Video Reviews: Sunset, Neon Struct, Sproggiwood, and more!

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Video reviews are just more fun than written game reviews. So I stepped into that arena with these puppies:

Neon Struct Video Review

My first video review explored what’s great about this stealth game and helped me set the bar for how to grab an audience. Read the full review at Plus 10 Damage.

Sunset Video Review

Sunset’s review explored what makes this unique game worth exploring. It honed my skills at video-hooks. Read the full review at Plus 10 Damage.

Sproggiwood Video Review

Sproggiwood grabbed me like nothing else on iPhone. So I tried this iPhone capture technique to tell the story entirely with mobile footage. Read the full review at Plus 10 Damage.

(I don’t have time to only make video reviews. So you’ll have to settle for these text-only doggies:)

DUCK GAME Video Review

DUCK GAME is GUARANTEED to be the most fun you can have with ducks. Seriously. These are some fun ducks!

Hands Off! Itch.io Review

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Hands Off! may be one of the most original and enjoyable competitive two-player games that I’ve played. But it takes a little bit of time to explain. In this writeup, I explain what kind of players will love it, and what kind of players might not enjoy it as much. Read the full review at Plus 10 Damage.

Bang Bang Bang! Itch.io Review

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Bang Bang Bang serves as perhaps the fastest couch multiplayer game I know of. Blink and it might be over. This means that those slow on the uptake might not enjoy it as much as those who blink less. Still it’s amazing. Read the full review at Plus 10 Damage.

GAMECELL Recap: 2-Min Fly By — Wedding Night

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Watch this new and improved GAMECELL recap video:

Discussion Cliffnotes: 

  1. What game pulled your heart strings at E3? Looking forward to something?
  2. What’s your favorite relationships in games?
  3. What do you think a good marriage looks like? What’s the key ingredient?
  4. What’s love?

Let’s look at the Bible’s Book of Love:

Young Man:
“How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are like doves.
Your hair falls in waves,
like a flock of goats frisking down the slopes of Gilead.
Your teeth are as white as sheep, newly shorn and washed.

They are perfectly matched; not one is missing. 
Your lips are like a ribbon of scarlet.
Oh, how beautiful your mouth!
Your cheeks behind your veil are like pomegranate halves
– lovely and delicious. 
Your neck is as stately as the tower of David,
jeweled with the shields of a thousand heroes. 
Your breasts are like twin fawns of a gazelle,
feeding among the lilies. 
Before the dawn comes and the shadows flee away,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.
– Song of Songs 4:1-6

What are key rules that come to mind in the Bible? Did you know the 10 Commandments were wedding vows? Jesus’ commandments, also wedding vows to those who keep them. The question becomes: “are you willing to sacrifice your rights to become one with God?”

Last Question:

  1. What do you want more than anything?

Many answers revolve around wanting to be adored. God wants to do that for you. It just comes down to, “Will you say yes?”

Here’s a preview of the evening before it happened:

Game Selection:

To coincide with the idea of the Bride of Christ, all the games we’re playing have strong female characters or are brides on the cusp of marriages. Enjoy.

  • Broken Age
  • Gravity Ghost
  • The Next Penelope
  • Sunset
  • Cloudbuilt
  • Tomb Raider
  • Duck Game (just because)

Additional Details:

We also played John Beatty’s first game (which is awesome, BTW): Lone Rocket. It’s online and free and you should play it! We also watched Alex Carter’s first game trailer that he made as a student project for Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 (not online).

Videos: Let’s Play Games With GAMECELL!

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We teamed up with a couple friends to make some videos with our GAMECELL crew. Mike Perna of INNROADS Ministries joined us for a game. And David Gutsche lovingly shared some of our play sessions on Plus 10 Damage!

Which one of these is your favorite?

The Yawhg:

We played the Yawhg with Mike Perna who’s just one state away in New Jersey! Massive thanks to Alex Carter for dungeon mastering, Stevie Tuttle for being the red princess, Pierce Callender for playing the orange gentleman, and Garrett Krout for serving as the best drunk nun ever.

