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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

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 […]

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 […]

framed

For people who aren’t familiar with it, Framed is a puzzle game where each screen is a page of a comic, with a character running through the panels in that page in sequence. And you can rearrange the panels: so, instead of running straight into a guard, you can move a panel with a ladder […]

868-hack

I’d been impressed by (and am still impressed by) Hoplite, and one of the things I like about it is that it’s a roguelike where you have a relatively large amount of control over your build. And I’d been hearing about 868-HACK for a while, so I figured I’d give that game a try as […]

ascension: darkness unleashed

Ascension: Darkness Unleashed has the same energy mechanic as the prior iteration; on that, it layers a second kind of energy (“dark energy shards”) that let you banish cards in your discard pile (and occasionally trigger other card-specific effects), and a transformation mechanic whereby many cards permanently become more powerful if you’ve acquired a specified […]

tomb raider

I’d never played a Tomb Raider game before the 2013 iteration of the series; that playthrough was also the first time I’d played a newish AAA game in something like two years, so I’d gotten a bit unused to that sort of polished spectacle. And, I will say: it was a very well-done polished spectacle, […]

morality play

Single-player narrative games frequently put you on the side of somebody actively fighting for justice: I’m in the middle of Dragon Age: Inquisition right now, for example, and that game has the all-too-familiar RPG plot of a chosen one saving the world. This means means that, of Jane Jacobs’ two moral syndromes from Systems of […]

hearthstone

So: Hearthstone. Gameplay-wise, it seems like a stripped-down Magic; and while it’s probably unfair for me to compare the games to Netrunner, it looks like Hearthstone has a lot fewer options for how to approach the game. And it’s designed to make you spend money to get better cards; the first time I was playing […]

antichamber

Our November VGHVI Symposium game was Antichamber. It’s a game that had been on my radar for years (I saw an early version of it under the name Hazard: The Journey of Life at GDC in 2010); I avoided it for platform reasons when it got released, but I was happy that Dan gave me […]

freecell and addictive games

FreeCell is, in its own way, one of the best games ever designed. I am not aware of any other puzzle game which does such a good job of balancing three factors: The game should be based on random seeds. Almost all random seeds should be solvable. The search for that solution should be rewardingly […]

is it time to upgrade consoles?

When the new consoles came out, I had zero interest in getting one: I hadn’t been playing AAA games much, and nothing on the new consoles caught my eye at all. And that continued for quite a long time: until I started playing Tomb Raider a few weeks ago, I hadn’t played a newish console […]

desert golfing

I really don’t know what to make of Desert Golfing. I spent a while playing it, it has the sort of “one more level” feel that games based on micro levels lend themselves to. But the levels veered around so much: most are straightforward, a few require frustrating repetition, and there’s just not that much […]

phoenix wright 5

Before playing Phoenix Wright 5, I replayed the first four games in the series. And it’s an excellent series, one that I’m glad I replayed! The fifth game in the series is a good game, too. It’s changed mechanically, though: they dramatically reduced the number of situations where it was possible to be stumped about […]

my first netrunner tournament

About a month ago, I found that my current Netrunner decks were not only doing well when playing against friends, but doing well in a way where I felt surprisingly in control, like I had good options to guide the game in different situations. Still, I was always playing the same people (the same person, […]

the walking dead, season two

(I don’t normally do spoiler alerts here, but given how recently this game came out, I’ll say: spoiler alert.) When playing the second season of The Walking Dead, conversations felt very different to me than in the first season. When playing the early episodes of the first season, I treated conversations with a straightforwardly egotistical […]