Thursday, 31 December 2009

we all have our standards

I just got a search engine hit for

games with changeable panties

Well, the internet is a marvelous place, and perhaps there is somewhere a list of such games. I have to admit, though, that such is not generally the criteria I use when selecting new games to play.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

life is continually disappointing

Various free online 'RPGs' continue to try and mimic crap-Evony-ripoff's success at softcore porn advertising. I just saw one that consists of a girl in a leather bikini tied to a tree, bosom heaving. How heroic.

I wouldn't complain if the games actually WERE porn, mind. Truth in advertising, please!

As it is, though, it sends some clear messages about what sort of players they want...

conversations with computer people

Article on evolving chat AI in games.

Friday, 25 December 2009

sex in games 2009

Not a terribly deep article but worth linking to as I hadn't heard about some of the incidents in question. (For those who need warning, RapeLay will be mentioned.)

Monday, 21 December 2009

my alter ego breathes fire

This is cute: a web gamelet in the style of the old Alter Ego where you make a ton of choices about your character's path through life and see how successful (or not) you end up.

Except instead of a baby human, you're a dragon.

http://www.choiceofgames.com/dragon/

rolling a 1

Gamespot heartily disapproves of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

Not that it makes any difference to me, with the pile of games I have on my plate there was no way I was going to get to that one.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

probably just a nonsense patent

Hey, I'm all for mixing fun and physical activity. Active games are good. I don't have a wii but I'd kinda like one. DDR is fun to play.

But who thought banning fat people from playing video games was a sensible thing to do?? Even if you somehow believe that with the entire world telling them how much they suck, this one detail is going to magically make them thin again, a) what business sense does it make to implement a feature designed to annoy your playerbase and b) why would people agree to input the data required to disable the games they want to play?

I suppose if they aim it at children, over-controlling parents might enjoy that.

more stupid solutions redux

Digging your way upward through a sandpit while suspended by a cluster of helium balloons, in a lightning storm, with an angry nuckelavee below you.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Nine hours, Nine persons, Nine doors

EDIT December 2010 the game is now out in English:
9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

If you've already played it and are looking for other games like this, search for Ever 17 (same author) or Fatal Hearts (same gameplay).

Original post follows:

Japanese-only for the moment, but an interesting novel/adventure game for the DS.
Play novel horror puzzle game developed by Chunsoft and published by Spike for Nintendo DS in Japan.
Nine People have been kidnapped, each person has a bracelet/watch numbered 1-9 alongside 9 doors and 9 hours in which to escape. To enter the required door the people need to team up to match the number on the door i.e to open door number 4 needs to be bracelet number 1+3 to enter together, causing people to split up and explore different areas. Once inside said door you are locked in and required to finish a puzzle in order to leave.
source



The official site is here but japanese-only. They also seem to have a free webgame/preview/demo related to it.

Game can be purchased here. No idea if it'll ever see translation.

Friday, 18 December 2009

more christmas specials

Beautiful and quirky adventure games Samorost 2 and Machinarium available in a discounted bundle offer. Less than the cost of ONE game.

Do I need to say anything more than that?

That's enough for ME to just walk over and instant purchase. :)

Thursday, 17 December 2009

them streets are mean

Good Old Games is giving away Tex Murphy games free until Christmas.

A Year of Casual Games

As you should be aware if you read this, I like quirky indie games. And RPGs. And arcade games. And adventures. And, yes, Casual Games. (And as I'm also a developer, I feel it's important that I *play* a number of casual games and at least vaguely try to keep up with some of the developments and enhancements in the field.)

So a long while back I gave in and got one of those BFG monthly membership things, to be used to buy games that I wouldn't generally consider worth a full-price purchase.

For your bemusement, a list of what I have gotten: (most of which I've blogged about before, so linking to those posts)

Azada: Ancient Magic Azada sort of sparked the 'casual adventure game', I thought I ought to see what it was up to. (Completed)

Ancient Quest of Saqqarah It's just a match-3, but it's a really big really shiny match-3 with tons of different playmodes and sparkly lights. Also, giant flying monkey. (Yes, that's not a monkey, it's a reference to an old joke.) I sort of wish you could replay levels, but there are so many and add-on packs as well... (Completed some temples but not others. This thing is huge, and I really dislike certain temples.)

Shop-n-Spree - A hidden object game, *sort of*. Except that instead of a huge assortment of random junk scattered willy-nilly, it's just a very crowded store, with things often arranged in a semi-logical fashion. There's memory to it as well as just finding. And all the art is custom-done to match. It's still a pointless casual game, but it was acceptable light entertainment. (Completed.)

Wonderburg - I never posted about this one before, so here's a game link. It's a "real estate" game - buy houses, fix them up, sell them again, make tons of money. (A scenario which was much truer a couple of years ago!) It's also magic-themed, with cute characters in the very-brief 'story' scenes between levels. Like many casual games it does get samey, but it passes the time. (Completed.)

Wandering Willows - A game in which you wander around collecting pets, food, and other items, and combining them to make more items, and giving them to people. It is pointless but cute. While it was fun for a while, the lack of any real challenge or direction got to me eventually. The pets do have different stats, but not sufficiently different that it matters or is even really worthwhile to change them. (Not completed, for those reasons. It's still a very cute game, I just ran out of steam after a while.)

Plants vs Zombies - A game that I wasn't sufficiently interested in from description alone to buy at full price. People called it tower defense and the tower-defense games I'd seen weren't all that interesting. And even when I did pick this up just to see what it was, it seemed a little dull at first while it held my hand to drag me through the basics. But it got better. (Completed the first runthrough of adventure mode and, I think, all of the special challenges/puzzles. Am still vaguely playing through the second run of adventure mode, having been told there are some new monsters lurking out there.)

Enlightenus - another 'casual adventure'/hidden object, very pretty but really in need of a story that means something. This is a complaint you're going to see from me a lot. (Completed.)

Peggle Nights - because I already *had* 1.5 peggle games and didn't see this as sufficiently different to pay full price for it. By this point I have all levels aced, and 100% on about a third.

Drawn: The Painted Tower Another high-profile adventure/HO with lovely graphics and great atmosphere. Now will someone PLEASE make one of these games have a PLOT so that you end with an actual sense of triumph and achievement rather than a crushing sense of disappointment? (Completed.)

Gemini Lost - One of the sort of "village strategy" games where you manage a population and build up their resources while trying to accomplish various tasks. The village-type games will also play themselves while you're away, which makes winning almost a foregone conclusion and feels less rewarding in the end. It was cute, but the 'plot' STUNK BIGTIME. There really wasn't a plot but there were just enough elements of things that suggested a story that if you stopped to think about what was going on, it was somewhat disturbing, and the 'winning' conclusion didn't feel like a win at all but more like starting all over again.

Avalon - Same genre, but with pretty sparkly fairies. Game really a bit too short (especially since with the play-while-you're away factor it was really easy to build up a huge supply of resources) but one thing it did right, for me, was the story. There wasn't that much in words, but the things you could see happening were interesting, and the animation-rewards for completing each zone were impressive. The ending will actually make you feel happy. (WHY IS THIS SO HARD FOR YOU TO GRASP, OTHER CASUAL DEVELOPERS? ARGH!)

