Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Posts posted by Noyb

  1. Your review of Sugar Cubes is pretty rough. There's a lot of scattered facts, but not enough context or critical thought. I left the review without much understanding of the game. Harsh nitpicks below:

    • You might want to link to the specific game page in addition to the developer's site.
    • I have no idea what "flipped" means in terms of mechanics. Does a tile turn from solid to empty air and back? Is every level a front side and a not immediately visible back side? Do the tiles rotate in the plane of the game field? Does this lead to trial and error gameplay? What happens when the player returns to an already flipped tile? "Flipped" alone doesn't describe the mechanic enough for me to picture what the game's about. Do the standard platformer elements interact in any way with this central mechanic in different ways than other games? Is there a puzzle or level you thought stood out?
    • "The developer, Turtle Cream, is of Korean origin. That’s cool! The game won IGF China in 2010! I’m learning things!" Why is the focus is on your personal reaction? Is it cool because the gaming press doesn't talk about Korean games often? Because you don't have much experience with art from that part of the world? Does their background influence the game's art style or design?
    • "17 levels and a boss per world" - ambiguous wording. Are there 17 levels total or 17 per world? Hard to tell, since I don't have a sense of how long a level is.
    • The furry joke sticks out, doesn't match the tone of the rest of the piece.
    • If you mention you skipped the cutscenes, you should probably say why you did. Voice acting? Bad writing? Low expectations? You don't believe narrative is important for games in this genre? That paragraph doesn't say much of anything, feels like you only mention the story in passing because you're following an implicit checklist for what you think game reviews should cover.
    • If the boss is a surprise, is it worth ruining that for potential players? How can you be sure its presence is justified or not if you admittedly skipped most of the cutscenes?
    • What makes the boss grotesque? Animation? Sound design? Attack patterns? He doesn't look that bad in the screenshots.
    • Why won't the game tax my brain? Is it a consequence of the game's puzzle mechanics or are they poorly used in the level design? It's not  a valid assumption that all puzzle platformer fans like an emphasis of twitch skills over thinking skills.



  2. Adding to your process, sometimes when I'm stuck I try to make guesses for the end of words based on the tense/plurality of the clue. Or fill in individual letters when I'm pretty sure the answer is one of a fixed set of possible answers like EON/ERA, TSAR/TZAR/CZAR. Or make educated guesses whether or not a square in a partial clue contains a vowel or consonant.


    I tend to look things up when I get stuck for too long. Sometimes I learn something new that helps out in future crosswords, like a common fill relating to an athlete or actor that happens to have a first last name composed of 3-5 common letters, most of which are vowels.

    NYPD Blue actor Morales (4)


    Hockey player Bobby (3)



    Been doing the AV Club crosswords for a few years, which has recently broken off from from The Onion and are trying to make it as a separate entity called The American Values Club. Weirdly refreshing to be doing crosswords that are slightly more in tune with my brain, are allowed to use foul language and have open editorial bitterness seep into the descriptive clues.

  3. To steal a phrase from the podcast, the looting system in this game is some goofy shit. Nitpicking follows.


    Am I missing something or does Booker only take everything or nothing from a container (apart from ammo)? He always eats everything in the box I'm looting when all I want are the coins. Even when he's at full health. Even when the food is *rotten*.


    I get that one button streamlines looting, but the implementation constantly leads to these contrived situations where the player chooses to temporarily give up on some loot because he wants to save some food for later or avoid losing health from bad food, but can't trust the player character not to eat it.


    (minor details and mechanical spoilers from the first seven hours, building off mjukis' post)

    I was also surprised when the game introduced the concept of stealing several *hours* in as an explicit UI element -- red "steal" text replacing the usual description -- when the design and scripting is so inconsistent about its use. Church donations, hot dogs sold by a sidewalk vendor, a till in a store run on the honor system while the shopkeeper's out, a pile of coins dug up by kids at the beach : not stealing according to the UI. There's a boat on the docks where the NPCs accuse you of intending theft, then turn hostile if you loiter on it for too long. But if you're quick you can rob them in plain daylight without them caring. In the slums, there are a few NPCs hanging around an alley by a major upgrade canister: they warn you for loitering, but turn hostile as soon as you touch it. The bartender in the slums pulls his shotgun when you walk behind the bar (full of goodies explicitly marked by the UI as owned), but doesn't care if you rob his basement.


