Jimquisition: Beneath A Steel Skyrim

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Glad to see the old pixel-hunters getting some love after all these years. I still think the Skyrim tie-in was a bit gratuitous though. Apparently, he couldn't fit it far enough into his mouth with that wank-fest two weeks ago...

Because Jim talked about Beneath A Steel Sky on of my favorite games games ever my opinion of him has increased. Also Gabriel Knight is worth mentioning, I have yet to play the sequels because I hate FMV.

Also as far as games with small enviroments go I think we need a Die Hard game, that seems like a safe gamble because it could make for a survival, shooter, stealth thing.

Also Dark/Demons Souls pull off the familiarity very well.

I agree wholeheartedly.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune for me, was the best of the trilogy because it didn't involve floundering around the globe. A environment that evolves in tandem with the player.

When the other two games dash around the world, an element is lost - because the character we are roleplaying is acting without our permission, and the immersion is lost.

The issue is, a lot of the audience of gaming now are "hit and run" players. Not in for the long haul and primarily interested in all or nothing set pieces and sparkling locations. There is a reason gaming has evolved in this manner.

Not to mention the fact that it is a lot easier for a developer to concentrate on bells and whistles as opposed to fleshing out a single location.

I'm surprised the game is praised by so many people. I was very disappointed by Beneath a Steel sky. It starts out promising to be a brooding, dark, cyberpunk adventure and then becomes a parody of itself just a few screens into the game. You mostly use and interact with so primitive tools and the settings are so uninspired it might as well been set in the 1980's instead of the future. Some of the puzzles intentionally confuse you in cheap ways (e.g. there is a spot where it makes sense to "cut" something and you find some scissors, but the scissors are used for something entirely different). And also the game is very short.

I played it through, and it was an entirely forgettable experience. It's miles away from truly great point and click adventures, such as Fate of Atlantis.

Scrumpmonkey:
Just to say i only recently played "Beneath a steel Sky" and i LOVED it. SCUVV emulation and abandonware for the win.

Actually, its available for free at GOG.com

If you liked BASS, you must get the Blade Runner PC game by Westwood. Completely abandonware, it's not even on gog.com, but it should still be somewhere, and I promise: it's one of the best adventure games conceived by man. And the only good movie spin-off.

"such is the fate of the steak, who can't taste itself."

Alright, that was actually an epic quote. One I'm adding to my repertoire.

You know, i'd have thought that Jim would have been all over the fact that Skyrim is horribly broken, the fact that its sales success is like an invitation for devs to release games in a terrible state then fix them later, and the fact that despite having made such a buggy game, so buggy that on one platform the game literally self destructs the more its played they can still win studio of the year at the VGA's. ...But nope.

Dont get me wrong, Skyrim is a great game, but it represents a massive part of whats wrong with video game development today, and Jim is the type of journo you'd expect to point this out, yet it seems he cant see past his plush horned helmet.

every week with the same environment (red background land) and the same characters (jim) i find my self really endearing to jim and the environments and shall probably sometime in the future get nostalgic. ahhhhhhhhhh.

"Such is the fate of the steak that cannot taste itself." That is deep man. I know I thank God for you every day, Jim Sterling.

Remember those old games that had a very limited environment? Resident Evil also comes to mind. Hell, RE3 used most of the same areas from RE2. And why? Cost saving. There was only so much money to be spent on creating game environments, so any time a developer could reuse existing things or fold the plot multiple times over a single area, the better.

This forced the game designers to get creative. They had to make every area able to function as the place where several story threads could happen over the course of the game. And as a result, we as players gave a crap about these places.

Something that strikes me about Team Fortress 2 is that there are only so many maps. Sure we're getting player submitted ones all the time, but the core maps are limited in number. I've spent a lot of time running around Dustbowl and Badwater Bason. And yet when I look around, the maps don't look like a linear succession of corridors. The designers took the time to add little details in the background that make them look like these places actually served a purpose. There are doors everywhere you can't enter, and windows separating the players from consoles and chairs and break rooms and rows of electric tape for the old style computers.

Sometimes, when I have a moment, I stare into these areas to see what I can notice, and I still notice new details. It feels like I'm fighting just outside of a functional workplace. And despite running around the areas for so long, or even because of it, I love them all the more.

