July 2010

28
Jul
2010

Grace's Diary

Posted by Cha

My review this week is for the browser game Grace's Diary (the game itself is available here).

I was surprised by my reaction to playing Grace's Diary, and came out of it wondering if that's something I could write about. Then I realised there's no reason I couldn't. I tell a rather personal story, but I do have a lot of distance from it by now.

Grace's Diary focuses on raising awareness of teen dating violence. That isn't the term I would normally use. Firstly because "dating" sounds very American to my ear, so it feels more like television than something real people actually do.

Also, "violence" conjures rather extreme physical images, and I think Jennifer Ann Group are actually trying to target something broader than that.

21
Jul
2010

Rainblood Review

Posted by Cha

My latest review is for Rainblood: Town of Death. It's a cool little game, but explaining that proved more challenging than I expected.

I've been working a lot on my approach to reviewing recently, so I feel a bit mixed about my previous reviews going live. I notice things I didn't at the time. Game People are always happy to change things when I ask, but there's a point where I just need to let go and put it down to experience.

I also wrote this before the 'Microcosm Gamer' angle was really pinned down, so that stuff feels a bit tacked on. Or maybe it's just because those bits are not quite my words.

20
Jul
2010

Spoiler Territory

Posted by Cha

With a large pile of unfinished games spoilers are always a potential issue. I am pretty far along the spoiler-hating spectrum. I avoid trailers, and sometimes even refuse to read book blurbs. I realise that's pretty extreme, and I don't actually expect anyone to be that considerate. I've had to learn to make allowances, but I am still reasonably choosy about the information I read.

If I care strongly about a particular game I'll prioritise playing it, and be careful about what I read online. Normally this works out fine.

19
Jul
2010

No Time to Play

Posted by Cha

I hear a lot of people lamenting how much less time they have to play games these days. I suppose I'm one of the lucky ones, being almost 29 and having more play time than ever.

Actually, I'm not lucky at all. I make very deliberate lifestyle decisions. Not having kids is particularly helpful for maintaining my free time, admittedly. If I ever decide to go down that path I will have to re-evaluate my choices again, but that's true of any major commitment. Essentially, I've chosen to leave some time for games rather than taking on more things. Not watching television and living very close to my work also help a lot.

When I still lived with my parents games were a bit of a luxury. Then as a university student I simply didn't have time to play many games. Anyone who just looks at the contact hours on a course and thinks uni students are slackers has absolutely no idea.

14
Jul
2010

My Hobby: Refusing to Be on Podcasts

Posted by Cha

I enjoy writing. I don't particularly enjoy speaking, which is normally not an issue for blogging and reviewing. But I have refused to be on a few podcasts recently.

That's not a position I ever expected to find myself in. And a part of me really wishes I were capable. But I think slowly, to the extent that even normal private conversations are difficult for me in real time. On top of that, my nerves and anxiety get in the way of expressing the ideas I do have in the moment. I could never be sure if I was suddenly going to develop shakes or stutters.

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and I'm pretty happy to accept mine. I get to enjoy other people's podcasting skills instead, including my fellow Melbournians at Game Taco. And I can't help but link The Brainy Gamer.

13
Jul
2010

Witcher Review

Posted by Cha

My latest Game People review is for The Witcher.

I've been intending to say more about The Witcher than just about the sex. A lot of it went into that review, which I really enjoyed writing. It's really more analysis than review, even by my usual standards.

I may just have played too much D&D, but neutrality is actually a personally important concept to me.

What I want to mention briefly is a mistake I made. In that review I use "who" to refer to monsters. I do consider it a mistake, but as errors go it's kind of perfect. After all, it's really the whole point. The scariest monsters are not external to humanity -- they are created from it.

09
Jul
2010

Loving Feeling

Posted by Cha

A while ago I tweeted about the browser game Loved. I said it felt like being challenged by a thirteen-year-old, and isn't nearly as clever as it thinks it is.

Having only just played Loved I was in the mood to be snarky and defensive. It seemed like the game's creator was getting off on making me dance to his tune. I felt dirty and tried to rebel, which only made things worse.

It's worth noting that this isn't quite a criticism. It's a game that set out to prompt a reaction, and clearly it worked on me. Maybe a little too well.

Alexander Ocias interviews quite well, though having a face to put to the name creeps me out a little given how I reacted to his game. Nice to see a small-time Aussie developer getting so much coverage though.