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I can’t think of another puzzle game like SPL-T: it’s deterministic, but it nonetheless has the “responding to random circumstances” feel of a game like Tetris or Drop 7. That was especially the feel for the first week or so when I was playing the game, when I didn’t realize how the drops work. When […]

clapping music

There’s a game out now that has you play through Steve Reich’s composition Clapping Music. Pleasant to play through: it took me a couple of tries to figure out what they were asking for, but once I got the feel for it, I enjoyed the music, and I got a lot more out of the […]

infinite loop

One of my coworkers introduced me to Infinite Loop, and it’s a pretty interesting game. At its core, it’s a puzzle game that would be completely at home among Nikoli’s or Conceptis’s puzzles, but it’s one that is much more at home on an electronic device than on pencil and paper. I was going to […]

ascension: dawn of champions

I don’t have much to say about the latest Ascension expansion, Ascension: Dawn of Champions. The new mechanism never super grabbed me, and when I had spare moments, I was more likely to play Alphabear; I ended up not even giving the multiplayer a try. (Though, incidentally, Miranda and I have started playing the original […]

returning to blast corps

I had a lot of fun playing Rare games in the Nintendo 64 era, so I was really glad to have the Rare Replay anthology appear. Of course, a lot of Rare’s games are well-designed examples of genres that are now familiar to us; but there’s also Blast Corps. I still haven’t seen anything like […]

thinking about getting better at netrunner

I play Netrunner at lunch several times a week, I go to a tournament once a month, and neither of those are stopping any time soon; it’s a fun and interesting game. And I like getting better at the game (or at least I would like to get better at it, it’s not clear that […]

games, prices, value, and uncertainty

Earlier this summer, I talked about the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter; I wanted to expand on my approach to questions like that. In general, the price of a game (or of any product!) will be somewhere between how much it costs to develop, produce, and sell the product, and how much value people get from the […]

dragon age inquisition: the descent

(I don’t normally worry about spoiler warnings, but, given how recently this DLC came out, I’ll give one here.) I thought that the first piece of DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Jaws of Hakkon, was meh; but still, not every piece of DLC is going to advance the series. And, going through the first half […]

one more rocksmith 2017 request

One item that I forgot to add to my earlier list of requests for the next version of Rocksmith: help us get low-latency audio. The game strongly encourages you to use optical audio; and, when I switched over to that, it made a big difference. But there’s a reason why I didn’t switch to optical […]


My basic takeaway from Tengami is that it seems that Monument Valley is part of a genre, that that’s a good thing, but also that Monument Valley is quite impressive. Tengami really is a pretty game, the puzzles are fine, and the atmosphere is relaxing. But it just didn’t come together quite as well for […]

layton vs wright

I’d gone through the Phoenix Wright games recently, but it had been a while since I’d played a Professor Layton game. (I didn’t play through the second Layton trilogy at all.) The Phoenix Wright games stood up quite well to replay, and I’d heard good things about Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, so […]

returning to shadow of the colossus

After returning to Ico, I returned to Shadow of the Colossus. And, of course, they’re both phenomenal games; I appreciate Ico more after replaying it than I did the first time through, I think, while Shadow of the Colossus is less of a surprise this time. In particular, playing Shadow of the Colossus right after […]

the shenmue 3 kickstarter

I’ve been surprised at how much negative reaction to the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter has appeared in my twitter feed. Maybe not so much in the quantity of the reaction as the tone: it seems like the Kickstarter is a flashpoint in a culture war, while I don’t really understand why there has to be a […]

tweaks i’d like in rocksmith 2017

I’ve been playing Rocksmith 2014 ever since it came out a year and a half ago, and I was playing its predecessor for a year before that; so obviously I like the game and the series a lot, and I imagine that I’ll still be playing it two and a half years from now. Or […]

blogging about my netrunner decks

I’ve been enjoying one of my Netrunner decks recently, and I figured it would help me take notes about what’s working in my decks and what isn’t. So I’m reviving my gaming scenes blog for something other than Minecraft pictures: I’ll add decks there as they change or evolve, and I’ll also backfill a couple […]

returning to ico

I really enjoyed Dragon Age: Inquisition, but it was a bit of a mess. That mess was, however, not specific to that game: it’s entirely typical for a AAA game to throw in a kitchen sink of gameplay mechanisms. Some AAA games manage to escape that pitfall: Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are particularly […]

ascension: realms unraveled

Ascension: Realms Unraveled showed up hot on the heels of the previous expansion, and, like its predecessor, it turned out to be surprisingly fun to play. I actually was not sure about it at the start: for one thing, the art style changed dramatically, to the extent that it wasn’t even immediately obvious what class […]

the rock band 4 announcement

So: Harmonix announced Rock Band 4. I had mixed feelings when I filled out the survey: on the one hand, I claimed that pro instruments were most important to me, because that is after all how I spent most of my time in Rock Band 3, but, on the other hand: “pro instruments” probably really […]


Hoplite pushed my buttons in an interesting way. It’s a roguelike, which is a genre that I respect in the abstract but I don’t play much of; but it’s a roguelike with small levels, with no hidden information within a level, with only four types of enemies, and where your build options, while somewhat random, […]

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 […]