TMSD Reviews 1 – Within a Deep Forest

Within a Deep Forest

To celebrate one year since tmSd’s official opening, I’m introducing a new feature I’m going to call “TMSD Reviews”. And it is, of course, a short review of whatever game I happen to be playing at the time of writing. And, to kick us off here, I’m presenting the wonderful Within a Deep Forest from Nicklas Nygren. I’m sure that if this feature continues we shall hear much more from Mr. Nygren as his games are simply that good. Within a Deep Forest is not about action, or blowing stuff up, but rather it’s enveloping atmosphere which draws the player in with beautiful pixel art graphics and ambient music and sound as you explore vast expanses of scenery. As another bonus, it’s also completely free and easily available on the internet – so there is no excuse for not going and downloading it right now.

Website- http://nifflas.ni2.se

-James

Game image copyright Nicklas Nygren. Fair use assumed.

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R.I.P Michael Jackson

Short post here, but I’ve just heard that it’s been confirmed that the king of pop Michael Jackson has died at the ago of 50. Rest in Peace. In commemoration I’ve put on Moonwalker on the Mega Drive.

RIP.

James Plant’s Personal Pick of the Internet

Scroll down for a much better post…

Well, it’s been a while since I last said anything about computers here on tmSd. Nothing much to do with them has really happened over the last few months. The most interesting thing that’s happened is that I got another old computer from school which I sold to my brother, whereupon it immediately and catastropically broke. I’ve also gone back to GNOME for the time being, simply because it feels so much nicer to use.

So to keep the computer theme going here, I’m going to give you a list of my top however-many-it-turns-out-to-be websites which you simply must visit.

These aren’t in any particular order, by the way.

xkcd

Warning: contains some language and slightly mature themes.

Of all the webcomics I’ve seen, this one has it all. It’s aimed at those with a little grey matter, so some of the jokes might not be immedately obvious to non-“nerds”. It’s a good read, and manages to be incredibly entertaining even with no real characters in it. Go there!

Fat-Pie

Warning: some cartoons are creepy as Hell and contain blood and gore.

Unless you’ve been living in a hole, you’ll have heard of Salad Fingers at least once. If you havent, it’s about a green chap who lives on his own.. somewhere.. and, well, it’s kind of creepy but good fun to watch. The animator, David Firth, has a whole site full of cartoons like this, some are creepy, some are dark, some are funny as Hell (Especially Burnt Face Man, which has it’s own website) and all of them are well worth a good look. Go there!

The FAILblog

If you live on the internet, you’ll have likely heard of something called “Epic Fail”. This is an entire site dedicated to Fails, and it is absolutely hilarious. Go there!

The I Can Has Cheezburger Network

The parent network of the above-mentioned FAILblog, this site has sections on LOLcats, LOLdogs, political humour and much much more. Go there!

Questionable Content

Another webcomic, and this one’s simply about some indie people. And that’s it. It’s incredibly fun to read and I recommend it any day. I suggest starting at issue #1, as it is a sequential webcomic, as opposed to xkcd, which isn’t. Go there!

That Guy With The Glasses

This guy is FANTASTICALLY funny, especially his Nostalgia Critic and Ask That Guy With The Glasses shows. Go there!

The Angry Video Game Nerd

Warning: Incredibly frequent foul language and some quite disgusting similies.

The Angry Video Game Nerd, or AVGN as he is often referred to as, is a very funny reviewer of old video games. Recently he’s branched out into movies as well, but the game reviews are the best by far. Go there! (Click on the Angry Video Game Nerd tab)

Doctor Ashen

A reviewer of “Retro Tat” as he puts it, Dr. Ashen perfectly delivers a wonderful dollop of dry British humour with over-the-shoulder reviewing action. Go there!

The Daily Click

A website where people submit indie games they have made for the general public to download. Some are actually really good, especially Darkside Adventures and the fantastic Knytt Stories. You HAVE to download these two. HAVE to. They are so much fun to play. Go there!

And that’s that! That’s a pick of my top sites in no particular order. Go check them out!

-James

How to get hacked to pieces by Ninjas or Vampires… and pay for it!

The video arcade as an entity is almost dead in the traditional sense. I mean, think about it. You go into an arcade these days and every single game has either a steering wheel, a gun, or one of those massive fibreglass motorcycles that exist only as a distraction to the actual game. The progress of home video games means that the games have to have something which can’t be done at home – at least, not without a hideously expensive add-on. So, I went in to the Bright Spot arcade – my local – today with a £5 note and plenty of cheer, hoping to blast the Hell out of some baddies on the gnarled old Time Crisis 2 machine.

Namco really got things right with Time Crisis 2. Now, I’ve never actually played any of the other ones – I’d love to, though – but TC2 has it all. It’s cheap to play, it’s not stupidly hard, and it’s good value for money as you’ll get a fair amount of play time for your 30p. The pedal thing is a nice feature too, as you can actually defend yourself from enemy fire. Namco really got it right, which is why TC2 is so damned good.

Now, I went to the Bright Spot, money in hand, cheery as a drunken Saturday morning cartoon character and… The sodding Time Crisis 2 machine was out of order. I couldn’t believe it. The only half decent game in that place and it was wrapped in danger tape with a black screen. Well, thanks a lot, fate.

With money burning a towering inferno in my pocket, I decided to try out the other shooting games in there. I mean, Time Crisis 2 was good, right? Surely these other games – which were also made by Namco, just for the record – couldn’t be TOO bad, right?

Wrong, man. Wrong.

The first one I tried was Ninja Assault and.. oh my God. I paid 50p for this and died within seconds. It was bad. Now, I know the idea with these games is that once you die you’re simply supposed to pop in another 50p and keep playing. But no. I died so fast, and so easily, I might add, that I might as well have put 50p into the box to have a huge notice flash up telling me to never put any money in the box again. After a quick look I found the problem: The player has so few hit points, and the enemies come so quickly, that the player has literally no time to react to the sword strikes which simply do not cease.

Thinking that things couldn’t get worse, I slid another 50p into the Vampire Night machine which was next to Ninja Assault. Picking up the gun – which was pink for some reason – I thought: “Hell yes. A game where I can blow Edward Cullen’s head off. How could this POSSIBLY be bad?”. Bloody Hell, it found a way. The exact same problem in Ninja assault was present here too. The player is simply drowned in enemies – that don’t even LOOK like vampires, they look like blue zombies – that can’t be killed fast enough. And with only 3 hit points, I was dead again within seconds.

Now that’s just terrible.

Namco need to take a hint from this. Time Crisis II was good. These two, which came afterwards, simply were not. Namco need to learn: A shooting game needs to be easy, fun, and above all, cheap to play. If you must have the player die after just three hits, at least make it cheap to get more life. Players aren’t going to pay another 50p if they know they’re just going to get clobbered in the same amount of time. Just give the player value for money, and they’ll keep coming back. Piss them off and nick their money and they won’t.

And for F**k’s sake, let the player actually defend themselves!

-James