Monthly Archives: February 2021

Episodes – Creative and Entertaining Interactive Fiction

Interactive fiction is a blast. Games, visual novels, choose your own adventure books, these are all entertaining ways to spend your leisure time. Lately it has been very popular on android and ios, as you will find various types of mobile games offering stories with choice based options. I suppose calling them various is a bit of a jump as they are all fairly similar. And I have found most of these, at least the ones that I have tried, provide fairly interesting stories. Episodes is one of these. 

Episodes, I should state, is a bit different from other apps of similar quality because not only can you read from their collection of stories but you can also make your own through their website. The code can be a bit tricky to learn, but there are a great number of useful tutorials on how to use it! It is always fun to see what one can come up with using a creative coding system. I played around with it a bit myself; I have not managed to publish anything, and do not believe I will on that platform, simply because it does not suit my personal needs, BUT I did play around with the coding enough to make sure it was in fact accessible to new users. After a few days of studying tutorials, I have to say it’s not that hard to learn, and if you enjoy the way Episodes is set up, it is a great system to use.

Episodes, unlike similar apps, uses an animation heavy display, which does not work for those of us who prefer to write over coding. However, if you do enjoy these aspects, and being more like a director than a writer, it is a great fit.

Now, beyond the creative options, this app does have a fairly good collection of stories, though most are of a romantic nature. A good thing though is that there seems to be a bit more variety than in similar apps, which seem to be drowned in vampire and werewolf stories. If you like them great, but I have read far too many that are way to similar. Sadly, it does lack in my preferred genre’s as well, which tend to be fantasy based.

Now, as most of these apps go, Episodes does have one major issue that bothers me, though I do understand the reasoning for it. Paid choices. Episodes, like many similar apps, allows you to purchase gems to progress through these paid choices, or you also earn diamond for reading certain stories. So if you love to read, you will come up with plenty of gems. Though that does not really help you if you are on a current story and you want to see a premium rout.

Now you may be wondering, Tawny, what is your problem with paid routes in games, after all this is not the first time you have brought this up! Well, dear reader, I am simply a spoiled reader who enjoys having full access to content. However, given Episodes is a free application, I will not complain too much as even without the premium choices the stories are top notch and worth the read.

Overall, whether you are a reader or a writer, you can probably enjoy Episodes.

A chat with PlayingWithRemy!

I bring you, dear readers, another interview with an amazing streamer, PlayingWithRemy! Now I am particularly fond of watching this streamer, as his sense of humor is very similar to my own. He is a very friendly man who cares deeply for his community and you will find, makes sure they are comfortable.

As with most of my interviews, I have transcribed the meeting below. And this time I even added a bit of audio so you can hear some character voices Remy uses! Please enjoy the interview!

Remy: Hello? There we go!

Tawny: Hello!

Remy: I had to play around with it for a second there.

Tawny: Yeah, it was being wonky for a second there. Uh, if you hear weird noises in the background it’s cause my cat is doing somersaults at dust bunnies.

Remy: laughs Got ya

Remy: Okay, there we go.

Tawny: Okai doki!

Tawny: So I just have a few questions, probably ones that you’ve answered like a million times.

Remy: Laughs 

Tawny: First one is how did you get in to streaming?

Remy: In to streaming itself? Um, well, I actually started originally just as a normal content creator on YouTube forever ago. So I just started originally making videos and honestly a few people said that they really would have liked to see streams in the comments, and I originally just tried it out on Twitch and slowly moved my way over.

Tawny: Good good, And YouTube, that wasn’t your thing, you prefer streaming?

Remy: Yeah, very much so. I still upload vods from every single stream that I do to YouTube under two different channels. Ones called PlayingWithRemy Archive which is where all of my streams go and then the other is just normal PlayingWithRemy which has the clip highlights of the week. But streaming is much more my thing than any of those. Laughs

Tawny: I’ll have to check out that archive some time.

Remy: It’s pretty helpful to catch up on series because there’s so many.

Tawny: So one question and I know many other streamers are curious about is, how the hell do you manage to multiple times a day for over a year.

Remy: I mean honestly, it’s kind of my passion. My community is absolutely incredible. And they just keep me going through it so honestly. I’ve always kind of looked at it as a job on top of just being my passion. And that really just amplified it and knowing that there’s days. Especially like holidays and things like that – that would be normally kind of tough. I know that some folks are alone and being able to keep them company and maybe help them get through those holidays and just those normal days that are rough is what drives me. Anyway, that I can help, I guess.

