Game review: Dream Daddy

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If you’ve been anywhere on the internet this week, you may have heard about a little game called Dream Daddy. It’s a daddy dating sim, where you—no wait, come back! It’s not creepy, I promise. You’re a single dad and your goal is to date other hot single dads who all coincidentally live in the quiet little cul-de-sac you just moved to with your daughter.

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I’m not a connoisseur of the dating sim genre. I’ve played a couple that seemed to be entirely about showing off artwork of sexy anime boys or girls, with poorly written dialogue and no character development to speak of. I’m not going to claim that there aren’t any good ones out there, since, as I said, I don’t play many of them, but that was my prior experience. But good news: Dream Daddy is not one of those games. It’s really well written, with funny dialogue, developed characters, and an ongoing story-line about your relationship with your daughter that is really sweet. The dads are likeable and your character has a good chemistry with all of them.

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This screenshot might not demonstrate the good chemistry I just mentioned but I loved it too much not to include it.

The premise, as I briefly mentioned before, is this: You are a single dad of an eighteen-year-old high school senior named Amanda. Your spouse (you can choose the gender, and whether or not you adopted Amanda or whether she was born to you and your partner) died a while ago and you’ve decided to leave the house you lived in for the last twenty years and move across town for a fresh start. Amanda is hoping to get into art school, and will be moving out of the house by the end of the summer, leaving you alone. Before she does, she really wants you to make some friends in the neighborhood so you don’t retreat into yourself and stay home alone all the time, as is your wont. You’re shy and a bit socially awkward, but you’re game to make the effort to meet new people.

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The main character is literally me.

The first thing you do in game is create your dad persona. Dadsona? You have a number of options to choose from—not just the usual facial features and hair color and body type, but also whether or not you’re cis or transgender, which I found really cool and inclusive. Once you’ve settled on your appearance and a name, you and your daughter go explore the neighborhood and start to meet the other dads.

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Got a pretty intense stare there, Glasses.

Once you’ve had a chance to meet them all, you peruse DadBook and ask other neighborhood dads out on dates. Actually, they’re not necessarily dates, per se; for the most part, you’re trying to make friends. You might play a father-daughter mini-golf game or help chaperone a school field trip. Each date has its own little minigame. Depending on how well you do on that, and how well the other dad responds to your conversation choices, you get a grade.

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You can date all the dads twice, but you can only go out with your dream dad on the third date, so I recommend saving just before you make that choice. The correct choice, of course, is Mat the hot barista and indie band aficionado, but I’d understand if you want to make an inferior choice just to see how it turns out. Actually I liked Craig the dudebro gym rat and chick magnet too, and of course I had to try seducing Robert, the one who looks like he’s going to shank you in an alley and steal your wallet. He’s actually well worth the effort, as long as you don’t screw up your first meeting with him, like I did.

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You and me both, knife dad.

I love the various tv shows they reference throughout the game. I would 100% watch Long Haul Ice Road Paranormal Ghost Truckers or Tiny House Hunting Amish Triplets: Extreme Edition or even Shark Tank But With Actual Sharks. The sense of humor is great. There are SO. MANY. PUNS. And all the dads are good dads. Even the ones who have difficult or rebellious kids are still decent guys who try hard to be the best dad they can.

The only drawback for me was that I wasn’t a big fan of the voice acting. There’s no real dialogue in the game, except for maybe a line if you finish a date with a high score. Mostly it’s just “Oh!” or “What?” or “Hmmm…” with every single line of dialogue, which repeats so often that it was hard not to visualize the voice actors in the recording studio, making noises into a mic.

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This game was produced (and voiced by) the Game Grumps, a group of Let’s Play Youtubers. It’s well worth the $15 price tag, especially if you try to get all the potential endings. I’ve played it for 7 hours and haven’t finished the game with every romantic option yet. In short, I highly recommend it! Get it here on Steam.

 

 

Review: Ghostbusters (no spoilers)

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In the opening scene of the new Ghostbusters reboot, a tour guide is giving a tour of a haunted house. “At the time that it was built, it was the height of luxury,” he says. “It had such features as a face-bidet and an anti-Irish security fence.” Gesturing into a sitting room, he adds, “Rumor has it that this is where P.T. Barnum first had the idea to enslave elephants.” Continue reading

Anyone remember Fallout Shelter?

Hey, remember Fallout Shelter? That free iPhone game that everyone played the week it came out and then slowly stopped mentioning after that? Yeah, that one.

I still play it now and then, mainly as a way to make myself wake up in the mornings. It’s more effective to open Fallout Shelter than hit the snooze button. I’ve gone through several vaults by now, one of which I played through to absolute capacity.

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All the way down to Earth’s core

Continue reading

Review: Captain America Civil War

I caught a showing of Captain America: Civil War this afternoon with my writing and movie buddy R.K. Bentley. It was a much better Avengers movie than the last Avengers movie, and frankly I’m glad Joss Whedon wasn’t involved in this one because it was all the better for it.

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Keep your friends close and your enemies so close…you’re almost…kissing…

Marvel is getting itself into dangerous territory, though, with this enormous library of intra-referential movies. Civil War is at its best if you’ve seen Captain America, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Avengers, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Ant Man, and probably a couple of the Spider-Man movies. If you haven’t seen half of those movies—at the very least both Captain Americas and the second Avengers movie—then Civil War is a bit of a confusing mess.

Luckily I’d seen all of those except Ant Man, and I was able to figure that bit out from the context. The movie expects you’ve seen them and doesn’t explain more than the minimum. I pity anyone who’s trying to get into the franchise with this movie.

Spoilers ahead! Continue reading

Game Review: Rust

Last week, many players of the survival sandbox game Rust woke up to a sudden, surprising change in their characters—half of them were now female. This was a permanent change, and was linked to players’ accounts so it would stay the same across different servers. Previously, the game had randomly assigned skin color and, oddly, penis size as well. The latter actually is an issue because unlike in most games, you start off completely naked and most players stay that way. Since there are extremely few games that require players to play as anything other than mysteriously endowed white men, some players found this extremely disconcerting. Game dev Garry Newman responded in an op ed in the Guardian.

Inevitably, there are people who like it and people who don’t. Some players have praised what we’re doing. Like us, they think that who you are in the game, your race and gender, makes no difference to the actual gameplay – and are happy to have the diversity. Others aren’t so positive. They feel that playing a gender or race that doesn’t match their own is detrimental to their enjoyment.

These articles were enough to make me want to play it, and since I already got a copy of the game in a Humble Bundle, I decided to give it a go. Mostly, I just wanted to know what size my penis would be. Continue reading

Dawn of Justice: Not As Bad As You’ve Been Led to Believe

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Late in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Jonathan Kent tells Superman about a time when he was a child and the river at the farm was flooding its banks. He says he and his father spent hours filling sandbags to keep the river from flooding their fields and ruining everything. Eventually they succeeded, and returned home as heroes. Except while they celebrated, the diverted river flooded the neighbors’ farm, and the scream of the drowning horses haunted him for years afterward.

That’s the theme of Dawn of Justice—the idea that saving the day has consequences. Continue reading

Game Review: Sunless Sea

Thirty years ago, the city of London was stolen by bats. Now it’s in the Unterzee, that dark ocean below the Earth’s surface, and you’re a zee captain, sailing from port to port.

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Sunless Sea is a Steam game that started as a browser game called Fallen London. You can still play Fallen London for free here. The universe is the same, but the characters you play and the storylines you follow are separate. I recommend you check out Fallen London (why not? It’s free!) and make an account, but this review is dealing entirely with Sunless Sea. Continue reading