An Intro Guide to Realms of the Haunting

This is a spoiler-free guide for people who wish to check out the game Realms of the Haunting, a first person shooter and adventure game hybrid developed by Gremlin Interactive and published by Interplay in 1996. This is not a walkthrough and is just meant as an intro to the game to help people get started playing it. Gremlin Interactive was a British software developer that had been around since the 80s. In the mid 90s they developed a 3D engine that they used for a first person adventure game called Normality and then used the engine to develop their FPS/adventure hybrid Realms of the Haunting. The game plays a bit like a 90s fps but also features inventory items and puzzles, mazes, and journals to read. The game reviewed very well at release but as far as I can tell, was not a huge commercial hit. You can read a good review of the game and its history here.

first person view of a player shooting a monster in an old house

Why Should I Play It?

If you’re someone who has an interest in both adventure games and first person shooters, I think it’s worth playing. While the game isn’t without its flaws (see review I linked to above), there still hasn’t been anything like it since then. Even with the massive retro FPS revival happening right now, I haven’t seen anyone developing a game that lists this as its inspiration even though I think the FPS/adventure combination is very novel. There’s also a lot of FMV in the game which I find very charming. You can listen to the Adventure Game Club talk about it here

How Do I Get Started?

It’s easy to get the game running on modern computers. The game runs pretty well on DOSBox if you already own it. If you don’t have the game, you can buy it on GOG or Steam. I strongly recommend the UK to US patch. The patch allows the user to change the difficulty and also the key bindings. This is really important because by default the controls for this game are pretty clunky and you may want to switch the keys to what every other FPS uses.

Tips for Playing Realms of the Haunting

There’s a couple things to keep in mind while playing the game that will help you avoid some headaches people can run into with this game, and to fully appreciate the game.

Save Often
You will want to save regularly. Encounters with enemies or traps can go poorly and may require reloading, especially since there are points in the game where the game isn’t generous with health pickups. As far as I know, there are no softlocks in this game that require you to restart the game because of something you missed or action you took.

Conserve Ammo
Even though there’s technically no softlocks, the game can feel like it’s impossible to complete if you’re not careful about your ammo and health. Early on in the game, try to use your melee weapons when possible so you’ll have lots of ammo. Also consider redoing an enemy encounter if you lose a lot of health.

Read the Manual
When I played the game, I didn’t realize you could easily switch weapons using keybindings and I played the entire game switching weapons through the inventory screen. Don’t make the same mistake I did!

It’s Ok to Use Hints!
Adventure games can be tough and puzzles that make sense to one person may not be easy for someone else. If you’re feeling frustrated by being stuck on a puzzle too long and it’s becoming less fun, consider looking up a hint. I feel like the guide on UHS Hints is good at helping the player without giving too much away.

Some Neat Games (May 8-14)

Here’s some games on that came out last week that I liked

8th Knight

8th Knight is a game created for the TweetTweetJam. The goal for this jam is to create a game in 500 characters. Generally people go with PICO-8 but other things are allowed too. It’s just a fun little procedurally-generated platforming game and I enjoyed reading the source code on the Itch page


PocketBolo is a remake of the shareware game Bolo Ball from 1992 created for the TIC-80. It’s a pretty straightforward remake, I just had fun revisiting a game from my childhood.

Four Color Art Jam Zine

Technically this is a zine, not a game. But it collects a lot of games and art from the Four Color Art Jam where people made games and art using four specific colors. I thought it was a really cool way to highlight submissions from the jam and now I kinda want to do something similar for the DOS Games Jam.

Lets Make a Froggy Games

While this is a pretty simplistic game with some cute art, the highlight of this is actually the development stream that was done to help beginners learn Unity. You can check out the game, stream, and project assets here. The developer has made a few games I really like such as Cr1me Fr0g and By the World’s Wind which are on their Itch page.

