Soma #1


Warning: Spoilers.

I played SOMA recently, for the first time ever and sadly had no end of technical issues when I tried to play this game. I don’t know if it’s something to do with my PS4 or it’s the copy of the game I own. But they were game-breaking because I couldn’t get past the part where Catherine tells Simon to get to the tram. It would either freeze or stay stuck on a black screen with all the controls and UI functional. I tried restarting my PS4, but that didn’t work. I could’ve probably done more to try and fix it but I really couldn’t be bothered at that point. So basically this is the first part of a few wherein I talk about how much I was able to play through.

I’m a huge fan of Frictional Games work. My first experience with their games was Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I found people playing it on Youtube and I loved watching their reactions. It’s what made me want to experience it for myself. Of course since I had watched numerous playthroughs from my favourite Youtubers, I knew my way through which probably made the game a lot less scary for me. I loved the environment designs and the monsters. I loved how twisted the story became and how it made you question your actions. I love their attention to detail with the environments and how they drip feed you the story through the gameplay.

It’s what made me pre-order the next in the series: A Machine For Pigs. I played part way through the Penumbra series while waiting, to see the origins of their horror game development. And I can definitely say, Amnesia was a big improvement in terms of atmosphere compared to the Penumbra series. I loved A Machine For Pigs when it was released. I didn’t find it that scary and compared to The Dark Descent, the gameplay wasn’t that great (I might write about why in a blog post later). I loved the story and I think The Chinese Room is great with writing a compelling story and creating beautiful environments. So when Soma was announced, I was interested. I followed all the promotional videos that they released on their site, and I was hooked.

Basically I went into the game just knowing what they used to market the game. I preordered it as soon as it was announced and it’s only now that I’ve been able to get the chance to play it for myself. Which is why I’m a little disappointed that it wouldn’t work for me and because I really wanted to know what it was about, I went and watched some gameplay videos of it after giving up. So now I know the whole story and I regret not trying harder to get it to work.

Next part I actually start talking about the opening 🙂


[Short Story] Adam’s Kill

I have no idea when this was written but it was after I wrote ‘I’m Not Scared’. That story basically established Adam and Peter as my own original characters and I started making up proper backstories for them. Adam is a serial killer, I had a weird fascination with them… Probably because of the Dexter TV-show? Anyway onto the story, this one is pretty gruesome.
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[Short Story] I’m Not Scared

Creative writing assignment from 2008. The prompt required us to have a character get over their fears. I had a bunch of trouble keeping within the word limit.

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[Short Story] The Fight

This is a bit of a Kingdom Hearts fanfic I did back in 2008. It never went anywhere, this is basically the most complete part of it.

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[Short Story] Cards

Turns out I’ve written a fair bit in 2010. Here’s yet another story. I don’t even know what I was doing with this one. It’s just full of the edge. Oh gore warning.

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Where do I even begin with Orwell.

First things first, I really enjoyed the gameplay of the game, even though it’s not THAT interactive. You play as an investigator and your role is to trawl through pages of various websites and social media for datachunks. These datachunks are highlighted pieces of relevant information on the pages. Some are in conflict with each other, and you have to determine which is more in line with the narrative you’ve created for the targets you’re investigating. There are some that are quite clear cut, like there’s been a bunch of factual information that makes one of the datachunks seem quite unlikely but others are very vague. Vague enough that they could go either way, this is where your interpretation comes in.

Now, I recommend reading everything through because while you can just play the game from just reading the important datachunks and understand what’s going on. You, however, miss the context of the words being used and you’ll encounter situations where you you might incorrectly label a target as “dangerous” and a “terrorist”. I made that mistake during my first playthrough. I played so aggressively, not really reading through the information. I just assumed the worst of people and ended up making some terrible choices, with some grave consequences.

But that’s the point of it, isn’t it? You can’t correctly determine who a person is based on some tidbits of information that they’ve chosen to reveal. They could be lying or they could be telling the truth. A sentence’s meaning can completely change based on how it’s said, what tone is used, what their body language is and what bits of the sentence are emphasised. Because I assumed a person’s motives based on how they conducted themselves in a form that is lacking most of the conventions of a proper conversation, I misread the situation.

