Friday, 30 November 2007

bookworm adventures, take two

... arena mode is *vicious*.

I wish there were a non-timed arena mode so that I could play the other gamestyle again without having to create a new profile for it...

I tend to get to a point where my mind goes blank and I can't think of any words and just stand there and get pummeled. :) (Can't remember how far in I've gotten... Past the dread pirate, anyway.)

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

puzzle quest

Apparently I am too stupid for this game, as I was thoroughly and beyond-all-comprehension slaughtered by the very first opponent in the tutorial.

(Of the sort where I've taken 52 damage and he's taken about 5. That sort of slaughtered.)

Since tutorials are supposed to be easy and work you in gently, I can only conclude that I'm totally stupid and that I will never be able to play this game, ever.

I am not a bejeweled expert. I can play - I can look at the board and eventually figure out what can be swapped to make 3-in-a-row. Planning ahead for chain reactions is something I have trouble with, and am always pleasantly surprised when one actually goes off in that sort of game. "I did that? Wow."

So playing a game where I meekly swap to collect 3 and the computer opponent immediately picks up four-in-a-row, extra turn, chain-reaction-with-skulls... Did the developers fail to consider that some people aren't good at this? Should they have perhaps included some helpful hints beyond 'match 3'? Or am I just too stupid to live?

the geography game

Try to click where the stated places are.

On a first try I got stuck at level 6 - as always, it's south america and africa that really trip me up.

bookworm adventures

Compared to the amount of time it took to get through Peggle, Bookworm Adventures seems *awfully* short. Especially with the higher pricetag. I had been warned about that, though. And I haven't touched the Arena mode yet.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

a forwarded whine

Apparently Rock Band is short on songs by female vocalists. Bugger.

... not that I have Rock Band or anything. I like to sing but nobody else around me does, so getting a Karaoke game would be a waste. Singing while someone else played instruments could be fun. But, apparently, not an option...

Friday, 23 November 2007

i'm allowed to say i cried

Eschalon, book 1

which can be found here, if yer lookin'.

Ah, RPGs, the land of wandering into people's houses and nonchalantly stealing their stuff, which they don't seem to mind. And even selling it back to them. It's hard NOT to, when there's such an easy source of Free Money there...

At one point the game mentioned a character hearing me committing a crime (failing to pick a lock) but nothing seemed to come of it. Perhaps he couldn't find me because it was dark. Inside his own house. Anyway, I can't yet tell if being a bastard has any effect at all, it's not terribly clear.

Am I entertained? Yes. The writing is good enough, the interface isn't too bad, the turn-based movement allows you to ensure you always get the first shot at any monsters...

Am I entertained enough to pay $30 for it? Um... Not at the moment. Hey, I'm cheap. If it were $20 I'd seriously consider it. $30 is going to take more convincing. I still have yet to buy Bookworm Adventures, which I like enough to have done the trial multiple times, just because that $30 made me look askance.

... although now that I think of it, I really should buy that. Bookworm Adventures, that is :)

EDIT: Of course, searching this blog for further Eschalon references will show that I did get it eventually...

uninstalling plant tycoon

So I wake up in the morning and everything's dead.

Now, I do understand the concept. The plants grow in 'real time' which can be set to much faster than real time and therefore you are supposed to adjust the time before sleeping. However -

Who is going to go to that kind of trouble for a game they're just trying out for a demo?

Who is going to be in any way entertained or pleased by finding all their plants dead the next day?

With Creatures, as mentioned, it was actually *interesting* to leave the computer running for long periods of time on its own. The ecology would carry on without you, if not as well. You'd want to come back later and see what had happened. Would a new, stronger breed have developed that could deal with these challenges on its own? Which bloodlines would continue and which would fail?

'All Dead' is not fun in any way.

Why do they do that? If when you left the game for a long period of time you logged back in to find all your plants *very sickly* so that you had to spend a bunch of time nursing them, that would be fine. This would still teach you that leaving your plants made your plants suffer, and it would involve you in the recovery process, rather than leaving you with nothing to do but start over.

If I were given this game as a present, I'd probably get into it. I could relax and enjoy the atmosphere. I could stare for hours at my nursery screen, waiting to see if someone would buy my plants. I could zone out looking at flowers and bugs. I could have the game running a lot and therefore remember to adjust the time when not playing it.

But as an upsell demo, it's an immensely lacking experience. Things either don't seem to happen or happen in an unwanted way. It doesn't lend itself to a trial period.

this is totally cool

makes me pine for gunbound. except gunbound was full of jerks who swore at you all the time for missing. which is why I hate online games.

Plant Tycoon

So, I download demos for an RPG and a casual game. And for some reason, I load the casual game. I guess I'm just a little too frazzled lately.

Plant Tycoon is meant to be a slow, relaxing game. Which is good for frazzled, but not so good for having only an hour to try it out, especially with plants that are supposed to grow in real-time. So I ran the brief tutorial and I now have the game closed. If it works correctly, perhaps some plants will have sprouted the next time I launch it. I can tend them quickly and log out again. This will let me keep as much time as possible available to try the demo... but it might damage the relaxingness of it...

It's sort of a pointless game, afaict. But at the same time, there *is* something charming about planting and watering and looking at pretty flowers and bugs. I used to be really fond of Creatures, which is also sort of pointless... if a little more active, and more likely to have done something interesting if you leave it running. Not VERY interesting, though. I think I went on vacation once and left my computer on, running Creatures, to see what happened. Not much.