An Intro Guide to Zork Nemesis

This is a spoiler-free guide for people who wish to check out the game Zork Nemesis: The Forbidden Lands, a first-person point-and-click adventure game developed by Zombie LLC and published by Activision and released in 1996. This is not a walkthrough and is just meant as an intro to the game to help people get started playing it. During the 80s, game developer Infocom created many text adventure games, with Zork being their most famous series of games. Towards the end of the decade, Infocom made some poor business decisions and it also become tougher to make text adventures commercially viable so they were acquired by Activision and eventually closed. However, this didn’t mean the end of the Zork series and there were three commercial Zork games released in the 90s, Return to Zork in 1993, Zork Nemesis in 1996, and Zork: Grand Inquisitor in 1997. At the time Zork Nemesis was a bit of a divisive game, it did well critically and sold well but a few fans were put off by the game’s darker tone, which was a change from the heavily comedic tone of the previous game or two in the series. Some people were also put off by the game being influenced by Myst, a highly popular adventure game at the time. It seems like people have come around since then and appreciate the one-off change in tone, which still has dark humor but isn’t as silly as the games before and after it.

Why Should I Play It?

If you’re an adventure game or Zork fan, I think it’s worth playing. I think Zork fans will appreciate the change in tone while still feeling like a Zork game but even if you’ve never played a Zork game, fans of the genre should find it enjoyable. There’s a lot of variety in the environments, the plot is interesting, the acting in the FMV scenes is the right level of camp, it has an incredible soundtrack and for the most part the puzzle feel challenging but fair. If you’ve never played a Zork game before, the game does make references to the world established in previous games and you might get a little more from the game if you’ve played other Zork games, but it’s very standalone and doesn’t rely on playing other games to understand the story..

How Do I Get Started?

It’s easy to get the game running on modern computers. If you already own the game, you just need to copy the files to a directory and open it with ScummVM. If you don’t have the game, you can buy it on GOG or Steam and copy the files into ScummVM from there. The versions on those sites use DOSBox and I heard people say they ran into some bugs from there. I also strongly recommend the subtitles patch. The sound mixing in the game is sometimes a little off and it makes it hard to hear dialog while playing the game. The patch also makes the audio puzzles a little easier, which may or may not be a plus for you depending on how you feel about that style of puzzle.

Tips for Playing Zork Nemesis

There’s a couple things to keep in mind while playing the game that will help you avoid some headaches people can run into with this game, and to fully appreciate the game.

Save Often
You will want to save regularly. There’s a few points where the player can die and a reload is required. As far as I know, there are no softlocks in this game that require you to restart the game because of something you missed or action you took.

Take Notes
During the game, you will come across journals and other things that are used in puzzles in other parts of the game. I highly recommend having a notebook or paper to write notes and diagrams in so you have something to reference for these puzzles.

It’s Ok to Use Hints!
Adventure games can be tough and puzzles that make sense to one person may not be easy for someone else. If you’re feeling frustrated by being stuck on a puzzle too long and it’s becoming less fun, consider looking up a hint. I feel like the guide on UHS Hints is good at helping the player without giving too much away.

Some Neat Games (May 1-7, 2023)

I just did one of these a week ago but a bunch of cool things have come out since then that I’ve played and I think they’re worth checking out.

Gobliiins 5

a bunch of various goblins and potato people on a snail-like thing

After many years, we finally have a new Gobliiins! Gobliiins is an adventure game series that started in the early 90s, by French game designers Pierre Gilhodes and Muriel Tramis. After three games, they moved onto other things (like the wonderful Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth) and then eventually the studio Coktel Vision closed. Years later Pierre released Gobliiins 4 in 2009 but I bounced off of this due to the ugly 3D graphics and early puzzles. I’ve heard it improves later on so I’ll have to give it another chance. Unfortunately I’ll have to do it from my physical copy since it’s not legally available on any digital stores.