Hot Date:

We played the pug speed dating game, Hot Date. Jason Turner, Greg Burns, Alex Hively, and Wes Hess took turns picking names and questions to ask some very rude pugs.

SUPER ROCK BLASTERS:

Then our crew played QuadraTron’s four-player game, SUPER ROCK BLASTERS. Wes got really good at winning. So we tried to give everybody else more of a shot. Tyler Hollingshead served as a great equalizer. Jason and Greg did an amazing job of holding their own as the rock blasting got super nuts.

HANDS OFF!:

We switched to the most original two-player slapping game I’ve ever seen: HANDS OFFWes took to it right away. And Alex didn’t like it so much. But Tyler, Greg, Jason, and I really enjoyed the game even though it takes a little to get used to.

REGULAR HUMAN BASKETBALL:

Arron Bayne, Joey Roush, and Garret Krout came over the next day. We played REGULAR HUMAN BASKETBALL, which may be the most hilarious game we’ve ever played:

Thanks to Zachery Oliver for sharing the Yawhg video on Theology Gaming, and of course, to Mike Perna for the team-up. And massive thanks to David Gutsche for sharing the other videos on Plus 10 Damage.

Videos: Learning Heroes of the Storm

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Zachery Oliver and a few of us Theology Gaming dudes worked together at a few rounds of Heroes of the Storm. We tried to get past my mortal fear of MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas).

Have you played Heroes of the Storm? What do you think of it? 

Zach taught me a lot about how to not be terrible at the game:

Bryan’s six-year-old son joined us in a round to hilarious results:

Then the amazing Todd Williams joined Zach and I!

Then Todd showed us how a master of the game can enjoy playing with noobs like me!

For more great overviews on games like this, check out Theology Gaming.

POWER OF GOD Night — A GameCell Recap

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Power seems like it’s how the world works: the powerful control and the weak are overpowered. But in the Bible, we see a God who almost always only shows his power through human weakness and humility. With that in mind, we explored the theme of power in the ironically named, “POWER OF GOD Night.”

Using state of the art mobile technology, we’ve found the solution to distilling the GameCell experience down to a two-minute video. Enjoy.

Cliffnote version:

Alex Carter, Hively, Greg, Zac (new guy), Garrett, Tim, Tyler, Vince, Jason and I showed up. Greg took on the Discussion Master role and had Garret ask the first question:

“What’s your Favorite game power?”

Everybody shared, then Vince got the next question:

“What comes to mind hearing, “THE POWER OF GOD?”

Our crew went with some pretty obvious shining “God rays” and super-poweredness. Tyler mentioned the nature of God creating everything from nothing.  Then Tyler volunteered as Text Master:

1 Corinthians‬ ‭1‬:‭27‬ 

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.”

Then we asked,

“What’s your favorite Bible story? Or first that comes to mind?”

New guy, Zac, mentioned David and Goliath and we pointed out how that was about a weak little guy showing-up somebody who was powerful. Greg mentioned the three crosses. And we looked at how Jesus’ cross was an illustration of God using weakness to reveal his greatest power. And Alex Carter mentioned Samson’s story, which made me tell the whole thing from scratch since very few of our guys knew anything about it. And despite how weird all of the super-powered fox-catching abilities and war-powers Samson got were, the point where he was at his most-powerful was when he was utterly shamed, blind, and humiliated. And God used that moment to free a young and weak Israel from oppression.

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We hit home on the theme a little bit saying, “may you find that God’s power comes through the things that look weak!”

Then Alex Hively volunteered to pray us closed even though he wasn’t quite sure of how to do it. We helped him through, had snack, and transitioned to the game-time. But first we had a detour and I shared with the guys a private screening of my first game trailer for the upcoming game, ReElise (details coming soon, I promise).

