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Archives for Games

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 […]

bachsmith

This week’s Rocksmith DLC was a collection of classical music arranged for guitars / bass / drums; I wasn’t sure what I’d think about it in advance, but I gave it a try yesterday and it was a lot of fun! I was worried that it would be over the top, trying to turn classical […]

ascension: rise of vigil

Some of the Ascension sequels I’ve enjoyed as much as the original; sadly, Rise of Vigil was not one of them. The new mechanic this time is a third currency, called “energy”: unlike the other two currencies, though, this one doesn’t go away until the end of the turn. Instead, many cards gain special effects […]

monument valley

Earlier this summer, I stopped my playthrough of BioShock because, frankly, I was getting angry at the game. I didn’t want to spend my time going through grandiose facilely unreflective morality plays: I wanted to play games that were more closely crafted. I’d seen screenshots of Monument Valley and heard good things about it: I […]

on “on scorched earth”

Brendan’s recent post “on Scorched Earth” lamented that the Netrunner card Scorched Earth was “inelegant”. I can see where he’s coming from—I’m certainly not going to claim that Scorched Earth is a paragon of elegance—but I think he undersells the card. In particular, while I think his alternate proposals would all make for interesting cards, […]

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 […]

returning to bioshock

After my unpleasant experience with System Shock 2, I moved on to BioShock. I wasn’t worried that I might have the same problems with BioShock that I had with System Shock 2: I remembered from my prior experience that BioShock took the Easy difficulty setting seriously (enough so that I was thinking of trying Normal […]

medium: setting things up

As I said recently, I’m experimenting with writing a Netrunner implementation in JavaScript. I’m calling it Medium; here’s the first in a series of posts about issues I’ve encountered along the way. Before I go too far, I want to thank two sources of information. The first is Bill Lazar; he’s one of my coworkers, […]

netrunner implementation experiments

GDC got me in the mood to do some game-related programming; and, when that mood didn’t go away after a couple of weeks, I started to spend some time thinking about what exactly that would mean. I’d thought initially that maybe I’d learn how to use Unity, trying to implement one or two game-related tech […]

system shock 2

I’m planning to play through all the games in both of the Shock series this year; I had a quite good time replaying System Shock, but I’d never played System Shock 2, which seems to get talked about rather more. (E.g. I’ve seen comments claiming that BioShock is in many ways an inferior remake of […]

whales

Last time, I talked about free to play; a phrase I often hear linked with the term “whale”. The prototypical use goes something like this: free-to-play games make most of their money from a small proportion of whales, people who spend thousands of dollars that they can’t afford in order to buy useless items in […]

threes!

Threes! is both adorable and, I suspect, pretty good. A similar sort of combining mechanism to Triple Town, but with shorter games that fit into my day better, and a bit less aggressive randomness. (I gather a sign of being good at Triple Town is enjoying the bears, finding that you get a lot of […]

free to play

There was a fair amount of discussion of “free to play” at this year’s GDC; most of it negative (at least in the discussions I was part of), often extremely so, and often linked with the concept of “whales”. There’s some amount of that discussion that I agree with, but more of that discussion (and […]

games and copyright

John Walker’s editorial in Rock Paper Shotgun on “Why Games Should Enter The Public Domain” was going around my Twitter feed the other day, frequently coupled with Steve Gaynor’s response. And what I appreciate about both of them is the pragmatic tack that they take: I think that the U.S. Constitution has it right by […]

don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story

My arc of feelings about don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story is, I think, similar to that about Digital: A Love Story: I didn’t think about it too much when playing it, but then it stuck in my head, and then we had a VGHVI Symposium about it where I had […]

jet set radio

If you’d asked me not too many years ago what my prototypical idea of a video game was, I probably would have come up with some sort of RPG-ish thing. Single player, with the story standing out more than anything (and with that story being excessively grandiose); but also with a lot of time spent […]