with 'games' tag

this article from wired news about the short life of game addictions is great. i like the comparison to other types of short-term addictions.

pretty much everyone in the small world of warcraft guild i was in appears to have decided to stop playing at just about the same time.

lately i’ve been playing katamari damacy which is delightfully strange. i also picked up the sequel, we love katamari, so i hope my interest in the game doesn’t burn out before i get to that. the sequel also has a two-player co-op mode that sounds like either a lot of fun or grounds for a screaming match.

charity, october 2005

los angeles regional foodbank i actually had another charity in mind for this month, but will be postponing to that until next month while i wait for some information from them. instead, i’m bumping up what would have been next month’s contribution to the los angeles regional foodbank.

i like the payoff of the little dust-up between penny arcade and an anti-games moralizer who had his bluff called.

oh, i’m not doing the tax-refund-charity thing this year. instead, i decided back in february to just increase the amount i gave each month. i do still have another donation to make from the yahoo money.

steven spielberg steven spielberg has signed up to do three games with electronic arts. no word on whether that includes a steven spielberg’s director’s chair sequel. the smart money is on no.

here is one of the in-game movies. here’s another. this audio is from a recording session for preliminary versions of the game.

damn you, amazon!

the playstation two (with games) that i ordered last weekend won’t arrive until monday, just in time for me to go to seattle for the rest of the week. naturally, one of the games and the cordless controller i ordered at the same time have already arrived to mock me.

but i guess i know what i’ll be doing next weekend. (constrained by the fact that it won’t really be playable during the day — the downside of a projector in an apartment that gets a ton of light.)

the great part about the news that surgeons perform better if they play video games regularly is that super monkey ball was the game used in the experiment.

world of warcrack

as expected, world of warcraft is a tremendously addictive game. i’ve spent at least an hour or two each day playing since i got it, and have even given up a couple of weekend days to it.

the world is big. even though i feel i’ve played quite a bit, i also still feel like i’m just barely getting out of the newbie neighborhood. i have three characters going (so far), and managed to choose them such that the areas they explore at the lower levels don’t overlap at all. (all my characters are on the draenor realm server.)

my first character, gnimsh, is a gnome rogue. i got a little frustrated when i felt like i had gotten to a point where each fight was practically a fight to the death (which i didn’t always win), but i backtracked a little bit and found there were areas i hadn’t fully explored, and quests i still could accomplish in those areas. now that i’ve done that, the area where i had gotten “stuck” should be more fun to explore.

my second character, thrimsh, is a troll mage. there was a period when i almost felt guilty about the can of whoop-ass i was pulling out against some of my opponents. this is definitely a character that fits well into a group, since most of the spells are ranged attacks.

my third character, trimsh (sense a pattern here?), is a tauren hunter. he’s still too low-level to have a pet, so i haven’t even really scratched the surface of the possibilities with this character. the tauren is a new race to me in the warcraft world (maybe they appeared in warcraft iii, but i didn’t get very far along in the campaign in that).

that’s all for now, although i’m thinking of creating a couple of more characters down the line, to try out different areas and classes. one reason to have multiple characters going is the “rest” system that means that as your character rests in an inn (whether you are logged in or not), you gain time during which you get twice as much experience for each monster you kill. it’s an interesting game-balancing element that is mainly intended to help out people who play together — if you miss going out with the group one time because you have some sort of real life, you’ll be able to catch up more quickly the next time.

i will stick with my original impression and say that this game exhibits what is the standard blizzard polish, which really puts what a lot of other game developers put out to shame. that is a game development shop with enviable dna, even despite having lost some of the core programmers at the company.

it is almost absurd how like myself i act within a multiplayer game. for the most part, i just run around ignoring everyone. i will occasionally get invited into a group in areas with particularly high concentrations of enemies (like dungeons), and basically tag along for the ride not saying much. and then just take off when i’ve fulfilled whatever goals i need to in that area.

back to the fray!

penny arcade got a nice mention in the new york times, but they did not mention child’s play. very strange.

world of warcraft is the new evercrack, and it is pretty nifty. the movement between zones is pretty seamless, and the game in general has that excellent blizzard polish. i’m not sure it is something i’m going to be willing to pay $15 per month to play, though.

i got the unwelcome surprise that my system is actually below the required specs, but it turns out to be playable with the graphic details turned down.

the quest system is quite nicely implemented, and there are lots and lots of them. since i’m just starting out, i’ve mostly been running around killing lots of forest creatures, but i can feel the difficulty start to ramp up. i’m getting into areas now where many of the creatures aren’t just waiting around for you to bop them on the head, but actually come after you (sometimes at inopportune times).

oolite is a re-implementation of the classic game elite for mac os x.

the new york times weighs in on the electronic arts situation.

electronic arts is being sued over overtime, a case which sounds like it has been ongoing, but only came to light after the livejournal posting from the spouse of an ea employee. it makes me wonder what is happening the knowledge adventure employee who is (was?) suing his employer over the same issue.

here’s one passing thought on the ea_spouse thing. where does the author say they’re female (or married)? i haven’t dug through the comments, but the text of the main post itself manages to not say it explicitly. (and the gender genie guesses that the author is a male.) it doesn’t matter, of course, i just think it would be funny if all the press it has generated that says “wife” turned out to be wrong.

this livejournal from the spouse of an electronic arts employee raises the too-many-working-hours issue that i’ve mentioned before. it is an interesting (and ugly) dynamic in the games industry (and internet startups, in my experience) that allows companies to get just-out-of-college employees to work absurd hours.


i’ve spent a good chunk of today just trying to play a game. i fired up civilization iii, but i just couldn’t get into it. i installed escaped from monkey island, but the cutscene video won’t play under os x, and i couldn’t get it to run at all on os 9. i briefly looked at trying to compile ufo2000, which uses the x-com: ufo defense graphics for a multiplayer game based on the x-com tactical game, but it requires a mess of dependencies. i downloaded the latest patch for sid meier’s alpha centauri, only to realize that i never bought the mac version (although i have both the pc and linux versions). i took another look at pygame, but quickly ran away when i remember how stupid the mac os x installation is.

i even tried installing dr. brain thinking games: iq adventure under virtualpc, but the sound didn’t work, and the game crashed.

maybe i’ll try hooking up my playstation again. or just break out a deck of cards and play some solitaire.

or maybe i should spend all my amazon gift certificate money on a pstwo. i could even pick up escape for monkey island for it.

ron gilbert does the math on developing a 2D adventure game (via nelson minar), and it ain’t cheap.

i tell you, once i win the lottery, i’m going to get a lot of cool stuff done.

the trailer for psychonauts (via kotaku) looks like a lot of fun. it has sort of an invader zim feel to it. tim schafer, who was involved with lucasarts classics like grim fandango and the day of the tentacle, is behind psychonauts. could this be the game that finally pushes me into joining the ps2 or xbox legions?

why kotaku has potential

kotaku is the new gaming-related blog from gawker media. from the kotaku faq:

5. What’s the coolest game ever?
    X-Com: UFO Defense.