Layers of Fear
Aspys / Bloober Team
Over the years, horror as a genre has branched off quite a bit. While the genre wasn’t exactly a stranger to symbolism or subtext, time has lent itself to certain horror offerings exercising the cerebral and dramatic. Video games have been doing this for some time now thanks to certain developers working to deepen the artform that video games have started to be recognized as. Games like Silent Hill and Rule of Rose have taken a whole mythos and forums full of discussion to dissect- and it’s all been amazing to watch unfold as a horror fan.
Layers of Fear is an indie effort that attempts to marry the horror genre with drama and surrealism. While a few games have done this, I had heard a lot about Layers of Fear from my friends- and yet had heard very little about it aside from it would be right up my alley and that I needed to try it. Given my extensive Steam library, I thought it would be a while before I got the chance to play it. In a stroke of generosity, a friend of mine gifted me a copy so I could finally check out the experience.
That was about a year or so ago.
Well, now it’s the season and in between replays of Clock Tower and Friday the 13th, I’m making it my goal to get to some of the creepier titles I haven’t had the chance to break into yet. First up on my list ended up being this one since I was in the mood for the kind of game I had at least thought it was. Allow me to detail for all of you the experience I had after a year of anticipation for this game and all it had to offer.
Well, it’s been a while since I put together a month in review, but I felt like I should check in, pop up a summary of the past month or so and let you folks know what’s coming up in October- also known as my favorite month of the year!
Some of you may have noticed a small surge in articles this past month that lasted a few days. I’ve had some pieces sitting on the back burner for a while that I’ve been waiting for the motivation to get through, and while I’ve had some difficulties in my personal life, it felt like a good idea to sink into some writing and distract myself. Seems to have worked since I got some of my pieces done and out to the world!
As far as reviews are concerned, I got three of them wrapped up spanning a good amount of time in the gaming universe. While I enjoyed Capcom’s Resident Evil Gaiden for the Gameboy Color and Goosebumps from Wayforward Games for the PC, I have to specifically mention Konami’s Tiny Toon Adventures adaptation on the NES as a personal favorite that I got to play and write about recently. All of the games are worth a look, though, flaws or not.
On the more editorial side of things, I ventured into a well-trodden territory as well as a newer concept for the blog. On the more familiar side, I pondered over the new Playstation Classic Mini that is coming out and what games it might include. It’s part wishlist and part developer logic, but there are quite a few games that could make me excited to check into the upcoming ‘system’.
I’ve also been chomping at the bit for the new Atelier game coming out from Gust this Winter, Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists. It should be no surprise to anyone that I’m checking daily for new information and already have my copy pre-ordered. At the recent Tokyo Game Show, a new trailer appeared featuring a number of characters and a bright charming theme song. As a huge Atelierphile, I felt the urge to break down the trailer to see who’s involved, how, and who appears to be missing- along with a few other tidbits!
Other Posts and Blogs to Follow
As always, I highly recommend checking out Red Metal over at Extra Life Reviews. Semi-recently, he finished up his Legend of Zelda retrospective on the entire series (including an addendum that wraps up his feelings on each entry and works as a handy pivot point to check out all of the reviews therein!)
Over at Adventure Rules, Robert Ian Shepard wrote about his newfound appreciation for Animal Crossing: New Leaf on his second attempt at playing it. I’ve had a very similar recurrence of Animal Crossing in my life as a stress reliever, so reading his post on this was really interesting! He also has a few cool articles on Fire Emblem you should poke around for if you’re interested. He’s also big on community building, which has been nice to witness!
LightningEllen over at Livid Lightning has also been big on community and has been reposting a bunch of her old posts- which has been a great look at some fun and thoughtful pieces. I don’t have much more to say aside from that her blog is really worth keeping an eye on and catching up with.
There are so many other awesome bloggers to check out so please do yourself a favor, especially if you have Twitter or some other method to check some of these folks out- do it when you get the chance. Even if it’s just one article to see if their writing style works for you, read what you can, comment if you have the time, and go check out some new blogs. My little blurbs here don’t have nearly enough scope or do enough justice to comment on how rich with content the community is.
What’s Coming Up?
Well, October and Halloween are my favorite times of the year so you can expect some focus on horror type games in between more posts about collecting and commentaries.
My piece for the ‘Games That Define Us’ collaboration (put together by the fantastic Matt over at Normal Happenings) and while I’m (of course) going through some anxieties about my piece- it’s mostly because so many of the pieces I got to take a peek at are really good and interesting to read. It should be starting to post after October, but I wanted to get it on your radar now so that you can look forward to it as much as I am!
I also have a few more pieces that have come in for the collections. Once I get the chance, I’ll be putting up some more information and pictures to share in my excitement about those. Also, a special shout-out to my buddy over at Cheap Boss Attack for helping me with some key collection items recently!
