Saturday, 31 July 2010

"If it were $X I would buy it"

Anyone who sells stuff on the internet has probably, at some point, gotten a message like that. Many times it turns out that these people are complete liars, just trying to justify piracy to themselves by claiming that something is overpriced. Other times, it's the truth - either they have limited money to spend or they have a psychological barrier above which they will not go for a particular product.

(I myself have put games in a "maybe" category when they're over $20 but bought them immediately if I saw them for that price.)

But what if you could put your money where your mouth was, and make a binding bid to buy product X for price Y? Not "pay what you want" but "make an offer"? With the caveat that if your offer is accepted the money is immediately taken, no trying to haggle it further down to see what you can get.

As a seller, I'd be willing to let people buy things at reduced price if they *really meant it* that they'd buy it for price X. But there would have to be some kind of formal system, not just emailing me to whine. An escrow type thing that held your money, demonstrating that you were DEFINITELY GOING TO PAY, maybe.

Friday, 30 July 2010

giving zynga neutrals

Apparently they're shutting down one of their facebook games with all of, like, three days warning.

And while some Street Racing fans are upset over the studio's apparent indifference, even more are complaining about losing the virtual cars and modifications they've purchased in the game with real cash.

... While my snarky side thinks it was insane for anyone to spend real money on a facebook game, ESPECIALLY one by a company KNOWN to be a bit on the slimy side, my less-evil side points out that everyone should have the right to not get ripped off, even people who spend their money on things I think are silly.

On the bright side, after the initial announcement (and probably some screaming) Zynga is offering credits to anyone who spent money on the game in the past 90 days, so not so bad.

Still and again - you don't own these games, they can be taken away from you at any time, DON'T GET INVESTED IN THEM.

Edit: Since the comment mentions that would also apply to all MMORPGs, I should say that I KNOW THAT. :)

Thursday, 29 July 2010

giving steam credit

So, Steam's DRM screwed up and banned a whole bunch of people who hadn't done anything wrong. Naturally, this feeds into my usual ranting about DRM and how insane it is to buy games from a system that can shut you down at will.

However, to their credit, Steam were very apologetic about the mess, fixed everyone's accounts, and gave them free games. Good service like that does help make up for the risks...

as if I had the time even if I had the language

Yet another Japanese-only Wizardry game...

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


I am piling up books and games I still haven't gotten to, so of course, another bonus arrives. And I don't feel like buying a game so this is all off-topic, nyah.

Not quite enough for Naamah's Curse, but enough for The White Road (Nightrunner)

In both cases, the last book in the series was readable but kinda disappointing. They're both well into series and the ongoing series-ness is taking its toll a bit. Especially in the Nightrunner case. Print got bigger, characters got whinier and more shallow, book overall became unmemorable.

Whereas with Naamah's Kiss, the writing is still fine, but the setting is slipping. My main problems were twofold: The increasing presence of magic in the setting gets on my nerves. Magic was very rare and special at the start; the more people have access to it the less amazing it becomes.

And relatedly, the gods themselves indicating whether you should or shouldn't do something? In the original trilogy, it happened ONCE, and it was a SERIOUSLY BIG DEAL that the heroine had to do this terrible thing or the gods would turn their faces away from her. In this book the (different) heroine's deity is weighing in practically every chapter to guide her path.

The other problem is that I'm totally not sold on what appears to be the canon romance for this heroine. He's an okay guy, I don't hate him, but either of the female love interests from the first book is more interesting. And since it looks like the next book in the series is going to be her chasing after Canon Love... my enthusiasm is limited.

So I'm not buying anything right this minute. Maybe later.

Monday, 26 July 2010

can i break INTO jail?

Apparently it's been ruled legal in the US to jailbreak your iphone among other things.

As I don't have an iphone, the details here aren't all that relevant to me. It's nice that there's legal protection for cracking inoperative dongle DRM but most people in that position were probably doing it anyway, and the safedisc/securom stuff is for people doing security research and doesn't involve me afaik.

