Friday, March 27, 2015

In Loving Memory of Matthew Carpenter

My sister's fiancĂ©, father of my nephew, and one of my friends since childhood, died this morning in an automobile crash.  He was an incredibly kind man and I'm just in shock that he's gone.  He'll be terribly missed.

Matt Carpenter
April 10, 1984 - March 27, 2015

He'll always be in my memory, and in my heart. I remember building a fort with him on my dad's land, racing four wheelers, and letting him drive my car on the back road at the park at Golden Glow. I always liked driving around with him, as he always had a happy smile, and made everything feel more fun. I always thought of him as a little brother, and when he fell in love with my sister, he became my brother in law, as well as in my heart. Goodbye Matt, and thanks for making life more fun while you were here. I'll miss you dearly.

One of my sister's friends set up a Gofundme fundraiser for my sister and her son. You all have been very kind during this tough time, and I thank everyone a lot for your outpouring of support. Even if you can't spare anything for the fundraiser, your kind words help a lot.

Use The I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream Enhanced Soundtrack In ScummVM

The GOG and Steam releases of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream included an enhanced version of the soundtrack.

With the help of ScummVM developers, two fans by the names of SirAlastor and Alpheon, went through the game and found all the music cues, and Alpheon posted instructions to change the music from the included soundtrack to tracks that ScummVM would read, so the music could be played within the game itself.  He also posted a video showing the enhanced music in action, compared to the music from the original game, which has been embedded above.  The difference is quite striking.

The Perils of Man Will Be Released On April 28

IF Games has announced that their adventure game, The Perils of Man, which has a design by Bill Tiller and Gene Mocsy of Autumn Moon, and is also co-written by Mr. Mocsy, will be released on April 28, 2015 for Windows, Mac, and iOS. Episode 1 of the game was previously only available on iOS, and for those who have already purchased the iOS version of Episode 1, the app will be updated to the full version at no extra charge once it's released. They also released an announcement trailer for the game, which has been embedded above.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Life Is Strange Episode 2 Is Out Now

Life is Strange, the cinematic choices and consequences adventure game created by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix, received the second of its five episodes on Tuesday.

The game follows Maxine Caufield, a student who, after witnessing a devastating event, finds that she has the ability to rewind time and can now change the course of events.  The choices made will alter and affect the story with long and short term consequences.

Broken Age Act 2 Coming On the 28th Of April

The release date of Broken Age Act 2 has been announced. It will release on April 28, 2015 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It will be released for Windows, Linux, Mac, and will be available for cross-buy on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. It's unknown if the separate release dates for regions relate to the computer versions as well, since the IGN article makes it seem this way. This is unlikely though since Steam and GOG.com don't have any region blocking for ordering (unless, presumably, required by law), as far as I know. However, even if that ends up to be the case, at least it's only a day.

While you're at IGN, if you don't mind spoilers for Act I and the first part of Act II, they have a video up where they play through the same 12 minutes of the game that was previously revealed, but this time they play through it with Tim Schafer. They discuss what has transpired in the three years since the Kickstarter was announced, the decision to split the game in half and what to expect from the rest of Act 2.

Game of Thrones Episode 3 Is Out Now

Telltale's Game of Thrones Episode 3: The Sword in the Darkness is out on nearly all platforms now. Only Android and iOS are left, and people on those platforms don't have to wait long, as they will get the game tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Watch the First 12 Minutes of Broken Age Act 2


IGN has just posted a video of the first 12 minutes of Broken Age Act 2 from the PlayStation 4 version of the game. I doubt you're going to be watching this if you haven't played the first act yet, since it's going to be spoiling a bit of Act 2 for you, but just in case, it should be noted that the video does contain spoilers from Act 1.

In other Double Fine news, The Humble PC & Android Bundle 12 is going on now, and the original Costume Quest is in this bundle, which has been released to Android for the first time. If you pay more than the average (currently just over $5) you get Costume Quest and five other games (with more to come soon) for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you pay $10 or more, you'll also get Shadowrun Returns.

