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