And ebooks are still locked up tightly enough that I'm not comfortable buying most of them. (I do buy ebooks, and I pay a lot more per-unit for them than I do for the stacks of used books I also buy, but I buy only from vendors who provide unlocked HTML copies. Yes, it's therefore piratable, but it means I can load it onto whatever display device I please, resize it, and generally benefit from it being electronic rather than paper. If I can't do that, I'd much rather get a physical book.)

Sunday, 25 July 2010


If you've actually played Rhythm Heaven, this is adorable.

If you haven't, well, it's still cute little girls.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Diary Mode

Dating sims are full of choices. Tons of them.

After you've played a few times, it can start to become difficult to remember exactly which choices you've made on this particular playthrough, because you've seen so many different options in the past. And especially if you load a saved game... what plots were you working on that time?

And thus:

The diary screen, which automatically records the activities you did and the important conversations you've had, so you can page through for a reminder. (It's not quite done, someone is being lazy about coding in the text lines for the other side of the screen...)

Also worked on recently is inventory. We haven't made a final design for the inventory screen, which will need to be able to show what things are and aren't equipped (Not everything you own is equipped at all times. Primarily because objects equipped are visually displayed, and some items would overlap ridiculously. You can't hold three magic wands at once!) but we have gotten as far as letting you obtain an item and put it on, as you see.

The next section of plot we're working on is the dreaded Freshman Initiation. What horrible things might you be forced to do in order to belong at your new school?

new me, same as the old me

After having hints of virus seem to be gone then suddenly recur (and reading reports of other people having a lot of trouble making this particular bug go away permanently) I decided to be safe, wiped my C partition and reinstalled Windows. (Well, that is what my drive structure was designed for... and one reason why I complain about limited installs!) Then we had a bit of trouble finding the ethernet drivers to get the computer back online, and now I'm still remembering bits of software or OS tweaks that I need to apply to make everything Just Like It Was.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

stupid worms

Not sure what this one *wanted* or how I came down with it; it was insufficiently clever, so one antivirus program noticed something was going wrong even if it couldn't find the source, and therefore some careful examinations with spybot managed to locate and (as far as I know) neutralise it.

Really, I'd be better off if my desire to track and shut down pirate links didn't lead me into some dodgy corners of the internet...

a certain smell of drm

I am surprised - well, slightly so, that the reaction to the news of EA's new game idea is so negative. Because the idea sounds vaguely fun.

The description goes, basically, that you'll have creatures made with varied abilities using leftover technology from Spore. You'll then go to adventure on varying planets, and select which creatures from your stable you want to take down with you to fight on that planet. Sounds like a perfectly reasonable kind of strategy game, if not one that I'm actually good at myself. (Witness my utter failure to complete Revenant Wings)

The slashdot response seems to be a combination of:
  1. Fear of restrictive DRM making it unplayable, or at least too difficult to set up for the multiplayer that's supposed to be the draw
  2. Spore was a big letdown so even having the word Spore in the title makes them sneer
Of course, for me the biggest problem is that if it's a fullprice topname AAA 3d extravaganza it's just too much of a pain in the ass for me to deal with. I could see trying such a game if it were, y'know, 200MB, 2D, and $20. Also cute and amusing instead of DAAAAAAAAAAARK.

Am I becoming more of a casual gamer in my (*cough*) old age? Or am I just sick of games that are big for the sake of being big when I can't see how it will actually add to the experience?

(I'm not completely sure if you actually get to MAKE your own creatures in this or if you have to let them make them for you. In which case what's the point of sticking 'Spore' on it at all?)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

silly thoughts had while lying in bed

I don't draw webcomics and the idea would probably be too wordy, but the thought was something along the lines of:

a young girl, hands on hips, glaring at a table full of secretive lurking geeky boys playing D&D. "Let me get this straight. You're playing a loincloth barbarian with muscles the size of basketballs, you're playing a tree-hugging elf who talks to squirrels, and you're playing a female assassin with pure black skin who's naked all the time... but you won't let me play a fairy because it's "unrealistic"?"

