Tag Archives: LOST


Perhaps one of the big reasons why I adore the show LOST so much is because it was something my mother and I both watched, and after each episode, we’d e-mail each other with reactions or theories or to generally complain about how mean Ben is or what nickname Sawyer came up with for some other cast member. Good times. She got really into it during those early seasons; I can’t remember if she ever saw its conclusion before passing away in December 2010. At some point during the show’s popularity, my mother purchased for me LOST: The Game at her local Borders. Here’s the sad rub: I never played it, and by the time I was ready to move out of my studio apartment in Clifton, NJ, I tossed the whole thing away, cool suitcase and all.

Now, around this time, I did make some friends, and we played a lot of board games, such as every iteration of Munchkin out at the time, Talisman, Dungeons & Dragons, Catan, Chez Geek, Pimp: The Backhanding, Kingmaker, and so on. I just never felt comfortable bringing the game over or learning the rules by myself and then having to teach everyone; plus, I was still pretty new to the world of board games, and I had no idea if LOST: The Game was a good one or a bad one or even worth figuring out.

LOST: The Game was released on July 15, 2006 in the United Kingdom and August 7, 2006 in the United States. The game was designed by Keith Tralins, developed through MegaGigaOmniCorp, and published by Cardinal Games. It is a hybrid strategy/social/role-playing game set in the world of LOST that, if you’d believe, is somewhat similar to many solo games I play now, such as Fallout: The Board Game and Discover: Lands Unknown. The game allows you to assume the role as a character from the show in your attempts to survive on the Island and features many of the elements involved in the first few seasons of the TV show, including mysteries, alliances, and the “Smoke Monster.”

There are 75 hexagonal Location tiles that make up the main playing area for LOST: The Game. There are two types of tiles: 30 Shoreline tiles and 45 Inner Island tiles. The location tiles are set face-down randomly to ensure that each experience with the game is unique, just like with Catan. The tiles can be arranged in any fashion the player wishes, as long as the Shoreline tiles are on the outside edge of the board because why would you put water in the middle of the island. Also, how did a polar bear get out there? Anyways…

Here’s how it plays, as far as I can tell. Players are randomly dealt a Starting Character, such as Jack, Locke, Kate, and so on. You cannot play as Desmond, and for that sin alone this game deserves to be stuffed down a hatch and forgotten for good. On each player’s turn, they must move all of the characters they own to an adjacent tile. If the location tile their character is located at is face-down, they flip the tile face-up and follow its instructions. If a Fate card is drawn, they must immediately deal with any Encounters or equip any equipment; however, they may choose to hold an Event card for later use. Characters may also attempt to lead neutral characters at their location. If another player occupies the same location tile, the players may attempt to engage their opponent’s characters to lead them, steal their Fate cards, or steal their equipment.

You win LOST: The Game when:

  • One player leads all characters on the Island
  • A Starting Character’s win condition is fulfilled
  • Another win condition decided upon by the players prior to the game (whatever that means)

Right, so it doesn’t sound like the most intricate or complicated board game ever designed. We’ll give that award to Scythe. Still, I wish I had my copy now because I’m more familiar with this style of gameplay, and it is something I’m curious about, as LOST is never not spinning away in the back of my mind. There wasn’t a lot of attention given to the game’s art or look, other than it coming packaged in a briefcase and using images from the show, and that’s a shame because a more stylized version might have convinced me to keep it for the long run. Oh well. Perhaps I’ll run into it again down the road. Y’know, when we all go back to the Island.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

Dakota Winchester does indeed anticlimactically find the third ruby

dakota win 3 capture

At last, the day has arrived. For a while there, I thought we’d never get the third and final act for Dakota Winchester’s Adventures, which stars an Indian Jones wannabe in search of three mystical rubies because…hold on, let me look this up. Right, these rubies are the keys to the even more mysterious Hilda’s box, which proclaims to contain the secret to eternal life. Anyways, I kept checking the Carmel Games website, but only saw that other brand new adventuring series were being started at a surprising and alarming rate. Thankfully, it is here, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Swoon. And I’m not disappointed, but only because I knew going in that I would, more likely than not, given my track record with these sorts of games, be disappointed.

