Consequences

Life is Strange is a game of consequences. It presents the player with choices which change the storyline, sometimes in subtle ways, and sometimes in ways that can kill off major characters.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is also a game of consequences. The story takes place during a single morning, so the consequences are rarely game-changers.

Sunday morning, I stumbled upon the one choice that lead, uncontrollably, to the end of the game. I had played less than an hour. I hadn’t completed anything on Captain Spirit’s “Awesome Things to Do” list.

So, I started over. I designed Captain Spirit’s costume differently. I tried out different choices. I avoided making that one game-ending choice. Unfortunately, I knew how the game would end.

Phillip joined me in playing the game last night. We discovered that I had missed out on a lot of adventures Sunday morning.

Now, this evening, I’ve completed all but one of Captain Spirit’s “Awesome Things to Do”. (I knew from the start that this was going to be a short game.)

I have no clue how to accomplish that last Awesome Thing. I feel like I’ve tried everything. Now I have a choice: Do I go to the end, one thing short, or do I keep wandering around hoping something will occur to me, or do I find the answer on the internet?

Meet Chris

I discovered Life is Strange about three years after its release. (Despite having a subscription to Entertainment Weekly that won’t go away, I’m rarely up on current entertainment.)

The advantage to this is that I was able to download all five episodes of Life is Strange at once, and didn’t have to wait for the next episode to be released.

Then, as I finished Life is Strange, I learned that Episode One of the sequel, Life is Strange 2, is due out in September.

Then, this week, the creators of Life is Strange, Dontnod Entertainment and Square Enix, released a new game, for free (!), named The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. So I downloaded it. I started playing it this evening.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is set in the same universe as Life is Strange, and is somehow tied into Life is Strange 2. Judging by how small the download was, it’s going to be a quick game.

I’ve purposely avoided game play videos, and written reviews, so I can go into it with a blind sense of discovery.

You play the game as Chris, a 10-year-old boy in Beaver Creek, Oregon. He lives with his alcoholic father, who tries to be supportive of Chris when he’s sober, but there are signs that he’s abusive when he’s not. The mother is out of the picture, but I haven’t discovered why, yet.

chris

Chris apparently has only imaginary friends. He also has an active imagination. He spends his Saturday, at the beginning of the game, pretending to be a superhero named Captain Spirit. He may, or may not, have actual super powers.

Captain Spirit has the same look and feel of Life is Strange. It also has the same decision-based game play. (I love that I got to help Chris design Captain Spirit’s costume.)

The controls for Life is Strange were not very intuitive. The controls for Captain Spirit are different, and even less intuitive. That’s my only grumble.

I’m looking forward to this adventure.

 

 

 

Well, OK Then

Well, it turns out that I was closer to the end of Life is Strange than I was aware – a lot closer.

I picked up at the bench I discovered yesterday, and a half hour later, I reached that one major decision, and the game ended. I don’t know if I made good decisions, or if there is any such thing as a good decision in this game. That’s the beauty of Life is Strange. I can go back and play the game again and make a new series of different decisions, and have a different game.

still being

The game did burn me out at the point I wrote about yesterday, but overall, I loved the game.

My favorite puzzle was the Principal’s office door.

Life is Strange 2 comes out in September.

Max Is Back

A few weeks ago, I took a break from Life is Strange. There were several reasons for this.

(No Spoilers Ahead)

I felt the game was dragging on. A number of mysteries had been solved, and the game kept returning to the same plot lines, like an endless series of post-credit scenes that added nothing new.

The story had changed tone drastically. What started as a set-in-reality story of Max and Chloe, and their friendship, had turned into Max’s endless dream sequence.

The game had changed drastically. What started with logic puzzles and decisions (with consequences) had become an action chase through a maze.

I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. So I set the game aside, meaning to come back to it. Then the Seasons DLC for The Sims 4 came out, with loads of new things to discover. It was tough getting myself back to Life is Strange.

bench

Tonight, I decided to start playing Life is Strange again. After all, I had been enjoying it. I felt I needed to finish it. I made it through the maze. I found a bench. I reached a save point, so I called it a night. I feel like I’m near the end. (But, then again, I’ve felt I was near the end several times now.)

The Sims 4: Seasons

I love this new expansion pack! It’s adding so much to a game I’ve been enjoying for nearly three years.

I love the bees, and I love the umbrellas. (Although, why is an umbrella stand an appliance, instead of an item of storage?) I love that sims automatically open umbrellas (once you’ve chosen one from the umbrella stand “appliance”) whenever it starts raining. (I learned the hard way, after breaking two umbrellas, to return the umbrella to the stand before going out in a thunderstorm.) How is it that a sim is always carrying around an invisible umbrella, ready for the next raindrop, with both hands free? The Sims 4 is a weird game, that’s how.

Umbrellas

Dinner in the rain (The sim on the right was created by Deligracy.)

After I installed Seasons, I was asked to choose a starting season. Phillip and I chose Summer together. (I suppose if I played several short games, this might mean something, but I’m playing one, continuous game.) I’ve made it through an entire sim-year now (a total of 28 sim-days), and it’s now Summer again.

Heat wave in the city

Heat wave in the city

There’s a large vacant area in the corner of Newcrest that’s always bugged me. It’s an enormous lot with grass and walkways, next to a playground and picnic area, with nothing in it. You can’t build anything in it, and there’s nothing to do there – there’s not even plants to harvest, hidden things to explore, or rocks to dig. Now, with Seasons, skating rinks and seasonal food stalls show up to put spaces, like this one, to good use. I’m pleased with that.

Skate Rink

A skate rink in Newcrest

I love the holidays and the new calendar. It’s nice being able to see the upcoming work schedule of every sim in the household in one place. I’ve heard that you can now schedule parties for a future time and date (as opposed to the party starting the moment the invitations are sent out), and that makes sense, but I haven’t tried it out yet.

Winterfest

Winterfest

The thing that excites me the most about Seasons is the improved lighting effects. The Sims 4 has always been a beautiful game, with a nice balance between cartoonish and realistic.  As much as I love playing the game, I love looking at it. I love taking screenshots of this game. I love the little details like how sunlight through windows makes shapes on the floor, and how beams of light come through the trees. Now, with Seasons, colors have become muted – less garish. Light changes with the season and with the weather. Moonlight on snow looks, and feels, different from moonlight in the jungle. You can tell it’s a cloudy day without looking up at the sky.

Fall fishing

Fishing on an overcast Fall morning

Yes, I am loving this new expansion pack, and I’m still discovering all its features.

The Sims 4 Is A Weird Game, Part 3

The Sims 4 has some beautiful kitchen counters and cabinets. You can build a variety of kitchen layouts and styles. Sims can’t actually open the drawers, but that’s all right with me. It’s only a game, with the limitations that come with a computer game.

Traditional Kitchen

Ah, the country life!

Modern Kitchen

Ah, the city life!

But it’s probably a good thing that Sims can’t open drawers, because most of the kitchen islands have the drawers on the wrong side.

Backwards 1

Backwards 2

If a Sim needed to retrieve anything from an island drawer, they’d have to first ask the Sim sitting there to get up, and then they’d have to move the stool out of the way. And if they needed to retrieve anything from the top drawer, they’d have to pull the drawer all the way out to clear the island’s overhang.

The Tall Order, Modern Victorian, and S. Cargeaux kitchen island styles avoid the problem by not having drawers on either side.

The Aughts and the VAULT kitchen island styles are the only two with drawers on the correct side. Guests can sit on at the island, chatting away with the host Sim while they cook dinner, and not have to worry about being in the way.

The Aughts

VAULT

But it’s only a game.