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Just trying to recall the rules for Gridthruster, the imaginatively named spaceship build-n-shoot game we came up with at middle school.  I'm a bit horrified that I can remember the detail so clearly.  We used to play this with graph paper and blu-tacked pieces. 

How the hell did I remember this? )

Damn, this makes me want a tablet and a coding kit.  Board games with the faff taken out are just what tablets are good at.  Faff?  Faff was moving a thirty-piece megaship and not missing any bits...

With computers, of course, you could sort the initial random scatter, introduce drift, make it realtime and introduce rudimentary physics.  And add a third dimension.  Make it a bit more buildy and a bit less Scrapheap Challenge IN SPAAACE.  And then you're damn close to the deep-alpha voxel game Blockade Runner.  :)

Zerg Rush

Nov. 26th, 2009 02:07 pm
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The game is memetic warfare. The opponent has built a spawning pool (a PR industry) and is producing many zerglings (ideas with no real merit: one-hit monsters) in great quantity. The player has developed their tech tree (science) and has used it to build strong troops (verified, rational ideas).

Given enough time, the strong troopers will win (tobacco/cancer, CFCs/ozone, etc etc). Is the zerg-rush model useful in suggesting tactics to use to speed up their victory?


Jan. 13th, 2008 05:30 pm
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It's raining and horrid out there, so I'm in hiding.  Two games that might amuse in the gaps between shredding up Guitar Hero (top tips: ZZ Top sunglasses really do help; doing windmills really doesn't):

First, WolfQuest, which I guess is an EverQuest mod.  You get to play a wolf.  Go you!  Highlights apparently include marking your territory, so get ready with that 'piss on a tree trunk' action that I know you've been hankering for like Doom players hanker for the BFG.  Well, it might amuse the wolf-fetishists out there.

Second and much more weighty is the little Flash game September 12.  The premise is simple: you've got a god's-eye view of a marketplace milling with civilians and a few terrorists.  If you kill a civilian, the next few civilians who find the body will turn into terrorists.  It plays out rather like a zombie sim, as you'd expect.  But because of the context, I found it really touching.  The simplest outcome is a blasted Gaza mess of rubble teeming with bad guys.  If you find a little knot of terrorists and lob a shell, the random milling means that there's a fair chance of the shell clobbering some little kid... whose family then turn up, weep at his feet and turn into more terrorists.  I'm yelling "no! that's not what I wanted at all!" and resenting the stupid brat for getting in my ammo's way... it's more of a poem than a game.
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They save small boys from wild rampaging beasts.  No, really, this kid used his WoW skills to fool a grumpy moose.  Take that, Jack Thompson!

Oh, and you guys have seen the new Street Fighter screenshots, right?  There is a dampness in my gusset at this!

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Articulated figure.  Lots of working bits on the bike.  Squeenix-trademark manga hair and preposterous sword.  It's very pretty, neh?  But I won't be buying it because (1) the cat would eat Cloud's hair and more importantly (2) I've finally got onto a welding course, starting in a couple of weeks.  Be afraid, be very afraid...


Nov. 22nd, 2007 01:18 pm
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WommmmThe first Wii lightsaber hits the shops at the end of the month, just in time for Chrimbo squandering.  C'mon programmers!  Hurry up!  At this rate my next paycheque will be blown on President Weevil: Umbrella Chronicles and a Zapper...
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Nice article in Newsweek's Level Up gaming blog today, tracking the growth of game controller complexity from the old Atari joystick to the PS3's outrageously button-studded piece of mil-spec hardware.  It blames Streetfighter II - the first of the many-button combo-tastic arcade games - for changing the game from the old, pure waggling experience to that ubernerdy one where the elite weren't hopped up on speed but on memory drugs.  Could you remember all of Dhalsim's combos?  Nor could I.  [personal profile] spike150, this is your curtain call.

N'gai goes on to declare the Wii controller a second big change, away from the zillion-button pads and by extension, dragging games away from that sort of experience.  Looking at the pick-up-and-play goodness in boxing, bowling and surgery over the weekend, I have to agree.  Looking also at the cumbersome and frankly ugly controls for the Wii version of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, I agree even more: the arbitrary combos make no sense when you have a physical control metaphor, but they're just fine on the Playstation version. 