While we're on the subject of Costume Quest, you may remember that a Sackboy costume was advertised to be included in the PlayStation versions of Costume Quest 2. For undisclosed reasons, its release was delayed. It appears that whatever has been causing that delay is no longer an issue, as Costume Quest has finally received an update on PlayStation platforms which makes the Sackboy costume available to purchase in-game from Costume Quest's black market dealer, Shady.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Game of Thrones Episode 3 Coming Tomorrow

Telltale just announced the release dates for the third episode of their episodic cinematic adventure based on Game of Thrones. It will be released tomorrow on Windows, Mac, and on PS4 and PS3 in North America. Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, and PS3 in Europe will get it on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, it will be released for iOS and Android. They also released a launch trailer for the episode, which has been embedded above.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Broken Age Release Date To Be Announced Next Week

Double Fine has just announced that they have just locked down the release candidate for Broken Age. All that's left now is for one final week of testing to go on to track down any remaining bugs, after which it will be submitted to Sony for certification on PlayStation 4 and Vita, and sent to the pressing plant for discs to be made for the Nordic Games retail release on PC, Mac, and Linux.

Since they are in the final stretch, the promotion period will begin, which will consist of IGN dedicating a week of coverage to the game beginning on Monday. They will also be announcing the release date as part of that coverage, as well as including an interview with preview footage of Act 2. 

Since the game is at release candidate stage, 2 Player Productions has nearly finished filming the next episode of the Double Fine Adventure documentary about the project, except for a few interviews. They are going to be working on making a final cut of the episode and making a final audio pass, and then the next episode of the documentary will be released as well. The project is truly reaching the home stretch now.

Sorcery! 3 Coming to iOS and Android in April

Sorcery! 3, is the third in Inkle's series of four games spun off the Steve Jackson's Sorcery! gamebooks of the 1980s. It is a narrative game with a massive open world to explore, and a branching, choice-driven storyline.

The game will be released simultaneously on both iOS and Android in April 2015.

The Perils of Man Estimated Release Window Set For Spring

For those, like me, who have been wondering how the second and final episode of the Bill Tiller and Gene Mocsy designed The Perils of Man is coming along, developer IF Games has announced an estimated release window of Spring 2015 for the full game.

The Perils of Man will be released for iOS (people who already own Perils of Man Episode 1 on iOS will get the second episode as an update to the game app at no additional charge), and IF Games also have announced their intention to release the game on Steam for PC and Mac in the same estimated Spring 2015 timeframe.

Sam & Max: Ice Station Santa Review

Ice Station Santa starts the second season of Sam & Max with a bang.  The episode is delivered in much the same manner as the episodes in the first season, but enough has been changed to help it feel fresh.

The first season begins where the first left off.  Max is still president of the United States, and the duo has just received a gift in the form of a destructive robot that was designed as part of Max's own executive orders as president.   The Maimtron 9000 is a fun character, as the fact that he speaks in mostly song lyrics is actually pretty funny.  He would be annoying over time, but he is fun in short spurts, which is the amount of time he's given here.  His appearance also leads to a creative way for Telltale to change things around on the street that leads to a much needed break from the routine.  Adding to the break from the routine, Bosco’s store gets an overhaul worthy of his paranoia, and he finally drops his disguise schtick.  This leads to some really humorous dialog between Sam & Max and Bosco, which is among the funniest that Telltale has written to date.  Additionally, the duo's private detective hero from the comics, and Sam & Max Hit the Road, Flint Paper, finally makes a cameo appearance. Capping off the new material, Stinky's Diner is finally open for business.  However, Sam & Max’s office is starting to really get stale by this point.  For the change of the street, the same can’t be said here. Most of the office is the same, save for the extra addition to Sam & Max’s closet full of souvenirs of their cases and the hole in the wall leading to Flint’s office.

The reuse of material is not too bad, however, as not a lot of time is spent in the areas already visited, with most of the episode taking place in new locations and in those which have been redesigned. The new locations are nicely done, and fit well with the visual style of the game.  Bosco's store redesign is excellent as well, and both fits with his character and with the game's world.  Not a lot of change has noticably happened between the first and second seasons as far as the graphic abilities of the Telltale Tool is concerned, so there are still jagged edges which are noticable on the characters.  However, this isn't too bad, and the characters still manage to still look nice thanks to the art style of the series.  Most of the versions are presented with the same traditional point and click interface as the first season.  The exception is the version for PlayStation 3, which is direct controlled.  The interface in this game differs from that in their later direct controlled games, as movement is controlled with the left stick, and rather than having a cursor controlled by the right stick, objects are selected by toggling between them with the shoulder buttons.  It's kind of cumbersome, but it's not too bad once you get used to it.

