Saturday, 29 September 2007

coming up

I bought the PC edition of Jade Empire (again, cheap off ebay, since I think it's going to be far more action-oriented than my real taste in games). I haven't had time to play it yet. But sometime in the near future you will probably see initial impressions showing up here.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

hang that on your peggle

Okay, so, after complaining about it, I finally pulled off the trick required to win the 750,000 challenge (I knew how, it just took a lot of tries to do it) and then while I was complaining that the versus-computer challenges were impossible, someone over my shoulder got very lucky and beat the second-hardest duel by a mere 700 points.

So. Only one trophy to go. It still doesn't seem likely.

Friday, 21 September 2007

challenge vs frustration

Obviously this is a tough one to call. If your game is too easy, it's boring. If your game is too hard, it's annoying. In both cases, people won't want to play.

The thing I'm going to whine about at the moment is 'easy' games with special hardcore challenges... some of which seem far, far harder than others.

Take Fizzball. This is a fun simple game with an extra-easy Kid-mode, with enough difficulty in the basic gameplay not to make you feel condescended to, but not very hard at all. Of course, it adds all sorts of extra goals to shoot for - win the level faster, win 5 levels without ever losing a ball, etc, to win trophies. Some of these you'll get automatically as you play, some you'll have to do some extra work for, and some seem downright impossible. 'Win a level without ever bumping a tree'. Well, first, in MOST levels there are animals IN trees and you have to bump the tree to get the animal out, so you can't even attempt this. On ALL levels there are quite a lot of trees scattered about, and trying to win the level without touching a tree is insanely difficult. And even if you find a level that looks like once in a rare while it MIGHT be theoretically possible to win - you'll bang a tree by mistake, and there's no 'restart level' button to try again, so you have to quit the level and select it again from the map, and feel more and more annoyed.

Would it be less annoying if it were a mystery trophy and we didn't know what ridiculously hard thing we had to do in order to win it? Not sure. Maybe this just requires reciting 'It's just a game... It's just a game..." until we calm down a bit more.

Worse offender on this is Peggle. Playing versus the computer on anything other than incredibly-easy difficulty is a NIGHTMARE, so vastly beyond the difficulty of playing the normal game that it hurts to think about. And sitting there watching the computer effortlessly score another 100,000 points ahead of you just makes me want to scream 'You're CHEATING!' My chances of unlocking the last remaining challenges for super mastery points seem slim. (What I've got left - the two 'score a ridiculously high score' challenges and the 'beat the computer at non-easy difficulty' duels.) Scoring a million points sounds a lot more likely than winning the duel.

So - do trophies for incredible achievements reward those who can reach them, or taunt those who can't?

ouendan 2

aha! I knew there had to be a level on the christmas tree eventually!

on first loading the level...

okay, there's a guy on his cellphone. There's a santa. Cellphone guy drops the phone into the sewer after banging into santa and is very upset.

Then a... guy in funny makeup waving a love letter jumps out of the phone and is washed down the sewer? WTF?

... partway through the level I *think* he's the signal trying to deliver the text message that was being sent when the phone was dropped? Maybe?

Thursday, 13 September 2007

FINALLY managed to save the earth on hard level, can now progress to OMG CHEER GIRLS AHHH. (At least, considering the general advanced difficulty of Oeundan 2, I expect the cheergirls will hurt.)

The lack of lustre

Maybe I'm just too picky in my old age. But if there's one thing that's most commonly known for putting me off a game purchase - without even trying the demo - it's seeing a bunch of reviews refer to the plot, writing, or dialog as lackluster. "Okay game, but mediocre writing... fun combat but really lame story..."

This is a particular problem in adventure games, which are now something of a niche, produced mostly by just-above-amateur enthusiasts or by developers from foreign lands whose English is a bit shaky. A lot of them focus on puzzles. And a lot of adventure players want puzzles. But I want story, and so every time a review for a new adventure comes out and mentions that the story and the characters are pretty weak, I sigh and write another game off my list of things to try.

Same for budget RPGs. The plot tends to be the LAST thing they consider important.

Now, this doesn't really mean I'll never play them. You've seen me going through Titan Quest and not even bothering to read the dialog blocks half the time. But what it does mean is that I tend not to buy these games at full price. I bought Titan Quest off ebay cheap. I'm considering getting one of those game subscription services, which will contain a lot of adventures and RPGs that I wouldn't have bought new because they were kind of lame, but don't mind playing cheap.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

and i have a dent in my hand

Still haven't unlocked the cheer girls in Ouendan 2. Getting closer though.

Friday, 7 September 2007

i am more erudite than you

http://grandtextauto.gatech.edu/2007/08/31/when-musicians-play-interactive-fiction/

This is funny. If you played a lot of text adventures.

That's, what, three of you out there?

Sunday, 2 September 2007

in which I continue lifting content from other blogs

Hey, I'm busy right now. But http://www.maragos.org/?p=98 sounds like it's bound to be cool, for fans of the OLD games. :)

Love your SNES? Go and see.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Free Game!

Seen on Tales of the Rampant Coyote
- apparently EA is now offering up the original Command and Conquer for free. I'm sure someone out there will appreciate this more than me. (RTS, not my thing really.)