Justice Playthrough #149: Cook, Server, Delicious! 2!!

For a game simulating a deeply stressful job via fast-click button mashing, the core gameplay is remarkably compelling. Just wish the surrounding context could give it a bit more purpose.

Page 9, Game 26: Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! by chubigans

You’re running a restaurant. The entire restaurant. Taking orders, cooking the the food, refilling the soda machine, taking out the trash, cleaning the shitter, that’s ALL you, baby. Nobody else.

You wanted to run a restaurant, fucker. Well, this is it! THIS IS YOUR DREAM! NOW WORK FUCKING HARDER!!!

You have a to-do list. Most of it involves cooking up food for the people wandering in. For instance, say a patron wants a delicious Cheesey Dog here at Max Weiners. The fundamental loop in this game is “Follow the recipe.” For the hot dog, you’re gonna need to first toss a dog on the grill. It’s gonna take a minute to cook, during which you can do other things — like queue-up some delicious pretzels, or clean the aforementioned shitter.

Yes, between or even in the middle of food orders. Your final step is “Sanitize.” Does that make you feel better? It does not make me feel better to the extent it should.

If “Cook a thing” is the first step, you have a narrow window of optimal time during which you want to yoink it off the grill. Too soon, and you serve your customer an undercooked hot dog, which will displease them. Wait too long — or just overlook that the damn dog is ready — and it’ll burst into flames. Your customers are VERY good at spotting which items on the grill were meant for them, and will storm out accordingly.

Get that sumbitch off the grill in something resembling a reasonable time, though, and you’ll have to finish the prep, by holding down the correct trigger and mashing the correct buttons.

Once you have the hot dog, the recipe for making hot dogs is honestly pretty simple

Each item has a recipe of varying degrees of complexity, with color-coded steps to help you figure out just where the hell in the menu you’re going to find them. Get everything on there in the right order, and serve! Or completely bitch it up, and serve anyway. One of these is better than the other.

If you notice you’ve done something wrong … look, you’re a proud and busy human. You’re not gonna go back or do anything over. They’ll take what you serve them and like it.

Or … maybe not. This game has a playful sense of humor that sneaks through in a lot of places, but the graphics tend towards the dour.

At Max Wieners, we serve basic sustenance and misery

My customers look beaten DOWN. Like, I’m serving a truly broken clientele. Am I charging them money? I hope not. I don’t think these people have a dollar between them. Look, bro, have some nachos. On the house. Naw, man, you look like you need a break. We’re all in this together, right?

Anyway. Some food is simple, some is a pain in the ass. Salads require no advance prep, but have FOUR goddamn pages of ingredients you need to search through. Whereas nachos … when somebody orders a fully loaded nacho plate, you hold the trigger, mash all four buttons, and BOOM! DONE! SERVED! Let the next miserable bastard in line get their food.

Gameplay is stressful and repetitive — much like running a damn restaurant. Doing well is a matter of getting used to what you need to do to complete a task quickly and move on to the next — again, like running a damn restaurant.

Unlike running a restaurant, it’s … actually kinda fun. The gameplay is pure repetition and grind, but it’s CHALLENGING. It ENGAGED me. When I got the hang of being Wiener Guy, it felt GOOD to be slamming out orders and getting shit done. I AM THE KING OF ALL WIENERS!

Of course, if you fuck up a lot, you … erm … some numbers aren’t happy with you?

For as much good-game-stress as I was being subjected to, the game doesn’t seem to have that much consequence for sucking. It was handing out some badges, and I was thinking maybe I need to collect those badges to unlock stuff, but … I don’t think I do? I think I just need to do the same stuff again and more options will become available? Maybe?

When you’re outside the grind of slinging food at the grill, the game starts to come apart a bit.

First, the game gives you a lot of pre-built restaurants to unlock. Like, a LOT.

33 levels of minimum wage adventure!

