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  1. I loved Gone Home for multiple reasons. I don't think even he takes full credit for the story, I remember hearing him talk about how the story changed due to feedback from the community. I don't think he wrote Tacoma. Open Roads could have the best mother / daughter story ever but it's tainted by this. He should leave the bones of the story behind and the women who take up the task of rescuing the project can either build on top of it and make something better or redo the story from scratch. If Open Roads ends up as Open Roads by Steve Gaynor then it's done. The audience attracted to Fullbright because of Gone Home and Tacoma just won't buy it.
  2. He can seek redemption, probably on his own time and own dime. Fullbright is his company though so there are few solutions. The most likely solution? Annapurna buy Fullbright off him and he walks into the sunset. Other solutions which might be more just but would leave him seriously low on resources. He walks and leaves the company behind to the women who still work there and they rehire those that want to come back or he redistributes the money from the sale of the company to the complainants. I don't think he can continue to run and manage employees, definitely not in the short term. He'll still be given opportunities to write, the tougher road might be for him to give up those opportunities for some of the women disadvantaged. I don't know, I'm spit balling here. Some form of restorative justice would be more appropriate than the usual wait a year in silence and then come back declaring either "I've learned my lesson!" or "Actually I was in the right!" I do think he's going to face greater criticism for his poor management than the exec's with their golden parachutes who will never need to work another day in their lives. But that's the cost of talking the talk, if you have feet of clay in that position then you're going to be criticised from all sides.
  3. It's a tough road if he actually wants to do it properly. I've only ever seen two men do it, James Gunn and Dan Harmon. It involves being accountable, copping the fair (and unfair) criticism on the chin and resisting the urge to be defensive or to accept relief from really toxic people. I've seen plenty more men flub it or double down, refuse accountability and become more toxic. He'll also have to live with accepting that apologies he makes might not be accepted and deal with the weight of knowing that he might not be able to undo the damage done. I don't envy him this path at all but I don't think he's irredeemable like some at Activision / Blizzard / Ubisoft.
  4. So cards on the table here. This was a really hard post to set up. I love Steve Gaynor's past work. Bioshock:Minerva's Den is the perfect distillation of everything that made the original Bioshock games good in a tight condensed format. Gone Home was a "walking simulator" with real heart. I suspect we wouldn't have other works like Life Is Strange without it. It rekindled my love of riot girl bands. I was late to the party with Tacoma but I fell in love with it to the point of playing it all over again with the commentary on. Open Roads was going to be a day one purchase. I also feel like I know the guy having listened to dozens of hours of him talking about his work and other things via the Idle Thumbs podcast. So reading this feels like a bit of a gut punch. However this shrinks in comparison to how these people must have felt getting a job there and having a shitty time. As a manager or team leader it's hard to keep everyone happy. You're always at risk of frivolous complaints from the odd underperformer. However there's a pattern here. For a small company that's a high burn rate. And this is the tragic bit. Reading the article with an eye to being generous towards Steve Gaynor one could make the case that he was a creative that should not have become a manager. And I don't think he should be irredeemably cancelled. He stepped down from his leadersship role a few months back and he released this statement today. That's not a perfect apology but it's a start. It stands in contrast to the Activision / Blizzard statements. This case also shows the issue with small indies. At Activision and Ubisoft the case can be made that HR totally failed in it's remit. At Fullbright there was a different issue. I think Open Roads is possibly at risk of not happening. And one ex employee made an excellent point. I think that's an issue with the industry at large at the moment. Women's stories are being told....by men. I'd hoped Fullbright would become a sort of incubator for raising up and pushing forward female talent, sadly it appears the opposite is the case. I think Gaynor and Fullbright are in for a tougher time than Activision and Ubisoft. On the one side fans of the company are going to have a low tolerance for anyone who talks the social justice talk but doesn't walk the walk. As for those who feel the company is "too woke", I've already seen them on social media both celebrating Gaynor being "found out" while simultaneously calling the complainants snowflakes. Sad news though, and it sucks that we've lost more diverse talent.
