Wednesday, 31 December 2008

window explosion!

So I was playing the demo for World of Goo and got to the 'mysterious button' which is clearly meant to launch a buy page.

It did.

But it didn't end the demo, or even switch the focus out of the demo.

So by the time I finally got sick of clicking in confusion and manually exited the game, THEY WERE EVERYWHERE!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Critical thinking is the key to success!

I am a cheater. I do have a guide to the Professor Layton puzzles, and I'm not ashamed to resort to it. I do use in-game hints, but if the in-game hint seems to be way behind the level of thinking I've gotten to, I tend to suspect I've either GOT the answer but made a mistake in calculations or that I'm missing something so obvious that no hint will point it out. One or two puzzles I don't think are entirely fair but this way I'm not bogged down long enough to get annoyed at it. If I'm not making progress, I'm willing to cheat to move on. If I'm getting there, I'll keep poking at it.

... Slider puzzles, I hate. I'm not going to sit and fool with pieces of a picture being slid around.

Thursday, 25 December 2008


Relatives did manage to find me a copy of Professor Layton that wasn't stupidly overpriced :)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008


Not out yet, but cool 2d-graphics platform-type thing

the jitterbug

Princess Debut's trace-pattern-to-music system is extremely unclear about how well you're doing. It's quite easy to intentionally-or-accidentally slide your stylus WAY off the path in completely the wrong direction and back on quickly and still score a 'Great!' It is equally easy to score an 'OK' or even a 'Bad' with absolutely no clue of what you did wrong. If you do get a 'Bad' there will be a split second at the END where the ball-trail displays redmarks in the vague section of the trail where you did something wrong, but it doesn't indicate what you actually DID, so if as far as you know you were right, you won't be any more enlightened.

If they left a trail behind where you actually dragged your stylus, then at least you could see what you'd done and figure out how to improve. (Particle-stars spawn around your stylus as you move, but they don't stay there.)

Also, this is a tough game to play when you have a dreadful cold and your eyes and nose may suddenly rebel!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

RPG PDF sale

Because of the licensing nonsense, some producers need to stop selling their 3e/OGL stuff in order to sell 4e stuff. So, there's a final sale on til the end of the year.

I dunno how good any of this stuff is, but there's certainly a lot of dungeons to smash through.

Friday, 19 December 2008

dancing tee hee

The young-looking blond boy is sort of cute, but he's a brat and puts worms in things! And the pinkish-haired prince is way cooler... And I said a few nice words to the blond and it was really EASY to get him to be my partner and it all happened so fast I couldn't disappoint him by saying no... and now I have them both at 99% Love and fighting over me! Whatever shall I do?


Thursday, 18 December 2008

Eternal Eden

A classic console-style RPG long in the making, with lovely pixelart backdrops.

You can download the demo RIGHT HERE to check it out.

So far I've only played the very beginning, which is a simple poke-poke-poke tutorial even if you select no-tutorial (if you did select tutorial, you get more explicit instructions about what keys to press and how to detect hidden items, but you still have to jump through the same set of hoops.) Walk, find items, hit repetitive basic monsters, fight a rigged battle against an unbeatable boss, then finally wake up in the 'real' game.

I'll have more comments later.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


Some prizes, but mostly just a wacky advertising method, I expect.

With this and that earlier post on cupcakes, do I need a 'Game Food' tag? :)

someone else's disaster

From looking at the trailer for Delgo the movie bomb, I suspect they should have just cycled it all into a videogame instead. Can't tell if the movie writing is all completely uninspired, but the trailer certainly isn't very interesting, nor are the fairy-graphics all that convincing.

As an adventure game, though, it probably would have been salvageable.

Oh well, it's *still* probably better than the awful Dragonlance animation.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Saturday, 13 December 2008

missing the obvious

from DSFanboy's announcement of Sands of Desctruction:

It's a game about trying not to save the world, in which you battle by talking! All they need in order to totally break JRPG tradition is to put a very friendly, outgoing person in the lead who remembers his childhood just fine.

I think you mean her. A lead character who is female and whose hair is not spiky in the least. :) (Is what is needed to break tradition, that is, rather than is what is in the game.)

Friday, 12 December 2008

hinterland unsteamed

Well, nobody told me like I asked, but apparently Hinterland is available in other places now, including Greenhouse. So I suppose I'll check out the demo...

Thursday, 11 December 2008


I am impressed by the sheer CHEESINESS of 'Redrum'. The BFG site describes it as "an intense psychological murder mystery intended for mature audiences". Hah! EVERYTHING is dripping lurid green goo. There's no subtlety at all, it's all FLASHING SCARY SPOOKY OOO! This isn't a bad thing exactly, but I can't stop laughing. It is not for adults, it is for easily amused teenagers.

Take the promo picture, for instance.

You'll see this cute fairy, and then her eyes will SNAP OPEN! SCARY! And then her FLESH WILL DISAPPEAR! SCARY! And then the LIGHTS WILL FLICKER! SCARY! And so on. It reminds me slightly of the style Limbo of the Lost was actually trying to achieve behind all their thievery. (although this is more consistent and not, afaik, stolen). It's a child's haunted house, full of images so over the top that you can't possibly be frightened by them, unless you actually are a small child and then, yes, this will scare the living daylights out of you.

On the plus side, it honestly does have a plot. With reading! In-character reading to do between every level! Almost like a proper adventure!

... I think the cheesiness is rubbing off on me, I keep using too many !!!s!

Monday, 8 December 2008

why I import

A family member wants a Christmas list off me. So I go to look and see what's available for the DS in the UK... and boggle. I love this system, I can come up with a whole pile of games I'd like to have for it. None of them are available.

(Well, technically, Professor Layton is listed on - for sixty pounds minimum. Which is just people being silly for Christmas, the game can be bought for a reasonable price elsewhere.)

But most of them just aren't on sale in Europe. Some will be, eventually. Others will never bother. And all of them will cost an awful lot more, bought here.


So, I've been playing through the second Azada game, picked up for cheap on gameclub credits because it's not the sort of thing I'd normally buy.

It clearly is an adventure game... there's not really that much difference between this and something like Samorost.

But the self-contained books help contribute to a general lack-of-plot feeling. Sure, there is an over-arching plot, something about collecting cards to find and drive out an evil spirit, but it's clearly meaningless and just a framing for "solve all these books". Each book has a little bit of story in it (based on famous stories) but since there's no carryover from one book to another, there's no real development. (And if you've read the famous stories, you may boggle a bit at the way the game interprets those plots.)

That sense that something is lacking, despite all the bells and whistles, impels me to keep playing faster and faster, searching for the elusive sense of meaning. Surely the next bit will be really exciting, right? (No, not really. It will be cute and empty, just like everthing else.)

It's not a bad game. It's just surprising to, at last, see the vast difference between this kind of adventure and the visual novel, no matter how many puzzles the VN adds.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

DS meets text adventure?

From DS Fanboy:

5th Cell (Drawn to Life, Lock's Quest, radness) just revealed their newest game to IGN. Like the last two, it's for the best platform evar (the DS). Also, similar to the previous works, it involves creating elements of the world. But this new game, Scribblenauts, might be the most ambitious.

To solve the puzzle-based levels in Scribblenauts, you write a noun. And then the named item appears. According to 5th Cell creative director Jeremiah Slaczka, there won't be any limit to what you can create. "People won't write half the things that exist in this game because they're so obscure, he told IGN." The team created a data-entry program to streamline the process of adding metadata to objects, and they've been scouring encyclopedias for months.

(okay, it's not really a textadv, it's all properties-based stuff. there's more info in this interview here.)

time is but a fleeting...

The Gamespot review of the new King's Bounty makes it sound like fun, but I haven't even found the time to buy/play Sacred yet!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Indie Game of the Year....

Awards are starting at Game Tunnel, although the first is sports which doesn't interest me much. Stay tuned for all the results!

under the wire

Finally managed to 'beat' the last bonus level of Forgotten Lands, but by doing another of those "winning and losing at the exact same second" things.

