Greg Noe's reviews and writings

  • Super Meat Boy

    Indie Impression

    Super Meat boy CoverOur second Indie Impression is of Super Meat Boy, the 2010 platformer from Team Meat. Known for its sadistic level design and smooth gameplay, Super Meat Boy has grown into a huge hit that's spread beyond the indie community, selling more than one million copies across all PC platforms and Xbox Live Arcade. We've got four impressions for that range from a few minutes to completing the game 100%, which is pretty much exactly how I envisioned this column working out. Greg was going to provide impressions also, but decided that since he ended up beating the game in about a week, he's going to provide a full review in the coming days.

  • Dungeons of Dredmor

    Indie Impression

    Dungeons of Dredmor Cover_0Welcome to Indie Impression, a brand new type of article for 2012. As the name implies, these articles will be impressions on some of the numerous indie games that have been rapidly appearing recently. We here have built ourselves very large collections through cheap package deals via Steam, Humble Bundle, Indie Royale, and more. Some have amazing production values, some don't. Some are incredibly fun, some aren't. But without question, these indie games generally offer creativity vastly beyond anything you'll find in mainstream gaming and will likely be the main driver behind industry innovation for a long time.

    And as our indie backlogs have grown exponentially, we've decided to start sorting through our games and trying them out to get a good impression of each. To add credibility to our impressions, we will try to have at least two people play each game until they feel they have a solid, concrete opinion for writing. Impressions may be from ten minutes of gaming to ten hours, but in this case, we feel like it's important enough to have multiple strong opinions on each game. With that out of the way, let's continue to our very first candidate, Dungeons of Dredmor.

    Dungeons of Dredmor is a roguelike from Gaslamp Games, released in July, 2011. Each writer has written impressions independently from each other.

  • Heavy Rain

    First Hour Review

    Heavy Rain CoverSince the PlayStation 3’s release over five years ago, I’ve been making a list of exclusives I needed to play when I finally owned the system. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was on there along with the Uncharted series, but at the top was Heavy Rain, the interactive drama from Quantic Dream. After thoroughly enjoying their previous psychological thriller, Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit), I was ready for whatever the studio had to offer.

    Of course, being a system exclusive is annoying when you don’t own that system, so a full two years after its release I’m finally getting my paws on the game full-time (along with pretty much every other PS3 exclusive I was interested in). Was the wait worth it? We’re about to find out in Heavy Rain’s first hour.

    If you’re interested in Quantic Dream’s previous work, I have the first hour of Indigo Prophecy available for your perusal. It was actually one of the first reviews I ever wrote, and the game really kicks off excellently. I’m definitely curious to see if Heavy Rain can replicate that energy.

  • Day Nine Recap


    Bastion CoverWelcome to the completely pointless recap of First Hour's Day Nine! What are these? Well, simply links to the last 24 first hour reviews for your reading pleasure. Why are they pointless? Well, they're not completely pointless, but we've actually got a lot of content in the pipe and having to put this together feels like a pain.

    Anyways, we've finished up another 24 hours of gaming, which actually is quite a bit. A person can do a lot in 24 hours if they put their mind to it, and most of us would probably put our minds toward gaming, at least I would. Not 24 different games, that would be insane and overwhelming, but when spread across a few months, it's definitely doable.

    So the games: we've got console games, PC games, portable games, blockbusters, indie titles, old games, and new games. Minecraft, Magicka, and MotoHeroz. A double dipping of Captain America and Bionic Commando. One of the things I love about writing for this site is just the sheer variety of stuff we cover.

    Here's the list, and see you in Day Ten!

  • Batman: Arkham City

    Full Review

    Batman Arkham City CoverI beat Batman: Arkham City well over a week ago, but due to a weekend vacation, work, and the flu hitting my entire family, I’m only now getting to its review. This has given me time to think heavily about the game, and in some ways find as many flaws as ways to praise it, not sure if this is a healthy game reviewing technique or not.

    As the sequel to Arkham Asylum, one of the most successful and highly regarded licensed games ever, expectations were through the roof. Arkham City was released in October of last year to brisk sales and excellent reviews, skyrocketing creatorRocksteady Studios among the upper echelon of developers.

