Olly, Olly, Oxenfree!

Okay so I’ll keep this opening part short and sweet before we get into Oxenfree, for years I’ve been writing what would be the equivalent of game reviews and I’ve always struggled with a format that works. Perhaps I should say I haven’t found one that really works for me personally yet, but then again I’m never truly happy when it comes to anything I write but I’m trying something new this time around too; Pros, Cons, and then talking about the game…let’s see if it works.


  • It looks incredibly beautiful in its design and style.
  • Incredible soundtrack.
  • Simple yet well designed gameplay.
  • An interesting and compelling story.
  • Multiple endings (or at least the impression that there are, I’ve only finished it once).


  • Dialog options disappear too fast when you’re given choice.
  • Dialog in spots goes on too long making it confusing when you are supposed to sit and listen and when you can continue with the story.
  • Despite a richly designed landscape the game is very linear in feel (I could be wrong, again, only one playthrough).
  • Poor map designed when compared to the areas you are walking and exploring in.

At its core it’s a visual novel, no question about it to be honest, but it’s interactive which makes it even better for me. Now I do want to point out just how excellent the story, especially the acting is…it’s totally excellent, but more specifically you have Erin Yvette (Tales From the Borderlands), Gavin Hammon (Tomb Raider), and Britanni Johnson (Borderlands) supplying their talents which makes it even better as a whole. I will concede that this isn’t my normal type of game that I would play, or at least play a lot of, though I do enjoy visual novels at times. I have noticed however that as I age I look for more instant gratification in my gaming habits so things that are high intensity, high speed, those are the ones I usually go to first, then strategy and city building, with visual novels or slower paced games coming in dead last. That being said, however, I have zero regrets playing this, it was suggested as a game to stream out of about four and I picked this one out of the four because it had the shortest play time (approximately four hours actually).

Now of all the cons that I mentioned up above there were two that really bothered me, and one of those two may just be because I didn’t play more than just finishing it once. Okay the big one for me is that dialog is constantly going on, the friends are constantly talking as you explore and try to figure out what is going on with all the bizarre supernatural happenings and that part is great because the dialog is amazing, the problem though is that when you are given a choice of response, those options disappear rather fast and sometimes while you are actually reading them so you miss out on making a choice. I’m sure in the grand scheme of things the dialog probably does have an affect on the ending which makes it a little frustrating.

My other gripe is that when looking at the map it doesn’t always feel like it matches up with the local that you’re in. Technically it all matches up in a way, but it can be a little confusing at times. As a result, I always felt like there was a lot to explore but the maps made it feel like the entire game was super linear and you never had an opportunity to really explore a beautiful landscape. Despite those two minor gripes, I honestly cannot imagine not ever playing this game and I can promise that I’ll play it again if for no other reason to experience the changing story and quite honestly if you haven’t played it yet I highly encourage it.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

Writing Prompt #4

Write about your biggest fear

I had to give this one a lot of though, not so much as to what my biggest fear is but how to explain it. I suppose it reality it isn’t that hard, my greatest fear is being forgotten and while that may not seem like much to many, it’s terrifying to me. This often comes up when I think of my grandparents, well the ones that I knew at least, and I realize my own daughter never had the opportunity to meet them and then I realize to her they do not have any meaning and yet they meant the world to me. Now the more I thought about this, the more I realized that eventually, once my cousins and even myself pass (morbid I know) the memory of my grandparents will essentially be gone, there will be no one to remember the great things that they had done and it hit me that I and many others will share that same fate.

We are born, we live out our lives, and then we pass, and only our memory remains but eventually that fades as well except for the outstanding that leave their mark on the world. If you think about it only people you seen in the news, celebrities, even politicians all leave their mark and we remember them for hundreds of years at times while the rest of us fade away into obscurity and that thought alone scares me. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a great actor, I’m an okay artist, and a decent writer in my own opinion, but there isn’t anything about me that will carry on through the generations and while that may seem a bit narcissistic, it’s more a realization that I’ve done nothing in my life that truly impacts anyone other than my immediate family.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve made at least a small impact on a few people in one way or another, I’ve brightened their day, made them feel better about themselves, but in our modern internet age they are people that once I disappear from the community I’ll simply be forgotten, surrendered to the sands of time. Like I said, it may be a bit narcissistic to have that kind of fear but in reality, I have that fear to spur me on to do something more than wake up, go to work, and come home. I want, and need, to give my life meaning otherwise I’ll simply be forgotten and my existence won’t have mattered…at least that’s how I think, depressing I know but it’s a fear I live with constantly and at every turn try to overcome it.

