Orwell

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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.

BRAINPIPE: A Plunge to Unhumanity

BRAINPIPE: A Plunge to Unhumanity is pretty much a trippy and surreal take on the Missile Game 3D. You use the mouse to guide an invisible eyeball through the “tunnels of the mind”, dodging various obstacles along the way. The sensitivity of the controls cannot be changed in the options as that is relegated to the sound/ music levels. So if you find them to be not sensitive enough or overly so, you’re kinda out of luck.

Though that’s kind of the same with the Missile Game 3D. I used to play the hell out of that game as a kid. I got really good at it since I played it so often during recess and lunch. It would mess with your eyes a lot since it was slightly rotating around and it had such a high contrast – mostly being bright white with black lines. BRAINPIPE kind of does the same effect since the background lights rotate around. It’s a lot easier on the eyes, since its bright colours on black.

There are collectibles which are odd symbols floating around each level that you can choose to collect. I think they add something to the score which is pretty illegible due to the font chosen. You can see what these symbols are upon the game ending. Apparently they represent aspects of the mind.

The music and sounds are very sci-fi. They’re interesting to listen to. They have enough variety that it’s not overly annoying to have running in the background, they also aren’t distracting when you want to concentrate on the game. Each level changes up the sounds and some even have the low murmuring of voices. It fits the aesthetic style the developers have gone with. The graphics are very retro-y. They’re bright and colourful on a dark background, with most of the obstacles being glowy particle effect type things. Basically it’s odd, surreal and trippy.

It’s quite a short game with only 10 levels and you can very easily get through it in about 30 minutes. There’s not really any story within the game as all of the information on the setting and the goal of the game are found on the game’s store page. It’s a very barebones arcade experience at best as there really isn’t any reason to replay it other than to get a better score. It’s a meh kinda game. It’s fun and interesting to play once but once you put it down, you don’t really want to play it again.

Sort of a Review for Path of Exile

I wrote up a kind of a review for Path of Exile, recommending it to other students via class forum.

“I recently started playing this. It’s currently in beta, but from what I’ve seen of it so far, its pretty polished. It’s a free-to-play action MMORPG, currently under development by Grinding Gear Games. So far the only way to get in before its released is to either make an account and randomly get selected or to pre-purchase it for some goodies and the beta key. I bought the 15 dollar package so I could get the soundtrack for the game.

There are six classes for you to choose from, which three are pure builds and the other three are hybrids. I don’t know if there’s going to be more added, but thats what it currently has.
The pure classes are the Ranger which is the dex class, the Witch which is the int class, the Marauder which is the str class. The hybrids classes are the Duelist is the str/dex class, the Templar which is the str/int class and the Shadow which is the dex/int class.

Each can only use specific weapons/ weapon combinations. From experimentation, a friend and I found out that the witch class can’t duel wield a wand and a dagger but can duel wield two wands.

There’s this gem leveling system where you can socket them into the gear/weapon you’re using to use its skills, and they level up as you get experience. For example I started off with a lighting arrow gem and a fire arrow gem which are both green gems and can only be placed in green sockets. Pretty standard there, but before I put them in I only had normal attack on my mouse when I put them in I had two new moves. These gems can be exchanged between your characters too. PoE has a shared stash are which all your characters share.
Now the most interesting part of the game is the talent tree system. It’s completely passive. There’s no move abilities in there, its all increases to different attributes or increases to different weapons.

From what I’ve played of this game, I can’t really fault it. It’s got a really nice gritty art style, the animation quality is nice, the gameplay is challenging yet rewarding. Actually I do have one gripe which is the inventory system. The inventory system is like Diablo’s, where you have to fit all the items in. There just isn’t enough room to satisfy my need to collect every bit of loot there is. But that’s really a problem with my playstyle than it is with the game.

I highly recommend that everybody should check this game out.

http://www.pathofexile.com/

I think its a decent review. What do you guys think?