Yahtzee - 5 Days a Stranger - superb example of what he's talking about, with confined spaces and a growing familiarity. Really need to play it again. The other games in the Chzo Mythos were brilliant too, but I never completed 7 Days a Skeptic (that chase at the end was far too difficult/scary for me! :D)

Monkey Island 3's music and art direction are just second to none. Even if everything else sucked, it would be a fantastic game for those two things nonetheless. But everything else is JUST as fantastic, so that's a bonus hehe ;)

I think that Portal is the best AAA (if you can call it that) example of this. The environments rarely change and the cast is amazingly small. Even Portal 2 pulled this off wonderfully. I still laugh at the call of the Space Sphere SPPPPPAAAAACCE!

I'll be honest: The opportunity for wordplay with the title was just as big a determining factor as any for using Skyrim as the comparison.

Didn't read the thread to see if anyone else mentioned this yet, but Beneath a Steel Sky is free on Good Old Games. It really is as good as Jim says, go check it out.

SupahGamuh:
For anyone interested, you can download Beneath a Steel Sky for free from GOG and ScummVM's site. While you're roaming GOG for a bit, be sure to grab yourself a free copy of Empire Earth before tomorrow.

I've been playing all sorts of genres that aren't my favorites, like point & click adventures and I've been having a blast. Last summer, I grabbed Broken Sword 1 for free when they offered it at GOG and they also offer the original game emulated in ScummVM and I'd say I prefer the pixelated original over the crisper new version. Also, there's Dragonsphere, wich I haven't played much, but looks interesting enough, also because it's made by Microprose. Then there's Ben There, Dan That, wich is quite funny, along with it's sequel, Time Gentlemen, Please!.

So yeah, I'm in a strict diet of point & click adventures at the moment.

Do yourself a favour then and check out Wadjet Eye games, they have some very interesting, thought provoking games. In fact the latest humble bundle has their Blackwell Trilogy in it if I'm not mistaken. Also don't pass up Sanitarium on GOG.

D0WNT0WN:
Because Jim talked about Beneath A Steel Sky on of my favorite games games ever my opinion of him has increased. snip

I know, he can't be all bad if he liked BASS.

D0WNT0WN:
Also as far as games with small enviroments go I think we need a Die Hard game, that seems like a safe gamble because it could make for a survival, shooter, stealth thing.
snip

You have no idea how disappointing this is to play.

Jim, what did you make of Dragon Age II? That was the game that came immediately to mind when you were talking about what made Beneath a Steel Sky great; I enjoyed it enough to play it through eight times, but others' praise was not so forthcoming. What about you?

Small and familar is great... Then you have Dragon Age 2. There were a (Admittedly large) handful of maps reused like something fierce. Although it could have just been an example of "what not to do".

You seem to have repeated the same statement three times with a little change in wording... Wonder if that should tip me off to some sarcasm or that is just an editing error...

Dear Jimquisition,

You need not look any further than Dragon Age 2. Enjoy the interesting characters and very limited environments. You're welcome.

I played Beneath a steel Sky recently again, great game.

Arkham asylum had the same feeling.

Does Jim actually do any research before he makes his videos?

"Skyrim offers a level of freedom that games have never even dreamed of"... umm I can name plenty that dreamed, least of all previous TES games.

And Telltale the only studio making point & click adventures? What is he smoking? There are plenty of developers around, DOZENS if you bothered to delve below mainstream releases you'd find them.

I think Jim just wants to make videos about whatever his favorite games are at the time, and try to link them together in any way he can. He does have a point though, that bigger isn't necessarily better - and that is why Skyrim fails to compel me, because it seems to believe it is.

Jim, you ARE great and I DO thank Gawd for you. I would lend out my head for your eyeballs but my head is a bit full at the moment.

As for Beneath the Steel Sky and just about every other PnC type of game...I never grew up as a PC gamer so I missed out on about 99% of them. I remember playing Broken Sword on the GBA but not really being a big fan of that one. Aren't the Sam and Max games on the Wii at this point? As for the older PnC ones, even if I could find them would they be compatible with my computer, my OS, etc? Or is this one of those instances when you would smack me on the head and tell me that this is what Steam is for?

Is it just me, or did this episode feel rather padded? He said that smaller games can be just as compelling as Skyrim like four times or something.

"Sometimes in order to think BIG! ... you have to think small."

Great episode as per usual. TGFJ

I think he didn't do a great job illustrating his point like he usually does. Strange.

What I took away from it was that more environments =/= better, because without lack of detail and lack of characterization for that environment, people could give two shits less about it. Not that you can't create a large-scale game with memorable places, but for every Republic of Dave that has you loving it there's a monotonous town with very similar geograpical circumstances and infrastructure filled with twenty copy-paste NPCs with the same faces repeating the same lines over and over.

