S1E20 - Best of First Half of 2016
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 July 2016, 10:30 am

Best of the First Half of 2016
In this episode:
  • We discuss the top picks across all media that really stood out to us. We want to make sure that the truly phenomenal work that impressed us this year doesn’t go unnoticed by you folks.
  • We break down the topics into categories like movies, books, tv, comics, and games. Not all of the stuff we talk about is necessarily released in 2016, but it was new to us in 2016, which is way better than the stuff going unnoticed at all, right?
  • And don’t miss this week’s GEEK OUT episode with Beej and Kenny from Dumbbells and Dragons, where they talk about Pokemon Go. We’re still not sure if he’s supposed to give out the details yet, but he sure does!
Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!
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Music by CarboHydroM




HBO Now Subscription
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 July 2016, 10:00 am

So... I picked up an HBO Now subscription this year since they've finally gotten their shit together and are offering Game of Thrones streaming at the same second it goes live on air.  I'm happy to give them a little bit of money for the show I love.

I figured I would play around with it and see if there are any other shows, movies, or specials I wanted to see.  I mean, HBO has been around since like the 80s, there must be a ton of good content, right!?

No.

I tried a bunch of pilots or watched the beginning of specials and just wasn't interested in any of it.  The only movies or TV series that looked good were the ones I'd already seen or ones I already own.  In this category is stuff like Band of Brothers.

But I guess I'm just spoiled by how much content is on other streaming platforms.  In comparison HBO Now feels just so empty.  So, I'll be canceling my subscription now that the season is done.

I'm actually really surprised by how little content they have on offer.  At least there's always next year when they'll get my money for another 2.5 months with Season 7 of Game of Thrones.


Galaxy Reavers
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 June 2016, 10:00 am

Galaxy Reavers is my latest little mobile time waster on iOS.  In it you get a squadron of ships to command on an isometric 2D plane in real time.

It's basic ship to ship combat stuff with the hook of upgrading your ships or swapping out their equipment between battles.

It's pretty fun and I played it for a week or so before slowly pulling away from it.

It suffers from the typical free to play catch of having a ton of downtime between activities at higher levels.  Or you could just pay to skip that.  Or pay for a random chance at some better gear.  Or pay to unlock a new ship.  Basically, it really wants you to pay.

So I'm done with Galaxy Reavers but if real time ship combat is your thing it's free to try out on iOS.


Bloodline (Star Wars) Review
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 June 2016, 10:00 am

I really liked Bloodline.  If you follow me you know that I read almost every Star Wars book that hits the market.  This one is right up there with the best ones I've read.

And it didn't really surprise me that it was.  Bloodline is by Claudia Gray, the same author who wrote Lost Stars which is my favorite Star Wars book to date.

Bloodline follows Leia sometime about half way between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.  It fills in so much information about the politics of the New Republic, hints at the formation and structure of the first order, and let's us see a key point in Leia's political career.  It's a fantastic book to start bridging the gap between Episode VI and Episode VII.

While I'd love to learn more about what Luke and Ben are doing during this time period I never felt like this book had to go there.  There are enough interesting events going on with Leia that I was captivated throughout.

If you're a Star Wars fan I recommend reading Bloodlines.  It's really good and it will give you more appreciation for events that happened on a galactic scale before The Force Awakens.


More MCU Rewatching: Thor
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 June 2016, 10:00 am

After the horribleness that was re-watching Thor Dark World, I decided to give the original Thor another shot.  I remembered the main story and how it interacted with the rest of the MCU but I had forgotten most of the plot.

Having now re-watched it I have to say Thor is a much better movie than Dark World.  It has a coherent plot and a consistent tone.  It has characters that are interesting and who's motivations are understood.  It's overall a good introduction to Thor.

I don't think it's a great movie, but it's somewhere in the middle of the pack for MCU movies.  I was pleasantly surprised to find it better than I remembered.


The Flash Season 2 Review
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 June 2016, 10:00 am

Oh The Flash, how much I loved your first season.

Season 2 has been... I don't want to say bad.  Inconsistent is probably a better word.  There have been really good episodes and interesting plotlines but mostly there have been slow or boring plotlines and episodes that fall flat.