Tawny: That’s sweet.

Remy: Thank you.

Tawny: So, it might be because I am in your stream more than I am other peoples.

Remy: Laughs

Tawny: I have seen get trolled a lot over the last, I think, year and a half I have been watching. How do you deal with that?

Remy: Um, so we actually used to deal with it a little differently. You’ve probably actually kind of seen this change personally. But it used to be that I would kind of troll them back a little bit and then using that – Cause a lot of these folks in particular when their trolling are typically like kiddos or younger folks that honestly don’t have attention and that’s kind of what they are looking for.

So I used to kind of play back, give them that attention but kinda tell them ‘hey that’s not how we do things and if you keep doing it then you’re going to have to go.’ And I actually brought in a good number of some of our original regulars. But nowadays I kinda just don’t. If they get toxic, if they get mean, if they’re being rude to the community and things like that, I give them a warning if they don’t listen, I just ban them. Just to keep that positivity up.

Tawny: OK I get it, that’s good!

Remy: I mean, we also had a community vote to try and settle that.

Tawny: Yeah, I remember that one.

Remy: Yeah just cause that’s what you guys wanted because you are the ones that are always there. And after listening to it for weeks and weeks, it got a little old.

Tawny: It’s humorous to strike back at them for a while but as time goes its just kinda like ‘ok… this is getting old’

Remy: We’ve heard this, a lot.

Tawny: One thing I have wondered, because it was before I started watching you guys, how did this Tremy thing come to be?

Remy: Oh god, how did it happen? Um, man, that’s a long time ago. I think we were playing some game together I honestly don’t even remember what it was. I think it was like Bigfoot or something like that. And somebody kinda went like ‘aw look at Remy and Trev together’ cause we always give each other you know, some sass, cause it’s kinda how we work together. *laugh* Because we like to mess with each other. And someone’s like “Aw, they’re flirting.” And that’s kinda how the whole Tremy thing happened. I remember where it started now. That’s really funny now that I think about it.

Tawny: Still a better love story than Twilight.

Remy: laughs Oh man and it’s got a fanfiction out there somewhere too. I think actually a few of them. Like Oh.. great…

Tawny: Do you have a favorite game or at least a favorite game genre?

Remy: My favorite game of all time is the Witcher 3. Yep. Genre wise, probably RPGs but honestly I can get buried anywhere but RPGs are the ones I tend to play the most.

Tawny: I’ve actually never played The Witcher series.

Remy: It’s really good, at least 2 and 3 are. 1 is very much showing its date at this point. It’s a little bit older.

Tawny: I really should I’ve read the books and seen the series I should play them.

Remy: They’re great, they’re different though keep that in mind. Especially if you have read the books, they are very different from the books.

Tawny: Yeah, I’ve heard that. So, in the few hours you are not streaming, how do you relax and get ready to do it again?

Remy: Honestly, a good portion of the time I’m not streaming I am still working on streaming. So I’m doing YouTube or uploading those vods or something. I was actually doing it up until the minute before this call. laughs So about two or three hours after streams I spend a little bit of time with Morgan I’ll catch up on like Anime or something for Weeb book club or I’ll play around with Jarvis. Throw the ball around with him and give him some pets and stuff, give him some attention cause he needs it. That’s about it.

Tawny: That’s nice, he is a cute dog.

Remy: He’s actually probably getting in trouble now. I just realized he ran out of here when Bret came by. And oh yeah, I spend time with the housemates as well.

Tawny: You live with other streamers, correct?

Remy: Yeah live with Sharkbait6193 who’s a little bit more of a podcaster than a streamer and then I also live with JoshesCorner.

Tawny: Nice.

Remy: And then Morgen, but she doesn’t stream very often.

Tawny: What is it about The Witcher 3 that makes it your favorite game?

Remy: Its just an excellent RPG. Over all. It’s got really interesting storylines including the side quests. The actual main story itself is something that really is something that really resonates very well. It’s like one of those tales that you feel like you should have or need to hear. And the game play while the original was pretty solid, there’s mods that even enhance it a little bit further, but the gameplay itself is just a lot of fun. Just being able to swing around a sword! Hunt monsters and then, you know, use magic. It was just good.

Tawny: Hm.

Remy: And it’s super, super, super, super, immersive. Both in visual fidelity still holding up significantly, for being like six or seven years old now, and also the audio is just great the soundtrack is incredible.

