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Archive for January, 2013

Grazing

Spring cleaning is traditionally done in the spring, for reasons unknown, but my family always tends to have a post-Christmas bout of cleaning as well.  We try to declutter a bit, maybe just to compensate for all the new clutter from the holidays.  I find myself doing this with gaming as well, going through my game library and either finishing games or uninstalling them and calling them “done”, mostly so I can get on with playing other games in the bits of time I get here and there to play.

…and there’s the crux of the matter; I almost never have blocks of time to play.  I get an hour here, fifteen minutes there… and that’s about it.  That’s part of why MMO subscriptions are a pathetic value for me; I simply don’t get 20+ hours a week to sink into any gaming, much less devote myself to a single game.  There are way too many good games out there to tie myself down like that.  (As my Steam library, GoG collection and Humble Bundle folders will attest.)  So, I have a large library of games, and way to little time to play them.

As a result, my gaming is more like grazing than gorging.  I nibble a little on something like Uncharted, then I go munch on Tactics Ogre, then savor a little bit of Guild Wars 2.  (By which I mean, I create my characters before the game inevitably crashes, then maybe move around the starting areas a little bit.)  The next week, I ruminate a little on Journey, then chew a little on LEGO Batman with the kids.  Once upon a time, I’d ride an exercise bike and play FFXII for a nice 45 minutes or so, but circumstances have made that indulgence obsolete.  (And I find that FFXII just doesn’t work well as a game I only play for 15 minutes in a sitting.)

So it’s no surprise that I play more Plants vs. Zombies, Symphony, Triple Town and Puzzle Pirates these days.  It’s all I can sneak into the schedule.  I still haven’t finished FFXII, and I have FFXIII, FFXIII-2, FFVII: Crisis Core, Blue Dragon, Infinite Undiscovery, Lost Odyssey, Batman Arkham City, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, LEGO Batman 2, LEGO Harry Potter and a host of other, smaller games that I really want to dig into… but just can’t right now.  They aren’t really grazing-friendly.  Heaven help me if I get the itch to play an MMO.  I still have WoW, STORIFT and GW2 installed, and I grudgingly uninstalled LOTRO.  I want to play all of them.  I probably never will.

…there’s something sad about that.

Still, I’m not complaining.  I have a lot of gaming options, and that’s a good spot to be in.  Since I work in the industry, it behooves me to play a variety of games, and be aware of what’s out there, rather than simply be a game fan and devote my gaming time to a single or few fandoms.  And then there’s the fact that my kids and I still love Minecraft (if I only had one game for the rest of my life, that one would do), and my oldest wants to learn the Pokemon card game… yeah, my plate is full to overflowing, but it’s all I can do to nibble at the edges.

Is it any wonder why I like the Tauren, perhaps?  Moooooo

Tishtoshtesh, Tauren Druid

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A little while back, Muckbeast of Frogdice, a fellow blogger who used to write an incisive game design-heavy blog (now sadly apparently lost to the 404 archives), asked me to take a look at his company’s latest indie Unity-based game offering, Tower of Elements.  It’s sort of an oddball little game, but I like it.  Partly because it’s a stew of disparate elements that seem to mesh well together.

I’m the sort of gamer who loves genre and mechanic blends like Puzzle Quest.  I’ve indulged in mixing and matching game design elements before, like this article on a game I still wish would be made.  (I’d be happy to make it, but I’m kinda… not rich.  Not even close.)  So, this Tower of Elements thing, combining bits and bobs of match-3, tower defense and RPGish progression elements, is just the sort of weird mashup that makes me happy.

This video gives a good sense of the core gameplay:

I can’t say for sure that it’s a game that I’d play for dozens of hours like I did Puzzle Quest, but it is one that I’d at least like to spend a good chunk of time with.  There’s a ten level demo that’s worth investigating, if nothing else.  I know, I know, match-3 games aren’t exactly novel, but there’s some good design in making the matching spatially relevant as it’s the way you attack the hordes at the gates.  Spatially sensitive, time-sensitive match-3 is a nice riff on the genre, and there’s a whole system of upgrades, utility spells (to change the playing field and mess with enemies, always nice) and progression that is icing on the cake.

For the next week or so, they are also running a promotion to get some meals to people who need them through these guys, as part of buying the game.  It’s a nice side effect of picking up the game, methinketh.

Anyway, I wish I could give you a rundown of the full game, but my time is very constrained of late.  I’m poking my head up on this because I think it looks like a good game, and there’s that time-sensitive promotion involved.

Oh, and Muckbeast shared a 50% off code as well, so, y’know, that’s cool, too.

CFXR000QV

Tally ho!

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…and other uses.

Who knew violins were so flexible?

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…and just because…

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2013

For 2013, I hereby resolve to:

Play more games than I buy.  (HumbleBundle.com, IndieRoyale.com, IndieGala.com, GoG.com, Steam… sorry, guys.)

Play games I already have before getting new ones.

Get Guild Wars 2 working.  (I got a new nVidia card to make the framerate more than 10fps… and it hard freezes the computer now.)

Revise Zomblobs! and maybe even get the 3D models done and offered via Shapeways… and maybe work on a Kickstarter for it.

Take more screenshots.  (Thank you, Steam, for F12!)

Blog about stuff.  Maybe even interesting stuff.  Include screenshots.

Write more of the Project Khopesh story.  Lots more.

Explore a ghost town.  Take lots of photos.

Do more art, and make some stuff to sell on Zazzle.  (I’ve earned $2 so far, wooo!)

…and maybe, just maybe, sleep through the night.  With child #4 coming in June, I know it’s not likely, but these lists aren’t complete without one really outlandish resolution.

Tally ho!

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