I was hankerin’ for a little digital distraction recently, but I didn’t want a complete time-sink like Minecraft or Starbound to suck away enough hours to be considered “a problem.” My solution arrived in the form of a charming little game called Finding Folks. Here’s a trailer:
It’s a sort of “Where’s Waldo” game where you’re presented with people and items to find in a large animated line-drawing world. Since it’s on a computer, you can interact with the scenery a bit, often giving you one of the many made-by-mouth sound effects as well as sometimes revealing a hidden spot. There are clues for each person/thing you need to locate, ranging from concrete to cryptic. They also had a recent update called “The Factory,” which added several new levels to the game. If this is your idea of fun, then you might give it a whirl. Their site, complete with links to where it can be exchanged for money, is over here.
The other thing I ran across is more of a trail of links that started years ago when a game called Shattered Union showed up on Steam for fifty cents. I did some searching, and what sold me on spending this princely sum news that Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski was writing a movie treatment based on the game for Jerry Bruckheimer. I figured for two quarters, that was worth a look. What I didn’t do was read the fine print on the game’s store page before I purchased it. The zeroes and ones in this game had some kind of fatal flaw when it came to versions of Windows beyond XP, causing the game to crash before it even got started. Every so often, I’d check in with Shattered Union, figuring that if there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s a challenge to make something broken work. That day came in 2013, but I found out about it last week. If you have the game, go to this page, scroll down until you see the “Blurry texture fix” link, and drop the unzipped file into the game’s root directory. Yes, a turn-based strategy game about a second American Civil War was fixed by a patch originally intended for Railroad Tycoon III. What a time to be alive, eh?
As for the game itself, I haven’t had a chance to play it yet, and it’s not that high on my “to do” list. The graphics, while functional, can only be displayed in “non-widescreen monitor,” and the intro is… interesting. Politics aside, the opening cinematic often looks like a bunch of first-generation Sims got a hold of a Call of Duty mod, so it was kind of hard to take seriously on a visual level. Most reviews are negative, though skimming them it seemed to be a mix of dislike regarding the AI along with the game being unable to actually run on many systems.
I suppose the fact that JMS’s movie didn’t ever get made says something, too. Anyway, if you have this in your library, you can take it for a spin (if the patch works for you). If not, enjoy the game’s intro from the point of view that it makes one thankful that graphics have improved so much since it was coded.