Westward III - Because I still hate 3d. Haven't finished it yet, largely because the fire-and-earthquakes subquest was SO HARD that after finally getting through it the rest of the game feels boring now. :) I'll get back to it eventually.

Monday, 14 December 2009

but why do it the easy way?

The easy way to detach an item from a rope you can't reach is to set the rope on fire.

The stupid - but possible - way is to glue multiple items together until you can manage to glue an air vent at an angle to blow a steel spike at the rope and destroy it. Hopefully without destroying everything else in the process. (Steel is indestructible and anything else can be destroyed by spike impact, pretty much...)

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Icycle

Brilliant. Evil. Nice art style too.

You're a little naked guy pedaling a bicycle through a frozen landscape, and everything is trying to kill you.

http://www.dampgnat.com/icycle

needs more love

You may be able to tell that I'm finally daring to look at the rest of the IGF list...

Emberwind really is as much fun as it looks like, and has demos for both Mac and Windows. Also, despite totally rocking, it's cheap! Check it out! (or heck just buy it. i'm not even an affiliate here, I just think it's COOL.)

There's also an upcoming dating sim (Summer Session style) based on Pride and Prejudice (But not with zombies.). It is NOT yet publicly available, but it looks promising.

(screenshot)

(It's not by me, but I'll probably be affiliate-salesing it when it's ready.)

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Does pink stink?

You might not believe it, looking at this blog, but as a little girl I hated pink.

Why? Well, for one thing, I'm naturally contrary. If every little girl around me was pink pink pink, I was going to be not-pink just to be different. For another, my bedroom was painted pink when I, as a baby, was not exactly able to voice an opinion on the subject. Therefore I could be sulky about having pink 'forced' on me.

When I got older, I hated pink for the same reasons that boys often do... I associated it with this stereotypical stupid girlhood, mindless ninnies with lipstick and hairspray. *I*, of course, was a geek. Geeks wear black. Not pink.

It took a lot more maturity for me to recognise that liking make-up does not actually make you stupid, and that there isn't necessarily anything wrong with wanting to be pretty, or wanting to be a housewife with a dozen babies, so long as it's actually what YOU want and you respect the choices of others as well.

So with that in mind, I have no interest in banning pink toys. I would, however, appreciate seeing more choice in toys for girls. Pink is not evil. Pink is just not the be-all and end-all either.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

more stupid solutions

Attach wire to cat. Attach star to wire. Put dog near cat. Cat is scared, wire twitches, star moves slightly. Put air vent under star when it lifts, pushing it up and away from the bombs. Remove dog. Move air vent to keep cat and star far away from bombs. Create new bomb to explode existing pile of bombs. Sadly not all ice removed. Equip sword. Ride pegasus. Hack at ice blocks. Discover Pegasus will not fit through final gap to reach cat and star. Dismount, equip wings, fly to star.

It's way over 'par' of course, but if this sort of solution doesn't amuse you, why are you playing this game? :)

... Also, handcuffing myself to criminals and forcibly dragging them to heaven appears to prevent angels from attacking me.

private servers

re: BBC article

So long as they're not charging money, I don't particularly see the harm. But then, I also support fanfic for similar reasons.

Private servers give you a chance to play around and try things without messing things up in the shared game. Running a private server gives people a taste of how much work the real thing actually is. Many people play on both the paid game and private copies of it. Private copies are NOT an adequate substitute for the shared universe of the 'real' deal, they're not a disincentive from playing.

And especially in the case of MMORPGs where you were forced to pay a box-copy price as well as an ongoing server price (sadly too common), private servers provide the ability to play the damn game - which you paid for - even if the company explodes. An awful lot of MMORPGs get shut down. Bought a box? You have a coaster. Sucks to be you. (And people wonder why I tend to be resistant to MMORPGs?)

Now, obviously at the point where a private shard starts charging people to play, then the moral issues change. (Although being pretty open-minded when it comes to IP, I'd be fine personally with them being required to pay a percentage of take back to the dev studio... but that's me, not everybody.)

Monday, 7 December 2009

Saturday, 5 December 2009

I will not make your game for you

Someone posted a link to this story - which is funny, and anyone who's a professional in some sort of writing can probably relate. :)

I have not yet gotten to the stage of being that traditionally harsh, and I don't really mind people telling me their ideas. Once in a while, I work with other people. Sometimes this is a mistake, other times it isn't.

Regardless, I will not make your game for you. Even if it's the coolest idea ever. (And some of the ideas I get handed are at least somewhat cool.)

I will point you in the direction of tools you can use to make it yourself.

If you can get your game at least to playable demo stage, then come and talk to me again. IF I like your game and IF it's well-matched to my audience and IF there's something I think I can offer you to make your game more successful, then maybe we make a deal... but I still won't make your game for you. I just might be able to give you some advice or other help.

Not getting my help doesn't necessarily mean your game is crap, it just means that I don't think my help would be a productive use of my time. If you're writing an FPS, you seriously don't want my help. My help wouldn't do you any good.

scribble scribble

Stupid solutions that work:

Using a zombie to scare a mad scientist into pushing an ice block containing an alien.

Stupid solutions that didn't (quite) work:

Handcuffing a falcon to a mcguffin resting on top of explosives and then getting it to chase a pigeon.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Displaced

Interesting-sounding "non-linear" adventure game, available for online play or download here

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

sword and sorcery



Michiko and Sorami, the girls of Cute Knight :)

(I'll probably be sticking them on a wallpaper at some point, but for now, just chibis.)

Wildhollow

This is a cute game that's sort of a mix of point-and-click adventure, fetch quest, and pet raising. With a big dose of comedy.



You're on your way home to visit your parents on their Magical Animal Ranch when you discover that - ohnoes! - the ranch is destroyed and your parents are missing. You need to find out what happened to them, and you need money to buy supplies to follow their trail (as well as to fix what's left of the ranch). That means talking to everyone in town and begging quests off them. Luckily, as I mentioned, the dialog tends to be funny. (Still, if you *detest* reading, you may not like this... but if you hate reading, why are you on my blog anyway?)

The quests mostly involve going to places, talking to people, and spotting things to click on, but there are a handful of little minigames as well. VERY mini, so don't worry, it's nothing complicated. (Fishing may take some practice to get the hang of though.) Then, once you have some starting funds, you can rebuild bits of the ranch and start raising magical animals for profit.



You will need good eyesight, as the items you have to spot and click on can be quite tiny at times. But it's cute and entertaining.

Windows Demo


Mac Demo

Monday, 30 November 2009

drama queens?

Something I'd never heard of but stumbled across via an artist:

Witch Girls Adventures

Looks like a roleplaying game aimed at tween girls. Only they call it "drama diaries".... because roleplaying is weird and geeky? DUnno.

The website looks a little like it's trying too hard to convince parents that it won't bite, but this review suggests it's a decent book.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

free for a day

If you're not absolutely swamped in games, there's a Beholder-style RPG being given away free today. I suspect it was written for mobile phones so don't expect an epic though.

