Flights of The Electribird

Through Games, Events and Multimedia


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An Idiot’s Way Through Deponia

A while ago, I bought a game called Deponia by Daedalic Entertainment. I didn’t think much of it at the time due to mountains of work to do, so it had to lay around somewhere in my nest and become forgotten. Then, when an opportunity got me a chance to get the sequels, Chaos on Deponia and Goodbye Deponia, for a fair price, I thought it was time to test them all and share my view of them here.

1. Deponia

Rufus has lived in Kuvaq, a village on the garbage planet named Deponia, for a long time and is sick of it. He has tried to find a way out of Deponia for a while and get to a place in the sky called Elysium, but every attempt to get there has ended up in disaster. This hasn’t stopped the stubborn Rufus from trying, trying and trying again. During his last attempt, he spots an Elysian girl named Goal, who ends up in trouble with some soldiers on an Organon cruizer. In an attempt to save her, Rufus causes Goal to fall off the cruizer and land on Deponia, where she’s discovered by the locals in Kuvaq in a comatose state. Rufus, who’s developed a crush on Goal, has to put his plans to get out of Deponia aside to help the beautiful girl to recover before the other citizens of Kuvaq decide who’s going to take her home until she recovers…

In this cartooned point-and-click adventure game, the player gets to follow Rufus and use the mouse to click on objects and people to interact with them (right-click to look at them and left-click to talk to, use or take them). Objects that have been picked up can be spotted in the inventory, which can be found by scrolling on the mouse-wheel or clicking on the handle in the upper-right corner of the screen. From here, you can also load and save the game, if you don’t feel like pressing the Escape-button on the keyboard to get to the menu. Another useful button to mention, is the Space-button, since it helps the player see what can be clicked on in each location Rufus is in. The game also consists of some mini-games for the players to solve. Most of them consist of easy puzzles, that can be solved in minutes, but some of them can be skipped if the player just wants to get on with the story.

Looking for a challenge? If you take a look in the settings menu after finishing the game the first time, you’ll be able to click on a sqare next to a funny-looking guy there. This activates the “Droggeljug” mode, which replaces all the dialogues in the game with the word “Droggeljug!”. Feel free to try and finish the game in this mode, I dare you!

This game gets a solid 2/5. The graphics are fun and there are a few funny moments to chuckle at, but there was a lot of things in this game that could get on your nerves. The most annoying thing was Rufus. I’ve played with a lot of annoying game characters in my life, but Rufus is definitely the worst one of the year. He’s ill-tempered, disgusting, rude, self-absorbed, childish and ignorant! It wasn’t easy to have this idiot along for the entire game and most of his solutions and actions will make any sane person cringe, but the game would be too normal if he was someone likeable. Not to mention, most of the other characters in the game aren’t that much better (most of them a quite selfish), so Rufus kind of belongs in that world anyway. Apart from that, it wasn’t easy to figure out what to do at times, especially if you didn’t pay attention well enough, so a lot of guesswork was involved to figure out what to do. But this is still a humorous game (even though it could have been made funnier) and the story is interesting, so I guess it’s worth playing once. The “Droggeljug!” mode? Whoever had the idea of adding that one owes me a refund, because chances are I’ll get violent if I have to endure that torture ever again…

2. Chaos on Deponia

Shortly after Goal leaves with Cletus in a cable shuttle for Elysium, Rufus goes back to his regular scheming to get to Elysium as well. Once again, his plan fails. Instead of reaching Elysium, Rufus crashes into the shuttle and comes face to face with Cletus once again before accidentaly sending Goal back down to crashland on Deponia. When Rufus finds her at Doc’s place, Doc tells Rufus that he needs to get him new cartridges to repair the damage Goal’s crash did to her memory implant and sends him on yet another adventure…

The graphics and the game mechanics in this game are the same as in the first game, but the puzzle mini-games are much more subtle here. You can still skip some of them, but most of them have been integrated so well into the story and the surroundings, you can barely tell they’re mini-games at all. Even a conversation can be a mini-game and chances are you won’t notice it until the option to skip it comes up!

