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Everything posted by malkav11

  1. I'm a little amazed that nobody brought up Planescape: Torment in the context of death as progression. It had puzzles that were solved by dying repeatedly, and is a classic.
  2. I've been out of the loop for a few years since my ability to purchase commercial games went up dramatically and my time to play games went down dramatically (yay full time employment), but one of the really key developments back when I followed these things was the steadily progressing realization by the IF fan community that they didn't actually have to replicate the heavy puzzle emphasis of Infocom/Magnetic Scrolls/etc text games of yore and could branch into really interesting narrative experimentalism and such. After all, with no money changing hands, nobody had to court consumer expectations.
  3. The distinction, to me, is that a text adventure suggests that it will be an adventure game, with an emphasis on puzzling, whereas interactive fiction says "look, guys, this is about story first and foremost and possibly only".
  4. To be fair, he actually went into extended detail about why he was making that comparison.
  5. I think that's fair enough.
  6. I'm not so sure that that's actually what's going on, though. I think it's really significant that between your arrival on Columbia and exposure to Comstock's rather appalling regime, and the nearly as appalling widespread violence of the Vox's successful overthrow of that regime, you step into an alternate universe. And not just once, either. There are really creepy effects associated with those changes, and the tears are repeatedly called out as being corruptive and damaging to people who use them too heavily, as well as catering to Elizabeth's perceptions. It's been argued, and I think very plausibly, that the reason Booker goes from apathetic, hard-hearted mercenary to someone who actually cares about Elizabeth and wants to help her, is because he passes through those tears with her. And I think it's very possible that the Vox of the final universe, are, essentially, what Elizabeth expects them to be.
  7. I'm disappointed by Sony's decision to switch to paid multiplayer, but to me it's less of an issue than it is with Microsoft's consoles. Firstly, they've stated that functions like Netflix will still not require PS+. These are what Microsoft tries to bring to the table as "value adds", but they're services that either already require a separate subscription fee, or are completely free on the web. That, to me, is just holding functionality hostage (just like with multiplayer), not a value add, and I certainly wouldn't pay for Xbox Live just on the basis of being able to use streaming media apps. Secondly, PS+ has been a crazy value even on PS3 and Vita, where multiplayer is free. You're paying $50 a year (I guess that might be going up to $60?), i.e. not even the price of a retail console game, for an up front collection of between six and two or three times that games (depending on platforms owned) and at least one game a month but more like 4+ if you own both platforms. Sure, you don't get to select those games and you lose access if you stop subscribing, but there have been very few duds since I joined and even a couple of quality titles would basically cover the cost, value-wise. (And there's some other stuff too, but that's the main thing.) Assuming they continue to provide the same type and quality of content as part of the PS+ subscription, it's really a no-brainer for anyone going Playstation and if everyone's subscribing anyway, the barrier to multiplayer becomes substantially lower. That said, I don't think charging for multiplayer precludes making multiplayer only games for the console. People who are serious about console multiplayer just consider the cost of a Live subscription part of their hobby, the same will likely be true for PS+. What it does is discourage casual dips into multiplayer. I'm not much of a multiplayer gamer in general and don't spend much time on console, but I've occasionally picked up games for 360 that had online cooperative multiplayer support, and I might even have tried it if I hadn't had to drop $50+ on a subscription I'd barely use.
  8. That may not be what they're doing. I know there are a few songs I know well enough that I could theoretically recognize the particular instrumental part of the song without necessarily being able to make out the vocals and start singing along. I would never actually do this because I am a terrible singer, it would be really awkward, and they're not songs that would be playing in the background in a restaurant anyway. But in theory I could. (For example, I used to have a huge chunk of the Meat Puppets song "Unexplained" from the "inspired by the X-Files" compilation album Songs in the Key of X memorized.)
  9. The Souls games are ones I would recommend to everyone. That's not to say that everyone will enjoy them or get very far in them, but I honestly think everyone that has the opportunity should at least give them a try. The quality of the design in terms of both gameplay and worldbuilding is absolutely phenomenal, and they're an experience that's almost unique in videogaming. I can't say that I've ever managed very much progress myself, but what I have played was absolutely worth the preorder price.
  10. Pretty much, and while you used to see a lot of platform exclusives, these days that seems to be largely limited to first-party titles and I can't say as I'm all that in love with most of those.
  11. Nintendo works in mysterious ways.
  12. Gamecube was actually in some ways -more- powerful than the competition, from my understanding. I dunno. Nintendo gives me such mixed feelings these days. I don't think focusing away from the tech race is a bad idea, and sometimes Nintendo's wacky ideas really pay off in novel and intriguing ways, as they did with the DS. But for my money the Wii was a huge misstep, with its main innovation being a control method that's a long, long way from ideal for traditional games as envisioned to date (though it's okay-ish as a poor man's mouse or lightgun), forced onto a library that consisted almost entirely of traditional games interspersed with novelty minigame collections. I don't want to say that there will never be game designs for which the Wiimote and nunchuk are a natural and necessary control scheme that could not be delivered in any other way, but I can tell you I've not found a single one that was made for the Wii. So it's more than a little disappointing to me that Nintendo's next foray into the console space is a shinier Wii with another gadget attached. Again, I'm willing to give them time (though I won't be buying a Wii U in the near future) to prove that either of those things make for a compelling, unique gaming experience, but my hopes aren't exactly high.
  13. Recommend me some good two-player co-ops! (Please!)

