Watch Janine Explore the Depths of Sunless Sea in Her First Paste Video Review

Sunless sea video review main
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Still on the fence about trying out Sunless Sea, the roguelike-like(like?) from the developers of Fallen London? Then I have just the thing. Over on Paste Games we've just started dipping our toes into video reviews, offering brief impressions and cut-together action demonstrating recent video games that have caught our eye. First there was Life is Strange, then my good friend Austin Walker's video for Darkest Dungeon. As for me, my very first video for the site focuses on (as I'm sure you've already guessed) the seafaring (or zeefaring) strategy game Sunless Sea.

It was certainly tricky to do, because Sunless Sea is a pretty low-key game. It moves slowly and steadily... It's actually very relaxing to play, except for all the surprising little horrors that it likes to quietly unleash on you. It's definitely not the easiest subject for a 3 minute long video.

So did I pull it off? I'm not sure, but I'll let you be the judge.

If you want to read my written impressions of the game, I wrote about it back when it launched in Steam's Early Access program last summer. Although a lot about the game has changed since then, my impressions have remained pretty much unchanged. For a written review of the game in its finished state, however, PCGamer and Eurogamer both have excellent write-ups.

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Iconic Second Life Designer Nylon Pinkney Tells All in the Latest Episode of The Drax Files

 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

For those of us who regularly watch Draxtor Despres' Linden Lab-sponsored mixed-reality mini-documentary series, The Drax Files: World Makers, this particular episode has been a long time coming. Draxtor finally got the chance to sit down with Nylon Pinkney, offline wedding photographer and online fashion designer, and neither of them disappoint.

Nylon Pinkney has been one of Second Life's most popular (and esoteric) creators for years now. From the Deimos Boardwalk to Tableau, her distinct painted technique and vibrant style have been a mainstay of Second Life for the better part of a decade. Because of this I was pretty excited to see what she had to say...

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It's Time to Reassess How We Think About Early Access and Crowdfunded Games

Starbound Beta (75)

Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I've been thinking a lot about crowdfunded games, lately. It's been hard not to. Earlier this month Under the Ocean (one of my first forays into the world of buy-in betas) removed itself from sale on Steam Early Access after the loss of its lead programmer. According to the developer progress on the game will continue, but at a much slower pace. Days later, the story of the myriad disappointments surrounding Peter Molyneux's Godus broke. And yet just before these two lows was a pretty satisfying high: Starbound released an utterly phenomenal new patch, complete with the long awaited Novakid race. 

Up until now, I haven't been all that shy about buying into unfinished games. I, like a lot of people probably do, looked at it a lot like buying a game I would eventually be buying anyway. The difference was that I was buying it at a point when that money could still be used to improve the game and ensure its eventual release. Depending on the funding format, I might even get to play it (albeit in an incomplete and unpolished form) immediately. Win-win, right? 

Not necessarily, and that's why I've had to seriously reconsider the way that I think (and talk) about buying unfinished games.

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Blink and You'll Miss Them: 5 Exclusive Collabor88 Deals to Grab While You Still Can

C88 Feb 2015 Yummy
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

February is a deceptively short month, and that means that right now lost of avid Second Life fashion fans are rushing to make sure they have everything they want from their favorite limited-time events. For me, Collabor88 sits at the top of that list. February's lineup was ridiculously strong, featuring a lot of guest designers and collaboration between many of the regulars. While the event was centered around love and romance (because, you know, February) just about everything there manages to hold up to post-Valentine's day scrutiny.

So if you've yet to make the trip over to C88 yourself this month, here are a few items you won't want to miss:

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Upcoming Indie Game Sea of Solitude is Simply Stunning

Sea of Solitude
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There are a few particularly pretty gifs and screenshots making the rounds in the Twitter gaming community following the recent launch of Sea of Solitude's teaser site. Although the game isn't publicly available to play yet, its crumbling ruins and gently lapping canals are clearly already capturing folks' imaginations.

Based on the teasers, Sea of Solitude looks like a blend of exploration, puzzle-solving and platforming. That's a pretty popular mix among indie games, but its simple yet beautiful visuals make it stand out. Its premise (as outlined on their website) does as well.

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Relive Your First L$ Purchase Through These Fascinating Reader Comments

SL MeshJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Last week I asked NWN readers when and why you made your first virtual currency purchase in Second Life, and the answers so far have been a trip down memory lane.

