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Virtual Reality

I originally pre-ordered an Oculus Rift after the consumer version was finally announced, but after reading about all the “controversies” around the launch of the Rift and the Oculus company after it was bought up by Facebook, I eventually ended up cancelling it and buying the HTC Vive instead.

List of controversies from memory:

These and the fact that HTC Vive already have motion controllers and also better room-scale support (if you walk around in the room, you are also walking around in the game), eventually convinced me to buy it instead. It even arrived quicker than the estimated delivery date for my Oculus Rift pre-order (was stated to arrive in July).

HTC Vive

HTC Vive

The HTC Vive was developed by Valve in cooperation with HTC, and Steam already had VR support for quite a while, with a decent list of VR games by now. However, most of the games are made by indie developers and it is quite apparent that many of them lack the polish of games from larger companies. It has some similarities to the games found on app stores in the early days of smartphones, a bunch of mediocre games and also some gems, but even among those many are under development (“early access” as Steam calls it). Many of the games are also very arcade-like, without any story or campaign modes, but instead having wave-based level progression, which can be fun too, but is not really my favorite type of games.

I already have 73 games in my VR library (some of them are free demos, but I did buy quite a few during Steam’s summer sale), so I’m not going to go through all of them, but here’s a short list of the games I liked slightly more than others:


A Chair in a Room
A Chair in a Room – Greenwater: One of the more complete VR games, this is a short horror adventure game in the style of old “point and click” adventure games. With jumpscares. I haven’t actually played this game till completion yet since one of my friends finished it when I was demoing VR to some of my friends, and I haven’t really felt like playing it after reaching the first jumpscare parts of the game…

MIND Path to Thalamus
MIND Path to Thalamus: I got this game from a Humble Bundle a while ago, and was happy to see that it got VR support added. It’s also an adventure game, but mostly exploration based, with some slightly physics based puzzles.

The Solus Project
Another game in the similar vein is The Solus Project, which is also a mostly exploration-based adventure game, but with some survival elements (you have to eat food, drink water and sleep at regular intervals in order to not die).

The Gallery - Episode 1: Call of the Starseed
The final similar VR game is The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed, this one however got enough money through its Kickstarter to feature full voice acting, and while it’s a lot shorter than the previous two, it feels quite a bit more polished. Hopefully they will be able to finish all the episodes of the game.

Portal Stories: VR
Portal Stories: VR
: A fan-made game in the Portal universe, it is a pretty short game consisting of 10 puzzle stages using a “blinking” device rather than the portal gun. The puzzles are pretty good and it is also voice acted with some dialogue that fits pretty well with the humor in the Portal games. Would’ve loved to see more stages for this game.

These five games are the most “story-rich” VR games of the ones I’ve tried so far, which is why they stand out the most to me.

Other noticable games are:

  • Vanishing Realms, a decent but unfinished action RPG
  • Fantastic Contraption, a game where you have to build machines in 3D in order to transport a “balloon” to the target area
  • Final Approach, a flight control game very much like the old mobile game (iOS), but in 3D
  • Ruckus Ridge VR Party, a somewhat unpolished party game where one person uses the Vive while three others uses normal controllers, and they have to “fight” each other in order to get a high score. It’s one of the few party games available for VR, so it’s worth a mention even if it has some playability issues.

In other news, since last post:

  • I’ve been trying to eat vegetarian food as much as possible because of environmental reasons. (In short: Producing meat causes more pollution than cars and other transportation, according to a report by United Nations.) Though I still eat meat sometimes…
  • I’m still biking to work too. I found out I have actually lost about 5kg over the past year, I assume it’s most likely because of this and the previous point.
  • I experimented with making an “augmented reality” / “escape room” type of game using a web page mixed with real world clues. It worked all right, but took so much work that I had to take a break from it after planning two of those.
  • Bought a Pebble Time, mainly because I thought it’d be fun to switch between different geeky watch faces:

  • Went to Easter and Summer Camp, also had a church BBQ

    Church BBQ

    Church BBQ

  • Painted the fence of my balcony, looks quite nice now! Though the “floor” looks very shabby in comparison now. Should probably paint that too later…

    Painted the balcony "wall" and some of the outdoors furniture.

    Painted the balcony “wall” and some of the outdoors furniture.

  • Been watching a lot of TV shows and anime. Stranger Things was pretty awesome, Game of Thrones season 6 was being very Game of Throney, Netflix has started licensing a little bit more anime shows in Norway too, plus the ones I watch on Crunchyroll. Jojo Part 4 is amazing, Ace Attorney is somewhat mediocre but still enjoyable as a fan of the game series, and Food Wars/Shokugeki no Soma is fun to watch, even though I try to eat vegetarian food nowadays.
  • Some of the non-VR games I was most excited to play lately: Zero Time Dilemma was probably my most anticipated game this year, pretty much “binge” played it through a weekend. A great end on an awesome game trilogy. Shovel Knight really was a pretty good old-school style platforming game. Kirby: Planet Robobot was a fun new entry in the Kirby series.

Currently I’m in my week long home vacation now after summer camp, and decided to just stay home most of the time, doing some chores and binge watching TV and games until I have finished some of the stuff I have been wanting to do but not had time to finish.