    Torchlight II. Also, Titan Quest, Path of Exile, Sacred Gold, Sacred II Gold. If you've already played the first two, perhaps try again with mods. Neverwinter Nights (skip the original campaign but the expansions are good) and Neverwinter Nights II, with attendant hail of mods. Fear III (also known as Fathrir). Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days (it's a mediocre shooter but has a lot of style and the levels of fucked that the protagonists reach get pretty hilarious) Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II (mostly the expansions, but the original campaign's okay) Keep an eye out for Divinity: Original Sin's release. Orcs Must Die 1 is not multiplayer and Trine 1 is not internet multiplayer, but the sequels work well. Dungeon Siege III is much, much better than it's been given credit for and supports two player coop, but the way it's implemented can be frustrating - you're locked onto the same screen even if you're playing online (and the rubberbanding is occasionally problematic), and there are a few other niggles (e.g., if you own the DLC you can't host for someone who does not). Plus all character data is saved to the host's game, which makes playing coop with random internet denizens effectively pointless, but in my experience isn't really a big deal when playing with a single specific person on a consistent basis. And yeah, if you like MMOs, certain MMOs can be rewarding for dual-player exploration. I'd say SWTOR or The Secret World would be strong candidates, although SWTOR's basic gameplay outside the story missions isn't terribly exciting, and TSW sometimes forces you into solo instances without warning.
  14. If a game's design gives rise to consistently interesting player behavior, it's because it's propelled by the game mechanics. Otherwise it would not be consistently present when that game is played. it matters because a game that creates that sort of behavior can be relied upon to produce that enjoyment, whereas a game that merely facilitated that sort of behavior requires you to play with particular people. This by no means diminishes the enjoyment to be had when you play with those people, of course.
  15. This is true if there are players that do participate in the diplomatic aspect of the game, but not true if people are just focusing on building ships and moving them around. And frankly, that's true of most any multiplayer game. For example, in Urban Dead, people who linked up externally at forums or whatever were massively more efficient and effective than soloists or people using in-game mechanisms. But the game absolutely did not encourage or enforce that sort of behavior - in fact, the game's own mechanisms deliberately limited the ability to communicate. Although it's an opinion I do hold, it's not my point. My point is that I don't believe that the game qua game is creating the interesting interactions because the interactions exploit the game mechanics rather than being propelled by the game mechanics. It responds to aggressive, competitive, and Machiavellian players more so than some other competitive games (though I would posit that they will bring at least some of that experience to any competitive game, to a degree and with an ease that depends on that game's design), but it is not a design that innately requires that people become that kind of player.
  16. But Diplomacy is actually the example I was going to bring up - it is completely impossible to win Diplomacy by yourself. You simply do not have the mechanical ability to achieve the victory condition without wheeling and dealing with other players. So it is a game that is explicitly and mechanically about diplomatic interaction. Since it is also a game that only one player can win, this diplomacy must inherently involve duplicity and backstabbing. Other social games similarly mechanically enforce such player interaction. It doesn't matter how many rules they have, just that those rules act to ensure heavy player interaction and politicking. By contrast, as far as I can tell Neptune's Pride mechanically is a fairly light strategy game with mechanics that deal with research, production, combat, and force positioning. The diplomatic struggles that players are reporting are a layer they bring to the table that's made more viable by strategic mechanics and lengthy real-time maneuvering that give plenty of time for diplomacy and allow tricks with timing. But if nobody playing the game bothered to interact, someone would still win, no?
  17. Kinda. I'm saying that the diplomacy and deception is made possible by the way the game plays, but is not itself part of the game mechanically nor explicitly required. Because the game is about winning a space war. The Machiavellian diplomacy is something that you're using to win that space war, not what the game is mechanically about.
  18. I really can't speak to the quality of NP's design. I'm just saying that I think you may be incorrectly attributing some of the things you're enjoying to what the game brings to the table when it's actually what you and your friends are bringing to the table. Most of the stories you're telling (and that I've heard elsewhere on places like Rock Paper Shotgun) are about out of game communication, dealmongering, treachery and so forth. These tactics certainly exploit facets of the game's design and I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that those design elements are in place explicitly to encourage such tactics, but still, they're originating with your friends, not the game. (As for "inherently interesting", that's going to be hugely subjective, of course. What I personally would consider "inherently interesting" are game mechanics that I'm interested in playing just to fiddle with - regardless of whether or not I win, or whether there's a challenge. There's just a joy to watching those systems operate. It doesn't sound to me like Neptune's Pride offers that. It sounds like it offers some meaningful but fairly abstracted strategic decisions that are relevant to one's success but do much less to define it than politicking, maneuvering, and treachery. A useful metric, to me, would be "would this be fun to play against an AI that can understand the game rules and make appropriate strategic decisions, but is completely incapable of social interaction?")
  19. I'm not convinced that Neptune's Pride is actually creating the experiences that y'all are so excited about. I think rather it supports and encourages that sort of play if that's what you bring to the table. It's an important distinction, because a game that inherently produces amazing experiences will do so almost regardless of who plays. (You do typically have to be willing to bring at least a little bit of engagement to the proceedings, but that's a relatively low bar to cross.) On the other hand, a game that supports amazing play requires you to bring amazing players. And that tends to drown out any inherent qualities of the game itself. I had a grand old time playing The First Templar with my best friend, for example, because we really enjoy one another's company and the game wasn't actively hurting our fun. But I don't think there's anything about The First Templar that's terribly interesting in and of itself and I doubt very much that I ever would have come close to finishing it solo. It's goofy, slipshod, mildly buggy and full of rough edges, with no real standout moments or much in the way of originality. And I kind of suspect that if I played Neptune's Pride with, say, the folks that I've played Battlestar Galactica with, it wouldn't be particularly exciting because the game's mechanics are fairly simple and arguably not inherently interesting and these people really don't do cutthroat politics or backstabbing. (Which, needless to say, rather dampens the BSG experience as without a lot of animated traitor-hunting and politicking, it's merely a fairly lightweight cooperative game.)
  20. Well, you have to understand that Tom has two dogs in the review score race. One is that he feels Metacritic is a potentially valuable and useful tool. And the other is that he feels that reviews can and should use a full scale and not the narrow 7-9 range that's actually being used by most reviewers. And if they did, his scores might or might not be outliers (certainly he's fond of some games that aren't widely acclaimed and not particularly impressed with others that are in most places critical darlings), but the Metacritic version of his score would convey the intended meaning.
  21. (That'd be actually more like 2.7 million missed sales...but I'm pretty sure I get what you meant.)
  22. BioShock Infinite

