Monday, 28 February 2011

Devil Survivor

I've finally started playing and am currently on day 2. Not much to say, other than that there's an awful lot of options to juggle but so far I am managing to figure out balance and skill use enough to get past the story challenges with only the occasional grind (Actually, the worst grinding time was before I realised I could replace demons during battles. That kinda helps.)

Friday, 25 February 2011

Dragon Age 2 Demo

... was a very mixed experience, and then it crashed, rendering the whole exercise moot. I'm certainly not going to plow through that again for some stupid bonus weapons.

For their talk about streamlining stats, I found their new character-customisation system MORE difficult to use.

Also, what's with Sexy Costume Flemeth? This... completely goes against the way the character was originally written. Who exactly is she supposed to be trying to impress? Flemeth didn't _need_ to impress people. Are we supposed to infer that we interrupted her on her way to Hot Sex or something?

And what's with all "The Champion" crap? With the Warden it was understandable as it was a real in-world job title, and you could have a ton of last names. In this case they've carefully designed it to give you one last name, so why aren't they using it?

And, of course, tons of being channeled down narrow pathways through endless waves of boring combat.

Enh. Ask me about the game again in a year. By then there will be reviews, mods, cheats, and discounts.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

that passed Nintendo rating boards?

In an apparent attempt to make the Wii seem like the console for sexy sexy adults, Ubisoft has relased a ... thing.

If my raised eyebrow isn't enough warning, this would not be considered safe for many workplaces.

Now, what little we see of the actual gameplay is not just tame but kinda boring. The same could likely be said of many 'naughty' board or dice games. I dunno, I'm just kinda o.0 trying to imagine the situations in which this game could actually be played as apparently intended. Not my place to judge and if you have that sort of parties, you have fun, but, um, when it comes to getting a bunch of my adult friends together to play games, I think I'll stick with tabletop RPGs.

*miming overhead whoosh*

I have yet to play the DA2 demo. But if this note on Destructoid is anything to go by, Bioware completely failed to understand the real problem with the first game.

BioWare's made no secret of the fact that they keep a running tab of player metrics, and Dragon Age: Origins was no different.

They learned a few neat tidbits -- "more people played warriors than rogues or mages" explains lead designer Mike Laidlaw -- but they also learned something that changed their approach to Dragon Age II.

"We saw a lot of people disengaging at hour one, hour two. Not pursuing it, right?" explains Laidlaw. The Dragon Age team might have chalked some of those lost players up to rentals, but the statistics didn't back it up: a significant number of people simply stopped playing Dragon Age: Origins after a few hours.

"I think what it really spoke to is something RPGs have been wrestling with for a long time: that first impression," says Laidlaw.

So they fixed it.

"You get to an RPG and fire it up, and ... it hits you in the face with a thousand stats. Those stats are very cool, but you may not be mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with them as your first thing to do in the game," he says.

I've talked to a lot of people who quit playing Dragon Age within a few hours.

Every single one of them quit because OSTAGAR WAS BORING.

Even _I_ almost quit because Ostagar was boring, and I've gone on to become a fangirl. Even the geeks of TVTropes admit that Ostagar was a huge drag.

If the stats overwhelmed you, you wouldn't get past the character creator. You certainly wouldn't get a few hours in and then give up in disgust.

What killed the mood was too much time spent with characters and sidequests which were totally irrelevant to the plot, and fairly obviously so, in the name of 'introducing the gameplay'. If you're going to have interactive tutorials, fine, but get them over with fast because they are not fun.

My First Video Game Heroine

So, the ending of KQ3 obviously makes me think of KQ4 (which starts, like, seconds later). I was quite fond of it. And thus I wonder - was this the first video game I played with a female character as the protagonist?

Obviously, she's not the first actual female character leading a videogame. Ms Pac-Man is technically female (although I'd argue not a character) and there's Metroid, of course. But I never played Metroid.

The Princess is a playable character in the english Super Mario 2 and might sortof count. She's only one of four, but I played her in every level unless there was some secret reason not to. Not just because of girliness, I also liked her hover power. However, datewise, that launched shortly after KQIV, and I can't tell what I might have played first. (I probably played KQIV right away, as I had the AGI version. I had both versions eventually, but I had tons of fun messing with the debug codes in AGI.)

I was probably a happy kid that year though! Two major game franchises that I was big fans of, now letting me play as a girl, and the girl wasn't useless. Crucially, owing to the limited graphics and sound of the time, there was not a whole lot of extra characterisation heaped on either princess. They were both blondes in skirts, sure, but they weren't stuck being comically kawaii with high-pitched squealing. In fact, the Rosella of my mind was pretty fierce.