Another thing worth mentioning, is the empty jigsaw puzzle that can be found in the bonus section of the game. There appears to be 12 pieces scattered in the scenes throughout the game for the player to click to collect. Not only are these incredibly hard to spot (the Space-button will not help you here), but it’s worth mentioning that they look more like tiny pieces of paper with weird symbols on them. To avoid spoiling the surprise for collecting them all, I’ll just mention that the resulting image of the jigsaw puzzle is not for the prudest set of eyes…

This sequel gets a 3/5. There are more and better jokes here, the storyline’s more interesting and there’s no need for as much guesswork as in the prequel. Still, this is still a hard game to complete if you don’t know what to do, so some guessing is still required, and it would be nice if I didn’t have to fiddle with the game settings to get somewhere (although Daedalic Entertainment does get a bonus for being clever enough to add that here and for being nice enough to let the player restore the altered settings without entering the settings menu again). I also had to look extra carefully for the paper pieces in each scene, which isn’t easy to do when you play the game on a device with a small screen. As for Rufus… he’s a bit easier to put up with now that he seems to have matured a bit and chances are it’s because I’ve gotten a little more used to him after putting up with his crap for 2 games, but he’s still a childish, selfish, stubborn moron with no respect for people’s differences… but I guess that’s supposed to be part of the charm. It certainly made the few scenes of physical comedy, stupidity and embarrasment worth laughing at…

3. Goodbye Deponia

After getting Goal back after what happened in the previous game, Rufus, Goal, Doc and Bozo are riding by Bozo’s cutter towards the Sea of Shards – or at least that was the plan. Rufus, who still can’t wait to get to Elysium, changed coarse of the cutter and managed to get it onto a monorail track towards the Upper Ascention Station in Porta Fisco, where the last ride to Elysium is located. This, along with the fact that he tried to fish using the cutter’s crane at the same time, leads to the cutter being torn apart and the gang walking towards a hotel below the monorail track, where they get a room for Doc to set up a lab to prepare for Goal’s surgery, and it doesn’t take long before Cletus checks in there as well in his search for Goal…

The graphics and game mechanics are basically the same as in the prequels of this game. The only big difference comes when you’ve played through half the game. That’s when the player gets to switch between 3 characters by clicking on their avatars at the bottom of the screen. Once one of these characters manages to reach any of the others, the player can also transfer stuff between those two characters, no matter where they are located, by clicking on an object from the inventory and dragging it to the avatar of the character to move it to.

Just like in the previous sequel, there are hidden stuff to be found in the scenes. This time, the player can look for platypus eggs for the handbook in the bonus section in the main menu. There are 15 eggs in total to be found, each from a different kind of platypus – and yes, they are very difficult to spot with a small screen…

Ugh, the torture… 1/5 is all this game gets from me and don’t you dare tell me that’s too harsh! The way Daedalic Entertainment has incorporated the 3-character-gameplay into the story works, the “cameos” were a fun touch and this game has some challenging puzzles that aren’t too impossible to solve (like before, you can still skip the mini-games, if you don’t like them). But when it comes to the story and the characters, fun and continuity has been thrown out the window. Some details in the story doesn’t make sense in this sequel when compared to things that were mentioned in the previous games and Rufus is back to being the obnoxious moron he was in the first game (if not worse), which makes his stupidity and personality hard to endure again. Look, don’t get me wrong here, I get that this is supposed to be a humoristic game, but when it comes to serious subjects, like human trafficking and child abuse, you need more than several truckloads of humour to take some of the pressure off the nerves. This game, however, didn’t even have enough humour to fill a bucket – and I mean that for the ENTIRE game – so when Rufus is selling a girl for 5 bucks or risking children’s lives to get into a bar, I expect to be compensated with enough humour to make me roll on the floor laughing after having to do something that awful! Sure, Rufus cutting in front of the children to pet the “animals” in the creeper’s shack was a step in the right direction (he had it coming, believe me), but that wasn’t enough. Then we have the girl. What about her? Why was it okay for Rufus to do that to her? These were only a few of the bad things you had to do to get anywhere in this game and there wasn’t enough humour to add a positive spin on any of it, making you feel sick for playing the game at all.