Tawny: Lets see. You are a fan of anime, which I can appreciate. Do you have a favorite anime?

Remy: That’s a tough question I’d say one of my favorites honestly is still probably Death Note.

Tawny: That is a really good one.

Remy: Yeah, it’s what got me in to it, really. Because before that I would occasionally watch anime, but I was never super, super interested until I ran in to Death Note. Death Note’s kind of the one that pulled me in to it. Besides that there’s a lot of animes I really enjoy. Death Notes kind of the one that sucked me in and made me really interested. Besides that, the one I’d watched the longest was probably Naruto/Boruto which I’m still occasionally still kind keeping up to date.

Tawny: I read the Naruto manga I haven’t seen the anime yet.

Remy: Nice. It’s fun watching a lot of it translate on to like a screen. Like I didn’t watch the final arc of Shippuden, I just read it. And then I’ve read all of Boruto up to current. With the exception of filler.

Tawny: Um. If you could collaborate with any streamer or content creator in general, who would it be?

Remy: Oh, this is always a great one, I’d probably say Jesse Cox. He was a YouTuber, and I guess now he’s a Twitch Streamer. He’s worked since I was a kid. I actually messaged him probably around 10 – 11 years ago asking on how to start video content and what he suggested. Back in the FRAPS era.

Tawny: Oh wow!

Remy: But I have a very similar sense of humor to him to even now. So I would say working with him would be a lot of fun.

Tawny: You’ve done charity streams, what made you want to do that.

Remy: For me in particular, the biggest charity stream we ever did, and I’ve done some stuff to help other people but I’ve really done one myself, was for the American Mental Health Foundation. Where we raised a little over 2,668 dollars. But really, the big reason I was so interested in it is it was just an incredibly good cause and I feel in particular with charity. Having something that resonates both with your community and with yourself. In that case that would be mental illness with the foundation researching new ways to help and treat issues with mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and things that are obviously worse. But it was just really important because that was something that everyone resonates with. And obviously needs funding.

Tawny: Yeah! So you bounce between platforms a little bit. Do you have a preference?

Remy: Caffeine is an incredible service, I honestly can not hype it enough. Especially when you compare it to Twitch. Twitch has some nifty features but honestly I feel like Caffeine, if they’re not already working on a lot of that stuff, but the chat in particular is something so – I guess something so unbelievably special. Just cause the instant interaction allows me to *In real time* rather than with any sort of delay talk with you guys. And because of how it’s also smaller still and those things, I am very, very easy to be accessible to whoever is watching my stream. So honestly, I get better one on one with my community. Get to know everyone in it a little bit more intimately than on Twitch. As well as interact at the same time with them. So when you guys are typing stuff I’m feeling the same things you guys are and it makes it just – I feel like a better experience over all.

Tawny: It is a harder to be sarcastic in your chat on Twitch because of that delay.

Remy: Its true! Allows me to be a lot sassier, which is great. Especially for some of our role play bits and stuff.

Tawny: Yeah, how do you come up with these little characters that you often get in to?

Remy: Honestly, it’s something I do off stream a little bit. I am very used to playing things like D&D and things like that. Especially since I was a DM, I was a forever DM for a very long time. So a lot of these characters are actually pulled from other sources like D&D. That I’ve used or inspired by other stuff, just cause they seem kind of fun. Or like in example of Skippy, which is like a space fairing gecko guy kinda just on the spot. Cause he was on the spot, he was made up right there. And I was like, this guy would have a ridiculous voice. What would it sound like?

Tawny: Could you give us Skippy example?

Remy: It’s Skippy hello!

Tawny: Thank you, I love that one. Its so funny! laughs

Remy: Of course! He’s a fun one, he’s a really fun one.

Tawny: Do you have any particular hobbies or passions outside of your streaming career?

Remy: D&D is a pretty big one when I get to be able to be a DM, I love making big/intricate worlds that they just rip through and destroy. Besides that, a lot of it’s been tied back to, I guess, the career itself, in a way. I’ve tried to like meld it together just in the way of time and convenience.

But one thing I haven’t ever really done on stream is paint minis. And I do have a 3D printer and I love playing around with that sometimes. Printing out little minis and getting through, getting some paint out and then going through and painting them. That’s a lot of fun. Especially since they are made by me, so they are kinda unique.

Tawny: That’s neat painting minis can be fun. My husband is in to Warhammer we have mini’s all over the place.