We picked from this lot that all illustrate the power of small or weak things:

  • Skyhook
  • Sunset
  • I Am Bread!
  • Titan Souls
  • Toybox Turbos
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • ReElise

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Zac picked Skyhook (an A- Multiplayer game, which is good for Early Access). Then he picked me to go next, which was a first, but I picked Ori and the Blind Forest (The intro was A+ storytelling but the main game was only B- to watch for non-players). Jason showed up and picked Toybox Turbos (an A+ multiplayer game, which may be the most fun local multiplayer racing game we’ve played other than Speedrunners). Then when the crowd thinned, Alex Carter picked ReElise (a 20% complete build of the game), and I recorded it as input for the developer, Justin Fox. But despite that early nature of the game and being a turn-based RPG without any voice acting, our crew absolutely loved it (I’d say it was easily an A+ game for one to play and others to watch).

An amazing night.

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Articles: Two Sets of 5 Things And Videogame Pornography?

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I wrote more things! This time I go from sounding really liberal to really prudish! Oh, and I’m making game trailers now, so I might as well toss that out there.

  1. 5 Best Game Trailers of the Week — Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker & More
    I’m wrapping up the five best trailers of the week over at Plus 10 Damage. Check it out!
  2. 5 Best/Worst Things About Dragon Age Inquisition And Its Religious Nature
    Apparently I’m on a binge of five-item list posts lately. Maybe that’s because people seem to like this format? Not sure. Either way, here’s the five most interesting reflections I had on Dragon Age Inquisition.
  3. GameCell Recaps With Bigger Photos!
    This blog theme doesn’t have the nicest image resolution, but fortunately Zachery is letting me cross-post all of our GameCell recaps in glorious HD (well, 900px-wide photos at least)! Check out Quick Night and Relational Tension Night with better image fidelity.
  4. Can You Avoid Videogame Pornography in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt?
    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has more sexual content than any other mainstream video game. But there’s a strong likelihood that player agency means you can choose to say no to it. So what are players doing with that?

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Relational Tension Night — GameCell Recap

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Our crew explored the value of  healthy relational tension and played four games that demonstrated that kind of good tension!

What game has really good healthy tension?

Yoshi said Devil May Cry.  Josh Reigart said Zelda — especially the bosses. Greg said Assassin’s Creed. Vince, Tyler, Tim, Garrett, Alex Carter also shared.

We prayed together holding hands. It was a little tense. But then I explained: “Anybody feel a little tense holding hands? Good! Tonight is Tension Night.” I got out a wired controller and held it on one end while Greg held onto the other. I explained by saying that the cable represented the line that is our relationship connection.

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Who would you like to have a better connection with?

Vince said his brother. I said my brother too. Yoshi said his half brother. So did Garrett and Greg. And Alex Carter, who also said his mom. Then I talked about how tension is a lot like how a wired 360 controller and can pull apart and become disconnected if the line gets too tense. But that it requires both people to extend the rope and try to reconnect. It’s hard. But it’s worth it.

Vince said God’s line of connection is the same, but that God already has extended the rope to us. We just have to make that connection.

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Do you ever feel disconnected when we read a Bible verse?

Greg said it made him sleepy. And I explained that that’s part of the disconnection. And that by being here in GameCell, there’s a bit of that connection too. So I extended my hope that more of our group would make a deeper connection to God.

We joined hands again and Garrett prayed for better and restored connections.

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Game Time. 

We picked from these ‘Healthy Relational Tension’ Games.

  1. Towerfall Dark World
  2. Bang Bang Ban
  3. Chariot
  4. Friendship Club
  5. Super Motherload
  6. Lazr

Yoshi got first pick and he chose Towerfall Dark World for its brand new 4-player co-op fun. Our crew eventually figured out how to keep each other alive. Then I caught some footage fo them playing!

Towerfall Dark World is an A+ game for 4-player co-op.

Josh went next and he chose BANG BANG BANG.

BANG BANG BANG is an A- game for 4-player versus. 

Then Vince picked Chariot. He played with Tyler and the two of them learned over a short amount of time how this game was literally about being connected to somebody else through a line.

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Chariot is A+ 2-player co-op that’s B+ to watch. 