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Deadly Hard Holidays? Drive the DeLorian to the Future!

The last couple of months has been nothing but hectic for a lot of people, especially considering all the things that had to be dealt with before the December holidays. Things needed to be shopped, presents needed to be wrapped, homes needed to be decorated and all things edible needed to be cooked, baked and prepared. That’s why it’s so important to give yourself some time for relaxation of any kind whenever possible. How you relax is irrelevant, you just need to do it before the stress kills you. Personally, I chose to spent my breaks with some movies and a game.

Elysium
Ever since I heard about the movie, Elysium, I’ve been nothing but curious. How would the world look like if all the rich people left the planet for the rest of us to live on? How would the economy work? Who would get to use and take advantage of all the things they leave behind on Earth, like homes, attractions and businesses? You’d think that it would benefit mankind to get rid of the top dogs of society and leave room for the rest to take over. Middle-class would become over-class, making lower-class become middle-class and so on. Less poverty and more jobs, homes and space on Earth. Instead, Elysium takes up another scenario entirely.

The year is 2154 and the upper-class citizens of Earth are now living their luxurious, carefree lives on the fancy space station, Elysium, which is currently in orbit around the planet. In the meantime, everyone on the planet is living in a dystopian police state, where diseases roam free, crime rate is high and the average lifespan for humans is still up to around 70-100 years at least. That’s why people do everything they can to get to Elysium, even if it’s just for the sake of healing a relative from cancer or restore a decapitated limb, but very few make it into the space station alive. This doesn’t stop Max, an ex-con who’s working at a law enforcement droid factory and ends up getting exposed to radiation. To try to save himself, he accepts an offer to help an illegal group that helps people get to Elysium to extract data from the director of the factory. What he ends up with recieving, is something that could change the hierarchy of Elysium entirely…

If you’re one of those who enjoyed watching the movie District 9, you might like this movie too. You can really tell that Neill Blomkamp, writer and director of both movies, had something to do with Elysium by the feel you get of something going wrong in the story and the long, but not completely time-wasting, wait for something to be fixed or destroyed beyond repair. But there were still some things I couldn’t understand. What does Elysium have to gain from controlling Earth? If they’re already living lives of luxury in a self-sustaining space station without the risk of dying of anything but old age (which appears to be taking them about 80-100 years longer, considering how old one of the characters appears to be), why keep Earth under such tight control? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Well, whether I’ve missed something or not, Elysium gets a fair rating of 3/5. Logically, the movie doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but it’s still fascinating to see a futuristic scenario like this one come to life on the screen. The choice of actors were also a nice pick, even if Sharlto Copley (the guy who plays Kruger) stole the show.

A Good Day to Die Hard (Die Hard 5)
When you’ve seen the first 3 Die Hard-movies, your expectations get pretty high. It was like comedy and action running hand in hand on the beach in realtime in all 3 movies. Then Die Hard 4.0 came out and you began to notice how the comedy had lessened a bit, but it was still acceptable as a good movie. That’s why I was a bit concerned about this 5th movie, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway. It’s Die Hard after all, right?

This time, John McClane has taken some time off to find out how things are going with his son, Jack, who appears to have gotten himself into a big mess involving drugs and the mob in Russia. Once John gets there, he finds out that Jack is actually a CIA-agent with an even bigger mess to deal with, involving transportation of a Russian prisoner and uranium. After accidentally screwing things up for Jack, John helps out to once again save the day and hopefully patch things up with his son.

