Demo Life, Digital Salvation

Salvation? Nah, just old RPGs.

 
So...  I was at the local Salvation Army. I always forget about the politics some of their branches have when I go in there, mainly because they have cheap books, and sometimes movies and games. I mentioned I got a China total sim a while ago, and this time I roped Republic Commando and Myst Exile, both of which I imagine some folks would laugh at, but I have my reasons. Exile, I noticed, was the only Myst title I don't already have that wasn't already being sold at GOG this weekend (unless I'm missing one... I might be missing one. Two? Whatever).  Republic Commando I always wanted to try, having enjoyed the XBox demo more than I suspected I'd like any prequel anything, maybe because it takes up some of the Everyman feel that I felt was missing from the prequel movies.
 
 So there that is. Nothing profound, might get those other Mysts I don't already have for GOG's weekend sale (have always wanted to try RealMyst to be honest, and while I know a lot of people scoff at the Myst series, but I always liked the solemn mood, even if it was there just for technical reasons). Also really want to get the Orient Express-style mystery game there on GOG but their way of having sales sort of makes me want to wait until I see it for sale. There's this tendency for sneak-sales to make you want to wait, or at least me, for the sale because otherwise you (well, me again) might feel like you (...) jumped the gun and got it too early. 
 

Holding Off

 
This segues into my general attitude about buying games, which has me often waiting for when they're cheaper. I'm not sure what game creators think of the end-price of video games, if it's more about volume or price, but I imagine if everyone bought games the way I usually do, there'd be very little "industry" to speak of. It's just that I usually can't justify spending that much on a new game knowing that the price will likely drop. Just being part of the conversation, while enticing, usually isn't enough for me.
 
Steam and GOG and the like do make it easier for folks like me to catch up. I don't know how such contracts benefit the license holders (not to mention the original creators), but at least the games are still being sold. This digital distribution stuff has been pretty great, except for the retailers, of course. There's an extra blow to retailers, too, in that as digital distribution gets more popular, the market in used physical copies is going to look less attractive, except if it's for something that's not currently being offered (I don't know if Anachronox is being offered anywhere, or if it's really any good, but I saw it used somewhere recently and was tempted).  
 

Demo Life


Most of what I've been playing this week (and last week) has been a demo of Vic Davis' first game, Armageddon Empires. I have to say, I enjoy it quite a bit now that I understand it. I remember being intimidated into not playing back when I first saw it some years ago, but the learning curve isn't quite as steep as I thought. I have noticed that, like some of the demos I've mentioned in prior posts, the demo seems to give a little to much away. I can, maybe 60 or 70% of the time now, maybe more, beat the game in the 30 day time limit, depending on luck and whether I do something stupid. I like how differently the two factions featured in the demo play; the deck-based mechanic, while it does lead to having inconvenient things to build often enough, fits the theme and allows for some interesting spontaneity when creating an army, and I like that the combat system, while tedious to click through, allows the slight chance for an over-matched army to still come out on top.
 
 Spoilers! I totally won.
I'm tempted to get the full version, but I'm going to wait a bit to see where my future's going to go in the coming weeks. His Six Gun Saga is still his most accessible and quickest to play, and I have a special place in my heart for Solium Infernum (his only multiplayer title), but Armageddon Empires has impressed me with its breezy, if fiddly, style.
 
That's me. What's everyone's experience so far in digital distribution? Pretty satisfied? Buying too much and not playing enough? Miss physical copies at all (I sorta miss manuals but to be honest I always used manuals less than I should have)? I'm still a bit wary of some central computer holding on to my digital copies, but I'm a bit of  curmudgeon I guess. *Shakes stick at computing clouds on the horizon*
2 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by ahoodedfigure

Salvation? Nah, just old RPGs.

 
So...  I was at the local Salvation Army. I always forget about the politics some of their branches have when I go in there, mainly because they have cheap books, and sometimes movies and games. I mentioned I got a China total sim a while ago, and this time I roped Republic Commando and Myst Exile, both of which I imagine some folks would laugh at, but I have my reasons. Exile, I noticed, was the only Myst title I don't already have that wasn't already being sold at GOG this weekend (unless I'm missing one... I might be missing one. Two? Whatever).  Republic Commando I always wanted to try, having enjoyed the XBox demo more than I suspected I'd like any prequel anything, maybe because it takes up some of the Everyman feel that I felt was missing from the prequel movies.
 
