Operation Backlog Completion 2018
Jun 222013

I don’t know about you, but I love Banjo-Kazooie.

Rare’s classic platformer Banjo-Kazooie for the Nintendo 64 is one of the first games I can remember playing. It might be the first game I ever played on my own, and I can still remember how excited I was the first time I got out the cartridge for its first sequel, Banjo-Tooie, and started it up. I loved everything about them–their stories, collecting musical notes and jiggies, exploring the levels, the crazy characters, the music…really, everything. As impossible as I find it to choose a single favorite video game, Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie would definitely be likely candidates for the spot.

So when I heard about a Kickstarter project for a game that claimed to be in the spirit of Banjo-Kazooie, you can bet I raced to see what it was like.

A Hat in Time is a 3D “collect-a-thon” platformer that cites Banjo-Kazooie, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario 64 among its inspirations. It is split into segments, or chapters, each of which has multiple acts. This is compared to choosing different stars in a level in Super Mario 64. Watching the gameplay videos they’ve released gave me an amazingly Banjo-Kazooie vibe (and strangely enough, a Professor Layton vibe, although maybe that’s because of the hat), and I knew this was something I had to support.

The game is going to be released for PC and Mac, and they have hopes of being able to see a Wii U release as well, although there are no concrete details about that yet. If you can’t or don’t want to support it on Kickstarter, it’s also on Steam Greenlight.

After crushing its funding goal, A Hat in Time has already met several of its stretch goals as well:
-Developer commentary
-Co-op mode
-6th bonus chapter
-Full voice acting
-7th bonus chapter
-A tune composed by Grant Kirkhope (who composed the music for Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie, among other games)

Their remaining stretch goals are to have a New Game +, to implement a voice mumble option (like in Banjo-Kazooie), and to create a spaceship hub area. I love hub worlds, so personally I’m hoping that they make it all the way to their final goal! At the time that I’m writing this, there are 6 days left in the campaign, and a little under $40k to go to get a spaceship hub. Make it happen! 😀

Note: one confusing thing you should be aware of–when the reward tiers say “physical copy of the game,” they don’t actually mean a physical disk, just that you get the cute N64-style box with your stuff and digital copies. They can’t change the reward tiers to clarify this, so even though it’s mentioned in the FAQ, I thought I would mention it here as well.

Well, I hope I’ve convinced you to check out A Hat in Time! For those of you who are still uncertain, let me close with a few images.

Kickstarter for A Hat in Time
A Hat in Time collect-a-thon platformer
Kickstarter tiers for A Hat in Time

Update: Check out my thoughts on the fantastic alpha build!
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Jun 172013

Why aren’t there more of them?

In a way, this ties to thoughts I’ve been having about vampires and science fiction. Maybe it was in some way born out of my persistent questions about dhampirs (why are vampire traits being passed on genetically?) or maybe because of playing Breath of Death and having a vampire computer tech in my party. Or maybe I’m just crazy.

Either way, vampires don’t seem to get into science fiction very often. I know why that is, or at least I’d have a good guess. Science fiction is linked to science and that means you’ll have technology, rational explanations for things, and logic. This is the future, a time of enlightenment and reason, with little room for superstition. Science fiction vampires almost always get some sort of rational explanation affixed to them.

I’m not going to accept that. Imagine, just for a moment, that vampires–genuine, blood-drinking, sun-fearing (maybe), sleeping-in-coffins, turning-into-bats, stake-it-through-the-heart vampires–are real. Are you imagining it? Good. Now, this world, with its real vampires haunting it and terrorizing victims at night, does not suffer some sort of vampire-induced apocalypse or launch a crusade against the undead, but instead progresses on as it has, year by year, into the far future with vampires still existing. Now, we have a futuristic setting, the potential for science fiction, and classic vampires that have continued to do their thing through all the centuries (the less fortunate have been locked away in their coffins for a few millennia and are going to be in for a rude shock when they finally break free and emerge into a shiny world of robots and spaceships). Why isn’t this done more often? Why does it feel like vampires are fine for stories set in the past, popular for stories set in the modern era, and taboo for stories set in the future?

And getting back to my topic title, how would vampires fare in space? Even vampires who burn up in the sun seem just fine with starlight, so would a vampire be able to cruise around in a starship unharmed most of the time and just have to get back to the coffin any time the ship got too near a star? For that matter, what would count as the sun being “up” if you’re out in space? Would there be anything that would even count as “day” to a vampire, or would the undead flock to the starships in droves, having found that space flight has the potential to be a billion times more awesome than polar night?

If this sort of story exists, I want to know about it! If this sort of story doesn’t exist, it should……and I’ll start taking notes for its creation immediately!

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Jun 172013

All right, so I wasn’t exactly as prompt with updates as I assumed I would be when I ended my last post. Maybe I’ll be a little better about it from here on out.

Since my last post, I’ve officially graduated from college with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and a minor in Creative Writing. In about a week’s time, I’ll be off to Seton Hill University to enter the Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, which should be an interesting time indeed.

Once we hit July, exciting things will begin to happen! First, Wizards of the West will begin its line of promotional stories, promoting each week’s new sale while also showing the events when the Guardians were last awake…and the rise of a certain dark power. Next, July will finally take you to the small town of Dernier, whose secrets yet lay buried…

I expect to be writing quite a bit over the next few months. I’ll be working on my new novel for Seton Hill, it’ll come time to start working on the Wizards stories for August, and somewhere in there I’ll be trying to find time to write the fanfiction I’ve been promising my readers for a few years now.

Fortunately, I’ve finally finished playing Xenoblade! Once it’s placed safely in its box, it can no longer drain away hours of my time with sidequests and enchanting plots. Of course, it won’t be long before I start a different game, but still–my point still stands! Sort of.

In the meantime, remember The Accidental Zombie? Have you read it yet? No? Bah! Well, you’re in luck. Instead of calling down Lovecraftian horrors upon you, I am giving you a chance to get it for free! It’s very simple. Just tell me what you would do if you accidentally created a zombie

Update: The program is as amazing as I expected, and the contest was a success.

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