In the previous Die Hard-movies, there were 3 things you could always count on – loads of action, an acceptable story and just enough comedy to give you something to smile or chuckle at least a couple of times. If that’s what you were hoping for in this Die Hard-movie too, prepare for disappointment. While about 60 % of the movie consisted of some averagely-rated action, the rest of it were basically just some needed lines and plot-points to make the story move forward and a truckload of rubbish. It’s also very disappointing that the scriptwriters didn’t do their homework about Tjernobyl or radiation properly, because some actions and solutions were nowhere near realistic. If there was anything good about this movie, it was Bruce Willis’s return as John McClane…

The thought of giving a Die Hard-movie a 1/5 makes me want to cry. I can’t even begin to tell how poor the quality of this sequel is. Not only did this movie fail by Die Hard-standard, it was too dry and empty to be seen as a good action movie at all. What happened to the comedy? Where was the excitement? How dumb did the moviemakers believe their audience to be? This entire movie was nothing but a bad attempt to bring nostalgia back to the present. Nostalgia is one thing, but a poorly executed project like this is unforgivable.

Back to the Future: The Game
My favorite movie trilogy of all time has always been Back to the Future. When I read that Telltale Games were making a game out of it, I nearly jumped out of joy! It took a long wait, but I found the Wii-version of it eventually and speeded to the console the moment I got a chance to play it.

After the events that occurred in the last movie, Dr. Emmet Brown has been gone for 6 months. Because of this, the bank are reclaiming his house and holding a garage sale to sell his stuff. While Marty is trying to do what he can to stop this from happening, Dr. Brown’s time-travelling DeLorean appears outside the house with Einstein, Dr. Brown’s dog, inside along with a tape recorder and a ladies’ shoe. Dr. Brown has once again gotten himself into trouble in the past and it’s upto Marty McFly to once again travel back in time to save him.

In this point-and-click adventure, the player controls Marty McFly in a story that’s been divided into 5 separate episodes. With the Wii-remote, the player can point in the direction they want Marty to go and click on a button to get him to move towards it. With the nunchuck plugged into the Wii-remote, it gets even easier to more around, because the buttons on the nunchuck make it easier to make Marty move around and run in the area he’s in. Apart from moving around, Marty can also interact with people to talk to them and interact with objects to activate them or pick them up to use someplace else and this is done by clicking on whatever it is that the player want Marty to interact with. There’s also an icon in the corner to click on to get to the stuff Marty is carrying with him. From there, the player can pick an object to either take a closer look at or use in Marty’s current surroundings. To make things even easier, there’s also a hint system in the game that lets the player view current tasks for Marty to do and drop a hint on what needs to be solved. This feature can of course be turned off, if the player desires, just like the player can choose to make speech in the game audio-only or subtitled…

To those who loved the movies, I can tell you right now that you won’t be disappointed. Telltale Games did a good job of getting the nostalgia into the game by adding familiar objects, lines and other minor details that will take the player back in time. Just the voices alone are impressive for a very good reason! Just like in the movies, you can hear Christopher Lloyd do the voice for Dr. Brown, and you can hardly tell that a voice actor named A.J. Locascio is doing the voice for Marty instead of Michael J. Fox, who’s voice was still put to good use. If there’s something that’s going to bug the pickiest of gamers, it’s the graphic-errors in some of the episodes, where some details are missing…

Great Scott, this game should have recieved a higher rating than 4/5, but unfortunately, I can’t look past the graphic-errors in some of the episodes. This is a common error in Telltale Games’ Wii-games and they are as annoying as the graphics style used for the game, which is making the characters look a bit too childish and cubic. This style may have been suited for the Sam & Max games Telltale Games made, but not for Back to the Future. Still, Telltale Games get top grade for all the nostalgia they added into the game without ruining the story! The game felt like Back to the Future all the way from start to finish, without losing touch of what made the fans of the movies love Back to the Future in the first place. There was just one detail in the story that wasn’t well thought of, but mentioning that would be spoiling…

My goodness, those reviews took forever to type! That’s how it goes when you don’t have much time to spare anymore. At least that won’t stop me from updating this blog with more tests and hopefully some news in the near future, no matter which part of space the rich are hiding or what kind of situation a cop has to put himself in to help his kid out.


