SpecialEffect is Making Games Accessible to All

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Games are for everyone. The last time I used that phrase, I was dispelling the "girls don't play games" myth for a co-worker. It's true, certainly in that case, but it holds true in broader terms as well. People of all genders, ages, etc enjoy games. We see it in action at every con, in every pre-game lobby and every MMO server. While it's easy to champion this idea, there are a few who have put that thought into action. SpecialEffect is working to make games playable for those who, due to disability have had to either stop playing, or have never been able to play before.

Why it Pays To Wait on Next-Gen Consoles

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Image Credits: Softpedia
I've been tempted more than once to pick up a PS4 or Xbox One since their release. I've been seduced by the draw of the new and shiny, the bold and boxy (I just created an appliance based soap opera). I've made every convenient excuse for picking one up from the classic "I deserve this" to the faux-fuzzy logic of "for the business." In fact, all of these are a thin veneer for a desire to acquire. But when every day brings more news of issues with the consoles themselves and the games they play, I can temper my craving enough to hold off a little longer.

The Hardest Thing: Looking For Group

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I've been very lucky. I've been part of a really stable group for a few years now. Wesley and I had struck up a few conversations with a couple we kept running into at PAX, and as luck had it, they happened to be live fairly close to us. Mike and Morgan quickly became part of our regular game group and two of our best friends. Sadly, they'll be moving further away soon, and I'm left in the position of looking for a new group of players.

It's a position I've found myself in more than once over the years. Finding a good group can be hard enough, but avoiding a bad one can be even more difficult. For every decent group there are a dozen terrible ones. There are a few things you can do to avoid getting stuck with one of these horror story groups. First, it's important we be able to recognize a few of types of bad groups.

My Pizza Adventure

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's not everyday you get hired off the street, but that's exactly how Your Pizza Adventure begins. The  adventure game for iOS recalls the camp of the 90's FMV fascination and manages a pretty entertaining story at the same time.

You play as an ordinary guy handed a pizza and an address. How you get there is really up to you, as the game gives you numerous choices and divergent paths right from  the start. Essentially, you make a decision and see how our choice plays out, until the next split in the path. It's an interactive "Choose Your own Adventure" book.

Magic of Incarna Comes to Pathfinder

Thursday, January 16, 2014
We here at Somnambulant Gamer are big fans of Pathfinder. None more so than Michael Sayre, known to you as Sslarn. Mike has an encycopedic knowledge of tabletop games, particularly the OGL (Open Game Licence) system that provides the backbone for Pathfinder, and D&D 3.5 before it. It's his kind of brain that you want attached to your tabletop game, even if his characters routinely blow everyone else's out of the water. We've been really lucky to have Mike not only as a regular part of our gaming crew and writing staff for Somnam, but as a really awesome friend. That's why I am so excited to announce that for the past few months, Mike has been working with Dreamscarred Press to adapt one of his favorite 3.5 sourcebooks to Pathfinder. The first playtest of  Magic of Incarna is live.

Off the Couch and Into the Apocalypse

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Today I ran from zombies for nearly 3 km. This wasn't in DayZ of Left 4 Dead, this was real running from make believe zombies. My wife and I picked Zombies, Run! a couple days ago, and so far we are really enjoying it. Three days ago, I would have laughed at the idea of going for a run. It's never been something I could motivate myself to do. Any time I tried, I came home with a twisted ankle, cramps and a burning chest. Now I finish with a bunch of supplies for my beleaguered base and the pride of having evaded packs of the undead.

The Stanley Parable Defies Description

Thursday, January 9, 2014
I have been staring at a blank page for twenty minutes. This is the agony of trying to write about a game like The Stanley Parable. It's a game that really isn't like any other, which already contradicts the second sentence in this paragraph. This is the agony of writing about The Stanley Parable. In a few words, it's engrossing, hilarious, thought-provoking and maddening. All at once.

My Favorite Gaming Memories

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Every platform has it's achievements these days. It seems almost every game is eager to award you meaningless points for accomplishing things large and small. Before this trend however, everyone measured their achievements in a more personal way. Those of us who grew up before the official "achievement" have our own favorite moments. These are a few of mine.

What Is PAX Without Penny Arcade?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I've attended PAX Prime every year since 2007. It's grown quite a bit since then, having now spawned two other conventions (in Boston and Melbourne). In a post on the Penny Arcade site, Mike Krahulik has announced that Penny Arcade will separate itself from PAX over the next few years. Many are quick to say it will be different without Mike and Jerry there, but this day has been in the works for a while.