• Don't link to the video of the Christchurch shooting, or repost links to the shooter's manifesto.

The Alphabet Challenge

Pieta

Very custom
Validated User
#1
Hello, hello! Welcome one and all to The Great Alphabet Challenge of 2019!

What's going on here?
In one of the other threads, ESkemp ESkemp mentioned a challenge, few of us thought it sounded fun, and here we are.

What's the challenge then?
To play one game for each letter of the alphabet, or as close as you can get if your collection has letter-shaped holes in it.

What are the rules?
Play games that start with letters. That's it. There are no formal rules.

What's the point if there aren't any rules?
The point is to play games and have fun, and hopefully complete a bit more of your gaming collection than you would otherwise. The alphabet is there to give it a little structure, and maybe to shake things up a bit so that you play games that wouldn't otherwise be your first pick.

Can I join in?
Of course!

What should I do then?
Pick a game (or ask us to pick one of your games for you, if you want to). Play it. Tell us about it.
Feel free to give yourself other limits or conditions, if you want to challenge yourself in some way. Or don't.
And of course, don't forget to have fun!
 

ESkemp

Registered User
Validated User
#2
Nifty!

So, to start, this is something I've been dawdling along for a big chunk of last year -- it is technically my Great Alphabet Challenge of 2018+. I didn't put a deadline on myself, which is good, because I am consistently distracted by other games; last year Battletech got me in a big way, for instance. It's something I came up with because I had a particularly inadvisable problem: I would buy Humble Bundles just to get cheap soundtracks for tabletop gaming playlists, which of course came with games I didn't plan to play. So I made a list and got to it. At the time I had no Q or Y games, but I assumed it would be better to just skip the letter and congratulate myself on not having that many games. (Spoiler: I now own Q and Y games.) If I get through the challenge, I'll have sorted 26 games into the "Complete" category I set up, shortening my actual library. Hooray!

Personal Guidelines:
- Try to finish it if you can.
- "Finish it" doesn't have to be exhaustive. If the game isn't anything special, beating a 4x on a small map with stupid AI opponents counts, for instance.
- I kind of wrote a list ahead of time. I'm not sure right now that was the best idea.
- Play other games, too. Doesn't matter if you're spending less time on the Challenge because a great game just came out and you're having fun. Alternate away.

What I've Done So Far:
Asdivine Hearts: An inoffensive cheap JRPG. Short enough to beat in just over 20 hours; nothing special.
Broken Sword 2: Remastered old-school adventure game. A bit tricky because I just didn't like the protagonist, so I did refer to walkthroughs to speed things along in parts.
Children of Zodiarcs: Backed the Kickstarter. Fun, cartoony Final Fantasy Tactics-style game with a dice-and-cards mechanics. Surprisingly bleak, but still enjoyable.
Dear Esther: Notable "walking simulator." Interesting, relaxed, wraps up in a couple of hours.
Evoland: Goes from 8-bit Zelda to PlayStation-era Final Fantasy as you unlock more "game evolutions." Engaging enough.
Fallen Enchantress: An okay 4X game; not as fun as Age of Wonders or Endless Legend, so I played it until I beat the AI at a pretty easy campaign.
Grim Fandango: A legendary game I'd never played back in the day. Super neat, but with some really unintuitive "just go look it up on the Internet" puzzles.
Hard West: Very stylish strategy RPG in a demonic Old West setting that I'd petered out on once before. Went back and finished it; it's good stuff.
Ironcast: A roguelike puzzle-matcher with RPG elements, set in steampunk London. Finishing the campaign is a bit luck-reliant, and can get repetitive, but certainly classy.
Jotun: A really neat adventure game: Norse heroine fights Norse giants in some great environments. I'd never try to speed-run it, but it was fun.

Where I Am Now:
KHOLAT:
A first-person survival-horror game based on a real-world event in which some corpses were mysteriously found in a Russian mountain range. I've liked the highs so far, but the lows are kind of annoying. You can fast-travel between camps that you've unlocked, but you respawn at the latest note you've found, which might be a long trek to a camp. So right now I'm at a note a long ways from the camp I've left and the camp I'm looking for, and inevitably as I try to get to the next camp, the monster spawns and kills me. So then I start moving again, and this is a slow process because it's the kind of horror game where running costs Stamina which you'll need to conserve if you want a chance of outrunning the monster (which is not a given). It was pretty frustrating, though I acknowledge that the next time I pick it up, I might have an easy time and avoid the monster, thus refreshing my interest. Or not.

So this is the first real test of the challenge: do I push on and try finish KHOLAT, or do I file it under my "Not Happening" category and pick up another K-game like KAMI, Kentucky Route Zero (which appears to be still incomplete), Karma: Incarnation 1, or a King's Bounty game? I'm not sure yet, but I think I'm going to push at KHOLAT a bit more and see what happens.
 
