Taylor Shechet Interview: Sound Design & Soul Harvest

The following is published as-is from an interview we conducted with Taylor Shechet. Taylor is a sound designer involved with Soul Harvest, a local-multiplayer strategy game which is currently available through Steam Early Access. He is also part of GRYPT, an experimental trio of musicians based in Los Angeles.

How did you get into sound design?

I got into sound design in the way I think most people do, which is through music. The route is a little roundabout but music and games have always been intertwined for me.

I always enjoyed music a lot (There’s family footage of me as a toddler running around singing Disney songs with a ukulele) but before I really consciously got into music my parents signed me up for piano lessons.…   [continue reading]

Two Worlds: The Lament of Dr Cock

Gather ’round readers as I recount a tale for the ages. It is a tale of sacrifice, honour, betrayal, and bullshittery – a great struggle against a tyrannical lord in a long-dead realm. This is the Tale of Two Worlds: The Lament of Dr Cock.

We begin, as with any good story, by setting the scene.

two worlds lament of dr cock general screenshot

By modern standards (and even many contemporaries), Two Worlds‘ multiplayer is a broken mess. The maps and servers still load, but you can’t easily link everyone up to the same server without enduring endless wait times while the game attempts to sync up a player, then syncs again once they fail to connect.…   [continue reading]

Drakengard 1 Review: Insanity, Depression, Taboos, and Awful Gameplay

Drakengard is akin to Marmite – you’ll love it, hate it, or just be confused by its existence.

After playing through and reviewing Nier I decided to go back to Drakengard (the first game Taro Yoko directed, and Nier’s “spiritual” predecessor) to see if the vague memories from a playthrough in my early teens held up.

Suffice to say they do.

Although I would still recommend Drakengard to anyone with an interest in dark fantasy, its flaws are so great that I’d struggle to promote it outside of that niche. As the title of this Drakengard review suggests, it very much is a case of story vs gameplay, and even the story has some elements which don’t quite work.…   [continue reading]

Nier, Spoilers, and Emotion in Video Games

Even after writing last week’s spoiler-free Nier review, and despite promising a spoiler-fueled deep dive into the topic today, this article has been scrapped countless times.

That’s because the twists, turns, and entire emotional rollercoaster are impossible to convey in words. Such an experience isn’t even possible outside of a video game, because the player-game interaction is what allows Nier to reach those heights.

I know that sounds pretentious as all hell, but let me try to explain.

!!WARNING!! From this point on there will be spoilers for Nier – if you have any intention of playing it,
please consider getting each of the game’s endings before reading on

nier emotion kaine

Nier takes full advantage of being a game

Nier is an example of how games can truly engage the player in a way that is simply impossible for a book or movie.…   [continue reading]

Nier Gestalt & Replicant Review: A Perfectly Flawed Masterpiece

This game – this damn game – is the reason I didn’t publish an article on Secret Cave for more than two months.

I’d planned out at least four different articles for Nier Gestalt in my head over that time, but none could do it justice. I had to keep playing until I’d reached 100% completion.

And once I saw everything it had to offer, I was at a total loss for words.

Nier is quite possibly the best gaming experience I’ve ever had. I say “experience” because (as with an increasing number of titles) Nier manages to interact with the player directly, completely separate from the in-game characters.…   [continue reading]

Beyond Good and Evil Review: A Proper PS2 Game

Over the past 15 years, I’ve played countless games. From Snake and Space Impact (even the name evokes a wave of nostalgia) to modern masterpieces like Nier and Nuclear Throne.

However, despite having primarily played games on PC (474 Steam games and counting) for years now, there is one console that will always hold a special place in my heart and cupboard – the PS2.

While that’s partly because of the large chunk of my childhood I spent on the console, it’s also because the PS2 has some of the greatest games ever made in its library.

Jak and Daxter (1 and 3), Ratchet and Clank (take your pick), Soulcalibur 3 (stick it 2), Devil May Cry, and the flawed masterpieces that are Drakengard and Shadow of Memories.…   [continue reading]

Bunker Punks: A Fantastically Limited Rebellion

I like Bunker Punks. I really do.

It’s a fantastic mix of smooth gameplay and simple mechanics slowly building up to one hell of a satisfying twitch shooter.

Unfortunately, Bunker Punks is also a bit of a confused and limited mess – so much, in fact, that I can’t bring myself to recommend it at full price. Definitely worth picking up in a sale, but consider what you’re willing to pay for an hour or two of solid entertainment before fatigue starts to set in.

First, the nitty gritty. Bunker Punks is an Early Access FPS with roguelike and base building mechanics that’s been on Steam since 30th March 2016.…   [continue reading]

How Final Fantasy VIII’s Insanity Made it Better

When was the last time you were surprised by a video game? No, I don’t mean an occasional plot twist or the fact that the game turned out to be way better than you were giving it credit at first. I mean when you weren’t ready for anything that a game was going to throw at you. When you thought you knew gaming, but then it pulls you up from the Earth and into the open space to show that there’s a whole new universe beyond the one you were familiar with.

“I envy you. I wish I could go back and do it for the first time, all over again.”
— The Game (1997)

Arguably, you can experience this once in a lifetime.…   [continue reading]

LEGO Worlds [FIRST IMPRESSIONS]

LEGO Worlds
First Impressions

Concept
7/10

Admittedly, the mere concept of LEGO Worlds is what draws me in.  Melding the sensibilities of Minecraft and LEGO itself, its subtle step forward is very exciting.  Of course, much of its concept relies on established tropes and mechanics.  While it’s not building a brand new concept afresh, the ideas and potential it brings to the table seem to be what I wanted from Minecraft in the first place.  However, I can’t deny that the inclusion of greatly varied brick sizes is the main allure in that package.  It makes for much more detailed, enjoyable and artful landscapes, the creation of which is at your beck and call in a variety of interesting ways.  …   [continue reading]

Why Adult Swim’s Kingsway is Set in a Fake ’90s Operating System

If I’ve learned anything from the fringes of comedy in the past year or so, it’s that old-looking shit is apparently hilarious. Not monochrome or vintage, but trashy VHS tapes, pre-internet computers, glitchy edits, and archaic internet junk.

Adult Swim’s new PC game was announced today, complete with a VHS tape-style announcement video. The game itself is set inside a mock operating system reminiscent of the days where Minesweeper and Solitaire were the main digital pastimes.

Interest in VHS distortion hasn’t been this popular since people were searching it to genuinely remedy their failing home cinema systems, and the trend of retro computers is spiking.…   [continue reading]