Tuesday, July 31, 2012

News Filter: SWTOR Goes Free To Play

  • Of course Syncaine would be on vacation just when we need him.

  • According to Alexa Ray Corriea from Polygon, Star Wars: The Old Republic will go free to play this coming November. The new cash currency will be Cartel Coins, which can be used to access optional features and high level content. But all classes and story lines will be available to the level cap.

  • It's about damn time. Maybe I'll finally get my ship back. What do you think?

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Played Lately: iOS Gaming

  • Having gone over to the Dark Side, I thought I'd seeing the grass really is greener over here. In the dark. Pardon me while I work out my metaphors.

  • Ascension - After all of the hype and discussion about the game, it should come as no surprise that this was the first I downloaded and played. Ascension is every bit as good as people say. The game looks beautiful, it's fun to play, and I keep wanting to go back to it. Surely a sign of a great game. The card art is quirky and I get why some people don't like it. Although I understand the rules, I have little grasp on the strategy. Sure, I know that banishing my weak cards makes the good ones pop up more, but what else is there? But I'll keep playing until I learn.

  • Elder Sign: Omens - Although iOS is well known for its board game ports, this is the closest I've come to purchasing one. Elder Sign: Omens is a dice pool game with a lot of flavor. I actually won my first game was and pretty smug about it because everyone says how hard it is. Then I figured out that I had played the new easy scenario and I wasn't so smug any more. It really is incredibly hard, but it does an amazing job making you feel like the world is going to end.

  • Button Men - Have you heard of Button Men? It is a pretty simple dice game that I've never played in real life. I picked it up on iOS because I was curious about it. I have learned two things from this game. First, there is a lot of strategy for such a simple mechanic. Second, there is no excuse for having an unpolished game when even as small a game as Button Men can look this good. No excuse.

  • Summoner Wars - The biggest game release after we bought our phones was clearly Summoner Wars. Like Ascension, it is a beautiful game, I'm just not sure if I like it. Maybe it's just the weak-ass Phoenix Elves that come with the trial, but I'm not feeling it. For a strategy game, the heavy swings in favor make it feel out of my control. Hell, I even lost the tutorial game, for goodness' sake. I'm sure if I bang my head against it for a while, I can figure it out. But I'm not about to pour any money into something I'm not enjoying.

  • Nightfall - And then there was this one. It sure looks beautiful, but I have no idea what is going on. I need to try it more before I pass judgment. However, I find myself avoiding it since Ascension is right there.

  • This may be an exaggeration, but I feel like I've alread spent more time gaming on my iPhone than I ever did with the Incredible. When my contract comes up again, I'm going to weigh all my options. But it might be hard to go back to Android if the gaming situation doesn't improve.

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Random Shots: Top Of The Third, 1 Out

    Butler settlies in...
    Check of the runner...
    and the pitch...
    Butler swing hard...
    hard ground ball...
    to the right side...
    Sherman breaks to this right...
    gloves it in the hole, slips...
    from his knees...
    whips it sidearm to Madden...
    and Butler is out!
    They JUST nipped him!
    Over to second goes Baker...
  • I have an entire post coming up about the iOS games I've been playing. However, I just starting playing iOOTP Baseball 2012 and I had to share. The play by play annoucing in this game is amazing.

  • I may barely manage this team, but I love watching them play.

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

News Filter: Release Date For Pandaria, Someone Cares

  • I woke up this morning to a number of tweets announcing that Mists of Pandaria, the new expansion for World of Warcraft, will be released September 25, 2012.

  • This is news, yes. But I'm wondering if people are really that excited for another WoW expansion. Do people want this because they can't wait for more WoW or is everyone buying out of habit?

  • If you are genuinely excited about Mists, I want to hear from you. Leave a comment letting me know. I'd be happy to be wrong about this, even if it's just one person. But I suspect a lot of people will be buying the expansion just because they always buy the new expansion.

  • Myself included, most likely.

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Watched Lately: Indie Game: The Movie

  • There is an entire acronym for "Late To The Party", right? LTTP? I'm thinking of changing my middle initials to that. Wouldn't that look nice on the cover of Gritty Fantasy Novel Volume One: The Swordening? Hmm, I seem to have gone off track already.

  • If you haven't seen it yet, then you should probably check out Indie Game: The Movie while it is still fifty percent off. I'm not entirely sure that it was the price that kept me away from the film initially, but the sale was what pushed me over the edge.