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Rest in Peace, LucasArts

Ever since Disney bought LucasArts Entertainment Company, we all knew things were going to go downhill for LucasArts. As much as I love the idea of seeing another Star Wars movie, I can’t help wondering how much Disney might ruin the franchise by “disneyfying” it, like they do to everything else. Still, the biggest knife to the heart came yesterday, when I read about Disney shutting down the game development department of LucasArts. This is such a shame, because they made most of my favorite games before they stopped doing anything else but Star Wars games, like the first four Monkey Island games, The Dig, Full Throttle, Sam & Max: Hit the Road and Grim Fandango. With such an amazing past as being one of the most famous and respected game companies in the world, I still can’t help asking what happened.

During the 80’s and early 90’s, LucasArts made the best games I’ve ever played in my life. After that, all I saw was Star Wars game after Star Wars game, a fun park simulator, more Star Wars, a little Indiana Jones and more Star Wars. Fans had to beg for a sequel of Monkey Island and got The Escape of Monkey Island for their efforts and later on the second editions of The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island: LeChuck’s Revenge. Don’t get me wrong, I love Star Wars and wouldn’t mind watching the movies and testing the games for this blog one day, but when a company puts too much focus on one franchise, there is no doubt that some consumers will spot the sell-out stamp on the company’s forehead and grunt in disappointment. Still, this didn’t stop the company from being regarded as a highly respected game development company and never will. It surprises me that Disney didn’t choose to develop the company further and bring the old game franchises back instead of just shutting it down or – even better – sell the game development part of the company to some other company, like Telltale Games or – don’t hate me for typing this – Electronic Arts. The company name and its history alone is worth twice than was Disney paid for and, as a big fan of LucasArts’ old work, I can honestly say that I’d love to get my hands on a sequel to Monkey Island and every other oldie they’ve made before the Star Wars game craze. Too bad that won’t happen, unless someone coughs up some money to buy the rights to keep making the game from Disney…

Well, most good things always come to an end eventually. All you can do is remember the good times and hope the future brings something equally awesome at a later time. I found this YouTube-clip in a news-entry by The International House of Mojo, which serves as a reminder of some of the good stuff LucasArts used to make:


I’m definetly going to miss LucasArts. I owe them for all the fun, adventures and laughs I got to enjoy in my childhood and remember today. I still enjoy playing their old adventure games today and can’t wait to see who gets to take the torch after them (my guess is Telltale Games, which has done a good job so far). I’m very disappointed that Disney didn’t choose to milk this further.

Thanks for your existence, LucasArts! May you rest in peace.


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Education Takes Time – Literally!

My, my. I haven’t caught a real break until now to write anything in this blog. It’s my second week in a vocational training school and I’m already swamped in work! I’ve finished some stuff off and now awaits a few answers for my teacher tomorrow. Darn, I really wanted to ace this course. Oh well, it wouldn’t be school if it wasn’t hard…

Those who know me know that I love games. RPG’s (Role-Playing Games), computer games, console games, ARG (Alternative Reality Games), boardgames… the list goes on and on. I can’t really say that I have a favourite game, but I do have an obsession with The Sims. I’ve been collecting those games for a long time and had a lot of fun with them, but they don’t really belong to my favourite genre – P&C (Point & Click) adventure games, like Monkey Island, Beneath a Steel Sky, Sam & Max and Runaway! I’ve always loved to solve mysteries and those kind of games bring that to the gaming experience. Another thing that I’m very fond of with most P&C games is the humour in the game. Some jokes you have to look for, while the rest are as visible as a red nose on a colourful clown. Monkey Island is a very good example, since those games has both kind of jokes. For a series of games with the 1700’s pirate theme, you can spot a lot of modern stuff in it, like rubber chickens and soda machines. Then we have the weird things you have to do, like collecting T-shirts, put on a pink dress, feed cheese to a vulcano and be vulgar to a school teacher. And last, but definetely not least, we have the signs, labels, posters and commercials you can find a little here and there with some funny text on them. Some of them were actual commercials for future games, which was a little weird, but still funny.

I’d love to write some more, but I have a teacher to try to suck up to in a few hours and need some sleep. Let’s hope he won’t chew my head off…