I mean, imagine the day that girl's had! (series spoilers) Her kingdom is in ruins and she's either volunteered or been dragged off to DIE at the hands of a dragon. She gets rescued at the last minute by a total stranger who turns out to be a long-lost relative and stumbles home, at which point her father promptly keels over from a heart attack. In a panic she flees to a magic mirror and gets yanked through it to another place where she's manhandled by flying monkeys, swallowed by a whale, menaced by man-eating ogres, chased by zombies and mummies, swims to and from multiple islands, gets locked up, threatened with a forced marriage, and has to save multiple people from death... and this all takes place within 24 hours!

Rosella of Daventry by ~Flameprincess88 on deviantART

This girl. She rocked.

I don't recall there being any suggestion at all that there was anything odd about a girl going adventuring, or that she was in any way inferior to the previous lead characters. In fact the ending of Kq3 showed that she had an adventurous spirit, as she was right there reaching for the hat along with her brother.

And even though, later, I did want her to get together with Edgar, I was pleased at the time that she didn't instantly marry a guy just because he was present and suddenly not-ugly. (However, I was not hugely fond of KQ7. It was a letdown after KQ6 which I thought was great...)

King's Quest 3 Redux

So, the team once known as 'Tierra' and now as AGDI has finished another classic game remake/update, this time of King's Quest 3. For the remake side of things, the graphics are pushed up to VGA and full voice acting is added. For the update, as well as fleshing out some of the character relationships, there are several puzzles that have been altered or added and a whole new area for extra adventuring.

While everything is now point-and-click, you will STILL repeatedly die walking off cliffs if you're not careful. It just wouldn't feel like kq3 without that stupid evil mountain path, now, would it? Similarly, you are very likely to blow yourself up spellcasting at some point. And yes, there are time limits. Save early, save often!

Game Webpage - the download is free and it runs on both Windows and Mac.

... Now, as I've already finished it, a couple of comments that you might want to skip for spoilers.

I'm not sure if this is a bug or not, but after the first task at the beginning of the game, my wizard demanded food at every possible opportunity, no other chores ever. Which means that my first attempt at the game had to be scrapped an hour in because I'd run out of food items before being able to solve the necessary puzzles. I started over, having now carefully planned out what had to be done when, and got through it with one 'trip' left to go, so you don't have to do a completely perfect speedrun to win, but it does seem unforgiving. EDIT: Apparently there is a way out of that and I didn't actually have to restart. The bears will make more porridge if you eat the first bowl. Oh well.

The interactions among the royal family felt a little awkward and not as well thought-out as the other characterisations. I can see why they didn't want to dig too deeply into the iconic characters and I'm going to have more to say about Rosella in a later post, it just felt distinctly weaker than other parts of the story.

Unless I missed something, which I may have, the changes rendered one spell absolutely useless - it now gives you nothing but fluff. The spell that was already useless, I never managed to cast. And I had an item I never figured out what to do with... but those are my failings, not the game's. :)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

oh for goodness sake

Stupid puzzle games, why can't you actually define your rules correctly? If 'corner to corner' does not count as touching, YOU NEED TO SAY SO.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

games for couples

I'm dubious about the idea of an arcade game making your girlfriend/boyfriend jump into your lap, but the concept of games designed for couples to go in and have a shared experience together sounds like fun for more options beyond just a Tunnel Of Love.

One of the game types that's endured better at arcades (that I've seen) is racing games, and I assume that's for two reasons. One, you get the cool seat and steering wheel which is sort of more fun than your home setup. Two, you can race a friend and both of you can have a full display, again working better than the home version.

Any sort of adventure experience you could go into with a friend would help provide 'specialness' for an arcade to offer...

Saturday, 19 February 2011

canon, fanfic, and licensing

So apparently there's going to be an 'official' new King's Quest coming from Telltale Games.

But what exactly makes it official? The fact that Activision said so? Activision also gave permission to the fangamers to make their own episodic series (with some restrictions). And Activision didn't make the original series, they're just the current license holders.

The article at least has the sense to realise that people might care whether Roberta Williams will be involved (but they don't know the answer to that. According to wikipedia the last time anyone got a quote she was completely disinterested in computer games now and wanted to write a novel, but that was years ago.) That would certainly make it 'more' official in some eyes... of course, she was also involved in Mask Of Eternity and some fans (like myself) will whine endlessly that it wasn't a 'real' King's Quest game... even though it was put out by the original company and the original creator with the proper series title on it.

gold coin complete

all 8 worlds. but apparently that doesn't get me another star on the save file? hrm.

(needed to go to the blue place in world 1? no, that uses my coins but I still have only two stars...)

