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May 5, 2014
Comments Off on Game: Drowning in Problems

Game: Drowning in Problems

A few links that evolve as you play and make Drowning in Problems a simple but intriguing game.

Drowning in Problems

Suspect that there is an optimal path to progress, but there is something satisfying about adding more memories or knowledge or friends instead of just going for the next goal. Which may be the point. Has all the qualities that made Game Dev Story so much fun.

 

 

Update: Spoiler Would be nice to have a stats/summary at the “end”.

 

c/o waxy

 

March 7, 2014
Comments Off on Mis-read “Sin City 2: A dame to kill for” as “Sim City 2: A dame to kill for”

Mis-read “Sin City 2: A dame to kill for” as “Sim City 2: A dame to kill for”

Which sounded much better…

 

Sim City Noir

Sim City Noir (obviously nothing to do with EA or Maxis really)

City Photo: D3cker / Reddit

 

Update: Nice to see Calvin Chan was way ahead of me…

 

 

January 12, 2014
Comments Off on Escape – The Curse of the Temple

Escape – The Curse of the Temple

We began our first “avoid the cold and fact that we’re broke” game’s night of the year with Escape – The Curse of the Temple.

 

I ignored this game at first thinking it no more than a sub-Temple Run spin off which it isn’t – it’s a co-op game where everyone rolls dice at the same time and a desperate effort to escape the temple that it about to collapse. And you have to work together; escape alone and you fail, fail to work together to make your escape easier by ridding yourself of cursed gems and you fail. It’s all about the fail, and that’s what makes it a win.

 

This isn’t us playing Escape, but I’m sure we looked like this when we were

 

This game shouldn’t work because you can cheat and ignore that cursed die that you can no longer roll, and roll it anyway, but you don’t because you’re part of a team; because you’re part of a team you shout for help when you are stuck and another player will help you because they will fail if they leave you behind.

 

And if you accidentally scoop up your dice and miss that cursed die that you shouldn’t have scooped up, you’re not shafting the other players with your mistake and left feeling hollow with your misbegotten victory at the end of the game. You made a mistake – you move on. You only have ten minutes to get out of the temple, there’s no time to sweat the small stuff! And you’ll probably lose anyways because the game is tough.

 

Escape - The curse of the Temple dice

Escape – The curse of the Temple dice

The toughness comes as a countdown soundtrack to your doom in the form of a cd (a thing from the dark ages when Metallica ruled the world and before mp3’s came along and Metallica tried to fight Napster and prevent the coming of the doom of the fall of the Record Companies and the loss of huge planes carrying mega rich rock bands round the world but failed and thus we were bequeathed with mp3s) or mp3 (or four), or phone app, and is a stroke of genius. It drives the game and if you watched the video above where they all cheered when they escaped at the end, well, that’s exactly what you’ll do too.

 

I did when I played with my son, and did again when I played with four others. We won’t dwell on the times when some players were left behind and crushed to death and we all lost.

 

a dodgy die

a dodgy die

So what’s not to like? Well, you might buy a copy with some dodgy components, which is a shame. I have a dodgy die which might not sound like the end of the world, and very #FirstWorldProblems I know, but trying to wrap your head around the mis-information you’re seeing as the timer ticks down to your demise is impossible.

 

And the expansion Escape: Illusions has two additional curse tiles. But they’re printed on different card stock so they stand out. In the chaotic rush of play this probably won’t matter, but when you’ve paid the same price as the base game for the expansion, dammit, and the publisher didn’t bother to make them match and there really isn’t that much in the expansion so surely this would be a thing they looked out for? Well, you might be left feeling a bit ripped off.

 

New curse cards cursed with standing out

Two new curse cards – see if you can spot them

But lets end on the positives: Escape – The Curse of the Temple is fast paced fun, a game lasts only ten minutes making it a perfect quick filler game, and you don’t need the expansions unless you want to add a fifth player. You can also play it solo which is a blast. A must buy if you find it cheap, worth considering if you can’t.

 

December 31, 2013
Comments Off on 5 stages of Amazon Appstore

5 stages of Amazon Appstore

  1. Denial
    No way? Free apps? Every day? They can’t be any good, though?
  2. Acceptance
    Carcassonne? Great! That’s an app I’d like for free. I’m in.
  3. Bargaining
    Ah, so I have to install the Amazon Appstore to get it. Okay…
  4. Anger
    I can’t play the Carcassonne app without being signed into the Amazon Appstore? Why?! I’m on a bus – I don’t have my login details! Wtf?!
  5. Depression
    Uninstall Carcassonne. Uninstall Amazon Appstore. Consider paying for Carcassonne on Google Play even though the reviews aren’t great.

