Thursday, September 07, 2017

My 10 Most Influential Games: Planet's Edge (PC)

I've made no secret of the fact that I don't much care for computer gaming these days. The thing is, that's the only way I played--and enjoyed--games before my brother and I got an NES.

First, we used an Apple IIe to play classics like Apple Panic, Miner 2049er, Moon Patrol and The Oregon Trail. Then, we used a Windows PC. I don't remember the make or model, but I do remember a handful of the games I played on it: The 7th Guest, Day of the Tentacle and Planet's Edge.

Of all the above-mentioned titles, Planet's Edge is the one that has stuck with me the most over the years.

Curiously, I don't remember why we bought it. I have a feeling my brother read or heard about it somewhere--he was really into sci-fi movies, novels and games back then--and that's what pushed us to pick it up.

At any rate, I spent as much time with Planet's Edge as he did--to the point that I'd say it's as responsible as any other game for turning me on to the RPG genre. More importantly, this New World Computing release from 1992 opened my eyes to and made me aware of the joys of resource gathering and mining in a role-playing game.

Not that resource gathering and mining is the sole focus of this intergalactic adventure. As you work to retrieve Earth from some sort of "wormhole trap" (the planet disappears at the start of the game), you, controlling a four-member crew, also build and pilot spacecraft, battle other ships, investigate the surfaces of far-flung planets, fight their inhabitants and more.

(For those looking for a few more details, every playthrough of Planet's Edge begins on the moon. After outfitting a rather rudimentary spaceship, you and your cohorts lift off in search of information, ship parts and resources. Encountering alien craft along the way sometimes results in amiable chatter, while at other times it results in trade and even combat. If you successfully make it to another planet, you have to maneuver your vessel into its orbit before you can set down. Once on the ground, you move your foursome--viewed from a top-down, isometric perspective--as you do in most turn-based RPGs. Loot gathered from the mission is hauled back to the moon, where you can then upgrade your spacecraft before once again setting off for distant lands.)

To be honest, battles in Planet's Edge can be a pain, especially when it takes place in space. On-the-ground tussles are less aggravating, but only a bit. Thankfully, the annoyances associated with the latter are mostly offset by all of the intriguing loot that's made available to you as you explore the game's many alien outposts.

Plus, Planet's Edge does such a great job of fleshing out its expansive world that these missteps are easy enough to overlook--especially if sci-fi settings in RPGs tend to thrill you.

That's been the case for me ever since I first booted up Planet's Edge as a teenager, which is why I decided to declare it one of the 10 titles that most shaped my taste in video games.

Would I have become a fan of loot-heavy, planet-hopping RPGs had I not stumbled across this one decades ago? Probably, but at the moment I can't come up with a similar title that's had such an indelible impact on me.

To this day, I still regularly reminisce about about various aspects of my initial Planet's Edge playthrough. I especially enjoy recalling the excitement I felt when I first touched down on a previously unexplored world, or when I first encountered a rare or unusual resource or material.

I doubt I'll ever play this old PC game again, but that's OK with me. My fond memories of it are sure to be better than a second run-through anyway.

See also: previous '10 Most Influential Game' posts about The 7th Guest, Balloon Kid, Bubble Bobble, Final Fantasy V, Kid Icarus and Panzer Dragoon

Monday, September 04, 2017

Apropos of nothing, I'm going to give the Hobonichi Techo another try

Over two years ago, I excitedly bought my first Hobonichi Techo planner. I also bought a rather snazzy, EarthBound-themed cover for it, which can be seen below. (Additional photos of it fill this old post.)

Embarrassingly, I never used it. Not a single pen or pencil mark made its way onto my Techo's beautifully papered pages.

I can't even tell you why, though I have a feeling the fact that its arrival coincided with me starting a new job had a little something to do with it.

Given that money-down-the-drain experience, what on earth pushed me to order a 2018 Hobonichi Techo? I guess I just want to try again. Plus, I'm feeling inspired by the "Games Played Report" project Bill Sannwald, aka Mister Raroo, has so diligently chipped away at this year. (See the latest "Games Played Report" post here.)

Who knows if I'll actually be able to fill up this second Techo, or even just fill a handful of its pages, but I'll certainly give it my best.

While we wait to see how I do, you may want to head over to to check out this year's selection of Mother-inspired covers and products. Four 2018 Techo covers feature EarthBound imagery, with my personal favorite being the red leather Mr. Saturn one.

I also really like this "Magicant Map" Weeks planner--to the point I very nearly bought one before (wisely, I think) deciding against it.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

I'm really liking the looks of SWERY's The Good Life, too--despite its rather rough first trailer

You may have heard elsewhere that the incomparable Japanese game designer known as both SWERY and Swery65 is working on another title.

The unveiling of that game caused a bit of a stir thanks to the fact that it seems a world away from SWERY's best-known work, the cult favorite Deadly Premonition.

Actually, calling it a "world away" from Deadly Premonition may be a bit hyperbolic, as the two games share a couple of similarities. I'll get to those in a minute. For now, let's chat about SWERY's new joint, The Good Life. According to the description of the game on its Fig campaign page, it's going to be a "debt-repayment life-simulation RPG."

Sounds kind of like Animal Crossing, don't you think? That's the first thing that popped into my mind, at least--especially after I read that The Good Life's protagonist, Naomi, can take on part-time jobs--like bartending at a pub, delivering milk and shearing sheep--to help her accomplish the above-mentioned task.

That's just the tip of the iceberg as far as The Good Life's content is concerned, though. In addition to its Animal Crossing-inspired side jobs, the game will allow players to snap photos for cash, task them with solving a Professor Layton-ish murder mystery and require them to keep tabs on Naomi's stamina (which she can replenish by eating food, drinking beverages and even sleeping).

Another aspect of The Good Life that calls to mind Nintendo's world-conquering life sim is how customizable it's aiming to be. Not only will you be able to alter Naomi's appearance in the finished product, but you'll be able to change the look of her feline form, too.

Oh, wait, I forgot to tell you Naomi turns into a cat at night, as do Rainy Woods' quirky, Deadly Premonition-esque residents? Well, she does, and they do. Apparently this can help Naomi get to know, and develop relationships with, her fellow townspeople.

All of the above has me keenly interested in The Good Life's just-launched fundraising campaign. That's not to say I've chipped in myself. The trailer above is more than a little rough (although I love the game's low-poly aesthetic) and I can't say I'm a fan of its current reward tiers.

Add in the fact that it's currently only being made for PC and PS4--a Switch stretch goal has been promised, but no one seems to know how much money has to be raised before that version gets the green light--and it should be easy to understand why I've yet to back this intriguing title.

Are any of you also keeping an eye on The Good Life's Fig campaign? If so, why is that--and what would prompt you to contribute to it (if you haven't done so already)?