Writing Prompt #3

Fair warning: I may not be a pro writer, but this scared me a little as I wrote it so…totally not responsible for any nightmares 😛

She studied her face in the mirror…

A single, dim, bulb hung swaying on a line in the bathroom where she stood and cast dark shadows upon the floor beneath her. All around her it felt as if time had stopped, the only indication that it hadn’t was the gentle sound of water filling the cast-iron tub behind her. All around the room was bathed in a mixture of dull yellow from the flickering bulb and deep blues from the tiles around her and aside from the sound of water running no other sound could be heard.

After a long while the girl, who could be no more than ten by the size of her, raised a hand to the steamed over mirror in front of her and pausing for a long moment to take in the pale sight of her own flesh. She couldn’t help but bring her hand closer to her face to inspect it, peeking through her soaked hair as it hung in front of her face and a small tear slid down her cheek. She turned and twisted her hand slowly, inspecting it from every angle she could think of but in every way there was no denying that it wasn’t normal, a pale blue and grey and the tips of her fingers shriveled as if from being in water for far too long. Several more tears streaked her face, turning dark, even red as they dripped to the floor and hesitantly she pushed her hand to the mirror once more, ever so slowly wiping away the moisture on the glass and once again through dripping hair she saw her reflection.

At first, she wasn’t sure if it was truly her, the skin of her face matching her hand and streaks of red running down her cheeks from her eyes…oh her eyes, what had happened to them. As she looked into her own eyes, what were once brilliant blue had died off to nothing but onyx dots as red continued to flow and she tilted her head slightly in confusion. This couldn’t be her, it didn’t look like her, in fact whatever was looking back at her was most definitely no longer of the living and it wasn’t until that moment that she realized that the hair that hung in front of her couldn’t be hers, it was black and her hair was a golden blonde.

She continued to stare at the creature in front of her as dots of memories slowly crept back into her mind, her mother and father, picnics out in the lawn, her puppy bouncing around and constantly licking her face as she giggled. Wait, her face, that face, no it couldn’t be it had to be a trick of the light or even a bad dream but it couldn’t be her because what was looking back was definitely not the blue eyed and blond haired girl that she was.

After what felt like forever she took a step closer to the mirror, once again she slowly touched the glass where the creatures cheek was, particularly where the blood was running down from the eyes and just as slowly moved her hand back to her own cheek an wiped. As she pulled her hand back and looked she could see the smear of blood on her fingers before looking back to see a matching smudge on the creature and almost instantly she began to cry, more memories began to flood her mind as she saw the bathroom in her mind though it was different. She could see the room lit up brilliantly and in perfect order and not the crumbling mess she stood in now, she saw the tub as all it’s glory of gold and silver as it filled while around her it began to overflow and splash on the floor around her. She even saw the bubbles as she remembered relaxing in the tub after a day of playing outside with the pup.

As her memories continued to return she even managed a smile despite the new look she had acquired, even closing her eyes to bask in the warm thoughts when suddenly, and without warning, she recoiled quickly as if she’d just been stabbed yet in her thoughts she could see two hands and nothing more pushing her under the water. Her body convulsed as she tried to fight off the attack in her mind, water beginning to pour from her mouth as she thrashed about the mangled room, the blood from her eyes coming in thicker streaks and almost as quickly as it began the thoughts ended and she looked back to the mirror, some of the flesh from her face having rotted away, becoming more disfigured after the struggle. Worst of all, however, as her dark eyes focused once more and her chest heaved to catch the breath that would not come she saw a new shadow behind her, a man, a tall man, but without a feature to his face and dressed in all black. He raised his hands slowly and she saw the black gloves that held her under the water, the reason for her new and twisted design, and she let out a scream that shattered the mirror almost instantly and began to shake the walls and yet the man advanced on her and as she crumbled to the floor she realized what had happened. She had died, or rather been murdered, she knew she was gone the moment she saw her hand and thought that she was simply cursed to exist in the room of her demise for all eternity, but her death wasn’t an end it was the beginning of an eternity of torment, of reliving that moment again and again and she couldn’t help but wonder as she lay on the floor, sobbing as hard as she could, what she could have done to deserve such an existence…

