Saturday, 6 May 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn: A Tour Through A Post-Apocalyptic Wilderness


Horizon Zero Dawn is a terrible name for a brilliant game. I would usually never even bother trying an open world game of this type, but I heard good things that included mention of post-apocalyptic robot dinosaurs. Who wouldn't be intrigued by that premise?

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Stardew Valley: Farming Fantasy


Stardew Valley begins with a letter from your grandfather, but more importantly it begins by contrasting modern city life with the rural idyll. Right from the opening cinematic, it paints modern living as soulless, boring, unfulfilling and almost unnatural. By contrast, Stardew valley is bright, colourful and full of opportunity.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

5 Ways to Make a Dark Souls Easy Mode

Prepare To Die A Little Less Edition?
Many people have suggested that you just couldn't make an easy mode for Dark Souls. They are of course incorrect, making an easy mode is actually really easy, and to prove this I've made a list of ideas.

As a disclaimer, I'm going to add the point that many of those do also make, which is that these changes may change the nature of the game, or alter the experience of the game. That's pretty much the point though, since there's already a fundamental difference in experience that different players have when playing the same game. Everyone has their own personal skill levels and tolerance for difficulty, challenge, patience and frustration. We all have different rates with which we can learn, with which we can adapt and with which we can persevere.

A Discussion On Difficulty

What makes a game difficult? What makes a game challenging? What makes a game frustrating?

I'm sure if you asked a hundred people, they'd give you a hundred different answers. Difficulty, challenge and frustration depend on individual experience, and expectation.

The key to thinking about this is not to consider what you personally find difficult, but rather to consider that not all people are created equal, and therefore tasks that might seem trivial to one can be frustrating to another. It is then important to consider that a game developer can only draw from their own knowledge and experience, and that they will always have to make choices about how they create the challenges in their game.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Discussions on Definitions: The Rogue-like

Words can be flexible, they can be changed. Language is dependant upon usage, and so new words can crop up or old ones can be co-opted to new meanings. With games, a new language had to be created from scratch once those first games appeared. As they became more popular, the language evolved and terms were borrowed or created from wherever was required.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Star Trek: 25th Anniversary - Boldly Adventuring


I would certainly consider myself a Star Trek fan, and a fan of science fiction in general. I grew up watching re-runs of the original series of Star Trek, and watching the classic movies. Gene Roddenberry created a series that was hopeful, insightful, heartwarming, exciting and occasionally quite silly. It may have sometimes been a little rough around the edges, or been a little simplistic in it's ideals but the camaraderie and positivity of the core characters was brilliant and went from strength to strength.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Indie Gaming: Firewatch

Firewatch, Campo Santo games, 2016
In many ways, our protagonist in Firewatch is typical of gaming: White, male, bearded... but rather than joining the clones of gaming past, his characterisation saves him. We get introduced to him via a short choose-your-own-adventure style story, in which you get a summary of his relationship with his wife, with a few choices along the way. These choices grant you a more close relationship with your character than most games, as even these simple choices can give you a greater understanding of the role you will be playing.