Lessons From A PAX Veteran

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The first time I went to PAX was 2007. I stood and sat in the the enormous line with my friend Josh for what seemed like an eternity. Ushered into what was then the main theatre, we listened to Wil Wheaton give that incredible keynote that became the guiding light for my PAX experience since. PAX 2007 was an incredible three day whirlwind.

Playtests, People, and Pathfinder

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
As you may have already read, our little group of friends has been actively involved in play-testing the new Pathfinder 3pp (or 3rd Party Publisher) material being crafted by the mad wizards over at Dreamscarred Press. Specifically, the classes for their new Path of War product which takes the material from the old Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 book Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords and brings it into the current Pathfinder setting with a few updates and new twists on it.

We decided to conduct one of our play-test sessions by running the module "The Ruby Phoenix Tournament," a module for 11th level characters set in an Asian themed martial arts tournament. We play-tested both of the new classes currently available from Dreamscarred, the Warlord, and the Stalker. (To read some of our running commentary on the progression of these classes, check out the Paizo forum thread here.) We ran them side-by-side with some of the classes from the Pathfinder main product line, the Ninja, the Cleric, and the Bard. We had a blast. 

Ryse Above The Masses (for a small fee)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
You don't have to pay for that stuff, but it helps.

So dismay is tossed in with what was already grand disappointment, Ryse: Son of Rome has been announced to have micro-transactions. What is particularly appalling is how they are trying to sell the newly announced pay-to-win function.

Safe Se.... I Mean Public Networking

Monday, August 26, 2013

If only it were that easy.
To all of those who will be making the annual pilgrimage to PAX Prime or whatever big convention with potentially malicious tech savvy people, let me give you a few tips that will at least keep your computational machine a little safer.

Orcish Beauty Tips

Friday, August 23, 2013

Post your Orcish Beauty tips to Twitter with #OrcishBeautyTips

For the care and keeping of your human beauty, check out www.makeupandthemachine.com

A Fistful Of Links

You shouldn't pre-order Alien: Isolation,

I just love hearing about these ancient gaming archaeological finds. It is interesting to muse about how these games where played, the rules, stakes, and how they might have been viewed by their cultures as a whole.

I am also going to throw this out there, will someone pretty pretty please make a modern game with the pictured tokens? That would make my year.


Our Pale Blue Dot Part 2: My Experience with Kerbal Space Program

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I ended my last post with a quote from Carl Sagan. It was his comments on a photo taken by the Voyager I space probe that inspired the title of this piece. It was the last photograph taken by voyager, and showed a spectrum of dust and unidentifiable fuzz. In that haze, near the right side of the photograph is a small bluish dot. That tiny speck was Earth. It was this photograph that fueled my fascination with space and exploration as a child.

Kerbal Space Program has brought that same feeling of awe and wonder to so many of it's players. From the first time I made it to orbit, I knew that my time with KSP would be long and joyous. Those of you already enjoying the game can perhaps understand how I felt. I'd like to talk about my journey with KSP, both for those who have not yet played the game, and for the veterans who have been where I have.

Chronicles Of Those Games That Ate All My Quarters

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I recently downloaded the compilation Chronicles of Mystara on PlayStation Network in an attempt to get some serious nostalgic side-scrolling going on. It totally worked. I had to bust out the trusty arcade stick so I could the feel exactly right and proceeded to hack, slash, and boom my way through dark wizard's towers, across orc-infested forests, and everywhere else the game could take me.

Our Pale Bule Dot; Talking KSP With Squad

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kerbal Space Program has occupied a lot of my time lately. To date, I have put more than 70 vehicles in the air, more than 40 of those have crashed, 15 have exploded on the pad and at least three have been lost to the bowels of space. That dozen of successful missions have taken me from Kerbin orbit, to the Mün and Minmus, into solar orbit, and into orbit around Duna.

I recently had an opportunity to talk to Bob Holtzman, head of PR for Squad, the company behind Kerbal Space Program. We discussed the history of the game, the latest update, KSP's incredible community and the adventures our intrepid Kerbals are bound for.

You Might Know Jack, But How About Max?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

You Don't Know Jack, the wry absurd trivia franchise has seen many incarnations since it's first iteration way back in the ancient days of 1995. Back then it was a delightful spin on a very tired trivia game genre. Since then it has seen not just many more volumes of the PC game, but a webisode version (very like an interactive "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me"), a short lived television show, a social Facebook edition, a mobile app, and recently as a launch title on the OUYA.

Path of War, Courtesy of Chris Bennett and Dreamscarred Press

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It is no secret that I am huge fan of Pathfinder. What may be less well known is my fondness for the 3rd Party Publisher Dreamscarred Press, and the old 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons book Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords.

Thanks to the work of one ErrantX, aka Chris Bennett, these two loves have been brought together in Dreamscarred Press' upcoming product The Path of War. Rather than bore you with the details, I'm just going to tell you to check out the play-test at Dreamscarred's site linked in above, and follow the product thread at Paizo's site here.

Told or Telling; Emergent Story in Games

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
The games I enjoy most do more than tell me a story. Some games have been able to make me a part of the story, others affect me emotionally. Very few allow me to tell my own story. Fewer still allow it gracefully; without deliberately avoiding characters or places.

The first game I can remember making my own was the Sims. I staged elaborate scenes for captioned screenshots. These I arranged in the album into a loose narrative, often involving gnomes or Poe-esque tales of entrapment and (strangely hilarious) fear. The Sims were very obliging most of the time, though the unpredictability of their behavior made for unexpected departures from my planned structure.

Rebirth, Renewal, Dungeons, Dragons, and some spoilers too

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So I just finished reading R.A. Salvatore's latest book The Companions and I have to warn, what follows here will be rife with spoilers. So if you still intend to read this book, or are yet in the process of doing so, please kindly back away from this post, as I'd hate to spoil anything you didn't want spoiled.
There, fair warning has been given.

Organ Trailings

The Oregon Trail was a childhood staple of mine. In the many years since it's release it has become a fixture of cited gaming history, it's most notable quote, "You have died of dysentery" is often seen emblazoned across t-shirts, a not so subtle brand of the wearer's old-school gaming cred.

Title Redacted: The Bureau

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Unknown was everything I hoped it would be. A love note to the original series, clad in sleek visuals and an intuitive interface. Especially on Iron man mode, it lost none of the tension and difficulty I remembered from UFO Defense.

Before Enemy Unknown was announced, there was already a new XCOM in development. At the time billed as a first person squad shooter, this XCOM took place in the 50's and featured strange, amorphous oozes and gigantic crystalline obelisks. While the design was intriguing, I had my doubts about the series' new direction. 

This is How The Indie Do

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The rise of the indie game. The indie game rennaisance. Indie love. The track of the indie beast from beyond the 18th dimension. Okay, so I made that last one up. Regardless, these are terms we've used to describe the surge of incredible independent games released in the last few years.

What happened? Where did all of these amazing people and their awesome games come from? Weren't video games the sole domain huge studios with massive budgets and manpower? 

Some have said that indie games have come into this success because their content is often more tied to individual expression than the average large studio game.The same can be said of the indie film movement some years earlier. A focused effort from a few individuals to convey a message or express an emotion as opposed to a product made by hundreds of people, with a heavier focus on flash and entertainment value. But I think there is more to it than that.