Looking forward to “Grounded”

If you’ve seen “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, “The Ant Bully”, or “Antz”, you might like the following title. In Obsidian Entertainment’s “Grounded” you’re playing as one of four kids, shrunk to the size of insects and other small critters. You get to roam a lawn, exploring vast grass-steam forests while scavenging and foraging for resources to survive the dangers that come with not being normal-sized.

The world is beautiful if you look close enough – and well, with your size, you can get close to everything. Ants are as big as you while stink beetles and ladybugs are terrifyingly big! Of course, there are also small critters like mites that you can hunt down for food and… well… as the game tells you in the title screen, there are also spiders. But fear not, fellow arachnophobes, for there is an arachnophobia mode in this game that lets you turn those horrific and vile creatures into weird bobbly balls floating in the air. This also affects their creepy sounds, resulting in a pleasant experience even when you encounter them.

I constantly caught myself staring into the beautiful areas around you – I mean, when if not now do we get to see the world from this perspective?

Houses and benches are huge! We even get to explore “landmarks” such as some weird shrinking machine and soda cans. Resources seem to be rather lush and alas, we gather pebbles and sprigs, mushrooms and clover, so that we can get started with some simple tools for the beginning.

While you chop down trees in other games, you’ve got to chop down the grass, using an actual axe. Quite bizarre in a way but it does make sense. And well, despite stink beetles, spiders and mites wanting to kill you, there are also a bunch of friendly fellows around like ladybugs and ants.

I love ants. The ants in this game look incredibly cute, constantly scavenging for food, just like us, or carrying around sticks and pebbles. “In theory”, I thought… “In theory, I could attack them. I’ve got the spear and all of that already, after all!” – But I didn’t dare to attack such cute little fellows, mostly since I’m afraid that they might gang up on me after sending out their threat pheromones.

There seems to be a full-fledged story available to the game once it comes out but inside of the demo I was able to play for more than half an hour – and the story-part reached until we fixed the (presumably) shrink-reversal-machine that Spoilers blew up on us shortly after we “fixed” it.

Materials can be analyzed for recipes inside of the analyzer that is set near our research globe. Food can be cooked at a roasting spit and, in theory, we can even build a base of sorts with walls, doors and floors!

Honestly, I’m really excited about this game, especially since it does tickle that one itch that I have for base-building survival games! Especially as it also features unconventional aspects to survival. You’ve got to find water drops on grass stems to not dehydrate, for instance, which is a nice touch!

Multiplayer is also something that is going to be included in the full game, so this might get really cool really soon. Grounded gets released in Early Access on July 28th, 2020. It’s by Obsidian Entertainment, so it’s bound to be good, and well, the game so far has been looking great already, especially as this is only a demo!

The only thing that I’d wish for would be an option to turn the spiders into some cute beetles or something, as even the bobbly heads are a little bit triggering to me. I’d also love it if you could turn their sounds into something else that is less creepy. But maybe that’s just my arachnophobia speaking…

Cheers!

Arachnophobia intensifies – Venturing into the Deepnest

I’ve talked about my fear of spiders in the past before in this post and even in this one… but ever since I’ve visited that spider-convention nearby and had that tarantula on my hand, I have not really encountered any spiders in my flat. And apart from “Kill It With Fire”, I haven’t seen any in any video games, either, so I wasn’t sure yet if I’m over my fear…

Well, I wasn’t sure until I got to make more Progress in Hollow Knight and ventured into the Deepnest.

But first of all, let me clarify: I love Hollow Knight. I love the soundtrack, the gameplay features, the difficulty of it as well as the fact that you can heal yourself with the Soul you gather from hitting stuff with your Nail. I love the aesthetics and personalities of the enemies and characters in the game and from what I understand… I love the story. I just wouldn’t have thought that, even though I saw it coming, there’d be an area that I’d struggle with so much.

If you haven’t played it yet and don’t want story spoilers, skip the next two paragraphs. (I’ll separate them with pictures!)

The game sends you into this world to rescue villagers and find and “slay” (?) these Dreamers (deities of sorts?) to lift some curse (I guess?). It’s still very blurry to me and while you learn bits and pieces here and there, you hardly get the bigger picture until you read up on it or until you got further into the game. I personally love that about this game. It’s bits and pieces from different times and you just have to puzzle it all together to understand what is going on with the Pale King and all of that.