  • For those of you who are not aware, Indie Game profiles four game developers, Jonathan Blow (Braid, The Witness), Phil Fish (Fez), and Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy). Blow and his game serve as the example by which the other developers are compared. The others, Fish, McMillen, and Refenes discuss the highs and lows of developing their games and bringing them to the public.

  • Like any good documentary, Indie Game takes its footage and interviews and weaves them into a story that makes you identify with and care for its subjects. The film could have been about anything and I would care about these individuals. That it is about independant game development is almost incidental. It could be about creators in any medium as the trials they face seem to be universal.

  • I think the greatest theme that comes through is the joy of creation in the face of all the chaos due to forces outside of their control. Phil Fish's story leans pretty heavily on his dispute with a former business partner. McMillen and Refenes run the all of the anxiety and elation of releasing their game. All of this is easily relatable to me, even though I don't make games for a living. I suspect many others can relate as well.

Random Shots: The Ultima IV Sequel You've Been Waiting For

  • From Michael McWhertor's article at Polygon:
  • BioWare Mythic says it's well aware of Ultima's storied history and hopes to deliver a "respectful" sequel to Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar.
  • And I always thought Ultima V was the sequel to Ultima IV. Glad to know all of these years of waiting for a real sequel will finally come to an end.

  • Nothing else to see here. Move along.

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Random Shots: Evidently It Sells

  • Found in my Twitter stream yesterday:
  • Once upon a time, I would have seen this as business as usual. Even farther back I would have placed a pre-order of my own. Now, this bums me the hell out.
  • Thanks for the reminder that video games are made for teenage boys.

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Read Lately: Opinion: In the sexism discussion, let's look at game culture by Leigh Alexander

  • If you were to ask my wife, she will admit to having a few author crushs (i.e. she is in love with their writing). Although I've never said it before, I feel the same way about the writing of Leigh Alexander.

  • The latest knowledge bomb that she's dropped on us appears over at Gamasutra. In it, she argues that it is all well and good that everyone is now talking about the problem of sexism in the games industry, but we need to do more. Leigh believes that all of these bloggers talking back and forth could turn the discussion into an echo chamber without having an effect of the community at large. Without getting the development community involved, all of this talk could be for naught.

  • As this discussion has gone on, I've been wondering a very similar thing. I think we all agree that sexism is a bad thing and this is the time to get it out of our games and our culture. But our agreement is not to do it. The people in charge have to be persuaded that it is the right thing for them as well.

  • I don't have a lot of power as a blogger-slash-consumer. All I can do it shout loudly and not buy their games. That second part kind of bums me out because I'd like to buy some like Tera. And Lollipop Chainsaw looks hilarious, no matter how bad a game it might be. But in good conscience, I can't support that any more. And I can keep talking about the issue until the right people are listening.

  • Sure, those of us in this corner of the internet might be enlightened enough to know sexism when we see it. It's no longer enough for us to keep our heads down just because we're not contributing to the problem. It's time for us to speak up and make sure that everyone knows that this is not okay.

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

News Filter: EA Defiles Ultima Once Again

  • Found by way of Kotaku (I know, I know), EA and Bioware are releasing a new Ultima game. Named Ultima Forever: Quest For The Avatar, it seems to be some sort of free-to-play, um... Play 4 Free, action RPG. Just like the great Ultimas of the past.

  • Um, let's see what else there is. You can play as a fighter or mage. I particularly enjoy the description of the fighter as a one-man army. I always thought the army was made up of fighters, but what do I know.

  • There is this concept art of the classic gypsy. I can see it now: you go in to do the reading, but she only asks one question because there are only two classes.

  • Oooh, and they have the map. The map is good. It has the right look. I was always amused by how flexible the world was from game to game. So not much to complain about here. Actually, strike that, there is a thing. Why is the map designed to look like it has fold creases when everyone know Ultima maps were printed on cloth. Duh! (Sarcasm alert, in case I wasn't obvious enough.)

  • Okay, you've got me. Considering that we know very little about the game, it's hard to say if it will be good one way of the other. But knowing EA's track record, do you think the odds are in its favor?

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 9, 2012

News Filter: Leaked Project Copernicus Trailer

  • I can't help but wonder if this trailer was built before or after the studio closed. Either way, I think it is safe to assume that they were a lot closer than we expected. Pity.

  • UPDATE: From the comments, Wilhelm Arcturus (The Ancient Gaming Noob) linked to Ryan Shwayder's thoughts about the trailer at Nerfbat.

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.