly sweet, too.
Oh, and I finished the game. The ending suffered a bit from the same railroady gods nonsense that annoyed me in the first game, but everything else was pretty good. If I played it again, I’d make a few different choices re. some companion quests, too (would still romance Mr. Sexy Shark, however).