What I've Been Playing This Week (aka Pile of Shame Sunday)

Screenshot from Hypnospace Outlaw
I wonder if this Jay Stolen is any relation to one of the game devs...

The following post is part of a series of posts that are published every Sunday to update readers on what Mark G has been up to with respect to finishing off games on his "Pile of Shame". The games to target are picked by Choicest Games contributors Choona, Luke and myself. As I'll be talking about my progress through these games, there may be spoilers ahead, especially for games containing a narrative. Consider yourself warned.

Hypnospace Outlaw

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 100%?
This is a totally new game so I have no idea how far I am (although I believe I've hit the epilogue, so maybe I'm finished) but I'm having a blast thanks to 90s nostalgia overload (yet not, since Hynospace is totally fictional). Many aspects of the 90s is parodied in this game, usually revolving around Web 1.0, which means Geocities style webpages full of blinking text and animated gifs, not to mention many common applications and games of that era such as Netscape Navigator, Desktop pets, Napster and Winamp. Even the music and video are similar to the era with low bitrate videos and audio files, as well as the extensive use of MIDI-style tracks.

The game itself is fun too and it reminds me of games like Hacknet and Papers, Please, where the game does a really good job of immersing you into the role.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 50%
I played a couple more missions with Lanna but they didn't take as long as I expected (missions are shorter now, only taking between 10-20 minutes). Also, the second mission was very similar to the Kobayashi Maru scenario in the prologue, so not very original. Anyway, since I've finished mission two, I've only got three more missions to go and that's it for the single player campaign.

One thing I find annoying about this game is that the lip synching doesn't seem to work very well. Sure, it's difficult to get lip synching done well for actual voice but when it's pre-recorded NPC voices, you'd expect no issues.

I also noticed that while the music sounds similar to themes used in Star Trek media, you'll never actually hear any official licensed music; there's no TNG theme, TOS theme or Star Trek (2009) theme to be heard. I've also yet to encounter any prominent characters from the TV shows or the films yet, so while the game is good at emulating that Star Trek feel, it seems a bit disconnected from the universe.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

  • Picked by Luke
  • Percentage Complete = 74%
Wow, you get to actually sail to Africa for the next storyline mission – funny how the coastline looks very similar to islands in the Caribbean 😉. In this mission you have to find the Sage who turns out to be none other than the famous pirate, Bartholomew Roberts. Again, my pitiful stealth skills proved to be my downfall as I had to repeat the mission a few times… not that the mission actually required you to use stealth (thank God) but because not using stealth usually results in you getting swamped by hordes of soldiers.

My next mission is deep in level 3 fort territory so in preparation for the mission, I think I will attempt to conquer the remaining forts in the game so I have a clear run for the objective.

King's Quest IV

  • Picked by Choona
  • Percentage Complete = 30%
Okay, so I'm now using a walkthrough this time and I've almost got a third of the way through the game (at least according to the points I've accrued so far). Once again, I'm glad I decided to use a walkthrough since despite this game not being as brutal as the first three King's Quest games (so far), that's not really saying much. For example, there is one part in the game where you have to wander around aimlessly waiting for a random encounter with a whale and then you have to willingly be swallowed by it. Why, you may ask? Because the whale has to give you a ride to a desert island of course where you happen to find a bridle that you need for a unicorn. It's so obvious (if you can't tell by now, my sarcasm meter has gone through the roof)!

Random encounters really don't belong in adventure games, the notable exception being adventure/RPG games like Quest for Glory 😉.

[ The Pile of Shame ]