Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Working my way through my first attempt at Another Day / Pork City (after realising that if I didn't *start* the tin pin quest, I didn't have to finish it). So far the pigs are much trickier than the actual enemies, and I'm just barely holding on with the collection of weird items I've obtained so far and tricks like using my powers to delay the pig rather than hurt it, while my partner does the damage...

Don't know if I'll reach the top or not, but it'll be kinda annoying to have to do this again if I don't...

edit: Made it up to the top at last, beat the final fight... not very much happened. (Of course, I hadn't actually cleared quite all of Beat's reports yet so I don't get the final report yet.)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

activision did something sensible for once?

The King's Quest fan project, which was supposedly ordered to shut down in March, is apparently now going to go ahead again. Cool.

So, you know, cookies for Activision for letting the fans who worked so very hard for this finally get to taste their rewards. Let it not be said that I fail to give credit where credit is due.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Magical Diary

More signs of the game in progress:

Basically, you play a teenager (girl in this one, there are intended to be boy versions later) just starting out at a School Of Magic. You have roommates and rivals and teachers who may help or hinder you, and you have to balance your social life and your studies... There are RPG elements but they aren't coded yet so screenshots for that won't show up until later.

As you can see in the screenshot, you get to design your own character, with lots of different hair and eye styles and changeable colors. There are extra features that can be bought later in the game.

Friday, 25 June 2010

internet dramas!

Linking to a thread in which someone finds out his game has been ripped, hacked, and put up for sale... some of the responses get rather crazy.

maybe not *completely* relying on guides

... since i can't quite get the hang of juggling monsters via Velocity Attack as suggested and ended up beating Blue Taboo Sho via the use of tracking sparks instead. (Lightining Pawn, maybe? I forget the name.)

Racking up a huge collection of unidentified clothing, too, and there doesn't seem to be much in the way of guidelines for how to get any particular item IDed.


As I understand it, they've remade a classic old video game... using Clannad characters. Just because.

Thursday, 24 June 2010


Yes, despite my whining, I'm still playing. Basically, at least to me, it becomes an entirely different game and one that I'm totally reliant on guides for - what pins to get where and how to make them more effective, in order to actually beat fights that I couldn't have managed previously. "That's impossible" becomes much less so with a rack full of on-trend pins pumped to double-damage.

I still think the endgame could have been handled more smoothly to avoid player dismay.

Also, trying to hunt pin drops is very frustrating. I can just manage to take down a particular boss at hard difficulty - I can't do it with my settings pushed far enough to make his chances of dropping That One Damned Pin reasonable.

the gold is in another castle

Interesting article on the returns of iphone development.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

rushing to your DOOM

Servers apparently got hammered so I've made no attempt to PLAY this yet, but watching the video is rather amusing...

A warning about OnLive

Once again, kids, if you buy something DRMed, a company WILL try to take it away from you later.

So just buy from me directly! I am your friend! :)

Monday, 21 June 2010


... I am mostly just pissy because I can't play Tin Pin and therefore much of Another Day is locked out for me, and that's the thing that the game dangles in front of me as "Looky, interesting challenge here!" right after finishing the game. Ignoring that and picking up reports starting with Shiki and things that I can actually DO is slightly less frustrating.

EDIT: No, it quickly returns to 'Beat this really hard boss on hard difficulty or no progress for you!'


Honestly, I'm pretty pissed off at what happened with TWEWY. Optional shit should be optional. Bonuses for hardcore play should be bonuses, not 'absolutely required in order to have the faintest clue what the game was about'. I'm sure someone's going to disagree with me on this one, but I don't think it's at all fair to come to the end of a game and have the plot pretty much thumb its nose at you and say "Oh, this game you thought you were playing? Sorry, you have to play an entirely different game in order to win." (I am especially pissy about Another Day, which seems to revolve around Tin Pin, which I cannot play for the life of me. I do not improve with practice. I could only pass the preliminaries by trying multiple times and finally managing to avoid all the opponents long enough for them to kill each other.)

Yes, I have looked at spoilers and I do know what the plot was, at least the big important parts of it. But should that really be necessary in order not to leave you feeling lost and upset right after a (physically painful, actually) long final boss battle? And since secret reports apparently have to be done in order, if you're stuck you're stuck. Instead of feeling challenged to excel (did I mention I'm still slowly collecting my 100%s on Peggle Nights?) I feel cheated.

