Saturday, 27 July 2013

Scribblenauts, The Walking Dead: 400 Days, Dishonored, Unnatural Creatures, and Van Helsing

In the days after London I finished Scribblenauts Unlimited completely. All the stages, all the starites, all the shards, all the achievements - everything. It was a childish yet fun game and sometimes hard enough that I had to cheat to figure out what the hell the game wanted. I think the fact that English isn't my mothertongue may have contributed to that. Anyway I love the strange things you can do in the game. In one of the underwater stages Cthulhu lies sleeping at the bottom and you get a shard if you waken him xD Also in another underwater stage you have to help Shoggoth xD I think one or several of the creators of Scribblenauts is an H.P. Lovecraft fan!

After that I downloaded and played through The Walking Dead: 400 Days on my Xbox 360. I liked it although it felt too short and as if the game never took off properly. My favourite story is Bonnie's, although I think my favourite character is Becca. I also like the Easter eggs present in 400 Days which refer to stuff that happened in the original game.
Then I installed The Walking Dead on my computer and played through the game a second time. I made sure to make some choices different from what I had done in my first playthrough since the game adapts to the choices the player makes. I went to save Shawn instead of Duck on Hershel's farm. I saved Doug instead of Carley. I sided with Lilly instead of Kenny in as much as possible. I didn't leave Lilly by the road after she shot Doug. I didn't save Ben in the clocktower. However I still didn't steal from the abandoned car, I still shot Duck instead of having his parents do it, and I still showed the bite to the group, and I still had Clementine shoot Lee in the end instead of just leaving him

When we got to Toni's and I finished The Walking Dead I started playing Dishonored. Toni had recommended it to me after he played it last autumn, but it wasn't until a couple of days ago that I felt like trying it out. I played on easy cause I'm an amateur player and I still had some trouble with the tallboys. I played on high chaos all throughout the game and played more of a hack n' slash than stealth game xD In the end I got the bad ending. I may do another playthrough some other time and go for stealth and not killing and getting the good ending, but not right now. Anyway I finished the game in 15 hours and I really liked it. I loved the scenery and general steampunk feel to it :) However I wasn't very good at getting all the runes and discover all the blueprints etc when I was at a place. Especially in areas including tallboys where I mostly wanted to get the hell out of there to the next area before I was killed by those things.

I also finally finished the book Unnatural Creatures. I had it with me to Metaltown, but I didn't read on the train. I had it with me to London but I hardly read on the plane. Anyway it was a lot of fun to read. In the end of the book was annotations to whom had written the short story and when it was first published. Most
of them were recent or from the 60's and 70's, but the oldest one was from the 1880's!

  1. 1885 - The Griffin and the Minor Canon" by Frank R. Stockton
  2. 1900 - "The Cockatoucan" by Edith Nesbit
  3. 1909 - "Gabriel-Ernest" by Saki
  4. 1942 - "The Compleat Werewolf" by Anthony Boucher
  5. 1958 - "Or All the Seas with Oysters" by Avram Davidson
  6. 1963 - "Come Lady Death" by Peter S. Beagle
  7. 1969 - "Flight of the Horse" by Larry Niven
  8. 1972 - "-----*----¤---*-----" by Gahan Wilson  (the name is just a blob in the book, I tried to recreate the shape of the blob)
  9. 1977 - "Prismatica" by Samuel R. Delany
  10. 1982 - "The Sage of Theare" by Diana Wynne Jones
  11. 2004 - "The Smile on the Face" by Nalo Hopkinson
  12. 2005 - "Sunbird" by Neil Gaiman
  13. 2011 - "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E. Lily Yu
  14. 2013 - "Moveable Beast" by Maria Dahvana Headley
  15. 2013 - "The Manticore, The Mermaid. and Me" by Megan Kurashige
  16. 2013 - "Ozioma the Wicked" by Nnedi Okorafor
My favourite short story was by far the one without a name you can pronounce by Gahan Wilson. It was also the first story of the book and it reached into the fields of psychological horror, which completely took me in! I also really loved The Cockatoucan, Gabriel-Ernest, Or All the Seas with Oysters, Come Lady Death, Flight of the Horse, The Sage of Theare, The Manticore, The Mermaid and Me, and Ozioma the Wicked. The Cockatoucan is brilliant and old and presented as a classical children's tale as you'd imagined Peter Pan to be. I don't know why I stopped reading Nesbit at all. She's brilliant - or was I guess. Gabriel-Ernest is a fantastic mash-up between Mowgli and a werewolf :P Or All the Seas with Oysters also played on the border of psychological horror. Something seen but not tangible. Come Lady Death feels like a Victorian vampire story despite the fact that it's really about Death herself. Flight of the Horse is really a sci-fi story that gets mixed up with fantasy due to timetravel. It's hilarious and exciting at the same time! The Sage of Theare is more of a classical fantasy tale from the author who gave us Howl's Moving Castle. There's a little Hercules over it all, but still amazing and year's ahead of Disney's Hercules, albeit centuries after the original Hercules tale. The Manticore, The Mermaid and Me started out as a sort of teen story which quickly turned strange and then into pure horror. Amazingly executed story. I like Ozioma the Wicked mostly because it has that African feel to it of the image the Western world used to have of Africa before it was all poor and after it was all racism. Somewhere in-between there. You know that picture? The picture of an ancient culture and tribes converted into towns? This story has all that as well as an element of urban fantasy. 
Then there are the other stories that didn't exactly speak to me. The Griffin and the Minor Canon felt like a classic fable turned into a longer story and without rhymes. The Compleat Werewolf was just long. Really, really long. Prismatica was interesting at first but turned boring about halfway through. The Smile on the Face was more like a classic high school drama except for a small magical element that only happened for a short while. Forgettable. I had read Sunbird before but it didn't strike me as great the first time I read it either. I liked it but it wasn't amazing. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees was interesting, but written in a kind of boring way. Moveable Beast I completely forgot about as soon as I had finished reading it. 
It's been quite a trip reading all those stories and for the most part I really enjoyed it. Now I'm off to more Gaiman. I think I'll start with his newest book The Ocean at the End of the Lane and then there may be more Sandman :)

After I finished Dishonored I decided to start up The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. A game I bought during Steam Summer Sale. I've only played it for 1½ hours yet, but it has me intrigued. It looks and works like Diablo, but without the online element which makes it waaaaay better in my eyes, since I don't want to play with a whole lot of other people all over the place. It would be like reading a book with someone hovering over your shoulder - completely annoying. Anyway, this far the story is really interesting and the fighting style is really hack n' slash, which suits me perfectly. And now I'm off to play it! 


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