(strategy - demolish academy, replace with guild. have merchants early on to build gold, replace with leaders when possible.)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

what, again?

Looks like there's another Japanese figure skating DS game! Called "Princess on Ice" - yes, that IS actually what the katakana say, as best as I can read it, but not to be confused with the other Princess on Ice which was made by the french.

And that's not even counting Yume no White Quartet, which is the sequel to the KuruKuru Princess game which was brought over as Imagine Figure Skater.

(my collection of figure skating games also has links for buying stuff, should one so desire.)

your kink is ok

I'm not personally into 3D space combat games, but if you are, take a look at the list of stuff to play.

Mainstream Publishers don't WANT you to buy PC games

... at least that's the best one can tell from stuff like this account of trying to make GTA work on a PC.

Don't put up with it.

Don't buy stuff from mainstream publishers.

Buy from indies. There are plenty of games out there. And they'll be cheaper AND less annoying. :)

news with bite

Review for Vampyre Story, which I promise I'm at least making vague plans to buy, but the holiday season gets so complicated...

Sunday, 30 November 2008

losing your way

There's an article here about the decline of the Girl Scouts. It's really rather pitiful, as they seem eager to discard any values or traditions they might have had and embrace anything in order to achieve the goal of Raising Money. (What else can one think, when all they offer to replace camping and horses is vague buzzwords about leadership journeys?)

I was a Scout for a while. Like all the girls of my acquaintance - we were all in for our early years, and all dropped it as puberty beckoned. Don't know about anybody else, but we certainly never used tents, for all that the article tries to suggest that's a modern deviation. Our camping trips involved staying in little prebuilt huts and the like.

I can think of many ways to reinvent the GSA while keeping some manner of adventurous-service value alive, but one thing that comes quickly to my mind is how the merit badges obviously resemble a gaming achievement system. You carry out quests, you get a badge for it, you display it to show what you've done. Maybe what they need is some sort of Scouting MMORPG...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

WoW Hack, updating

Computer still tests virus-free, but we did find some Very Suspicious DLLs lurking in system32 which a little reading of clearly indicated that they were related to password theft in some form (apparently looking for either wow or final fantasy). Said files have been deleted and removed from startup and have not yet regenerated after a few reboots. Is the system clean now? Dunno. Probably going to get linuxGeek to grep the drive looking for more clues. Argh.

No idea where I got hit from, either. I am constantly installing game demos, but very few shareware companies really want to destroy their reputations by packing viruses. I don't use IE. There was a Flash vulnerability that I may have been subject to, though. Have updated to latest Flash now, hopefully that helps.

Apparently my characters weren't actually deleted, or else they've already been restored, it's just that the account management tool which claims to show all your characters doesn't actually. I don't much feel like playing, though!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

WoW Hacked

I don't know how they got in, my computer tests virus-free from a variety of scanners. They got my WoW password but not my email password, making the problem very noticeable, and trading password-changes back and forth with me a couple of times (that is, they changed the password, I changed it again, they then clicked 'reset lost password' since they didn't have my new ones). I had no high-level characters or rares, but they deleted all my characters (why? just for spite?) and created some new obvious gold-spammers.

I'm aware there's a process for recovering lost characters and I'll get into that sometime when I'm not falling-down ill with the flu.

I bloody well hate MMOGs

My WoW account has been hacked.


I don't even *like* WoW.

SciFi Wire Whines about Games

Original article here

My take on them:

1. Breast physics? I haven't actually played that many games with them. Half Elf Chick in Neverwinter Nights had a jiggly torso mostly concealed behind her armor, and people got at the code and made everyone jiggle madly in mods, which was terribly amusing. If all official characters had been wobbly jello like that, maybe I would have complained, but as it was, it was funny. I think Ivy's problems start well before the jiggling, really.

2. World War 2. I agree that it's overdone, I also pretty much never PLAY games set in WW2. (I can't think of any, but there may have been one somewhere.) So the repetitiveness of that setting helps me screen out unimaginative games? Enh, I'm not really into war. Husband thought Brothers in Arms was really cool, though.

3. Object Permanence. I agree that this annoys me. Particularly when I started up my very first dance in Princess Debut and my partner's legs immediately clipped into my dress and vanished. Kinky! Sure, it's not always preventable, but given how early in the game this was and how preset all the animations are for this particular title, couldn't someone have designed the dress to work differently?

4. Battle Scripts - Not really applicable to the kind of games I play, I guess? Although if we can add the annoying voices from that skating game...

5. I *never* play FPS. I can't cope with first-person, it makes me ill. I played a little bit of Portal actually because the environments were so confined that I could slowly learn them, but I suspect I would never have made it through to the real ending.

6. Don't have a Wii, not familiar with what's available on it. I can guarantee that there are some naughtier Wii games in Japan...

7. Random Battles - I'd rather see it coming and have the option of engaging or avoiding. See: Mario RPG.

8. Save points are usually a console or port problem. I don't tend to play those. Instead, I have a DS, where I can close the lid at any point!

9. Well, there *are* lower-priced games... you're just not looking for them, my dear.

10. Expensive Downloadable Content - Gotta have value for money. One outfit is not worth buying, a level pack may be. An expansion adding content that was promised in the first game annoys me and I won't pay for it.


Having finally gotten my copy of the game, the little "Yahoo!" heard when doing a dance move correctly is easily ignored and does not spoil the dancing like the obnoxious skating sounds did.

Monday, 24 November 2008

your campaign is bad and you should feel bad

So, apparently Risk (the boardgame) has acquired a bad reputation. People associate it with hardcore anorak geeks wearing horn-rimmed glasses and speaking incomprehensible gibberish. People associate it with Rimmer. Those of us who don't play but have seen others do so associate it with being really boring as a spectator sport. Obviously, it's far more interesting to those actually playing.

However, Hasbro apparently thinks it needs to spice up this impression to try and get some more sales in the economic downturn. Their decision? Attempt to convince you how MANLY it is to play Risk. You're not a geek! You're a MAN! MAN MAN MAN! It is about manning up and proving your dominance over other men! Make men kneel before you and - wait, that sounds gay, doesn't it? Of course, if only men are playing....

Lame, Hasbro. Really, really lame.

handle with caution

... No, it's really not a good idea to mix a LARP and a play party without carefully screening the participants.

... No, if you don't know what I just said, you really don't want to.

... No, I wasn't there. But hey, rumor mill!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

going about this all wrong, part 2

Dear PETA: I suspect your Unauthorised Bloodthirsty Cooking Mama will only amuse people (of a certain mindset), not convince them to go veg.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

you're going about this all wrong

I wonder if the overwhelming number of stupid articles about why there are few women in gaming/compsci contributes to why there are so few women in gaming/compsci?

Certainly being constantly hassled about the issue makes me feel more insecure. Being constantly told that I'll be alone, laughed at, looked down on, and assumed to be there to play Barbies sure doesn't make me want to apply for a mainstream programming job. Heck, I have trouble even admitting that I sort-of make a living as a programmer... the uneasiness makes me feel like I'm not a 'real' programmer, that I'm just cheating. :)

Tales of Bingwood

Haven't had a chance to look at it yet, but cool-looking pixely point-and-click adventure?

more economic fallout

Parent company shuts down WizKidGames (HeroClix, among other things.)

I own a reasonable handful of HeroClix, partly through osmosis... Much like with Magic back in the day, if you go to a certain kind of gaming convention, you will meet hardcore collectors of these games who have TONS of the 'commons' that they don't really want and will gladly give them to you for cheap or even free. Especially if it tempts you into buying some rares.

I was never hugely into it, partly because I *suck* at wargaming and don't find it fun. So while I found the concept of the clicky figures really cool, it was hard to get past my hatred of losing.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Stargate Colony

Well, the mixed bits of setting are a bit funky at times. :)

Just finished the main campaign, haven't done the bonus levels yet.