Then Seth Seitz showed up for the first time! We gave him a Jesus For The Win and told him he got to pick what we played next. He picked Towefall Dark World for 4-player versus. We didn’t mind because we barely scratched the surface of the new content playing the co-op earlier. Seth did great and was cleaning the map with the other players by his third round. Then with just a few min left, we had time for a couple rounds of Friendship Club (an A+ 4-player versus game)

Then our crew picked some games based on some monetary generosity from our baby brother gamecell group, Intertain. Our crew picked:

  • Titan Souls
  • Turbo Micro
  • Skyhook
  • I Am Bread

It was a fantastic night as always.

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Stay tuned for next time when our crew gets to crack these games open as we explore how God’s power tends to look like weakness!

Best Indie Trailers of the Week #2

I’m thinking a lot lately on what makes the best indie game trailers. Fortunately, we’re never for lack of great ones to look at. This week is chock-full of smart trailers that connect with would-be players:

Towerfall is definitely one of the best local multiplayer games that exists. And the team just updated the entire game adding new modes, characters, and arrows (the game is a four-player duel among archers). The trailer shows some amazing animation and editing work. Trailer by Kert Gartner (editing), Amora Bettany (pixel artist), Power-Up Audio (sound effects), and Alec Holowka (musician).

Want some metaphors from the Book of Genesis in a game made by Brazilians? How about an exploration of a woman’s journey from infancy to adulthood? She even faces a dragon Revelations 12-style! Haunting music, strong narration, and gripping Biblical imagery for the win!

Race The Sun originally came out last year on PC. And this trailer came out before that. But I’m still including it since it’s brilliant and the game just came out on PS3 and PS4. Notice how the entire trailer is captured footage of YouTube personalities playing the game. It shows the connected relationships players have with the distinctly single-player experience, but invites other players into the experience. Brilliant. And free marketing on the developer’s part as all they had to do was capture the YouTubers and cut it all together. Simple. Effective.

Use your smartphone to control this innovative couch multiplayer PC game! My favorite shot in this Steam Greenlight trailer is the part where you see the phone of the assassin and it gives that player the option to reveal their secret assassination mission to the other players or keep it a secret. I was about to vote for the game on Steam Greenlight but instead found that its been Greenlit! Great work!

I hope you like bonkers. Because this trailer is potentially siezure-inducing with rapid verbal delivery that I can barely keep up with (and I like to listen to podcasts at 1.5x speed). This trailer is one of the best ways to capture the frenetic tone of the game. If you’ve got an action game, it makes sense to make your video so full of action that viewers need to watch multiple times to get everything.

The team at Klei features some amazing animators and that comes across perfectly in this trailer that mashes-up gameplay and in-game cinematics with a few titles from Kial at the YouTube channel, Megasteakman. Not a lot of player-game connection going on here, but the cool factor is off the chain.

Articles: Telepath Cowboys Don’t Hate Miami

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I wrote some things! Oh goodie. We’ve got some tasty little reviews and some reflections on how games relate to faith (big surprise from me, right?). All articles wrap around the themes of engaging with the moral underbellies of videogame places that test one’s convictions. Or give you opportunity to witness bad choices outside yourself? You decide.

  1. Telepath Tactics Review — The Fire Emblem Monster That Cleans Up Nice
     What’s better than a game about gathering people together, training them to rely on one another and working against every one of your wits to keep them alive and well-disciplined? Sounds like church to me.
  2. I’m Officially A Goody-Goody — Westerado: Double Barrelled Review
     I’m not always a cowboy. But when I am? I wear a white hat. Unfortunately, this game really favors black hats. Or red hats. Or any cowboy’s hat that doesn’t mind pulling out a gun and seeing how people respond to sticking it in their nose.
  3. A Youtube Series I don’t Hate: COGWATCH
    So this series is pretty darn brilliant. And funny. I wish I could be like the maker of these videos one day. 

  4. 5 Best/Worst Things About Hotline Miami 2 And Its “Subversive Violence”
    Hotline Miami 2 is not a game for Good Christians. Its harder than any other game you’ve played. And it’s way less subversive than its predecessor because of a shifty plot. So you shouldn’t play it. Mmmkay? But definitely get the soundtrack.

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What’s A GameCell?

Hopefully this video answers that question.

After that it becomes, “Want to start something like this where you are?”