Okay, that's weird. I got the second star for beating every world, but I hadn't yet gone through all the cannons. So when I got all the coins, I didn't get a star at all, but when I went through all the cannons, suddenly I gained the third star.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Still testing the video equipment

Got the sound working now, so I could record a few seconds in the dungeon of one of the Magical Diary exams.

Dungeon Danger - Indie DB

alternately, youtube version.


Not actually through with all the gold coins but one of the most annoying to date was the third coin in the first castle on world 8, because it requires doing it perfectly all the way through in one run, no save points allowed. (which also means that if you die past the save point you have to quit/start a different level to clear that save before you can try again)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Ever17 for the Xbox 360?

Unfortunately NOT announced for the English market and I have no idea if a translation is likely. I would guess that the IP owners still care somewhat about the English market, since they haven't allowed it to be sold as a download title for the PC. It's not impossible that it could get an English version, especially since there's already a translation for everthing except the new content, and 999 got great reviews... Don't know how well it sold though.

I don't personally like the new 3d models as shown in screenshot that much, though.


Still only played about a half-hour's worth in total so far. I can live with the eye-rolling characters and there is a certain glee in madly bashing people to death with my sword by clicking away. But the awkwardness of navigation (and inability to run in a window) is definitely wearing.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Legend of Fae

I blogged about this last year and it has since been released. It's a Match-3/RPG that is initially accessible and ramps up to semi-frantic action, not getting too out of control in what I played, but definitely not leaving you feeling bored.

You swap orbs to match-3 and collect whatever type of power that color represents, straightforwardly enough. But the combat happens on a separate screen, and does not involve an opponent playing the matching game against you, so there's no gnashing of teeth at the hideous unfairness of a cheating computer unleashing 25-combos. You build up power for different kinds of actions and then switch over to the combat screen to unleash the spells you've been preparing. Then back to the matching screen and so on. Multiple elements, special attacks, chain bonuses, and so on add to the strategy.

Also, lovely pixel art, and a better story than you see in a lot of casual games.

When I last played the demo it still had a few rough edges but was overall a lovely experience, so I would recommend checking it out if orb-swapping combat sounds at all fun to you.

Demo Download Link

blow himself

Whine whine "adventure games are dead" Sad to hear from a pretend-indie, especially now that it's less true than ever, with the huge resurgence of semi-adventure through the casual market.

The IF people can tell you all about how design sensibilities in the genre have changed over time, but you're obviously not listening, mister I Am Going To Change The World With My Great New Thing.


So, getting it up and running.

... Is steering via mouselook always this shit? I never use it in games that let me do anything else; I always turn off sidestep and use those keys to spin rapidly instead. Trying to hit something behind me vaguely flailing with no clear targeting system kinda sucks.

Okay, so I'm a girlygirl in a dress going on about how I'm not a warrior. But I pick up a poker and immediately beat to death five hulking assassins in armor. Then three more assassins show up, and I... wail in terror and collapse to my knees, dropping the poker, so that my love interest can show up to heroically rescue me and get killed for his troubles. WTF?

Also yeesh these cutscenes would be better served by visual novel style cutouts than trying to make 3d models of this quality lipsync and headbob.

And I apparently crashed it by tabbing out to complain.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

new SMB

Still picking up star coins and swearing at the tricky ones. I am not very good at walljumping, so certain bits that require multiple walljumps without falling take me forever. First 5 worlds star-complete and I think I've only got one more to go in 6.

Male Fantasy Fanservice

or: What do women want to see men wearing in fantasy games? (Brought up elsewhere but my answer was long so I thought I'd post it here)

other than the obvious disclaimer of my being only one woman rather than All Women Want This:

In games or game situations that aren't actually about fighting, I can possibly enjoy bare chests and flowing manes. Or if the game art style is such that everybody male and female alike is bounding around in next to nothing, I'm actually okay with that. But for the most part if there's a battle I want my boys in armor.

_Pretty_ armor. There are all sorts of ways to make armor attractive. Details, color, gleaming expanses of metal... I hate having to put Alistair in the ugly old early-game chainmail, which iirc is brown and lumpy and looks poorly modeled. But I feel guilty making him battle naked until I can find him something prettier to wear. :) There is some amusement value in making characters that you know you're about to kill off for plot reasons fight naked, but that's different.

Helmets are generally a bad idea from a design perspective because they cover faces and making a helmet look really good requires more effort and detail than the game engine people are likely to want to put into something as minor as a helmet. Like, you know, plumes. And jewels. And enameling. This is a cool helmet. So is this. So even though it's kinda stupid to go into battle with your head uncovered, from a visual perspective I don't want to stick an ugly pot on the head of my hero. Unless he's already hideous and I'm covering that up. Some of the DA helmets were terribly embarassing. Maybe a toggle to make them invisible, so I can know it's there for stat purposes but not have to see it?