Okamiden

This wasn't really high on my list of interesting titles, but this trailer is both long and reasonably intriguing.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

i warned you about stairs bro!

While I don't have an Iphone, Stair Dismount does seem like a good fit for it.

(Also, an excuse for an MS Paint Adventures joke)

très amusant

Found a French forum talking about CKK and some of them were commenting that the game was clearly not designed for 'geeks'... because the party dress is actually a dress and not just a few scraps of frilly lingerie. Some people's expectations!

Friday, 27 November 2009

just throw it all in and stir

A full guide to Cute Knight Kingdom's cooking and crafting recipes (as well as general directions for the endings) can be found at Gamezebo.

Although you might have more fun trying to puzzle out solutions yourself with the help of the forum.

black friday

For fans of quirky Japanese games (in English), Rhythm Heaven is half-price on Amazon today.

None of the other DS deals catch my eye, they're either for games I would never play or they're such a small discount it's not important.

PC-wise, Dragon Age: Origins is $15 off, and that's probably a Christmas gift for me.

GameStop has some big deal on used games which might matter if I were in the US but I'm not. Also Phantom Hourglass on sale but... if you're into Zelda, how can you not have played that yet? :)

BestBuy apparently has Assassin's Creed and Bioshock for the PC for $5 each, which again might tempt me if I were actually in the US.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

talent or effort

from slashdot, an article that talks about what causes people to feel that they've achieved something, and whether RPGs might be bad for you.

Of course, it's more complicated. Plenty of people play both, and plenty of people are unsatisfied by RPGs where they can simply grind their way to inevitable victory.

quake in flash?

I so do not care about Quake. But someone might, so.

http://www.silvergames.com/game/quake-flash/

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

nostalgic confusion

One of these screenshots looks an awful lot like a game I used to have on the ColecoVision.

Only I'm very sure that game didn't have GIANT MONSTERS in it!


(ah, okay, wikipedia clears it up - this was the sequel to that game.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

beyond the horizon

Just released an update for Cute Knight Kingdom that adds some speed boosts for players who are highly impatient or have been grinding for days trying to get those last few endings. When flipped, the switch raises walk speed and allows you to skip through jobs and classes by button mashing.

Since that game has only just wrapped up, you can expect it will be a long while before there's a sequel. I have plenty of other ideas I want to pursue. Still, no harm in speculating. A long time back I joked that each entry in the series should expand the size of the gameworld, so therefore after Kingdom would come Empire, then World, then Galaxy...

What would be involved in Cute Knight Empire? I'm thinking that the empire is made up of several different states, each with strongly different national flavors. The Empress is old and has no heir. A number of young people are chosen from the various corners of the empire to be raised as potential heirs, then set loose to see what they can make of themselves. So there's this group of other people in your age range who are both your friends and your rivals, and none of you knows exactly what you're supposed to do to achieve your goal. You explore the Empire, probably with a lot of sea travel and pirates, raising your skills, gathering treasure, and so on, while occasionally crossing paths with the rest of your classmates who are doing the same thing.

Probably not going to do walkaround-style again. Been there, done that, time for something new. No, more likely each city will be more like PM4- a map with locations to click on. And when you go to a location, a background image and larger size characters on the screen like in a VN.

That means dungeons might go back to first-person perspective.

Of course, this is all complete speculation, I have no intention of even starting this for at least a year!

which way to the wins?

More interesting data on gamebooks: this site has posted flowcharts for a number of books including the Fighting Fantasy ones.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

btw

I am avoiding comments on the IGF for reasons of fairness. No hype goes in or out of this blog plz. :) However, the game list is published and you can probably find the website and look for yourself if you are interested.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Shadow in the Cathedral

New commercial text adventure available.

This review suggests it's reasonably cool.

I so do not have time to look at it right now.

what you haven't been waiting for

Hey, look! Somebody found a copy of that Heaven game to review!

freebie

Sandlot is giving away the original Westward free for a week.

The first game is the only one that is 2D and therefore the best in my opinion. :) Definitely recommended to bored strategy fans. (Obviously, this is somewhat a promotion of Westward 4 which just came out. But it's 3d so ignore it.)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Saturday, 14 November 2009

passing the time

So, at a particular point in our current project the characters decide to pass an evening with one of those old standbys, the drinking game "I Never". Except without the drinking, because at least one character doesn't drink.

This is entertaining from a writing/character development perspective, since not only does it mean working out who has and hasn't done what in order to answer the questions, there's also the matter of things like: who already knows about what other characters have done? Who will intentionally ask things they already know the answer to in order to score points? Who will ask what they really want to know? And who will carefully avoid asking about things they don't want to know or don't want to make public?

Of course, in a hentai game, which this isn't, the questions would probably get a lot more explicit.

Friday, 13 November 2009

choose your own adventure

This has been making the rounds lately - some interesting data on branching and multiple endings from the old Choose Your Own Adventure novels.

When I was young, I loved CYOAs. Not surprisingly, I wanted to write them, too. However, I found the process painfully confusing. I couldn't think of a good way to keep track of all the branches as I went along, and I had no idea at all how I was supposed to go about assigning numbers to the different bits when I hadn't written them yet and didn't know how they would go together!

But my school computer lab, even on the basic Apple 2 whatevers they had at the time, had turned up software for producing branching path stories. Not to be produced as books, but as simple games. And it was so much easier. They even had features for player-determined-choice and random-choice (Which VN writers will tell you is probably a bad idea, but the point is, it was something you couldn't easily do in a book.)

and see what's on the slab

Apparently someone has released a fullsize Japanese bishoujo game (minus the H) for the iphone. (Japanese and English versions both available)

As I don't have an iphone, this doesn't mean much. Still considering how RIDICULOUSLY MUCH those games cost in Japan, it's interesting to see one pushed down to a piddly $9.99 for the iphone market.

Would be curious to see how the sales turn out.

Of course, there have already been a number of cellphone games in Japan on things other than the iphone.

get it while it's hot

But hopefully not on fire.

Cute Knight Kingdom is now available to the general public.







As there is, as yet, no sign of Princess Maker 6, this will have to do you for now. :)

clap your hands if you believe

IGN has a review up of the new Disney Fairies game. Not one I'm intending to play, but I like to cheer them for reviewing things that many gaming sites won't touch.

I'm also of two minds about the reviewer's complaint that you can't make a boy character. It's true, and having more options is good, and recognising that a boy might play a cutesy game or a girl might enjoy being a boy is good, but at the same time, the snark in me wonders if the reviewer would complain if you could only create boy characters... (He might. You never know.)

Thursday, 12 November 2009

on the edge

Copyright/trademark/IP can get a bit silly these days, can't it?

Your Friend Just Did This! Join The Fun!

An article on some developments within the facebook 'game' business...

lame

Ridiculous fanservice is fine in a comedy that's clearly about ridiculous fanservice. Or a hentai game, where that's why you're playing.