Friday, 7 November 2008

First Colony

It is really annoyingly unfair that SOMETIMES they spring a totally new goal on you at the last minute, just when you were about to succeed. And since your strategy wasn't aimed at that goal, it may not be even vaguely possible to achieve in the remaining time...

Also, I seem to have trouble with events occurring at the same time. You can see the Success box vaguely in the background, buried under the Fail box, since both were counted at the same moment.

Thursday, 6 November 2008


I don't think it's quite my kind of game - keeping track of the bigger picture to work out the puzzle of each level isn't really my sort of fun. (Although it's a MUCH better game than CastleQuest, which I owned for the NES and wished I didn't.)

On the other hand, the voiceovers really are hilarious. :)

settlers, casual style

I quite like this one. It's not as good, in my opinion, as the first Westward. It lacks the writing talent and the sense of humor - it's much more straightforward. But it does appeal to that micromanaging, making-things-grow desire in me, and manages not to make me feel either very bored or very threatened.

Make units, make buildings, juggle resources, profit!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

edible powerups

Gaming-related treats at Snack Or Die

There are also some cute cupcakes, some of which are video game themed, over here.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


I can't concentrate on anything today, the election news will go on until the morning, I just keep playing more rounds of Bookworm Adventures.

Yes, I'm still annoyed that I had to start over from the beginning and that I have to click through all these dialogs that I've read before. I'm still annoyed over having been overcharged. But... it's still kinda fun. And I'm making an effort to up my game towards five-letter words as standard this time around.

edited to add:

deadly rooms of death RPG

I have downloaded the demo but not run it yet, however I was amused by the voiceover of this video.

Monday, 3 November 2008

you disappoint me, mister bond

I am surprised by getting search engine hits for people looking for a walkthrough for a game that won't be released until next year.

(Well, I suppose it's possible that they're all searchers who have the beta legitimately, but I'd assume they'd then be able to ask the company running the beta about a walkthrough...)

it's not all fun and games

Heard that Wild Tangent is dumping all their internal development staff.

Sign of the economic times? Or had they already lost their best developers (since when researching the 'Fate 2' mess, I believe I saw that the person who actually wrote Fate had already left....) and were lacking direction?

you say potato

When I pasted this quote from a review

Slug-like monsters are patrolling the streets, acting as cops for the fascist government. A massive alien jellyfish perched atop the upper floors of the regime's skyscraper headquarters grows ever larger and serves as sustenance for giant ticks being trained for civil service work. The immortal, animal-headed gods of the ancient Egyptians have just arrived in a pyramid spaceship currently floating ominously above the Seine. Had enough? Even stranger, nobody seems to care about these surreal developments. Instead of panicking in the streets, people have apparently just accepted the pyramid from space and scary monsters roaming about.

the person I was talking to immediately said: I want that game. :)

oh, and by the way

While I have not played the game, from review references, I still think the "Ladykiller" perk is creepy.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Ghost Master

Another title coming soon at Good Old Games which I remember reading reviews of when it first came out. Sounded like fun, although not really my sort of thing.

Still no release date listed for Sacred though. But it's nice to see a variety of quality titles still coming out.

fun with gender

A recent event in my Tiny Adventures:

Queira Thanyu noticed a typical prince calling for help from the top of a very tall tower. Seeing no other route to the top, she started climbing up the cobblestone exterior. It was pretty easy going at first, but all that climbing got tiring after a while . . .

Queira Thanyu made a Constitution check with a difficulty of 19 . . . and rolled 20

Queira Thanyu toughed it out and reached the top of the tower. She found the prince there, but he had very dainty feet and hands, and was incapable of climbing back down on his own. Queira Thanyu sighed, hefted the prince over her shoulder, and climbed all the way back down. Good thing there was a big reward for rescuing him!

So - was this written prince/princess and flagged to change against the player's gender, or was someone being subversive? :) I suspect probably the former, but on the other hand, there's no particular reason that they'd need to flip it... it's not like there's Romance going on there for the authors to be squeamish about.

Even in the sort of anime where bishonen princes in towers might sometimes be typical, it's rare that girls get to carry them around. Although I remember a pleased fangirl enjoying a similar encounter in one of the endings of Cute Knight...

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Deep Quest

How to make even a free (game giveaway) game too boring to play: Loop the same ten seconds of music constantly without variation. Especially in a game that requires an awful lot of staring at the screen impatiently waiting for something to happen.

I'm not really a huge fan of strategy games, although I did like Westward, which put more emphasis on building your 'economy' and interrelating the bits of it, less on combat. Also, its characters had personality, and it was entertaining watching them run around.

Deep Quest's 3d is ugly, at least on my machine. The units are identical and soulless. I can't easily tell one thing from another onscreen, and often units that have been set the same task overlap perfectly, causing one to 'disappear'. The game seems to have a focus on combat, but at least in the first few tutorial levels, that means having to build a lot of fighters who are standing around doing nothing at all and looking as bored as you feel.

Feedback also could be a lot better... it's not as clear as it should be whether or not a building is actually carrying out a task, nor is it made sufficiently clear when you click on an action whether or not you can carry it out. It's easy to miss the small quiet display which is nowhere near where you clicked that points out that actually, you need more crystals/lava/housing.

It's close to fun, but for me, it misses the mark.

Emerald City Confidential

Upcoming adventure game - Oz Noir. Cool.

I have to admit that I own one of their earlier adventure games and never actually got around to playing it, silly as that sounds. I haven't gotten around to playing that fully animated one I bought off Good Old Games, either. I love adventures but I'm so BUSY lately that getting myself in a mindset to THINK seems to be harder than it should be.

Friday, 31 October 2008

we named the DOG indiana

Another Indie Games round-up - the only one vaguely catching my eye this time around is a platformer called Archibald's Adventures, but look for yourself.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Another for my pile of potentially-interesting DS titles.

Stumbled across this on DS Fanboy just because I saw the name in the list of the week's scheduled releases and wondered what it was. I am still fairly in the dark about it, other than vague mutterings about "survival horror", "adventure", and "disturbing plot". Possibly with hints of incest.

Probably not one that I'm going to want to pick up, but I'd at least like to hear more about it.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Fallout 3

While so many reviews have simply gone on and on about the combat that I've been losing hope for this title, this review actually focuses on plot and dialog (without spoilers) and manages to make me vaguely optimistic again.

However, I suspect that my current computer wouldn't be up to it. By the time Christmas comes around, more opinions should be available as to how the game turned out and whether it's worth building a new rig for it.

click and slash

According to the email they sent me, Sacred (gold edition) is due out on Good Old Games in the near future, for an affordable $10. Looks like another Diablo-style game, nothing terribly special, but I haven't played it, and while I am all for deep storylines and feminist characterisations, I also occasionally glee at being a hot vampire chick and just killing stuff.

it looks so easy!

but that Malice/Alice platformer gets tricky fast. It took an awful lot of tries to get past the first boss challenge...

Monday, 27 October 2008

supergirl adventure game

found here

Malice and Alice

A simple Japanese platformer, whose plot is slightly incomprehensible, but whose gameplay is really quite simple. There's a little blond witch-girl (Just in time for Halloween!) and another girl has pulled her hat over her eyes, or blindfolded her, or something. Anyway, she can't see. So she stumbles forward blindly. She moves in the same direction until she encounters an obstacle OR you click on her (the mouse cursor taking the form of a little fairy-like girl).

You can also click the cursor to make blocks appear and disappear, and so on. Some blocks will stay changed until you click them again, others are on a timer. And to get the best grade for each round, you have to grab all the stars.

Most of the interface is in English, so if you can just click rapidly through the conversations you don't understand, you should be able to play. Reach the other girl (probably the one who blinded you!) to win the level.

Download Demo Here
(Warning - while THIS game is not naughty, other products sold on that site do include adult content, so expect to stumble into such things if you explore the sidebars for more games!)

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

condoms? in games?