After the fantastic episode that was done by Kevin Smith I thought the series was in a great place to finish strong at the end of the season.  Instead there was a an overly convoluted plot that led to the final confrontation of the season.  I couldn't actually believe some of the sentences that the characters were saying with a straight face... and I'm not typically one who has trouble suspending disbelief.

I thought the final few episodes were mostly dumb.  I wanted to love them but I just didn't.  I was really sad to see where the series was at the end of this season compared to how much I enjoyed the first season.

But then in the last 60 seconds of the season The Flash decided to go to the past, change a critical piece of his history, and potentially wipe the entire slate clean for season 3.  Now season 3 can be whatever it wants to be.

This event might also be how they wrap Supergirl into the CW world and I bet it will have consequences for the other CW DC shows like Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow as well.

So after all the disappointment of the final confrontation in season 2, there's still hope.  Now I'm really excited to see what season 3 hold for The Flash.


Geek to Geek S1E18 - Marvel Cinematic Universe
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 June 2016, 10:30 am

The Marvel Cinematic Universe
In this episode:
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is one of the biggest franchises in movie history. We love it. Love it love it love it. Beej and Void discuss everything from what works in the MCU (and why), their favorite properties and recommendations, and which TV shows or movies, they’d be fine with never seeing again--or at all.
  • But a decade ago, we weren’t all enamored with it (yet). Lots of people had no idea who Iron Man was, and comics fans like Beej wondered why they would bring their B-team to the screen. Comics dabblers like Void weren’t excited because of the lackluster comics movies like Daredevil and X3.
  • If you haven’t seen Jessica Jones on Netflix, go binge watch it. We’ll wait. It’s worth watching even if you’re not into the MCU at all. It’s not a typical superhero show in the same way Battlestar Galactica isn’t a typical science-fiction show. Sure, there are people with superpowers, but they are background to the personal story being told. Just like how the Cylons are there, but the real story being told is about the people you care about.
  • We discuss the freedom that Netflix allows the MCU creators over major networks like ABC, and how that’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, you get Jessica Jones, but that came after they went too far into hyperviolence in Daredevil Season 1. We expect the rest of the Netflix-originals to be more in line with DDS2 and JJ, while Agents of Shield and the now-cancelled Agent Carter struggle to maintain viewers for various reasons (not that they’re bad shows).
  • Excited to see more non-origin stories being told. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Spiderman Homecoming, Black Panther should all deal with existing superheroes, rather than origins, which opens up engaging storytelling avenues.
  • We want Captain Marvel to hurry up and get released so we can get a Ms. Marvel movie. We want Kamala Khan. Plz and thx.


Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!
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Music by CarboHydroM



The Barkley Marathons
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 June 2016, 10:00 am

I don't watch a ton of documentaries but this one came highly recommended from a friend and I saw it on some "most underrated movies" lists so I thought I would check it out.

The Barkley Marathons is really good.  It's about a crazy marathon that most people consider to be the most difficult marathon in the world.  It consists of five loops through a 20+ mile course in the mountains of Tennessee.

It's an ultra marathon that's grueling and runs for 60 hours.  The participants have 12 hours to complete each loop of the course.

Did I mention that the course is unmarked?  And mostly off trails?  So not only are you covering that distance, you're also navigating through the wilderness while you do it.

When you get back to camp between loops you can take a break but you need to get back out there and get started on your next loop soon.

I didn't know what to think going into this documentary but within the first 10 minutes I was hooked and throughout it I was constantly amazed.

I highly recommend this documentary.  Check it out here or just watch it on Netflix.


What's the worst MCU movie?
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 June 2016, 10:00 am

I've started swinging back through the Marvel Cinematic Universe after watching Civil War because I realized that I had seen some of the movies only once.

Re-watching Ant-Man didn't stir up many thoughts, although I liked it still on the second viewing.  I think knowing what to expect made that movie better.

Thor Dark World on the other hand... I feel like this is clearly the worst movie in the whole MCU.  It doesn't know what kind of movie it wants to be.  Sometimes it tries for humor, other times it's super dark, sometimes it's cosmic.  The tone of the movie is really hard to pin down and the pacing swings wildly.