It's slightly tacky to take what is, as far as I know, a 'normal' RPG and implement a mechanic where your female characters level up by taking off their clothes.

(I haven't actually played any games in this series, maybe I'm misjudging the targeting? A gamespot review of the first game suggests it was always a little confusing with innuendo that didn't go anywhere.)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

the sound of tiny violins

A pirate is 'gutted' about being kicked off Xbox for being a blatant pirate, and completely unrepentant for what he's done.

No mention is made of things like borrowing or renting games if you can't afford to buy them, or buying cheaper used games.

musical ripples

Apparently Aquaria is putting out an official soundtrack.

The music is cool - but we want a sequel! Alas...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

bug hunt

Cute Knight Kingdom is in a state best described as preorder-beta. Loyal forum members can purchase the game at a nice discount, with the knowledge that it's not entirely stable yet, and that there is no demo. Updates are coming in rapidly, so it should be stomped on well enough by the end of the week.

Bugs that have been uncovered so far:

A duplicated number causing an error to popup when a baby spits up on you
Quantum cakes that exist only as long as you have no other cakes
A missing parenthesis allowing you to marry someone who should refuse you for being TOO SINFUL
The default name of the main character (Sorami) accidentally showing up in one of the ending stories even if you were using another name
Looking at your picture in the gallery after ending the game could sometimes throw you back into the gameworld after it ended... which, if you'd ended by turning 21, would then mean the game ended all over again
Popup error if you started to save the story-record available at the end of the game and then canceled


So far, nothing that actually crashes the game or really screws up progress.

dragon age

I've been burned by Bioware's generic plots so many times.

I have a ton of other things to play.

But I hear there's no DRM.

... Christmas is coming up.

... I will probably end up with this game.

in the distant future of hello kitty there is only war

Something Awful did a take on Warhammer 40K. Being Something Awful, it is going to be a bit rude. But it's still funny, especially if you know just enough about the blasted game to get the references but not to actually care.

Monday, 9 November 2009

dear casual game developers

Please stop ending your games with absolutely no plot resolution and a big 'To Be Continued' sign.

Yes, I know you want to sell a million sequels and keep churning in the money.

It's really not that hard to give SOME resolution to your story and then add a HOOK for an ending.

But many games these days will, say, be about walking down a staircase, and then at the end of the game you step off the staircase and get a black screen with 'To find out what happens next, buy the sequel!' Which makes it clear there was no point to playing this game in the first place. All you did was walk down a staircase, and you knew about the staircase the second you started. You learned nothing.

some is worse than none?

I saw a comment (about Torchlight) where someone was annoyed that the only female player option was "white, long-legged, and busty", and faced with a character which would always be scantily clad, felt sufficiently unwanted as a player to leave.

I haven't played it myself but I get the impression that there may be more than one male player option - if so, that makes it much more obvious that the female is just an afterthought. At least, it would to me, and I'm guessing it did to that commenter as well.

The latest casual game *I've* been playing is something in the civ/strategy genre called Gemini Lost. It's cute, if clearly heavily derived from Virtual Villagers. One thing that's noticeable is that there's a fairly low number of human models, and the engine doesn't seem to include palette variations, so ALL characters of model X will be identical brunettes in purple dresses.

The weird thing is, there seems to be only one non-white model... a black male. Maybe two if there's another clothing option for him, I'm not sure. But there's very certainly no black female character, or anything else. Also, while the game forces you to pair up your characters to marry them off and breed them to produce a new generation of workers, the actual parentage of children doesn't seem to be tracked or matter for anything, including appearance... which is particularly noticeable when you've just started the game, you have only one black character, you've just married together two white characters, and they promptly produce a black boy baby.

If you're thinking enough about diversity to stick in one black character, why only one? It's not like they're actual characters where you'd need to do work to carefully develop the backstory of them, they're just Generic Villagers who're going to live and die at your command.

due to foreseen schedule disruption

... I've pretty much totally missed the IF Comp this year. I have no intention of trying to do any last-minute judging. Although it does remind me of a couple of ideas for text adventures I vaguely wanted to make, a long time ago.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

are you pondering what I'm pondering?

This blog has generally been me whining about games that I play, or think about playing, or at least heard about someone else playing. I occasionally talk about the games business in general, but I have been trying to stick to an outside perspective.

As many of you know, I am a game developer. I may want to actually talk about things I'm making as well, or at least babble cryptic progress reports. However, not everyone cares about that. Also, it might be nice to have a fancier-sounding blog name than WHIIIIIIINE for talking about my work.

Therefore, I pose this question to the three of you actually reading this. :) Should I make another blog for dev talk? If I do, should I crosspost the "games business" posts to it? Or should I just post that stuff here?

still catching up around here

So I have briefly checked out the Three Musketeers game I mentioned earlier.

It's pretty cool so far. It's enough like a console/JRPG to feel familiar, but everything is completely new... the art, the way combat works, and so forth, so it's NOT just another RPG Maker thing.

It's based on the classic novel and uses a lot of text from it, so the writing is quite good. (Although probably VERY familiar if you've read the book recently! I never read it myself, I admit. I've seen bits and pieces of the story in movies.)

One interesting feature is the 'footprints' that guide you to your next objective. Because of this, you can never get lost like you are in some games, floundering around on huge maps. On the downside this can make the game feel very linear, if you're just being dragged from point to point... HOWEVER, you don't actually have to follow the footprints all the time. You can wander off on your own to find treasure and new sidequests, and get back to the footprints later. The game will even encourage you to do this eventually. (The built-in hints are very helpful, and give you little bits of information at a time so that it's not overwhelming while always leaving you feeling like you know what you're doing.)

Demo is available here, if you're interested... that's the PC link, there is one for Macs here as well.

Friday, 6 November 2009

the festering sinkhole of licensed games

What possesses people to put out licensed products for TV shows that cannot possibly be interesting in game form? 'Deal or No Deal' was an obvious problem... the show is all about the psychological pressure of maybe winning - or losing - big money. Well, since the DS doesn't allow real world gambling, that's simply not going to happen in a game version, and it becomes nothing but Boring Random Guessing. Might as well play *bingo*, that's not a game either.

So now they're selling a licensed game of "The Biggest Loser"?

Good grief.

First off, I should state that I have serious ideological differences with the original TV show. Rapid competitive weight loss is not healthy, many people have told behind the scenes stories of just how sick they became doing this. Unless there was a clear fixable problem causing the weight gain (which sometimes there is), massive weight loss is almost never sustainable. It comes back, and the huge strain on the system of the loss/gain has nasty long-term consequences.

Top that off with a show title that is clearly mocking its competitors while 'cheering' them along to do something dangerous and unhealthy, and... well, I'm not a fan.

Now, how the heck are you going to make this into a fun 'game'?

Right. You're not.

Okay, that Japanese game I talked about long ago shows that you can make a fun game about losing weight, but I didn't think they were going to go there, and they didn't. OTOH portable collections of nutritional and recipe information can be handy... but if it only provides calorie information and not nutritional information, that's pretty useless again. ROCKS may be low calorie, that doesn't make them a healthy diet. :)

gloomy gorgeous

So, now that I'm finally on a computer that can *play* the big-budget BFG adventure, I must say I'm quite fond of it. Animation! Beautiful gloom!