Remy: Oh, I’m sure. Laugh

Tawny: How do you decide what kind of game you want to play on your streams?

Remy: A good portion of them are based off when they are released, and then community polls. When games are coming out, I try to hit some of the biggest releases as just a bare minimum so a lot of people can use it a methodology to kind of figure out if they want to buy the game. Something I did all the way back to my YouTube days I used to do. And a lot of people really, really enjoyed it. That’s why it sort of stuck around. And there’s still a few people from those YouTube days that are still around, which is pretty cool.

Tawny: Have you ever streamed a game that you just hate so much you couldn’t finish?

Remy: Yeah. laughs And if I really dislike a game often times, I will kinda drop it. Because you guys know if I’m not having fun.

Tawny: Yeah.

Remy: Hunting for bears.

Tawny: Well, you do seem to be having fun being an idol. So that seems to be making up for the bear hunting.

Remy: You know I think it might be my new passion after streaming. I think we’re getting there. Just got to learn some of those dance moves. *laughs*

Tawny: Oh god.

Remy: laughs

Tawny: I laughed a little too hard at that. My cat stared at me.

Remy: laughs

Tawny: Do you have a favorite movie, genre?

Remy: Oh movie genre, that’s a good one. I’d say comedy! I love comedy movies. I think one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies of all time is probably Scott Pilgrim.

Tawny: That is a good movie.

Remy: It’s just so much fun. I like movies that just make me smile. I like anything that does but movies in particular. Especially when they’re pretty funny. That’s the best!

Tawny: Alright since you’re an anime fan, I have to ask, are you a fan of Miyazaki movies?

Remy: Mostly not from what I’ve seen. I haven’t seen a ton of Miyazaki movies until recently. I haven’t been over the moon about any of them. I saw Spirited Away a long time ago, and I really did enjoy that one. But the rest of them I thought were mostly just ok, with that being Howls Moving Castle and I can’t remember the other one, Oh Princess Mononoke. I thought they were pretty good, but not over the moon.

Tawny: I agree with you there. I enjoyed Spirited Away, but the other ones just…

Remy: They didn’t really capture me the same way.

Tawny: They kinda have the same – Yeah.

Remy: Its like an over arching vibe kinda thing, it’s so weird.

Tawny: Do you ever read manga?

Remy: Yep! laughs

Beastly Desires

Alright, so it is well known that I love visual novels and romance stories. And honestly I really wanted to join Genius Inc’s Beastly Desires but I just could not. Allow me to explain.

Beastly Desires is your average otome game, I played it on the Android. And I have to say many of the otome games found on Google Play have amazing stories you can get excited to progress though. This game, however, was not one of them. Now I played my way through this visual novel as I assume most would, without paying for rubies to get through parts of the story.

Sure you can watch a video and play a game once a day to get points to trade for the rubies, but unless you are wiling $2.49 FOR 20 rubies (that’s the cheapest option), you are limited in what you can do. The way the story plays out, it feels as though you are missing enormous gaps in character development behind micro transactions. And I get it. Genius Inc needs to make money. A lot of games made for phones work this way, they give you a free game and cash in on payments you make to get more stuff. Sadly, this game seems to suffer for it.

Now the story in and of itself is not terrible, it’s not the best thing I have read, but it’s not the worst. The characters seem nice enough, though if you can not afford rubies you will not get to know them enough to make them feel like more than background props.

All in all, I’d say it’s an ok game. But unless you will dish out for the micro transactions, you won’t get much out of the story. Despite my dislike of this game, I will probably try more of Genius Inc’s games in the future as a comparison at the very least. Perhaps they did better with other releases.

OctoMaze

OctoMaze is a puzzle arcade game created by Octagon Game Studio for Android. Now, admittedly, this is not usually the type of game I play. My android games of choice are, well, games that involve less thinking. Why? Because I am usually playing them after midnight when I should be sleeping, or while in a waiting room for an appointment. 

That being said, I had a great time playing through the OctoMaze demo. In this game you play as an octopus, a fairly scary looking one if you ask me! This Octopus reaches its tentacles out through holes to collect coins and achieve other goals while avoiding traps! Now this probably sounds weird considering it’s a maze, but given your leading a tentacle around the screen it should be no surprise that when you lift your finger, it flies back in to the hole it came from allowing you to dodge those nasty traps.

All in all, this is a great game if you are in to mazes! It is on the Google play store for $3.99 US at the time of this writing.