This is one of those movies where I'm glad I watched it again because I wanted to remember what happened but I didn't actually enjoy my time watching it.  There are a handful of MCU movies that don't live up to the others but this one is so far below them for me personally.

I'm actually really curious about this so I started asking friends online about which MCU movie is the worst.  Consistently the three movies I heard from people were Thor Dark World, Iron Man 2, and Iron Man 3.  I also heard Incredible Hulk from some people but I honestly think most people forget that one is technically part of the MCU.

How about you dear reader?  Which do you think is the worst MCU movie out there?


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 June 2016, 10:00 am

This isn't the type of book I normally read or listen to.  I ended up mostly listening to this in audible format and I generally liked it.

This is a fairy story.  It's about a girl who goes to fairy land.  I guess I haven't really read a fairytale or fairy story since I was a kid.

It's a little bit all over the place with the random stuff that happens but at the same time it's full of interesting ideas and sets an interesting scene.  It probably helps that the author is also the narrator since she can read the book with the inflection she intended when writing it.

It's kind of a weird one but it's good.  I liked my time with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland.


Pocket Card Jockey Review
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 June 2016, 10:00 am

Pocket Card Jockey had me hooked for a week or two straight.  I really wanted to absorb it and see if it had legs before writing about it.  I'm still finding myself going back to it fairly consistently so I thought it was time.

Pocket Card Jockey is a 3DS eShop title you can pick up for like $6.  In it you are a jockey riding horses in professional horse racing, but you suck at it, so by some magic power you are able to play a version of solitaire instead which powers your horse.  It's super weird but also really really good.

The solitaire variant is perfect for it too, because it's super simple.  All you have to do is tap a card on the touch screen that's one below or one above your current card.  Suits, colors, all that stuff is thrown out the window in favor of simplicity and the game is all the better for it.

Plus you're racing and growing your horse.  There are sections in each race where you use the power you've gotten from solitaire to choose how your horse moves in the race or how it's positioned around the other horses.

There is actually a bunch of strategy and a couple different mini games in each race.

It's the perfect game to sit back and relax with in short bursts.  After the initial excitement of the first week or two I find myself picking it up for about half an hour at a time and having a great time with it.

This is probably going to be a good backburner/evergreen game for me for awhile.  Especially for the next time I travel.  I highly recommend pocket card jockey to anyone with a 3DS.  And it's only a few bucks, which makes it even more appealing.


Kingsman Review
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2016, 10:00 am

I went into Kingsman not expecting much.  It looks like a generic (and probably bad) spy movie and I remember being completely underwhelmed by the trailers.

But then I kept seeing it pop up on lists of underrated movies so I finally gave it a chance.

It's really good, but it's hard to put into words why.

I think mostly it's not afraid to take spy movie conventions and twist them.  Sometimes it does exactly what you expect it will but other times it will zig when you think it's going to zag.  I'm sure the fact that I've basically seen every Bond movie made me appreciate Kingsman more than if I saw it in isolation.  It definitely has a Bond undercurrent, but it's much more than that too.

There are a lot of little details I could pick out and examine but any in isolation seems too small to do so.

So I'll just say this... if you like spy movies you should watch Kingsman.


Geek to Geek S1E16 - E3 and the Warcraft Movie (non-spoilery)
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 June 2016, 10:30 am