 

Posted by on 2016-07-21 in Games

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Persona 4 is crack

I finished Sticker Star and started playing Persona 4 Golden shortly after writing my previous blog post, and after that Persona 4 has mostly replaced most other gaming for the last month. The game is strangely addicting for being a game where you spend several hours playing through some kind of “school sim” game before you even get to anything like a dungeon. But then again, that “sim” part is probably the actual reason why it this game is so addicting and considered a great game by many. Because secretly everybody loves to play The Sims, even though most people don’t want to admit it. Or something.

Persona 4 Golden School Lecture

This is a game where part of the gameplay consists of listening to school lectures. How can it be any good??

A friend asked me if I recommended this game, and I was cautiously saying something like “it’s not like standard RPGs so you may or may not like it”. After all I do enjoy playing visual novel style games like Virtue’s Last Reward, Corpse Party and Ever 17, which may also be part of the reason why I like this game, which also has a lot of dialogue.

I do also love the music, although once I start listening closely to the lyrics it does seem to be some kind of broken Engrish. But the tunes are nice! I’ve been looking into buying the soundtrack, but ordering the CD from a store in Japan feels like a pain. I wish there was an easier way to buy Japanese MP3s outside of Japan, most western music services/stores just doesn’t seem to have much access to those. (Spotify, WIMP and iTunes though I haven’t tried that last one lately since I don’t want to install it.)

Other than that I’ve also been buying every single Humble Bundle ever, even those for games that I don’t know if I’ll ever intend to play. My Steam account is bursting with random games. Some of them seem quite good too, just don’t know when I’ll get around to play them. Oh well, not a problem just leaving them there “forever”.

 

I visited some friends and family in Stockholm in May, had quite a bit of fun!

Grumpy bear and happy slimes

Happy slimes and grumpy bear! My friend thought that the contrast between their facial expressions was rather hilarious.

One of my relatives had a childrens birthday party for her young daughter. Some of the kids came over and gave me a hug when I arrived even though I haven’t met them before, so adorable! Also apparently my grade school age cousin is into Minecraft.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

I don’t want to start playing this or WoW. Just playing “single-playthrough” games is already taking up enough time.

I went to two grilling trips with my church, once with just the youth group (we actually had an orienteering game first, my group won!) and once with the whole church. Was quite lucky with the weather both times too.

My excellently rare steak "burger"! It was delicious!

My excellently rare steak “burger”! It was delicious!

And we had a bachelor party for my brother who’s getting married! Made him do a bunch of embarassing stuff, also went to Ekeberg to play frisbee golf, though I must say the highlight was climbing trees at the Climbing Park at Oslo Summer Park! (Even though we went to Big Horn Steakhouse for dinner.)

Oslo Climbing Park

It’s perfectly safe.

I bought a portable hammock. It is awesome. Bought it from Coolstuff.no, but my uncle actually found it cheaper at Finn.no.

Transformers hammock!

Transformers hammock! Sorry about the mess in the background, I just ripped the packaging material off the hammock the fastest I could so that I could try it out right away.

 

Posted by on 2013-06-21 in Games, Rambling

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 first impressions

Since my nVidia drivers crashed again on my computer, I eventually decided to start playing on Final Fantasy XIII-2 instead of my PC games. The nVidia drivers have been rather unstable after that one time I tried to upgrade the drivers and then roll back to the old one because the upgrade made the TV connection not work… Somehow managed to get it to work again until today. I’m planning to reinstall the PC now, and I’m considering just installing Windows 8 while I’m at it.

Anyways, XIII-2. Old photo:

2012-05-25 20.27.03

Those who are interested in the game probably know most of the stuff about it already, so I’ll just list some random thoughts I had when playing the game.

  • Checking out the available DLC: Why is half of the DLC just different costumes for the characters? Why would anyone want to OH THEY HAVE ASSASSIN’S CREED COSTUME FOR NOEL AND N7 (Mass Effect) ARMOR IT’S AWESOME!
  • Unlike the first game, the tutorial doesn’t seem to last for the first 9 chapters of the game.
  • Character upgrade system is simplified. Probably a good thing.
  • The game is not as linear as the first one, because you can do a bunch of side missions already from the start of the game. Quite a few fetch quests though.
  • Quick-time events! How I not have missed you from Resident Evil. Jokes asides, it’s not that bad, and I also wonder if they have a different animation/cut scene when you miss some of the button presses. (I think I missed once or twice, but the cut scene continued so I’m not sure if anything changed.)
  • Battles are sometimes cinematic, with cut scenes and quick-time events happening half-ways through a battle. Pretty cool!
  • Oh and the game features time travel. I wonder if you can travel to the same areas in the past and change things to see the changes in the future, like Chrono Trigger! Probably not though.

 

I also played through the latest DLC for Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3, called “The Beginning of the End”, which tells the story of what happened to the player character from the previous two games. It didn’t really explain much though, I feel like it was just a quick and dirty way of “disposing” of your old player character. But oh well, it was amusing to play through nevertheless.

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Posted by on 2012-12-30 in Games

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