This probably won’t come as super-shocking news to most of you, but it can be extremely tough to get something like The Ghost Generation started. The writing part? That’s what comes easy to me, I have years worth of stored-up shit in my brain, not to mention a nearly constant stream of neuroses, grievances, and insecurities which I’m happy to publicly display for your enjoyment. The music and video game stuff? Easy peasy again, cause it’s just me sharing my passions, being a part of the community, and giving you something to lighten the mood from all the heavy stuff.
It ain’t ALL bunnies and rainbows!
That being said, it’s all the external shit that can be hard as fucking nails. Getting in the door with developers, publishers, labels, creators, and even the people– it can be daunting if you’re not determined as fuck, but luckily that’s me to a fault. Getting people to read your work, getting people to engage with your work, and don’t even get me STARTED on trying to get paid for your work. Building a following, staying relevant, and seizing the right opportunities to get you where you want to go can all be the some of the most challenging things to make happen when you’re doing something like this, so my point is- YOUR support is HUGE.
Every single one of you that reads an article, hits the “Like” button on social media, and becomes a part of The Ghost Generation community is truly to be celebrated in my eyes because without you, we can’t do this. Sure, we can write all day long and throw it up on the internet, but for us to grow this into the dream it takes interaction and support from you and you are VERY much appreciated. Going back to the video game stuff, you might or might not be aware of it but there are like a billion people writing about, reviewing, and streaming RIGHT NOW about video games in some capacity. It’s true, and it can be REAL easy to get into your head about it cause your brain keeps telling you “you’re not special, why should anyone give a fuck about what YOU have to say?” in as many iterations as the human brain can.
Inside my head = the LAST fucking place I need to hang out.
Growing a brand and building a reputation as a blogger is tough enough, but if you factor in also trying to venture into the music and gaming worlds it can seem insurmountable- but it’s NOT. You just have to fucking GET IT. Yes, you read that right, you just have to fucking get it. Nobody is going to give you anything, and if you don’t ask you’ll NEVER know. The old adage of “nothing ventured, nothing gained” is so incredibly true that it surpasses cliche to become one of the most essential turns of phrase a human person can ever hear. Nobody will do an interview for you if you don’t ask. Nobody will send you games to write about if you don’t ask. Nobody will help you do shit if you don’t stand up, get loud, and fucking scream to anyone who will listen “I’M HERE, I’M DOING THIS, AND I FUCKING DESERVE TO BE HERE”.
Kinda like “Norma Rae” but much less important.
That’s what I did when I started The Ghost Generation. I wanted to start something that I could build into MY PATH, and I wanted to do it by creating something that could speak to everyone that feels like they’re not being spoken to anymore. Like a beacon to The Land of Misfit Toys, I wanted to speak openly and honestly about navigating life as a husband, a father, and a human. I also wanted to write about rad shit like music and video games so I started reaching out to people that could help me realize those goals. It’s not easy to get in the door, but if you keep knocking eventually SOMEONE will answer, even if just to tell you to shut the fuck up and stop all that god damn knocking.
One of the examples of someone who answered was Digerati. Specifically, Mike Corrigan and Matt Cundy to put them on the spot for a second. Digerati is an indie game distributor/publisher and they’re exactly the kind of people that are the gatekeepers for writers like myself and everyone else too. If you want to do a write-up or review of a game, these guys are the ones that can make that happen for you. Unless you’re fucking Jeff Bozos (that’s how you spell it right?) or whatever you have bills and shit, which means you can’t buy every single game that you want to write about. You reach out to people like these guys and you (hopefully) get review keys/codes to play the game in advance in exchange for your honest and professional opinion. If you STAY honest and professional you’ll earn yourself a decent reputation, and before you know it you’re a moderately respected member of the gaming community and people will listen to what you have to say.