E3 2016 + The Warcraft Movie (Non-Spoilers)
In this episode:
E3!
  • Void has spent every second of his spare time this week watching E3 press conferences and compiling the news for people like Beej who want to know but don’t have the time (or patience in Beej’s case) to watch the feeds.
  • This year’s E3 is a mixed-bag, but there is a lot of good stuff being talked about. There are no “blow up the internet” announcements, but we do finally get to see progress and gameplay from titles that have only been previously announced, such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
  • We go through each of the press conferences and live streams that have happened at the time of recording and talk abotu what, if any, standouts there are and discuss the big trend of E3 2016: early 2017 release dates.
The Warcraft Movie!
  • Both of us fall solidly into the 8/10 category for the Warcraft movie. We went in expecting nothing, but were more than pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. We aren’t raving fanboys, but are fans of the universe and think that the creative team handled the IP very well.
  • We discuss our favorite cameos and moments in the movie, how well it was adapted from the source material, and even talk briefly about the cinematographer’s use of establishing shots that work for worldbuilding, but also setup moments that only Warcaft fans will get (such as the first time we see Ironforge...plus there’s a murloc in the river, y’all! Murgleurglrurglrlrlrlrgurglr!).
  • While we were both in the theater with only a handful of other people, the movie did so well in China that it is already making profit. That gives us hope for the sequels and franchise that we had no idea we even wanted.
Weekly Geekery
  • Void - Forfeited his geekery for our major E3 discussion this week. Check out his massive roundup at Video Game News Now
  • Beej - Went to “An Evening with Stephen King” at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN, and walked out with three (3!) autographed copies of King’s new novel, End of Watch. Beej kind of fanboyed out a bit, and it was adorable.
Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!
Subscribe:
Geek to Geek Podcast Network:
Music by CarboHydroM




Inks Impresssions
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 June 2016, 10:00 am

Inks is another in the line of mobile titles I'm constantly picking up, playing for a few days, and then setting back down (maybe forever).

It's a "fun little time waster" but it didn't have any long term hold on me.

Basically, it's pinball with a cool aesthetic.  To complete a board you have to hit the pinball into all of the ink containers which splat when you touch them.  That ink is then splattered on the board but also picked up and rolled around by the ball.  It's cool and visually appealing for sure.

But I don't like pinball that much.  I'll throw the occasional quarter into one if it's around and I'm bored but... they aren't even around that much anymore.  I think I might just be the wrong target demographic here.

I can say for sure that if you like pinball you'll find something you like in this game.  Check out Inks if you fall into that category.





Budget Cuts Demo
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 June 2016, 10:00 am

So Budget Cuts is a VR game that's not out yet but they have a free demo to try the gameplay and it's already a day one must buy for me.

Basically you have a teleport grenade launcher in your off hand and you get to use your other hand to interact with environment or use throwing knives to kill robot guards.  I can't express how satisfying it is to toss a throwing knife at a robot and get a headshot instantly taking them out.

This is a stealth game and I'm so excited to get my hands on the full release.




Tilt Brush
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 June 2016, 10:00 am

Virtual Reality art is fascinating to me, and that's what Tilt Brush is all about.  It's a "game" by google but really it's an art program.

You draw in the air with different brushes and make whatever you want.  I've had a lot of fun with it even though I'm not a great artist.  And when you actually watch what a good artist can do with it... it's kind of amazing.

I keep coming back to this game.  If you end up with a Vive you really need to get this one.




Surgeon Simulator VR: Meet the Medic
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 June 2016, 10:00 am

I think this VR game was done quickly as a partnership between Valve and the Surgeon Simulator guys.  It's the same structure of a game as Surgeon Simulator but instead of having crazy controls you have exact one to one controls with your hands.

It completely changes the game but I actually found that I loved it on a totally different level.  This is one of the few VR games that I finished and immediately wished there was more to it.  It's only one level with one scenario and it's just not enough.  I now want to play all of Surgeon Simulator in VR with fantastic one to one controls.  I would love it!

Please make this happen?




E3 Public Service Link Dump
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 June 2016, 11:18 pm
So, I had to compile a ton of show notes over the past 48 hours for my Video Game News Now podcast.  If you aren't already subscribed you should seriously go check it out and I'll help you stay on top of game news.

Anyway, I had to pull together as many youtube links as possible to go with my show notes for each conference and I realized that other people might like to have them all in a list... and since I have them anyway... here you go:

EA

Bethesda

Microsoft

PC

Ubisoft

Sony




Adventure Games in VR
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 June 2016, 10:00 am

The two main adventure games I've played in VR so far are Vanishing Realms and The Gallery - Episode 1: Call of the Starseed.

The Gallery is a game that a lot of people told me blew them away, and I thought it was alright.  But I actually had a couple technical glitches in it and that probably affected my overall enjoyment.  It was a great proof of concept about how good a VR adventure game can be though and I appreciate that about it.