(basically, thinking about how uncomfortable some people are at the idea of getting "cute" fantasy into their... also fantasy.)


While the sequel is due out (sometime soonish), gamestop online has the original scribblenauts on sale for the rest of the month. If for some reason you haven't played it, seems like an appropriate time?

Monday, 19 July 2010

say what?

so according to rumors the upcoming Harry Potter game is sort of a magical shooter (which I'm fine with) ... which encourages players to rapid-spam one of the Unforgivable magics, which within the game world are supposed to be illegal and, well, unforgivable under any circumstances, and supposed to result in a life sentence for doing so.

(Admittedly, the characters get away with using them once or twice within the books without suffering much in the way of consequences, which is another discussion entirely. Even then, most of the times Harry tried to cast that spell, he couldn't do it, because it requires pure hatred.)

Within the setting, the casting of that spell is a big deal. Making it a simple, useful tactic and part of your standard arsenal suggests that either the developers don't understand the source material or they're trying to recruit players who actively dislike the source material. IMO.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

main questline complete

As usual, games fail to take into account the fact that I hid the macguffin rather than bring it to the final dungeon with me. (And I'm sure I'm not the only one, in a game with an encumbrance system.)

Now there's a plotline for a fantasy story... You're a piddly little low-level sneak thief scrounging a living, and to your vast surprise stumble across a ludicrously powerful artifact in an unlocked drawer in a tumbledown shack, stashed for safe-keeping where the Big Bad would never think to look for it. But how do you profit by this? If you *tried* to reach the Big Bad to sell it to em, you'd get killed. And somebody powerful probably knows it was here and might come looking for it... But it's the score of a lifetime, you can't pass it up!

Friday, 16 July 2010

when sneaking breaks down

... is when there are either large numbers of monsters in narrow places, or any monsters with ranged weapons. Weaving through the dwarf bone chambers while not fighting any skeletons at all was a little tricky. But in the underwater city, by running through I can get JUST far enough to REACH the shiny magical weapon, but then there's a line of archers behind me and I can't possibly get out alive.

and attempting to level enough to be able to turn undead may be harsh. (I tried it once, while investigating the mage's loot hut in Port Kuudad right after a levelup so that I could tweak the points in to be just barely able to cast it. I cast it, but it *didn't work*. No fair.)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

can't catch me!

Some reviews protest that the way is awfully hard going if you're a rogue rather than a bash-bash fighter.

But... surely running past monsters thumbing my nose at them, grabbing the loot, and running out again before they can beat me to death is a proper thiefly way to solve quests?

(No, I'm not invisible. I'm just not stopping to deal with the things trying to hit me. As long as only a few can reach me at once, I can probably live.)

Cute Knight Kingdom - New Endings

As mentioned on the forum, the updated version of Cute Knight Kingdom is near completion, containing a slightly modified battle system, a new outfit, and several new endings, including the eeeeeeeeeevil ending.

If you are an existing direct customer and want to try out the new stuff, contact me in some manner with your receipt and I can get you a download link. (If you're a portal customer, sorry, you have to wait.)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

in answer to the previous question

Blowing up the dynamite does open a new passage. Blowing it up by kicking it repeatedly also kills the PC. Both of these results were expected but it had to be done. :)

(Also, I was probably not supposed to go on the nest quest first as a rogue, since that took a long and painful time to bash with my pitiful dagger, even adding the bottles of fire oil I threw in, which cost me more than I got in reward...)

Monday, 12 July 2010

now what?

I am pulling TWEWY out of the DS. IT IS DEAD TO ME. I will not listen to it when it comes crawling back begging for another chance.

So the question then becomes, install Dragon Age, or examine Eschalon 2?

Friday, 9 July 2010

i should be an agent

Looks like someone is picking up the game "9 hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors" that I blogged about previously for translation.