Developer Lionhead Studios (and, one suspects, designer Peter Molyneux in particular) very much wants you to be aware of its sex-related feature set: the first item I encountered for sale by a merchant was a condom. Not long afterwards, my dog excitedly guided me to some buried treasure, and then panted and wagged his tail happily as I dug up another prophylactic.

from GameSetWatch

... I am somewhat boggled. Perhaps because it feels anachronistic for a fantasy RPG, even though it isn't *really*... Perhaps it's also that I remember the first time I encountered condoms in a computer game, and how completely I failed to understand what was being discussed.

Me, as a young girl, playing Leisure Suit Larry, told by snickering adults that I could buy a "rubber" at the drug store, had NO IDEA what either "rubber" or "prophylactic" meant. (I probably would have understood the term "condom" but I'm not sure, I can't remember my nine-year-old brain well enough.) I was deeply puzzled by this mysterious object. Ribbed rubber sounded like a tire or something, but then, why would it be mint-flavored?

So I guess what I'm getting at here is - does the game explain what these items you find are for? Or are there, out there, many more children playing their latest new game and being hopelessly, if amusingly, confused?

(Yes, it's M-rated, someone will say kids shouldn't be playing it. Well, they will anyway. And some kids are perfectly capable of handling a bit of innuendo without being shocked or scarred. However, being young and inexperienced makes it very easy to fail to grasp certain aspects of what's going on, is my point.)

But is it RPG?

GameSetWatch has an article up about Monstania, a somewhat obscure Japanese SNES title now available through the powers of ROM and fansubbing. I mention it because this is the game I was talking about during some discussion on the Rampant Coyote about what constituted an RPG. This game, in my opinion, did not, owing to the complete lack of ability on the player's part to customise the characters and their development. It's a 'strategy' (I suspect 'tactics' is more appropriate, but less common usage in game genre) game. You take what you're given and you fight with it. You have highly specific rules and you learn to work with them.

I don't think it's a bad game, either, despite that article's dismay. It's just not an RPG. If you know what you're getting into, it's enjoyable. Constantly referring to it as a bad roguelike is missing the point.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

trembling in horror

Someone mentions that Princess Debut's dancing may also be peppered with pointless "Yay" and "Whee" and "woohoo"?


Saturday, 18 October 2008

An amusing review of Princess Debut

It’s like Nintendogs, only the cute Pomerian is replaced by a lily-obsessed prince who will not leave you alone even if you’re clearly seeing that new prince Klaus Rosencrans on the side.

from this here blog

(My copy is still in transit. It is currently in a holding cell, being felt up by crossdressers. This is more true than you might imagine. :) )

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Henry Hatsworth's Puzzling Adventure

Apparently crossing a platformer with a match-3.

I love my DS, but it just overburdens me with games that might be fun to play if I had more time/money! For me, this sounds like it goes under "I'd play it if someone loaned it to me."


Here's something you don't see every day - an Icelandic film about a popular girl falling into the world of role-playing games.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

nuts about nuts

Cute little platformer in the style of some reaaaaaaally old games (run around on platforms, make enemies fall into holes... I had something kind of like that back on my coleco but I can't remember the name), and it's free. Not perfect (in particular, difficulty is very uneven - since you don't HAVE to collect powerups to win the level, at least in the build I have, most levels are quite easy and only a few now and then are tricky) but cute.

my wrist hates me

So I finally got around to poking at the demo for Noitu Love 2. Which is gorgeous and absolute buttloads of fun, but OMG, carpal tunnel much? I don't think I dare launch that again if I want to type for the rest of my life!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

meanwhile, in outer space

I am lost in a maze of bureaucracy, on a quest to find toilet paper!

bling for jesus

Is there any other way to describe this crazy project/trailer/website?

(Well, I can think of some, but they're even less flattering.)

a non-anime DS adventure game

I can be a little too Japan-focused and miss the European titles until they smack me upside of the head.

Due out shortly for the DS, Last King of Africa, a "complete reworking" of a PC adventure game by someone who, iirc, is better known for gorgeous environments than brilliant gameplay. There's some gameplay video here.

So, why do I feel underwhelmed? Do I only want to play anime games on my DS? Maybe I just want my DS games to be lightweight? Maybe it's because I know how very easily I give up on a game that isn't sufficiently well-matched to my DS controlstyle/playstyle? Maybe just because I have SO MANY GAMES that I already want to play that I can't deal with adding another to the stack? :)

Friday, 10 October 2008

good old games, in progress

So, you remember I mentioned being interested in an animated ex-laserdisc game...

I logged into my GOG account. I clicked on the game. I sent them $6 by paypal (It did include a mailing address and I didn't try setting it to none, so I can't report on that). After processing the transaction I was sent back to my account, listing the game for me, with links to the forum threads in the system about the game and all related downloads. Game is now downloading. Smooth, simple, hassle-free.

Installer comes with DOSbox and allows me to change location and deselect components.

As for the game itself, it's.... weird. It's what you'd expect, really, if you're familiar with the laserdisc games. Full animation (stripped down to super-low-color; you can see the original was prettier but it had to be chopped for PC release, and it wasn't worth the effort of restoring that for this re-release) but super-quick action jumping from point to point with little explanation of how to play. You were, after all, supposed to read the manual. In a few clicks I've managed to be eaten to death by rats, although the wizard helpfully restores my skin to my skeleton to let me continue. I think I'd best go and look up the instructions.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

say it with MANGA

This isn't directly game-related, but it was just too weird not to pass it on.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

so I guess I don't need a new DS after all

Way to go, Nintendo. Most people talking about the issue weren't excited about the new DSi. I was. Until you admitted that you intended to region-lock the games for it.

Dear Nintendo - I live in England. I have a great fondness for Japanese games. I also speak English and am therefore quite interested in playing games that come out in the US that will never be released in Europe because of the translation burden. I happily pay stupid prices to import games, and I have absolutely zero interest in pirating them. (I pay *really* stupid prices to import PC games from Japan, as anyone else with my habits can sympathise. DS titles are easier.)

Frustrations with region-locking are a reason I don't own a 'big' console, and there's no way I'm buying a DSi if it's going to be like this.

I was a completely easy sell if they hadn't muffed it, but if that's the way it is, I have an awful lot more non-locked games to play.

Speaking of importing games, I've heard just enough from early reviews that I'm really leaning towards snapping up that dancing game. And it has no European release date.

At least Time Hollow is intended to come out in Europe by the end of the year, although reviews suggest that you don't actually get to solve puzzles, you're mostly just trailing along following a set story. Alas.

when the stars are right

So, yesterday evening my internet connection went down unexpectedly and wouldn't be up again until business hours this morning. This is quite annoying, as it means I was cut off in the middle of talking to friends, couldn't finish giving instructions to a business partner, had to stop working on LARP prep because I was writing characters on Google Documents in order to share them more easily with co-conspirators, couldn't continue reading the ebook I'd just paid for but not downloaded... (Which was just silly of me. I always download them. But that one time, I thought, it'll be easier to just keep reading it online, I can download it later...) Couldn't work in general because I so often want to look up references.

So what did I do? Played games. Good thing my video games don't require an active internet connection at all times to be sure I'm not stealing...

Relatedly, in Magical Starsign, I've gotten far enough to encounter a kleptomaniac dog that hides in a large seashell - a 'hermit lab'. Snicker.

Saturday, 4 October 2008


I do enjoy my pixely DS goodness. Ooo shiny windmill thing!

being a holdout

Hinterland is out, but only on Steam. Not being the sort of person to play Half-Life, I don't have Steam. (Okay, someone very nearby does, and I have played a little bit of Portal, enough to know how it works, but it's not installed on my computer.)

Whenif there is a demo available for unsteamed people, let me know. :)

imagine figure skaters SHUTTING UP

Poking at it again so I won't be tempted by ballroom dancing, I am reminded that I would forgive this game a lot of its quirks if not for the REALLY ANNOYING VOICE ACTING.

Who thought it was a good idea to have a girl constantly going "Looking good..." "WOOHOO!" "Great!" "Here I go..." "La la LAAAA!" while on the ice? It's distracting and just plain odd. She doesn't talk the rest of the time, why does she have to babble when I'm trying to do something?