I enjoyed the game. I did not enjoy the game so much that attempting to unlock all 33 restaurants sounds like fun. The game’s page boasts 60+ hours of gameplay, and … holy shit. That’s starting to sound less like a game simulating a job and more like an actual job.

You unlock a shitload of things after every day, though. If you click on the game logo, you get to open your OWN restaurant! Where you can put those unlocked things to use! I’m not sure! I actually have no goddamn idea!

Bringing the joy of an awkward meal in your parents’ basement!

I sincerely do not know where I’m supposed to define my restaurant. I didn’t have an opportunity to name it, I sure as hell didn’t get the chance to do anything with the decor. Perhaps I need to grind a bit more to earn the right to actually use the stuff I unlocked?

I DID get to choose my menu … except for all the available slots, there was only once choice. So I didn’t get to choose shit.

Here at Basement Pete’s, we make all our food with WTF?!?! and madness

My menu consisted of:

  • Pretzels (classic and German)
  • Salisbury steak
  • Breakfast cereal (five flavors, with optional fruit toppings)
  • Prime rib
  • Mac & cheese

Are these the dishes I’ve unlocked? Is this the standard starter menu? WHY is this the standard starter menu? Who would serve these foods together? Who is coming into my restaurant? What’s going on? What is a food?

To the game’s credit, core gameplay is a chaotic clusterfuck in a fun way, even though it would benefit from a larger sense of stakes. Unfortunately, the connective tissue responsible for putting that gameplay into a larger context is severely underbaked underdeveloped. There’s no larger goal, I’m just going to my restaurant and doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff.

Which makes it an even more accurate simulator than I realized.

Do I recommend it? Tentatively. It’s not bad, but it’s not as good as it should be either. At the very least, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find yourself done with the game AGES before it runs out of “new” content to toss at you, so hey, at least it won’t leave you wanting more.

Will the next game leave me feeling more like a bad-ass and less like an exhausted teenager who smells like French fries?

Page 30, Game 24: Books & Bone by Victoria Corva

“A Librarians-and-Necromancy Fantasy Novel”

A trip to the Dark & Horrible Magic section of the library. Let’s call that a HELL yeah.

Forbidden Lore Design Diary #12: Leveling Up To Levels

Back to copy-paste mode with Part 11 of the tutorial, which turns the dungeon into a proper dungeon.

Except … kinda not really. I already implemented the code representing the stairs, and I think I like my implementation better. At least, I think I do. Typing at this, I’m not so sure; perhaps implementing the stairs as terrain instead of a specific kind of object might make more logical sense and have some baked-in features I had to figure out for myself. (Namely, once you find the stairs, the stairs should always be visible on your map.) Hmm. May need to come back for some refactoring.

And I actually already had a bunch of this code in place from a prior round of copying code out of the final version of the git repository. Just didn’t have ALL of it, so I wound up commenting most of it out to keep from breaking my own game.

Whatever. Now, you can go to the NEXT level of the dungeon! So now, instead of “winning,” you can do the proper roguelike thing of just plunging deeper and deeper into this hell-spawned hole in the ground until you finally die. So that’s good.

Also, you can level yourself up after you murder enough things! The game I actually want to make will not do this; Forbidden Lore is going to be all about finding, you know, forbidden lore. Want to get better at wizard shit? Find some ancient texts of wizard shit. Blowing up orcs isn’t going to give you any particular insights into the nature of applied thaumaturgy. But, that’s for later-Pete to deal with, as is taking advantage of the space I intentionally set aside for an XP bar. For the time being, murdering shit is indeed your path to power.

The game is already broken — as the developer gladly points out. At second level, you can make yourself completely invulnerable to the game’s orcs, so that’s a bit of a balance thing. Still. Give the tutorial credit, I have the tools I need to address it. Figuring out HOW to address balance issues is my problem — as it should be.

Also, I now have a “Character Status” window I can pull-up! I’m still a little put-off by the bespoke nature of all the UI elements; I feel like there really ought to be some sort of centralized method I can feed all the relevant variables into. Again, that’s a problem for Future Pete to deal with.

