Lake sounded like my kind of game. The reviews painted it as a relaxing diversion. I'm not afraid of a walking simulator, and I generally love exploration and may draw solace from repetitive tasks. But I found this game... very dull. Take a vacation from your big city job to... deliver mail and packages. Revisit your childhood home and... almost eat pie. Reconnect with... the crazy cat lady. Yawn.

The stream died about 25 minutes in, and I didn't have the heart to continue:

 

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One of my fondest childhood gaming memories is unlocking the earliest documented "Easter egg" in a videogame, Warren Robinett's signature screen tucked away in Adventure (playable as one of the 100+ games in Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration, which I streamed last week). I don't recall who told me about it; since this pre-dates the Internet, these secrets had to be handed down person to person.

I did a quick run on beating the game on the easiest difficulty and then spent the remaining 11 minutes in Game Variant 3 battling dragons and that darned bat to secure the "invisible" dot and enter the hidden chamber:

 

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I was an Atari 2600 kid, and also played many Atari games at the arcade. I bought a VIC-20 and eventually the Commodore 64 (which I also made some of my own games for), but one of my friends had an Atari 800 which we also played and programmed a lot. So Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration looked promising to me, especially after I learned a colleague worked on it as content editor (my dream job).

The collection is solid with lots of faves and new games I never played since I, like many, did not pursue the Atari 5200, Lynx, or Jaguar. There are also lots of videos detailing the company's many highs and lows (warts and all), plus some bonus games to unlock (I'm not sure how, but will enjoy figuring it out).

I sample a wide array of games, which is why this goes long, and explore aspects of the interface (you can customize loads and layouts), plus I wanted to spend a little time with my old friend Adventure and try out the Haunted House game and its newly created sequel:

 

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Rounding out the Watch Dogs series (after streaming the original and WD2), here's Watch Dogs: Legion. This one is even more character-driven, with a wide array of playable personas. Also, like the others, the intro is very cut-scene heavy so I spend a little extra time to get in some actual gameplay. The storyline has some resonance, and the mechanics seem to be built on the other games in the series, so it's pretty easy to pick up. Also, you get to play as a mechanical spider bot - which is awesome (even though I have mild arachnophobia).

Looking forward to spending more time with this, and I might even try a game with permadeath (as I had forgetten you can always recruit more characters to play as):

 

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After getting into the sequel (see previous video), I decided to give the original Watch Dogs a try. It starts out pretty easy, but then devolves into a long, drawn-out police chase. Maybe it was because I haven't figured out how to blend in or find my way around, but I took them for quite a ride and probably came close to dying more than once. Eventually, I do escape and find my way to the hideout.

If I can master a few more of the game dynamics, I might actually enjoy this one more:

 

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I keep buying Watch Dogs games but never actually play them. With this month's Xbox Game Pass quest, I decided to finally jump in to Watch Dogs 2. It's actually not bad. The hacking stuff is all baloney, but the premise and execution are fun. Stylistically, it reminds me of Amped 3 (the fun one!) minus the snowboarding.

In this run, I get through the full prologue and unlock the ability to gain followers. Apparently when I purchase the pants (next thing on my list), I'll complete the quest (some people are easily entertained, I guess). Maybe I'll stream the other two games as an intro to a series of cyberpunk-styled games I've been planning to try for awhile.

For now, check out some s1ck h4ckz, d00dz:

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Somewhere we have The House of the Dead 2 for Dreamcast with a lightgun that doesn't work with modern TVs. So I gave The House of the Dead: Remake a go. For some reason, I couldn't hang with the inverted Y-axis (which I prefer for virtually every other game). I did eventually get used to the controls, though I've clearly far from mastered them. I also accidentally shoot a lot of scientists; the first one I killed earned me the "Murderer" achievement!

While it may seem like you have unlimited Continues, they do eventually run out. I also spend a little time perusing the detailed in-game creature Gallery, with helpful tips on how to dispatch the enemies you've encountered:

 

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As a big fan of both Telltale Games and Borderlands, obviously I've played and beat Tales from the Borderlands. And after the recent PAX demo, I was on board for New Tales from the Borderlands, which reinvents the game's interactive story dynamics with a new Gearbox dev team (as Telltale went under back in 2018, and is sorta back under new management... maybe). The game opens with vignettes from three different protagonists including a pacifist gun maker and a froyo store owner with anger management problems.

It takes a minute to adjust to the new game dynamics, but it soon feels familiar. And, oh yeah, Rhys is back! Just take a look already:

 

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Crypt of the Serpent King Remastered reminds me of a classic first-person dungeon crawler, but it appears to be an homage at best. What you have here is a roguelike where you fight randomly appearing enemies, find eight keys, and then defeat a boss - if you don't die in battle or fall into lava when collecting the keys.