Matt, Mike, and the team at Digerati were some of the first people to answer my knocking when I got this started and I’m pretty sure they already know how much I appreciate the support. It’s not easy to get, I know that, so to have it is huge. They’re a living, breathing example of “nothing ventured, nothing gained” in action and I hope it helps to show you that YOU could do this shit too. Anyway, enough cuddles for now! Fast forward to right now, today- Digerati has FOUR GAMES dropping on Switch on 12/25/2019, just in time for Christmas. These two dudes were awesome enough to let me check these four games out for The Ghost Generation and I’m happy to report that they’re all fucking fantastic. Let’s disclaimer this shit real quick- nobody at Digerati is paying me for anything, and since all four games drop on the same day I thought it would be rad do do a “Digerati Showcase” article since all of the games turned out to be ones I would recommend very vocally to anyone within earshot. Also, they’ve been super cool to me so I’m gonna be super cool back. Boom, done. Let’s get into this shit and let me spend some MORE of your money for you and again, I can’t stress enough to the folks at Digerati just how much their support of The Ghost Generation means to us.
That was a long intro, but you’re still here so you must know me by now.
The review embargo for all four of these indie gems is officially up, so I’m proud to present The Ghost Generation’s pre-Holiday Digerati Showcase of DOOOOOOOOM!
Let’s get one thing out of the way real quick: Straimium Immortaly (developed by Caiysware and published by Digerati) is a fucking WEIRD game. It is like some kind of psychedelic-drug induced, pixel- crazy, Crayola fever-dream so when I say “weird” I mean it in the absolute BEST possible way. We like weird around here.
The Queeni Empress isn’t a very nice queeni at all and is causing all manner of “not-good” things to go down. YOU, humble explorer, are tasked with eliminating her for good. How the hell are you supposed to do that? Shooting everything in sight of course, as if you had to ask! There IS a head-spinningly zany story going on but like I usually do with games like this, I’m not here for that cause I want to shoot pixels! It’s also a sort-of sequel to the excellent Skelly Selest, just as a frame of reference. Anywho- Straimium Immortaly isn’t a twin-stick shooter per se, more of a “bi-directional” shooter which takes you out of the usual comfort zone and into a new challenge altogether. The game is extremely customizable as far as how you can tailor each run, and you’ll be amazed at how much variety you can inject into “series of rooms with bosses”.
This game is BAT-SHIT crazy and as a pixel art fanatic of the highest order it is positively breathtaking in action. The colors are INSANELY vibrant, the NPC characters you run into are totally bonkers, and everything has this almost Hunter S. Thompson vibe going on. It’s psychedelic, it’s creepy, and it’s an absolute JOY to play. You have all kinds of unlockables (HATS!), multiple game modes, and an infinite amount of replayability which all comes together to give you a roguelike/dungeon crawler experience that actually manages to STAND OUT in the crowded genre. It feels constantly fresh, probably because it DOES break from the mold of the genre, and it’s fantastic to have it on Switch after seeing it around on PC for a while. It’s yet another one of those “perfect fit for Switch” games cause it’s great for a lunch break or blowing your whole day in equal measure. Straimium Immortaly is radness of the highest order, I’ve probably barely scratched the surface of what there is to discover in the game and I can’t wait to keep exploring this absolutely wonderful, super-strange game.
Tamashii is….well, Tamashii is….disturbing? Not sure if that’s even the right word, honestly. Tamashii (developed by Vikintor and published by Digerati) centers around your character who is tasked with cleansing an ancient temple of a corrupting evil entity. Gameplay-wise, you’re going to be clearing areas in the temple using a really rad combination of platforming and SUPEr challenging puzzle-solving. There are also some pretty damn fantastic boss fights too, and they consistently surprise and innovate in all the right (and SUPER creepy) ways.
It’s all told with some aggressively expressive pixel art, MADNESS inducing visual effects, and some terrifying and excellent sound design. It was apparently inspired by super-obscure Japanese games of the late 80’s/early 90’s and if “horror-platformer” is a thing- this one fits that tag like a glove. That’s about all I knew about it going in and that’s all I’m gonna tell YOU too. This is the kind of thing that really works when you don’t know too much. The game surprised me almost constantly, it tested my brain in all the right ways, and it was unsettling in ALL the right ways that you want your horror to be and I FULLY recommend you check this one out.
The hits just keep on comin’! I know I’ve been keeping things on the “short but sweet” side of things and this one will probably take the cake.
Imagine a game like DOOM. Now, imagine that it is just one ever-changing and uber-challening arena that moves at the speed of lightning on amphetamines, and then imagine that besides the underlying goals of not dying and destroying the minions of hell, your main objective is simply to obliterate the leaderboards and keep that high score intact.
