You defeated! It's a good feeling, but one I'm going to sit on for right now, since I'd rather write a much longer piece on my experience with Dark Souls for something I have in mind next week.
Needless to say, though, I'm sorry that I didn't have that experience sooner.
But it's back on the "oh, right, there are games coming out" train. Broken Age and The Banner Saga are calling, though I'm not sure how I feel about Broken Age. Who wants to play the first half of an adventure game that wasn't designed to be played episodically? Sadly, I cannot resist the temptation to play a new Tim Schafer adventure game, so I'll have to enjoy what's there and be patient for the second half of the game...
I actually played Broken Age in my living room using a wireless keyboard with a touch pad. It worked remarkably well for a game with such a simple interface, though I couldn't help but wish a Steam controller was around. I'm not sure how often I'll find myself in a situation where a Steam controller is optimal, but Broken Age was one instance, and I missed its existence in my life. And as I begin to pound nails into my wall to run wires, I can't help but hope in-home streaming works well, too.
Anything else that I've missed from the start of 2014? It doesn't feel like it, but let me know!
As soon as I'm able, I do promise that we'll return to Risk of Rain...I want to finish that with Alex!
(Oh, and Spookin' With Scoops should return next week.)
Hey, You Should Play This
And You Should Read These, Too
- "What To Do With Prison Architect, A Video Game About Building Prisons?" by Paolo Pedercini
Part of what makes Prison Architect such a damn interesting game is how it breaks down a really horrible part of society, prisons, and turns it into a series of game systems. It's tough to play Prison Architect without simultaneously thinking about the strangeness of it all. There are moral and ethical implications throughout Prison Architect, both in its design and how the player interacts with the design, and game designer Paolo Pedercini has given great thought to what Prison Architect is both explicitly and implicitly saying about the subject of prison. Pedercini comes to the table with a lengthy, sobering set of facts about the nature of prisons in the US, and examines down how Prison Architect does or doesn't deal with it.
"Disorderly conduct is an obvious way to provide feedback to the player when prisoner's needs are neglected, but even after mastering all the procedures and spending all the money available (about $90K, which is a lot in the game) for a state-of-the-art facility with very low population, I had to repress daily skirmishes in blood.
Simulations need to exaggerate feedback to prompt adjustments, and I certainly don't expect my inmates to enjoy their residency. But the continuous, frustrating, over-the-top violence suggests that we are dealing with an irrational, murderous, and suicidal horde that deserves no sympathy. Making the extraordinary ordinary (riots don't really happen that frequently anymore) is not only mystifying but also makes for a less subtle gameplay. The signal becomes noise and it becomes difficult to address needs by 'thoughtful' planning.
Moreover, other types of feedback could be implemented: hunger strikes, self harm, human rights and federal inspectors examining the facility, can add variety and extra level of challenge."
- "The power of weakness: You can't save everyone, nor should you" by Chris Dahlen
Video games often involve saving people. It makes sense, since it's an easy source of conflict that can serve as motivation for the player. But Chris Dahlen points out how BioShock Infinite failed to make him feel connected to Elizabeth, a character who felt anything but helpless once she was removed from her cage. In EarthBound, Jeanne D'Arc, and Persona 4: The Golden, however, Dahlen felt a close and personal connection with the characters that often had precious little to do with character design or dialogue but how the gameplay systems connected.
"You start out as Ness, a normal little boy with a baseball cap who slowly gets stronger as he explores the suburbs. The first companion that he finds is Paula, but when he first meets her, she's not an asset. To track down Paula, Ness goes far away from the safe city, through caves and forests that are littered with enemies. When he rescues her from a jail, he's around level 20--but she's only level 1. She's forced to join your party, but all of the monsters nearby are way above her level, and those monsters surround you--and so you have to protect her, knowing that the wrong move or a stray attack could get her killed.
But Paula's not helpless. As I carefully led her through battles and helped her gain experience, she revealed her own abilities and spells, and started to wade into the fight. I paid close attention to her stats and skills in every battle, and by the time she had pulled up alongside Ness, I felt like I knew everything about her. This whole "training" period took about half an hour of playtime, but it felt like weeks. And when she was ready, she and Ness took on the local boss together and won, and the victory was sweet."
If You Click It, It Will Play
Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away
- La-Mulana 2 is coming, which probably means I should get around to playing La-Mulana.
- Olympia Rising seems like a nifty lookin' 2D action game set in Greek mythology.
- Kingdom Come: Deliverance is, in fact, that impressive medieval RPG that's floated around.
Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"
Nintendo should put its games on PS4 and Xbone, so it can see the gigantic yearly profits of other AAA publishers like— Chris Kohler (@kobunheat) January 17, 2014
Not-so-fun Fact: The original Advance Wars was released September 11, 2001.— Gus Mastrapa (@Triphibian) January 17, 2014
My advice for today: take it easy, listen to what other people say and try to understand there are opinion different than yours out there!— Kaiju Tanuki (@Franpaccio) January 22, 2014
A wizard game, but authentic. Like eating woodland animals to regain mojo. Sweet tattoos.— Brendon Chung (@BlendoGames) January 23, 2014
Role-playing games count as partying.— ANDREW WK (@AndrewWK) January 19, 2014
New Dark Souls 2 screenshot leaked from Kiev protests: pic.twitter.com/UfDtGk8j0s— Michael Grimm (@Pseudobread) January 23, 2014
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- Chris Kohler looks at Nightmare Busters, a brand-new SNES game that's not actually so new.
- Can you tell the difference between all of these games?
- Evening of Light speaks with Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs composer Jessica Curry about her work.
- PJ Vogt looks back at Vile Rat, part of EVE Online, who passed in the Benghazi attack.
- Gus Mastrapa talks to Republique designer Paul Alexander about his design history.
- These terrifying GIFs pulled from PES 2014 really make me want to play PES 2014.
- Take This has an anonymous story about how Kingdom Hearts II gave a person hope.
- Tom Chatfield explains why difficulty is part of the point in video games.
- Spencer Chen uses his own marketing experience to debunk booth babes.
- Wesley Yin-Poole visits the offices of Lionhead for an extensive update the studio.
- Brendan Keogh has a piece in the debut of the Journal of Game Criticism.
- Leigh Alexander speaks with a developer who's also trying to balance being a mom.
- Garry Newman is one of the few people who has hands-on experience with Valve's VR tech.