Vanishing Realms is another story.  I absolutely loved it!  It's a true dungeon crawl with atmosphere, puzzles, inventory, gold, treasure, swords, shields, enemies, skeletons.  All the typical (and stereotypical) things you would expect from a classic fantasy dungeon crawler are here but once you set that in VR it becomes a thing of magic.  I loved actually swinging a sword around and blocking with a shield.  I liked holding a torch to light my way or look in dark areas.  I liked reaching into my side pouches to get things out of my inventory.  I really really liked Vanishing Realms and I hope we see more games like it.

I know we're still in the earliest days of VR but these two games alone prove to me that adventure games could become a huge VR genre.




"Gamey" VR Games
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 June 2016, 10:00 am

So there have been a couple Vive games I've played that felt very "Gamey" and that's not a bad thing, it's just interesting.  The main ones I'm thinking of are Space Pirate Trainer and Final Approach.

Final Approach has you standing in an airfield drawing flight paths for planes and helicopters and directing them where to land.  It's similar to the iOS game Flight Control, but in 3D and in VR space with your hands.  It's an interesting concept and while I don't think they executed it perfectly it's still fun to jump in and mess around with it.

Space Pirate Trainer is really fun though.  You get a selection of different settings on two blaster pistols and room-scale space to move around in while waves of enemies attack you.  There's not much else too it and it feels like an arcade game.  It's actually super fun.  I'm partial to the continuous laser setting myself.  I actually think Space Pirate Trainer is a really good intro game for showing people basic movement and shooting in VR and I've already introduced a couple people to it.

I recommend picking that one up if you have a Vive.




Geek to Geek - S1E15 - Gaming As We Age
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 June 2016, 10:34 am

Gaming Preferences as We Age
In this episode:
  • We’re old(ish). We aren’t the young, twitchy gamers we once were, and our lives don’t give us the luxury of spending 8-12 hours a day playing games. Because of this, our gaming preferences have changed since we were younger.
  • For Void, instead of twitchy games like Counter Strike and Starcraft, he’s moved into more narrative games and casual experiences. The sleep function on a 3DS, as well as quicksaves on mobile games help him balance his responsibilities as a husband and father more easily than long gaming sessions can.
  • For Beej, his personality changed since he was younger. A former griefer and MMO scammer, he has since moved from the selfish, solo player who gained enjoyment from knowing he made someone else have a terrible day because of a video game into a team-player who doesn’t care about competition, winning, or losing as long as he and his team had fun while playing.
  • For both of us, we find that lowering the difficulty of games and using guides is no longer a knock at our pride. It helps us clear games faster and experience the content the way developers intended, rather than beating our heads against a wall and not having fun. Our time is more limited, so why feel as though we are wasting it?
  • Cooperative gaming is much more important to us now. More games need a co-op mode rather than all competition. This is seen in board gaming in titles such as Pandemic Legacy and the Lord of the Rings LCG, and we hope the trend moves forward into video games as more developers of our generation make titles based on their own maturation and changes in preferences.
  • Despite the changes in what we care about and look for in games, there are still many titles and franchises that we will go back to no matter what. The Final Fantasy series, Mario platformers, Bioshock titles, and the Elder Scrolls are among game worlds in which we have been entrenched for so long that we make time for, no matter what. If that means using quick save to have short gaming sessions, so be it. If we have to lower the difficulty or use a guide to find our next point-of-interest, then no problem. We want to continue to enjoy the games that we grew up with, not resent them because they’re no longer available to us.
Weekly Geekery
Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!
Subscribe:
Geek to Geek Podcast Network:
Music by CarboHydroM



VR Sports
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 June 2016, 10:00 am

There are two games I've played in VR so far that felt like sports, Cloudlands: VR Minigolf and Holoball.

Holoball pits you against an AI opponent in a game that lies somewhere between pong and tennis.  I broke a sweat playing and it was decently fun but I feel like this is low hanging fruit.  It didn't really do anything to wow me.  But hey, if you're a fan of tennis or pong this game is for you.

On the other hand Cloudlands: VR Minigolf starts like a normal game of minigolf and feels decent but quickly strays into the realm of holes that would be impossible in the real world.  I love it for that.  There are no reasons to follow typical course construction in VR and when the level designers are having fun you can really tell.  I only wish there were more than 18 holes included in the initial release.