Writing Prompt #2

“Write a letter to your 14-year-old self”

Dear smaller version of me,

Life is great isn’t it? You’re fourteen, not a care in the world, just about to enter high school, and living in the basement in your own little cave. I’m not gonna lie, those were the best days we had, and to be honest we did kind of waste them. Now don’t get me wrong, spending a lot of time playing video games certainly served a purpose or two. We both know that games were a huge influence in sparking our drive for creativity even before the age of 14, but realistically we spent far too much time on them and not enough time growing as a well-rounded person. We didn’t set ourselves up very well for the future, I know this is not exactly what you want to hear but it’s the truth.

Now this is coming from experience, right now you’re thirty-eight years old and married with a daughter (that’s the good part…well the daughter is questionable but trust me you do love her…most of the time). Anyway, back to where I was, you’re married, you live in a small apartment on top of going paycheck to paycheck as well as barely being able to pay for a car that’s falling apart. I know, I’m not exactly painting a brilliant picture of the future you hoped you would have, but don’t worry, it actually does get better so give me a second or two.

So right now, you’re sitting down and writing a letter to yourself (duh right?), but here’s where it starts to get good, not like stellar or anything, that’ll come later, but for now it’s pretty good. You’ve picked up your writing again, as well as your artwork (fyi, don’t listen to your art teachers, they’re the ones that are wrong you just keep plugging away at it and you’ll get there), not to mention your love of reading and you’ve read some amazing books too, just wait for the Arthas novel and trust me it’s awesome. I guess in the grand scheme of things your life isn’t too bad, like I said, you’re married and happy though you do go through bouts of depression and I won’t lie you’ve tried to end it all on at least 3 separate occasions but you’re still here and it does get better.

You may not be a published author yet, or a known artist, or a renowned game designer but even at thirty-eight all of that is still possible you just can’t give up on yourself. When things get down just remember you have a roof over your head, food in your belly, clothes on your back, friends that are there for you, and family that love you and with all of that combined you can achieve anything.

I’ll leave you with the words of Red Green “I’m pulling for you, we’re all in this together” so hang tough younger me, it’s a rocky road but it’s one worth traveling.


Old you (that’s me genius)

Writing Prompt #1

“Write about someone who works an average job — but incorporate elements of magic into it.”

Julie sighed again as she stared at her lifeless screen, this was the third time today it had gone down, and she had passed the point of frustration and started to dip into annoyance at the constant interruptions. More and more it seemed her computer was determined to undermine her work at every turn, and she wasn’t sure what she was going to do, every delay brought her closer to her deadline with barely any work to show for it. She reached down beneath her desk and pressed the power button a few times and receiving no results let out a grunt and pushed her rolling chair away from her desk, standing slowly she turned to stare out of her tenth floor window at the city below.

“Every day it’s the same thing, work, home, sleep, rinse and repeat. There has to be something better to get out of life than this.” Julie couldn’t help but muse to herself as she watched the endless drone of people down on the street.

As she mused about her less than exciting life, Julie slowly raised her left hand out and slightly behind her as her coffee mug slowly began to rise from her desk surrounded in a soft, purple, glow and gently floated into her waiting hand. For three years she had worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between humans and Dahlians, the months she poured into dispelling the fears that humans held against her kind so that the two could live in harmony and now, as her work was nearly complete, the primitive tech that the humans provided was constantly failing. Worse yet she found herself increasingly in need of Ned’s assistance in repairing the temperamental technology.

She took a sip of her coffee and instantly recoiled in disgust, her face contorted in ways she hadn’t thought imaginable as the now cold liquid touched her lips and tongue. “Bah! It’s a wonder that humans can drink this swill at all, let alone cold and under ice, how do they do it?” she muttered under her breath as she raised the index finger of her opposite hand to the base of the mug and with a thought brought the black liquid to a boil. “I guess there’s no avoiding it, I’d better notify Ned that my machine is down again.”

Julie turned back to her spacious office and stared into the center, with a snap of her fingers a blazing, blue, portal opened in the center and in a flash it was gone leaving the confused and quite visibly terrified technician standing awkwardly in the center of her office. For the first time in the day, perhaps even the week, Julie smiled, not out of cruelty but out of a genuine sense of joy. As much as she hated to call on the young man to fix her machine she always loved seeing him because out of every human she had met he was not afraid of her for who she was, although his confused and scared face did make her chuckle as well, but that was simply a happy bonus.