  5. Well this is heartbreaking. https://www.polygon.com/22610490/fullbright-steve-gaynor-controversy-stepped-down-open-roads I’m on mobile so I can’t quote from the article right now but it’s essential reading. Edit: I'm back with access to a keyboard. Just wanted to point out for those who haven't read the article that there's no allegations of sexual harassment or assault which is why I've started this as it's own topic rather than linking it to metoo or Activision / Ubisoft threads. From the article I'm also not using alleged as Steve Gaynor has pretty much put his hand up here in acknowledging the hurt caused. I'll add more further down but it's worth reading the full piece over at Polygon.
  6. Until this podcast I had forgotten all about Hocus Focus a weird and impenetrable arcade adventure that was on a cover mounted tape in 1992. I had unlimited time and I couldn't get it then and I revisiting it for the first time in almost 30 years I still can't get into it. Not sure why Jaz loved this one so much. Check out the tiny screen area! (I really like the music though....it was the thing that kept me trying back in the day.)
  7. I have never played Captain Kidd nor could I find a copy but it appears to be a clone of arcade game Check Man. Compare and contrast I have played Check Man. It's not very inspiring and if the C64 game is as faithful worth skipping.
  8. I think part of it was that it was disk only. No way around that. It was aimed at an older audience that was in limited supply back in the 80's which would explain why I only ever saw it once at a high end department store. And it took up three double sided discs which meant that it wasn't inviting to pirates as you'd be giving up access to at least six games (and many times more that with some single load games.) It's heart breaking to see where Activision is now although really it was a new company 1990 onwards (when Booby Kotick bought it) after the disaster that was the Mediagenic years where they tried and failed to pivot to business applications. I remember reading an article in Edge almost 20 years ago where the rep' from Activision was talking about moving away from multiple risky ventures and just consolidating around the most profitable titles. And it's something that's worked well for them until now with the current scandals. I think they'll keep their COD player base after this but then they're essentially a single title company which isn't great in terms of risk. This period (around 1986) is the last of the golden age of Activision with a lot of talent already leaving and starting up elsewhere.
  9. From the "about" notes on the web version. This explains why a modern day version even in text would be a massive undertaking.
  10. Alter Ego was out of reach for me when it came out. On disk and very expensive at that. And once I had a drive it was long out of print. But when I discovered emulation in the 90's I was obsessed with this game. There was nothing else like it and I roped my friends into playing it one evening. They were transfixed despite how primitive it looked. One of my friends was weirdly pleased that his alter ego died an early death as a rent boy! There's a couple of flaws though. It's very conservative. No gay relationships here and there are some parts around depression that feel a little harsh now. Also check this out as "acceptable" as an old man Still there are some parts that are pretty poignant and it can be a little disconcerting how some games can end early, or even if they don't are still affecting. (One section as a child had an adult try to lure me to their car, something I didn't fall for and the description afterwards praised my caution. "This adult hurts children." Another section as a teen working in a legal office was very satisfying with the option after being fired of revealing to the bosses wife that he was having it off with another staff member. And yet another section had me making friends with the local "crazy woman" only to find out she'd lost her daughter and husband in a tragic accident. So the two downsides. One I can't solve. This was written in the mid 80's with 80's sensibilities. People in their 40's-50's will find something here. Otherwise it's almost a period piece. The downside I can solve? Playing this on original hardware or on an emulator is tricky. But there are phone ports available and you can play the game online in a browser which is highly recommended. The free version makes you wait between chapters but this is a positive as it gives you time to ruminate on your previous actions. You can play it here https://www.playalterego.com/ In terms of where this sits, this is incredibly ahead of its time. Ignored at the time for neither being an arcade game or not having the puzzles adventure games sought it was doomed to obscurity in the 80's. It feels very much of it's time now design wise, I'd love to see someone make a modern version of it.