I do this a fair amount, but you can see how I start to progress by leveling up some skills and a weapon. If I keep going, I might just get to the boss:

 

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I know Grim Fandango is a legendary point-and-click adventure, but somehow I've never played it before. The story is supposed to be amazing, and so far it's pretty entertaining - but I did get stuck for awhile until I stumbled on the second elevator and managed to solve the first major puzzle.

I guess I'll keep going:

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

While I'm on a detective jag (having streamed Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders yesterday), here's The Raven Remastered. It's a pretty rudimentary talk, examine, use point-and-click adventure set on the Orient Express with a cinematic feel.

Not sure it's my cup of tea, but curious to see where it's going:

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I somewhat enjoyed the recent spate of Sherlock Holmes games, so I thought I'd give Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders a try. You play as Hercule Poirot and basically point and click your way through clues and crime scenes. Alas, the puzzles quickly escalate in difficulty - I abandoned two puzzle boxes after completing the fairly obvious cash register mini-game.

This is the sort of thing I may play when I can just zone out and solve the puzzles, but there's enough here for you to decide whether this is your jam:

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I didn't really know what to expect from Stories Untold except that it opens with a Zork-style text adventure, the kind of game I played the hell out of the in '80s. It's a little hard to read the screen (thankfully, you can zoom in though it's a little wobbly) but you'll soon see why the game forces you to take in the whole space. It's a spooky and clever adventure with some fun twists.

The other three episodes are apparently somewhat different, but you can get a pretty good sense of the game from this playthrough of The House Abandon:

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I'm not a huge Lovecraft fan, so I didn't know what to expect from Call of Cthulhu. The reviews are generally positive for the story, less so for the gameplay. I can see why. It's pretty pedestrian, at least in the beginning. There do seem to be some interesting RPG elements peppered in, such as stats that affect your interactions in the game.

It unspools slowly - I suspect I'll need to put in another hour before I get anywhere fun:

 

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It's been awhile since an Artifex Mundi hidden object game dropped on console. In fact, I'm pretty sure the last one was another in this series, 9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek. This one, 9 Clues 2: The Ward, seems better despite the typical thin plot and characters. You immediately dive into an investigation, which leads to a murder, clues, and of course lots of puzzles and hidden objects. This series is known for its "Detective Mode" where you identify clues and then sort them into the correct order to piece together the events that transpired.

Take a look and see what you think. Me, I'm already hooked:

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

The Complex starts slow but picks up fast. It has high production value for a FMV interactive movie game, reminding me quite a bit of Late Shift once it gets going. There are some expected twists (like when a character suddenly reappears) and some unexpected ones (don't watch all the way to the end if you want to be surprised!).

Overall, I went from not that into it to "WHAT?! OMG, what happens next":

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Wow, this one's a straight-up horror game. I was expecting something so bad it's good like She Sees Red, but I Saw Black Clouds is a dark AF game with sloppy editing to boot. It's not great, but it's intriguing.

I'm not sure I'm up to dealing with the themes of psychosis and suicide (trigger warning: there's a graphic death portrayed right up front):

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I did not have high hopes for The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, but it surprised me. You are a doctor replacing Dekker, who was apparently murdered. You conduct sessions with several of his patients, probing their conditions and relationship with the late doctor. So part therapist, part detective. Of the three games in this series, I'm more into The Shapeshifting Detective but this is a solid second with Dark Nights with Poe and Munro a distant third.

It's an interesting dynamic, and the performances are decent - at least so far:

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

So, this is more like it! Yesterday I streamed Dark Nights with Poe and Munro, which started out pretty poorly. This game (which features Poe and Munro) is so much better.

You play as... what, you guessed it? The Shapeshifting Detective. What that means is that you can impersonate any of the main characters to ask questions of the others as someone they might trust better than you. Once I got going with this dynamic, I was hooked - even if it transforms what should be a gothic murder mystery into sci-fi.

Whatever, just roll with it:

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Burning through my backlog of spooky FMV interactive movies, today I landed on Dark Nights with Poe and Munro, supposedly based around a small-town radio show that focuses on the macabre. I had high hopes for this one, but the opening left me cold. There is no chemistry between the leads (perhaps that's the point?!) and I never felt vaguely threatened or engaged by the choices.

Maybe a second run through the first episode with different choices would make it better, but I'm in no rush to dive back in:

 

For more like this, follow my Twitch channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.




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