Of course, the most important parts of the plot *could* be inferred from what was shown in the game... if it had just stopped there and there were no extra secrets. And I'm often fond of slightly confusing plots that let you figure things out. Why am I so annoyed about this one? I dunno...

Possibly I'm just in a bad mood (Well, I *know* I'm in a bad mood, but possibly that's the only reason it's bugging me so much). I never intended to go for 100% completion on the game anyway, but it's always disappointing to hit the point where you have to give up...

I'm tempted to wipe the game completely - the cart has only one save slot, so if I sit here for the next several years slowly trying to work through all the extra crap, nobody else can play!

And this for a game that, until this point, was doing so WELL at making difficulty flexible and fun...

Sunday, 20 June 2010

... in neku's words...

... what the hell?

(That would be final boss battle ending, watching the credits roll, still kinda baffled.)

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Old Republic MMORPG

So, I watched the flashy E3 trailer. And I found it really boring.

It's... pretty to look at. But that's not what the actual game is going to look like. And it just goes on and on with its pointless flashy stuff that doesn't MEAN anything. These are not characters that I care about. It's too long for a teaser just to spark the interest or an intro video for the real thing. It just feels like a lot of wasted time and money that could have been spent making the actual game.


I haven't said much about this, have I? Well... It's interesting, I guess, but the plot doesn't leave me filled with rage, gasping with excitement, bursting with laughter, or inspired to deep thought enough to really expound upon it. Don't take that as a knock on the game, because it isn't, it's just that it doesn't have the exact kind of moments that are likely to make me make a post about it.

The game is quite forgiving with all its multi-layered-ness, there's a ton of optional stuff. I will probably never be able to play that damned minigame, but even though it comes up in the plot several times it's always optional and you can always continue without it. Playing collect-them-all is also totally optional (and I seem to suck at it despite making some effort). The difficulty level is quite flexible, and I regularly play with my settings at such a position that I can easily dial down if I get stuck on a tough fight and breeze through it, so my progress isn't interrupted.

EDIT: Unfortunately, it seems that all the optional stuff becomes a lot less optional if you want to actually get to the REAL game plot. Alas!

Cute Knight Kingdom - Mac/Linux

The other-OS versions are tentatively available now. Please let me know if you encounter any problems with them.

Friday, 18 June 2010

235 Free Indie Games in Ten Minutes

or rather, a video preview of them, as seen on the Rampant Coyote.

The only problem is that seeing over two hundred games, they all run together in my mind! :)

matters of theme

Even in games where story is practically nonexistent, a little bit of story is often implied by theme. And that can make a difference. I admit that I am, for example, a complete sucker for certain kinds of fantasy themes. I played endless hours of a slidy match-3 because it was packed full of glowing fairies.

But despite the visual appeal, I find it impossible to get interested in an oil-drilling simulation.

If only all those nice panels were part of, I dunno, a Fallout-style game or a space adventure or something...

squeeing for squeeing's sake

waiting for the Scribblenauts Sequel..

For example: someone left a "Giant Bear" onscreen in a previous demo, and I dispatched it with a "Poisonous Fish." Then, based on advice from 5TH Cell's Marius Fahlbusch and Jeremiah Slaczka, I made a potion to impart an adjective on the bear corpse -- in this case, a "Flat Potion," which did indeed lead to a "Flat Poisoned Bear." Then, for good measure, I dropped a "Nervous Library" on top of the bear. The library danced back and forth awkwardly. But, of course, you've all seen a nervous library before.

Sunday, 13 June 2010


It's never going to be my favorite VN, and I'm never going to really like the protagonist. But it's at least not completely dull, and I do intend to pick up all the endings. (Unlike Snow Sakura, where I was too bored to get more than one.) Also, I was warned, but SHEESH that one ending does its best to put you through the ringer, doesn't it?

I'm playing the all-ages version. It's *very* clear where the sex scenes were, and there's sufficient sexual language and description remaining that I'd question calling this "all ages". A reasonable job has been done at trimming the scenes in a way that you can guess at what went on. In at least one place a plot-relevant conversation is held while people are nude; the trimmed version just displays a black screen while the lovers fumble around (descriptively) and talk. In another, a bit of a cg (cropped to hide breasts) is shown quickly and fades away as a hint of the sex scene you're missing.

Given the dreadful quality of sex scene writing in most h-games, I doubt I'm missing much.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

lowest common denominator

Twiddling bits for the Cute Knight Kingdom expansion, I have now added the Lingerie outfit.

