Maybe I'm the problem?

I've been skipping back and forth between three games recently, WNC II, 2Worlds2, and HM: Save the Homeland. Neither of the three games are particularly good, but they all have town/house building, which I'm an easy mark for. The problem is that these small parts of each game are so underdeveloped; it takes forever to get anything built in WNC or 2W2 (especially in 2W2, where your village accrues income in real time), and you'll finish building your farm halfway through the first year in Save the Homeland.

I can understand why its like that too, since WNC and 2W2 are quasi MMOs, so you're supposed to exploit the towns for fat lute after hours/days/weeks of gathering the necessary components. Save the Homeland, on the other hand, was more story driven and running the farm was supposed to be an afterthought, since it alone couldn't save the town. But I still feel like all three teams dropped the ball and left these pieces underdeveloped for fear that a potential player might not like them, and would want to avoid them entirely. Can't there have been one team member who thought to themselves 'Hey, this bit is really neat. Maybe we should put more effort into that?' The famous story of Sim City is that Will Wright was building maps for a shooting game, and was having way more fun with the building than with the shooting.

The lesson of Farmville should be that there's a huge untapped market for this, but that seems to have given the wrong message. Rather than look at Farmville as proof that people like to grow and work on things over time, it's instead been proof that, if someone feels obligated to continue playing a game because of people they know in real life, then they're more likely to continue playing that game.


The best argument against achievements yet.

First off, I don't like The Walking Dead franchise, I don't like the zombie genre, and I don't like Telltale Games. That said, I have really enjoyed the first two chapters of Telltale's Walking Dead game. It has learned all the right lessons from Alpha Protocol, and while the non-dialogue interactivity of the game is lacking it's no worse than AP's bland shooting/stealth segments. Telltale's in-house engine is still barely functional, but although I have encountered plenty of programming errors, I've yet to encounter any scripting errors. I've been playing games long enough that I can ignore coding snafus if the core concept of the game is compelling enough.

This brings me to the achievements, which the game should not have. Thankfully Telltale realised that too, which is why every achievement for the game is automatic and none of them require you to do anything specific. If you had to think about how your choices in the game would affect your achievements the game's entire foundation would crumble. Unfortunately some asshole decided that the achievement titles should have "silly" and "ironic" names, because that's what the kids love. Walking Dead's second chapter is incredibly cliche, but it is handled with the kind of effort and care that makes cliches shine. I was with the game the entire way... right up until, directly after the chapter's final climax, I was informed by my PS3 that I fought like a dairy farmer. I was having an emotional moment with the game right there, and then it was all washed away for the sake of a Monkey Island reference.

Walking Dead is far and away the best product Telltale has made. I was willing to put up with the engine glitches and the railroading, but I won't stand for a game that sabotages itself for the sake of a point counter.