Archive for the ‘GAMES’ Category


Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Excellent post from Tale of Tales on the history, the rise and fall, the pros and cons, of producing a “new” style of video game not for the gamer perhaps as much as to reach and appeal to the non-gamer audience.

I found it interesting for many reasons but basically two: 1) a high degree of interest in the game once I saw the trailer and the exquisite graphics and work that went into this, and 2) I’m facing the same dilemma in literary hypertext. Shall I continue to bother “breaking into” the reading audience that chooses romance, sci-fi, or whatever’s trendy and appeal to their interests which I’ll try to appease, or do I write for the experienced hypertext reader, i.e., the academic, the new media or contemporary literature professors, or the coding folk.

This also caught my eye within the article:

But all the modelers we tested just couldn’t get the style right. To create stylized characters for a horror game that are not cartoony but still attractive, is apparently a skill not taught in 3D academies. Part of the reason probably was that we only got male candidates. Our experience with finding our wonderful animator Laura Raines Smith had taught us that it takes a woman to animate girls properly. Maybe it takes a woman to model girls as well. We don’t blame the men. We blame the fact that more women don’t choose 3D modeling as a career!

Ah, but there for the span of thirty years, would I be.

GAMES & NEW MEDIA: The Greatest Race

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Found on Dark Roasted Blend, the Great Sperm Race: The Most Extreme Race on Earth which has a lot of the screen shots of the forthcoming National Geographic program which will be aired tomorrow, Sunday, March 14th at 9 p.m.

This looks like an amazingly different take on the topic of reproduction, judging from the photos, but it is put out in an interesting and imaginative manner. The images reminded me somewhat of an old Woody Allen movie that had a particularly hysterical scene wherein Allen and others, all dressed as sperm cells, were arguing over the ejaculation and journey to the womb.

To bring back some of the fun–check out the game on the National Geographic site; I almost knocked over my laptop when I bonked my sperm into the vaginal wall. Then, when I got my laughter back into a reasonable semblance of gameplay and moved on, I killed it with oozy acid. Too funny.

INTERACTIVE FICTION: Colossal Cave Text Adventure

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying watching Peter Jerz, 11 year-old son of Professor Dennis Jerz (Seton Hill) play this text adventure game via three videocasts of his experience.

Dennis is teaching this course at his college and it is a rare treat to sit back and enjoy the gameplay of someone else going through the interaction of the game. We did this in one of my literature courses at Tunxis prior to the inclusion of a New Media course later established and I remember sitting at the helm of the keyboard in the computer lab while the other students gathered around giving suggestions and directions as to how to maneuver through the game. It was most helpful to have someone provide clues that I’d missed since we all had played the game, Photopia,  individually at home and some of us got a lot further along in it than others. At one point, I remember trying all the standard directional functions of n (north), s, e, and w, and even up and down. I tried several other verbs but just couldn’t get out of a particular room without banging against the walls. After I typed in “cry” in frustration (hey, for a girl it sometimes works with a cop in a speedtrap) I was told to type “fly” and voila!

What Dennis has done here is made the reader/user’s first interactive experience a bit less intimidating by showing the thought process that develops in the game as one learns the lingo of text adventure. Besides the directions and most standard verbs acknowledged by the games, there are the shortcuts such as “x” for examine (a room, an item, etc.) and “i” to refresh one’s memory about what “inventory” has been taken, there are words such as “speak” or “talk” depending on the author’s choice in allowing the reader/user to interact with characters within the story.

This just may have me buckling back down to play with a few more games that I haven’t looked at in a few years and more, to maybe try my hand at creating a game myself. One that breaks down and helps you when you “cry.”

GAMES: Every Day The Same Dream

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Sort of a fun way to start out the New Year: Every Day The Same Dream by Molleindustria (thanks to Nick Montfort for the link).

Easy to play–unless you want to make a change in your life and without Nick’s hint, I played through twice without making much progress though the humdrum of office cubicle life came flooding back in a scary rush. Now I must go back and see if I can break away as I did once before, twenty some-odd years ago.

It needs to be downloaded but it’s well worth the doing.

GAMES & NEW MEDIA: Spirited Heart

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Every now and then Chris Crawford’s Storytron comes back to mind and it’s what I thought of this morning when I ran into this note on my newsfeed on a game called “Spirited Heart.”