I played the first two parts of Dakota Winchester’s Adventures way back in November 2014, nabbing two out of three rubies in preparation for the final victory. This third act kicks things off in the basement of some old mansion. Dakota Winchester is on the hunt for the final ruby, and he’ll have to solve puzzles involving fires, ropes, and hidden safe locks, as well as conversing with an old professor of his who does not think highly of him. See above. My favorite aspect of this character is that he himself is a wannabe, this time of Indiana Jones’ father, Henry Jones, Sr., played by the legendary Sean Connery. Look, we all can do terrible Sean Connery impressions, but that doesn’t mean we should or should have these impressions recorded and tossed into a point-and-click adventure game for many to hear. It’s potentially more cringe-worthy than when previous Carmel Games titles would obviously pitch up a man’s voice to portray a female character.

I found Dakota Winchester’s Adventures Part 3 to be a letdown from beginning to end, but maybe that’s because I built it up in my head to be a somewhat satisfying conclusion. Or at least provide closure so that I could feel like I finished a full thing. The puzzles are frustrating even though many of the solutions are obvious, and a few required brute forcing. There was also one scene that I didn’t realize provided an arrow to a second scene if you moused over to the left far enough, but I assumed that pathway didn’t exist because there was a chandelier on fire in the middle of the walkway, which looked like something our intrepid hero couldn’t get around. So that was frustrating to discover several minutes later. Also, one puzzle near the end is basically a round of rock, paper, scissors, which is strange and jarring and makes me think that the developer simply had access to this interface and decided to toss it in for kicks. I won on my first try.

Look, I’m going to spoil the last fifteen seconds of Dakota Winchester’s Adventures Part 3. If you can’t handle this, just cancel your Internet subscription and burn whatever device you are reading this on. I need to explain what a bait and switch this whole affair is. After doing all those puzzles, you finally gain hold of the special key that will open that locked treasure chest. Inside, as expected, is the third ruby. Dun dun dun. Dakota Winchester places each one into their respective sockets on Hilda’s box, which opens and is full of light, kind of like the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Anyways, Dakota says he can see some gold coins, as well as a map, and then…TO BE CONTINUED? pops up. Credits roll. Take note that it’s not TO BE CONTINUED with or without a period or even ellipses, but it has a question mark at the end, as if even the people making these have no clue what they are doing.

I recently read Javier Grill0-Marxuach’s will and testament about whether or not the writers of LOST were “making it up as they went.” It’s a fantastic examination of how nothing can be so simply said, laying out as much history as possible before it either fades or becomes exaggerated in one’s mind. That sometimes things come together conveniently, and other times you have to force it more than you like. Plus, mystery boxes. Even by the end, there’s no firm conclusion. That said, despite their very own literal mystery box, the developers behind Dakota Winchester’s Adventures Part 3 are definitely making all this up as they go. I guess they would; I mean, they want people to keep playing their games, and so they need those games to truly never conclude.

Okay, that was probably far too many words about Dakota Winchester’s Adventures. If you read them all, then bless your heart. You’re a good one. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the fourth entry, though, knowing me and my ever-curious mind, I’ll probably check it out nonetheless and continue to be flabbergasted when the map leads you on another wild goose chase that ends with more carrots on strings. Now that I think about it, a great twist would be that Dakota Winchester spends so much time trying to find the secret to eternal youth that he passes away from old age in the sixty-fourth entry in the series.

Proteus is a mesmerizing and powerful getaway

life in proteus gd thoughts

On one hand alone, I can count the number of islands I’ve been to in real life. Ignoring that less-than-stellar fact, here’s a bunch of fictional islands I’d love to visit and explore for a day, just a day:

  • The island from LOST, specifically Dharmaville and far from wherever the Smoke Monster dwells
  • Amity Island, from Jaws
  • The El Nido Archipelago, from Chrono Cross
  • Gilligan’s Island
  • Isla Nublar, home to Jurassic Park‘s dinosaurs
  • Yoshi’s Island

Well, let’s add one more to that list with Ed Key and David Kanaga’s Proteus, which is actually difficult to describe, though I’m sure all the Gone Home haters would describe it as “not a game” or a “walking simulator.” Phooey on them. Sadly, I just discovered a new term, “anti-game,” while doing some quick research, and that really bums me out. I think anything that creates an experience can be called a game, whether it is highly interactive or not. That time you stabbed a pencil around your fingers and sped up each go? A game. Connecting dots to other dots with lines to reveal some kind of image? A game. Traveling to a foreign, digital world and taking it all in visually? A game. Really now, people.