In games with plot, it might be nice if my heroes also had a completely separate out-of-armor outfit to wear for going around town, and options to dress them up in these things. Part of me still loves old romance novel covers, tight pants, frilly open-chested shirts, and all. It is likely to be too much hassle to make the player actually take off the armor and put on the display clothes - it might be best to have them all on the paperdoll at the same time. Then either the game engine can pick what's relevant, so you're automatically displayed in civilian clothes when walking through the palace (this only works if combat and civilian life are strictly segregated though) or again a sort of toggle so that you can choose to SEE your character in these clothes while still having the stats from the armor.

I like men with hair. Long beautiful hair. Or at least SOME hair. No shaved marines for me. :)

In games that aren't about slugging through the battlefield I am happy with bishonen everywhere, in bizarrely overcomplicated final fantasy clothing!

this is marketing with BUDGET

News of Felicia Day Dragon Age web series.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Precedent Maker

Something unusual spotted on DLsite today - a non-hentai dual-language KN with actually readable English.

It's the story of a student at a magical school learning to summon spirits and monsters. However, the demo is REALLY short despite being 150MB, and I have no idea how long the game itself is. Since it's marketed as an 'episode' and for only a few dollars, it's possible that it's extremely short and you'll have to buy a lot more episodes to complete the story. I don't know. I may pick it up at some point when I have more DLsite points in hand.

If you do download the demo, it comes pre-set to Japanese language, and that can make it hard to find the controls to switch it to english. Here are screenshots from the English setting to explain it (the buttons will be in the same place even though they look different)

Go to Main Menu and then to Settings and you'll see the obvious flag to switch to English text.

Friday, 11 February 2011

birthday loot

Picked up Venetica which I'm quite dubious about, but a) female protagonist b) interesting setting c) cheap, so even if it sucks it's not a huge loss. Lionheart sucked, but I bought it so cheap that the first few hours of not-sucking paid back the cost+frustration. No time to play it at the moment but expect to hear more from me on that later.

Was also given a new Professor Layton game to keep me occupied. edit: And a copy of the Witcher. Now, will I actually take the time to play any of this? Did I mention I also have Cross Channel and Remember 11 sitting in boxes?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


I had just managed to make the jump to find the hidden star coin and fireballed the boss monster with my minimushroom running loose on the floor so that I'd be able to get the secret exit afterwards but then a stray fireball after killing the boss wiped out the mushroom before I could grab it. ARGH.

more stuff of no use to me

There's a huge discount on some specialised animation software going on for anyone who gets into it early enough. I don't think it's really applicable to me, though, as I view 3d with about as much enthusiasm as I do leprosy.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


A relaxing puzzle game about placing weaving rope tiles to try and make as long and complex a path as possible without running off the edge.

Friday, 4 February 2011

I'm a naughty girl

I stumbled across a Let's Play of one of my games. I will not link because I want to make comments without them being directed at the actual person, but one thing I found completely hilarious was that at the beginning of his presentation he was trying to suggest more perverted things and shouting RAPE at the game a lot, but by the end of it he was whining that the game wasn't PG enough.

(It's all PERFECTLY INNOCENT innuendo! It's just that most things he could think of, I'd clearly thought of first, and was already hinting at, leaving him no easy shots to take!)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

becoming a problem lately?

Yet another story of a ripped-off game on sale...


A neat little toy you can stare at for hours as it tries to evolve a working car within its physics engine by throwing out shapes and wheel placements and seeing what will successfully roll over terrain.

Play it here.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Oregon Trail

An article on the development of the classic.

I've occasionally pondered writing Oregon Trail IN SPACE! (I'm not the only one who's thought of it) but never actually gone through with the idea...

good to know

Details on the intended Dragon Age 2 DRM have been mentioned online, and while there IS some DRM it doesn't sound unworkable. Nothing bad enough to mean that I can't buy the game. Sure, there is still the potential sunset problem, but given the way it's described as working I am dead certain a patch would show up one way or another. (Which does sort of raise the question of what the point is in the first place, of course.)

A guy I met at a party swears he works for a connected company and has already seen the game and it rocks, but that may be just the kind of thing you tell women at parties to look cool. :)

coming sometime

Recent announcement of a new Japanese strategy-rpg for the PC to be localised - which means it's not going to be out for quite a while. I wouldn't expect it before the end of 2011 at earliest.

(This is NOT an adult game, but the link above does lead to a site that carries some adult products.)

Some reviews/information of the Japanese version available here.

Using games to block out the world