Which brings us to 2023 and a new Gobliiins game after being crowdfunded on a couple sites. I had pretty low expectations but it’s actually a nice little game and everything I wanted as a fan of the original trilogy. It’s rough around the edges due to it being a solo dev game and Pierre’s first game in Adventure Game Studio, but it has everything I wanted like nice art, weird sound effects playing all the time, and goofy little guys. I don’t know if it would be the first game in the series that I would recommend to new players, that might still be Goblins 3, but I do think 5 is a solid entry in the series and worth checking out if you were a fan of previous games.


a person hopping on paintings

Undrium is a free platformer by BitGlint Games, a small studio (single dev?) who has been remaking ZX Spectrum games and doing homages to that era for a while. To be honest, Rob does a much better explanation of the game and why it’s so good on his blog. So all I’ll really add is that as someone who was too young for that whole era, I just think it’s a really good game even when I have no nostalgia for that time and nothing to compare it too.


dinosaurs drawing a map at a table

Dinocar is a really cute tabletop rpg where you play as dinosaurs driving cars and build a little dinosaur city in the process. I played this with my 3 and 6 year olds and we all had a great time, even if my 3 year old had no interest in following the rules. The art is great and the layout and game structure made sense to my 6 year old and I. The same designer also made the game Sprouts which I keep meaning to play as well.

Indiepocalypse #40

I’ve talked about it a billion times by now but the new issue of Indiepocalypse is out and as usual, very good. I just think Indiepocalypse is doing very good curation work and bringing more attention to a lot of neat indie games while helping some others get made in the process. I’ve discovered so many games through the zine and this issue is no exception. At the moment there’s also a little PWYW bundle ($1 minimum) where you can get a bunch of games that were commissioned for the zine. It’s good! Go check out an issue! You can buy them in cassette form now!

Aseprite 95

the layout of aseprite redesigned to look like a windows 95 app

This isn’t a game. I just think it’s a nice theme if you use Aseprite and also have an attachment to Windows 95 because of nostalgia.


Technically it’s not a new game, it’s a port of a mobile game from over a decade ago. But the mobile version has been unplayable on iOS for a very long time now because Apple absolutely doesn’t care about games preservation so I’m very happy it exists. Back when mobile phones were starting to have more complex games on their platforms, John Carmack created a few turn-based rpgs using the Doom and Wolfenstein properties. Ars Technica goes into the history a bit more and how you can download it here but they’re actually very good games and worth checking out if you’re a fan of Doom or rpgs like Eye of the Beholder.

April 2023 Indie Game Roundup

There were a lot of really cool indie games in April! Here’s some things you might be interested in! I hate writing intros!

The Aching

a person falling into a pool of green stuff

One of the games I was most excited for this month is The Aching. It’s an adventure game inspired by 80s Sierra adventure games but without the things in those games that annoy me like frequent softlocks, poor parser, and hugely problematic writing. I don’t mind deaths in adventure games but this doesn’t have those either and it actually has some fun puzzles that involve great harm happening to your character. I love the art and how it runs on basically everything, including DOS. It started as an entry in the DOS Games Jam I organize and it’s cool seeing how far it has come. It’s the first game publisher by DOS games publisher Hadrosaurus Software and hopefully many more will follow.


a bird and text saying "I get that in some regions they are an invasive species, in direct competition for resources with the"

Breathe is a relaxing walking simulator (their words, not mine!) by PRINCESS INTERNET CAFé. I was a huge fan of one of their previous games about a dying MMO, Running Back to You. I was impressed how this was made with a heavily modified version of Bitsy. It’s fun seeing how much people have changed Bitsy and I’m curious what they’ll do with it next.

Barren Planet

top down screenshot of two space armies fighting

Barren Planet is another DOS game that came out this month! I love seeing games come out for platforms that are supposed to be dead but people continue making exciting things for them. Barren Planet is a turn-based strategy game where two corporations battle on another planet. The campaign starts off pretty simple but introduces new mechanics and units with each level. I also got to beta test this one too!


two women french kissing

LesbiAnts is a rpg for the Game Boy with erotic elements. You play as a colony of ants investigating mysterious seed pods and fighting mutated insects. Not only do I love seeing games for “dead” platforms as stated above, it’s exciting to see queer games that Nintendo would never approve of being made for their platforms. The Itch page also has a playable demo in the browser if you want to try it out.