And well, in my last play session on Wednesday, I finally reached Deepnest, an area near the Distant Village, where Herrah the Beast used to rule. Herrah was one of the three rulers and she is one of the three Dreamers that you’re trying to “slay” (I still don’t know if we really slay them… it seems as if we absorb their souls into our Nails?).

Welcome to the “no story spoilers” part!

My problem with Deepnest was that, just like with other areas in the game, the enemies are based on one small critter from the world of bugs and worms and… well… spiders. There are spiders in Deepnest. And I wouldn’t bother with it, too much, but it’s just the way the area is presented, that freaked me out (Twitch Clip). There are webs and strings everywhere and some enemies come back in the form of spider-zombies! There are spiders falling down in front of the screen, which is seriously tripping me out, and there are a ton of disgusting sounds.

I hated this area so much, just because of those effects, that I didn’t bother exploring it too much more and kind of rushed through the area!

I just hated it. It freaked me out and I had some moments where I felt this weird jiggle that your body does every now and then. The shivers crawling down your spine. I felt something crawling or itching at my head and on my skin every here and there, too, which is just terrifying. Even now, watching the VOD and writing this post, I’m terrified of the potential of there being a huge fucking spider behind my monitors or in the corners of my flat.

So, I guess I’m still afraid of spiders. And confronting my fears wasn’t really helping it… if anything it made it worse. I’m not getting any nightmares from it and I even managed to capture a spider alive and release it into the wild the other day… but I still hate them a ton. I don’t know. Maybe it will get better over time once I get used to capturing and releasing them more often… Oh well.

So, that’s it for this post. Hope you enjoyed it!

Cheers!

TSS#39 – Facing my fears

TRIGGER WARNING!

This post will include pictures of spiders! Big ones! They’re terrifying! Don’t read ahead if you’re afraid of or sensitive about that stuff!


This is a cute drawing that should show up when I post the link. I hope it works.

So, I’m afraid of spiders. And I decided to go to a convention about spiders as confronting my fears may help me in that regard. Or not. It may have gotten worse. I don’t know yet since I haven’t seen any spiders in my flat yet. 

As a child, I used to not be afraid of insects and spiders and everything that’s crawling on the ground. I used to pluck legs off grasshoppers as a child, as my parents told me a while ago. I also used to have no problem with centipedes, worms and other insects. And then there was that one day where I was washing my hands at a well while on vacation and a huge spider crawled onto my hand. At the time I was rather short and the spider probably looked bigger back then on my tiny hands and… well,… ever since I’ve been scared of everything that’s crawling on the ground. 

I guess that that was the trigger for it all. Nowadays I can’t catch spiders alive and put them on the balcony but I’ll have to use the vacuum or my house shoes to get rid of them and whenever I see them I not only let out a rather (not so) manly scream out but also get the shivers all over my body, so that sucks.

And then a while ago, my girlfriend pointed out that there’s a convention for tarantulas and other big spiders near the city I’m living in, so I decided to go there as it may help. My goal was to let those guys there put at least one tarantula on my hand and to take at least a dozen photographs of spiders to confront my fears and get rid of it. My girlfriend came with me as emotional support, although she, too, is afraid of spiders. 

In the end, I made a list of parts of the world that I’m not going to visit:

  • Australia
  • South-Africa
  • South-America
  • India
  • Mexico

There are spiders out there that get up to 28 cm big! Wtf?! And some of them even jump rather high and look terrifying with their huge hairy legs!

Well, I managed to take a picture with a spider on my hand and that one wasn’t that big. I noticed that my beard (which I very much like) shares a lot of resemblance with that tarantula on my hand back then. Both my beard and those spiders are soft, hairy and dark. That’s kind of terrifying. 

Later I slept at my girlfriend’s place and ended up waking up a couple of times during the night due to nightmares. At one point, I woke up as my girlfriend was shivering because of some nightmare. I guess, that that confrontation didn’t help either of us. Even now, a month after going there, I’m waking up from nightmares in the middle of the night, although they’re not as frequent as they were… Also, while writing up this post, I’m getting shivers all over my body and I’ve got to check the ceiling and the walls every few minutes, just to be sure that I’m not getting surprised by one of those monsters.

So the lesson from this experience was that confrontation isn’t the best idea in some cases as they may worsen your fears. 
This post, btw, isn’t edited, as I’ve made the mistake of putting those pictures in here already and as I don’t wanna look at them again.

Oh well. Cheers!