Sure, the hint system means it's not very difficult but I'm the sort who plays adventures with a walkthrough anyway, because I want to see the story.



However, the basic plot leaves something to be desired ("Save princess in tower!" A girl who, despite her supposed cool powers and importance, literally spends the whole game STANDING there WAITING for you) and the ending stinks.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

just in case it was unclear

There's another new DS being planned. It's bigger.

However, as I refused to buy the DSi in the first place because of region-locking, I'm

a) Not exactly lining up to get the bigger version of the same problem
b) Not at all surprised that people who bought the downloadable region-locked software are now screwed because there's no way to transfer the software to the bigger handheld if they buy it

Sux 2 be U

torchlight

New action-rpg out, but I never did recover from my grouchiness over the Fate thing.

zen + triple

Finally reached the Ace trophy for Peggle Nights.

Friday, 30 October 2009

not only but also

I am a sucker for 2d animation.

This is my only explanation for how in my trip I have somehow managed to obtain an old Leisure Suit Larry game and a copy of Murder in the Abbey.

I'm not yet even certain if either will run, much less if I'll actually enjoy them. This is all related to the fact that there are no game stores where I live, making me weak against temptation when I can actually find stuff. (There are some mainstream stores that sell a very small number of chart-topping games, but that's not the same thing.)

but whose fantasy is it?

We finally managed to play through a full game of Dokapon Journey - the connection *still* reset several hours in, but by that point it was close enough to done that we could finish on one DS.

There is, afaict, no extra dialog written to cover the fact that your female hero is winning the hand of the princess. The princess still seems very excited, and the king says he can't wait to see the grandchildren. However, there are no smoochie pics (I don't think there would be with the male hero either). Alas!

so i was at a used game store

And spotted a number of games which have been on my list of "well, it's probably playable, if I saw it for $5 I guess I'd get it" - at the magic price.

What I ended up with was Deep Labyrinth - it was the only one of the cheap games on my list present with its original box.

(There was a used copy of A Witch's Tale already. But at practically the cost of new. Not interested. I'd rather buy new than buy used for $5 off.)

SUPAA KAWAII PUREJIDENTO!!

(okay, pardon my terrible attempt at japaneselish)

This is... bizarre. And potentially hilarious. (The video is very slightly NSFW in one spot, and is in a mix of Japanese and English.)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

RPGs forever

So, Nostalgia is out, although unless I suddenly hear something TRULY AMAZING about its storyline I have no interest because there are just too many RPGs out right now!

This review can't seem to make up its mind - sometimes it's complaining like crazy about how the game isn't innovative enough, and other times it seems to like the game just fine...

Also, I have a $10 Amazon credit. Must ponder.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Friday, 16 October 2009

as if i needed more games to be interested in

Mumblings point out that Atelier Annie: Alchemist of Sera Island is due out shortly. (in English with Japanese voices)

I can't remember if I've looked up anything about this one before. From the description, this sounds like it might be a good one to get for ripping off research purposes. I'm always up for sim/RPG combos...

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

sexism hurts men too...

because this creepy, stupid article about getting "your girlfriend" to appreciate games is not flattering to men OR women.

LOL all girls are dumb and shallow and like pink and cats and are afraid of computers!

LOL all boys are dumb and shallow and like jiggling boobies and are afraid of reading!


... and WHY did this article come up in the "DS" listings? Hello, user demographics?

sticky wonderful

Just in case you don't own World of Goo (and why not?) they're doing an anniversary sale, so you can set your own price. (story from game set watch)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

need some carpal tunnel in your day?

Cute little super-retro-styled flash run-and-gun platformer. Difficulty is usually not too bad, but a few points are YOW. (First stage of the final boss, a couple of the parts where you have to get by Things That Shoot Two Out Of Three)

http://vacuumflowers.com/star_guard/star_guard.html

Friday, 9 October 2009

smug gits

How to make me feel like your expansion pack or downloadable content is just stuff that should have been in the original release but you were too lazy or cheap to finish it, and instead decided to charge me extra to play the game I already bought?

How about making DLC available on launch day?

Look at the 'bright' side - if we sell you a box with only part of a game in it and then sell you the rest of the game in five separate bits, it'll make it harder for the pirates to assemble the whole game! *sigh*

Of course, since I've gotten fed up with the Bioware style of generic plotting and the 'romance' scenes shown of this game were pretty cringeworthy, I'm not exactly a launch-day customer.

katamari

crocheted magnet ball to roll around and pick things up. cute!

http://amysbabies.wordpress.com/magnetic-katamari-pattern/

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

off to see the wizard

That Wizard of Oz RPG for the DS is apparently out and not bad, although not nearly special enough to get through my backlog!

Monday, 5 October 2009

darn my lack of bilinguality

Rounding up some interesting Japanese-only download titles:

A new version of the Maid Strategy Game, adding a new Alice character and 'collaborative play'.

As before, there's a demo here:


---

Entitled 'Condemnatory Iron Maiden' this appears to have something to do with Nazi-reminiscent military folk and Battle Maids with large weapons. Beyond that, I have NO IDEA. But I wish I did!



(As usual with DLsite links, this particular game is not adult, but there is plenty of adult stuff on the site.)

enjoying the failures of others

I don't have a PSP. I have never had the slightest bit of interest in a PSP. Therefore, the PSP Go was not something that was really on my radar. However, I am still amused by reading a review of it.

In other words, this system is for people who don't mind rebuying all their content, never buy used games, and don't mind paying more for less. If you're agoraphobic and the idea of driving to a physical store to buy a game is terrifying, this system is for you. So we're looking for a gamer who is both wealthy and frighteningly antisocial.

The rest of us will stick with our current hardware, thanks. If you sell a system that takes hours of setup, downloading, and charging before you can see what a game looks like on the screen, you have failed pretty spectacularly. I absolutely love my PSP, but this new iteration of the platform is what would happen if a facepalm was turned into a piece of hardware.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Friday, 2 October 2009

which witch?

Poking around, a review for A Witch's Tale (due out in English this week) suggests that it's really easy.

Considering my gaming backlog, that's probably a good thing. Especially with a handheld game (where it's much harder to CHEAT if I get fed up, or to maintain separate saves for strategy testing) I don't necessarily want all that much challenge. It depends on the game, really. A little action-puzzle with individual challenges to master is fun. (Witness my Peggle *obsession*, as I try to rack up bonus challenges... and since I'm on vacation I'm going to have to do it all over again when I get home and reinstall!) But when I'm just following a story I tend not to want to have to pick myself up too many times... especially if it means having to do boring grinding in order to progress.

(I'm not really the biggest JRPG fan actually. And the idea of boss battles that take hours sounds BAD to me.)

However, I still may not bother to pick it up new because I just have too many games right now! I should really get through Rhapsody (which I haven't even started) before I grab another simple RPG.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Coropata

(Hmm, do I need a new blog tag for 'Wacky physics-based puzzling'?)

http://nintendo.joystiq.com/2009/10/01/hands-on-coropata-ds/

One cannot help but admit that it is kawaii.

