Hello 2011! Part 2

January 5th, 2011

Yesterday we looked some of the best video games coming up this year. Today I’d like to look at a few developments that will be interesting to watch in 2011.

Read the rest of Hello 2011! Part 2 »

Hello 2011! Part 1: Games of the New Year

January 3rd, 2011

2010 was an eventful year, but 2011 promises to be even more exciting. Here are some of the upcoming games that I think bear watching:

Read the rest of Hello 2011! Part 1: Games of the New Year »

Goodbye 2010

January 2nd, 2011

2010 is gone. For me it was a year filled with changes and new hopes. It was also a year full on interesting developments in technology, gaming, and science fiction, and I wanted to share a few with you that I found particularly noteworthy.

Read the rest of Goodbye 2010 »

Status Report!

December 2nd, 2010

Well, I survived my first Semester at SCAD, the page has a new sidebar, and I finished my first game! I’ve added the rest of the “Gameplay Notebook” entries from class, and I think I might continue to write them on occasion about various games and subjects. Its also my intention to eventually expand the scope of this blog to cover sci fi movies and novels, and analyze or review them.

I have a few more projects to add to the site, and things should finally start to pick up.

Read the rest of Status Report! »


December 2nd, 2010

A Battalion of excellent knock-offs?

This week as finals raged on and the rush to complete and clean up projects intensifies, I’ve once again had to fall back on portable game systems to get my moments of relaxation in. But after analyzing the anything-but-casual Infinite Space early on, I decided this time I wanted some lighter-but-quality fare, so I fired up my iphone and checked out the latest offerings from Gameloft.

Read the rest of GAMEPLAY NOTEBOOK Entry 9 »


December 2nd, 2010

Its a strange coincidence that I started playing Global Agenda at about the same time as I started becoming interested in applying for SCAD. A cynic might assume I started playing precisely because it is a game created by a growing game developer near the school where I was going to be studying. The truth is the two are (or at least were) completely unrelated events. I’m not sure I remember how I came across Global Agenda; possibly through a Steam promotion or perhaps during one of my periodic searches for a good Sci-Fi MMO to play. Whatever the case, I have come to be interested in GA both as a gamer and professionally, and its become sort of my go-to game when I have time for just a quick session. I think its therefore past time that I focus a gameplay notebook on it.

Read the rest of GAMEPLAY NOTEBOOK Entry 8 »


December 2nd, 2010

The Ur-Quan Masters

More than any other game I’ve ever played, I credit a relatively obscure little game published by EA in 1986 for setting me on my current path of trying to become a game designer myself. That game is called Starflight. Visually its shockingly primitive by today’s standadsl it nonetheless manages to pack 800+ fractally generated worlds into a single low density 3.5 diskette. Starflight did well enough back then to merit a sequel, and even a port to the Sega Genesis. The official sequel, Starflight 2: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula, is almost as good as the original; better, in fact, in many ways. The third game, however, was never made. Legal issues with EA prevented the development team from releasing it as a Starflight game, so it became a game called Protostar instead. I have not played Protostar, though I’ve heard its an excellent game that nonetheless feels like it was rushed to market. Its definitely on my list of titles to track down. Most people consider, however, that the true spiritual successor to Starflight is a game called Star Control 2; I was completely unaware of it when it was originally released (I was much younger then and the in-home internet was still a thing of the future) but have been aware of it since my interest in Starflight was renewed a few years ago. It turns out that the game’s source code was released by the developers, and a group of loyal fans have created an updated version, combining “updated” visuals and sound from the game’s 3DO port. Again because of legal issues with the original publisher, its has been released as “The Ur-Quan Masters”, the subtitle to the original Star Control 2.

Read the rest of GAMEPLAY NOTEBOOK Entry 7 »


December 2nd, 2010

An architect’s nemesis
I’ve been vaguely aware of the shooter series called Red Faction for some time now, though for some reason or another I’d never actually played one. I was aware that they were known for interactive, destructible environments and were generally well received, but never I think considered quite “A” list. Indeed, the latest game, Red Faction: Guerilla, scored seemed to score mostly 8s of 10 in the gaming press. I put it on my “I might get to that” list but as usual never did. I was aware that the game had later been released on PC for a slightly lower price and some extra content, but I still hadn’t managed to gather up enough interest to bite. I recently booted up Steam, however, to find that it was THQ week and that Red Faction was on sale for 75% off. A year ago the game had been given an 8.0+ review by IGN and called a good value at $40, and here it was staring me in the face at $5. Well, Steam will slowly but surely lead to my financial ruin.

Read the rest of GAMEPLAY NOTEBOOK Entry 6 »


December 2nd, 2010

Mario. This short, chubby, Italian plumber has long been been gaming’s #1 ambassador to pop culture everywhere, having eclipsed the previous title-holder, Pac-Man, ages ago. Pac-Man ruled the arcades once, but it was Mario who conquered our home TVs in 1985. The bright, colorful, side scrolling world of Super Mario Brothers was truly a revelation to us children of the 80s. SMB was not Mario’s first game, of course, but while Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. Where both excellent arcade games, SMB was really the game changer. And I believe there lies Mario’s continued appeal; though each new Mario game in the core series builds on what has come before, Nintendo’s designers (including of course the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto) have always been willing to try new things with the ultimate mascot of gaming. And frankly, no matter what else one might think of Nintendo’s marketing strategies and corporate policies, the fact is that their core brand games usually succeed brilliantly, even when they do try new things.

Read the rest of GAMEPLAY NOTEBOOK Entry 5 »


December 2nd, 2010

Infinite Space

Infinite Space is a game that I picked up with some doubts. On the one hand, the subject matter and touted features couldn’t be more up my alley, but on the other, it is essentially a jRPG, a genre I have long since ceased to have much patience for. Its not surprising then that my analysis is pretty mixed.

Read the rest of GAMEPLAY NOTEBOOK Entry 4 »