Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Greetings! Since my last review, I’ve decided that things around here have been a bit too negative. …Well, that and some things happened at the start of the year that made me not feel like doing much of anything for awhile. POINT! I have been too harsh. I shouldn’t be trashing Flash games, I should be celebrating Flash games! And what better way to celebrate Flash games than with the GREATEST FLASH GAME OF ALL! BEHOLD!
I know, I know. It’s the best title screen ever made. Please try to contain your excitement. Never before has there been such detail, such creativity, or such amazing. Gazing upon this screen, can you feel anything but inspired? Truly, this is a work of art!
You play as an epileptic green man with a chainsaw. Not since Dark’s nondescript morphing thing has there been such a well-designed protagonist. The enemies are great, too. Look at that ghost. Look at how detailed it is. This had to have taken days to draw, let alone animate.
Rather than give any backstory, the game drops you in with no explanation. I love games that do this. Instead of just telling you the story straight away, it’s up to you to find the story for yourself. It’s an ingenious writing strategy that has been utilized before in many indie games, such as The Binding of Isaac and Five Nights at Freddy’s. But, as many times as I’ve seen it used, never has it been better executed than in this game. I’m not going to spoil it here, you’re just going to have to play it yourself to find out.
Let’s take a moment to look at this tree. This tree is perhaps the most important thing in the game. What makes it so important? Well, I’ll give you a hint: the tree is a metaphor of a metaphor. Brilliant.
You might notice this crack in space and time. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I say that this crack is the main catalyst to the story. I mean, come on, you don’t just put a crack in time and space in your game, and not expect people to think it’s important as soon as it shows up.
Now we get to the good part of the game. We start by entering this incredible spaceship. If you thought the title screen graphics were good, just look at this spaceship! This by itself would be a masterpiece. This should be framed, and put in a museum, it’s that good.
Of course, you know what’s coming next. We’re going into SPAAAAAAACE! I’m going to say it right now: this section has the best graphics in the entire game. Look at that, it looks just like a NASA photograph. I have never seen a more realistic depiction of space. The stars are all totally random, the sun is several times bigger than the stars, and there are asteroids everywhere. Just like in real life! This is the most realistic depiction of space ever. But, with all that said, what I’m really impressed with is the fire. Holy shit, if I didn’t know better, I’d think that was real.
After passing the asteroids, you reach… THE DOOR! What is the door? The door is everything! The door controls time and space, love and death! The door can see into your mind! The door can see into your soul!
Once you go through the door, you wind up going back in time, to the beginning of the game. Now, this might seem like a standard excuse to start the game over, but it actually isn’t. This is the most important plot point in the game. Again, I’m not going to spoil it here, but if you’ve paid attention to all the little hints thrown in throughout the game, you’ll know the significance of going back in time to the beginning.
Final Score: /10
This… this truly is the greatest game of all time. I’ve played a lot of games in my time… Minecraft, The Stanley Parable, Majora’s Mask, but none of them even come close to how truly amazing this game is. This is the only game I can think of that truly deserves to be called art. This is the Citizen Kane of video games. It really is that impressive.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
|Definitely not stolen from Wikipedia|
Happy Festivus! Welcome to Time Wasters. Yes, the blog has been rebranded. Why? Well, there might have been some confusion over the old title. “Embed Hell”? What does that mean? I’ll explain.
There’s an element in HTML called <embed>, which inserts non-standard objects into HTML documents. These are usually Flash .swf files and Unity executables. Some Flash games, usually the really cheap ones, include a code to embed the game on your own site. Since this might not be entirely common knowledge, I’ve changed the title to something less confusing. However, I’m still keeping the old URL, since timewasters.blogspot.com was already taken.
Now, on to the topic of this review. I’ve been reviewing three kinds of games. There’s the Chinese bootleg games, made to be click bait. There’s the propaganda games, made to promote a worldview. There’s the Ludum Dare games, made to win a contest. Now let’s introduce one more: the hate game. These games are products of hatred. That’s really all you need to know about them. It’s just some programmer making a whole game about how much they hate something. Really, most of them are dead on arrival. But I’m here to talk about the many ways in which they’re dead on arrival. It’s time for the Airing of Grievances.