Last edited:

sizzle

Registered User
Validated User
#3
So, from the other thread, here are the games I own that considered for the first letter up, A:

Abzu
AER Memories of Old
Alan Wake
Alpha Protocol
Armello
AC: Brotherhood
AC: Black Flag
Aviary Attorney

I haven’t played any of the other games, but I fully endorse Alan Wake and Alpha Protocol. They’re relatively short games, too.
Those were probably numbers 2 and 3 on my list, in some order, as I'm interested in both, but I decided to go with my first instinct in AC: Black Flag. I'm about 6 hours in and I'm enjoying it so far. I got to Havana, and have spent a lot of time exploring the city and doing the side activities, so I'm pretty early on in the story. I haven't really even gotten to the sailing stuff that I know is coming (and I've heard is one of the things people really like about the game), so I'm looking forward to that.

My biggest negative so far is probably the controls; running along the rooftops, climbing the walls of Havana, and what not, is very fun, when it works, and that's probably like 95% of the time. However, when I really need to be precise and take the fastest route, like in chasing the sea shanties, the controls sometimes get in the way and Edward is diving into a bush or running down a ladder or something, because I got too close to them, when I'm just trying to follow the floating song. It can be a little frustrating.
 

ESkemp

Registered User
Validated User
#4
That's about right as Black Flag and really, most Assassin's Creed games go. It's really easy to lock on to the Other Thing. I'm currently playing AC Origins when I'm in the living room and not at the PC, and although it's much improved, the unexpected control issue still happens from time to time.

And yes, the sailing thing is pretty great. Once you have the freedom to tool around the Caribbean at your own speed, it's a wonderful pacing tool to follow up a tense infiltration or dive with a relaxing cruise looking for side activities or something.
 

ChariotDriver

Registered User
Validated User
#5
It turns out that I don't have a single game beginning with 'A' currently installed, so here's a list of the ones I have either on Steam, GOG, Itch.io or physical copies (though the last I can't guarantee will work still).

Age of Empires I, II and III
Age of Mythology
Age of Wonders II and III
Al-Qadim: the Genie's Curse
Alpha Centauri - which brings up a question, could or should Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri be an "S"?
Alpha Protocol
Amber's Magic Shop

Suggestions will be welcomed, even if I know which one I'd prefer to play.
 

Phantom Stranger

Welcome to Casablanca
Validated User
#6
I'm coming in on this. For A, I am cheating a little - after all, 52 weeks in a year means I can make this a year-long thing with two weeks to complete a game, but it's more than a week in - and leading off with quasi-game The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, the preamble to to Life is Strange 2. I may round this off with some runs through 80 Days to get a non-alphabetical game in there, but the way my first week of the year's gone, I may have to go with this mild cheat to stay on track.
 

Pieta

Very custom
Validated User
#7
My "Rules":
- Some games I pick, some games I let the audience pick.
- Game is finished when the story mode/campaign mode is finished. I'm not going for 100% completion, challenge mode, online matches, NG+ or stuff like that, unless I really like the game.
- I'm not going to limit myself to Steam, because my games collection is pretty widespread, so it's probably gonna be a mix of Steam, GOG, Humble Bundle Trove, PS3 and PS Vita games. I might play more than one game at once, because I play in different ways on different platforms - if I play a game on Vita I'm going to play another at the side, for example.
- Sometimes I bounce off of games, hard, that's mostly when I find them stressful. To challenge myself, I'm going to give such games another chance, but I'm not binding myself to finish them.

Progress meter: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

A is for Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan

As it turns out, I'm already playing an A game, so I'm declaring that my first pick. (-: I'm about 5 hours in.
A word from our sponsors: I have this game thanks to the generosity of CrimsonFox CrimsonFox and this board's Steam trading thread.

The story so far: The idyllic lands of king Enzo Kori-Odan and his wife, queen Erine, were invaded on their wedding day, and they were banished by the usurper, Erine's brother. Now they wander the world together, looking to gather both personal strength and allies to take their lands back. But they find the world is a cruel place, full of greed, corruption and violence. Will they find the strength they need? Will they keep their souls pure, or become jaded?

What kind of game is this: It's a combination of RPG and sidescrolling action game, with a touch of a fighting game. You play as both the king and queen - the king is a warrior, always on the field, while the queen is his support, teleporting in to cast healing or offensive magic.
The fighting system is harder to describe than to use - you have two power meters, stamina for dodges/teleports and blocking, action points for using powers - of which there are two kinds, always on fighting skills, and more mythical powers you can only use when you enter one of your "Aurion modes" - basically, battle auras. Everything comes together quite well - you can combine normal attacks, dodges, battle skills and aurion skills for a nice array of combos.
Your control of the queen is limited, you summon her to your location to use one of her spells. But she's not abstract or invulnerable - she has her own statistics and hitpoints and can get hit if you summon her at a bad moment. I don't think she could die, but she's not available when she's healing. And her powers can also be combined with yours in various ways - for example, a big fire wave attack breaks enemy thrown attacks, allowing you to safely advance behind it.