I think a good example of this would be Bioshock, in regards to revisiting Rapture in Bioshock 2 and relocating in Bioshock Infinite. I hear a lot of people saying they actually regret playing Bioshock 2 because it took away from the first Bioshock. They feel that it wasn't the same place they grew attached to in the first, and was more of an ugly figment. And not in the intentional its-that-way-because-the-writers-want-to-make-a-point way, just in a strange, unsettling way. Whereas for Bioshock Infinite, people are upset that its going to be taking place in Arcadia. They feel isolated because its not Bioshock to them. To be fair, I think the latter group has a point, but it certainly goes to show how much an attachment to a place and its characters can really affect somebody's experience with a game.

I remember playing a game on Sega Genesis called Oasis. Or was it Legend of Oasis? I don't remember, but the game took place over a small island and you explored the whole thing discovering different spirits to aid you. Years late, I still fondly remember that game.

Can't say this was my favourite episode. Seemed to repeat himself like 5 times in the middle.

Varya:
Great ep. However! Thre image of Jim Sterling standing by his podium without any pants will haunt my dreams

I just took that to mean he plays games in his underwear

LoathsomePete:
Good episode, I also think it's worth mentioning that you can download Beneath A Steel Sky for free from GOG

I had never even heard of this game before Jim mentioned it. I will definitely check it out now. Thanks for the tip!

Excellent episode Jim.

I've actually been going through the same process and finding much more enjoyable experiences when I play games that capture the magic of truly compelling environments/story, rather then played games by companies that just throw a bunch of money at a developer and then telling us how good it is through over-saturated advertising.

Skyrim was the first game to wake me up from this, and since then I've been playing a shit load of indies and smaller games and I agree, they are very similar experiences even though they are considerably "different".

I just finished To The Moon recently which also does this well, theres not much to explore and theres no combat, but its without a doubt one of the most fleshed out and real feeling game I've played in years. If you're still in your mellow adventure game vibe, I suggest trying it out.

I dont want to say I've given up on AAA games, but I certainly look at them differently now. Its just sad to see such huge games lacking in such an important area of game design, which is emotion.

It so cool to see you talk about and confirming the exact same thing I've realized just this week.

Thanks again Jim, stay awesome.

You know, just yesterday I saw someone mention that the Myst/Riven-style puzzle-adventure game has been reborn as the MMORPG, for pretty much the exact same reasons you mentioned. They're both extremely different from each other, almost complete opposites, but their purpose is to suck you into a world that--if all goes well--you end up falling in love with. Which is what I love the most about games. If only Myst Online: Uru Live had come together better than it did.

And since everyone else is mentioning games, I'll do it too: Ico.

(And even though I know the Facebook commenters won't read this: HELL YES to Machinarium, one of the most perfect games I've ever played, and FUCK NO to The Whispered World, one of the most disappointing games I've ever played.)

I have been hankering to play those sorts of games recently but it's really hit and miss whether you get a good one or not. The main review sites tend to ignore them so it's hard to know what you are spending your money on.

I wish the guys who made Broken Sword would make another 2D one they were awesome.

Myst.
They have a new one.
Relatively new.
It's as buggy as shit. Really buggy.
And I love the hell out of it.
It's not small, not really anyways, but it still has that loving familiarity to it. Like the last ones, the game was created with a very acute attention to detail, and the feeling you get when you read, on your own will, a 30+ page journal, and start to understand it and see it come together... it's exhilarating.

It's Myst Online Uru-Live.

The best part is that it has Open Source elements to it. Sure, that opens the doors for wierd and undesirable shiiiiieeeeeeieieieieit, but there's probably a couple good developers out there who keep in the Myst spirit.

Hell, I'd go as far to say that every aspiring developer should play this game. It won't teach you how to properly use a shader engine, or why you should just use Frostbyte for everything, it won't teach you alot of things, but at least it'll teach you how to make a game. It'll teach you how to create a world.

Then you can take that knowledge, and create your world in the Frostbyte 2 engine with top quality shaders and explosion physics and all that jazz, and make something nobody can afford not to play. Yes, I could really go for a game with the same attention to detail Myst has always had, but made with more efficient tools right now.

Sadly, the pointy-clicky genre reach it's zenith and subsequent death after Sam & Max: Hit the Road, DotT.

I still miss those gems, and the memories of childhood innocence that is conjured up by those titles.

No game will ever come close...ever.

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