As is the question of how much deeper I wish to delve into the ASCII-game rabbit hole. IS this actually going to be the foundational level of Forbidden Lore, making the very generous assumption that something resembling my version of that game will ever come to exist? Mayyyyyybe. On the plus side, I can see a path to implement a lot of my core ideas using this framework. But I also know that implementing this with, say, Unity would make the final product VASTLY more accessible.

More importantly, the version of Forbidden Lore in my head is going to be all about finding the weak spots in game’s mechanics and exploiting the living shit out of them. To make that work, I’m going to have to make those mechanics as transparent as humanly possible. The game coming out of this tutorial does NOT offer a lot of mechanisms for communicating to the player just WTF is happening and why. I suppose I can address that, if I’m clever enough, but I’ll be swimming against the current.

Still. I have a totally playable game in front of me. It’s not a GOOD game, but it’s totally a game that, as I’m testing features, I still sometimes catch myself having fun with. I think I’ll go as far down this path as feels interesting. If that gives me a game that’s completely opaque to anybody who isn’t me, well, what the hell, the Unity engine will still be right there waiting for me to figure it out.

Still have some tutorial in front of me, though. Onward to the next chapter.

Justice Playthrough #148: A Light Long Gone

That was … very … earnest.

Page 58, Game 1: A Light Long Gone by muddasheep

This is an emo/electronica album by Muddasheep, who’s apparently doing this for quite some time. The conceit here is that it’s an “interactive” album. What’s that mean?

The music is less encouraging that the title implies

For starters, it means you get this very snazzy player. It’s pretty, but it lacks some pretty basic functionality. While I was listening to this, my wife asked me to pause it so she could get an audio recording of the annoying idiot in our neighborhood who keeps revving his motorcycle. I couldn’t. There’s are no play-control buttons here.

The big selling point is that you can mute individual instrument tracks. I’m not sure why I want to, though. I mean, this guy’s a musician, I’m just some shmuck killing time with a blog. Is he not confident this is the best version of any given song? If the song sounds better without, say, the piano, isn’t that kind of an argument for not including the piano in the first place?

It’d be more interesting if he deliberately over-orchestrated the shit out of everything. I’d love to play with a version that was intentionally overdone to hell with full instrument participation on each and every track, and then it becomes my responsibility to trim the song down to the elements that I think serve it best. This sumbitch was clearly written for piano and drums, but let’s see how it sounds when it’s just xylophone, trumpet, and harmonica. Fuck it, let’s get wacky, let’s get some thrash-metal guitar, melodica, and Otamatone tracks in there while we’re at it. Bring the fuckin’ house, bro.

Tellingly, the one track that you’re NOT able to mute is the lead vocals. The lyrics feel so achingly earnest that my wife and I half convinced ourselves this was the work of a teenager, and were surprised to learn that the artist is older than she is. We did peg that he’s not a native English speaker, though; the lyrics tend to feel very simple. But what the hell, his English is better than our German.

The music, while often quite pretty, has a tendency to be monotonous. There’s not much energy here, not much to distinguish one song from the next.

It’s not horrible, and last I checked he’s only asking a dollar for it, so if you’re curious you can definitely check it out for yourself. Unfortunately, the concept is much more interesting than the actual music, and that’s a shame.

Will this next one feel less depressed teenager-ish?

Page 9, Game 26: Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! by chubigans

“The highest selling and most intense restaurant sim ever made is back!”

I’m guessing that my business is going to be founded on the labor of depressed teenagers, so yeah. Bring it on.

Justice Playthrough #147: Solipstry

This game didn’t actively annoy me, so I’ll try not to tee-off on it too hard — particularly given that I haven’t actually, you know, played it. But just reading the rules gives me the impression it doesn’t actually achieve the goals it’s setting for itself. I seriously don’t know why I’d play this instead of D&D.

