Secret Cephalopods + Other Stuff

14 Feb

The Other Stuff First

I’ve started reading for fun again. Like actually reading full novels instead of graphic novels or magazines! I’m feeling pretty intellectually stimulated about it actually. I’ve been reading Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land, which, like basically everything I read, is science fiction. I would say I have maybe read a little less than half of it so far, but I’m impressed. The basic crux of the story deals with a human raised completely by Martians and then thrust back into the complex politics of Earth. The world created in the story has been impressive in its concepts of future Earth, though sometimes a bit old-fashioned (but that’s fair, the book was written in the 60s). I’ll post more thoughts about it when I actually finish it.

So Lady Gaga released a new single not long ago. Not a huge fan of it. Even ignoring the obvious similarities to Madonna’s Express Yourself , Born This Way comes off to me as extremely cheesy. Not to mention it reeks of political soap-boxing too. It makes me sad to say this, because I was actually looking forward to her new album. It may not be a first day buy for me now. All this coming from the guy who jumped at the chance to purchase Lollapalooza tickets to see Lady Gaga. =(

…And Finally The Pay-Off.

Octodad screenshot

Octodad and his lovely wife

I’m going to review the bizarre indie game Octodad developed by students at DePaul. The game stars the titular Octodad as he struggles to perform mundane household tasks while maintaining his disguise as a normal human father.

The overall tone of Octodad is very silly. The humor is pretty clever and it works because the ridiculous premise of the game is played completely straight. You are tasked with clearing various objectives in each of the rooms of your house. These objectives include activities ranging from the horribly mundane (like putting dishes in the sink) to kind of odd (like scoring a goal against your son to win your dinner suit). These would be easy for an actual human father, but for Octodad they’re difficult because he has no spine. During these tasks, if you do something a normal father wouldn’t do, your family becomes more suspicious of you. Make too many mistakes and it’s dinner time for poor Octodad. However, I doubt you’ll see very many of these game over screens as the game isn’t very challenging or long for that matter. The few that you do see, probably won’t be from a lack of skill on the player’s part.

Octodad Camera Screen

STUPID CAMERA!

Which brings me to the controls of Octodad. The right and left mouse buttons control each of your “feet” individually, allowing you to walk awkwardly around. Pressing space or the middle mouse button puts you in “hand mode,” (accompanied by a bullet time sound effect) allowing you to control Octodad’s right arm(s) to pick things up. These controls are functional and do a pretty good job of simulating what it would feel like to be an octopus pretending to be a human in a suit. The camera, on the other hand, is problematic at best. The “A” and “D” keys give you control over the camera, but it seems to constantly be fighting against you. Also in “hands mode” the camera can be an issue when you’re trying to pick things up. It will frequently get lodged inside of objects and make it nigh impossible to figure out what you’re doing.

Aside from those shortcomings, I had a blast with Octodad. However, it is really short. I probably logged about 40 minutes at most with the game. I can’t complain about that too much though, it was made by college students and honestly I can’t imagine controlling Octodad for more time than that. I doubt I’ll play through it anytime soon, because once you’ve seen all the jokes the game has to offer playing through again won’t change the experience.

Overall, Octodad was a short burst of fun. Sure it has its problems, but those don’t stop it from being something that needs to be experienced. I should’ve mentioned this earlier, but Octodad is completely free. So unless you just don’t have 263 megabytes of free space on your computer, you should download this game immediately! This is the type of game that more people should play, so more people make things like this. Octodad is a prime example of what independent game developers can do; they can use their unbridled imagination to take risks the big companies can’t.

A little P.S.: They have a beta version out for our Mac friends, but I didn’t try it. It might be really buggy or something, but I don’ t know.

Octodad Official Website

Octodad Trailer

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