Tony Carnevale

Tony Carnevale plays Shadowgate. The new one.

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Hey, I’m playing a modern game! Well, sort of. This is a “reboot,” to use a term typically reserved for Hollywood and I guess also computers, of the beloved 1987 adventure game, Shadowgate, which was ported to every system under the sun. There have already been a few lackluster Shadowgate follow-ups on your grandfather’s video game consoles like TurboGrafx-16 (a side-scrolling beat-em-up!) and Nintendo 64 (something involving polygons!), but this one promises to be the real deal. It was funded on Kickstarter, and designed by the two old dudes who brought us the original Shadowgate, a game I played and loved. Will it kill me promptly? It wouldn’t be Shadowgate if it didn’t. Only one way to find out.

Tony Carnevale starts playing Voyeur

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After the rip-roaring success of my Let’s Play video last week (upwards of three comments!), I’m going to do these more frequently. Now they’re going to be every Thursday, until I get bored. But why would I get bored? Video games are fun, and some of them are sexy! Like this one. It’s Voyeur, from 1993, a time without software content ratings. So they were free to jam-pack it full of sexy sex and turgid boners. Watch this video of me playing the first part of Voyeur and see what I mean.

I’ll be back next Thursday with another video.

Tony Carnevale plays Kingdom: The Far Reaches

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Hi there, my name is Tony Carnevale. For years now, America has been clamoring for me to record video footage of myself playing through Kingdom: The Far Reaches while I say silly things about it. Clamor no more, for here it is!

This version of Kingdom: The Far Reaches was released in 1995, as a repackaged version of a 1984 game called “Thayer’s Quest”, which was originally released in arcades and for a home laserdisc game console called Halcyon that only had two games ever. That even makes the Wii U’s library look vast! Join me on my quest to, uh, save the kingdom, I guess. And also to figure out what the hell is going on.

I’ll be doing one of these videos each month, playing a different game each time. See you in September!

Nethack: it’s pretty easy to say goodbye to yesterday

, | Game diaries

Well, I signed on to do five of these Nethack diaries, and this is the fifth, which is good, because in order to find new things to complain about I’d have to keep playing the game.

I’m kidding, of course. There are a lot of things I like about Nethack. It’s fun to imagine how thrilling it must have been to college students in 1987, clandestinely passed around on floppy disks or played on a library terminal. The immaturity of the Internet and absence of Google would have made knowledge of the game’s countless spoilers a rare commodity, to be drunkenly shouted by one engineering student to another in crowded small-town bars with lenient carding policies. Gorgeous coeds would get into yowling, hair-pulling catfights over who deserved to fellate the most proficient Nethack player.

I could be romanticizing things a bit. My own first exposure to roguelikes was Nethack’s predecessor, Hack, which I acquired on a Fred Fish disk for my Amiga in high school, long before I discovered beer or coeds. I played it endlessly, dying in more ridiculous ways each time, never really getting the tiniest grasp on how anyone would actually go about winning the game. But then I had an excuse: I knew one other guy who played it, he was as clueless as me, and we had no way to learn about the game other than trial and error. In 2011, all the secrets of Nethack are at my fingertips online, but I still don’t know how to win. I’ve played without spoilers for so long not out of some kind of hyper-morality, but just because Nethack spoilers put me to sleep. I’m certain that interest in playing a game and interest in learning a vast range of counter-intuitive facts that are, for all intents and purposes, separate from the game itself, are two different interests. While some people may have both of those interests, I don’t. And thus, I will never win Nethack.

While that was fine for me in high school, in my old age, I’m less patient with this random, mysterious, goofy game that will kill you on a whim. Maybe I’m distracted by all these coeds and beer.

Nethack: prey, then pray

, | Game diaries

I’ve started a new game as an orcish barbarian. One thing I’ve run into early on is an altar. Your character can gain benefits from his god by sacrificing his kills on these things. This altar-sacrifice “feature” is shared among many roguelikes, including Dungeon Crawl, frequently cited as the most “user-friendly/modern/fun/not stupid/actually playable” example of the genre. And I wonder if anyone actually likes doing it? It just feels like homework to me. You’re an adventurer exploring a dungeon and thwacking baddies, I get the allure of that. But to then pick up your victims and lug them to an altar for brownie points just feels like taking out your recycling, and it’s about as much fun.

Nethack: dead again

, | Game diaries

Well, I’m dead, jerks. I’m dead in Nethack, and I’m getting the flu in real life. You may not care about the flu detail but this is called a “game diary.” I can write about my damn lunch if I want to. Dear diary: Today I ate a sandwich.

After the jump, how my character bit the big one Continue reading →

Nethack: wand of facepalm

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I’m playing as a gnomish wizard, because that’s what I feel like in real life: a short, weak creature who has a lot of potential that will never pay off because he will be doing pretty well until he eats a rotten rat corpse and dies with only his pet cat to remember him.

After the jump, check out my sweet items Continue reading →

Nethack: adventures in futility

, | Game diaries

Video games are mainstream now. Everyone and his girlfriend has a Wii. You’d almost think games were socially acceptable. That’s why I only play old games. As long as I stick with ugly graphics and byzantine interfaces, nobody will mistake me for someone who has a job, a relationship, or self-respect. And no game has uglier graphics or a more byzantine interface than Nethack.

After the jump, a brief word of explanation for those who have experienced physical exercise in the last 25 years. Continue reading →