It makes you think about the information you’ve put out on the internet via the various social media outlets. Did you know that if you register a website, all your personal information is available to a whois lookup? You can take those details to find out where a person lives, what their house looks like, what their email is, and what other sites the person has signed up to with that email. Via the other sites, you can find their common alias’ and thus find more information about who they are, what they’re interested in, and what they apparently believe in. It’s kind of scary. And with all that information, all those things you’ve said; people can read into it and judge you on that. Which is happening in this game. Except it does go one step further and monitor the target’s phone calls, their text messages, the files on their computers, and their online conversations. You’re like a fly on the wall as the conversations play out, while they are completely unaware. I took a joke out of context and froze the target’s credit cards while they were chatting about it. It kind of makes you paranoid, because with the ways things are now, this kind of situation seems quite likely to happen…

Orwell is a beautifully short game, I think it took me over 2 hours to complete? The user-interface is easy enough to navigate and it’s pleasingly minimalist. The music isn’t too repetitive but it seems a bit contrived in parts. Like it builds up to let the player know that this is a stressful situation that you should be stressing over. I think the game was episodic? So each episode can be completed in different ways depending on what datachunks you send off to your supervisor, with each choice making a difference in the following episodes. Think Telltale’s ‘The Walking Dead’.

The game has multiple endings and the path I was lead down made me acutely aware that I was the antagonist of the story. It was like I was in those Big Brother dystopian stories where the protagonist is railing against the man. I watched as they made plans and were trying to figure out what was going on; all the while I was picking apart their words and using it against them. I felt… bad. Horribly guilty and yet I just had to keep going.

Just go play it XD You can find it on Steam for 9.99 USD. Though I picked it up while it was on sale, I can definitely say that it was well worth 6.79 USD.

Skyrim Enhanced Edition

I’ve been slow on working on my projects because I’ve recently gotten around to playing the enhanced edition of Skyrim. It’s been fun revisiting all the questlines I’ve played through before and discovering ones I skipped over. I discovered quite the bug and figuring out a workaround was frustrating.

I ended up roaming into Falkreath days ago, and learned that a guy had torn a girl apart and was now in the jail. I made my way over and talked to the guy, who I learned was called Sinding. I empathised with his strife, since he was afflicted by lycanthropy and was cursed by a ring he had stolen in hopes to control himself. So I took the cursed ring and went off to talk with the Daedric prince of the hunt. This was my first mistake. I saw Sinding transform and left the jail without watching what he did next. I’ll come back to this later. I hunted down the stag to summon Hircine and kind of agreed to hunt down the guy I just promised to help. I went off to do another quest because I didn’t really feel like doing that.

Cue two real life days later, I’ve joined the Dark Brotherhood, the Thieves Guild and the Companions. Basically done a bunch of different quests and I’ve decided to continue focusing on the Companions since I never really got far with them before. So Farkas, one of the Companions, decides that I need to go and intimidate a guy to progress in the questline. This guy being Sinding. The same guy I needed to hunt down for another quest. So, I’m like… okay. I guess I have to deal with him. I decide, logically that I should do the Companions quest first, because if I have to kill him that’ll fail that quest. I’m lead straight to the jail, which he should’ve already left by now. But, no. He’s still there and still a werewolf. I can’t interact with him, no matter how many times I exit and re-enter the jail.

I was very confused and I did a bit of digging online to no avail. It’s not like I could reload a save because I talked to this guy more than several hours ago. And I couldn’t use console commands because I’m playing the game on the Xbox One. I played around with what quests I had active and realised that the other quest’s marker pointed to a completely different area.  So I went off to find him in this random cave and found a bunch of dead hunters. I looked all through that cave and he’s just not there. I checked my map and apparently he’s out roaming in the world.

I followed him to near Whiterun, where he’s this giant werewolf monster walking in broad daylight. I thought that he might attack me upon seeing me but I was able to talk to him and side with him. Apparently I now had to take on the rest of the hunters who were hunting him. These hunters never came, no matter how long I waited there with Sinding. I then had to look up the quest and he’s SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE CAVE! So I head back there but has Sinding followed me? Nope. No, he hasn’t. I went back to looking around the cave but this time I didn’t sneak around like I usually do. I ran at full sprint, knocked into those bone things and FINALLY the hunters spawned. And Sinding appeared behind me, like seriously out of nowhere. I figured I managed to fix whatever bug had occurred. I kill them all, quest done and I got a nice uncursed ring out of it. Sinding has decided to forever be a hermit and I’m like good. This should fix the companions quest and I can progress.

I look at the map and its pointing to somewhere outside of Falkreath, no longer at the jail. I can’t believe I thought it would be that easy but I hoped that it would be a simple brawl. I was so wrong. I found him again and he’s permanently in beast form. I literally had no way to beat him. My fists do shit all damage and his claws take a quarter of my life each hit. It was such bullshit.

I went through ALL this trouble to keep the poor sod alive. But no, in the end I had to murder him and fail the intimidation quest. I mean I was still able to continue past it but I went through all that and I still had to kill him. I haven’t checked back at that cave to see if there’s another copy of him yet but I’m just at the point of completely ignoring it.

TL;DR – Kill everything, don’t bother saving people. It’s easier that way.