Spirited Heart is a fantasy life sim game. You’ll be able to create your alter ego choosing from 3 races: Human, Elf and Demon. Each race has different starting attributes, and unique dialogues and events, so if you play with a different race you’ll see different in-game situations.

You can see where I mentally linked the this with Storytron, in the mention of “Each race has different starting attributes” so that events will play out according to certain predetermined conditions that need to align. I’m sure this is nowhere near as calculated and intricate as Crawford’s work which he and his team have put years of effort and intelligence into.

Time perhaps for me to revisit Storytron and other exciting ventures such as Facade that are at the forefront of new discoveries in gaming and new media.

GAMES: Apparitions

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Was in the mood to get into gaming this morning and dug up one I downloaded a long time ago as a demo. Apparitions does look like it’d be a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, after only about three moves in any direction, the game would not unlock any doors without purchase of the full program. I dumped it.

Might pull out one of the games I have purchased, just as long ago, and try my hand at those. Might even get my courage up for Silent Hill again.

GAMES: Or not.

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

From Tale of Tales, another thoughtful view on games:

I’m considering to officially join the legions who are sick of the games-as-art debate. Because I am sick of it too. But not for the same reason. I’m sick of games. I’m sick of the endless debates on how we’re supposed to achieve something deeply meaningful by making people play with puzzles or achieving fake goals by adhering to arbitrary rules. Let games be games. Let them be fun. Let them be playful. Don’t weigh them down with all sorts of demands of meaning. Let them be frivolous, meaningless, brainless fun. Please.”

GAMES: A Vampyre Story

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Now available for Mac, this looks like something I’m going to have to get as a gift to my overworked brain:

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

GAMES: Start ’em Young

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008


I have two great-nieces that are 6 years old and while one’s a Mac user (mom’s a graphic designer) and the other’s a PC, I found this games pack that incorporates interactivity with three well-known fairy tales.

Some of the key features listed are:

  • Visual environments based on detailed descriptions
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Multiple levels of learning
  • Deductive thinking
  • Logic and reasoning
  • Problem-solving
  • Concentration and memory
  • Critical thinking skills

I don’t know how advanced Graham and Tatum (I call them Graham-cracker and Tater-tot, love the food-based names!) are with their computer skills, but I’m sure that they’ve been at it for a number of years already. It’s a different generation and learning is a whole new ball game that includes high tech for toddlers up onward. In truth, their own parents, now in their late thirties have been brought up on home computers.

While experience may help with the older student to comprehend learning new ways of working and learning, the younger students approach these marvels with an open mind and no need to relearn or justify what they’re involved in. This, I believe, can only speed up the advances made in technology as these kids grow up to build upon the base they’ve used since chubby fingers and wide eyes played with Christmas toys on keyboards and monitors.

GAMES: Learning and The Study of Games

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Back to playing mindless games of Solitaire and I'm sorry I ever found one to put on my Mac. That, and MahJong are my downfall. Then I realize that in the feeling guilt of the time wasted, there's at least one thing to be learned: the type of game, and the gameplay, tells much about the player.

Studies and research have been done, but there's nothing like empirical knowledge to set the mind humming along the different paths of observation. I can only see my own traits by way of choices.

I want something fast and mindless; my mind is elsewhere, perhaps writing a story or figuring out life (!), so I tend towards the games that are played without concentration. It's like driving a car, where you need not know how far to turn the wheel to make a corner. Hands and eyes and judgment are all fine-tuned by experience to make the connections without conscious calculations. Indeed, a different part of the brain is likely at work here, pulling out files that tell the hands what to do, while the mind concentrates on other things.

Another thing I've learned, while I am competitive with myself, against my own standards or gauges to achieve rather than anyone else's to match or beat, I find that unless I'm beating a time standard or point value, I tend to leave a game unfinished the instant I know I'm going to win. I realize that with this new edition for Mac of Solitaire, for example, there is no scoring, so there is no reason for me to go through all the placement of cards and waste that time. I've seen other people go all the way through each and every time–maybe they like watching the visuals of the win.

Anyhow, I'm getting antsy for going back into graphical games. I lean, I think, towards strategy, yet I don't like the racing or fighting to stay alive. Visuals are exciting enough–when well done. Silent Hill scared me away with those skin-stretchy things that ran after and killed me many times, and I've got several new ones that I haven't even put on the computers yet. Still, through Brendan's site, and through Mark's praise on his blog, I'm considering downloading Spore.