September 2010

29
Sep
2010

Bohemian Reviews

Posted by Cha

I love discovering different approaches to game reviewing.

40 Ounces, 1 Game seems to be inactive, but I approve of the premise:

I’m going to purchase a 40oz bottle of beer, and drink it while playing a computer game that I haven’t played before – and then, the following day, I’ll write about it based on notes taken in a progressively inebriated state.

I feel like it's an idea with potential, at least. Someone should start up a new site with a similar theme. Go on, you know you want to. Preferably someone who knows there should be a space between '40' and 'oz'. I'm not an experienced enough writer to be a proper Grammar Nazi, but units of measurement bring it out in me. Better yet, why not review games while drinking appropriate drinks from The Drunken Moogle. I'd read it.

28
Sep
2010

Balance of Nature

Posted by Cha

Earlier this month I was linked to this article on Flower. As an ecologist who works in urban spaces it was fascinating to me, and described something close to my own experience playing Flower. I really wish I'd written something like it, particularly the parts about breaking down the separation between humans and nature. On another level, the article suffers from what I have been known to call 'Matrix ecology' -- a poor choice of terminology, since matrix usually means something else in landscape ecology. I should possibly call it something more like 'popular culture ecology'.

(Tangent: computers and ecology seem to have a few awkward terminology overlaps. We've also started talking about 'landscape defragmentation'.)

Most people probably remember this rant from Agent Smith in The Matrix:

23
Sep
2010

Superficial Batman Character Analysis

Posted by Cha

This post was inspired by Mark "Mr Ak" Johnson's recent discussion Danananana Batman! An in-depth case study of archetypes in different media formats. Batman! Batma-an!. Because it's an interesting topic, and sometimes I just can't leave well enough alone.

I agree with Mr Ak that Batman: Arkham Asylum (game) is more enjoyable than The Dark Knight (movie) – less so about his opinions being objectively correct. I (deliberately) don't have as much confidence in my own opinion, and trying to understand why I agree in this case is almost bringing me undone. I'm not sure I should be right – 'should' is the wrong word, since opinions are all valid, but my reasoning and my gut reaction are at odds this time. Can I back up my own opinion, then? I'm going to try.

16
Sep
2010

Jolly Rover

Posted by Cha

Brawsome's Jolly Rover, winner of the best Australian Game at this year's Freeplay independent game festival, is currently on sale for $4.99, in honour of upcoming Talk Like a Pirate Day.

At full price I'd been tossing up whether to part with my money. On sale it's an easy choice for fans of point-and-click adventure. It's a very polished independent game, with a great sense of humour. It includes a heap of truly awful puns, but I also found myself laughing a few times, and I'm not an easy target for humour.

Jolly Rover is essentially Monkey Island featuring anthropomorphic dogs. That's no bad thing, though I would have loved to see them tackle a different setting. It's also quite easy, which disappointed me but may appeal to some.

[Note: The rest of this post contains character discussion on Jolly Rover and Monkey Island. Potential minor spoilers.]

11
Sep
2010

Infinite Adaptive

Posted by Cha

I'm not a particularly skilled player, so I do like having difficulty options of some form. I have also improved considerably and am working on continuing to get better. The only way I can do that is if game difficulty stays just a little above my current level. Enough to challenge, but not to give up in frustration.

One of my pet annoyances in games is when I die a few times and start getting messages reminding me I can turn down the difficulty level. The game seems to be mocking me. You aren't good enough to be here, why not just switch to easy mode, you loser? The occasional tip I could probably handle, but once I know the option's there I see no need to hammer the point. Unless someone out there in game-developer-land really enjoys teasing people like me, which is valid I suppose.