On a completely unrelated note for the RSS buffer, Machinarium, the new game by Amanita Design is out, and I’ve been playing it a tiny bit. All Amanita games are along the same lines: you solve environment-manipulation puzzles by clicking on shit in this sort of magic-trees-robots-and-airships fantasy world that is oddly hard to describe; the closest I can get is “like Wallace and Gromit and the Little Prince had a baby.” They’re all pretty damn cool, and Machinarium brings some new stuff to the table. The earlier games could sort of be brute-forced by moving the mouse around until the cursor turned into a hand, but Machinarium won’t let you click on something unless your little robot dude – oh, you’re a little robot dude – is near enough and the right height (your little robot dude has three heights) to reach it. Also – oh, man, there are little boys screaming at each other in hero and villain voices outside my window, and one of them just declared the other one would never defeat him, and cackled. That is so damn cute. Where were we?
Oh! Right! Machinarium has a super kickass feature that is my new favorite thing ever: each screen has one hint, and a walkthrough. To access the walkthrough, you have to play a little platform mini-game, navigating a key through a field of spiders, and it is hard as fuck. To the point where I went “fuck these spiders, I will figure it out.” Then did. (I hadn’t realized yet my little robot dude had three heights.) Figuring that one out for myself was approximately as satisfying as a warm English muffin with strawberry jam and oozing butter, which I really want now, dammit, and the game playing keep-away with the walkthrough kept me from robbing myself of that.
Anyway! Grounded In Space!
Mostly Spoiler-Free Upshot: This game is mega science-fictiony. Probably Heinlein-inspired, although I’ve never read any, and I suspect I wouldn’t enjoy it. From what I can tell, the puzzles are clever, but I have no idea how I would have figured them out in a million kajillion years. There ar e six beta testers credited and all of them must be way smarter than I am, or read so much science-fiction that laser beams, reflector fields, and fusion chambers are what mice and cheese are to the rest of us. If you are one of those people, you will probably enjoy this as a fun little puzzler, in the same way that Mothra enjoys Tokyo as a light snack. Personally, I couldn’t hack it.
Update: Oh, and according to Elizabeth, Matt Wigdahl and his wife just spawned a baby human, so grats on that! If it’s a girl, I think you should name it Penumbra.
[spoilers begin here]
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