Don't get overly excited - it's in the same style as the rest of the art and doesn't come close in titillation to what's considered "normal" female attire in some videogames. It's also an extremely bad idea to wear it while dungeon-delving. You'll find out why later...

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The World Ends With You

Have been playing this a bit lately, in small spurts. For one, I like playing portable games that way, for another the combat hurts my hands pretty quickly, and for a third, you get XP for the time you have the console turned off, so you feel like you've actually achieved something by waiting.

It's quite overwhelming at first. There are zillions upon zillions of options and details. If you let go and trust in the game, you'll be all right - it does introduce things slowly as you need them, and MOST of the details are optional anyway. But if you're a stubborn sort who pokes around at the interface and tries to understand everything up front, you can be a bit bowled over. Especially with the fighting in two screens at once.

Helpful tip for utter newbies - COMPLETELY IGNORE the upper screen at first. She'll take care of herself (especially once you find the option to adjust the auto-pilot control for her). As you go along, you'll encounter fights where there are no enemies near your character, or all your pins are in recharge mode and can't be used for a few moments, and THEN you'll have time to look up and pay attention to your partner.

Protagonist is a jerk, but that's clearly the point, and the plot will be dealing with it...

It's disppointing that with all the fashionable accessories you can buy to dress up your characters, you don't seem to get to actually dress up your characters. They boost stats, but with all these descriptions of fun clothes I'd really like to be able to properly SEE them on the characters. That would also make the Bravery stat make more sense, if these outfits were visible...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A dialog idea

There's been a lot of experimentation within games lately to try and have methods for interactive dialog while maintaining the flow of things - trying to break away from the complex dialog tree where you have to read every response and pick the most appropriate. (Don't get me wrong, I still like dialog trees.)

Some of them, I think, are trying to shorten things to a simple 'icon' approach, where you choose a positive/negative/humorous/angry response, without knowing the details, and then the character delivers whatever line the developer wrote. But while this may get you moving along faster, it still breaks flow.

And particularly in terms of modern 3d-roaming games (which I generally don't play) there's this awkwardness to standing frozen in one place staring at each other passing the dialog puck back and forth.

So, I was thinking - and Heavy Rain *may* have already done this but I don't know because I didn't play it - could it work to have character emotions controlled through body posture, through joystick manipulation? And done *as the conversation goes on* rather than at choice points?

So, while someone's talking to you, you can make your character wobble her head back and forth and look away from the speaker to indicate boredom. And as the dialog moves along to the next branching point, it checks to see what the current emotional state of the player is, and if there IS an appropriate reaction on file, shifts tracks to that part of the dialog. "Sorry, am I boring you? Let me sum up." - or another character might just yell "PAY ATTENTION!" before going on with what they were saying.

Similarly, making your character slouch and sigh could indicate sadness. That could make the person you're talking to express sympathy, or it could just change the method in which the PC delivers information. Talking about a mission that you've just completed [SAD] is different from a mission you've just completed [ANGRY].

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Trouble with Mystery

... is that it leaves reviewers flummoxed for things to say.

Both professional reviews for Date Warp so far have come out saying little more about the game than what's on the game's official webpage. As anyone who's played the demo can tell you, there's more than one 'surprise' moment within the demo itself, and obviously more to come as the game goes on.

But if all you can say is "Nothing is as it seems", that's not a very helpful review for a player wanting to know if she should pick it up, is it?

The opening video itself, as these things generally do, contains some spoilers. But if you don't tease people with hints of what's to come, how are they supposed to get interested? :)

Saturday, 5 June 2010

why can't it just work

If you ever, like me, find yourself in a position where you really want to be able to find and replace text in a foreign language in a large number of files, you will get very frustrated trying to search for a windows grep tool that can handle foreign text. I therefore link you to which at least SEEMS to work so far, unlike most attempts which give up immediately.

Friday, 4 June 2010

moving targets

Gamertell has a review up for Date Warp.

While it is true that the endings gallery doesn't exist yet, that IS coming in an upgrade shortly. (And the game does itself keep track of what endings you've reached... it has to, in order to unlock the True Ending. So the gallery upgrade will properly display this data on existing copies without them needing to start over.)

a special day

Today I am finally unsealing the plastic on the copy of Princess Maker 5 that was in my memorial box from years ago.

Yes, this does mean I am in fact thinking about you-know-what. But I won't say it until it's more possible.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

drowning in crap; the casual market in 2010

Or at least that's how I phrase it. The Gamezebo article title is slightly more polite.

Some interesting comments about the mess that the price war has caused.