Justin Bieber Darts
On one fine night, Justin had just finished one of his concerts, when he decided to take a stop at the local bar. He had a few drinks, and as his mind started to go fuzzy, he started to feel content. Suddenly, he felt the sting of a full bladder, and quickly ran into the janitor’s closet to relieve himself. When he returned, an older woman had taken his seat, so he picked the one next to her. Then the older woman started hitting on him. She was a cougar! In his drunken state, Justin lacked good judgment, and so he found himself accompanying the cougar back to her house. He followed the cougar into the house, and down into the basement, where he immediately noticed various torture devices. The cougar had an S&N dungeon, and she wanted Justin to strap himself into one of the torture devices. But the moment Justin was restrained on the wheel, he suddenly realized that this was no S&N dungeon. This was a torture chamber. The cougar, who was really a deranged psychopath, pulled out a myriad of sharp objects, picked one up, and demanded that Justin sing “Mistletoe” while she threw pointy things at him. Justin had no choice but to comply. The wheel began to turn, and Justin was at the cougar’s mercy. “Don’t worry,” she said with a maniacal grin, “I’ll try not to miss!”
This is a little different from your average hate game. Unlike most hate games, where you’re supposed to kill whoever you’re throwing sharp things at, this one actually gives you a game over if you kill Justin.
You can rough him up a bit, put knives through his limbs, but hitting him too much will result in a game over. Hitting him in the head and in the chest also results in an automatic game over.
Not that it matters. I imagine most people who play this game miss on purpose so they can hear Justin’s screams of pain. Me personally, I don’t like to hurt people, not even in games, so I actually put in the effort to win.
Oops! I missed!
The wheel speeds up when you clear a level, making it harder not to hit Justin. And… that’s it. There’s nothing else to this game.
Final Score: 2/10
Somebody devoted their time and effort to creating a game where you hrow sharp things in Justin Bieber’s general direction. That’s all there is to this game. You throw sharp objects at Justin and try not to hit him, that’s it. This game has nothing else to offer. The graphics are decent, and it’s actually kind of challenging after the first level, but… this game exists because someone really hated a guy.
Kill The Teletubbies 2
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a race of cyborgs called Antennoids. They were recognizable for their colored bodies, pale faces, antenna, and screens on their bellies. For generations, they have been at war with another race called the Shelloids, and things at the time were not going in their favor. So, the Antennoid Military sent a squad to a small blue planet called Earth to work out a deal with its locals. The Antennoids wanted some of Earth’s Military training videos, but the humans weren’t going to give the videos away for free. So, the Antennoids offered a trade: the Earth inhabitants give them their Military training videos, and the Antennoids give the Earth inhabitants a new reality show. The inhabitants of Earth liked this idea. So, the Antennoids started setting up hidden cameras in a place called the Caresphere, where an AI called NU-NU cared for sufferers of a rare mental illness called Tel.E Ta.B, which causes Antennoid brains to rapidly degenerate. Sufferers of the illness are called by the derogatory term, “teletubbies”. Also contained in the Caresphere was the last Balar, a sun-shaped entity that communicates through laughter. The reality show ended up being too juvenile for adults, so it was shown to very small children instead. Anyone older despised the show for how painfully stupid it was. Eventually, the show was cancelled, and the Antennoids lost their supply of Military training videos. So, no longer having a use for the teletubbies, they sent an assassin to kill every living thing in the Caresphere. Just after the assassin was sent to do the deed, the Earth inhabitants called one last time to tell the Antennoids that the actor who plays Barney was accidentally teleported into the Caresphere. But by then, it was too late for anyone to get there in time to stop the slaughter.
So, the Teletubbies dance around while you shoot at them. Occasionally a wooden barricade will pop up to protect them. That’s really all there is to this game.
When you kill one, the others don’t seem to care. They just keep dancing. That’s how moronic they are. They don’t even realize when they’re in danger.
After you shoot all four stationary targets, Barney will walk across the screen, and you’ll be able to shoot him. That’s the only reason why he’s in the game. He walks back and forth in front of the screen, and you shoot him.
Then you’re taken to this screen, where you’re asked if you want to play again. Of course if you click the check, you’re taken back to the opening screen. If you click the X…
…you watch a cinematic of some cartoon character. ‘Kay.
And then you get this screen. I have no idea.