The physical metaphor has its own rules, and games which break them are no fun.  And so the Wii remote as a space-mouse or glove is immediately obvious and elegant, even to kids and grannies.  N'gai is right: games which get it wrong will tank even if they're as lavish as Marvel:UA - I still feel cheated that Spidey's web isn't activated with a thwip action, but even if it was, I'm thwipping at the screen and Spidey can face any which way.  With a D-pad that's okay, but with a physical metaphor, it's jarring.  The Wii's first year has revealed this with the huge success of frankly dumb titles like Cooking Mama and Trauma Center and the really meh performance of the traditional shooters - it's all in the controls.

Clubbing a Playmobil opponent in the side of the head with friends yelling behind you is fun, pure and simple. 

Games like Okami - based around Japanese brush painting - are getting me excited for the second wave of titles, when developers get their engines optimised and start really creating.  [/wiifanboy]
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From Kotaku.  There are no words.

Rock Band?

Nov. 4th, 2007 06:12 pm
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The arch grand duke of rhythm games has broken its waters and is crowning, but is it awesome or is it cringe?  Rhythm games are fun; party games are fun; you look at the people playing or blogging about Rock Band and it looks like the best of fun.  It ought to be: it's karaoke and air guitar with a next-gen console sound-and-light show.  And it's easy to have fun (an important aspect to party games: they should be easy to pick up so everyone has fun). 

Every time I pick up a real instrument, I twiddle, then I suck, then I sell it on ebay.  This is not the rockstar dream.  This is why in virtual bands, I'm the roadie.  Y'see, I'm so unmusical that I can't even pretend to be musical but I'll pick up a hairbrush (or hammer) and bellow into it, and I'll drum on my steering wheel, and I'll pick out a bassline on the cat. 

She doesn't like it.  Especially a funky Jamiroquai slap bass.  She really hates that.

Seems to be Rock Band is a weekend game-party rental classic.  What do you real musicians feel about it? 

(Half of me wants to play it lots; the other half wants to buy a secondhand bass and a practice amp and is shouting lalala I'm not listening at anyone who points to my track record - if my sampling of the zeitgeist is correct, the Rock Band backlash will be a wave of DIY low production values filthy garage noise)
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There, that didn't take long, did it?  One plushie weighted companion cube courtesy of 4chan.  The real thing will be available from Valve in a little while.  Meawhile is there any gaming comic that hasn't done Portal gags?  Weebl, VG Cats, Userfriendly, Penny Arcade...
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First of all if you don't have Portal, go get it.  Buy it or Steam it or -ahem- Torrent it so you know what the hell I'm rambling about.

Then you too can be slightly scared of GLaDOS, who is, I swear, Majel Barrett on acid.  And you can share my love for the Weighted Companion Cube.  And I do wuv you, Cube, you stay true even when I'm not sure which way is up any more.  Portal's schtick is this: it's a first-person puzzler with no weapons or monsters.  Yay!  Instead you've got a portal gun.  It shoots two interconnected holes.  In one, out the other, and your relative momentum is preserved.  Cue using gravity to accelerate (because you sure aren't Lara in the athletics stakes) and many other sneaky tricks. 

It's such a simple idea with such a far-reaching impact that it tweaks how you start to look at space.  Ever go climbing or open-water swimming?  You know how, afterwards, you look at buildings or stretches of water as different terrain instead of barriers?  Like that. 

Cube love is going bonkers out there.  Hardly surprising when the only other contact you have in the sterile lab environment is that damn computer and her promises of cake.  Valve have been startled into making Cube plushies for Christmas. 

That can only mean one thing: Cube slash.  Rule 34, ladies and gentlemen, no exceptions.

Almost 5am and I'm stuck with some sliding platforms (my nemesis in all games!).  Wait for me, Cube.  I'll be back, but I need sleep first. 
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This article from Heroine Sheik shows the dangers of excessive deconstruction in reviews, I think...

"in a world of women, this gun doesn’t shoot bullets. It shoots orifices. Openings. Fine, vaginas. Vaginas you, a female character, have to enter/exit to solve puzzles. I don’t say this often, and almost never with so much support and enthusiasm, but that is so gay."

Mmhm.  And I thought it was just fecking around with physics fun.

(When's it out for the Wii?)


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