Stardew Valley: Stories With A Human Touch

Stardew Valley logoA month ago if you’d said to me, “Will, what you need is a jRPG/Dating Sim/Farming game,” I would’ve asked you how much you’ve had to drink.  Then a friend sent me the game as a gift on Steam.  The next half a week is little more than a frenzied blur of planting crops, fishing my head off, and desperately trying to remember the upcoming birthdays of virtual friends – all while keeping track of upgrade schedules and the ever-growing list of morning chores my farm was accruing.

Stardew Valley’s genius isn’t merely the way it delivers a broad array of gameplay that offers to scratch any number of itches one might have.  Rather, Eric Barone’s ability to pack so many different threads into a game – and make them all behave well together – truly shines by cramming over two dozen charming, human stories into the same box.   Continue reading Stardew Valley: Stories With A Human Touch

The Wolf Among Us: Player Choice Enshrined

Wolf Among Us LogoTelltale Games has apparently (I just discovered them three months ago.) made a name for themselves publishing something akin to a new generation of what (I’m dating myself here) folks my age grew up knowing as Choose Your Own Adventure books. I gather I’m late to the party, but Wolf Among Us is my discovery of this genre of video gaming: the player-steered, adaptive story. The writing in Wolf Among Us is so tight, the characters such perfect twists on the fairy tales they’re based on, that what blemishes do exist are swiftly forgotten as we’re carried along.

In The Wolf Among Us you play as the Big Bad Wolf, noir detective. Fairy tale characters have come out of whatever stories they lived in and moved to New York City. Everyone hates you, because everyone hates wolves in fairy tales, but you’re Big and Bad and this is how you’re expected to keep the peace as Sheriff. Then, as things do in Noir, it starts getting bad, and true-to-genre, it starts with the death of a woman. Continue reading The Wolf Among Us: Player Choice Enshrined