Scratching That Itch: Binaries

This is the fifty-seventh entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

That’s right: here is another random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. It’s Binaries, by Ant Workshop. Its tagline in the bundle reads:

Controller-smashingly tough puzzle platformer

The joke’s on you, Ant Workshop. I’m going to play this one with my keyboard!

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Scratching That Itch: Chipmonk!

This is the fifty-sixth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

It’s time for another random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The random number generators have picked Chipmonk! by Niemi Bros Entertainment. Its tagline in the bundle reads:

Retro-inspired beat ’em up starring chipmunk warriors!

These chipmunks came to kick ass and gather nuts in their cheek pouches to bring back to their burrows. And they’re all out of nuts.

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Scratching That Itch: VIDEOSTORE – A Monster Of The Week Double Feature

This is the fifty-fifth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Here comes our next selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. It’s VIDEOSTORE – A Monster of the Week Double Feature by Sinister Beard Games. Its tagline in the bundle reads:

Two 80s VHS inspired mysteries for Monster of the Week

Monster of the Week, in case you were wondering, is a tabletop role-playing game by Evil Hat Productions. It’s not in the bundle, but it is available separately from itch.io. Usually, for tabletop entries, I am unable to actually play them due to a lack of other people to play with. This time, I’m unable to play it because I don’t even own the actual game, just these two scenarios for it. All I can do is read them and offer my impressions.

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Death Before Dishonor, Epilogue: Dishonorable Discharge

This is an epilogue to Death Before Dishonor, a series in which I attempt to play through Dishonored with a self-imposed, semi-permadeath rule designed to make me improvise my way out of trouble, rather than re-loading an earlier save. For some background, you may want to read the introduction and then the eight parts of the series proper, before continuing. Also be advised that, unlike most posts on this blog, this series will contain spoilers. For spoiler-free thoughts on Dishonored, read my original posts about the game. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

When I started Death Before Dishonor, I was convinced that I’d end up with the high chaos ending, when my character Corvo’s stealthy approach inevitably failed and he was forced to fight and kill his adversaries. I was wrong. It turns out, Corvo had several ways to incapacitate his enemies nonlethally or simply to escape and regroup, and I managed to complete his adventure with a low body count and a happy ending. And the highly improvisational approach was a ton of fun. But, I was left curious as to how the story would have ended if I had been more murderous. So I decided to play through the game again, as something of an alternate timeline. What if Corvo’s unjust imprisonment and torture at the start of the game broke something within him, and he sought bloody revenge on the entire city of Dunwall? What if he fully embraced the dark powers of the Outsider and descended into chaos and madness?

At first, I thought I’d play a stealthy assassin, killing everyone from the shadows. But then I tried that for a bit, and realized that it’s not that different from sneaking around and knocking out guards with chokeholds and sleep darts. No, I wanted to explore how different Dishonored could be, which meant I really needed to shake things up. So I decided to ignore stealth entirely. My new persona, Evil Corvo, would flamboyantly walk right into hostile territory and fight everyone in his way. If you’d like to know how that turned out, read on for massive spoilers.

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Scratching That Itch: A Lullaby Of Colors

This is the fifty-fourth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

It’s time for another random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. It’s A Lullaby of Colors, by Andrew C. Wang. Its tagline in the bundle reads:

A blissful psychedelic relaxation experience

Oh man, I am about to relax so hard.

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History Lessons: Shadow Warrior

Other History Lessons posts can be found here. In particular, you may want to read the post about Duke Nukem 3D for some context. This post is also an honorary member of the Keeping Score series about games and their soundtracks.

Back in the early days of this blog, before I even had screenshots in my posts, I wrote about Duke Nukem 3D. I was curious about the game because of the release of its sequel, Duke Nukem Forever, that same year; a game that had reached near mythical status due to its seemingly endless development cycle. It was crap, by all accounts, but it only made it to release because the original Duke Nukem 3D had been one of the most popular games of its era, before the rise of the linear shooter. Duke Nukem 3D is dumb and very sexist — something for which I didn’t criticize it harshly enough, in retrospect — but its imaginative level design and arsenal made it a lot of fun to play.