Final Score: 1/10
There’s nothing to this game. Shoot five stationary targets, watch a confusing cinematic. That’s all there is to this game. There is literally nothing to be gained by playing it.
The Barney Fun Page
The Shelloids had landed on Earth to work out a deal not unlike the one the Antennoids had. The Shelloids had their own Caresphere, and there own mentally-deficient citizens to show off. During the initial interview, the actor who played Barney entered the room just as one of the Shelloids’ teleporters had activated. Barney’s actor was suddenly warped into the Antennoid Caresphere, where he was quickly discovered and killed by the assassin. Barney’s actor woke up in a world of fire and brimstone. He was in Hell. A foxlike creature with soulless black eyes walked up to him, and offered to return him to Earth, in return for his continued servitude. Eager to take revenge, Barney’s actor agreed. He was sent back to Earth, but not in the way he’d thought. Unknown to him, he was due for a replacement, and the studio was planning to replace him with an animatronic. This was the body Barney’s actor found himself in. The studio still put a name in the credits, but since the ‘90s, Barney has always been an animatronic. An animatronic inhabited by a demonic spirit bent on revenge. One day, Barney encountered a strange man, who seemed to know more than he let on. Sure enough, later that night, the man broke into the studio with an arsenal of deadly weapons. Barney was trapped in the studio with a demon hunter. If the demon hunter destroyed his whole body, Barney would never be able to return to the mortal world again.
This one’s a classic. This is an old HTML-based game from 1995. What you do is, you select a weapon, and then use it on Barney.
Then you select another weapon, and use it on Barney. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Eventually, Barney will start to bleed. Or at least as much as he can, with the primitive graphics.
And then Barney dies. And you can keep attacking him. What’s the point of beating a dead corpse? It’s dead, you don’t need to keep attacking it. So yeah, you beat Barney to a pulp. And that’s it.
Final Score: 2/10
What is even the purpose of this game? Once again, there’s nothing to it. You just kill Barney to death, that’s all you do. This is a twenty-year-old game that’s never been updated. There isn’t even a reason to play this anymore, since so many better web-based games have come along since then.
That pretty much sums up hate games. It’s the same general idea every time, and I’d be beating a dead horse if I talked about them any more. Still, it boggles my mind that this could become a whole genre of game.
Until next time… whenever that may be… have a Festivus for the rest of us!
Friday, October 31, 2014
|You know it's indie because the background is all one color.|
Super Meat Boy was an indie game developed by Edmund McMillen, whose other works include Gish and The Binding of Isaac. It involved a simple ‘damsel in distress’ story in which Meat Boy, a boy with no skin, had to save his girlfriend Bandage Girl from the evil Dr. Fetus. So plot-wise, it’s a weirder version of Super Mario. Gameplay-wise, it’s Hell, Michigan. This game is known for one thing and one thing only: it’s insane difficulty.
Another interesting thing about that game is the multiple playable characters. A lot of them actually come from other indie games. There’s Captain Viridian from VVVVVV, Spelunky from… Spelunky, and even the Kid from I Wanna Be the Guy.
And then there’s Tofu Boy. He’s slow, he can barely jump, and he’s useless. What game is he from? Well, according to the Super Meat Boy wiki, Tofu Boy has an inflated ego, and is not actually as effective as he thinks he is. You can probably figure it out now.
What part of Super Meat Boy was advertising meat? I thought it was just a weird little indie game. Leave it to PETA to jump to conclusions based on one word in the title. What next? Are they going to go after Super Smash Bros. for having the Duck Hunt Dog?
You must be thinking, “PETA’s really grasping at straws this time,” but no. This isn’t PETA grasping at straws. This is PETA running out of straws to grasp at. They at least had a bit of a point with everything else they complained about. Pokémon technically features animal fighting. The fur and leather industry does kill animals just for their skin. Fast-food joints do tend to get meat from questionable places, and the same goes for some store-bought meat brands. Mario does kill turtles in self-defense, and players do tend to abuse Yoshi. But Meat Boy is just a boy with no skin. There is no hamburger symbolism. So, this game should not exist. And yet it does.
|Now isn't that adorable. It would be better if it had a background.|
As always, the first problem with this game is its misrepresentation of fictional characters (a very serious issue). In Super Meat Boy, it was very clear that Meat Boy and Bandage Girl were close. That’s why Meat Boy went out of his way to save Bandage Girl. You can also tell by looking at this that PETA either didn’t get very far into the game, or they didn’t play it at all. This is because, spoiler alert…
|My eyes hurt.|
Near the end of Super Meat Boy, Bandage Girl has to save Meat Boy. Why does she do this? Why would she go through so much trouble to help this guy? Could it be because she genuinely cares about him? Nah, can't be. He’s made of meat, and that makes him evil! Yeah, think about that line of reasoning, and you’ll get exactly what’s wrong here.
