Puzzle Games Together

We’ve reached an era in which there are far too many high quality puzzle games for one person to play. (Or at least one person without an overabundance of time on his or her hands) I don’t want to make a habit of vanishing into a man cave, only to emerge days later with a few more puzzles under my belt. Thankfully, I’ve found a way to get the best of both worlds.

A few years ago, I bought a device called the Elgato Game Capture HD. I don’t even quite recall why I bought it in the first place- the device allows you to record video game footage and store it as video. I recorded a bunch of gameplay for Nintendo NES games, most often games traditionally perceived as difficult like Ninja Gaiden and Battletoads. I never did anything with the video- I just dumped it on an external hard drive when it started filling up my computer.

Flash forward to present. I have a Nintendo Switch, and a wide variety of puzzle games. I swear, every week Nintendo is running a sale where legitimately good puzzle games are discounted down to $2 or less. My most recent pickup was The Return of the Obra Dinn, a neat game in which you have to solve the mysterious circumstances behind a long lost sailing vessel.

To kick off the gameplay, I invited a friend over to start. But after spending about an hour getting started, I got a little nervous. I didn’t want to force to commit to playing this game every single time I saw this friend, but I also didn’t want to drag out the game over the course of years, in which time we’d inevitably forget key details that would be important to solving the puzzle.

Answer found: I dug up the Elgato from under a pile of pillows. (Not joking, we had moved a TV and replaced it with a stack of pillows, so I had to do a little soft archaeology to find the device) The Elgato can broadcast live to Youtube, enabling online sessions where multiple participants can comment in real time on the puzzles. I was concerned about software support for an older device, but after finding the right links, I got the device working with my newest computer, and voila, I’m back in business.

I’ve never been interested in streaming video games, and technically I’m still not, but it’s great to have an option to collaborate online for these, and I’m going to be watching the Nintendo Switch game store regularly to continue to pick up more puzzlers. It’s a little strange that our brainstorm videos will be out there for the public, but there’s a little charm to that as well, recording the sessions for posterity.

I’m still working out a few of the kinks, but I’m confident that one more test run will get me to a solid place where I can set up impromptu sessions with little notice!

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