DOMINO CLUB Dream Gallery Jam

a computer desktop that looks like it's from the 90s

We also got a batch of new DOMINO CLUB games this month! DOMINO CLUB is a collective of game developers who anonymously create experimental games during jams that occur 1-2 times a year. Each jam has games doing really exciting and new things and there’s always a couple games in each jam that I absolutely love. If you’re looking for a place to start, why not try im doing better now or TRAUMAKT~4.SEXE

Making Niche Games Popular

I keep seeing a post on one of the social media sites that instead of trying to make niche genres like Interactive Fiction more mainstream and financially viable, people should just focus on the craft instead. And since people keep sharing this weird take that I strongly disagree with, I guess I have to explain why I don’t like it.

I really don’t think it’s unreasonable to want interactive fiction to be more mainstream and commercially viable nor do I think it’s an unobtainable goal. A lot of people read so why couldn’t reading with some interactivity be commercially successful too? It was a financially viable genre for like, 10-15 years, and could still be considered one if you’re talking about companies like Choice of Games and games like Lifeline being huge hits. Depending on your definition of the genre, visual novels are a part of IF and are massively popular.

Obviously capitalism is bad and there’s more to making games than if they can make a lot of money but why shouldn’t we push for more visibility of games that are only considered “niche” because don’t pander to some bro gamer culture. If we’re talking about games made with Twine and Ink, it’s one of the most approachable ways to make games and one of the genres where I see the most queer stories. I really think that the thing that keeps IF from being bigger, especially with non-parser IF, is that a lot of people who love to read just don’t know about it.

New Haven Pizza

Ever since I went to New Haven, Connecticut a few years ago and discovered the city has it’s own style of pizza, I’ve been a huge fan and eat it every opportunity I can. If you’re unfamiliar with New Haven-style pizza, it’s a coal fired Neopolitan pizza. There’s a place near me that makes this style of pizza and it’s very good, but not quite as good as the places in New Haven, and I haven’t found anywhere else that does it so every time I’m in the area to visit family, I must get pizza.

Anyway, now that I’ve tried all the big pizza places in New Haven, here’s my ranking that no one asked for. There are no losers in this list because they’re all very good.

  1. Bar
  2. Pepe’s
  3. Sally’s
  4. Modern Apizza

Another thing I’ve noticed is that two of these places offer pizza with potato on it (mashed potato at Bar, almost a scalloped potato at Sally’s). They’re both very good but it’s not something I’ve seen elsewhere.

Anyway, I just needed to document my love for this pizza somewhere

Random Games Database Thoughts

I’ve been adding a lot of things to MobyGames lately after initially noticing a couple of things missing in my local games community and now it spiraling into me adding stuff from Steam Curator pages and lots of smaller adventure games and interactive fiction, and now I have Some Thoughts

MobyGames is the one I decided to focus on, despite being owned by Atari, since it has the most games and is the one that games historians seem to look at the most. For example, here’s a recent comment from someone at the Video Games History Foundation on cohost after I posted similar thoughts there.

“For the study we’re doing with VGHF, we picked MobyGames for that reason. Even then there’s still some pretty big holes; there’s like 1600 GB/GBC/GBA games in MobyGames and they’re missing another 200. But it’s the best for what it’s covering, for sure. (For comparison, IGDB has 290 C64 games, MobyGames has over 5000)”

That said, MobyGames isn’t perfect either. It’s going through a redesign right now that’s introduced some bugs, which will eventually get fixed but has made contributing harder at the moment. It’s a headache to credit people, especially when the person has used various names or isn’t using a legal birth name. They’re working on improving this too but at the moment it’s still annoying. It also takes forever to approve new game entries. I know it’s all volunteers but man, the current wait time for approving new game entries at MobyGames is estimated at 5 months?

IGDB seems to move much faster and has more entries for games on Itch but also doesn’t seem to have credits for very many games and has some inconsistency with multiple entries per game, etc. There is a process for removing duplicates but it basically requires contacting an admin. And as mentioned before, it’s just missing tons of older games. So maybe there’s just no ideal games database and everyone is doing the best they can with what we got. I’m also not really thrilled about them being owned by Atari and Amazon either.

