Halo 5 Multiplayer Beta And the Master Chief Collection

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Halo franchise and I are old friends. Over its more than ten year 13+ year run, the series has remained a landmark title and some of the best content available on Xbox. Combat Evolved was one of the first console based shooter whose story really engaged me. As strange or corny as it may sound, my wife and I cemented our relationship over the series, playing through CE and Halo 2 together before the release of Halo 3. The multiplayer, both local and co-op has been the best way for us to stay in touch with some of our friends. It means a lot to us.

Yesterday at noon the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta launched. I would have played more on day one, but we were finishing up our Legendary run through CE. Today I immersed myself in the beta and was surprised by how very different the experience is from the existing franchise. The speed of play is definitely more fast paced, tuned more for shorter, high intensity matches like those preferred by professional clans. The high mobility is definitely reminiscent of Titanfall which seems to have become an unspoken standard of sorts.

REDUX: Fixing Broken Machines with Broken Tools

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Most of us have our own criteria for judging a game. We know what elements we like in our games, we know what developers to trust, we know which genres and franchises we enjoy. For many others however, this instinctual system is less developed or non existent. Many of those people, especially new gamers, turn to sites like IGN and Gametrailers for the last word on games. The problem with this is the system used to review games. It's broken.

Tales of Ice & Fire - "Iron from Ice"

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The pairing of Telltale Games and Game of Thrones is a match made in heaven (or hell depending on your interpretation). Author of the book series, George R.R. Martin, has established time and time again that he has no fear of making hard choices in his Song of Ice & Fire books and "killing his darlings" has become something of a signature. Telltale Games, the well known publisher of The Walking Dead series is likewise known for its interactive choices and not being shy about death(s) as a result. I honestly couldn't think of a more appropriate studio to take a successful whack at portraying Westeros intrigue in a video game medium.

Kerbal Space Program Reaches .90

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It has become a sad reality that every time I download the latest B9 Pack that Squad releases a new update. I thought I was safe this time. Surely .90 would require more time. I thought I had at least a week before its release, which is a lot more time than I usually have to play with all of those beautiful parts. But what should I see in my email not 8 hours after downloading the mod? .90 is official and available; time to delete B9.  Again.

That Dragon, Cancer is a Project Worth Your Support

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It was more than a year ago that I played a demo of That Dragon, Cancer at PAX. I spoke to Ryan Green briefly before entering the small booth they had in the back of the Indie Megabooth and learned a little more about what I was going to play. This was a game about his son, Joel, who had been fighting cancer since his first year of life. In the demo, I would take the role of Ryan while caring for Joel in a hospital room. I thanked Ryan for giving us a chance to see the game and sat down for my demo.

What I played only lasted about 20 minutes, but it's a scene that has stayed with me since. I still vividly remember every second of that brief scene. Words are plainly insufficient to describe the experience of even that small section of That Dragon, Cancer. I can't blithely describe its gameplay or walk you through how I interacted with it. It's not a matter of appropriateness or respect at all, but I cannot begin to simplify it and still convey what it meant to me as a person.

REDUX: A Game is a Game is a Game

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Our great pastime is nothing new. What many people don't realize is that video games are just the latest innovation in a tradition as old as mankind. Video games are, at their core, games. Every game adheres to a simple criteria. Half-Real by Jesper Juul, defines a game as " a rule based system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort to influence the outcome, the player feels emotionally attached to the outcome and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable."

That's a lot to take in at once, so let's break it down further. First, the rule based system. Every game has rules. Anyone who's ever played a game even as simple as checkers understands that there are specific rules that dictate how the game is played. Today, most video games' rules are based on the physics engine. For example; when playing Half Life, you cannot fly. If you were to fly, you would be using a cheat. To cheat is to break a set rule. You see what I'm saying?

Life is Feudal Takes me Back

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The recent tour through my sordid MMO history got me thinking about a few of the online titles I wanted to play, but for some reason or another was never able to. Foremost on that list is a game called Asgard. An in-depth Google search turned up nothing about it, no trace whatsoever. It was to be an MMO based on Norse mythology with ambitious goals. A persistent world where players harvest their own supplies to build their homes and villages, weapons, armor and even food. The campaign was planned to be just as player driven, allowing groups to form factions and wage wars against other villages and factions. Raids could be sent into the mountains or out to sea in search of mythical beasts and blessings from Odin, Thor or any number of other deities from the Norse pantheon. Sadly, sometime between 2001 and 2003, Asgard was cancelled.

This isn't just some pity party for an MMO a young me mourned the loss of. While I won't get a chance to build myself a cottage in Asgard, indie game Life is Feudal promises to give me my medieval cottage, sans viking mythology. It's a compromise I'm more than willing to make for a chance at a realistic feudal survival game. 

I Have Pledged my Life to The Inquisition

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I'm drowning in Dragon Age. At 45+ hours in, I'm not even halfway through the story and have barely completed all the quests in one area (those lovely Hinterlands). I visit my war table every morning before leaving for work and every evening before going to bed. I'm full to bursting with things to do and people to talk to. Dragon Age is a franchise that I've loved since it began and I'm so thrilled that Inquisition has so much to offer. There are so many little things to complete that some have gone so far as to say there are too many options in the game.