Nathanael Cole / Alliterated Games

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Video Games

My Seven Favorite Vidjagames from 2011

Been thinking about this one a bit, but I’ll keep this one quick. I mention them along with the platforms on which I played and preferred them. Starting with number seven…

7. Afterfall: Insanity (PC)

This game received very little fanfare, and still doesn’t have an official support or community discussion forum anywhere online. It’s a damn solid third-person horror game, which clearly takes immense amounts of inspiration from the Dead Space series, especially in controls and user interface. The action is fun, the scares are scary, and despite some kinda lame writing, the story is actually pretty interesting. I look forward to seeing more from this studio.

Link: Afterfall on Gamersgate

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Dear Video Game Designers: Remove Those Stupid Ammo Counts, Now

Ammunition in shooter video games is up near the top of my list of Most Ridiculous Video Game Conventions out there today. Seemingly implemented because “that’s what you always do,” the mechanics are purportedly intended to instill a sense of urgency within the player, who should try and make every shot count. In reality, legacy imbalances within the standard implementation of these mechanics almost universally result in half-assed pacing mechanics that seem tacked-on at best, and controller-throwingly frustrating at worst. Read More »

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Tonight: A bottle of Wine and Several Hours of Sengoku

It’s been a while since I’ve had this part of my gaming needs so excited:

It’s also been a while since I’ve had a Friday night so wide open and free to dedicate to the pursuit of purely nerdy pleasures. I must have spent full-on weeks of my youthful life plowing intensely forward through each of the many Romance of the Three Kingdoms games. Tonight, I shall try and recapture this experience, only this time in Ancient Japan.

I’ll try and remember to post more about it during and after tonight’s experience.

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Man, Gaming is Pretty Darn Good Right Now

I’m in something of a High Nirvana era of personal gaming enjoyment. I feel that there are more awesome gaming opportunities around me than ever before in my life. Tabletop, Video, Design, it’s a veritable cornucopia of exciting play. Let’s review!

As far as my table-topping goes, I’m in the middle of at least two games, with two more on the horizon. First is my Old School Palladium Fantasy sandbox game, which has had four gatherings so far and seems to be maintaining everyone’s excitement pretty nicely. This game is really doing a good job of reinvigorating me, both as an arbiter of events and as a creator of spontaneous content. I haven’t run this seat-of-the-pants in a long, long time, and it is quite simply titillating my gamer imagination. I go into each session with a mental picture of all the events happening in the world within a 20-mile radius of where the characters are, and as they move around, those events progress of their own accord. So far, the players have managed to hit up most of them quite nicely, and get themselves directly involved of their own volition. It’s wonderful. Read More »

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Effing Stellar Customer Service: OnLive

If you are a member of my closer circles of friends, you probably by now think I must be secretly working for the marketing team of OnLive. I’ve been a major shill for this company since I first encountered them at PAX 2009, and rarely a week goes by that I don’t spout out more OnLive propaganda, entirely of my own free will. A recent major technical difficulty that I’ve experienced with their service serves as yet another example of how awesome this company is, to me.

A while back, the Capcom game Dark Void went on sale for pretty cheap via the OnLive system, and I jumped on it. I’d played the original demo at PAX that same year, and I’d been wanting to give the full game a try for a while. I wasn’t disappointed, either: despite some fairly scathing reviews, I find Dark Void to be a pretty awesome action game. It’s more or less The Rocketeer, and I effing loved that movie.

Unfortunately, a critical game-crashing error has consistently plagued me at the very end of the first episode of the game (out of three). The error happens every single time I activate a crucial mechanic in the game. In fact, there’s no way to avoid the error, as that crucial mechanic is required to advance a certain scene and complete the end of the first episode.

Trial and error and a whole lot of guessing have led me to believe that the error is exclusive to the use of a game controller in that scene; mouse and keyboard work fine without issue. This wouldn’t be a huge deal for me (being a mouse-and-keyboard shooter fan on PC) if it weren’t for the fact that Dark Void is a much more enjoyable console-and-couch experience than a PC one.

The error is specifically limited to the OnLive platform, and their service team has been on the frickin’ ball with helping me resolve this. Believing it might be an issue specifically related to my own unique user data, the support representative assigned to the case even went so far as to play through the game from the beginning all the way just past the point that was blocking me, and then replacing my save data with his own. I would do terrible secret things if I were able to land a job that let me play video games in order to help out customers, all as part of a day’s work.

The error persists, unfortunately, but I can bypass it using the mouse and keyboard, for now. But their tech team continues to work on it, their support rep continues to communicate with me, and their response time and service level continue to wow me.

I’m impressed. Service teams today rarely do that for me.

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