Don't know how import-friendly it will eventually be. There's clearly dialog, but if the bulk of the game is platform-puzzling, it should be okay, right? However, while it looks like the sort of thing I'd poke at demos for on dojin sites, I'm dubious it would live up to the expense of a full import, especially considering I have a STACK of DS games to play at the moment and I still haven't even purchased Devil Survivor or Layton 2 or the new Mario RPG or...

Did I mention I have a copy of the notorious Doki Doki Majo Shinpan (well, the sequel) and haven't yet actually attempted to play it? (I have a friend who can read Japanese, though, and *he's* been amused by it... apparently one of the witches threatened to turn the PC into a comedian...)

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

and call him george

It occurs to me that I've read at least two stories about downtrodden young boys (slaves/servants) stealing a dragon egg for their own and rising to prominence. (There's also a Pern short story about an unexpected runty little dragonboy, but there was no theft involved nor scheming intent on his part. It just happened to him, there was no plan. Then there's Eragon, but I haven't *read* that and don't intend to.)

But I can't immediately think of stories involving a *girl* stealing a dragon's egg. (Menolly sort of?)

I do know of one where three children steal an egg together, two boys and one girl, but it's still one of the boys who gets the dragon.

In settings where you don't typically have girls as fighters, it seems like "Okay, I get BIG weapon that flies and breathes fire on you! I will nurture it and train it to love only me!" is a logical plan. Hmmm...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

fail

(content warning)

There's been a big mess in the past year about hentai and censorship. And I still fall on the "censorship is bad" side of things.

However, you do have to worry about people when... well.

There's this Japan-only game for the Xbox 360. (Non-porn, I assume. Console games generally are.) You try to pick up girls working at hostess clubs. This involves drinking a lot of alcohol with them and watching them dance. Apparently one of the characters, in-game, already has a boyfriend. So when you've gone through all the steps to reach her 'good ending', she says you're a great friend, and goes off to get married. Not to you.

Many people on Teh Internets talking about this subject applaud the realism of a girl who's seriously Not That Into You. Not every girl is just waiting to swoon into your arms.

However, a few fans are seriously pissed. I've seen more than one person (well, maybe - it could be the same loon popping up in multiple places) demanding that someone create downloadable content for this game to add an option to rape the girl who dares refuse you.

...Yeah. Not a request to make her winnable, a request to 'punish' a virtual girl for daring to turn down the player's advances.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???

Monday, 28 September 2009

just as planned

Have obtained a copy of Dokapon Journey. It's pretty much exactly as expected - cute RPG board game, takes forever to play, kinda fun but the AI is *way* better than us even set to 'easy'. Of course, it doesn't help that we have no idea what we're doing!

Friday, 25 September 2009

romance as reward

or the troubles of Love in Game Design

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2009/09/column_homer_in_silicon_the_ro.php

Brings up some interesting issues about how a good romance tends to require some conflict between the lovers, which tends not to come across in games... all too often we're just handing flowers to our intended partner until we build up enough affection points to score.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

strange bedfellows

PopCap teaming up with Square Enix?


While that writer may be sick of Puzzle Quest clones, I have yet to find one that was properly GOOD by my standards... I admit to being vaguely interested. Although I should probably hide this information from my compatriot who gets obsessed with symbol-matching crack.

Along those lines, I was amused by this from the comments thread:

So the people that brought me FF and Chrono Trigger are making a game with the people that brought me Peggle and Plants Vs Zombies?

Just make this as an app for WoW and a large % of the population on earth will loose the will to even eat.

Monday, 21 September 2009

sore thumbs yet?

from a review of
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier


It's all about juggling. Your fighting force of heroes lines up alongside the right side of the screen, then rushes forward one at a time to take on the enemies in front of them -- assaulting them with preposterously complicated strings of punches, kicks, slashes and blasts that send the helpless foes, inevitably, sailing into the air. Your task is to then keep them there, as you press the A Button with the exact right timing to start your character's next string of attacks. You're going for as long a combo as you can get, never letting your foe touch down on the ground.


While it's sort of fun to watch, I don't really want to play an RPG where I might be expected to pull off this sort of combo attack... that sounds EXHAUSTING!



Can I just stick with simple turns? :)

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Aoi Shiro

Translation project for a shoujo-ai game completed! (That being, girl/girl romance, but not explicit.)

This is a translation patch for a commercial game which I don't yet own.

I have never played a full length purely shoujo-ai game and am interested to see how they handle the issue. Within anime, Marimite places the characters in an all-female religious school so that their only close bonds are to each other. At the same time, men clearly exist in the world, some angst relates to the knowledge that some of the characters WILL graduate and have to marry men, and most of the relationships aren't exactly lesbians, just Very Close Friends. The few that really are gay have their own special angst on top about whether or not it's wrong, even if they never get further than kissing.

Strawberry Panic takes it a bit further and never MENTIONS the existence of men, or any idea that the developing girl/girl relationships might be taboo. It's a Gay Universe, everyone is at least potentially that way and can be safely approached. (And the couples do clearly get up to SEX, not just angsty kissing)

I'm sure that somewhere there exists a series where everyone involved is already explicitly gay within a 'normal' world, but it's slightly hard to figure out why a group would only contain lesbians unless it were, say, a GLBT club (or a camp trying to 'cure' them!).

Knowing nothing about the game I vaguely expect them to lean more in the direction of Strawberry Panic, and simply say *nothing* about why all these girls are receptive to your advances.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

the obvious thought

I suppose what I ought to do for all my curiousity about pinky-pink DS games is find one of those rental services, if I can find one that will a) actually carry DS games (some don't!) and b) include games other than the most popular.

Then I can contribute usefully to the internet by reviewing things no one else will touch! :)

(checking) Gamefly does cover the Imagine series. And even (*shudder*) My Boyfriend. No sign of the Unicorn game though. Also, I don't live in the US.

also obtained on that shopping trip

A copy of Rhapsody, used, like I'd planned.

For the person I was with, using my vast knowledge of DS titles to navigate the used-and-boxless section:

A copy of Spectrobes, because he thought digging up alien fossils to make monsters sounded cool.

A copy of Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, because it's a roguelike known for being difficult. He's enjoying it, although he points out it's still much easier than Nethack.

I completely forgot to look for Devil Survivor. They did not have any copies of The Dark Spire. They did have Knights in the Nightmare and my shopping partner may go for that next time.

They had a wide range of pink stuff as well but, again, with no ability to play demos I'm *not* going to pick up something like Princess In Lovewhich is probably AWFUL. :) (That 'Sarah and the Unicorn' game was present but I still couldn't tell much from the box.)


Also obtained NOT on that shopping trip: Peggle Nights, because I am still addicted to bouncing balls.

only some of these items were actually useful

Level solution: a hurricane, a tornado, an apatosaurus, and Cthulhu.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

scribblenauts get!