And it's not like she only says them when you finish a move to cheer you on. She babbles CONSTANTLY. She says about six cute sayings PER MOVE while doing the move... and she only HAS five cute sayings. So it's a constant, constant, constant annoyance that makes me want to stab her in the face with my stylus. Which would, of course, ruin my score for the routine.

Divinity 2: Ego Draconis

Convoluted plots with multiple solutions and lots of options for double and triple-crossing? I am intrigued. Please tell me more.

(And speaking of doublecrossing, how's the next Eschalon coming?)

Friday, 3 October 2008

new DS

No, I don't have one yet, I'm talking about the new model being announced.

Many Kotaku respondents don't seem to care (but when do I agree with them about anything?) but I'm interested. I skipped the DSlite - my old gray one works just fine, why pay just for a slightly prettier case? But since I *have* an old working DS with GBA slot (and I almost never use that GBA slot) i don't mind losing that slot on a new toy. Sure, most people carry around a camera phone and an ipod, but I *don't*, and having a camera and music player added to my precious toy is actually handy for me.

As for the new downloadable content idea? I wonder how hard getting on that platform will be? I would *love* to adapt certain game designs to the DS...

On the other hand, there are rumors they may decide to try region-locking. And if that goes down, then of course, I cannot buy a new DS. The features all sound cool, but they are hardly necessary, and the ability to PLAY THE GAMES I BUY is far more important to me.

Co-Op Games

Another indie game competition releases its winners

Thursday, 2 October 2008

quick, make a token gesture!

An Internet game in which players roam a school and kill kindergarten students with a shotgun has been pulled from a Finnish children's gaming site one week after the country's worst school shooting.

What's really odd about this to me is... WHY was this game on a "children's gaming site" to begin with? What were they thinking? (Or was it actually a children's gaming site at all, or just something like Newgrounds that gets lots of random crap posted to it?)

Certainly removing an inappropriate violent game a week after some incident isn't going to do anything to make anyone actually safer. (From what I understand, news coverage is far more likely to incite copycat killers than a stupid cheap game is.)

So... gaming site trying to grab publicity for themselves by taking a token stupid action in the name of children/safety, or bored journalists attempting to invent a story and waggle fingers about evil video games?

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

also for dancing

Princess Debut, the ballroom-dancing prince-dating game, is out in English.

Considering my general disappointment with the princess-skating game, I'm holding off on this for the moment and hoping to find *someone* else willing to buy and review it... But are there enough other girls blogging the DS for that to happen? Hrm...

I've seen some comments on the imported version which go along with my general perception... cute, possibly too easy. Really, I want to hear someone comment about the writing. Will my brain leak out my ears, or will I be giggling?

Decisions, decisions... Y'know, if someone came around door to door selling DS games I would probably be up to my eyeballs in them. What with having to make arrangements to have them delivered, it's easy to talk myself out of it.

I suppose I should play some more of that silly skating game first.

the DS is for Dungeons

Another interesting dungeon-based game to go with the huge OTHER pile of stuff I might play (I'd make a wishlist and invite you to buy me stuff for Christmas, but somehow I doubt anyone would contribute)

Dungeons And... Dams

During the day, you'll recruit adventurers who will mine for materials and build defenses around the city, including dams. At night, creatures will come, but so will flowing water which, depending on how you have directed it with your dams, can help hold back or defeat enemies. At the same time, you'll be traversing the dungeon and fighting.

Monday, 29 September 2008

next stop: adventure!

So, I've been playing a little bit of Magical Starsign. There's nothing wrong with it, that I know of. I see cute things in it. But, especially compared to the Mario RPG I was playing earlier, it's not compelling.

Oddly enough, I think part of the reason for this is the lack of save points.

When throwing babies, you can only save at specific spots. These spots come quite frequently. And because of the way the mini-map on the top screen shows you the general shape of areas even if you haven't explored them yet, you can always see your way to the next save point and roughly how far it is.

This gives the gameplay a "maybe just one more" feeling. You can see the next safe stop point. It's right over there! It's not that far! You can go just that much further, can't you? Sure you can!

And quite commonly, these save points are at the 'end' of an area. So, maybe I'll just peek through this door to see what's outside this area... Oh, there's the next save point... it's not that far... Maybe just one more...

There is a constant feeling of achievement/progress as you reach them, and a constant temptation to push on just a little bit further. That's addictive.

At the same time, things are kept light and non-threatening. You know you'll pretty much always have a save point right before encountering a boss. You don't have to worry about too nasty a surprise showing up and disrupting your progress.

In Magical Starsign, you can save anywhere. If you're paranoid enough, you can save every few steps through a dungeon, just in case something really horrible appears. But saving isn't that fast a process... it gets tiring waiting for it to finish. Also, since you can save in unsafe places and you don't have tons of save slots, what happens if you save in a place you can't get back out of? Is that possible? I don't know. I still haven't played very far into it.

100 Game Maker Games video montage

Not all are free. Not all will be to your taste. But they do vary a lot.

(Link changed because Vimeo doesn't like gameplay videos.)

blurring the lines

Do you ever find it too stressful playing MMORPGs? A little too much like work? Do you wish you could just unwind and play a game to get away from the stress of playing a game?

Apparently they're now going to put Bejeweled inside World of Warcraft.

I would say that a better solution is "don't play World of Warcraft" but unfortunately, I have a shameful admission to make... somebody bought me a copy and demanded that I play with him.

I can't say that I either like or dislike the game. It's been such a topic of conversation in the business for so long that it feels totally... familiar and inoffensive? My first attempts at building a character made the gameplay so utterly boring I couldn't go on, I eventually rolled up a rogue and now am struggling with the interface in order to get behind things properly in order to backstab them. Which at least keeps me on my toes.

In the best tradition, my rogue is also an herbalist and skips through the fields picking flowers.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

speaking of Good Old Games

While I have picked on Lionheart in some detail, at the price of $7 it's not a bad buy. The first half of the game is fun. It just all falls apart after a point. You'll probably get enough hours of entertainment out of it to be worth the price. :)


Good Old Games has one of those all-animated laser disc games?

... Okay, that I have to see.


I find myself vaguely interested in the DS title Deep Labyrinth. Anyone want to weigh in yea or nay?

Friday, 19 September 2008


That's why I usually resist puzzle games... There were only 53ish levels to Stardrone, and I've now beaten them all.

They were tricky, some of them took an AWFUL lot of work, but... Whine.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Tiny Adventures

I am somewhat baffled to get search engine hits by people looking for a walkthrough. It's a random Facebook toy! How could you have a walkthrough? :)

A random Facebook toy that generates encounters like:

As some pebbles fell onto Queira Thanyu, she looked up just in time to see a boulder falling onto her.

Queira Thanyu made a Strength check with a difficulty of 14 . . . and rolled 8

Unable to get out from under the rock, Queira Thanyu had no choice but to wait. Soon, a hungry delver came by and ate the rock off of her. After that disgusting display, Queira Thanyu will never eat a rock again.


Queira Thanyu entered cylindrical room and the door slammed shut behind her. Queira Thanyu then noticed numbered dials next to the door. Above the dials were the words "What is the value of this room?" As she pondered this existential question, a copper piece hit her on the head. Then another. Then twenty, then fifty. The room quickly began to fill with copper pieces, and she decided she had better do some math, and fast.

Queira Thanyu made an Intelligence check with a difficulty of 15 . . . and rolled 9

Queira Thanyu really wished she had paid more attention in hoarding class. As she began to suffocate under a king's ransom, the force of the money popped the door open. Coughing, Queira Thanyu counted her blessings -- whoever had set that trap was as bad at math as she was.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

more reasons not to buy spore

Edit: Apparently EA backed down on this.

Being blatantly promised features and then denied them. Oh, you guys wanted to have different user accounts for your family? Pfft, you should each buy a copy!

And, as usual with so many bits of software, if it doesn't work, most stores won't let you return it. Le sigh.