Page 58, Game 14: Solipstry by alrine

Solipstry ijs a TTRPG based on what the authors thought were the best bits of D&D 3.5 and D&D 4, but with the classes and levels stripped away. However, it aspires to more. From the very first paragraph of the introduction:

Solipstry is a set of tools used to create a world. Not just any world. You don’t need tools to create a world. That’s as easy as saying “What if the
Wild West had dinosaurs?” But to make a world that’s lively enough, colorful enough, and well-defined enough to tell a story? That’s where you need a tool set.

Okay, fair enough, a world-agnostic RPG sounds like a pretty worthwhile endeavor. But those already exist. GURPS and Hero System have been around since the 80’s; hell, “GURPS” is an acronym for “Generic Universal Roleplaying System.” Those old dogs are severely rules-heavy, though. In more recent years, “Apocalypse World” has proven to be a very versatile mid-weight ruleset that gets tweaked to new settings all the time. “Fate” is a thing that exists, too. If I’m in the mood for a light-ish ruleset that gives me immense worldbuilding flexibility, you’re honestly going to have a hell of a time convincing me NOT to use Fate.

True to its name, Solipstry does not seem to be aware those other rulesets exist. I’m sure the developers are aware of games that exist outside the D&D lineage, but they don’t seem interested in acknowledging any. And for all its talk about being setting-agnostic, the rules as presented are very clearly geared towards high fantasy.

But, whatever. The game considers D&D its peer, so what’s it doing that you couldn’t accomplish by a suitably ambitious DM tweaking D&D?

I’m sincerely coming up empty.

There’s something off-puttingly ignorant about the game’s stated goals. From later in the Introduction:

While many roleplaying systems require complex math and a careful examination of the rules before gameplay can begin, Solipstry was designed with simplicity in mind. And it isn’t just flexible when it comes to rules. Customizable settings are where Solipstry truly shines. While most games provide you with everything you need to know—rules, settings, vast histories of the land, tomes depicting all of the wars and conflicts over the years, along with descriptions of the important political figures, charts with magic items, diagrams explaining what creatures live where and how they behave in and out of combat—Solipstry leaves world creation to you.

This excerpt is wall-to-wall “Huh?”

First off: this is not a simple ruleset. It’s not the fiddliest I’ve ever seen; like I said, I’ve played GURPS and Hero System, and don’t get me started on Rolemaster. But it’s absolutely comparable to D&D. If anything, nuking classes and levels makes it MORE complex than D&D by making what constitutes a good choice less obvious.

I truly have no idea what the authors are referring to when they talk about other games being heavy on setting. They’re certainly not talking about D&D; if you want “vast histories of the land, tomes depicting all of the wars and conflicts over the years,” etc., etc., you can buy supplements that will happily provide all that stuff for you, but you’re not getting it in the core ruleset.

But when the authors say “Solipstry leaves the world creation to you,” that is actually very true. Solipstry leaves it ENTIRELY to you.

In a 95-page ruleset, Solipstry doesn’t get around to campaign settings — ostensibly its entire reason for existing — until page 75.

Everything before that is character creation and gameplay rules. Several sections are just D&D with the serial numbers filed off; “Feats” are now “Talents,” “Spells” are now “Abilities.” A truly “simple” game does not need 75 pages of character creation and rules. A game that claims to give you the tools you need to create unique settings needs to step the hell up and actually give you those tools.

The truly unique parts of Solipstry aren’t appealing. As one would expect from a game where levels have been done away with, the game goes into a lot more detail developing individual skills and how they’re used. But they way they’re implemented often makes a character’s base attributes (Strength, Intelligence, etc — just D&D but with Luck and Speed lobbed into the mix) largely irrelevant. From a mechanical standpoint, they’re frequently little more than fluff text.

In D&D, two characters with a Strength of 18 and 8 will have profoundly different feels and have very different capabilities. In Solipstry, two characters with a Strength of 30 and 10 are basically the same. The only real difference is that one is more vulnerable than the other to attacks that target Strength. Mechanically, when it comes to using strength-based skills, the stronger character has effectively two tenths of a +1 that they’ll be able to add to the relevant skill check.

