Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: Thimbleweed Park

The state of my game in 2019

Normally, this is the time of the year when I start handing out game awards with goofy names. The criteria is not what I consider the best games of the year, but games that I liked the best. I very rarely play the games on the best of the year lists, especially in the year they are released, so I don’t have much to contribute to that conversation. The one exception, of course, are FromSoft games, and I promise I will get to that later–but probably not in this post. A few weeks ago, I started thinking about the games I played this year, and I realized that there weren’t many that really stood out for me. More to the point, there weren’t that many that I actually finished.

I tend to play one ‘big’ game at a time (big in terms of amount of things to do, not necessarily Triple A or story-wise or whatnot). Ian and I like to joke that he has an ADD approach to gaming whereas I have an OCD approach. However, I’ve been thinking lately that I am more ADD than OCD than I previously thought. Yes, I can focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else, but that’s the hyperfocus part of ADD. Anyway, this year, I played Sekiro at the end of March/all of April when it was released. I played it obsessively. I thought about it when I wasn’t playing it. I dreamed about it. It was in my blood, and I didn’t have room to think about anything else. We shall,  of course, get to that later.

One of my enduring quests is to find a mystery game that I can really sink my teeth into.  There are plenty of mystery games out there, but, unfortunately, most of them are…not great. I’ve written at length about my disappointment with them before (and the point-and-click genre in general), so I’m not going to rehash those points. I’ll just say that my experiences this year with the genre cemented my belief that those games are not for me. I tried Unavowed and Thimbleweed earlier in the year, and while the former held promise (the latter irritated me from the beginning), it inevitably fell into the trap that so many point-and-clicks do–namely, making me do elaborately nonsensical things to accomplish a quest AND showing me things I knew I would need later, but did not allow me to pick up the first time I saw them. This is the year I’ve given up on point-and-clicks, and I’m a bit sad about it.


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Point-and-click hit-and-miss

what a nice night for murder.
Thimbleweed Park is lovely, I’ll give it that.

I like mystery novels. A lot. I read them, and I write them, and my god, I want to find a good mystery game. I have tried. My god. I have tried so hard. I’ve played the Poirot games. I’ve played many of the Sherlock Holmes games. I’ve played the Blackwell series. Any time a good point-and-click comes out, I eventually try it out, hoping against hope that this will be the one. I had really high hopes for Murdered: Soul Suspect, and I played it well past the point where I actually gave a damn about it. It had such a good idea. You’re a cop who used to be with a gang but cleaned yourself up well. Your wife is murdered (I think? I don’t remember. She’s definitely dead), and you become more of a loose cannon after her demise. That leads you to chasing after a killer without backup. The killer kills you (not a spoiler, really, as it happens in the first ten minutes or so), and for the rest of the game, you are a ghost trying to figure out what happened to you. In the meantime, you help other ghosts free themselves from this realm by figuring out how they were killed. I mean. This is right up my alley. Murder! Mayhem! Detecting! Paranormal activity! Helping other beings with their lives! It has ‘me’ written all over it. It should have hit me in all my sweet spots…er….but it didn’t. I can’t tell you why, either, not exactly.

I really enjoyed Kathy Rain, a badass chick who has to explore her past, and this is set in the…I want to say eighties. I put up with the usual point-and-click bullshit (esoteric logic that only makes sense to the developers) and relied on the walkthrough for the puzzles. I put up with backtracking for hours through four or five different rooms so I could pick up one thing from the one room, trek to the fifth room to use the thing, then bring the thing from the fifth room to the second room to do the thing that I knew I was going to have to do when I passed through it, but I couldn’t do at the time because I didn’t have the thing from the fifth room–that I couldn’t pick up when I first saw it. I put up with all that because I loved Kathy Rain–the character, I mean.

So, I liked the game despite the shortcomings of the format. It was the writing that drew me in, and I cared about what happened to Kathy. I wanted to know why her father disappeared when she was a kid and why her mom went crazy (I think. It’s been some time since I played it). So, it was to my dismay when in the third act–

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