In brighter news, more DS games to order! Not only will they just plain WORK, but I can resell them for a fairly high proportion of cost on ebay when I'm done!

Monday, 15 September 2008

impulse buy

Got obsessed enough with Stardrone to decide to buy it. I can't explain it, really, I tend not to be too fond of plotless puzzle games... but it's just tricky enough to make me feel clever when I do well, unlike, say, Chuzzle, where I feel like my brain is turning into fluffy technicolor gooble.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Dungeons and Dragons Tiny Adventures

As seen on Gamezebo, a D&D themed Facebook toy:

all you have to do with Tiny Adventures is set the adventure in motion, and the rest of it plays out automatically in 10-minute chunks whether you're at the computer screen or not. You can check back at any time to see how your character is faring, and use special items to boost your chances of finishing the adventure, such as a healing potion if your hero has lost some hit points.

Sounds a bit like Progress Quest, doesn't it?

star drone

Wacky action/puzzlish thing that's really hard to get the hang of, but cool looking when it works. It's all about gravity and angular momentum... You hold down the mouse button in order to orbit the nearest star, and let go to fling yourself off in whatever direction you were going. Which takes some practice in order to figure out how to move around, and will make you blow up a lot while confused.

Some levels can be REALLY HARD, and while you can keep retrying as much as you want until you manage to make it work, the casual gamer in you might wish you could just sit back and enjoy the shiny lights more. :) It is groovy when it's going well.

Friday, 5 September 2008

lock's quest

A sort-of free flash tower defensey thing, advertising a strategy game that's not yet out. However, this promo is a lot less strategy and a lot more 'click frantically until your hand hurts and try to blow stuff up'.

Murder in the Abbey

Neat looking animated adventure game

Monday, 1 September 2008

Sunday, 31 August 2008

recent acquisitions

Found: One very battered copy of Psychonauts for the PC, buried among a pile of similarly unwanted PC games (which were not all horrible. there were games in there I'd heard of. Just nothing that was really popular - and the adventure games present were Not My Type) in a discount store. Not quite a dollar store, but definitely a 'random junk' store. It needed rescuing.

Also found: One copy of Magical Starsign for the DS, used, at a game store. DS games seem to hold their value a lot more than most videogames do. The used prices are barely distinguishable from the new prices. Perhaps because since the DS isn't bleeding edge anyway, the customers are less eager to dispose of last month's games in favor of the latest shiny? Anyway, we went there hoping to find a copy of Mario Kart cheap (as I have one, but two would enable us to share more races) but even in a generic store box, no manual, the price was still very high. MOST used games were pretty pricy, saving only Sprung, the western Dating Sim that generally nobody liked, to the point that I could only remember negative reviews and couldn't figure out whether it was worth even a few bucks for research purposes.

Anyway, Magical Starsign was the best intersection of quality and cheap that I could find.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Your Own Gold Farm

Master of the Monster Lair - a dungeon crawler where you dig your own dungeon and then harvest the monsters that turn up in it. Wacky. (Not out yet.)

Thursday, 21 August 2008

music? game?

That little music-flash thing I mentioned earlier has been upgraded to a full download. It's still super-simple (perhaps a bit too simple for a game) but it's priced at only $10 and you can load your own songs into it. Could be a nice way to unwind after work... for those of you who work. :)

Maid RPG!

First heard about via rumor and seeing a scan of the cover:

Game is a translation of a Japanese product and described thusly:

In Maid RPG, the players take on the role of maids who serve a Master who lives in a mansion. That’s the basic setup, but what ensues is often an excuse for the most bizarre chaos imaginable. This is a game that embraces randomness. Characters have random Special Qualities, ranging from Freckles and Glasses to Stalkers and Cyborgs. During the game, characters earn points of Favor by pleasing the Master, and one of the things they can spend Favor on is causing Random Events.

First copies went on sale at GenCon, the official website is still in placeholder format, normal people can't buy it at the moment. But soon...

(And yes, I finally gave in and added a 'tabletop' tag, but I still have to go back and mark older posts...)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

girls are for ogling?

Poking at the class sets for the upcoming Warhammer Online, we notice that there's apparently one gender-neutral class (goblins, who supposedly don't HAVE gender), one female-only class (dark elf witches, who naturally wear slutty evil bikinis) and two male-only classes (Chaos Marauders, hulking barbarians with mutant arms, and Chosen, heavy armored things)

However, my husband who knows a lot more about Warhammer than I do points out that there *are* female chaos marauders and chosen in the fluff...

P says, "They claim that they can't do female chaos marauders because they 'can't represent them properly'. WTF does that mean?"
P says, "I think it's code for: Women can be hot and fully dressed, or hot and naked, but they can't be ugly."

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Rhapsody - Musically Delicious

The cute RPG I mentioned earlier has a special preorder offer to get a little music CD with it. (Game is in English, music is not)

I do like some jpop but I don't think I need it enough to take one of the limited preorders.

Game's still not listed for Europe, of course. And the release probably won't be out in time for me to pick it up while I'm in the US, unless I make a point to get it IMMEDIATELY and go out of my way to arrange that. I dunno. I'm wary of buying anything without first waiting for reviews. On the other hand, it's a quirky import title that has been picked on in the 'mainstream' gaming mags for being girly, it needs my support!

why hybrids can go wrong

I'm not just whining about the combat problems in TUQM because I'm a wuss, although I am. I'm annoyed because a game which has sections that are interesting and enjoyable to me is made inaccessible through another facet that doesn't directly relate to them.

This often comes up with hybrid game designs, or with minigames. "Hey, we've got a great little platformer going here... Let's add a poker game for variety!" But your player who is good at platformers and likes platformers and bought the game to play a platformer may HATE poker and be no good at it. If you make that poker game required, you cut off the rest of the actually-fun content from the player until they do something distinctly un-fun. That kinda sucks.

Obviously, this is only a problem if you are a player who likes one game type and not the other. But if the game is primarily Type A, should the part that is Type B really be required? Few people complain about optional minigames. It's the roadblock in the way of fun that blows.

Friday, 15 August 2008


On the other hand, when I started getting constantly battered by probes, which a player good at actual flying could probably handle without trouble but which someone playing on autopilot gets slaughtered by, I decided the game wasn't *that* interesting.

Cool stuff in it, yes. Not accessible to me, because I'm a wuss.

The Ur-Quan Masters

So, someone else in the household basically grabbed my hands and FORCED me to play the game long enough to get at least somewhat into it.

It's hard to explain the irrational fear I can feel at the beginning of games. I'm a professional, and I've played a lot of games! But new games can feel big and confusing. The controls require memorization. Horrible death lurks around every corner. It makes me actively not want to play, whine about being forced to play, and try to quit at every possible opportunity.

It's sort of like geek social panic upon being thrust into a dance. "I don't know what to do" is so intense that you're rooted to the spot. If you can get past that and relax and realise that everyone is not trying to kill you, you can have a good time.

Except if it's one of those dances where everyone has lured you there to pour pig blood over your head and trigger certain doom. Wait, tangent.

Anyway. With someone helpfully prompting me through the beginning of the game ("Go to earth. Talk to that. Don't panic.") and the ability to turn on cyborg mode so I don't have to actually do the space battles part, the game suddenly shifts into something playable.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Identifiction - another episodic visual novel?

Well, they're not calling it a visual novel. I'm not really sure what it is. But they're talking about compelling narrative and making choices and they seem to have pictures, so I'm going to guess it will be something similar to a VN, perhaps slightly on the adventure side.

Of course, just like with Dragon Academy, there is a great reluctance to buy into an episodic format. Per-episode purchasing tends to be expensive compared to buying a full game, and there's the risk of the company fizzling out before they finish the story...

Monday, 11 August 2008

star trekkin across the universe

So, Star Trek Online has changed hands again, and there's a trailer out for the newest version, which has dropped a lot of the ideas from previous incarnations, including the silly New Modern FPS uniforms. Which I did think were dumb, although certain boys thought they were kind of cool.