This game sets some worthwhile goals, but I don’t feel like it actually achieves any of them. Solipstry isn’t any better suited to crafting interesting RPG settings than baseline D&D. Stripping class and levels from D&D is interesting in theory, but the way the game does it doesn’t make me interested in actually playing it.

Not recommended. I’ve been saying that I’d be willing to try most of these TTRPGs if the right players were enticing me, but getting me into a Solipstry campaign would be an uphill climb.

Will this next game achieve the goals it sets for itself?

Page 58, Game 1: A Light Long Gone by muddasheep

“Interactive music album release.”

Interactive music album? I have no idea what to expect. Color me intrigued.

Justice Playthrough #146: Wakamarina Valley, New Zealand

A dinky little walking simulator that somehow managed to impress the absolute shit out of me. This thing looks GREAT.

Page 3, Game 9: Wakamarina Valley, New Zealand by caves rd

Basically, this is a developer’s experiment in hyper-realistic environment creation. There isn’t really a “game” here, it’s just wandering around a little bit of simulated New Zealand nature.

So, how does it look?

It looks fantastic.

Fan.

Fucking.

Tastic.

The screenshots do NOT do this fucker justice. It feels alive. Completely, totally alive.

I mean, check out what happens when I shove my face in some shrubbery!

Look at this shit! Leaves! Except I don’t have to leave my office and go outside and get bitten by bugs and maybe die of Covid-19!

There’s a VR version of this game, but the dev says that the desktop version is the better experience. To which I say … REALLY, bro? This looks like something I would use to show-off how bad-ass my VR rig is. I really want to see what this thing looks like from the inside of an Oculus.

Is this what Bethesda games are going to look like in the future? In fifteen years, when Skyrim’s bandits jump out at me and start stabbing me, are they going to leap out of caves that look like this?

Because I am fucking THERE for it.

Possibly most amazing of all was how damn SMOOTH the whole experience was. I’m rocking a four-year-old laptop, but I feel like I’m on a pimped-out gaming PC here. The next time one of the games on this list shits the bed performance-wise, this is the game I’m going to link to when I bitch about how inexcusable I found it.

It’s just a demo, but it’s one cool-ass demo. Definitely recommended.

Will the next game allow me to do something other than just wander around and gawk at how pretty it all is?

Page 58, Game 14: Solipstry by alrine

“A D20 roleplaying game system that allows you to create ANY world you can imagine.”

Ooh. Definitely calling that a yes.

Let’s imagine a world where … I … do a better job of getting to sleep at a reasonable hour?

I cannot seem to imagine things.

Perhaps I should get myself to bed.

Forbidden Lore Design Diary #11: Back To The Script

It turns out that having a relative die really kicks your side-project productivity squarely in the balls.

However, during my time off, the guy writing the tutorial I was using returned and finished it! Yay!

I’d been trying to do the start-up menu — and was getting bloody nowhere. I asked for some help on /r/roguelikedev, and it turns out that the developer had completely overhauled event handling in a way which would largely solve the problems I was having. He pointed me to the git repository showing the new code, but I was struggling to figure out all the places I’d have to change.

But then the tutorial got updated! Hooray! And it showed all the stuff I needed to refactor!

So I’m back on track, with a loading screen and everything.

THIS TOOK ME SO LONG YOU GUYS

I also got to check my savefile mechanism against the recommended version! The recommended version makes smaller files and seems a bit more efficient in general, but honestly, I prefer a lot of elements that I came up with.

Namely, my code for creating a backup of the autosave and restoring it if the save goes awry. I’m keeping that shit.

I also overhauled how monsters and treasure get generated so that it’s a bit easier to twiddle how often something does or doesn’t show up.