There’s also more specialized ones like IFDB and the one on that aren’t owned by a big company but again, specialized to just one genre. There’s also the Giant Bomb one but I don’t really think people should invest more time into that one with it being owned by Fandom now, especially when they seem to be letting go of everyone.

I still think people should contribute to these places though, it doesn’t have to be MobyGames. I’ve been adding info from the Michigan game dev communities I’m involved in and there’s just so much missing, so I imagine there’s a lot of stuff other people here know about that isn’t being documented and it would be nice to have more info about these games preserved. There’s just so many games, especially on Itch, that haven’t been documented at all.

FMV Game Review Dump

A few months ago I thought it would be funny to do a ton of reviews of FMV games in the form of a Leonard Maltin review guide and make it into a zine. Then after a day or two I got bored of the idea and moved on. Who knows, maybe I’ll come back to the idea. I’ve certainly played enough games for me to review. There’s also a lot of caveats with this kind of thing like “what is a FMV game?” and a medium like video even being considered a game genre in the first place. The format these reviews followed as the game title, year, the number of stars out of 5 that I would give it, the developer, some of the actors, and then my thoughts. Anyway, here’s my dump of reviews I had done for the zine.

7th Guest, The. (1993). 2 ½. Dev: Trilobyte. Robert Hirschboeck, Debra Ritz Mason. This game was groundbreaking when it was released but it’s hard to recommend now. Conceptually the game isn’t a bad idea, you wander around a haunted house and do puzzles, and successfully completing a puzzle means being rewarded with some fun FMV. Unfortunately many of the puzzles you are required to do require lots of trial and error or they’re just not fun to do. Maybe they were the standard at the time but mazes and sliding tile puzzles are exhausting these days. There’s a few gems in there though such as the famous cake puzzle where you need to divide a cake into equal sizes with the same number of pieces. The parts of the game outside the puzzles are charming though. Robert Hirschboeck is a lot of fun to watch in his over the top performance as the evil Stauf and the soundtrack by George “The Fat Man” Sanger remains a classic.

Book of Watermarks, The (1999). 2 ½. Dev: Watermarks. Jack Donner. This Myst-clone won’t be for most, but those that are into the aesthetics and music will find it delightful. The game has the aesthetics of a Pure Moods compilation music cd commercial from the mid 90s. Features music by Enya’s sister. The game has almost no plot so the only reason to play it is for the art and music. The game is short and the puzzles aren’t difficult, but many may not finish it because the slow player movement speed makes the game feel like a chore. This game was released in Japan only but all the cutscenes are in English so readers will be able to play it.

Conspiracies (2003). 1 1/2. Dev: Anima PPD. Agelos Vougas, Anestis Kokkinidis. In this bizarre adventure game you play as Nick Delios, a detective who exclusively wears grey sweatpants and hoodies, as you investigate a murder of a small-time crook. This case takes the player all around the world, to outer space, traveling through time, and also a concert for a Greek blues band that the developers seem to be a fan of since you must watch a music video featuring them. Doing a game inspired by the Tex Murphy series is a great idea in theory but the game fails to replicate anything that made those games fun. Puzzles are often illogical, the limited inventory space is frustrating when you need to guess what is actually needed, and the plot is impossible to understand. The only scenario where I can recommend this game is if you want to keep a walkthrough open and experience the strange fever dream that is this game.

Conspiracies 2: Lethal Networks (2011). 1 ½ . Dev: Anima PPD. Agelos Vougas, Anestis Kokkinidis. Nick Delios returns in a mystery that can’t even replicate the weird charm the original game had. The studio spent eight years working on the game but all of the issues that existed in the original game return. The only improvements that make it into the game are some minor visual updates. I suppose it’s impressive that even with the big time gap between sequels, even though the game itself is only set a few months after the first, they were able to get the actors to return.

