I don’t know, I’ve had very little to say all week given I’m still recovering from flu. Plus, not a lot has really happened worth noting – bit of tinkering with George’s Squizzy Griffin building some rooms, trying to make some inroads into learning XNA and a bit of fiddling with JSW:O – certainly nothing worth reporting in depth, anyway. I did play a lot of Trials 2 though…

Which is why it cheers me up no end to wake up today and find not one but two things that made me hang my head in my hands.

First up, the press release of doom that seems to have spread across the internet thanks to certain press release regurgitating sites making something of it (that’s really a rant for another day though). Caffeinated Games, then.

Bless, they didn’t exactly get off on the right foot with me due to the press release.

Caffeinated Games Social Network allows gamers to connect directly with the creators and create a community around the games.

“When you read postmortems about failed indie game companies you often run across a common thread, either the publisher didn’t understand the concept or didn’t market the game.

We at Caffeinated Games recognize publishers have to guess what games people will buy so it is often hard for them to sign off on new ideas. Also if your game doesn’t fit into a specific genera they may have a hard time marketing the game. Our approach to overcome this is to make the games we want to play and then pitch those games directly to the gamers. Cut out the middle man if you will. The gamers after all are the ones who ultimately make your game a success.”

Oh, do fuck right off. The whole site is just one massive way of taking names, and frankly you can stick that so far up your arse it never comes out. Fuck knows how one man is going to write AAA titles but I’m sure when the game is announced in 4 or 5 hours time there’ll be a collective sigh of “who gives a fuck”.

Why on Earth I should have to sign up to something masquerading as a social networking site just for someone elses market research purposes I have no idea. In the interests of true investigation I signed up under a bollocks name and filled in “fuck you” into every required field and to find what? Nothing, zip, nada. Cheers cunt. And I’m sure he meant “genre” not “genera” but hey ho…

Anyway, todays big news as everyone will likely already be aware is the frankly glorious story about Limbo Of The Lost. A bunch of Kent(s) chancers who’ve ripped media off left, right and centre to make a clusterfuck point and click adventure of epic proportions.

It’ll likely take you a lifetime to spot where every single thing has been stolen from – there’s chunks of Unreal, WETA models (I piss you not), Oblivion, Thief, Wolfenstein, WoW, stolen cut scene clips (possibly Pirates Of The Caribbean and *definitely* Spawn)… the list goes on and on. Not since Harry Price (not the Borley Rectory bloke, although that would be funny) has anything been quite so shamelessly stolen. It puts my “favourite” remaker Musti to shame for nicking things.

You can find a cracking overview of the story to date over at Rockpapershotgun (along with a photochopping competition…) with all the merry links you’d need to stay up to date on this story.

Obviously, a lot of the news reports doing the rounds have focused on the stolen content, but what about the game? Perhaps we could possibly excuse the game if it’s more than the sum of its parts?

Well, no. It’s shite. Really, really shite. It would seem the game started life as an Amiga point and click game with screenshots that look suspiciously like this isn’t the first time these chaps have “borrowed” stuff for their games judging by their slightly erratic look. Any Miggy experts in the house to confirm suspicions?

At some point, the pub pals of Kent shifted over to the Wintermute engine to make the game we see today.

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to Ed Wood territory. Where ambition seriously outstrips talent.

I managed around half an hour playing the game before my brain decided enough was enough, there’d be some damage if I continued any further. Once you’ve sat through your third or fourth unskippable piece of exposition, you’ll be feeling the same too I promise.

From the moment the game opens, you’re in stolen content land. Impressively mangled to form a bizarre plot as it is, it’s still got an air of shitstain about it. The first room contains a goblin walking on the ceiling and enough exposition to shame Helen Raynor or the entire script development room of any Star Trek episode. Within seconds you realise you’re walking around a screengrab of a jail cell. That’s not the best of starts.

There’s no depth or sense to the way your character moves around the screen and the shadows are hilarious. Once out of the cell itself you find yourself wandering through a labyrinthine series of rooms where each one looks completely different to the last. Eventually you stumble upon Vera Duckworth masquerading as a ships cook who makes you endure around three or four minutes of tedious “hilarious” dialogue. Variable volumes had me near pushing my ears up to the speakers to make out what was going on, but in the end I realised there was no point anyway. It was all shite.

I stumbled out of the kitchen into my jailers room whereupon I indulged in a conversation with a Pirates Of The Caribbean poser model kit reject who spent a good three minutes telling me to be quiet. If only he could have been a bit more quiet. Silent preferably.

I gave up. I couldn’t take a moment longer. The wonky controls were driving me spare, examing an object just to get an “ahhh” and going to a badly acted cut scene every time there was an item to collect and the sheer numbing tedium of the exposition was slowly killing me from the inside out.

And this is the thing, stolen content or not – no genre (or genera ;)) deserves this sort of treatment. The game should never have made it to the shelves on the grounds of being colossally arsebiscuits beyond human comprehension. It’s a folly of giant proportions and one that I couldn’t recommend even out of curiosity.

Yet there’s a part of me that cheers the sheer audacity of it all. To steal on such a monumental scale in order to get this tale out there is no short order. No matter where the content has been culled from, there’s a fair old bit of work gone into the game and it’s abundantly clear that this isn’t some sort of crazy joke but a labour of love.

It’s still shit though.