That’s it. And you know what? It’s AWESOME. Demon Pit (developed by DoomCube and published by Digerati) is not deep, there is no hidden meaning, there is nearly NOTHING superfluous in sight. This is meat-and-potatoes gaming done excellently, and as of this writing I believe I currently still have the high score! Sure, the whole world isn’t playing yet but still, let me have my pride. Wave after wave of demonic enemies, weapon/ammo pickups, a very terrifyingly small smattering of health pickups, and shifting room mechanics give Demon Pit a TON more longevity than meets the eye here, and it’s the kind of thing, yet again, where you could play for 5 minutes or 5 hours and enjoy every second of it.
It looks precisely as it should, it sounds precisely as it should, and it’s ABSURDLY fun. I’m going to enjoy having the high score now because as soon as the game launches officially I’m sure I’ll get BLAZED by some 8 year-old kid in Finland. Good luck, kid. Demon Pit is a game that has been distilled down to one really killer idea that WORKS and I genuinely hope to see YOU on the leaderboards soon!
Carrying on with the “short but sweet” theme we have going on here, XenoRaptor (developed by Peter Cleary and published by Digerati) is a wave-based twin-stick shooter that doesn’t reinvent the wheel entirely, but feels DAMN good to play regardless. Does shooting down a staggering amount of rocket-propelled chainsaws and doing it as a massive cyber-dragon sound fun to you? Fuck yeah it does, cause it’s awesome! XenoRaptor is FUN FUN FUN and as a fan of the genre it ticks a lot of the right boxes for me.
The story is fairly bare-bones which is totally fine by me. You’re a flying war machine of a cyber-dragon trying to take down the space skeleton armada. Do you even NEED more than that? Where it REALLY innovates is the AI- this is more than just zooming around shooting, the AI is a bit more intelligent than that. If you play right and inject a little strategy into the proceedings you can even get the enemies to SHOOT EACH OTHER. Yep, friendly fire is a thing here and it’s GREAT fun in action. You can even bring obstacles into the fight against your enemies and everything works seamlessly to even out the playing field. You have a cooldown system for your weapons but coolant drops are always fairly liberally distributed along with health too, so things always feel super-fair.
The game isn’t gonna knock your socks of in terms of presentation, this is a game that is VASTLY more concerned with delivering fantastic gameplay and on that front? It delivers on ALL counts and what’s here is SUPER solid. There’s tons of customization (weapons, ship parts, etc.), insane replayability and different game modes (HELLO ENDLESS!), and even local co-op of that’s your jam. Not me, this lone wolf like to blow shit up on his own and I plan to be doing it with XenoRaptor for a LONG time to come. I feel like there’s been a trend with all the games in this article- they’re all closer to the “budget priced” end of things, but they’re all WAY better than that might make clear. They’re all games that keep things fairly simple BUT are also incredibly well-executed in their simplicity which coalesces to deliver killer experiences across the board. XenoRaptor gives me what I want, with a little bit of innovation and a whole lot of fun. Another HEARTY recommendation for those eShop cards you might be finding in your stocking this year.
Denouement, which is a pretentious way of saying “last fucking paragraph”
I want to VERY sincerely thank Matt, Mike, and everyone at Digerati for being rad and supporting The Ghost Generation. It’s people and teams like this that restore your faith in humanity, because it can be hard to find people in this world that will support the “little people”. Here’s the gig though, right here is where the smart money is, cause us “little people” are the “big people of the future” and supporting us now means we’ll always have your back when we grow. It’s not hard to just NOT be a dick, and these guys are an excellent example of that. They’ve taken time to answer emails and questions, they’ve extended opportunities my way, and in return I give them my objective, professional, and profanity-laden results at the end.
When ALL FOUR of these games drop on 12/25 I would strongly suggest you snag every single one of them. It would still cost you less than one AAA game and I promise you will get VASTLY more than your money’s worth. Be sure to connect with Digerati on Twitter and tell them The Ghost Generation sent ya- and thanks again to EVERYONE who is reading this, you are appreciated and kinda like The Goonies, Ghosties never say die either.
Review codes for all four games graciously provided by Digerati.
You can find Digerati here, and here. Demon Pit’s developer can be found here, and here, Straimium Immortaly’s developer is here, and here, Tamashii’s developer can be found here, and finally XenoRaptor’s developer is here! Phew, got a hand cramp on that one!
A brand new blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration