Tag Archives: Platformers

Lair of the Clockwork God Early Impressions


I mentioned in my Death and Taxes article (not scheduled to post until next week) about my experiencs with Humble Bundle. Then, I went on to talk about Fanatical, a new bundle service I tinkered with a couple of months ago. In one of those bundles, I received this game for Steam. I really like it, so I wanted to write one last article about Lair of the Clockwork God early impressions before the Germany trip.

I never heard of the game or the studio. That’s not unusual. While I want to be an indie gaming darling, the truth is that I simply don’t have the time to comb web pages searching for the latest and greatest indie gaming treasures. And, so, I generally play them far after they lose their relevance in the community. But, to paraphrase Jack Sparrow, “I have heard of them.”

Quick Note: I barely played through the first part of the tutorial level to get a feel for the game since I’m on a bit of a time crunch here. After playing the game more, I promise to update my thoughts.

The Decent

The Humor: While funny, some of the humor is a bit too on the nose for me. I like that they took both genres and turned them a bit on their head, but the continued tongue in cheek dialogue between the characters got to be a bit too much for me and I’m only a half hour into game play time. I trust that it might, but I definitely hope that as the plot becomes more complex, the humor will follow.

Couldn’t find any of the actual humorous dialogue, but this is the type of homage or dig you get from these guys throughout.

The Good

Challenge: The game offers just the right amount of challenge, in my opinion. I wrote in my Portal 2 article that I enjoy puzzles in my game. They use the innovative (more on that in a minute) game play to build new and challenging puzzles into the game. Granted, I only made it through part of the tutorial. However, the puzzles made me think but never caused me much frustration. I expect that to challenges to change as the game progresses, but I hope the frustration remains at a minimum.

The Great

Innovative Gameplay: For the amount of times that you hear this from a game, you’d think we’d have more than the half a dozen basic gaming genres that we have. Every once in a while, a game delivers on that promise. I already talked about the different puzzles that this game offers due to the style of the game. Granted, they arrived at this style by mashing together two styles that they enjoy. Even so, the result becomes so much more than the sum of its parts. I know I use the analogy often, but think Reese’s peanut butter cups. Two great games that play great together.

The Verdict

Having only played through part of the tutorial level, I can’t make a judgement. Wait, what? Someone with a reasonable and measured response? I know, I know. Supposed to have a hot take on things as soon as we consume them these days. But, my Lair of the Clockwork God early impressions are I enjoy the game very much. I want to play more. Hell, my wife even noticed me playing and asked what the game was. That’s high praise indeed.

Super Mario’s Humble Beginnings


If you told me almost thirty years ago that an Italian plumber who guest starred in another game that I never played would become one of the greatest influences on me as a video game player, I would have never believed you. Mario made little of an impact on my until much later (relatively speaking) in my “career”. As I will show you here (and on the YouTube video I have planned for the end of the week), I played Mario since more or less the beginning. So, at least when it comes to me and my history with video games, I know a bit about Super Mario’s Humble Beginnings.

Atari 2600

Yes, I owned an Atari 2600. After that, my father bought an Atari 7800 because of the better graphics. And, so, started a race to get the latest and greatest video game system that lasted well into my twenties. Then, as life often does, it took me on a nostalgic journey back in time. A few years ago, I purchased a Hyperkin Retron 77 emulator machine for the Atari 2600.

During my time with the machine, I never loaded up Mario Bros or even Donkey Kong. If I’m being totally honest, the main reason I bought it was because Audacity Games released a new cartridge for the system. Two things about that. They never released the second planned game. Also, I found out the Retron wouldn’t play the cart, so I needed to download the ROM to play the game. I also recently remembered my high score that I posted here a few years go for Frostbite.

Yes, I used that as a not so subtle flex.

But, I played Mario Bros on the Atari 2600. I remember vividly our cat at the time (Snowy, ask me more about the name) sitting on the edge of the TV stand and watching as the turtles fell to their demise and wondering why our floor wasn’t littered with 8-bit turtles.


I grew into a teenager at a time when arcades represented a gathering place for other teenagers. At our mall, they put the arcade right across the hall from a McDonald’s and the theater. Eventually, as we got more daring, we found a Waldenbooks to buy our Dungeons and Dragons source books and novels. But, we always returned to the arcade. I’m talking about quarters waiting on the Mortal Kombat (II is still the best and you can’t change my mind) or Street Fighter machine. Later, I experimented with Tekken, Virtual Fighter, and even Primal Rage. While those quarters waited or, sometimes to unwind after a particularly heart breaking loss, I went over to the sit down Vs. Super Mario Bros machine to lick my wounds. Then, quarter after quarter, I died to that first goomba on the first run every single time.

Yep, that’s the one.

Nintendo Entertainment System

At some point, my parents relented and bought us a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas. Most of the games came second hand from the rental service at my mother’s job. I also got exposed to some other hits like Legend of Zelda during a visit to my grandmother’s house where my cousins played the game.

So, it still took some time for the Mario love to take root. I finally saw the potential of the series with the release of Super Mario Brothers 3 on the NES. It both blew me away with the design and graphics and it allowed me to share my love of video games with my younger brothers.

Younger brothers forced to play Luigi, this is your safe space. Tell us about that.

The Verdict

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, it took several years and iterations before Mario (and then Luigi and the others) to cement themselves as influential characters in my life. I hope I gave you some indication of Super Mario’s humble beginnings for me as a gamer and I hope you check out the companion video later this week.