Of course these answers have also been an interesting look into the early virtual lives of some infamous SLers. Arwyn Quandry, for example, got her start on the Teen Grid (back when there was a Teen Grid). Because most residents of the TG did have ready access to their own credit cards or Paypal accounts, the Teen Grid economy was wildly different from the Main Grid's. She writes:

I bought my first bunch of $L about a week before I left the Teen Grid. It was a big thing, because I didn't have my own card. I had to ask my dad to borrow his paypal account so I could get $10 worth of lindens. On the TG, that was big money - a nice pair of shoes that would go for 250 to 300 on the main grid went for maybe 100 at the most on the TG. Before that, I would wear freebies or build my own stuff. There was an educational group that gave away lindens for attending their events, so I would always go there.

When I got my ten bucks worth of $L, I bought a few outfits from my favorite designers who I wouldn't see again (at least until they transferred), gifts for some friends, and even my own plane, because why not. It was the coolest feeling being able to shop. After that, I would buy maybe once every two or three months to get a new outfit. These days, I buy a larger amount because I'm supporting a sim, but still keep my expenses fairly low.

Meanwhile, famed Second Life home and interior designer Barnesworth Anubis' first exchange of cash for L$ was so he could snap up a nice plot of land. No surprises there. The most interesting detail in his story, however, is where that cash came from:

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Virtual Photographer Loony Columbia's Second Life Snapshots are as Angelic as Ever

Enfant Loony Columbia cropped
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Today seemed like a good day to check in on one of my favorite Second Life photographers, Loony Columbia. Although it's been awhile since I've blogged her, her work is easily some of the most adorable out there. Even if you're not into the cutesy avatars she favors you can almost certainly still appreciate her technical style. Loony likes to keep her work blindingly bright and pastel perfect, and even though she prefers those cute-looking avatars she's not shy about veering towards the NSFW side of things either.

"Enfant - Woman in Love" is one of her latest pics, and it stands out because it's a slight departure from her usual images. While most of her SL snapshots are seas of milky color, this one is much bolder by comparison. It stopped me in my tracks, or rather it stopped my cursor in its path.

You can check out the uncropped (and slightly NSFW) version of "Enfant" here, or spend some time perusing the pastel wonderland that is Loony Columbia's Flickr stream. If you'd like some styling advice, then you'll want to swing by her Tumblr as well.

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Iris Wants to Know: When (and Why) Did You First Spend RL Cash on SL Currency?

SL Currency
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Is there anything worse than a tired old meme? Yeah, there is, and it's called being broke. Super broke, right when something you want more than anything else is glittering just under your nose. It's an awful feeling -- powerless and yes, guiltily materialistic -- but in Second Life it's a feeling that seems so temptingly easy to alleviate. For the cost of a mildly fancy cup of RL coffee you can inject your balance with enough funds for at least one shiny new bauble.

But there's a hurdle for most of us, or there was. Remember the very first time you bought Linden Dollars? You'd just started playing a 'free' game and maybe you even you swore you wouldn't spend a single red penny on it... But there you are, standing in front of something that you want and that really, when you think about it, only costs a few red pennies anyway, right?

The ways we talked ourselves into buying our first L$ are different for everyone. That's why I want to know: What was it that finally pushed you to make your first SL currency purchase with RL cash? 

As for me, my story will probably be familiar to a lot of avatar fashion enthusiasts...

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Quick Tips: SL Content Creators, Here's How to Start Livestreaming Your Work

Nylon Pinkney Streamshot
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Earlier this week I posted about Second Life artists and designers who have been streaming their work process live for anyone interested to watch. There are people designing mesh fashion, editing snapshots, and even painting avatar portraits, and the fact that they're streaming means that there's a valuable opportunity to pick up a few new tricks from them.

But what if you have a few tricks of your own that you want to share? It might seem like a complicated and troublesome thing to set up, but these days it's incredibly easy to stream your screen out to dozens (or even hundreds) of viewers. Here's how to get started:

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Lost an Item from Your SL Inventory in the Past Year? Take This Quick Survey from Linden Lab

SL Inventory WindowJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Inventory loss has been the bane of avid Second Life users for years now. Although there have been periods where it was more or a problem than usual, it's never not been there, lurking in the backs of our virtual closets and waiting to devour one, just one shoe from our favorite pair. It's not a simple issue, either. There are a multitude of ways it can happen, and addressing every one of them is something that Linden Lab has undoubtedly been struggling with for as long as Second Life's existed. 

If you've lost an item out of your inventory in the past year there's not much you can do to retrieve it at this point, but you can still help LL by providing a little information about that loss. They've recently put a call out for victims of inventory loss to fill in a simple survey. Expect to answer questions about how many items you've lost in the last 12 months, when the majority of those losses occurred, what viewer you use most and, of course, what happened immediately before the loss -- trying to rez something on a no-rez parcel, for example, is a pretty common way to lose an item.

You can fill in the survey for yourself here, and with any luck the information gleaned will help limit future losses.

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