I’m back on this thing. I’m going back and forth about how deep I want to go into this once the tutorial is done. I’m a little put off by how difficult some “simple” things are, like creating basic menus or just communicating with the player in general. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t give the Unity engine a try for the product; the end result would wind up being more accessible, I’m sure.

Though I’m equally sure that has its own grab bag of headaches. Still. There are some assets for creating roguelikes in Unity that I could try out.

But for now, what the hell. The ASCII version of the project is moving forward again. May as well see it through to the end of the tutorial, at least.

Onward!

Justice Playthrough #145: catharsis and shit (or, from which lilacs bloom)

… in which the basic bitchness of your humble reviewer once again comes to the fore.

Page 41, Game 25: catharsis and shit (or, from which lilacs bloom) by quinnntastic

It’s advertised as a TTRPG, but to me it feels more like a combination of guided meditation and group therapy. It’s about strangers, drawn together, just … talking. About dreams and fears and such.

I feel like if you get on this game’s wavelength, it could be quite moving.

I kinda have absolutely no idea how to do that.

If I had an opportunity to play a session guided by the author — or guided by someone who’s all “Oh, quinnntastic, we basically share the same brain!” — I’d gladly give it a try. But in the meanwhile, I’ll just accept that it’s not my jam and move on.

Is this next game gonna be more “me?”

Page 3, Game 9: Wakamarina Valley, New Zealand by caves rd

“Realistic exploration and photography sim set in countryside NZ.”

Fuck yeah! Let’s explore some hobbit holes!

Justice Playthrough #144: Social Justice Warriors

The good news: it is neither as snide nor as cynical as I initially thought it might be. It is earnestly about gamifying the experience of arguing via forum post, and does seem to be sincerely on the side of the angels.

The bad news: there’s really not much … there.

Page 2, Game 17: Social Justice Warriors by Nonadecimal

Someone on the internet is WRONG! Are you gonna stand for that? FUCK NO! TO YOUR KEYBOARD!

First thing to do: choose your adventurer!

I played a cleric of r/sex

Paladin! Cleric! Mage! Rogue!

Then, to the internets! FIGHT!

Prepare to be virtually destroyed, jerkass racist!

You have a finite amount of patience and reputation, and so do they. Choose the style of attack that will best strike their weakness while protecting your own!

My patience is exhausted, time to get dirty and shred a motherfucker’s rep

And … that’s it. That’s the game.

Do the most efficient job of making their color bars go down while trying to prevent your own color bars from going down.

There is no ongoing story, no larger quest. There’s a lot of flair, a lot of fun touches, social justice rangers and druids will pop by to give you support, the various arguments and counter-arguments are varied enough that they don’t repeat the same text….

And yet, they’re extremely repetitive. It’s all the shit you’ve dealt with if you’ve ever tried to engage malicious and/or stubborn dipshits online. Ultimately, it’s all in service of … nothing. Win the fight, move on to the next fight.

What do you accomplish? What cause do you advance? As far as I can tell, none — save for the glory of defeating your foes. Save for elevating your own pride.

Perhaps, when your patience is finally exhausted, you storm off and go toss $20 at Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. If so, you likely accomplish more in defeat than you ever do in victory.

Or you can return to the grind of the fight, where no matter how many idiots you vanquish in intellectual combat, there’s always another one behind them. Perhaps as individuals, their patience is finite … but as a group, it is infinite. Yours is not. Regardless of how many fights you win, your ultimate defeat is but a matter of time.

But why worry about it? Chase that fleeting glory. Chase that momentary dopamine rush of a cunning counterargument, a devastating retort, of an unexpected ally leaping to your aid.

None of it matters. You’re not making the world better, you’re just shouting. Don’t let that stop you. Keep shouting. Keep howling into the void. Try to ignore the void as it howls back.

Recommended only if you really, really like grinding for the sake of grind, or are jonesing for a meditation on futility.

Will the next game fill me with less existential despair?

Page 41, Game 25: catharsis and shit (or, from which lilacs bloom) by quinnntastic

“a collective feverdream”

Could honestly go either way.

Justice Playthrough #143: ISLANDS: Non-Places

When a basic bitch like me comes away recommending an artsy-fartsy anti-game, you know that you’ve got a really good artsy-fartsy anti-game thing.

This is a really good artsy-fartsy anti-game thing.

Page 1, Game 29: ISLANDS: Non-Places by Carlburton LLC

You are presented with a thing — something hazy, and familiar and monochromatic. Like, say, a bus stop.

Waiting on the 63-C line to Whimsyville

You may rotate around left or right, and you may click on things.

That’s it.

Click the right things, and stuff will happen.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that if you click the right things on this bus stop, a bus will roll up. Who’s getting out of the bus? What are they going to do?

Watch the scene play out in front of you, and find out.

Then, when it’s over, you’ll move on to the next scene. Like, say, a fountain.

Hmm, looks like it might be sputtering a bit

Islands is all about taking the familiar and turning it into something surreal and dreamlike. Even if the events sound mundane — Park a car! Fix a pipe! Repair an ATM! — the way they play out will be strange and beautiful.

This is another entry in the trawl where there’s not a lot of game to this game, so it’s going to live and die by the mood it sets and by how whatever happens holds your attention.

It established and maintained its mood of surreal whimsy, it held my attention.

There were frustrating moments. The only “game” element here is “okay, WTF do I click next?” Clicking around at random and hoping for the best doesn’t make for a compelling experience. But for the most part, the game does a solid job of dropping hints about what you need to do to make something happen next.

I’ve played other games with similar ambitions that completely sabotaged their sense of chill whimsy by making the question “What the hell does the game want me to do?” frustrating and opaque. There were moments like that in Islands. There were moments where I wasn’t sure if the game wanted me to do a thing, or if I’d successfully done the thing and the game was just slow-rolling whatever came next.

But those moments were honestly pretty unusual. I rarely felt stuck. Things proceeded, and I consistently wanted to see how they’d unfold.

It’s a strange and lovely way to spend an hour of your life. If that sounds the least bit appealing to you, I can definitely recommend it.

Will this next game attempt to disrupt my sense of reality?

Page 2, Game 17: Social Justice Warriors by Nonadecimal

“a satirical game about online interaction”

Game, if you’re using SJW as a pejorative, I am dialing the Jerkass ALL the way to eleven. Fair warning.

Justice Playthrough #142: Pet the Pup at the Party

It’s a trifle, but an adorable trifle I’m relating to super hard.

Page 23, Game 27: Pet the Pup at the Party by Will Herring

You are at a party. It is bullshit.

Do wanna know where bro got that pizza, though

You could try talking to people … but why? It’s just gonna be boring.

Such accuracy, very simulate

But! Somewhere at this party, there is a doggo! Go find that doggo before the time/your patience runs out and you say fuck this party and bail!

Puppersign … there’s a goodboi here somewhere….

Obviously, the game is very silly. The house you’re exploring is a procedurally generated nightmare. Why does this house have so many bathrooms? Why are there so many kitchens? Do any of the doors lead to the outside? I don’t think they do. There’s nothing but rooms you’ve already seen and people you don’t care about.

But somewhere is the pupper. He needs skritchies, and your skritchin hand is already deployed.

Gameplay basically just hide and seek. It is adorable, but it’s not particularly satisfying, unfortunately. There’s not much here beyond cuteness and novelty, and once I was acclimated to those, there wasn’t anything left.

But. If you look diligently and follow the borks, THERE IS A PUPPER!

YASSSSSSSSSSSSS

If only all socially awkward moments provided such a satisfying alternative.

As of this writing, the game is priced as pay-what-you-want. So go on. Pet the pup. You know you wanna.

Will this next game make me wish I could have what it was offering?

Page 1, Game 29: ISLANDS: Non-Places by Carlburton LLC

“A surreal trip through the mundane”

Figuring out a safe way to experiment with hallucinogens is on my bucket list. So I’mma call this a “yes.”