What is it like: I find the game enchanting. It is beautiful, and it is also unusual in many ways. Inspired by art, clothing, music and myths from various African nations, it looks and sounds like no other game I know. It's wild and colourful; and it's colourful even as it shows you poverty, powerlessness, or tragedy.

It's hard to describe the setting; it freely combines elements of fantasy, scifi and superheroes. There's stuff like GPS and holographic displays, ancestor-granted magical powers, biotech like useful items grown and harvested from gourds, and the first non-humanoid enemy you fight looks like a hound crossed with a porcupine. It's a world that obviously works on very different principles. But if I had to describe it in two words, it would be African Exalted.

How does it play: This is obviously a project of a small studio with limited experience, made with love and passion, but unpolished in many ways. It often makes me feel nostalgic - it reminds me of games from my youth, in the nineties, often, but not always, in a good way.

At the start, I almost put it away; the tutorial just throws a lot of words and terms at you, and doesn't even let you review the lessons until you progress a bit further in. But once stuff started clicking together, I found it very enjoyable.

I like that boss fights are not about twitching or button-mashing your way through, but almost puzzles - you need to learn the rhythm of the enemy, their attacks, their reactions to your attacks, and only then will you manage to overcome them.

I like the dynamic of the heroic pair; while outside of combat, you only control the king, but the queen is not just following you around; she takes part in every dialogue, she calls the king on his decisions if she doesn't agree, sometimes it's her who leads the conversation.
 

Pieta

Very custom
Validated User
#8
So this is the first real test of the challenge: do I push on and try finish KHOLAT, or do I file it under my "Not Happening" category and pick up another K-game like KAMI, Kentucky Route Zero (which appears to be still incomplete), Karma: Incarnation 1, or a King's Bounty game? I'm not sure yet, but I think I'm going to push at KHOLAT a bit more and see what happens.
Good luck!

My biggest negative so far is probably the controls; running along the rooftops, climbing the walls of Havana, and what not, is very fun, when it works, and that's probably like 95% of the time. However, when I really need to be precise and take the fastest route, like in chasing the sea shanties, the controls sometimes get in the way and Edward is diving into a bush or running down a ladder or something, because I got too close to them, when I'm just trying to follow the floating song. It can be a little frustrating.
It gets better eventually, as you learn to recognize the various shapes of the terrain and the way the game works with them, but unfortunately, it never goes away.

Suggestions will be welcomed, even if I know which one I'd prefer to play.
Do you mean suggestions as in what's good, or what we would like to hear about?
If it's the second, Amber's Magic Shop sounds interesting.

I'm coming in on this. For A, I am cheating a little - after all, 52 weeks in a year means I can make this a year-long thing with two weeks to complete a game, but it's more than a week in - and leading off with quasi-game The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, the preamble to to Life is Strange 2. I may round this off with some runs through 80 Days to get a non-alphabetical game in there, but the way my first week of the year's gone, I may have to go with this mild cheat to stay on track.
Welcome!

I've never done a challenge like this before, so I have no idea how easy or hard it would be to do all the games in a year. I'm therefore not binding myself to any particular schedule, but I like how organized you go about this. :)
 

NeoVid

Nerd Rage Never Fades
Validated User
#9
Just looked at my collection on Steam, and I'm missing X, I, and Y... I'm mentioning this as a chance to get people recommending their favorites as suggestions.
 

ESkemp

Registered User
Validated User
#10
A is for Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan
Oh, neat! That one's in my library as well, though as yet uninstalled. Couldn't pass up the aesthetic and high concept.

Just looked at my collection on Steam, and I'm missing X, I, and Y... I'm mentioning this as a chance to get people recommending their favorites as suggestions.
I can't speak for X, but for Y you might appreciate You Must Build A Boat, which is a quirky little game where you basically try to do match-three in speedy fashion as your character tries to run through a dungeon without getting killed. Depends on how you feel about speed as an element in puzzle games. I enjoyed it.

For I, there's The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, which is a Diablo-style game about fighting monsters and constructs as a Van Helsing in a steampunk fantasy European country. It's a step below Torchlight or Path of Exile or Grim Dawn as Diablo-ish games go, but it's solid, has a decent sense of humor (especially regarding your snarky aristocrat ghost companion), and can be completed without much fuss. There's also Invisible, Inc., which I haven't played more of an hour of, so I can't speak to its overall difficulty curve. But basically it's an X-COM-style game about stealing things instead of fighting -- getting to the objective, avoiding guards/detection, all that sort of thing.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom