This Day In Gaming History: "Limbo" On PC

This Day In Gaming History: "Limbo" On PC

Six years ago today a (then) recently released indie classic made its way to the PC.

“Limbo” is a strange game. It is a game that, on paper, has many of the trappings of classic video games; a simple color palette, 2D sidescrolling that moves towards the right hand side of the screen, some basic platforming, and puzzle solving. In execution, however, “Limbo” is something far more sinister and moody than any “Mario” title has ever been.

As of writing, on August 2nd 2017, “Limbo’s” release for the PC has turned six years old. Though the game’s original release on X-Box 360 came out in July of 2010, making “Limbo’s” true age to be seven, it wouldn’t be until over a year later that the game would spread from console audiences to computer gamers.

My first experiences with “Limbo” were on the PC version, a Steam purchase out of mild curiosity turned into a true affection for the game and its use of atmosphere. It was a game that didn’t speak to me... literally. There were no speech bubbles or moments of intrusive text, only the menus and some mild instruction on the gameplay and the (admittedly quite simple) control scheme to guide the player. This old school gaming aspect allowed the developers to cut out any extra noise and just focus on the world they were building.

In black and white the silhouettes of children, corpses, and monsters stand even more ominous than some merely gruesome depiction of death might convey. Though there is horror that lurks in the world of “Limbo” the focus is on tension and emotional terror, rather than slasher flick adrenaline. Through extended moments of eerie quiet and the utter loneliness of the whole experience the player is able to emotionally enter the foggy forests and abandoned industrial zones of the game alongside its silent child protagonist.

“Limbo” was a game that became an independent critical darling, which would, in turn, brand it as a bit pretentious to some gamers who likely ended up growing tired of the indie game craze and its plethora of “artsy” titles. Past all the noise of critics and gamers however, taken on its own as a singular experience, “Limbo” was truly something special. A jaunt into an off-kilter world of black and white, thick with fog and the maladies of its surreal denizens. Rife with thick, choking atmosphere and oozing with personality.

“Limbo” was something that showed the potential for minimalism in the modern gaming industry, an oddball platformer that kept the experience concise without sacrificing its pacing or feeling like a cheap cash grab. While the indie scene can oftentimes be seen as bloated by a deluge of product that, to some, may seem preachy or pretentious, “Limbo” is a marker of how one can achieve artistic, abstract emotion, without losing the enjoyment of playing a game.

Cover Image Credit: flickr - mr.hasgaha

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Why Sims 4 Is Better Than Therapy

No mom, I'm not wasting my time. I'm planning my life.

If you've ever felt like you've lost control of your life, you can fix that problem for a low fee of $20, by investing in one of my favorite casual games: The Sims 4. Starting off as a simple simulation game, this platform has evolved into a place where people can create unique storylines and almost lead second lives. Because it allows players to control an entire town of people, regulating everything from emotions to hobbies to professions, most people find satisfaction in knowing that every single one of those pixelated humans' lives are in their hands.

When I started playing the Sims, I created a young adult with my likeness, and used my starter budget to buy a small plot of land where I built my first house from scratch- an accomplishment that sent my Sim into debt, ultimately killing her ability to find a partner, which left her living in the local park and eating hot dogs until she died from an overdose of soda. (See, unhealthy sugars CAN kill you).

My second try was more successful- I created an overweight man (it would take longer for him to die of starvation) who was a bit of a nerd, but still charismatic. Long story short, Benson Olson lived a long and peaceful life, ultimately succumbing to old age. From that moment on, I knew I how to maneuver the game properly- and the rewards were so satisfying.

I was able to decide fates, but the game forced me to stay organized. Fathering too many children or going to work too often was often a cause of stress for my Sims, so I learned how to balance their needs while still having fun. The level of patience it takes to play the Sims is crazy- relationships take time to build and sometimes they don't work out too well.

That's where cheats come in handy. The developers of the SIms 4 actually encourage users to use cheats, giving users the ability Sims millionaires in less than a minute, or to force relationships between NPCs, no matter how compatible they may be.

I've often found that naming Sims after people in my life, then making their lives hell has been another benefit of the game- you can totally mess with them by starting a fire in their house, or tipping over trashcans until you're banished. Some of my friends have even requested to become part of my households- in the form of pets, because they're too scared to be 'humans' in my unpredictable Sim worlds.

Overall, the Sims 4 may seem like a timewaster, but the way this game stretches the creative bubble is both beneficial and therapeutic.




Cover Image Credit: WIndows Central

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Apple Music Versus Spotify

Which music app reigns supreme?

I recently went through an internal struggle; wanting to stay loyal to apple music with the draw of Spotify including Hulu in their package slowly pulling me in. I had to go based off of my friends' recommendations of both music streaming apps, although they tended to be a bit biased. It was time I tested both for myself and finally settled on the best one. Both get the job done, but there are surely pros and cons for each.

Music Variety

When it comes to this category, Spotify reigns supreme. The app features a lot more remixes than Apple Music does, and I feel as though I’m exposed to tons of new music. Of course this category isn’t terribly important, as you could download any song from the internet and upload it to either app.

Storage

Every iPhone comes with iTunes, so why download another app for music when you’re trying to save space? This was one of the issues I had with Spotify in the first place, it required me to download the app on my phone as well as the program on my computer. My mac already comes with iTunes, but I guess this isn’t such a problem for Android and PC users.

Packages

Spotify definitely wins this round, a normal membership now comes with access to a basic Hulu account! If you’re a student, this means only $5 a month for both services! It’s basically a dream come true.

Shuffle

Random, but this is something that I have noticed as a difference between Spotify and Apple Music. Spotify’s shuffle is significantly less shuffled than Apple Music’s. I find that when I press shuffle on Spotify I constantly hear songs by the same artist a bunch of times in a row, while I never encounter this problem with Apple.

Organization

Apple Music is more organized than Spotify is. On Apple Music, I can choose to arrange my playlists, however, I like based on artist, date added, or even song title. I can do this on Spotify too, but only from my computer. On the app, my music is always organized by date added, which is not my first choice. It’s a small problem, but one I definitely took notice of.

Discover Weekly

One of the great things about Spotify is the personalized playlists it makes every week- and they’re pretty good! Apple Music doesn’t really have anything similar to this, which is a shame and a half.

Radio

Both of these apps have their own version of “radio” services, where you can create a radio station based off of a song, artist, or album. Spotify seems to always been spouting out new songs by the hundreds, even if you’re not sure how some of them made it on the radio playlist. Apple Music seems to play the same few songs on repeat, and keep them the same for everyone. So both apps have their downsides here, but Spotify definitely shows more diversity and gives more songs chances to shine.

My honest opinion: you can’t go wrong with either of these apps. Both have high-quality music with almost unlimited options that are easy to use. I personally use Spotify, but it was mostly because of the Hulu promotion (definitely worth it by the way). I’ve tried both, used both for a few months, and this is my consensus. No matter what you use, happy listening!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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