I’ve also started working on the next piece of the Atelier overview, though I realize I have a little bit more to write about Fire Emblem, as well. No promises there, but my goal is to have more information on one of the modern trilogies up by November!
Last but not least, I’m currently doing a ‘Tweet a Day’ style post on 31 characters from horror gaming I appreciate and enjoy. Given my love of horror movies and my love of gaming (and my love of horror gaming, who are we kidding?), I wanted to spread the seasonal feeling of Halloween through my social media a bit! If you don’t frequent Twitter, though, no worries- I’ll make a few posts once we get through some of the characters with some blurbs on why I enjoy them and make it a legitimate series of posts here.
With that, I hope you’re all enjoying your first day of October! Let me know what you’re up to this month, what you’re playing, or just generally how things are in the comments or on Twitter!
– Matt (a.k.a The3rdSlayer)
…see what I did there? Did- did you see? Because- because of Hallow-
…never mind. Happy Gaming!
Tiny Toon Adventures
Nintendo Entertainment System
I grew up with the Looney Tunes among other cartoons and television. It might be more apt to say that my parents grew up with the Looney Tunes since most of the shorts I watched with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the crew were created well before my time. There were still cartoons being produced starring those ink and pen anthropomorphic comedians but while they were teaching me the fundamentals of well-timed jokes, they were clearly having a bit of an issue reaching a younger generation.
Cut to 1990 when Warner Brothers, the company that produced Looney Tunes and the Merrie Melodies cartoons, decided that they wanted to “inject new life” into their animation department by creating a show that featured younger versions of the characters the public had come to know and love. Alongside plenty of other shows that turned classic characters into children and babies at the time, Tiny Toon Adventures, a cartoon about the next generation of Warner Brothers’ stars in training, came to life.
As was the way at the time, once the show had proven to be remotely successful, the market was flooded with merchandise. Stuffed dolls, lunchboxes, coloring books and, of course, video games. The first of these to hit the shelves was for the Nintendo Entertainment System a year after the cartoon had its first episodes on the air. Given the mild phenomenon, the game arrived to mostly great reviews across the board. I had some fond memories of playing this game with my babysitter as a kid, but I know some of my other favorite games growing up have let me down as I’ve gone back to them now.
As usual, I had to figure out if Tiny Toon Adventures was one of those games that would fold under the weight of time.
I’ve made no secret of my love for the Atelier series. The next entry, Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists, is slated to hit the Nintendo Switch on North American shores in the Winter. Much like another favorite series of mine, Fire Emblem, they decided to take an approach involving the past of the Atelier series. With Nelke, it’s a bit more heavy-handed than with Awakening as the game has you utilizing a swarm of the series’ protagonists to proceed through the plot.
As a quick plot rundown (and here is the obvious spoiler warning in case you want to play the game and go in completely blind for your enjoyment), you play as Nelke von Lestamm, a government official in training who has shown no talent for alchemy, despite her appreciation of it. She has grown up with a fascination regarding a legendary tree that can grant power and wishes to those who discover it. Of course shortly after she is set to graduate from her academy, she hears that the tree is rumored to be within her father’s lands. As she sets her sights on finding the tree, her father agrees to help her so long as she takes over a nearby town as its governor. With the task of helping the town flourish, she cooperates with the many alchemists who are drawn to her new city to find the mysterious tree and learn the mysteries surrounding it.
At the Tokyo Game Show, a new trailer was shown which appeared to be an opening movie for the game (or at the very least, an entertaining promotional piece). While there was a separate gameplay trailer, I wanted to do a quick breakdown on some of the titles that would be involved and some of the observations I made while looking through a few times.
So you can check it out yourself, here’s the trailer:
This will mostly involve references back to the old games and some conclusions I’ve come to through some quick peripheral research. Hopefully, this is pretty accurate and up to date, but with more information coming along every few days, it will be interesting to see what’s released before the game arrives!
With the recent announcement of the Sony Playstation Classic Mini being produced, speculation has been running wild as to what games might be joining the five that have already been announced: Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Wild Arms, Tekken 3, and Ridge Racer Type 4. Following in the traditions of the other Mini systems that have been released, there has been a promise of 20 titles that should be on the final list of games available.
Of course, everyone has their predictions and their reasons behind them- so why shouldn’t I join in on the fun? I loved my Sony Playstation growing up with Final Fantasy VII being the first game I purchased for it (even before memory cards, which is a story in an of itself)!
After the jump are ten games that are a mix of logical predictions and wishlist games that I would enjoy seeing on the upcoming Mini. By no means are these all of the games I would like to see- that list stretches a bit longer than I have time to write about- but I’ve got plenty of thoughts as to what would make the Playstation Classic Mini an actual classic.