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Hugh Likes Video Games: Gone Home

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Gone Home: Console Edition
Created by The Fulbright Company
Played on Playstaton 4
gonehome.game

gonehome
I played “Gone Home” for the first time when it was released on PC.  Unfortunately, my Mac Mini wasn’t quite up to the task of the game’s graphics.  So I was quite pleased to be able to download it as a part of Sony’s Playstation Plus offerings for June of this year.  The span of a few years make this indie game’s 3D modeled mansion a bit less spectacular, but the game’s story and technique remain just as impressive.
The player steps into the first-person shoes of Katie Greenbriar, a college student just returned from a trip to Europe.  She arrives home in the middle of a stormy night to find the house empty, with a message from her younger sister not to come looking for her.
As you begin to explore the strange house, “Gone Home” feels like a survival horror game.  It does borrow some of that genre’s puzzle and exploration mechanics, but the game is actually something else.  As you learn more about Katie’s family through letters, buttons, scraps of notes, and other evidence, voice over narrations of her sister Sam are unlocked.  Formatted as unsent letters, they reveal the true story piece by piece.  I won’t spoil it here, but it is well worth experiencing on your own.
“Gone Home” is a by turns creepy, moving, and overall heartfelt piece of interactive fiction, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Podcast: CCRC10: Bionic Six

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Join the Chrononauts as they comment on a bit of nostalgia from JRD’s formative years.

Click HERE to listen to the commentary!

And click HERE to watch Bionic Six Episode One on Youtube!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and Way of the Buffalo, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

This podcast originally appeared at Skinner.FMSkinner.FM on September 14, 2016.

Thank you for listening.  If you liked this podcast, please share it, or leave a review on the podcatcher of your choice.  You can also support me on Patreon for more writing and podcasting.

 

Hugh Likes Podcasts: Hello From The Magic Tavern

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Hello From the Magic Tavern
Produced by Arnie Niekamp, Evan Jacover, and Ryan DiGiorgi
Hosted by Arnie Niekamp, Adal Rifai, and Matt Young
hellofromthemagictavern.com
magictavern1
Hello From the Magic Tavern is a difficult podcast to explain.  It’s kind of like The Lord of the Rings with less wandering and more poop jokes.  Half improv, half interview show, the podcast is hosted by Arnie Niekamp, playing himself.  The premise is that he fell through a magical portal behind a Chicago Burger King and landed in the magical land of Foon.  He still gets wifi through the portal, and hosts a podcast interviewing locals along with his co-hosts, a talking badger/shape-shifter named Chunt, and Usidore, a wizard of less than legendary talents.
The interviews with guests are improvised, but each one becomes canon for the podcast, and episodes build to form a larger story.  It’s a neat premise, that has resulted in a lot of pop culture jokes and references becoming ongoing bits.
The producers are also a part of the creative team at Jackbox Games, who create indie party video games like “You Don’t Know Jack” and “Fibbage.”  The signature humor of those games is on display here as well, so fans of their video game work will be well at home with “Hello From the Magic Tavern.”  The ongoing story line, which involves Arnie’s fervent wish to return home, but utter lack of action, and the land of Foon being menaced by a Dark Lord simply referred to as “The Dark Lord,” get stranger and more complex with every episode, but it is one heck of a trip.
You can stream Hello From the Magic Tavern online, or find it in iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

Thank you for reading this article.  If you enjoyed it, please share it, or leave a comment.  You can also support me on Patreon for more content.

Podcast: Interview: Dave Robison

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Recorded on-site at Balticon 50, Hugh talks with Onder Librum and Ed Greenwood Group V.P. Dave Robison.  They talk about the publisher’s ambitious multi-media plans, and the newest novel setting, “Stormtalons!”

Click HERE to listen!

Links:
Pat played Mansions of Madness
Hugh listened to the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton: An American Musical
You can find more about Onder Librum, and sign up to join The Sessorium at their Website!
Dave is also the host of the fabulous Roundtable Podcast!
Our promo was for Six Stories Told at Night, an exceptional Canadian audio drama by K. T. Bryski.
Music provided by Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com under a creative commons license.

Thank you for listening!  If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review in iTunes, or your preferred podcatcher.  You can also support us on Patreon for early episodes, behind the scenes posts, fiction, and more!

This podcast originally appeared at The Way of the Buffalo on September 10, 2016.

Podcast: The Dark Wife: After

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The Dark Wife
a novel by Sarah Diemer
Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie.  Now only a goddess can tell the truth…
Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want, except for freedom.  She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful gaze of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus.  But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: CHOICE.
Zeus calls Hades ‘Lord’ of the dead as a joke.  In truth, Hades is the GODDESS of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus.  She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian DESTINY.
But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld.  She finds LOVE, and herself.
The Dark Wife is a YA novel, a lesbian retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth.  It is available in print and ebook format from Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.  You can also download a free PDF copy of the novel HERE.
Audiobook read by Veronica Giguere

Podcast: The Dark Wife Episode 17

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The Dark Wife
a novel by Sarah Diemer
Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie.  Now only a goddess can tell the truth…
Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want, except for freedom.  She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful gaze of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus.  But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: CHOICE.
Zeus calls Hades ‘Lord’ of the dead as a joke.  In truth, Hades is the GODDESS of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus.  She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian DESTINY.
But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld.  She finds LOVE, and herself.
The Dark Wife is a YA novel, a lesbian retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth.  It is available in print and ebook format from Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.  You can also download a free PDF copy of the novel HERE.
Audiobook read by Veronica Giguere

Hugh Likes Video Games: Metroid II

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Hugh Likes Video Games-Metroid II
Metroid II: Return of Samus
Nintendo Game Boy
Published 1991
Metroid_II_US_boxart
The Nintendo Game Boy was a little system that could.  Propelled to success by its classic version of Tetris, the monochrome game system boasted a wide variety of games despite its low resolution and hunger for batteries.  Being a child of the 80’s and 90’s with a limited budget, most of my gaming nostalgia goes back to the original, which still holds a place of pride on my display of gaming systems that have since gone to pasture.
One of my favorite games of the era was Metroid II: Return of Samus.  This handheld sequel to the original NES game follows space bounty hunter Samus Aran as she traverses the caverns of an alien world to destroy weaponized aliens called Metroids.
While not narratively complex, the Metroid series offers plenty of exploration, tricky platforming, and the most badass woman in all of gaming as a protagonist.  II is a bit shrunk down and more linear than its 8-bit predecessor, but the thrill of actively hunting rather than simply exploring is an improvement on the original.
The maze-like interior of planet SR388 is divided into sections, each with a number of metroids.  Each section is cut off by ‘boiling acid’ which conveniently recedes when the required number of metroids have been killed.  This replaces the standard Metroid mechanic of requiring upgrades to proceed, although the game is still littered with toys for Samus to collect.  But the metroids Samus encounters aren’t simply the jellyfish-like floating aliens encountered in Metroid.  On their home planet they havea multi-stage life cycle, and become larger and more difficult as the game progresses.
While the game is a bit linear, and, if you collect everything, easier than other Metroid games, it is still a standout of the original Game Boy library.  You can find it fairly easily in used game stores, or digitally in the 3DS eshop.

Thanks for reading this article.  If you enjoyed it, please share it!  You can also support me on Patreon for exclusive and early access to writing, podcasts, and more!

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