Friday, December 24, 2010

Yes, Claude...

DATE: 12/24/10

Fifty hours and twenty minutes later... Thank heavens. Decent ending. Very nerve wracking in the Revolver-Ocelot-tells-you-it's-been-a-long-time-since-you've-saved way. Had some pretty serious fps slowdown with the fire, however.

The bottom line is that you know it's a pretty good game when you keep working on it (apparently every Xmas break) for five years.

EDIT: Hey, look, who knew? Available on the Mac since Nov 12th of this year!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Braid: Done

Well, the ending disappoints. But did it have any other choice?

I should say the epilogue disappoints. The twist in the final level was exceptional. A great game overall. I just feel the build up was largely wasted, and, if, the wikipedia is accurate, Blow admits as much: "[Blow] said that the central idea is "something big and subtle and resists being looked at directly."" Well, you win, Mr. Blow. Though the interp that you're a buddy of Hideo Kojima (and are reusing the lesson from MGS) seems to work. Why is it that creative game programmers gravitate towards an anti-nuclear tack? Is it that both were, in some ways, enabled by computers? (Is that accurate?)

Anyhow, done. Enjoyable. Addictive. About the right length. Very creative. Somewhat disappointing ending.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


I believe the two games I've played the most recently are Braid and Portal, both very similar in gameplay. Neither seem to care much about time (?), and both are essentially series of extended brainteasers. I wonder what it means for complicated games that both of these have been exceptionally popular.

Braid is wonderful. I finished the first three worlds in a single sitting, and finished up four in spare time today. Where Portal has the tongue-in-cheek Skinner box environment, Braid seems, strangely enough, to have a more serious, complete plot. I'm somehow exceptionally invested at this point in finding out if there's a princess and what happened to Tim. I'm not sure I'll stay as engaged, but the painting, music, context in the pre-level books, and even the house and starry night all play perfectly.

I'm not sure I liked the overly overt Donkey Kong homage, though the Super Mario Bros tributes have, overall, been well done. I'm looking forward to finishing. I've only had one occasion so far (in Finicky Follower or whatever it is when the key follows you rather than lets you take it) where I've figured out the trick, but had the solution play out incorrectly. That is, I figured out how to get the key where I needed it, but somehow managed to make it fall by grabbing it too early, yet still left of the ladder (which should make sense to those who have played, but not too much for those who haven't). It, intuitively to me at least, should have worked where I made it all happen. I wasted 20-30 minutes looking for another answer before giving it another shot. Poof.

Compared to other games, that's still an excellent ratio.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pac Man Vs. -- GC/Wii

Pac Man Vs. is every bit as fun on the Wii as it was playing with Matt's fam on the Cube. It's a very clever set-up, and I wish more consoles took advantage of screens like the Game Boy's this way. That's all.

Friday, May 28, 2010

MacHalf-Life 2

Welp, Half Life 2 has finally made its way to the Mac, and the Orange Box is on sale (if you sell out to Steam) for $21. It runs very well on my MacBook (late 09) but, well, makes me as sick as a dog. Who gets seasick. Who we should imagine on a transatlantic cruise. Not good.

There's some POV hack dealio that I should try, and maybe if I use an external monitor it'll be better, but so far so bad. Interesting to see that there's a Slashdot article on the motion sickness and HL2.

The game isn't much yet. Very Orwellian with little imagination so far. I'm not real hip on having gotten the "Subservient" achievement. Even after taking the can back out of the trash can and tossing it into the guard's chest (and running around Benny Hill style afterwards), it won't go away. /sigh

Monday, May 03, 2010

The more things change: Halo is what Quake was

From What to Expect From Halo: Reach Beta (

In another new match type, called Headhunter, the goal is to pick up skulls that are dropped when you kill another player, then haul them back to an ever-shifting drop zone. If you’re hit on the way there, you drop any skulls you had on you — including your own. Mobility is key if you want to make it back to the waypoint without getting decapitated.

Bizarre. I started playing this mod over a decade ago.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Dungeons and Dragons Online: First Play

Since I don't have the time to play WoW regularly now, I thought I'd give DDO a shot. Feels a little like my first experience with EverQuest, from the somewhat uninspired game design (have you seen the text random NPC tavern dwellers spit out in DDO? "Don't bother me," or, "She said WHAT?" over and over? Seriously, put a little C into the NPC, please) to the slightly green tinge I have when I'm done playing. Yes, it's an engine that gets me seasick.

The game itself is okay so far. I ran through the n00b dungeon/solo experience. It was okay. Everyone in the starting city has a weapon with the same special effect -- flames dancing off of it -- as everyone else. Not surprising in that everyone's carrying around weapons that were rewards from their first question chain, but that every weapon has flames, from Great Axes to Rapiers (do I capitalize those?) smacks of the same issue of underplanning and undercustomizing the uninspired tavern replies also evidence.

Still, there's just enough to the game that I think I'll give it at least another few shots. Game mechanics are just like WoW (quest givers with icons over their head, actionbar tied to numbers, etc), but it might be fun to get all nostalgic and run some D&D again. The free play also seems relatively well done so far. Two races, drow and some wacky machination race, have to be purchased, but otherwise no intrusion from the parts of the game that cost dough on my experience so far. It serves as a very extended trial, I suppose, and there's got to be a serious market for gamers like me, that might play once or twice a month and don't want to shell out a subscription fee. Microtransactions will be much more likely to grab my dollar until I have time to chose to sell out again -- at which point I'll have another option in my head (DDO) to add to WoW that I wouldn't've had before.