The meat of any Sam & Max episode is the wacky cases that they inevitably end up having to investigate, and this one is a doozy.  It involves a rampaging Santa, and the explanation on why he was doing it was actually pretty good, in a bizarre Sam & Max universe kind of way.  The best part of the story comes half way in, when it becomes a twist on A Christmas Carol, making the duo jump through time streams as they try to set the current Christmas right by exploring past, present, and future Christmas days.  The jumping between time streams, and the puzzles related to them are truly inspired. Telltale designed some pretty good puzzles here using the time stream mechanic.  There is also an excellent Punch-Out inspired boxing mini gam, complete with a Punch-Out style theme song. This is really just quick time events, but it’s done in a much less invasive way than Telltale’s current games, and the prompts for which button to hit are actually old-school visual cues from the characters, Punch-Out style.  This makes it much more natural, and actually give the illusion of direct control.

The music is once again excellent, as is the usual for Jared Emerson-Johnson and Bay Area Sound.  I have always enjoyed his lyrical songs from the Sam & Max seasons, and The Friendly Demon song is no exception.  The instrumental music is great as well, and really helps to set the tone of the game. Most of the returning characters are voiced excellently, especially the bug.  He was funny in the last season, and he is funny as well. His setup introduces the first of the birthday songs, which is funny here in its randomness, but will make more sense as the season goes on.  The newly introduced character, Stinky, is kind of annoying here, but that’s the point of her character. Her voice actress actually handles the character pretty well, so it keeps the character from going into Soda Popper territory.  The Soda Poppers have also reappeared, and unfortunately they are just as annoying as before.  They still have their annoying adult trying to sound like a kid voices. Last season showed they weren’t too bad actually when their voices were toned down when they were sad. They actually aren’t that bad when toned down, but they’re at full force here. Thankfully, their part in the episode is quite small, so their grating voice acting doesn't deter from the rest of the game.

Ice Station Santa is an excellent episode, as the puzzles are really good, the music is fantastic, the new locations are fun, and the story is great. Most of characters are enjoyable, except for the Soda Poppers, which thankfully have a really small role.  It's a great way to start the season, and, overall, is one of the best episodes of the Sam & Max series.

This episode was so fun, in fact, that it led to Telltale re-editing it into a 20 minute video as a stand-alone Christmas Special, titled Sam & Max Nearly Save Christmas.

Final Verdict:

4½ out of 5

Sam & Max Save the World (Season 1) Episode 6 reviewEpisode 2 review coming soon

Friday, March 20, 2015

GOG.com Gets More LucasArts Games

The latest wave of LucasArts games has hit GOG.com, and the balance has been restored as this time there isn't a Star Wars title in sight.  The newly added games are Outlaws, the EGA and 256 color FM-Towns version of Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, Indiana Jones and the Emporer's Tomb, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition, The Dig, and the VGA CD version of Loom.

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 Released

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2: Atlas Mugged has now been fully released. It came out on Windows, Mac, PS3, and PS4 on March 17th, on Xbox 360 and Xbox One on March 18th, and on iOS and Android yesterday.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Terry Pratchett Passed Away on March 12th

Sir Terry Pratchett, an English writer who is most known as the creator of the Discworld series, has passed away at the age of 66, from early onset Alzeighmer's disease.  There were three adventure games created in the Discworld universe, Discworld, based loosely on the book Guards! Guards, Discworld II: Missing Presumed based loosely on the books Reaper Man and Moving Pictures, and Discworld Noir, which had an original story following Discworld's only private investigator.

I have yet to play the adventure games set in the Discworld universe, but I enjoyed the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic.  He will definitely be missed.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Oxenfree Adventure Made By Telltale and Disney Alumni

Oxenfree has been announced by Night School Studio, a game development studio founded by Telltale alumnus Adam Hines and Disney alumnus Sean Krankel. It is described as "a supernatural teen thriller about a group of friends who unwittingly open a ghostly rift.

Players control Alex, who brings her new stepbrother Jonas to an overnight party gone wrong off the coast of their hometown." Sean Krankel desribes the game's style as "Freaks and Geeks meets Poltergeist, with a little bit of Stand By Me and The Goonies mixed in".  The game is going to be released for Windows and Mac, with a possible console release as well.