So, let’s see what PETA did to the characters. Apparently, Tofu Boy is sexy.
…Um… no. No he isn’t. Actually, I have a theory about this game. The deformed abomination that appeared in Super Meat Boy is the real Tofu Boy, and this game is just his delusion. He’s like Tim from Braid; he thinks he’s the hero, when in reality, he’s the villain. My apologies to the people who haven’t played Braid, I just spoiled it for you.
So, this Bandage Girl has the hots for Tofu Boy, and even dumped Meat Boy for him. This Meat Boy is fat, ugly, he smells bad, and he’s totally jealous of Tofu Boy. This Dr. Fetus is… pretty much the same as the actual Dr. Fetus.
So, the game begins with Tofu Boy’s dream. Bandage Girl leaves Meat Boy for him, and Meat Boy is like totally jealous, so he kidnaps her. In the real world, Tofu Boy showed up, started acting creepy, and Meat Boy left with Bandage Girl.
|Defender of the defended! Voice for those who can speak! Unwanted champion!|
Then, Tofu Boy declares that he will be the mighty hero who will save Bandage Girl.
This kind of reminds me of something…
So, these are the levels we have to look forward to. I’m not going to do the Bandage Bonus, because I just want to get this game over with. I don’t have time to collect bandages.
We begin with a content warning. Pretty uncharacteristic of PETA, usually they throw as much blood and gore at you as they want with no regard for anything other than their own personal agenda.
Now we get HYPER-REALISTIC BLOOOOOOOD!!! So, Meat Boy and Bandage Girl decided to visit their favorite old-timey castle. Tofu Boy followed them there, but instead of a castle, he saw metal hooks and animal carcasses. So, now it’s like Song of Saya. This level is too easy to really be worth mention, it’s just there to tell you it’s there.
Tip: This has nothing to do with Super Meat Boy.
Next, we are told about the wall jump. Because clearly anyone playing this is too stupid to figure it out on their own.
Meat Boy and Bandage Girl continue on through the castle. They trigger a few traps, to deter their stalker. Meat Boy considered calling the cops, but Bandage Girl had to remind him that the police don’t exist in their universe.
Tip: Stop trying to sell me stuff.
Bandage Girl sets up the fire traps, and the falling floor. Only she, Meat Boy, and their friends are skilled enough to make it this far. She knows Tofu Boy is too pathetic to reach them, but she also knows that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
To her shock, Tofu Boy succeeds in climbing up to her. Meat Boy quickly escorts Bandage Girl out a nearby window, leaving both the castle and Tofu Boy far behind.
Tip: You’re a bigoted asshole.
Tofu Boy follows his beloved to a McDonald’s. The interior is blood-soaked, buzz saws everywhere. A re-used asset from New Super Chick Sisters sits prominently in the background, hyper-realistic blood dripping from it in a steady stream. Tofu Boy knows that Meat Boy can’t run forever, especially not from his supreme awesomeness.
Somewhere, a PETA executive is making out with their own reflection.
Tip: LOL@ Tofu Boy’s deluded self-righteousness.
The McDonald’s has transformed into Hell itself. Now the walls are fitted with frickin’ laser beams, which fire at exactly the wrong moments. Tofu Boy starts to get tired, causing him to fail to jump when necessary. Thankfully, he has infinite lives, allowing him to press on indefinitely.
Tip: That’s why we don’t make dresses out of raw, rotting animal flesh.
Meat Boy finishes his fries, while Bandage Girl goes off to the restroom. He keeps watch for her stalker, but Tofu Boy manages to sneak past him. He leaps into the ladies’ room, declaring to Bandage Girl that he has come to save her. Hearing the commotion, Meat Boy rushes to his girlfriend’s aid. They flee from Tofu Boy once more, while their stalker curses them under his breath.