    Nate covered the game’s first hour when it was released, and later named it his Game of the Year. I just named Arkham Asylum my Game of the (Other) Year as I beat it early 2011. As I’m still ailing from the effects of the flu and its corresponding medicine, I’m going to try and keep this shorter than usual.

  • 2011 Games Roundup - Greg

    Blog Post

    Radiant Historia CoverLast year was a bit of a down year in terms of quantity of games played, but quality was just as high as ever. I did get to play a lot of mobile games, and I finished off the year with getting a PlayStation 3! Here's my lists of games played in 2011, compiled as much for you, as they are for me ten years in the future.

    You can check out last year's list, or read Nate's incredibly long and detailed 2011 compilation. Enjoy!

  • Where's My Water?

    Full Review

    Wheres my Water CoverI played quite a few mobile games in 2011, and I don't expect that to change much in 2012. Where's My Water? was available as a Free App of the Day on the Amazon Android store a few weeks ago, and I picked it without much thought and tucked it in the mobile queue. Free games are great, especially on a pick-up-and-play platform like a phone. It's pretty amazing how the ideas behind a First Hour Review can be boiled down from 60 minutes to 30 seconds.

    Where's My Water? passed my immediate test of being playable and having an interesting concept; a few days later with every rubber ducky collected and all the challenge levels defeated, I'm ready to declare it a triumphant mobile game along the lines of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, here are my thoughts.

  • 2011 Game of the Year Awards

    Game of the Year Awards

    Game of the YearAnnouncing the 2011 Game of the Year Awards from First Hour!

    These aren't your normal awards, we cover everything from older game of the year to worst first hour. We also don't sum up votes on categories or anything either, we simply present each writer's thoughts on their pick, so if you don't like something, you know exactly who to blame! Of course, we do all this just for fun (spare time!) and buy all of our own games (real money!), so most of us don't even touch some of the big releases of the year. Woe to the unpaid game critic!

  • Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale

    Full Review

    Recettear CoverWe have time to slip one more review into 2011, right? Let's talk about Recettear: An Item's Shop Tale, a quirky Japanese RPG released last year. Blending traditional dungeon crawling with running an RPG item shop, Recettear is unlike any game I have ever played, and probably ever play again.

    I played the first hour of Recettear in October, determining that the opening was interesting enough to go on. This was probably a fair decision, as it is a rich game full of dungeons, companions, and items, but it is not without issues. If the review intrigues you, look for it on Steam sale in the next day or so, it was about $5 a few days back and may be available again.

    Recettear is made up of two distinct game types: the classic dungeon crawler with randomized floor layouts, spawning bad guys, and big bosses; and an item shop where you lay out equipment, haggle with customers, and even buy items from them. Let's talk about what each type did right and wrong.

  • Off Topic: SOPA sucks and leaving GoDaddy

    Blog Post

    Busy day at work here, but I took the time this morning to leave GoDaddy as my domain registrar due to their support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and corresponding Senate bill, PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). These pieces of legislature would be incredibly harmful to the state of the internet if they were passed, and would make me concerned about even leaving First Hour up and running. Many other sites can do a lot better job explaining how disastrous this would be to the internet, so I'll let them do the talking.

    What I can do is move where my money goes. A non-insignificant portion of First Hour's "revenue" (which is not much, since I don't even run Google Ads anymore) goes towards buying and renewing the domain names involved with running the site. If I'm able to take my dollars elsewhere in protest of GoDaddy's support for terrible legislation, I will do it. Transferring domain registrars was surprisingly easy and I only had to pay for a one year extension on my domains. I'm thankfully not hosted by GoDaddy, otherwise this would be a much larger and more difficult change.

    GoDaddy has said they do not support SOPA anymore, but they have not said they are against SOPA, which would have been an important step in not only keeping customers, but retaining trust with savvy internet users. They also have not said anything about the PROTECT IP Act, which is almost as insane as SOPA.

    Nothing will change from a reader's perspective, so enjoy your new year, and check out our Game of the Year Awards on Friday.

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