    It never made sense to me in any of the Bioshocks that these largely combat-oriented (especially in Infinite, where I can conceive of no benign use for basically any of the Vigors) magic powers were supposed to be commercially sold to regular people.
  23. This is kind of how I ended up feeling about Minecraft. The game as it stood in the early days wasn't one that did much for me. I mean, the block creations people made with the initial incarnation were impressive, the basic survival and crafting gameplay seemed like a solid basis for something more...but it was a completely undirected sandbox with neither structure nor documentation, and certainly no inherent narrative or goals. This just does not do anything for me. However, I was teased along with promises that there would be a mode someday that incorporated a degree of structure and goals. I think the game may have actually hit formal release without this mode, but it certainly took years to arrive, and it turned out when it did that it wasn't Minecraft's gameplay with structure and goals, it was Minecraft as a scenario editor. Well, great and all, but what made that prospect interesting was Minecraft's gameplay. The survival. The crafting. The ability to shape the world according to your whims. Done to an actual purpose, I would be in heaven. Separating the two made neither worthwhile to me. There are plenty of other games and toolkits that make amateur game content possible and most of them are better suited to delivering a compelling experience than Minecraft-minus-Minecraft. So, I dunno. I don't begrudge Notch his millions at all. I can totally see why people who do enjoy sandboxes full of incredibly elaborate internal systems would fall so in love with Minecraft. But it's never become the game I thought I was going to get when I purchased it.
  24. BioShock Infinite

    There was a specific thing you were supposed to defend?
  25. Don't Starve

    It's kind of like if Terraria were made by Edward Gorey. And also not 2D sidescrolling. I was a little puzzled by why I got two copies when I bought in, though, since at least last I checked there's no multiplayer.