Tofu Boy follows Bandage Girl to an abandoned factory. But, instead of an empty factory, he sees severed pig heads, buzz saws and lasers everywhere. Everything in the factory was made specifically to kill him, and it will do so in the most unfair methods possible.
The factory comes alive once more after Bandage Girl turns on the power. The crushers and conveyor belts become active, threatening to crush any possible pursuers. Bandage Girl turns to Meat Boy, hoping to finally spend some quality time with him after their previous adventure. Then, out of nowhere, Tofu Boy leaps out at them, brandishing a knife. There is no sanity left in him, just a desire to destroy whatever stands in between him and Bandage Girl. Meat Boy tells Bandage Girl to run, while he holds off their attacker.
He is able to knock the knife from Tofu Boy’s hand, only to then be pushed into the factory mechanism. He is ground to a pulp, right before Bandage Girl’s eyes. Tofu Boy begins to approach Bandage Girl, a perverse look on his face. “You monster!” she screams at him, but he doesn’t seem to hear.
Tofu Boy embraces his beloved, happy to have finally saved her from Meat Boy’s jealous rage. He kisses her, and asks her if she’ll marry him. Bandage Girl stares back at him, tears in her eyes. Tears of joy.
Bandage Girl struggles to get out of Tofu Boy’s grasp. She cries for help, but there is no response. Then, out of nowhere, in comes… Dr. Fetus? He frees Bandage Girl from Tofu Boy’s grasp, and says, “Come with me if you want to live.” Knowing Dr. Fetus at least won’t harm her, Bandage Girl agrees. While escaping, she asks Dr. Fetus why he’s helping her, and more importantly, how he’s still alive. Dr. Fetus explains that he has access to multiple lives, just like Meat Boy and Bandage Girl, allowing him to resurrect himself. He then tells Bandage Girl that he normally wouldn’t help her, except now they face a common enemy.
Somewhere in the factory, a shape emerges from the mechanism, unharmed. The shape pulls out a phone, and dials a number…
Tofu Boy quickly makes his way higher into the factory, in the hopes of rescuing his beloved. However, he runs into a bit of a snag. There are far more buzz saws and crumbling blocks than before. He finds himself dying over and over, trying to climb the same area.
In his franticness, Tofu Boy starts to lose control over which direction he goes. His body begins to go numb, and his head begins to ache. But he can’t stop. He must reach the top. He must save Bandage Girl. But, the longer he spends on this level, the more he realizes that he can’t. Eventually, Tofu Boy is just too exhausted to continue.
Commander Video finds Tofu Boy in this sorry state. Quietly, he and Pink Knight carry Tofu Boy away to the prison Steve built to contain him. Dr. Fetus and Bandage Girl come down, and are greeted by Meat Boy. Of course he survived, he respawns every time he dies. While he and Bandage Girl embrace, Dr. Fetus casually begins walking away, only to encounter the Headcrab.
And so Tofu Boy sat in his cell. The cell was made of unbreakable bedrock, the windows made of barrier, and no door. He sat, and contemplated the events of that day. He had everything he needed, until two indie game characters and one former indie game character took it all away. Tofu Boy sat, and pondered. How is he to escape his cell? Can he escape this cell? There must be a way. After all, he’s the hero… right?
Final Score: 0/10
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the worst Flash game I’ve ever played. Well, maybe I am a little bit, but that’s beside the point. Super Meat Boy was difficult, but it was also fair. Every time you died, it was because you made a mistake. But with Super Tofu Boy, I never got that feeling. There were plenty of times when it was my own fault, but most of the time it was either because of unfair design, or because of the controls not responding. Yeah, you remember that montage of fail I included? Most of those deaths were because Tofu Boy wouldn’t jump when I told him to. And then there’s the game’s portrayal of the characters. This time, Meat Boy was the straw man. As I already stated earlier, Meat Boy is not supposed to be a hamburger. He is supposed to be a boy with no skin. There is literally no reason for this game to exist, and yet it does. The story of this game reads like Sonichu. It has all the same trappings – protagonist-centered morality, straw man villains, and completely self-righteous all the way through.
|What a perfect analogy.|