Contradiction (2015). 4. Dev: Baggy Cat. Rupert Booth, Paul Darrow, Anarosa De Eizaguirre Butler. In Contradiction you play as Detective Inspector Jenks, who is investigating the murder of a young woman in a small town in England. You explore the town, asking the residents questions about her and other conversation topics. During these conversations, you will be able to snip together pieces that form a contradiction and confront the people about them to learn more. The highlight of the game is the performance of Detective Inspector Jenks, wonderfully played by Rupert Booth. While most performances in the game are fairly grounded, Rupert’s performance is over the top, in a way that’s reminiscent of Nicholas Cage, but never gets annoying. It’s such a joy to watch him talk to other characters who almost seem like they’re struggling to comprehend the behavior of such an unusual person. Of course, none of this would matter if the gameplay was bad, but the gameplay loop of asking people questions and using that info to find contradictions works very well. I would love to see a sequel.

Dancing for Cats (2021). 5. Dev: Jonny Hopkins. I may be slightly biased because this game features my cat, but I think you could make a strong argument that this cat-focused rhythm game is the best game of all time.

Devo Presents: Adventures of the Smart Patrol (1996). 1. Dev: Inscape. Jamie Rega, Gerald V. Casale, Tom Finnegan. Even hardcore Devo fans will want to stay away from this mess. Interesting visuals can’t make up for the dull puzzles, flat humor, and a frustrating timer that makes this game a chore to play. Stay away but do check out Inscape’s other games. Fans may at least enjoy hearing some new music by Devo as well as muzak versions of their classic hits.

Killing Time (1995). 2. Dev: Studio 3DO. This horror FPS has good ideas but poor design makes it a boring experience.  If Trilobyte decided to make a FPS instead of the 7th Guest, it would be like this, a shooter with puzzles in a fairly open world with lots of FMV. The FMV scenes are integrated with the world, meaning you walk up to nodes and the FMV of ghosts starts playing without it going into a cutscene. Weirdly enough, when they decided to bring it to PC and Mac, instead of just porting the 3DO version, they remade the game so the levels are better designed, and added a couple new weapons too. Unfortunately the FMV is lower quality and they made the enemies bullet spongy so neither version is ideal.

Myst (1993). 4 ½. Dev: Cyan. Rand Miller, Robyn Miller. The game that helped start the multimedia revolution holds up better than most of the games that followed it. Exploring the various worlds is still a joy, with the exception of one or two parts, and the game is nowhere near as difficult as I remember it being once you figure out the gameplay loop. The performances by the developer are a campy treat and serve as a nice reward for making progress in the game. Go with the most recent Myst remake if your computer can run it.

Pyst (1996). 1. Dev: Parrot Interactive. John Goodman. This parody of Myst is awful. None of the humor in the game works. The premise of the game is that the island of Pyst, a parody of Myst island, has become a tourist destination that has been trashed by all of the visitors. You flip through a series of postcards containing photos of locations from Pyst island, and click around to discover animations and jokes. None of it works. Even the appearance of John Goodman does nothing. The only redeeming feature of this whole debacle is the Making of Pyst video which is an amusing fever dream. A special edition was followed a year later that featured teasers for some of their upcoming games, including an unreleased parody of the Myst sequel Riven called Driven where the joke seems to be that lots of cars exist in the world.

Riven: The Sequel to Myst (1997). 5. Dev: Cyan. Rand Miller, John Keston, Sheila Goold. Cyan builds on what they established with Myst to deliver one of the best in the genre. While the worlds created in Myst are a joy to explore, every island in Riven feels as though it could be a real place, including the puzzles which feel like tools in a functioning world and not just puzzles for the sake of having obstacles. It is one of the finest examples of worldbuilding in games. The acting is also a big leap over the performances in the original game. My only complaint is that it’s a little too difficult. 

She Sees Red (2019). 3. Dev: Rhinotales. Veronika Plyashkevich. She Sees Red is an interactive movie about a detective investigating a murder inside of a nightclub. Each playthrough of the game is about 30 minutes long and you are expected to play through the game a couple of times to learn all the pieces of the plot. I thought the 30 minute runtime for a single viewing was perfect and really appreciated being able to skip scenes I’ve seen before. Like a lot of FMV games, there are Good and Bad choices but you’re not given any insight into which one leads to a more favorable outcome and unfortunately the writing is often much better in the Good choice. However you’re expected to explore all of these choices to figure out the entire plot. Despite the occasionally inconsistent writing, most of it is pretty good regardless of the decisions you make. The acting is enjoyable as well, especially by the lead actress.