I haven't done anything terribly clever yet, but I did accidentally destroy a tree with a flyswatter.

no.

I do not yet have a copy of Scribblenauts. This is because I was running a fever yesterday. That explanation doesn't stop me from pouting though.

Friday, 11 September 2009

the enduring image of the Scantily Clad Blue Alien Babe

also known as, a discussion of sex and gender in Mass Effect.

super obscure

An NES title I've never heard of, which looks complicated and interesting and even Mobygames can't find reviews for AND there are multiple cheap copies on ebay? What am I missing here?

goo goo

Browsing through youtube videos, found an old-style platformer I'd never heard of... where you play as a baby.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

destroyers of quality

Just mentioning the CDI is enough to give some gamers nightmares.

Still, there's some interesting bits to hear about here, with this Mario game that never was...


fate 3

After my frustrating experiences with Fate 2 I'm not super-enthusiastic about this new attempt. On the bright side (for ME at least) apparently Undiscovered Realms comes free with this new one, so if I can make it run, I could get both. But I have plenty of other things to do at the moment.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

simplify your life

There's apparently a new easy mode available for Spirited Heart, for those who were sick of being taxed to death.

Friday, 4 September 2009

mighty!

That's a lot of game.

I've never played any Might and Magic, actually. I suppose this could be a good time to consider it.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Monday, 31 August 2009

Friday, 28 August 2009

stop in the name of science

What, that Science Papa ripoff game actually came out? And no one really noticed?

Guess they didn't miss much.

wandering through DS rpg collections

A while ago I posted tons of games I was interested in. I haven't actually *obtained* any of them yet, though. And of the RPGs I have, many have fallen victim to fatigue. So, out of curiosity, let's have a glance at what's cheap ($10 and under, incl used) in DS RPGs at Amazon...

Magical Starsign
: Got it, haven't finished it. Not entirely sure where it is. Did I loan it to someone? It's cute, I have no objection to playing more of it, I just haven't felt urgency.

Final Fantasy III
: If I were bored and found this physically in front of me for <$5, I'd probably pick it up. I know nothing about the early final fantasies and don't expect I'd find them all that interesting.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood: ... I'm really not interested. I can't imagine the plot being sufficiently entertaining. I'd rather just play the old Sonic classics!

Mega Man Star Force 2 Zerker X Ninja: ... That's an RPG? I look dubious.

Draglade: This is that wacky sound-based combat thing, right? I looked at it once when trying to find games to play head-to-head. In the end, I just wasn't sure whether I would find the system fun or frustrating, and thus, with no demo, passed.

Hoshigami Remix: Ruining Blue Earth
: *Someone* was talking to me about this game. I just can't remember what they said. I think I was left with the general impression not to bother, though...

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure: Which I talked myself out of ordering because the DS doesn't have all the sound available, and the bonus content was stripped from the English release. Still a pickup if I see it in person....

Dungeon Explorer: Warrior of Ancient Arts Apparently it's a hackslash dungeoncrawl with poor controls. Not keen.

So, I'm still actively interested in Rhapsody and Dark Spire but only for cheap... I may get that last off ebay. In a way I wish it *weren't* on the DS because I suspect I'm going to wish I could cheat! Devil Survivor is still in my list of things I intend to purchase fullprice... eventually...

not just ripoffs, but also evil

The Evony saga continues!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Cute Knight Kingdom - combat video

Showing only one side of combat, of course, since you can tell there are more options that I'm not touching in this video!

I wouldn't have believed it until I saw it

... but they've managed to make a trailer for the game 'Heaven' that is EVEN MORE over the top than the previous ones.

And still consists of basically zero information on the game, how it plays, or anything other than 'HOLY SHINY ANGEL BOOBIES AND FLYING HORSES!!!'

Supposedly, it releases next week.

If you attempt to enter the site, you get another burst of music and brief flash video. Then another button to enter the site. Which, of course, leads to another bombastic video. Then a page with some more randomly playing video clips, and a 'main' button. Then you can FINALLY reach a MENU with some tiny bits of information. As for the game itself? Um... It says you can walk around a 3d heaven and look at stuff?

machinarium

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

just in case

If anyone reading this is playing the Aquaria Sacrifice mod - how the heck do you open that door at the top of the Veil?

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Aquaria: Sacrifice

Ooo, someone's released a mod / prequel campaign.

Unlike the original game, this will apparently have RPG-style dialogue trees.

Find out more on ModDB.

stupid obnoxious game websites

I really hate the way some big websites auto-generate pages and claim to be the Internet's Premier Source Of Information for Title X with walkthroughs, cheats, and more... when in fact they don't have so much as a box image from the damned game.

And I know they don't care, and are more interested in exploiting their search engine dominance than in helping me to actually find any information about obscure titles.

Anyhoo. There appears to be an upcoming (or already released, dates vary and I can't tell) little DS title called "Sarah: Keeper of the Unicorn". Which, logically enough, is about taking care of a unicorn. I can't find much information about it other than useless gamespot spam, but the pictures on Amazon remind me a little bit of Wandering Willows, if you'll be going around planting things and trying to get your unicorn's stats up.

From Allgame:

Sarah: Keeper of the Unicorn is a fantasy adventure game that combines the nurturing aspects of life development sims with the exploration of a traditional adventure title. Gamers search an open world for valuables that can be used to purchase useful items and food for a growing unicorn, with the hope of eventually raising the magical young filly or colt until it is strong enough to go on a fantastic journey.


From Amazon:

Long ago, humans and unicorns lived in peace with one another. But soon evil would rise from the shadows as humans began hunting unicorns for their precious horns. The unicorns would soon disappear from the magical forest, never to return again. Discover keys to ancient temples and brave enchanted lands as you solve mysterious riddles in order to return the unicorns to safety. Join Sarah in a magical journey!


(emphasis mine)

While of course the only thing resembling a gaming news site that even mentions the title does so in order to make fun of it, there's a small chance that's actually somewhat entertaining. Gee. Wouldn't it be nice if a gaming review site actually reviewed games?

(Of course, varying release dates and limited availability also suggest it really may not be out yet.)

a non-pink Imagine?

While I personally have no more interest in being the captain of a soccer team than I do in being a make-up artist, it's nice to see something in the Imagine lineup falling outside of the pink-and-glitter market.

As usual, I can't find anything resembling a review anywhere.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

food for thought

A gamasutra post on the subject of art made by people whose political actions (not just views) you disagree with.

One thing it doesn't bring up is the issue of big and small.

I don't think it's reasonable for me to boycott a big-budget game or movie because one person involved in the development of it is 'bad' in my view, because there are so many other people involved who may be near-opposites. If person A is on the board of evil corporation B but person C is on the board of good corporation D and they're both working together, boycotting the game is not going to send any clear message. (OTOH, raising a stink about it, making it public, and mailing the big decision-maker about your objection to evil might be a little more meaningful.)

... of course, if the movers and shakers behind the art have declared that all profits from the art will be donated to the cause of evil, then that's different!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

wallpaper



Not game art, just random.