I hope Cloudlands patches in more holes because it's a really fun game.  It's kind of amazing that all they really needed to do was rip off minigolf and they have a compelling game, but VR is interesting like that.




VR Puzzle Games
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 June 2016, 10:00 am

It's interesting to see the approach VR puzzle games have taken so far.  Besides a few puzzles in exploration games the true puzzle games I've played so far are Waterbears VR and Fantastic Contraption.

Waterbears VR isn't groundbreaking, but it adds a level of immersion that you don't get from most puzzle games.  This is a typical "use the pipes to direct the liquid flow to the correct place" type of game, but it is pretty cool to be able to walk around the puzzle while viewing and interacting with it using your hands.  It's very intuitive and makes it much more worthwhile than this game would be on a flat screen.

Fantastic Contraption on the other hand feels like it could only be done in VR.  You're given tools and some workspace and you have to create fantastic contraptions (get it?) to get a special orb into the goal.  You have connection points and different types of materials to work with but the sense of space and perspective is truly needed for this game.  I can't imagine it on a flat screen.

I'm interested to see what other developers do with puzzle games in the future in VR.  I feel like the space still has tons of room to be explored.




VR Experiences
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 June 2016, 10:00 am

There are a bunch of VR games that I've played on the Vive that I would classify more as "experiences" and not as much "games".  Not that it's a bad thing, it's just interesting.

They're still super compelling and I've loved my time with them but they don't necessarily have traditional gameplay.  It's more about being in a space or experiencing a thing.

I would say all these fall into that category:
  • theBlu
  • Apollo 11 VR
  • The FOO Show
  • Job Simulator
  • Irrational Exuberance: Prologue
  • Universe Sandbox 2
Of these I think theBlu and The FOO Show are coolest.

Apollo 11 VR was a fun few hours experiencing key moments of the first Moon walk mission but didn't have much replayability.  Irrational Exuberance was basically just breaking apart an asteroid that you're inside of while a meteor storm happens around you.  And Universe Sandbox 2 was a cool looking space sim until I actually started trying to interact with it and the game ground to a halt.  Job Simulator is just messing around in a future "museum" that shows what human jobs used to be like in the 2000s.  It's fun for a few minutes but wears out it's welcome.

But theBlu is amazing.  It's the way I introduce people to VR now.  You're underwater and just get to explore the few feet around you but it's enough to really get a sense of the power that VR has to put you in a place.  The whale experience in particular gave me a sense of awe and scale that I could never get from a flat game.

The FOO Show is an interesting experiment.  It's basically a VR talk show where you can walk around the environment with the hosts and explore your surroundings.  This includes picking up objects, playing with them, and throwing them around.  The host talked to some of the creators of Firewatch and the show took place inside the main lookout tower of that game.  It was super interesting and I'm excited to see what they do for the next episode!

I'm sure there are going to be more VR experiences going forward that aren't very "gamey" and I'm totally ok with that.  I've seen how good they can be when executed well and it makes me excited for the future.



The Lab
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 June 2016, 10:00 am

The Lab is the only game Valve has released for their own VR platform so far.  It's a sampling of VR ideas tied together with a lab that looks like it's from the portal facility.

The Lab has a bunch of mini experiences, some are just being in a space, some are more.  There's a game where you grab a ship and move it around with your hand while it fires and dodges.  One experience has you walking around a room scale model of the solar system.  There's a robot repair room with ties to portal.  There's all sorts of little things.

If you get an HTC Vive then The Lab is the perfect place to start.  It's easy to get comfortable in VR here and it doesn't ask too much of the player.

The one standout for me is the Longbow game.  It's an archery game where you're given a bow, infinite arrows, and put on top of a tower near a gate you need to defend.  Stick figure men charge at it and you have to take them out.

I started playing it like a game but quickly realized my real-life archery stance and skills applied.  When I flipped over to that mindset I started getting headshots and it felt amazing.  It felt like I was really earning my shots.

After Hover Junkers and Audioshield, Longbow in The Lab is the other game I find myself coming back to very often.




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