The Incredible Machine was one of my favorite games growing up, one that left such an indelible mark on me that I wound up looking for it more than a decade later despite having nothing to go on outside of a few vague elements and its premise of creating Rube Goldberg devices in order to solve puzzles. I eventually found it, but it had aged quite a bit by that time, sporting a kind of uncomfortable choppiness inherent to many DOS games that took away from its charm somewhat. It was a complete coincidence that I later ended up stumbling on Contraption Maker, a spiritual sequel by the original team that takes the familiar elements from The Incredible Machine and makes it more palatable to modern audiences while leaving all of the best parts of the original game untouched. Read more →
I grew up on console gaming, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t exposed to PC gaming at school. Back in the 1990s, my school had computers with educative titles like Oregon Trail and The Incredible Machine installed on them, no doubt to help us with our burgeoning problem-solving skills, and I had a particular love of The Incredible Machine; there was just something about the physics and Rube Goldberg devices that captured my imagination. Sadly, I realized when I eventually tracked it down many years later that it had aged poorly and wouldn’t be as enjoyable as it was in the past. The desire to play through it again soon faded, replaced by happy memories of being seven years old and reveling in the game’s seemingly endless possibilities. That’s when I stumbled onto Contraption Maker, a modern heir to The Incredible Machine that claims to be created by the original team. Long story short, this is a worthy evolution of the series that captures the unbridled joy of creating bizarre combinations of parts that the original series did so many years ago, complete with similar parts and updated graphics. Read more →
When I started this site back in March 2012, I intended for my reviews to use this site’s “wide” format (as seen in my Divinity: Original Sin review), but quickly discovered that doing so meant that search results had the left column disappear when browsing the site by category for some strange reason. For over two years, I was content with my reviews being written down the middle of a three-column page like this one, but as my reviews began to grow longer, I became less and less okay with the actual content of each post being relegated to a relatively tiny space. Sick of having to balance the pros and cons of using the wide review format and losing the column that includes links to my recent reviews, I finally dug into this site’s nitty-gritty code stuff and found the problem.
I didn’t just solve the problem, though. No—I destroyed the left column-eating format entirely, banishing it to a dark dimension to forevermore atone for the past two years of anguish it’s caused me. Long story short, I’m switching up the format and will use a new version of the wide review for my positive reviews, with the negative reviews and miscellaneous posts too short to warrant the extra space (screenshots, site news, etc.) using the three-column format this post is using.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: side-scrolling brawlers aren’t exactly my favorite genre. While a few catch my eye every once and awhile, the truth is that I only picked this game up because the game’s concept of rock band witches beating down hordes of zombies with their guitars was something I found amusing. Beyond that, the game had just come out and its Steam trading cards were selling for a lot despite its relatively low price (I actually ended up making more back than I paid for the game). I’d normally never give a game like this a chance, and that makes me a little sad inside because of how much I ended up enjoying Rock Zombie. Read more →
The past two months have been exhausting. Sometimes it feels like I’m waging a one-man war against extreme political correctness in gaming and beyond, so it’s only natural that I’d get to the point where I needed to lash out. When I saw a new beat-em-up game released on Steam where you play as a rock band of witches beating hordes of zombies to death (re-death?) with guitars, I instantly bought it. It’s a bit clunky at times and the graphics are of a decidedly low quality, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with this game to the point where I actually played through the game with all characters. I even unlocked every Steam achievement (which I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to do before). All in all, Rock Zombie is a hilariously entertaining diversion that, like Blood Knights and a few other games before it, manages to be memorable and worthwhile despite its occasional badness. Read more →
Originally released in 2008 exclusively for the Playstation 3, Valkyria Chronicles is one of those games that I really wanted to try, but was nevertheless on the fence about. On the one hand, it looked like an incredibly creative game. On the other, games with an anime aesthetic sometimes go very bad, turning into preachy, screechy, utterly abominable messes. Eternal Sonata is a wonderful example of this, taking one of the greatest classical composers and thrusting a ridiculous, fictionalized anime version of him into a world devoid of meaning or entertainment. Skies of Arcadia is another example, which, while not quite as bad as Eternal Sonata, had a story that made absolutely no sense and saw its characters acting as stupidly as possible in order to hamfistedly stitch together something resembling a plot. Before I had a chance to make up my mind about Valkyria Chronicles, however, my Playstation 3’s disc drive broke and the decision was made for me. Imagine my surprise when an inexpensive PC port came out of nowhere and included the DLC. Needless to say, I finally pulled the trigger, and I’m glad I did—this is an amazing game that deserves all the praised heaped on it and more. Read more →