This is the first time I’ve ever tried writing from a prompt (since high school actually) but it’s a way for me to practice. I may not have hit the exact point of the prompt but I think I got pretty close, plus I wasn’t sure how much I should write or when a good place to stop was so I’m leaving it as it is. Thanks for reading.

Gaming Memories: Memory Card Madness

It’s been a while since we dove back into the old memory banks so maybe it’s time to go…back in time, so to speak. I’ve talked  before about Final Fantasy VII which is one of my favorite of the series whether it’s my absolutely favorite or not is up for debate because there are several that I really love, but this time I’m not talking about the game itself but something that happened during that very long adventure.

I’m sure you all remember multi-page memory cards, if you don’t then you’re lucky, and if you’re lucky enough not to have an issue with one then even luckier. Anyway, moving on, I had one of those atrocious things because I didn’t know any better after all I was in high school so what could I possibly know besides everything. The idea of a memory card that had 99 pages of individual memory cards seemed like a brilliant idea and up until Final Fantasy VII it was a perfectly wonderful idea. Then came the fateful day, roughly fifty or so hours into the game (possibly a little less, I’ll even say it was closer to forty or so just to be safe), I came home from school and was greeted with a corrupted save file.

Now it’s fair to say that if I don’t have a form of ADD, either back then or even now, I would be a bit surprised and while there are some things that can manage to focus my attention for long stretches of time (like FFVII for instance), being faced with having to repeat that much of a game with a lot of un-skippable cutscenes in between was devastating at the time and would be soul crushing now. Needless to say that is exactly what happened, I had to painstakingly trek through a large chunk of the game and everything I had completed just to get back to where I was and while I really loved the game both then and though, it was a frustrating experience to go through and when you figure in the replay time, and throw in how long it took me to complete the game at the time (approximately 90 hours) I invested well over one hundred hours into the game.

Needless to say, I learned two very important lessons that day, the first was to save more than once with more than one save file and the second was to almost never trust third party memory cards…and I mean like ever!

Anyone else have a fun experience like this? Losing a crap ton of hours invested in a game due to a corrupt or missing file?

The Knight of Hollow

For the past couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure of finally playing Hollow Knight and up until now if heard nothing but wonderful things about it and after quite a bit of time, I’ve come to the conclusion that the praise it has received is well warranted. Falling into the Metroidvania style of game, Hollow Knight is every bit as challenging that you would think it would be, and at times even harder than that. Essentially the story revolves around exploring a long dead city in habited by bugs and other nasties, no it isn’t as nasty as it sounds, it’s simply the nature of the world. Throughout the adventure you face off against monstrous entities and tainted creatures all while exploring this dead city and uncovering its secrets.

Before I played it, Hollow Knight received an outrageous amount of praise and rightly so. The story itself is fantastic and detailed in several different ways, with random relics and runes to read all of which flesh out the story and paint a dire picture of a once great city that has fallen from grace. Aside from story there is of course the art style itself, hand drawn and simply beautiful, I mean seriously I honestly can’t get over how beautiful this game looks with so many varied locales and each with their own distinct style it never gets boring to look at.


There is one thing that I really need to mention even more than the art style and that’s the music, yes, I love it, but not like I love maybe the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack, or Castlevania Symphony of the Night. No, I love this soundtrack because while it is good, it’s understated, it fits, it’s organic. Every section of this game has its own mood and sound and that is what makes it a perfect fit and it’s why I love it, because not every soundtrack has to be standout and recognizable. Don’t get me wrong it does stand on its own and I could easily see me vegging out to it but in the context of the game itself it blends into the environment and brings it all to life in an intense way.


In the end I do love playing Hollow Knight, then again at times I hate playing it as well. It’s a beautiful and frustrating game that brings back memories of the 16-bit era (and the horrors involved) while breathing new life into modern gaming, at least in my own opinion. It’s addicting and freeing in its explorations, but also rage quit inducing when it comes to many bosses and even just random enemies. Yes, like just about anyone else I would recommend it hands down, for whatever my opinion may be worth, and anyone who enjoys the pleasures a Metroidvania style would find a great deal to love here as well.

~Fallyn Aingeal~