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the legend of zelda: breath of the wild

Breath of the Wild is, of course, a stunning game. And a surprising one, both in how it departs from Zelda tradition and in how I reacted to those departures. No more progressive unlocking of weapons/tools/areas, no more restricting those areas to your specific skill set / power level (at least after the first two […]

alien: isolation

For years now, I’ve been frustrated by games’ fixation on an anointed hero saving the world through mass slaughter; I’ve been talking about that most frequently recently in the context of Dragon Age: Inquisition, but of course anointed murderers are all over the place, the only reason why I bring the issue up in the […]

dragon age inqusition: stepping back

Preamble So: after that grab bag of impressions of Dragon Age: Inquisition, what do I think about the game as a whole? One question is: what do I wish the game was? Given the importance of relationships and romances in the game, “a dating sim” is a not outlandish answer. I don’t think it’s my […]

dragon age inquisition: miscellaneous thoughts

Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s glorious, but it’s also a bit of a mess, in a AAA-ey way. Which means that I have no idea how to talk about the game in a coherent manner! So, in absence of that, a randomly ordered list of topics: The Scale of Its Story In Dragon Age II, you […]

brenda romero: jiro dreams of game design

It’s months since GDC, and I’m still trying to unpack my feelings about Brenda Romero’s Jiro Dreams of Game Design talk. Or maybe not so much my feelings about it—it’s an excellent talk, no question—but my emotional reactions to it. Her talk confronts concepts that I care about (greatness, team structure, creation) in contexts that […]

my year of contingency and narrative

While reading Lifelode, the character who could see others’ possible futures really grabbed me. After I put down the book, though, I realized: that character didn’t grab me because that image particularly stood out in the context of the book, she grabbed me because of where my head has been recently. Because, looking back, I’ve […]

spider: bryce manor hd

I was impressed enough by Randy Smith’s GDC 2009 talk “Helping Your Players Feel Smart: Puzzles as User Interface” that I’ve made a point to go to his talks the last two years as well; and I quite liked his 2010 talk “Increasing Our Reach: Designing to Grab and Retain Players” as well. Because of […]

minecraft

So: Minecraft. I’m in the habit of writing here about each game that I finish, and I have indeed finished Minecraft. By which I don’t, of course, mean, that I’ve actually finished Minecraft, because it’s not the sort of game that has an end: I’ve merely stopped playing it. At least for the time being, […]

getting (lots of) things done

As I’ve said before, GTD isn’t actually about getting lots of things done: it’s about doing what you most want to do at any given moment. Having said that, ever since I stopped putting tasks on my Next Action list that are more than two weeks out, I have in fact been Getting Things Done. […]

podcast appearances

I had the pleasure of taking part in a couple of podcast appearances recently. Specifically: I appeared on the CDC podcast talking about GDC. A very pleasant conversation, I quite enjoyed chatting with the other guests, and Eric did a great job editing the audio for this one. And I appeared on Playable Character, talking […]

2010 in guided construction games

At the start of 2010, FarmVille was everywhere; at the end of 2010, Minecraft dominated the conversation. The discussion of those two games, at least on the sites I frequent, had a very different tone; I believe, however, that much of those games’ successes stem from the same source, namely their strengths as guided construction […]

getting my next action list under control

One checklist item when starting my new job was setting up a new Things installation. (I have separate work and home installations, with the home one synced to my iPhone.) And, most of a couple of months in, the differences between the two are pretty striking: my Next Action list at work is a lot […]

alexandrian minecraft

When I first started playing Minecraft, I spent most of my time, well, mining. Or at least underground: I’d obsessively dig stairs going straight through the rock in one direction or another, I’d occasionally hollow out a blocky room whenever I needed a space for a chest or a crafting table, and every once in […]

standpoints, lists, and selection

One of the side effects of attending GDC last week was that I spent a lot of time in my car; not my favorite place, but at least I got to catch up with podcasts. In particular, I’m glad that I had time to listen to the three part Critical Distance “2010 in Review” podcast: […]

created a gaming scenes blog

I’ve been trying to figure out my reactions to Minecraft recently, and to that end I thought writing down some of my experiences would be useful. Useful to me, that is; quite possibly boring to y’all! So I decided to create another blog for that purpose, and to expand the purpose slightly to include narration […]