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  1. Today
  2. Is Lord of the Realm 2 generally considered bad or is that just Rowan? That was a heavily played game on our two computer LAN. It’s admittedly a stronger TBS game with all battles auto-resolved since the real-time AI was janky.
  3. I'd still love a remake or a new Crimson Skies, but looking it up, the games were kinda flops which probably explains why that IP has been dormant since the original X-Box
  4. Yesterday
  5. So I picked this game up in the humble bundle. The tactics are very shaggy compared to xcom or battle brothers but I would love to see the sneaking/turn based movement expanded in another game. However - the game itself is just one long save scum and that's fine, but I've been playing more war of the chosen instead. If there wasn't so much being released, and if I didn't have such limited time with kids and work, I could see myself taking a weekend and finishing the game. As it stands now I think I figured out the game after a few hours and the tactics/fights aren't that compelling. It is extremely difficult to get a narrative to combine with an ongoing branching game. I can't help but feel that if you just had to do regular stalker missions, with a rotating cast, against groups of enemies that sometimes you would say "we have to run" the game might be more compelling and have a longer burn. That being said, I can appreciate going for a tight story driven game but I'm likely not going to finish this thing.
  6. Recommend me a cool book!

    Probably still making their way through Dracula.
  7. Recommend me a cool book!

    I wonder how they are doing?
  8. Aside from any discussion about what meaningful means, I absolutely would love to see more stuff than the standard sort of puzzles and combat. I think Undertale did a pretty good job in terms of melding the way those two things interact with characters and broader themes, but I'm not sure how much that could be replicated with stories about other topics. Complex themes seem like they're going to necessitate complex gameplay when intermeshed in the way you're describing.
  9. @Goose Malloy--totally agree that narrative-focused games are not inherently meaningful and that it depends on the quality of the narrative, what's being communicated, how well it's executed, etc. That's actually a big part of my personal issue with games in the category A that I described--the glossy high-budget games that are often around 15-30 hours long and comprised of around 80% combat and/or puzzle segments, with the narrative cutscenes interspersed between those gameplay segments. Often the narratives in those games are highly imitative of and less well-done/interesting than the works from other mediums they are imitating, and the combat and/or puzzle segments (which are often mostly or completely divorced from the narrative being portrayed in the cutscenes and nearly always amount to little more than "defeat bad enemies because enemies bad") take up such a large percentage of the overall work that it lessens the impact the narrative might otherwise have. As a result games in category A frequently end up feeling not much different than games in category C--the ones with little-to-no or very lightweight narratives--and are often worse/less enjoyable systemically than games in category C, as well. I've never heard of the "Broken Sword" series--it sounds very interesting. Will definitely check it out--thanks. And yeah I likewise agree that many well-done narratives are not very meaningful in what they convey, but are rather mostly just frivolous and entertaining. Obviously nothing wrong with that--a lot of my favorite narrative works fall into that category! Ernst Lubitsch's "Trouble in Paradise" and the 2009 animated movie "A Town Called Panic" are two of my favorite movies I've seen thus far--they're both nothing but pure entertainment. I personally find frivolous but highly entertaining and well-told narratives to still be more meaningful overall than systemic combat and puzzles, but I could understand how other people would not. (And I do love a great, engaging gameplay mechanic or well-designed, satisfying to solve puzzle.) (Also of course narrative works that deal with more serious subject matter can still be entertaining and/or funny. The best ones often are!) As for systemic-heavy, narrative-light (or devoid) games that can still convey meaningful narrative: I've never heard of the "Democracy" series but I imagine a lot of people would feel similarly that games like "Civilization," "SimCity," "The Sims," etc. can also convey a lot of meaningful things without having much of any overt, authored narrative. I do feel like those games are the exception rather than the rule when it comes that, and require a bit more work on the part of the player to extract/think about those narrative implications. But it is a good point/interesting example, and it would be neat if the same thing could be accomplished via systemic-heavy, narrative-light (or devoid) games in other genres. No issue whatsoever with developers trying to accomplish that, or with them continuing to make other kinds of games that have been made up to this point. But yeah, I think developers trying to come up with better ways to intertwine systems and narratives and have them be more of a reflection of one another would also be a very worthwhile endeavor!
  10. Fair enough, @Kyir! And yeah I might have come off a bit harsh when talking about systemic-heavy, narrative-light games: like I said, I genuinely love 'em! Systemic-heavy, narrative-light 2D games are among my favorite kind--"Dynamite Headdy," "Demon's Crest," "Mario 3," "Mario World," "Sonic 2," "Sonic 3K," "Sonic Mania," "Super Metroid," "Castlevania III," "Rondo of Blood," "Link to the Past," "Super Meat Boy," "Mega Man 2," "Mega Man 3," "Mega Man 9," etc. are some of my favorite games I've played thus far. When it comes to 3D systemic-heavy, narrative-light games, "Mario Galaxy," "Mario Galaxy 2," "Mario 3D Land," "Mario 3D World," "Wind Waker," "Resident Evil 1 Remake," "Resident Evil 2," "Resident Evil 3," "Resident Evil 4," etc. are also some of my favorite games I've played thus far, too. And you're right that I probably downplayed the ways in which people derive personal meaning from media that is not trying to use narrative to convey something about humanity, the world around us and our relationship to it, etc. Even games that are narrative-light still