Tag Archives: games

Game Review: Dokobots

I’ve been playing with Dokobots on and off since being introduced to it at WhereCamp. I liked it off the bat, but I don’t think there’s much to keep the player coming back over time. I have a few thoughts on how that might be fixed.
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Games in Text

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been spending some time thinking about text adventure games. Or Interactive Fiction (IF), which is what most of the people actively writing and playing these things call it.

It’s interesting, as someone who hasn’t paid more than casual attention to this area of games since childhood, to see where it’s ended up. There’s a very lively online community of people working in text games, but it’s primarily amateur, unlike most other areas of game creation [1]. It also seems pretty insular, in the same way that leads Elizabeth Bear to describe science fiction short story writing as a club scene [2].

One of the general things that caught my attention is that there’s a ton of informed, well-considered discussion within this community about storytelling in games, and about game structure and technique in general, but the scope of games in practice seems much narrower. If, like me, you’re not likely to touch anything involving medieval fantasy, fairy tales, or steampunk, that can really limit your options. I’m finding that the text nature of the game means I’m much more likely to judge the game on whether I find the story compelling, not just whether I find the gameplay enjoyable.

Most of the things that normally combine to make play compelling are absent here, as well. There’s rarely a timing or physical performance issue [3], moves can be made at any speed the player desires, and while many games do award points for solving puzzles, that seems to have more of an effect on the sense of pacing (if you have 4 out of 6 tokens, you’re about that close to finishing).

Anyhow, enough general babble. Here’s what I’ve been playing and what I’m using to play it.
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The Daily Brain Report

Today's reading stack

One of my favorite blogs right now is The Runcible Bin, because each post is a small brain-dump of what the author is working on and thinking about. If I were to do such a thing, today’s would look like:

The Lost Ring!

Now that MetroFi officially gave up, can we have Meraki instead?

Calagator. Now with fewer memory leaks caused by bad parser code (vpim. again.).

If I said I’d give a presentation on fun with location tracking next week, does that mean I’ll actually manage to build a working demo in time?

Julia Nunes is the best cure for a grouchy morning.

Roll, roll, roll

I’m eating breakfast down the street from my apartment at Crema because

  1. sitting in a cafe with a latte and a laptop makes me feel cool
  2. we ran out of milk, so I couldn’t have my usual rice crispies
  3. I just bought a copy of Katamari Damacy, and I was starting to consider playing “just one game” before work, until I remembered that this never ever ever works, and so it might be a good idea to get out of the apartment quickly

Katamari is a really fun game, with a completely goofy concept. You roll things (candy, cats, cucumbers, etc) into a big sticky ball to replace the stars your father, the King of All Cosmos, knocked out of the sky one night while drunk. There are little interludes showing block-headed children asking Mommy if what they heard on the news is true, that the stars are all gone. When your ball picks up animals, they keep wiggling and chirping or meowing or barking, which is funny to watch, but you’re so busy trying to pick up more things that you only notice for a moment.

Video Game Thumb

My thumbs hurt. And the first boss level on Sonic Rush seems harder than it ought to be. But otherwise the game works nicely on the DS. There’s something very relaxing about sending a spiky blue guy spinning through a maze of ramps and gold rings.

The best part of babysitting for my cousins when I was in middle school is that after they went to bed, I could play Sonic the Hedgehog on their Sega Genesis until my aunt and uncle came home. We still only had an Atari at my house, so this was a big improvement over my normal video game options. I’m pretty happy to be able to play Sonic again.

Now I just need a home version of Area 51. I kick ass at that game.

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