I guess you could say Proteus is a stark adventure of exploration and discovery in a musical wilderness environment. There are no challenges and set goals, no Achievements to pop (well, on the PC version, at least), no text anywhere on the screen to tell you anything or provide lore. You can’t even really pause the game, only close your eyes to take a snapshot or exit back out to the main menu. As you explore the island, a reactive audio mixing system modifies your soundtrack, with frogs, tombstones, flowers, and birds each acting as individual notes that sound as you draw nearer.

There’s plenty to see on the island, as well as plenty to not touch. All the animals scurry away as you draw near, and you will eventually stumble across a cabin and small circle of statues, but all you can do is look at them and wonder. There’s no “Press X to Pay Respects” button, and that’s more than fine. You can, however, press a button to sit down on the ground and absorb all the sounds. I also found a giant tree-thing that teleported me to the other side of the island. Otherwise, it’s a lot of walking, looking, listening, and learning. Sounds simple, but it’s beyond effective.

I explored Proteus‘ island once on Steam during my Extra Life stream and then a second time on PlayStation 3 just the other evening. Each trip takes about twenty or so minutes, and each island is randomly generated, though you will see a few familiar pieces and critters with each playthrough, as well as summon the swirling vortex of floating white lights that fast-forward the seasons from spring to summer to fall to, lastly, winter. I have not tried simply standing next to the vortex and not causing this shift to happen, though I think that’s possible too. Both of those games ended differently; the first time, I flew into the sky, chasing after the aurora in the night sky, and the second time I got lost in a bleak, snowy winterland, heading for the moon.

So, there are Trophies to unlock on the PlayStation 3 version of Proteus. I got one, and I have to assume I got it for beating the game once. I don’t know. They are overtly obtuse, and I’m looking forward to unlocking a few more–hopefully by accident–though their inclusion does break a bit of immersion and uniqueness. Oh well. Not the worst thing ever, though trying to read all their descriptions in one sitting gave me a headache.

Ultimately, Proteus is about time, about mortality. The experience is all at once deeply relaxing and terribly unnerving. The music will warm you, fill you with hope; then it will drain you, drain from you, and remind you that hope is fleeting. Life goes round and round, until it stops. There’s more than a vicious cycle to experience here, and it’s certainly a walk to remember.

The island’s not done with you just yet, Paul

I don’t know what to say, readers. I kind of want to get LOST: Via Domus. I think my obsession with the show is finally reaching its breaking point. Every review tells me it’s not a good game, that it’s linear and not canon and mostly about taking pictures, and yet still, this tug, this come hug me feeling is hitting me harder than the island communicating with John Locke back during season one. I know why, too.

See, I’m doing many LOST things at the moment. One, I’m watching final season unfold every week, eyes a centimeter from my TV screen. It’s so good. Two, I’m re-watching season one and two on DVD and loving it all over again (the game, I believe, is set during these time-frames). Three, I’m working on drawing just about every LOST character ever.

So, yeah, LOST is on my brain. All the time. I dunno. Would this be the worse thing to buy for, say, $15.00?

Meh, maybe I’ll just pretend I bought it and instead put the money towards the season three DVD, a.k.a. lame wandering time.

Pokémon Black and Pokémon White, like the cookie

…or a penguin. Or a tux. Or a penguin in a tux eating a black-and-white cookie.

Either way, Pokémon Black and Pokémon White are next two titles for rabid fans to stew over. No reference to specific gems or stones this time around, but I also can’t help and think it has something to do with LOST‘s mysterious black and white rocks that occasionally show up, often as symbols for good and evil. Very little is known about these next generation games, but rumors speak of Zorua and its advanced form Zoroark, a dark Pokémon. I hope they continue to implement the Pokéwalker.

Might be a 2010 release for those shmucking it up in Japan. No idea for the United States. I’d wager early next year. Chances are I won’t even complete my Pokédex for HeartGold before Black/White arrive. I’m, um, pretty slow at catching ’em all. Tara and I tried for probably over an hour to obtain a Jigglypuff, but alas, that pink puffy bastard eluded every single Safari ball we threw at its face. Waaah!