convey a lot purely through aesthetics (how the characters and world are portrayed, how the character interacts with that world, etc.), and of course many if not all people derive meaning from narrative-light games in their own way--whether that's using your imagination to wonder more about what the characters and world would be like separate from the conditions that exist when you're playing the game, or simply remembering where you were, what your current state in life was, etc. at the time you played a game. We all create those types of memories and narratives, even for narrative-light games (or ones that are essentially devoid of narrative entirely). To be fair, though, all of that is mostly separate from the games themselves and what they convey, and can exist with almost anything one experiences (media or otherwise). I was more just trying to express how most games essentially rely on combat and puzzles to comprise the majority of what you experience/do in them, and that I think there should be a greater range of interactive expression in games that is able to be more closely intertwined with narratives than those are. I'm not trying to argue that combat and puzzles should ever go away--there's obviously always going to be a place for them to exist. (Since I love 2D and 3D platformers so much I'd be pretty upset myself if great new ones ever stopped being made!) But I do think combat and puzzles dominate way too much of what video games as a medium are comprised of. I honestly have felt this way for a long, long time (well over a decade and a half). It's hard for me personally not to feel like the medium is collectively treading water when it comes to what happens systemically in a majority of games that have been made, are being made, will be made in the future. Of course there are still slight advancements and interesting things to be unearthed from the systems that have long existed in games--I think we were all collectively surprised and delighted when it was revealed that Cappy in "Mario Odyssey" allowed the player to posses various other characters and objects, a seemingly fairly novel mechanic for a 3D platformer--but for the most part combat and puzzles (as implemented across various different genres) are well-established conventions that are mostly being repurposed over and over again. And you are absolutely right that a closer merging of narrative and gameplay is meaningless if either or both aspects are not done well. I'm not arguing for games that have a better integration of systems and narratives to be less enjoyable than ones that currently exist, but rather a best of all worlds where what you're doing in the game systemically is enjoyable, ties into the narrative the game is trying to tell well, and the narrative itself is interesting and well-done, as well. (And of course I understand that is going to be incredibly difficult for developers to pull off. This issue already exists of games that excel at one thing more than the other. People consider Swery's "The Missing" to be very interesting narratively but to be a bit clunky and less well-executed systemically. The "Uncharted" series got better and better narratively with each entry but made little to no evolvement systemically, where it got to the point that it seemed like most people dealt with the boring combat and light puzzle segments just to see/get to more of the story. And "Breath of the Wild" is regarded by many as incredible systemically but mostly a misfire narratively. So we already have this issue/struggle of trying to have the narrative and gameplay both be of high quality at the same time, and that issue would still exist when trying to have more intertwined systems and narratives. I do think if it's ever able to be pulled off, though--a game that is highly enjoyable systemically and narratively and the two are very closely intertwined/a reflection of one another--that the end result would be incredible.) Also y'all are right that I was too vague with what I meant by "meaningful" in my original post (and of course what is considered "meaningful" is going to vary from person to person). Was already thinking of trying to better explain my view of that in a separate post, so I will do that. (Won't have time to write that up until tomorrow at the earliest.)
  11. Last week
  12. I think you raise a number of good points, but I would resist the notion that a more systems-driven game would necessarily be devoid of "meaning" (like Kyir I think this is probably a difficult to define and unhelpful metric, but I'll take your notion of imparting knowledge "that is going to be useful in the real world, or that will make me think about things in a different way"). Similarly I'm also not convinced that a game that has more of a narrative focus would inherently furnish players with some "useful" information that would prompt reflection about real world issues. Certainly in the examples you choose I think you could argue that this dichotomy is present; Spelunky probably doesn't have anything to teach us about much else other than how to play it, while Gone Home is as I understand it a game that tries to address real-life LGBT issues and might help players to see these matters in a different light (apologies if I'm misrepresenting the nature of Gone Home, to my shame I have never gotten around to playing it). But I think one could find other examples that problematise this dichotomy. For example, the Democracy series are games that are pretty much wholly systemic in their design, with no real "designed" narrative content per se, and yet one can very much see how the nature of the systems within the games and the manner in which the player interacts with them might encourage the player to reflect more deeply about the nature of our systems of governance, the incentives our politicians have when policymaking, and other aspects of our society's political sphere. At the same time I think one could say that a series like Broken Sword (which I enjoy enormously), while very narrative-focused, probably has little to offer the player in the realm of "deep thinking"; they're enjoyable romps but I very much don't see them as having the capacity to shed light on any societal issues. Ultimately I'd say there are definitely systemic games that can be "useful" and narrative-driven games that can be "meaningless", I think this comes down more to the individual game than being inherent to either category.
  13. Terminal7 83: End the Run

