Thursday, June 30, 2022

Excuse Me? I think Your Hat Might Be On Fire.

I had a vague memory of having read something about July being some kind of anniversary or special occasion for Amazon Games. There was going to be an extra large giveaway. Was it forty free games? Something like that. Even though it wasn't quite July yet I thought I might take a look anyway, see if anything was happening. 

Oh boy, was it ever! So many new games. So much new free stuff. Where to start?

The only way out is through as they say ("They" being children brought up on Michael Rosen's "We're Going on a Bear Hunt", presumably.) I started at the beginning and worked my way through to the end, looking at the thumbnails, trying to guess from the picture and the title whether it was worth reading the brief description, then clicking through to the websites of the more interesting ones.

I'm increasingly impressed with the way these monthly giveaways are presented. Compared to Steam, which sometimes make me wonder if it was designed by a bunch of teenagers on community service or the Epic Games storefront, which has all the authenticity and character of the Shopping Channel, the Amazon Games front end feels well organized, clear and helpful. I wonder if it's because they're not trying to sell me anything, just give it away?

Whatever the reason, I always look forward to browsing through the offers at the start of the month, whereas I have to force myself to dig through the jumble at Steam and can barely bring myself to log in to Epic at all. Even so, the sheer volume of offers this time around made getting through them all quite a challenge.

As far as I can tell, the splurge is a promotion for Prime Day, which is why it ends when that event does, on the 14th of July. Whether that means a second set of offers will land mid-month I'm not sure. I kind of hope it doesn't. I'm not sure I could cope with another drop so soon.

Or maybe I could. There weren't all that many titles in this batch that piqued my interest. For once the virtual shelves seemed empty of point&click adventures. There wasn't a Monkey Island game to be found. 

I considered several games that looked like they'd have very intriguing narratives but which told their stories by way of mechanics I don't enjoy. That happens in the analog world, too but at least, when you go to the ballet, no one expects you to dance.

I claimed seven of the offers, two of them packs of three. Those came from another platform by the name of Legacy Games. They specialize in casual games of the Match 3 and Hidden Object variety and they've apparently been in that unfashionable but highly popular business for almost a quarter of a century. 

I had to register an account with them to claim the games, whereupon they handed me yet another free game for signing up. It reminds me of the old 1950s pusher trope, where the first hit comes free. Only I never pay. Or wake up in flop house on the Bowery with a kidney missing. Oh wait... different cliche.

The titles I got from Legacy Games were these:

I can't honestly say I know what type of games any of them although the word "Adventure" did crop up somewhere.The one with the picture of a cow was the bonus title. If any of them turn out to be any good I'll probably do a post about it some day. Otherwise, I imagine this is the last you'll ever hear of them.

Of the others, the pick of the bunch was a second installment of the Darkside Detective series so beloved of Syp. I wasn't that struck on the first one myself but it was a decent enough occult comedy adventure. I'm quite happy to go again.

Crow's Eye, HUE and Rain World all look interesting but I suspect the gameplay will defeat me. Sheep and Clouds 2 might be fun for a session or two. Since I've barely even looked at any of the games I claimed last month, it's a bit of a moot point anyway.

Although not, perhaps, as moot as the in-game items I claimed from the Twitch portion of this month's offer. Once more, I found myself taking the trouble to make sure I didn't miss out on cosmetics for games I no longer play and may well never play again. What is wrong with me?

New to the offer this month, or at least I don't recall seeing it there before, is World of Warcraft. Blizzard really must be getting desperate. Despite not having logged in since the scandals began and having no intention of doing so until they're at least convincingly swept under the Microsoft rug, I made the effort and linked my Battlenet and Amazon accounts. 

It was surprisingly painless, although it did involve the usual near-clinical levels of paranoid security. I sometimes suspect we're already living in a cyberpunk noir timeline and we just haven't noticed yet. All I'll get for my diligence, should I ever log in again, is a transmog for a helmet that I'll never use, the Jewel of the Firelord. There are two more dramatically-named hats to come. I suppose I'll have to claim those, too. You can never have too many hats although personally I'd rather none of mine was on fire.

A much more compelling offer and one for a game I have no compunction in going back to is the Windhelm Cliff Ram Mount for Elder Scrolls Online. It comes with some facial tattoos (for your character, not the sheep.) and two Xanmeer Crates, whatever they are. Lockboxes, I assume.

Lost Ark, another game I keep meaning to revisit but somehow never do, trumps ESO's ram with a penguin. A penguin suit, that is. I wish a few mmorpgs I play regularly would acquire Lost Ark's bizarre animal cosplay fetish. I'd love to run around Norrath or Tyria dressed as a giant penguin.

New World has some fairly ordinary armor on offer. It looks a hell of a lot better than the hideous leaisure suit currently being given away to people with so little going on in their lives they're willing to give up four hours of their time watching one of the last remaining Twitch streamers pretending to enjoy the game. It's odd that there are two different giveaways for the same game from the same source at the same time but at least I only wasted a few seconds on mine.

The last freebie I grabbed was a Void Shoulder Sheep for my avatar in Roblox. There's a sentence that would have had almost no semantic value at any time before the turn of the millennium. It doesn't really have a lot now. Also, it's the third thing in this month's offer to involve sheep. Is it some TikTok trend I've missed?

All I have to do now is find time to play at least a few of these games before the next deluge of free gifts arrives. I'd better get on with it.


  1. I just want to know what people were smoking when they came up with the Jewel of the Firelord. It just.... Nope nope nope....

    1. If anything, the other two, yet to come, look even worse. They do have cooler names, though.


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