Dreamfall Chapters Book Two: Rebels Is Out Now

Dreamfall Chapters Book Two: Rebels, the second part of the five book game which will conclude the story of Zoe Castillo, the Dreamer, is out now.  There is no release date for the third book, but the developers have stated that development of the rest of the books will not take as long as the time between the first and the second.  The game is currently expected to conclude by the end of 2015.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Project on Kickstarter: Mr. Mac's Rainbow Greenhouse

My dad passed away 15 years ago today. He was a special education teacher and substitute principal who made a point to teach his students (and my sister and I) that differences should be embraced, and I've begun a Kickstarter project to seek funding to create six 11 minute children's cartoons and a family friendly adventure game in the spirit of the Humongous Junior adventures.



My dad left his greenhouse to his school and his students picked the name and dedicated it "Mr. Mac's Rainbow Greenhouse". The name is going to live on in this project to honor his legacy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dreamfall Chapters Book Two Moved to Thursday

Red Thread Games has announced that the release of the second book of Dreamfall Chapters has been delayed from it's planned release today to March 12th due to the fact that they found and fixed a couple of bugs today and will need a full day of testing to make sure everything runs smoothly before they're comfortable with the release.

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 Coming March 17

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2: Atlas Mugged is going to release on Saint Patrick's Day (for some platforms, others will release later of course, and the details on exactly when will be forthcoming). A new trailer has also been released to promote the episode, which you can view above.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Double Fine Adventure Documentary Is Now Public

Two Player Productions announced that the Double Fine Adventure Documentary, which follows the development process of Broken Age from the kickstarter to its eventual completion, is going public starting today. The press release follows:

The collaboration between 2 Player Productions and Double Fine Productions that launched a historic Kickstarter campaign is nearing its conclusion! In anticipation of the release of Act 2 of “Broken Age”, episodes of “The Double Fine Adventure!” will be released to Youtube every Tuesday and Thursday starting today - March 3rd.

A three-year journey spanning eighteen (and counting) episodes, “The Double Fine Adventure!” chronicles the creation of “Broken Age” from a germ of an idea in Tim Schafer’s notebook, to a finished game and beyond. Along the way, the team confronts production delays, internal strife, and outside controversy in what is the most honest, in-depth look at video game development ever created. Previously exclusive to Double Fine’s Kickstarter backers, now everyone can share in the passion, humor, and heartbreak of this landmark documentary series, for free!

“The Double Fine Adventure!” is also viewable in full via online distribution platform VHX.com. It is currently available at an early bird price which gives viewers immediate access to the whole series in 1080p, plus a host of free bonus features which will become available once the series is complete.

Purchase The Double Fine Adventure! -
http://adventure.doublefine.com

The Double Fine Adventure! Youtube Playlist -
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIhLvue17Sd7F6pU2ByRRb0igiI-WKk3D

Youtube Release info-

On March 3rd, the series will launch with the first three episodes of the documentary. After that, new episodes will be air every Tuesday and Thursday in 720p. Major “Broken Age” story points are blurred or obscured to allow for spoiler-free viewing!

VHX Release info-

Currently available at the Early Bird pricing of $10 for the whole series, including all extra content. DRM-free 1080p downloads and streaming. Automatic upgrade as new material becomes available. Features coming at completion of the series include closed captions, removal of spoiler blurs, deleted scenes, commentary tracks, and bonus videos.

The Early Bird pricing will end on the day Act 2 of “Broken Age” is released. After that, the price of the documentary will increase to $15 for the basic series and $20 for the series and bonus features.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Gary Owens and Leonard Nimoy Have Passed Away

We have recently lost two people very familiar to people who were adventure gamers in the 1990's. Gary Owens, the narrator of Space Quest 4 and 6 passed away on February 12th. Leonard Nimoy, who played his most well known character Spock in the adventure games Star Trek: 25th Anniversary and Star Trek: Judgment Rites, passed away on February 27th.

Gary Owens was set to reprise his role as narrator in SpaceVenture, but his health declined before he could record his lines.  He did record a humorous "narrator auditions" advertisement for that game, which you can hear here, and did an interview with Chris Pope about the project and his time on Space Quest, which you can hear here.

Both actors were terrific in all of their roles and will both be sorely missed.