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.

Monday, 14 July 2008

random japanese stuff

Exception - A shmup where you play a cube flying around other geometric solids, with bloom and blast. To quote the review,

Your little fighter cube flies along the x and y axis with omnidirectional firing. You have a health bar, as opposed to dying in one hit, so in that regard it is a tad forgiving. Three weapons are at your disposal: a straight, constant laser beam for focused fire; a chargable homing ray to take out swarms of weaker enemies; and, what is perhaps the most important weapon in your arsenal, the catapault, which is the device that employs the "blown attacks" mentioned in the product description.

The catapault grows in strength with a power meter filled by dealing out damage to the enemy swarms. When it's ready to use, an outline of a box appears in front of your fighter. When the catapault is used, everything inside that box is flung away from your fighter with considerable force. The smaller and lighter the object is, the farther and faster it will fly. Skillful use of the catapault, especially when you let the power meter fill to its maximum, is the key to surviving the levels. It can be used offensively to fling hundreds of cubes into the oncoming hordes.

There is a demo downloadable here. It is quite playable even if you can't understand Japanese - the settings are in English, and when you get into the game, the left button, right button, and middle button will do you. (Be sure to LET GO of the left button before using the others.)

fun times with online rpg

(using MapTool and a chat client)

Having my players discover the phrase 'Beware of Travis' carved into a wall.
Having one immediately yell about Taxi Driver and post a link to a picture of the character looking crazy with his guns.
Immediately grabbing the picture, cropping it down, and dragging it onto the map as the bad guy emerged from the secret door behind them...

Less good - MapTool crashed at one point and ate the entire campaign, so all the mapfiles and fog-reveals had to be rebuilt. Never had that happen before.

Also, one player is trying to convince me to rewrite all these 1st edition pre-advanced D&D modules into 4e. ARGH. I'm not doing it, but I have allowed some 'minor' (huge compared to what OD&D should be, minor compared to porting to 4e) rule changes designed to make the game an awful lot easier and more likely to achieve my goals.

See, I hate combat. I'm an explorer both as a player and a GM. What I really want is for my players to wander around the module, see everything, trip all the traps, go "ONOES", pick themselves back up again, and keep going. Killing them off is not fun. Life being slow and dangerous enough that the party proceeds at a crawl and wants to be fully rested all the time is dull. If letting the wizard cast Magic Missile once per combat instead of per day means the party will keep moving, then I'm okay with that.

Said player still thinks it would be more fun if we used 4e so the fights would be more interesting. BUT I HATE COMBAT! Fights are boring? Good, stop having them! :)

Sunday, 13 July 2008

nonviolent resistance

A Force More Powerful

I wonder if it contains any insights that would help create that thing I want to write involving repressive reeducation facilities...

aliens stole my sheep!

Watch the little preview movie for Flock. It's cute.

Wanderlust Rebirth

Co-op console-graphics RPG project (like a tiny mmorpg - play with a group), free beta of beginning of game available, more details at TIGsource.

Friday, 11 July 2008

i am intrigued by your ideas

News of an upcoming direct-download site for older games, the sort that by now turn up in the bargain bin if anywhere.

Good Old Games

Pleasingly, they're offering DRM-free versions, or so they say. Which may be an acknowledgement that their target market are perfectly capable of obtaining pirated copies of those old games if they feel like being jerks, so why bother? They're buying because they want to pay for it, or want the safety of getting it from a reputable source instead of risking virus-riddled warez.

Of course, their version of 'old' is a bit eye-rolling for some of us who've been around a lot longer than that...

But if this is legit (and will allow non-US people to buy... GameTap won't, last I checked) it'll be a nice option to have.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

once more from the top

Remember that game about making fashion statements that I gave in and bought?

There's a sequel.

But according to reviews, it's not much more than the same thing over again.

Unfortunately, ever since gamezebo intentionally broke their site, removed a lot of user content, and trapped the rest away to where only registered people can see it, they're the same thing over again too. (You CAN get to the forums if you're not registered. But you can't get past the first page of posts, it just keeps reloading. And all the info that used to be right there on the review page now requires click after click after click to have any hope of seeing...)

stating the obvious

Whoever has the license to Mahoujin Guru Guru really should make a DS game out of it.

If you're not familiar with it, the entire anime series is a super-kawaii parody of old console RPGs. But crucially, the magician girl character casts her spells by drawing patterns in the dirt with the end of her staff.

So, while there were some SNES games for it, none of them could work in the really obvious connection like a DS game could.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

picking up chicks in bars

In a game design sense.

And not in the crazy reflex-driven one from (warning, link is Not Safe For Work) Bar Games.

someone else is whining

about RPG inventories

D&D 4e

Played a solo adventure today. Still was frustrated with the non-combat systems and required a good bit of 'cheating' (well, redefining the challenge so I could use skills my character didn't suck at) as well as training myself to think of the whole thing as an Indiana Jones getaway sequence so I wouldn't be so annoyed at "If I succeed in hiding, why do we have to keep rolling???" It's doable, with a GM trying really hard to present interesting story things to have happening, but it's sort of exhausting, and the lack of Cool Specialised Tricks in non-combat still leaves it less blah.

On the other hand, I was playing a warlock. These classes are supposed to be *balanced*? Warlock makes BIG BOOM. (GM says that this is only because I wasn't fighting large groups. But good heavens, things just went down in a snap.)

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Princess Maker 4 DS

So, yes, they're apparently putting the game onto the DS.

[And no, the translation patch will not work for the DS version. Someone else will have to write a totally new hack for that. In the meantime, if you're looking for English anime games like this, go here.]

And, to try to convince you to buy the game again even though you already own the ps2, pc, AND psp versions of it... they're adding new features. A couple of new endings, and the ability to MOLEST YOUR DAUGHTER WITH THE STYLUS.


You can click on her breasts! And she sounds all confused! Ack!

Friday, 4 July 2008

game GET

My copy of 'imagine' figure skater has arrived. Will poke at it briefly and then probably put it away until I finish the Mario RPG.

hrm... can't tap the screen to speed up the text because it'll skip ahead and you'll miss it... Hitting B works to show you the rest of the text currently being spelled out letter by letter, and it SOMETIMES advances you to the next dialog screen. However, if there was too much dialog for one bubble and it's rolled over into the next, you have to press A to get to the second half....

Ah, I just have to be careful not to tap the text bubble itself. Then it'll work properly.

There is a sushi-eating minigame. Eat sushi. Don't eat the kittens.


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

to go along with our ice skating games

Rumor has it that this Japanese ballroom dancing game may be seeing an English translation shortly.

a new casual game in the making?

From a discussion over the controversy of whether very large passengers should be forced to pay for two plane tickets (which is more complicated than it seems at first glance, since the airlines have intentionally led into the problem)

>Just sit next to me - I’m a skinny and I only take up 80% of my seat! :-)

Okay, so I’m now imagining some new airline job in which people report what percentage of seat they take up (and it which areas - legs, arms, wev) upon buying their ticket, and then this awesome logician gets to sit down and work it all out like a puzzle, coming up with the greatest seating chart ever for optimum comfort for all passengers.

And I’m thinking “Wheee! Puzzles! I want that job!”

Game design possibility, anyone? :)