While many more games would appear using the Build Engine that powered Duke Nukem 3D, only one was by Duke developers 3D Realms: 1997’s Shadow Warrior. It was not nearly as popular. Duke Nukem 3D had been criticized for its sexism, but Shadow Warrior was also criticized for its racism, and it didn’t seem to do enough to offset its offensive stereotypes. I was surprised, then, when a remake, also titled Shadow Warrior, appeared in 2013, and even more surprised when it got good reviews. Good enough that a sequel appeared in 2016, also receiving critical praise, and a third game is planned for this year. I was intrigued. How did this happen? Why remake a game that seemed better forgotten?

The original Shadow Warrior, now re-dubbed Shadow Warrior Classic, was released for free in 2013 to help promote the remake, and I grabbed it but never got around to it. Now, I’ve decided to check it out, so later I can compare it to its more favorably-received remake. Having played it and the two expansion packs bundled with it, I can confirm that it is very racist.

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Scratching That Itch: Books & Bone

This is the fifty-third entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Once again, I have plucked a random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. It’s Books & Bone by Victoria Corva, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A Librarians-and-Necromancy Fantasy Novel

That’s right, readers. This one is not a game, but a full length novel, in e-reader format (.epub and .mobi). I actually didn’t have any e-reader software, but I was able to use the free Google Play Books app on my phone to read it, after a little fiddling to get it to find the file. I think I’ll forgo the screenshots this time.

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Keeping Score: Alwa’s Awakening

This is Keeping Score, a series about games and their soundtracks. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

I bought Alwa’s Awakening after reading a recommendation over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but I never got around to playing it. Now it already has a sequel, Alwa’s Legacy, so I decided it was time to take a look at the first game.

Alwa’s Awakening is an unashamedly retro-styled metroidvania platformer that doesn’t really have any particular standout feature. Players will guide protagonist Zoe (Alwa is actually the name of the land in which the game is set, not the name of the protagonist) as she explores an interconnected world, finds new magical powers that let her access previously inaccessible areas, and eventually challenges the nefarious Protectors and their overlord, the evil Vicar. All of this is familiar from countless other games. These days, indie platformers usually have some kind of hook, like an imaginative core mechanic or a particularly striking art style. Alwa’s Awakening does not; instead it it simply very good at traditional platforming, proving that sometimes great execution is all that’s needed to make a great game.

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Scratching That Itch: Annwn: The Otherworld

This is the fifty-second entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Our next random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is Annwn: The Otherworld, by Quantum Soup Studios. Its tagline in the bundle reads:

Dark first-person stealth strategy game across a surreal archipelago.

I’m listening, Quantum Soup Studios. Go on.

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The Complete Death Before Dishonor

Death Before Dishonor, my diary series in which I played through Dishonored with a self-imposed rule that I would not reload a saved game when something went wrong, thus forcing me to improvise my way out of trouble, is now finished. Well, mostly. I’m planning an epilogue, but that will take some time to appear, so I decided to collect the rest of the series here for those who want to read through it. I’ll add the epilogue in here when it’s done. I’m happy with how the series turned out, but be warned that, unlike most posts on this blog, these are full of massive spoilers. If you are OK with that, then read on at the links below.

Introduction
Part 1: Separation of Church and State
Part 2: Smash the Patriarchy
Part 3: Public Works
Part 4: Eat the Rich
Part 5: Thus Always To Tyrants
Part 6: After Me, the Flood
Part 7: You Can’t Go Home Again
Part 8: The Void Gazes Also Into You
Epilogue: Dishonorable Discharge

Enjoy! If you haven’t played Dishonored, it’s great, and I highly recommend picking it up. It’s now sold as a Definitive Edition including all the DLC, from a variety of digital storefronts.

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