Nathanael Cole / Alliterated Games

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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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End-of-Week 6/4/2010: Itchy Tasty

Been a damn busy week. Not enough time for blogging! So here’s my weekend update, a day late.

First, a link. Check out Universal Dead, a new low-budget web series about zombies. It’s… not bad. Not bad at all.

For the last few days I’ve been going back and forth between Dragon Age and Alpha Protocol. My current goal in Dragon Age is to play as a solo Archer Rogue + Dog combo for as long as I can manage, outside of the few spots in the game where other companions are forced upon you. I’ve always been a fan of odd “challenge runs” in video games, and I figure this one would be called the “Post-Apocalypse” DA run – survivor + dog, in other words.

Alpha Protocol has been fun. I see a game series in the making here, and this one’s a good start. It reminds me a lot of the original Mass Effect – awesome in many ways, but marred by some rather aggravating design choices. I’m only a few hours in, though, so I’ll save my full decision for a later time after more hands-on experience with it.

I met a few awesome folks and sold a few more copies of Cannibal Contagion this past Memorial Day. Guardian Games hosted their second annual “May of the Dead” celebration, and I was there pimpin’ my game and hanging out with my fellow nerd. Had some great talks with a fellow from the local chapter of the Zombie Squad, and ran a hilariously fun session of my game for a new crew of survivors. Thanks for playing, folks!

I’ll close this post with some thoughts on video game trailers. First, read this article. Go ahead, it’s a good read. Watch all the trailers.

Done? Understand that I get where the writer is coming from, and I whole-heartedly disagree. I want actual game-play footage in my video game trailers, goddammit. Without actual gameplay footage, I might have made the mistake of purchasing any number of generic “guns plus one cool trick no one else does” first-person shooters. I want to actually see how this game is different. You can take a shitty game, give it an awesome story, and fill the trailer with so many awesome cinematics and popular industrial tunes and the consumers won’t know the depth of your deception until they pay for it and hate it, because you never showed them the actual game.

I want to see the game. I don’t give a rat’s ass about marketing cinematics which most likely won’t even be in the final product, and probably look better than that product will, too. Yeah, that new Deus Ex trailer looks cool, and shows us a wonderful cyberpunk world with a compelling story. SO did the trailers for Neocron. Remember how much that game sucked?

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Timiro Nights Goes Burning Wheel: Success! (and some musings)

This past weekend, I finally made the official complete switch, fully translating the events, characters, and setting from my KnownWorld “Timiro Nights” campaign into the Burning Wheel game system. This particular campaign is relatively new (only a handful of sessions so far since inception), but it has been a consistent source of gaming joy for me since getting the group together. It’s been a while since I’ve had a group this responsive, and this eager to extend the game talk well into our downtime. I’m glad to say that so far, the conversion to the new rules has been a success. I’d like to take a few here and talk about the juicy technical bits behind that conversion, and my own ideas of how the Burning Wheel system should work. Read More »

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