I've never had real pets. Just the computer.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

jade empire

You may notice I posted about this all of once, then fell suspiciously silent.

Partly this was because I was having technical issues at the time and have since been very, very busy.

More, though, this was because the intro to the game completely failed to make me, in any way, give a shit.

Generic Bioware RPG Villages and Training Sequences galore! I am the Chosen One! I will follow this careful railroad in which nothing interesting can possibly happen because I have to be given enough false freedom to let me make a few choices of my own, none of which matter in any way!

I am having trouble putting my finger on the precise lack of atmosphere - but there was something about it that just felt SO generic, SO I've-done-this-before, that I had exactly zero interest in the story. (Or the gameplay, but that's another matter.) And therefore, I have yet to bother to run it again.

piracy sucks

Well, everybody knows that. Right?

Of course, it's not quite that simple. (What is?) Like almost any controversial issue, people on both 'sides' of the debate are spending a good part of their time lying and exaggerating. I don't want to talk about what idiots anyone else is, so let's boil this down to something really simple.

Did you LIKE the game?

Would you like to see MORE games like that game?

Then BUY the bloody thing.

Tons of great games go unnoticed. Companies rise and fall. Whoever made that game may be struggling to keep their head above water. Unless you've done a lot of research, you probably don't know. (You may not even know who did make the game - it's not always the name on the box!)

Like a company? Think their games are cool? Want to see them make more games? BUY THE GAMES.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

whining about the wii

so, reading through

... some of these commenters want a little too much to believe in conspiracy theories. (Thank you, Sony, for making these conspiracy theories sound reasonable, by pretending that the PS3 was in shorter supply than it was.)

But look at, say, that last comment:

I ordered a Wii mid October for my son. The retailer now cannot guarantee delivery for Xmas. I have had to explain to my son that he may not get the Wii he has been desperate for, for months. I checked out the prices on Amazon and seven retailers have stock but prices for the console and Wii sports start at £369. I am disgusted at those who are cashing in on the shortage and angry that Nintendo have failed to plan for Xmas demand. I also wonder if Nintendo have done this on purpose to push up prices as the difference between their console and the new PS3 is quite significant. Rather than pay inflated prices, I'll wait until after Xmas to buy.

Why does she think that Nintendo would intentionally fail to make enough consoles to cover the Christmas demand? Surely they WANT to sell as many consoles as they can? The jacked-up prices are, indeed, people trying to take advantage of the situation... but the extra money doesn't go to Nintendo, it goes to people who managed to get their hands on one of the consoles and are then reselling it for a higher profit. If you buy a console straight from nintendo for $50 and then sell it to someone else for $500, *you* pocket the extra profit - Nintendo only gets the original $50 you paid.

On the other hand, waiting until after Christmas is perfectly reasonable. :)

i don't even know what to categorise this as

A dating sim about disabled anime girls. In development (and has been for a while, and who knows if they'll ever finish)

video game marching band performance

This is quite neat, even if I can't always tell what picture they're trying to represent. I started giggling when Tetris started.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Girls for Games and Games for Girls

This is partly for my own interest, to scrounge around and see what games out there had a female lead designer - and what kind of games. I don't care who made a game if it's fun, but it's interesting to see, isn't it?

So, first, the obvious links:

Hanako Games
Amaranth Games
Tale of Tales (You may know them from 'The Endless Forest')

Some of you will definitely remember names like Roberta Williams (King's Quest) and Lori Cole (Hero's Quest/Quest for Glory) from the old Sierra days.

In "games specifically intended for girls" there's Brenda Laurel, from Purple Moon (possibly others there as well). And Her Interactive, which makes the Nancy Drew games.

WAY WAY BACK in ancient Atari History, we had Dona Bailey and Carol Shaw (Centipede, 3d Tic Tac Toe, River Raid). Slightly more recent than that, Amy Briggs wrote 'Plundered Hearts' in the text adventure age (was also specifically targeted at women). Digging around, I can also find a Nicky Robinson, who worked on several games but is credited as a major designer/developer on "Mail Order Monsters", which I've never heard of.

In freeware, "Emily Short" (apparently not her real name, perhaps to avoid conflict with the day job?) is considered one of the top figures of modern Interactive Fiction.

I can find a few people who worked as designers on some MMORPGs, notably Shadowbane, but those teams are so huge I don't think that counts. There are many more women who work IN the games industry, but I'm particularly interested in games primarily created/directed by women. Throw me some links, people?

make games!

Apparently, Bioware's hiring writers again.

... There was a time when I cared.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

test your vocabulary

while donating rice to the hungry

It's tough - my vocab is generally good but getting over 45 is taking a lot of work.

Whine - the site used to dump non-US visitors, so I couldn't look at it earlier when people I knew were doing so.

Friday, 9 November 2007

flash interactive drama thing

I like the idea, and the voice acting is pretty good even if the visuals aren't so great (even for Flash).

The credits sequence is a little dull - we put up with this in movies partly because we're settling into a theater in the dark with our popcorn. You can't run that long at the front with nothing happening in a game without making people jumpy.

The design is frustrating (it's not convenient to go back and make another choice) and sometimes the storyline doesn't make any sense - characters don't display conviction with the paths of action you've supposedly just talked them into, and the story continues just the same.

princess maker 4 translation update

see Princess Maker 4 Translation Patch for the background information to explain what is and isn't translated, and how to use it.

then you can download the actual doodad at

(there are also details on the preliminary princess maker refine patch!)

If you're looking for English games like Princess Maker, you should look here instead.