 So there that is. Nothing profound, might get those other Mysts I don't already have for GOG's weekend sale (have always wanted to try RealMyst to be honest, and while I know a lot of people scoff at the Myst series, but I always liked the solemn mood, even if it was there just for technical reasons). Also really want to get the Orient Express-style mystery game there on GOG but their way of having sales sort of makes me want to wait until I see it for sale. There's this tendency for sneak-sales to make you want to wait, or at least me, for the sale because otherwise you (well, me again) might feel like you (...) jumped the gun and got it too early. 
 

Holding Off

 
This segues into my general attitude about buying games, which has me often waiting for when they're cheaper. I'm not sure what game creators think of the end-price of video games, if it's more about volume or price, but I imagine if everyone bought games the way I usually do, there'd be very little "industry" to speak of. It's just that I usually can't justify spending that much on a new game knowing that the price will likely drop. Just being part of the conversation, while enticing, usually isn't enough for me.
 
Steam and GOG and the like do make it easier for folks like me to catch up. I don't know how such contracts benefit the license holders (not to mention the original creators), but at least the games are still being sold. This digital distribution stuff has been pretty great, except for the retailers, of course. There's an extra blow to retailers, too, in that as digital distribution gets more popular, the market in used physical copies is going to look less attractive, except if it's for something that's not currently being offered (I don't know if Anachronox is being offered anywhere, or if it's really any good, but I saw it used somewhere recently and was tempted).  
 

Demo Life


Most of what I've been playing this week (and last week) has been a demo of Vic Davis' first game, Armageddon Empires. I have to say, I enjoy it quite a bit now that I understand it. I remember being intimidated into not playing back when I first saw it some years ago, but the learning curve isn't quite as steep as I thought. I have noticed that, like some of the demos I've mentioned in prior posts, the demo seems to give a little to much away. I can, maybe 60 or 70% of the time now, maybe more, beat the game in the 30 day time limit, depending on luck and whether I do something stupid. I like how differently the two factions featured in the demo play; the deck-based mechanic, while it does lead to having inconvenient things to build often enough, fits the theme and allows for some interesting spontaneity when creating an army, and I like that the combat system, while tedious to click through, allows the slight chance for an over-matched army to still come out on top.
 
 Spoilers! I totally won.
I'm tempted to get the full version, but I'm going to wait a bit to see where my future's going to go in the coming weeks. His Six Gun Saga is still his most accessible and quickest to play, and I have a special place in my heart for Solium Infernum (his only multiplayer title), but Armageddon Empires has impressed me with its breezy, if fiddly, style.
 
That's me. What's everyone's experience so far in digital distribution? Pretty satisfied? Buying too much and not playing enough? Miss physical copies at all (I sorta miss manuals but to be honest I always used manuals less than I should have)? I'm still a bit wary of some central computer holding on to my digital copies, but I'm a bit of  curmudgeon I guess. *Shakes stick at computing clouds on the horizon*
Posted by Claude

I played the demo of Armageddon Empires after I read about in Computer Gaming World many years ago. I believe there was a Tom vs. Bruce with that game as well. I need to find that issue. But yeah, I was rather intimidated by it. I tried a few more times but finally gave up.

Posted by ahoodedfigure
@Claude: I forget how many run throughs it took for me to get where it was coming from. I guess despite my missing manuals I still like to just dive into a game and for things to make sense. It took me a long time to realize you had to set up collection facilities on all those little resource numbers you find in the map, and that you need to pay attention to hand size so you don't get stuck with more gear than you can hold on to. Once the resource thing was clearer to me it went a lot better since I was able to buy the stuff I wanted in less time. 
 
There are still some annoying hitches; it's pretty clear this was his first game and as such I find the user interface is needlessly obtuse in places. I'm pretty much over the hump now, although I wonder if I've pretty much exhausted it. I sorta wish there were more secrets to find in the full version...  I guess the expansions count, I dunno. I like it, but it took a while to get where I'm at.