Kentucky Route Zero: Act IV.

Three years after the initial release, developer Cardboard Computer has finally finished work on Kentucky Route Zero: Act IV.

Kentucky Route Zero is an episodic point-and-click adventure game. The funds necessary to start development of the first episode was raised through a successful Kickstarter campaign in early 2011. The first episode was released three years later, in January 2013.

Short recap: In Act I, we meet the truck driver Conway, who works for an antique store. Out on a job, he has to stop at a gas station to ask for directions. The attend tells him that the only way for Conway to get to his destination is to take the mysterious Route Zero. In the rest of Act I, and the subsequent two acts, we follow Conway’s travels along Route Zero. Along the way of the he meets other travelers, who are just as lost as he is himself.

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This is the Police.

This is the Police is the result of a $25,000 Kickstarter campaign launched in January 2015. Belarusian developer Weappy Studio managed to raise a sweet $35,508 to finish development of their “strategy/adventure game about power and corruption, duty and choice”. Estimated delivery date for the game was December 2015, but as we all know, computer game developers always fail to finish on time. In August, 2016, however, Weappy Studio delivered on their promises and the game was finally released.

In This is the Police you’re put in the big – and probably sweaty – shoes of Jack Boyd, the police chief of Freeburg, a average sized city with above average crime problems. Boyd is retiring in 180 days, but before those 180 days are up, he wants to get his hands on half a million dollars “retirement fund”. There are many ways for a retiring police chief to amass that kind of money. Do you chose to serve your city like an honest cop, with the money coming from your monthly paycheck and rewards from locking up wanted criminals, or do you prefer to get rich by working with the mob, and other shady characters you find lurking in Freeburg’s dark underworld? Is it possible to stay friends with everyone, have a clear conscience and make the necessary money, all at the same time?

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The Tale of a Doomed Colony.

It’s not over until everybody’s dead.

As part of my twenty four hour gaming binge, I spent a little time with RimWorld. RimWorld is an indie space colony management game developed by the Montreal-based developer Ludeon Studios. The game let’s you play as three survivors from a space craft that has crashed on an unknown planet, and your main goal is to make sure they survive and prosper. RimWorld is very much inspired by Dwarf Fortress, and freedom and deep simulation are key elements.

I’ve tried to come to terms with Dwarf Fortress several times, but the ASCII user interface has broken me every time. When you learn it properly it’s like looking straight into the matrix, but the learning curve is pretty much just a massive brick wall you run into. RimWorld, on the other hand, gives you much of the same experience as Dwarf Fortress, but with a graphical user interface us mere mortals can learn to use without our brains exploding in the process.

One of the most interesting side-effects of deep simulation games like Dwarf Fortress and RimWorld is the stories they create. The fable of Boatmurdered, an epic tale of incorporating hordes of belligerent dwarf-eating elephants, floods of biblical proportions, and flaming puppies, is among the better known that Dwarf Fortress has spawned. Inspired by the story of Boatmurdered, I decided to scrawl down a few notes as I played to see if my first experience with RimWorld could result in something that would be worth reading.

(Fredrik, you can safely stop reading now.)

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Twenty Four Hours.

It’s been a while since I had a really long stint of me-time. Back in the days – we’re talking 10-12 years ago – I could get home from work on a Friday evening and not leave the apartment or see other people again before returning to work on Monday morning. It’s a social situation many people would describe as plain sad. But I didn’t lack friends or struggle with social anxiety, I was just very comfortable in my own company. The time was usually spent deeply engaged in some computer game, a hardware project, movies, books, TV series, or whatever I was into at the time.

Now Anniken has granted me a 24 hour leave of absence from my usual duties as father and soon-to-be-husband. Putting it that way, I realize she sounds like a good, old slave driver, fortunately that’s not the case. Our family/work/personal time is perfectly balanced at the moment, but since one of us has to take care of the 2 year-old – she’s still struggling a bit with the micro wave, and has yet to master personal hygiene – it takes a bit of planning when one of her parents are away for a day.

Anyway.

Starting roughly 36 minutes ago, I’m free to do whatever the hell I want, and while most guys would probably use those 24 hours to go venture on an epic bender with their (single) friends, I’m locking myself in the basement with my aging computer and a diet that will consist mainly of junk food, whisky, and energy drinks.

I was planning to spend the time giving Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy game Heart of Iron IV a proper go, but in the end I decided against it because I suspect I’d only barely scratch the monster’s surface. So instead I opted for Dwarf Fortress with better graphics, also known as RimWorld. The time I’ve got on my hands probably isn’t enough to get the hang of RimWorld either, but I assume – risking making an ass of you and me – that the learning curve is much more gentle than with HoI IV.

And now I’m off, having wasted 28 minutes of my precious time writing this.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole.

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is upon us, and all the big names in the gaming industry are announcing new stuff left and right. There are a lot very exciting things being revealed, like the Xbox One Scorpio and the stunning Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer. Both those announcements are way out of my league, though. I’ll never buy an XBone Scorpio, and I’ll never have a gaming rig capable of running Andromeda at more than perhaps half a frame per minute.

So I got very excited when I came across an announcement more suited for immature gamers with old PCs: A brand new South Park game, The Fractured but Whole1.

The video above is from 2016. I was a little surprised, however, to find out that The Fractured but Whole was actually announced exactly a year ago, at E3 2015. I guess this shows how far away from the gaming scene I am these days. But that doesn’t really matter, does it? The new South Park game is an RPG, and an unrelated sequel to the Stick of Truth, another South Park RPG that was developed by Obsidian Entertainment in 2014. I absolutely loved it2, but then again I’m a huge South Park fan. I’m sure I will have a great time playing through the sequel as well.

There are, however, a few things that makes me a tad bit skeptical about South Park: The Fractured but Whole.

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