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My Feckless Youth Returns

Oh, the games I played this weekend!

I played Kingdom, the best of the lot, even if it is a recklessly ambiguously named title.  This particular Kingdom is a product of a developer called "Noio," and is the pixel game equivalent to the greatest artistic masterpieces ever to make a human being feel utterly helpless in the face of remorseless forest spirits. 
Kingdom's style reminds me of the best of something to be found on the Commodore Amiga.  This is high praise.
At times, Kingdom's atmosphere is so moving that it makes me want to compose poetry.  Later, as my kingdom is inevitably ground under a deluge of monsters, I want to compose a pithy limerick.  "There once was a King from Fuchdischit."

I’ve played Rebel Galaxy, not that PS2 game you’re thinking of, but rather a lovely arcade odyssey in open ended space capital ship broadside actions.  Some people are calling Rebel Galaxy the closest thing to Freelancer we have had since the original. 
Well, I think nostalgia might have caused some people to extrapolate the resemblance a bit.  For example, I seem to recall Freelancer was a lot more linear than this, and could actually be played in three dimensions.  The developers of Freelancer also didn't recommend the use of a gamepad, like a common platform traitor, but I nevertheless found mouse and keyboard were playable enough for Rebel Galaxy.

Regardless of what it is or isn't resembling, Rebel Galaxy plays easily entertainingly enough to vindicate the $20 price of admission.  Heck, I'd pay half that price just to rotate my camera around the ship models.  I would call this a successful purchase.

I’ve played Maia, a game on the opposite end of that same spectrum: even at 44% off, I was still charged over $15 for this game, and its current state is barely worthy of a couple hours of play.  I am amazed at how skeletal a game in Early Access since December 2013 can be.
I will say that Maia is rich with atmosphere; great pains have been taken to make it feel as though you are meddling remotely with the happenings on a very alien planet.  But there's just nothing of significance to do, as is evident from the developers stating that the current version is only about 51% finished.
Maia is like Dungeon Keeper decided to have a baby with Space Colony but got bored halfway through so padded the proceedings out with pillow talk of procedurally generated emails from insane people.

Fortunately, Maia is still under development.  Unfortunately, at this rate, I'll be looking forward to version 1.0 in 2017.   Its primary feature will probably be a remarkably detailed artificial intelligence that simulates a staggeringly wide range of completely idle behavior.

I played Hero Siege.  It cost me $1.50.

$1.50 was a fair price; Hero Siege is a barebones Diablo clone, with action confined to arenas, with better graphics, worse gameplay, and an announcer whose enthusiasm for mass murder was blatantly creepy.

I didn’t play Hero Siege long.  It's less of a homage to Diablo and more of a proof of concept that making a Diablo clone is relatively easy if you have any skill with GameMaker.

I played Shoppe Keep.  I wonder what kind of game this is meant to be, and I wager the developers are wondering as well.  You buy furniture to place stock on.  You buy stock and mark it up to sell it.  Medieval types wander in, buy things, or attempt to steal things, and leave.   There's some suggestion that crafting might occur at some point in the future.  In Shoppe Keep, you're a shopkeeper, what did you expect?
Currently, there's no long term purpose to Shoppe Keep.  It's balanced in such a way that it's impossible not to win.  However, given that there's such a limited selection of stock and lack of challenge, you'll probably lose interest before fully expanding your shop.

The developers are aware of this and other issues.  In fact, when you boot up the game, you get a message advising it is "hilariously" in an early access state so "do not get a rock up your bum, as it is being worked on daily!"  Fair enough.

Such a busy weekend of compulsive Steam spending I've had.   I need more weekend.

It almost feels as though, after decades of trying to copy everybody else, PC gaming has gone back to its roots and decided to stop sucking.  Except for all of those AAA studios which continue to try to copy everybody else and continue to suck.

Anyway, this his how gaming got its start, a number of hit and miss products that were nevertheless deserving of merit because they were true works of passion, and I damn well hope the industry stays there for awhile.  Keep up the good work, guys.

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