 

I jest, of course. Nothing is free, and if I’d like to play Carcassonne – which wasn’t bad as a phone adaptation of a board game goes – for free, the cost is dealing with Amazon’s App Store and making sure I log in. If I don’t like that, then I can delete both (which I did) and pay for it elsewhere – which I haven’t yet; there is nothing more annoying than trying to move the board and accidentally playing a piece because you touched a valid play spot. Until that is fixed I consider the current price too high.

 

September 7, 2013
Comments Off on Nintendo…

Nintendo…

 

And “Nintendo faces ‘path to irrelevance’, says Atari founder” – BBC News

 

Update: The Game Cube and Wii were a disappointment not in terms of hardware – who cares about hardware except for the PC gamer building their own rig? – if it plays the latest games. If I can play the games my friends are raving about (because the games reviewers are raving about aren’t the same thing; been burnt too many times there…) then the console is doing it’s job.

 

But if I’ve bought a console and the games aren’t there for it – like the Wii – then I’m going elsewhere. I have bought a PS2 long after the first died just to play a game (Katamari Damacy).

 

Sure there are fanboys who will stick with this or that system, perhaps remembering the glory days of the past, but with so many avenues to gaming – the web, our phones, TVs, PCs – will the majority want to limit themselves to just one companies output on one platform?

 

See also: comment from John Gruber on Nintendo and handheld gaming:

 

What’s different about the post-iPhone world of mobile computing is that the buying decision is no longer about or, it’s about and. Pre-iPhone, someone interested in a handheld game device would choose between Nintendo’s offering or someone else’s. Nintendo did well in that world, selling more than enough devices to succeed. Today, though, someone deciding to buy a dedicated handheld game device is, more likely than not, deciding whether to buy something to carry in addition to the mobile device they already carry everywhere. – Daring Fireball

 

June 27, 2013
Comments Off on Wil Wheaton – Table Top

Wil Wheaton – Table Top

Table Top - Smash-Up

Table Top – Smash-Up

Board games were the default nerd pastime before video games became knocked them for six, but are enjoying a third or fourth or even fifth golden age and resurgence.

 

The video reviews for them, from the likes of The Dice Tower, Undead Viking and Joel Eddy are as much a part of YouTube as video game reviews, and the biggest difference between them and their digital counterparts is the social aspect. Wil Wheaton’s Table Top perfectly captures that – five or six people playing a game after a brief introduction from Wil.

 

And the videos are immensely geeky, crying out to have animated gifs created from scenes, plus gag reels and extended interviews with the guests.

 

For a while computers seemed to kill the need for getting out and setting up a board game; on a PC you could play without that hassle, with always willing AI opponents and the CPU to do the grunt work that was once the bane of wargames* class=”small”>* with their CRT’s and DRM’s, but fast connections and the internet means videos are a easily created and even easier to surf, and if you are even vaguely interested in board gaming you can quickly discover a range of games that might interest you.

 

And Wil Wheaton is creating some of the best. The latest episode, with Mad Men’s Rich Sommer, Cara Santa Maria, and Jen Timms is a great place to start if you haven’t seen any.

 

 

*See alos: REINVENTING TACTICAL WARGAMES: Game Design Blog for War Stories

 

April 24, 2013
Comments Off on delicious April 24, 2013

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February 12, 2013
Comments Off on delicious February 12, 2013

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October 30, 2012
Comments Off on London Underground Simulator

London Underground Simulator

I haven’t driven a tube train, just a few buses, but the London Underground Simulator Circle Line looks like it captures the fun of running a service on the London Underground, including a trip to purgatory: the Gentleman Gamer’s has a great review – “I think we’re on the right track now” – and has shown me all I need to see. No desire to play it, but happy it exists – don’t know why. c/o iamcal.com

 

There’s also a Northern Line route for the freeware sim OpenBVE, which I’m sure dates back to 2000 or so.

 

London Underground Simulator 01
London Underground Simulator 02
London Underground Simulator 03

London Underground Simulator