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Archives for July, 2008

what is a narrative game?

In response to my earlier post on puzzles in narrative games, a couple of the commenters noted that contrasting the puzzles in Professor Layton with those in Grim Fandango isn’t fair, because the puzzles in the former game aren’t integrated into the game world in the the same way as puzzles in the latter one […]

grim fandango, year 1

Some thoughts on year 1 of Grim Fandango, mostly culled from my posts on the forum: Glottis is one of my favorite NPCs ever. I’m really pleased at how well the graphics hold up, I love the art deco style. Looking at Glottis, my first reaction was “wow, that’s not very many polygons, is it”, […]

the social aspect of puzzle games

One more thought I had overnight about puzzle gameplay: they can have a real social aspect. Watching somebody else play a shooter or a platformer can be reasonably entertaining, but if you’re watching somebody else play a puzzle game (which neither of you has played before), then it’s effectively a cooperative game: it’s almost irrelevant […]

puzzles in narrative games

Over in the Vintage Game Club forum, Michael posted an interesting question, “Do modern gamers still want puzzles?”: I’m working on a blog post focused on this, but I wonder if puzzles in narrative games are a relic of a bygone era of gaming – or are they a necessary ludic element? Has shooting replaced […]

recent consumer experiences

The combined obtuseness of KitchenAid and A&E Factory Service (with a tip of the hat to Western Appliance) has defeated me: rather than getting our broken garbage disposal replaced under warranty, we’ll just call a plumber to take it out and put in a pipe. In retrospect, I don’t know why we bought the garbage […]

adventure games and me

I’m very glad that Michael suggested Grim Fandango as the introductory game for the Vintage Game Club, because adventure games and I go way back. I can’t remember the exact sequence of events, but I’m fairly sure that I was aware of the Colossal Cave adventure before we even owned a computer: I think my […]

whipped chocolate ganache

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe, hasn’t it? Anyways, if you’re looking for a chocolate frosting, you could do a lot worse than this one: one of Liesl’s coworkers used it on a delightful cake last year, we just got the recipe from her (thanks, Amanda!), and tried it out tonight, and […]

virtualbox and grim fandango

I didn’t have much luck getting Grim Fandango working under wine; some of my colleagues suggested VirtualBox, so I thought I’d give that a try. And it worked better (helped by one amazing piece of blind dumb luck); not perfectly, but well enough that I should be able to participate in the inaugural run of […]

bad week for computers

Not the best week computer-wise. The server that hosts this blog (and that my e-mail resolves to) has been going down daily; I am optimistic that we’ve found and fixed the problem but, well, I’ve been optimistic about that once before in this round, and I was wrong that time. And then I did my […]

new japanesepod101 season

As regular readers are aware, I’m a big fan of JapanesePod101. On the off chance that any of my readers are thinking about learning a bit of Japanese, I wanted to let you know that they’ve just started new seasons of most or all their shows: in particular, they published the first episode of a […]

problems with grim fandango

I was all excited to start playing Grim Fandango, so when my copy arrived today, I figured I’d spend the evening getting wine to work. Which took a little bit of doing, enough to create a blog post out of, but ultimately I got to where I could launch the game and go through the […]

introducing the vintage game club

Apparently I’m not the only person who feels like playing through old games and talking about them with other people: Michael Abbott and Dan Bruno noticed my throwaway comment on the subject, and, a weekend of e-mails later, the Vintage Game Club is formed. Our first game will be the classic LucasArts adventure Grim Fandango. […]

japanese input under linux

I spent a little while yesterday poking around with getting Japanese input to work on my home Linux machine, since I’ll need that for entering vocabulary cards into the memory program. To make a long story short: largely, it Just Works. (At least under Ubuntu 8.04.) I was a bit confused at first by the […]

wii smash brothers

The original Smash Bros. was a mind-opener for me. It (and its sequels) may still be, in its own way, my favorite multiplayer game; I’m admittedly not much of a fighter aficionado, but I haven’t seen anything else with quite its brand of chaos. (Well, maybe Power Stone 2 (and presumably its predecessor, which I […]