Supposedly, they've also dropped the idea of player-crewed ships. Instead, everyone is a captain. Not totally sure how that works, since the trailer released shows landing parties and on-bridge combat, so you obviously have a crew of some sort. Do you control them all together, like in Sword of the New World? Do they just vaguely follow you around being friendly NPCs?

One possibility I thought of, although I doubt they'll do it this way, is that you start with a tiny, tiny ship and just your commander (not a captain yet). As you do quests and level up, you recruit more crew. You design these new crewmembers just as you designed your captain character, although with different skills for different roles, obviously, and assign them a name and a background. As you go on more quests, you may find that you see a quest that requires character skills that aren't currently in your crew. At which point you could request a transfer and trade one of your crew members for some other player's crew member, or some generic NPCs as well.

In this way, characters created by players get passed around and develop their own unique histories and service records to fill out the world. You might someday manage to recruit your character back again, newly upgraded!

... Of course, the actual game looks like it's nothing but Combat Combat Combat (at least, that's all they promote in the sales text) so varied skills will be completely useless and the game will feel nothing like Star Trek and be boring. :)

Weight Watchers The RPG

No, not a new game. An article discussing the idea that it already IS one.

So, how many cults can you talk people into joining if you let them level up along the way? :)

Friday, 8 August 2008


Interesting RPG/Strategy cross, although not too much information presented. Also, the developer talks a little about trying to fall into more of a "big budget indie" slot rather than either tiny or huge mainstream.

Gamespy Preview

Game Webpage

Azada on 99-cent sale

If you've ever been vaguely tempted by the 'casual adventures' but not gotten around to checking them out, this is a good time to do so - Azada is only 99 cents for the next week or so.

(with coupon code AZADA99 but it says that on the page so it's hardly a secret)

The sequel, of course, looms on the horizon.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

trudging through the snow

So far I'm not terribly impressed with the DS skating game. The minigames are definitely amusing the first time you see them, but instead of being an occasional diversion, it looks like you have to slog through them CONSTANTLY to make any progress. The graphics are cute, especially the 2d characters, although some of the 3d accessories are a little silly (oddly, the kneepads with the pink skulls on them look LESS dumb than most of the choices).

But I've been slogging through an awful lot of tap tap tapping at the plot and done extremely little skating... nor felt like I got to make any choices or display any skill. Admittedly, I'm still at the beginning... because I'm just not interested enough to play more than a few minutes of this at a time so far.

I think I can fairly say that Twinkle Toes Skating far outstrips the other skating games on the market. In my opinion.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

easy come, easy go

Another reminder of why some players are wary of online-only, subscription-based and DRMed systems... Fury MMORPG shutting down with 48 hours notice

According to the Wikipedia entry, the game had a total lifespan of ten months.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

just seen on the news

Police search-raids on a hippie protest camp have found 'subversive materials' including a BOARD GAME.

While the actual news broadcast tried to focus on the spraycans and knives they'd picked up, the big bold lettering on the board game box stood out nice and clear, leading me to go look them up and find out what was so dangerous about them. You can't pay for that kind of advertising!

feed the masses

I've gotten a couple search engine hits for Dinosaur MMORPGs.


Sorry, the best I can do is this post or this post.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

renai blogger

a new (parodyish) dating-type game is out.

While I have not played it, there is this amusing review:

So first of all, I’ve never actually played one of these games before. I figured it would be like Choose Your Own Adventures but with less death. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It was actually like Choose Your Own Adventures but with the same amount of death. And on my first run through I got killed by a yaoi paddle.

... you see why I mark the game as 'parodyish, not serious' :)

Friday, 1 August 2008

rhapsody: a musical adventure

Dear gamespot previewer - why would I need to get over the fact that it looks girly?

Kawaii! :)

(And no, I haven't picked up the DS to even try the skating game since finishing throwing babies, I've been busy)

in a wicked age

A while ago I mentioned doing research into some interesting systems to counteract the too-much-wargaming feel 4e had for me.

So we finally got around to doing a testrun of a very, very narrativist system. We screwed up the dice rules a bit, but that's okay, the dice rolling isn't really the most important thing anyway.

You can read a log of the whole story (just the narrative, no dice or OOC discussion) here

Thursday, 31 July 2008

how NOT to make a complaint of sexism

Here on MacGameFiles, a comment about the dating sim Summer Session.

Kind of mindless yet an interesting concept. However, the game doesn't really go anywhere; not satisfying. Sexist; shallow. ParisH.-types would love it.

Sexist and shallow.

Maybe it is. But... how, exactly? Are the portrayals of the female characters offensive? Are the portrayals of the male characters offensive? In what way?

Just saying "That's so sexist!" helps nobody.

If you're out there, malama, please elaborate!

the world becomes Ender's Game

Article about making videogame interfaces for actual war machines.

in which I prove the stereotype

well, the "feminists have no sense of humor" one anyway, because I'm sure someone's going to accuse me of that.

Apparently the upcoming Fallout 3 includes a "Lady Killer" perk, which has two benefits - bonus damage to female opponents and 'special dialog options' when talking to female NPCs.

Assuming that these special dialog options mean that you're better at charming and flirting with women... ewwwwww.

Having a "Ladykiller" perk that meant bonus damage to females is funny in a dark way, it plays off the word.

Having a "Ladykiller" perk that just means you're a suave fellow and better at scoring with the ladies is fine, although I'd want an equivalent for flirting with the boys.

Combining these two is tacky at best. It's not funny.

On the other hand, it's always possible that this "Lady Killer" badge is their way of bringing over something similar to the "Child Killer" from previous games (that is, a very bad reputation) and that the special dialog options consist of NPCs considering you to be a right bastard because you like to hit girls. And that's not a problem for me.

Since at this point no one seems to know for certain exactly what's involved, all I can do is be uneasy.

edited to add: One commenter on the eurogamer article says that the game DOES include an equivalent 'Man Eater' perk, so at least it's balanced. Which makes it seem not quite so bad. :)

Lord British heading for space?

And using most of his money to do it, according to this story.

I've never interacted with the guy myself, but I've heard some tales of his Eccentric Parties...

(Also, I vaguely knew someone who was on UO2 and met his fate at the You're Fired Barbecue. Ah, mainstream game development!)

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

our honored forebears

Adventure Gamers has a retro-review up of Quest For Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness, which is my favorite of the series and would be a strong contender for best Sierra game ever, if not for the BUGGINESS. It was difficult to get through it at the time because a key puzzle didn't work right 9 times out of 10. It got impossible shortly after that, because a hardware timing issue would cause it to crash at important points. Also, there was a godawful annoying copy protection routine that required you to quit the game in order to look things up (although I think this was removed in some versions. It's been so long that I can't REMEMBER what the situation is with the CD of the game I'm carrying around).

I loved the story. I loved the rpg/adventure mix that allowed multiple solutions to puzzles, sometimes having to do with objects, sometimes having to do with your skills. I even liked the combat and the ability to set it to strategy mode so I didn't have to DO the combat. :)

I hear there are enough fan patches around that it should be vaguely playable in DOSBox nowadays... I wonder if I can get it to work in Linux and bully certain people into trying it.

eye-searing pink

Yeah, I'm one to talk, with this blog. :)

New Puzzle Quest clone apparently coming out, hanging off the 'Mean Girls' movie brand.

There won’t be magic spells. Instead, according to press materials the game’s publisher handed me today, there will be “rumors, pranks and putdowns.”

If they're busy dying it hot pink, they'll probably also dial down the difficulty... I suspect. I do not know.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

ignorance never shut me up either!

Picked up on slashdot, another "woe, adventure games dead, people don't like to think anymore" story which ignores basic facts like

1. traditional retail PC adventure games are STILL being produced, with at least a handful hitting wal-mart every year

2. they're picking up new fans now that they're available on portals

3. there are interesting DS adventure games coming out too (Another Code, Professor Layton, Hotel Dusk, Time Hollow, Phoenix Wright....)