Space Ace (1983). 1 ½. Dev: Advanced Microcomputer Systems. Space Ace is the second game by Don Bluth Productions. Just like Dragon’s Lair, it featured animation being played from a laserdisc. Space Ace introduced a few innovations to the laserdisc game format. Unfortunately the game still suffers from the same flaws that Dragon’s Lair has. There’s only one correct action during almost all sequences and failure to do the action leads to you repeating the same series of quick time sequences until you press the correct series of buttons. This forces you to focus entirely on looking for flashing yellow spots on the screen instead of being able to appreciate the incredible animation by Don Bluth Productions. It feels like a big disappointment compared to the interesting variety of creatures you find in the castle from Dragon’s Lair. Much like Dragon’s Lair 1 and 2, it’s more fun watching Space Ace be played than to actually play it.

Under a Killing Moon (1994). 4. Dev: Access Software. James Earl Jones, Brian Keith, Russell Means, Margot Kidder, Chris Jones. This soft reboot of the Tex Murphy series delights with its futuristic noir setting, puzzles, and performances. The frequent tonal shifts and hammy performances may be off putting to some but I found it charming. The controls may take some getting used to but it’s an interesting approach to navigating an adventure game and I came to appreciate it by the end. Puzzles are mostly good too but players will be frustrated by the cliched shredded paper puzzles and stealth section.

Yeli Orog (2018). 3. Dev: Yeli Orog Games. A first person horror adventure game that might be worth checking out if you want something about an hour long. The game is a slideshow like Myst but uses video to show leaves moving in the breeze and waves crashing on the shore to make the scenery feel more alive. Most interactive items are either highlighted or glowing, eliminating the need for pixel hunting. Despite the short length, the ability to save would have been appreciated. Yeli Orog is about a bizarre stone tablet written in the Celtiberian language found during an archaeological dig. The game is at its best when it’s focused on horror and surrealism and drags when it’s trying to explain the lore. The FMV looks great. Aside from a puzzle near the end that I found frustrating, most of the puzzles felt fair and the game moves quickly. It’s free!

January 2023 Indie Game Roundup

Here’s some very brief thoughts on games that came out in January that I really enjoyed

Luckily, My Arm is a Shotgun

This is a new game by the developer of The Chameleon where you play as a little dude on an island trying to escape. You explore the island in search of parts for your boat and shoot monsters with the shotgun arm mentioned in the title of this game. It’s a fun, cheap game that’s available on Itch. Weirdly enough, it reminded me of Ocean’s Jurassic Park game from the early 90s. It’s much better than that but the way some parts of the island were designed looked somewhat like that. Who knows. I should probably just stop thinking about bad games from the 90s with great soundtracks.


WASTE EATER is a short (10 minute) interactive fiction game about rebuilding the world after the apocalypse and is both melancholic and hopeful. Since it’s so short I don’t want to say much about it other than I thought it was great and moving, and people should check it out.

Boundless Dungeon of Sexual Misadventures

I was a fan of the developer’s previous game Some Sword / Some Play and was excited to see her create a tabletop game. It uses a tarot deck to provide prompts for writing sexy stories and I thought the mechanics to inspire writing were cleverly designed. As you can probably guess, both games mentioned here are adult games and not safe for work.

Tachyon Dreams 3

This is the third game in a trilogy of adventure games by an adventure game dev Cosmic Void. I’m a fan of the Tachyon Dreams trilogy because it’s strongly inspired by the classic Sierra games from the 80s which were graphic adventures but used a text parser for commands, like the early Space Quest and King’s Quest games. However, the parser is better designed than those and adventure game designed has improved so much by then so it’s fun to revisit that style of adventure game design without the frustrating parts. If you are looking for more games in this style, I also recommend Snail Trek, which is available on Steam, and this list of parser graphic adventures I put together on Itch