999 is a game that simulates life, or at least it would if your life was about being trapped on a sinking ship and forced to complete a series of incomprehensible puzzles before your practically inevitable death. It is about relationships, and how they will ultimately kill you. There is also some blood, and an ax, so if you've always wanted some blood and an ax in your life, there you go. But what really brings 999 to life are the people who inhabit it. You will learn to care for them; to feel as though you are there and they are your friends, and then they will die because you made the wrong choices. Just like in real life.

The screenshots on siliconera display an interesting narrative style, with ADV-dialog on top and NVL-description on the bottom screen.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Shining Faith

One of the more customised RPG Maker games, which I thought was pretty cool, has a new game out which is supposed to be even better.

That being "Deadly Sin: Shining Faith", also listed as Deadly Sin 2, but it is apparently NOT a direct sequel (and I wouldn't be surprised if it drops the DS2 name at some point)

I have only had the time to play a little bit of the demo so far, but it's quite cinematic... throws you into the middle of the action as everything's going wrong, lets you kick ass a bit, then backs up to introduce the characters. I quite like the style.

As you can see above, there's still the Deadly Sin style of combat, with large animated sprites for the party and a system which determines what character the enemies are most likely to attack.

Can't say much more because I'm WAY too busy this week, but as usual there is a free demo to check out, so...

We're Certainly Dwarfs

Spotted a downloadable game review on Gamezebo for something that is NOT yet another hidden-object fest... instead, it's a sort of exploration/combat strategy game. About mining. With dwarves. (A more crunchy strategic review here.)

Includes local multiplayer as well (although I'm not sure how many people play that way anymore personally)

Looks quite cute, although I'll bet it's lacking in female dwarves (but to do otherwise would trigger a geek flamewar!)

Monday, 5 July 2010

the cute keep trying

Never heard much about Natsume's "Cheer We Go!" since it was first announced. Apparently it was actually released, with zero fanfare, but even people who were interested couldn't find copies in stores. Reviews are very hard to come by (not even any amazon user reviews!) and seem to think it's just for kids. No idea if it contains any dating elements at all... And the music in the amazon video preview sounds annoying, IMO. Stick with Princess Debut, methinks.

There are some user reviews for Witch's Wish but they seem to think that it was mismarketed. Users expected an RPG and got something that leaned closer to a visual novel - a lot of reading and some minigames in a mostly linear plot. A visual novel aimed mostly at girls under 12, at that, where there isn't a fully developed market for this sort of thing yet. The ratings on GameFAQs, though, are MUCH higher - presumably these are people who actually knew what they were buying. So, if you like cute and are okay with falling somewhere between VN and RPG, you may be happy.

Natsume has yet another cute dance game in their queue of upcoming products, this one a kawaii goth title called Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove. Don't know anything else about this yet.

date or ditch

Another "dating sim" for the DSi-downloads, and once again, it doesn't sound like I'm missing much.

(Why do companies keep trying to make super-western-style dating sims, managing to turn off both mainstream gamers and japanophiles?)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

stupid pointless endgames

Now that I have painfully fought my way through getting all the secret reports, I finally have the level/skills/dropratebonus necessary to acquire a pin that would have made it much easier to fight my way through getting all the secret reports.

There are still several upgrades I do not have. They would similarly require insane amounts of grinding, in order to receive awards that would make it easier to do the insane amounts of grinding that I had just done.

And really, how on earth do they think "beat the final boss TWENTY TIMES on hard difficulty" is a sane way to receive a powerup?

I mean, I suppose it's nice to have stupid bragging rights rewards so that some people can feel really proud of themselves for achieving them... I still haven't quite got 100% on all levels in Peggle Nights... but that at least has fireworks and happy noises!

Friday, 2 July 2010


I have now cleared all the secret reports, although I don't feel particularly well rewarded for doing so.

I probably should have quit while I was ahead really!