4. the insanely popular hidden object game genre on the casual game portals is developing a tendency to include some adventure game puzzles as well (Although probably with a much lower difficulty. I can't really say, as I don't play these games myself.)

On a related subject, a mainstream games review website which believes that you don't need to play an adventure game to know that they're all crap and a niche games review site which happens to like adventure games are throwing poo at each other.

another 'let's laugh at the feminists' writeup

can be found at Yahoo, which doesn't bother to discuss AT ALL what the upset people are actually upset over, and mocks them for daring to be offended by a game that had a girl working on it somewhere... which we have to take the word of the Man In Charge for, since the girl herself is not in evidence.

Again, I am not nearly as bothered by the game itself as by the coverage.

Would you see an article saying that Christian groups were offended by a game but they'd better be prepared to eat crow because the level designer who built the church level goes to church himself five times a year?

I don't think so. Even if many people reading the article felt that the outrage was silly, they would probably be more respectful of the opinion (at least on mainstream public articles. On Something Awful, they'd flame. :) ) and recognise that the outraged people were looking at the game from a different viewpoint.

It bothers me that many mainstream people seem to think feminists are inherently funny and should be put in their place.

Monday, 28 July 2008

more panties in games

Since I get a lot of hits for this sort of thing, I may as well link to an article on the subject.

As for my opinion?

There's nothing wrong with Peach's panties! They're perfectly ordinary panties! What did you expect her to wear under there, a chastity belt?

Second Life can't fairly be blamed for the crazy things people come up with - and that picture is TAME.

DoA Beach Volleyball *is* softcore porn. You have only to watch the poledance sequence to be convinced. But how lame! Not even bothering to put up a picture of the REALLY bad possibilities? IIRC, you can put your girls in some amazingly terrible underwear in this with options...

Can't comment on the not-yet-available Japanese title, although it does make me think of Ashe's bizarre final fantasy getup.

Um... Isn't this supposed to be a 'ridiculous underwear' list? Okay, I guess you're inferring the pushup bra, but....

The rest of the list needs no further comment from me, they speak for themselves.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

new music based DS game

but despite Internet Geek Approved taste in music I don't think I'm interested. The gameplay looks much less interesting than EBA/Oeundan, there's no sign of story elements, even the dance-along monsters don't appear to have much variation or excitement in what little you can see there.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

what a surprise.... a douchebag on the internets!

The faux-surprise is not that some people are upset about certain elements of the 'Fat Princess' game. The faux-surprise is at the sheer stupidity of the people mocking the people upset about the game.

Even worse is a writer at Shakesville, who took time out of doing her husband's laundry to write this: "Congrats on your awesome new game, Sony. I'm positively thrilled to see such unyielding dedication to creating a new generation of fat-hating, heteronormative assholes." As you can see, she uses "words" like "heteronormative" to sound clever and informed, a tactic which invariably fails and makes one look presumptuous and pretentious. [...] Word to the wise: Sarcastic fat girls don't go to the prom!

The game itself is not the best treatment of either women or fat people but it's not exactly reality-based and "It's just a game"... it's much less creepy than that japanese "Frantically lose weight so people will like you!" dating sim. There is such a thing as being oversensitive. But this quote, I can't tell whether he's intentionally choosing phrases to try and wind up feminists or whether he really is that dumb.

She accuses you of being a fat-hating heteronormative asshole, so you mock her for being fat and insist that she needs a man to make her life complete. But wait, if she's too fat to get a date, how come you think she's busy doing her husband's laundry?

boss battle, incoming!

If the big shiny rooms full of powerups and the threatening music weren't enough, the NPC will now frantically beg you to save your game. You want to save now, right? RIGHT? RIGHT???

Complicated and difficult minigames entirely unrelated to the rest of the game right before the final boss requiring enormous amounts of reloading are not fun. And this game was doing so well!

(Yes, I got it eventually, but it felt more frustrating than excitingly challenging. This doesn't seem like a good time to make the player learn a new skill, particularly when failure means bad guys laughing at you and reloading and trudging up a lot of stairs again, rather than just trying again like most of the minigames do.)

indie rpg news roundup

Since there's a lot of tidbits in there, linkies!

a moment's relaxation

A little musical flash game on Reflexive. My first go scored 789758 - it was cute but I don't think I'll play it again any time soon.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

ebooks, wallpaper, etc

Not games, but fantasy, and I like fantasy, so!

Tor freebies
- limited time publisher giveaway stuff

(I do, in fact, buy ebooks. But only in HTML. I don't have a portable book reader and I like being able to drag things into my browser window where I can resize them to my heart's content.)

Narrative character creation

RPGs (and computer games in general) are notorious for starting you out with amnesia. This helps keep them from burdening you with too much detail at the start, but can be jarring later if you discover that the charming loner you thought you made is actually a mass-murderer from a large family. Or, if the characters stay ciphers forever, it makes it harder to engage with the game world.

At the same time, character creation can be a burdensome morass of obscurity, full of far too many numbers and unclear tactical decisions. This can be fun, but it can also be daunting.

I may have mentioned this idea before, but... What if you used a more CYOA style of character creation? Where you and the character generator build a simple story to express who your hero is and where e comes from?

Alishtera[type name here] is a [man/woman] reknowned for her [strength/cleverness/knowledge/fighting skill/piety]. She was born [in a small village/in the wild forests/into slavery/a noble's bastard] and grew up yearning for [adventure/freedom/revenge/love/fame]. Five years ago, during the war against the Pact, she [various activities...]

And so you could progress through character creation, picking a choice and then having the next part of the background story appear. Each choice you made would shape the eventual stats and skills of the character you would be handed, as well as setting plothooks for later. The story-generator could be as complex as you wanted... characters who were born slaves might get a very different set of possibilities for where they were during the war, in order to set up their current non-slave status.

Monday, 21 July 2008

watching Age of Conan over someone's shoulder

Yes, it is impressive that you have lipsynch tech for your models.

However, if their mouths move realistically while their eyes stare blankly right at you, face never showing expression...

Thursday, 17 July 2008


Wild Tangent responded to my support request solely by chiding me for calling it "Fate 2" instead of using the appropriate branding of Fate Unfogged Room Closet Balls Hockey With Elf Chicks, rather than by HELPING me in any way shape or form to run their game so that I could GIVE THEM MONEY.


Seriously, wtf? Did they think I was going to respond with "Oh wow, I am so sorry I failed to use the proper name for your game even though I had indicated exactly what game I was talking about on the long series of dropdown menus when filing a support request through your website and a second-grader could tell what I meant by 'Fate 2'. Gosh, that was so inappropriate of me! I will buy *three* copies of your new product even though it doesn't even launch on my computer! I should be ashamed of myself for asking! Tee hee!"

I loved FATE. I was a shoo-in for a sequel. It didn't even have to be good. I would have bought it without giving it more than a few minutes playtest. All it had to do was run.

Well. So much for them, then.

(If you got here by search and are disappointedly looking for a game, there are other indie RPGs out there..... but if you're really set on trying Fate The Undiscovered Country Or Whatever you can find that here)

still throwing babies

I'm somewhere in the Star Shrine at the moment.

well, there went my free time

There's a new FATE game out!!

(If you're not familiar with them, super-cute Diabo-clone with pets and fishing. Hit stuff. Get loot. Repeat.)

Luckily or un, as the case may be, their stupid game manager software appears to be interfering with my ability to actually run the game. I click play, I get a blank screen. You can see the results of my request for tech support here.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

sugar and spice

I am now collecting links for figure skating games. Anyone got any more?

(Also, there is an obvious girl bias in these games. Poor boy skaters.)

visual novel adventures

A neat upcoming game for those who enjoyed Fatal Hearts and Another Code / Trace Memory:

Time Hollow

Apparently you have some sort of time-travel power, so you jump back and forth in time trying to solve puzzles and help people, while fighting against the bad time-manipulations of a mysterious enemy. Some adventure-gamey puzzles, but the gamespot preview suggests that the focus is more on dialog and character development. Graphics look really nice, too.