  11. Aug 03/08 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS5) I was given the PS4 version of this as a gift soon after it's release and I bounced off it. I'm not really into Souls like (or in this case Souls lite) games. But the big reason I bounced off it was because of how it looked. It looked amazing. One of the best looking games on the PS4. Too good though.. Because I had a launch PS4 and this (like Control) should probably not have been launched on the PS4. There was something about the feel of the game that just felt off and muddy. And to be fair once I booted up the free PS5 upgrade I was disappointed. Until I went into the options and switched to performance mode. And that made all the difference. Suddenly I felt like I was playing the game proper. The combat is Souls lite and I lurched around much to the amusement of my partner ("you look like you're waving a log around, there's no elegance in your stance!") until I gained force push and pull and used that to cheese combat. The level design is similar to the most recent Tomb Raider games with elements of Metroidvania. It entertained my partner who was bored to tears by my recent playthrough of Mass Effect. The story in this moves along at a fair pace. It's no Mandalorian but there's a novelty in the small cast being left of centre for a Star Wars game. And it looks and sounds amazing. The weird thing is I can't find a screenshot that doesn't look bland, it's just something that works in motion. My only gripe is that even in casual you have small openings for inputs. In a few years I won't have the reflexes anymore to play games like this If you played it on a last gen console both of them now have free upgrades. Give it another shot. One of the better Star Wars games and if they use the same artists for the KOTOR remake it's going to look stunning. Earlier this year.
  12. It's on my list to revisit. I had a great 15 minute session with it today that was only broken because I had to go out to the shops on short notice to get some cooking ingredients. What isn't on my list to play is Geoff Capes Strongman Challenge, a game I immediately looked at and thought "I'll never play that." And today hasn't changed that. Bowing out because I'm not wrecking my joystick for a below average joystick waggler these shots didn't inspire me to change my mind. It says something that none of the videos or images I found got past training and then the barrel lifting. I've heard he's a lovely man. He deserves better.
  13. So I was late getting to The Master of Magic. And there's a certain irony as to why. A couple of weeks ago I saw that UnderMine was about to leave gamepass. It's a game where a sorcerer press gangs random peasants to search a series of underground caverns for artefacts. This sort of game is catnip to me and I was quickly hooked. We'll get back to the irony later. I love these sorts of games. I first got hooked playing Adventure on the 2600. This was as basic as it gets. When I upgraded to the C64 I was desperate to find a similar dungeon crawl. I ended up playing a lot of Gateway to Apshai, This a simplified version of rogue and it scratched the itch. I wanted to play something with more teeth and having seen the screenshots of Swords and Sorcery on the Spectrum I waited for the C64 port that was to come. Spoiler, it never did. And while I was waiting I missed out on this little gem. And here's the irony. The plot involves a sorcerer press ganging an ordinary person into fetching something from a cavern for him. Sound familiar? I'd never really been a fan of Richard Darling's work apart from BMX simulator because he always seemed to do average sports games. But this is incredibly clever and very well produced. Had I have gotten my hands on this back in the day I know I would have been completely and totally obsessed. I love the overhead map that only shows you what you can see, something that reviewers were going nuts about over indie darling Monaco about ten years ago. Here Darling is doing it first. His interface is uglier but more functional than Shadowfire recognising that the majority of users are going to be using a joystick or keyboard and not a mouse or electronic pen. What's stopping me from playing this now? Well I'm spoiled for choice for rogue likes from Hades to UnderMine with RAD and Children of Morta in the mix. But this is a release I feel real regret for having missed it back in the day. It's a little too slow and the character gets caught on the walls too easily. But back in 1986 this would have been an absolute bargain.
  14. Let's get one of the backlog out of the way right now. FA Cup. Yeah but nah. My idea of hell. (Rinse and repeat for all football management games for me.)
  15. A new episode is out! https://zappedtothepast.com/ Games covered for episode 25 -Geoff Capes Strongman Challenge -Alter Ego -Captain Kidd -Hocus Focus -Elektra Glide -Thrust And yeah, I'm behind on my posts here but with good reason. Will catch up shortly.
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