Cute Knight Kingdom webpage (which is practically blank at the moment but will eventually have stuff.)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Monday, 10 August 2009

i am easily amused, still

Mario Chess

I suck at chess, and I'd probably prefer a fantasy chess set to a Mario one even if I played, but it's sort of cute.

step right up

Household is unloading some stuff on ebay. Current batch mostly of interest to anyone looking for Last Unicorn Press' Star Trek RPG, but there's other stuff in there.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

shine a little light

I still wish these things had more plot.

So, my latest discount casual game credit rolls around, and I remind myself that I'm supposed to be spending these things on stuff I wouldn't normally buy - it's research, and not feeling bad about paying such an undercut price. :) What am I getting this time? An 'adventure' game (read: a really upscale hidden object game) called Enlightenus.



Like Dream Chronicles before it, it's very pretty, more complicated than just finding a list of stuff, and even has multiple locations to wander around in, finding thing in spot A to use in place B, like 'full' adventure games. Unlike Dream Chronicles, it actually runs on my computer and is more than half an hour long. (Although I suspect it may still be on the short side...)

Also, like a 'real' adventure game, it's complicated enough that you can manage to get yourself stuck and need to go looking up advice to figure out what to do next.

The "hidden object" section is similar to inventory-adventures; instead of looking for a known item, you have a bunch of items and you try to figure out what item in the picture you could combine your item with, to change the environment or create something new. You might need to add batteries to a flashlight in order to turn it on, and thus reveal some other object in the setting.

So you get the constant sense of exploration and toy as you play with things and see their reactions.

But, well... it could still use more story. :)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

a further explanation

There are games workshops even in small towns in England. They're much easier to find than RPGs. And for the aficionadoes, there are smaller producers. Unfortunately, these guys have quit producing their metal figures (which is causing SOMEONE in this house to go on a buying spree trying to obtain them before they're all gone) However:



I hope you can see why I consider these things WAY cooler than Warhammer.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

What do you MEAN it's not awesome?

Oh, Wizards of the Coast, still trying to recapture the power of Magic...


Each huge booster pack contains:

* 1 visible, non-random Huge miniature—pre-painted, fully assembled, durable plastic
* 4 hidden random miniatures—pre-painted, fully assembled, durable plastic


As my other half said, "What were they smoking when they decided to sell random assortments of D&D monsters? If I'm running a game I want 10 of X, 5 of y and 1 of z, not two kobolds and an intellect devourer."

Although apparently they've been selling minis for a while, and we've completely failed to notice, so something's not working too well in their strategy.

My other half buys minis. I generally don't. I don't wargame, and when we want them for more roleplaying purposes, I just print out little foldy paper things and use those. It's much easier to come up with something that looks right for the character or situation that way.

But to the best of my knowledge, an awful lot of mini-buying is the fun of modding and painting the figures to make your own cool stuff... *shrug* I dunno.

Three Musketeers

Here's an interestingly different RPG apparently coming soon... historical setting instead of fantasy-land, chevaliers instead of big-head anime kids, cannons, dancing, and... tennis?

Friday, 31 July 2009

character sheet

Only of interest to people playing Spirit of the Century at the moment.

---

Evangeline Langley (Eva)

Health [][][]
Composure [][][][]
12 fate

Aspect Summary:
Just a girl
Loves her books
A fool for love
From an unlikely quarter
Remove the keystone
The Library of Am-Tuat
Money makes the world go round
The seal of Sheba
Trusting soul
Politeness is its own reward

Skills:

Investigation (superb)
Rapport, Resources (great - gives her an arcane library of Fair quality)
Academics, Stealth, Mysteries
Empathy, Contacting, Resolve, Sleight of Hand
Art, Athletics, Burglary, Deceit, Science


Stunts:

Animal Friend (cats)
Linguist
Gift of Tongues
Five minute friends
Personal Artifact (Catcall - Taken from Am-Tuat, this ocarina summons the nearest cat, so long as you keep playing until it gets there. Cat is not necessarily friendly, but will not attack so long as you keep playing!)



Childhood:

Younger child of a posh family. Wealthy parents were loving but slightly distant - they petted her and praised her but never really understood her or tried to. Their energy was devoted to her charming older brother Brandon, heir to the family name. Eva buried herself in her studies, especially in learning as many different foreign languages as possible, imagining that someday she might travel the world. Curious, explorer nature.

Just a girl
Loves her books


The Great War:

The war disrupted social life as even the upper-class men were called away to serve. Eva was romanced by Francis Adler, a gentleman supposedly home on medical leave, who was very interested in her clever mind and linguistic skills. One day she discovered that he was using her as a codebreaker to decipher secrets stolen from her government. He locked the hysterical Eva in his apartment to keep her from telling anyone what she knew, but with the help of his cat she was able to escape and reveal his spying to the authorities (and/or century club), disrupting his scheme.

A fool for love
From an unlikely quarter




Eva Langley and the Netherworld Gate

A madman was murdering cats in London. Guided by her feline friends, Eva tracked him to his lair and broke in, poring over his occult library to work out what he was up to. She was captured by Am-Tuat, who chained her up to witness his final triumph...

Am-Tuat used the cat call for the last time, intending to call the last cat needed to finish his ritual. Instead of a moggy, he got Thema the cheetah, and hot on her trail, Amelia Blaze. The distraction that this caused bought Eva the time needed to adjust the symbols, and as the magic went out of control Am-Tuat's fate was sealed when Amelia kicked him into the gate.

Remove the keystone
The Library of Am-Tuat


Guest Star: Miss Blaze in the return to the Lost Plateau

After meeting Amelia Blaze during the incident with Am-Tuat, Eva put up the money to finance Amelia's trip back to the site of the crash. Her linguistic skills were useful in finding out the natives' motivations. Once they had routed Apperly, she discovered among his possessions the carved stone seal of the ancient Queen of Sheba.

Money makes the world go round
The seal of Sheba


Guest Star: Doctor Westfield and the Ressurected Man in "Horror on the Nile!"

At the beginning of their African trip, Eva stopped in Cairo to take in some of the sights of Egypt and do a bit of shopping. She found it difficult to refuse the salesmen who kept offering her treasures, but when one tried to get her to sign up for a pleasure cruise down the Nile, she was reluctantly forced to decline so as not to disrupt her plans with Amelia. She then encountered a pair of British travelers, Harry Westfield and his invalid father. After becoming acquainted, she suggested they take the pleasure cruise she'd had to turn down - Westfield Sr. was clearly a bit unwell, and they could use some relaxation.

Trusting soul
Politeness is its own reward

final stats for re-completing BWA

Apparently I was very fond of 'er' that time.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

words words words

Some words which I have successfully used in Bookworm Adventures and then had to look up because I had no idea what they meant:

mizzen
drave
fashed

Some words which the game stubbornly refuses to accept

spork

In other words, Bookworm Adventures 2 is out. I don't own it yet. Why? Well, you remember my Great Annoyance with the previous one? While I've heard rumors that this game will allow you to replay earlier levels without having to start over (thank you!), the popcap site is STILL charging brits and europeans far more than Americans. So, I'll wait.