TESO Beta Testing!


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Got this little surprise in my inbox today, and I am giddy as a little school girl… Now I’m not a huge fan of MMORPGs ever since I realized I was spending more time playing WoW than breathing, but there is always something exciting about beta testing a fresh game on a weekend of zero responsibility, I’m not sure what the terms of agreement I agreed upon, but hopefully I can write a little review after the wonderful weekend.

Goodbye productivity! Hello sweet digital crack.

See you all on Monday!

Oh, and don’t worry, I already redeemed the beta key.

Track Review: Polish Girl, Neon Indian


Something that I’ve always thought was great about Neon Indian is their innocence and vulnerability in their music. There’s a certain purity in it that is so often lost in electronic music, a feeling of love that is thrown out in exchange for a sexy attitude or for some harder hitting beats. Neon Indian seems to abhor the idea of making “dance music” and instead writes a love ballad to their synthesizer in Polish Girl.

The track starts with the 6 note arpeggio as the lead and a warped bass line that has become one of Neon Indians signature. The lead feels like eating a piece of candy you used to eat all the time as a kid and have all but forgotten the flavor and memories attached to it, as soon as you pop it in your mouth all of your senses are flooded with summer evenings, green grass and the cool relief of night coming as the energy floods the streets. It flows through the song like an elusive smell and when you catch a sent you take it in greedily for fear it might dissipate like an unexplainable profoundly warming dream.

The lead and bass are soon joined by the sounds of electronic creatures, crickets, frogs, birds, all in a chorus of some scene on a bio-luminescent robotic lake. Seconds after the scene is set, fireworks are set off over the lake as the second lead kicks in like a dozen-dozen pre-historic tropical birds being released all at once. The spectacle continues for a while until the vocals start. The whispery style vocals of Neon Indian is a pervasive theme in a lot of electronic and indie music, often criticized, but it does have its place and serves a purpose to not burden the music with lyrics that might otherwise take away from the experience.

The song continues in a relatively predictable fashion, having set up such a wonderful framework it simply follows a standard route of Intro/ Verse/ Chorus/ Verse/ Chorus/ Bridge/ Chorus with a little synth freak-out after the first chorus being the high point of the song for me and the bridge being the lowest.

While the video for this song has a nice aesthetic, the hyper-future dark sci-fi feel just doesn’t seem to fit the song. I find it frustrating that just because something is electronic it seems to automatically mean that it is inorganic (in literal terms I guess that’s true). This song is a ride through an enchanted forest at twilight, not a dystopian cyborg future. I would love to see a switch from the standard “sound of the future” view of electronic music to a recognition of the inherent mysticism of (literally) creating sound out of thin air.

All in all, great track.


Excitement Brimming for Hyper Light Drifter


The team behind Hyper Light Drifter is in love with their game. From the beautiful soundtrack by Disasterpeace, to the stunning set pieces, everything is a hyper-imagined, neon colored, nostalgic love letter to the 16-bit era. But it’s not just a memory through rose colored glasses, this game seems to have merged the very best of past and present to create (what I hope to be) a beautifully rich and fulfilling experience.

The guys at Heart Machine are a mushy bunch, in the best way possible, lovingly pouring their hearts and souls into a shining tribute to early 90’s gaming. With a cinematic style that feels like a mix between Akira and the Dark Crystal, it creates a stunning atmosphere that is so eery and fantastical it makes me giddy to explore everything these guys have created.

The game play harkens to a much darker and more stylized combination of Secret of Mana, Gunstar Superheroes, and top down ARPGs like Diablo ll, but is really something that is wholly itself and not just a knockoff. From the pastel and neon color pallet, to the high fantasy/ dark sci-fi scenery, to the fast paced combat, this game is brimming with individuality and charisma.

The story for Hyper Light Drifter feels similar to Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke. You play as a member of a group of beings known as Drifters, Drifters are dedicated to collecting forgotten knowledge and technologies from a crumbled civilization. Our protagonist is infected  with some kind of disease or curse forcing him to travel further into the Lands of Buried Time searching for a cure. It’s unclear whether our hero gains their awesome skills from the Drifters or if the disease is giving him the power, but I sure am happy he has them, because I am so excited to cut through hordes of foes in one of the coolest looking neon blood baths I’ve ever seen.

Heart Machine has already shattered a Kickstarter campaign for Hyper Light Drifter raising a total of $640,000, beating their original funding goal by 2400%. The game is slated for release on PS4, Wii U and of course PC, having recently been “Green Lighted” on Steam, and will be coming out mid 2014.

For more on Hyper Light Drifter:

Heart Machine

Kickstarter Campaign

Pre Order Hyper Light Drifter

And as the music fades bring up shot of our hero, sitting by a fire…