    Nearly six(?) months after the end of this podcast, I finally played some games of Netrunner. It was fun! Thanks again for all the listening.
  14. I apologize for the short response to a lengthy post, but I can't help but feel like being meaningful is a metric that's impossible to define in this context, and as such isn't particularly useful as a means of evaluating the progression of games as a medium (or any individual game). Just like how people are going to find vastly different things fun, I imagine people are going to find vastly different things meaningful. Given that, I feel a bit doubtful that a closer merging of narrative and gameplay would have significant effects overall. I could just as well say that people probably aren't going to play enough to receive any directed messaging if the gameplay isn't enjoyable, so that should be the foremost concern. That said, I haven't seen Chris' talk either, and I feel like I may be missing something fundamental in the argument here? Sorry if that's the case! Separately, I think the ability of people to draw personal meaning from media that isn't about specific topics or themes is being somewhat underrated here.
  15. [Released] Palpable Dreams

    Thanks! I intentionally made the goals a bit vague so that the players would spent more time fiddling with scenes, but I'm afraid some of the levels may be a bit too difficult to parse without extra help.
  16. This is great! Fun theme put together well, clean presentation and tight mini-games!
  17. [RELEASED!] War of the Broses

    I really like the look of this, like you're playing with Duplo or similar, and it may be a very simple gameplay loop but it's very satisfying once you get to throwing houses around and such. Would be great to see some of the more complicated ideas you had implemented here.
  18. [Released] Palpable Dreams

    This is really slick, and a great idea. I had trouble sometimes working out what effect my movements were having, but I guess that's a big part of the game!
  19. [Released] Meet the Kerfluffles

    Love the look of this - it feels like The Incredible Machine or something, and the character art is all really cute. The music works really well too, and when you get to control your swarm ("like a flock of birds evading a predator") it feels really cool. Would be great to see some more mechanics get layered on top of this!
  20. [RELEASED] Eventually Your Breathing Will Stop

    Lovely atmosphere here, especially that opening title sequence. I found it quite difficult, but it was cool looking out for clues and doing some Victorian detective work!
  21. [Released] The Fresno Experiment - again

    This was really cool! Very effective atmosphere and scares (I actually jumped at one point!) and clever use of environmental signposting. Works well as a proof of concept - it's just a shame the player doesn't at least get to run to the satellite tower and lock themselves in the hut, as you had all that in there, but never mind.
  22. [Dev Log] Unmasking the Brain Burglar

    Hooray, another Fetchem case! This looks gorgeous, it's well-written and I love the central mechanic - fun and tactile.
  23. [Released] To Me, To Me, To Me

    This is really well-presented - really cute graphics, animation and music - but I'm afraid I just could not figure out how to play! I watched your playthrough video, which didn't help but was entertaining!
  24. Mailbag for a Tattered Nation

    Really nice music and art, and I liked how the writing gave glimpses of the world while focusing on the letters. Depressing but good!
  25. [Released on] Alexa, Destroy Me

    Great writing and it feels impressively expansive! I felt like some of the passages were a bit long to be spoken aloud, though - I enjoyed reading them but Alexa is just too damn slow at reading. Nevertheless, this is a great idea for a smart home app - if you're bored at home and want to kill five minutes, have a go on this game and try some different choices. You could even keep updating it with more branches. Hope you get it working on a smart home device soon!
  26. [RELEASED] Tactical Gamer Chair

    I almost agree with this - it is funny (and it's really nicely presented too - cute graphics and amusing audio), and there's not much game there - but I think with some more motivation for physics madness this could definitely be a lot of fun. Perhaps make it more like an actual office chair race - a lot harder to change direction so you end up careening off stuff - and encourage the player to destroy their opponents by pushing them into brick walls, that kind of thing. Enjoyed my short time with it!
  27. Recommend me a cool book!

    Halo2 hasn't been active for 5 years, so they may not see your recommendation!
  28. As somebody who came to gaming late because I didn't have anything to play on Xcom is the only game that I put in significant time. I do remember booting up tie fighter at my friends house often. One suggestion for these shows - I'd love to hear what games you would like to see remade now. I always think that remaking good games is a waste - it's the weird errors that need an update. I get the sense that if somebody remade the wing commander game that would be pretty cool...
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