    I don't necessarily mind inconsistency in reaction -- it's neat that different characters react to you invading their personal space differently -- but these hand-crafted, scripted situations makes the default behavior -- total apathy to theft -- look goofy.

  4. An odd thing happened, and I suddenly ended up with a GDC pass for the last day. So now I'm throwing together a resume, and trying to figure out which talks are worthwhile. Thing is, I'm working by smell here. So I figured I'd throw this to the peanut gallery at the last minute. If you help me here I will buy you a beer. 


    Who are you going to see? Who would you see? What do I need to know? Will USPS take beer?


    Help me Thumbs, you and Unicorn-Obama are my only hope.


    Caveat: I don't know what your pass covers and I haven't actually been to GDC before and this reflects mostly my personal interests

    10:00am - Emily Short (author of tons of great story-focused games) or Doug Wilson (developer of JS Joust)

    12:00pm -  professional programmer's panel with Anna Kipnis (Double Fine programmer) and others

    2:50 - Indie Game Postmortems at 2:50 (Anna Anthropy is a great speaker)

    4:00pm - Breaking into the Game Biz, starring Jake Rodkin


    (Or The Experimental Gameplay Workshop from 2:30-4:30, if you're fine with missing the last two)


    And make sure to check out the IGF pavilion!

  5. Played this for the first time last week. Simply magical! :tup:

    I'm so tempted to go the forums and tell everybody to ignore those who haven't played the game... Would it be suck a bad idea to make that post and actually ignore those hating on the game? This Fireflow has been posting NON-STOP!

    I'd be wary of the Kotaku comment effect, where troll comments that get a ton of rebuttals float up to the top as popular discussions, but the system only shows the original troll comment unless you explicitly click to view the thread.

  6. I beta tested the download version back in 2009! :tup:

    I like how thematically it's a thinly-veiled criticism of religious dogma, and how this theme gets reflected in the mechanics. The god figure keeps giving you arbitrary and unnatural rules as the game goes on, some of which are so onerous you need to figure out loopholes just to get around, all the while the level design taunts you with how easy everything would be if only you didn't have to obey.

  7. "There is something we haven't told everybody about when you play the cube. When you play the cube you're also doing something else. You don't realize you're doing it. [...] You're not just doing things in the cube. You don't realize it but you're doing something in something else as well at the same time."

    - Every cube is really a person. You monster.

    - Molyneux has secretly promised to donate a certain amount to charity for every layer remaining by the end of the year. You monster.

    - The cube is a Pandora's box in GODUS that will unleash some banal evil on that virtual world when opened.

    - When the cube is opened you receive a bill for the carbon footprint generated by the iDevices on which Curiosity was played and the servers that kept it running.

    - 22cans has discovered indisputable evidence that the world we know is part of a vast computer simulation. You are playing this simulation while playing Curiosity. The proof lies within the center of the cube.

  8. What is a game? Professor M. Mouse of Texas, America claims that the word game denotes "the historical process by which the term game has been characterised and understood".

    Easy for you to say, Professor!!

    Those of us with a more down-home approach to codifying the various aspects of a nebulous and unbearable human condition prefer to go by a simpler definition, thus.

    A game is some combination of the following indivisable elements:

    - skeleton

    - red key

    - score thing

    - magic door

    If you see something that looks like a Video game but isn't, you should notify the Police.

  9. Or an ARG. It might be an ARG. Has anyone called that phone number? There could be clues on it. One of the inventors will go "missing," a newly sentient OTON engine will be the prime suspect, and we'll all have to play its games in order to slowly uncover cryptic messages and high-def advertisements, just you wait.

    A game generating engine is about as useful as the restrictions set by the developers. If the base games aren't fun at the core, no amount of palette swapping, randomly shuffling around platform and enemy locations and slightly modifying physics parameters is going to help its longevity.

    Case in point: Game-O-Matic, a serious attempt by academics to build a system that generates games based on user-inputted relationship graphs, sprites, and text. Neat concept. It makes things like this: http://game-o-matic....p?code=13778669

  10. Thank you so much for the SOMI story. At times I wonder what it would be like to come at that game fresh. I shamelessly FAQ'd and UHS'd my way through that game as a kid, but loved every minute of my time in that world.

    Regarding the sheer number of games being made, even the IGF doesn't catch everything worthwhile. Conversations about the kinds of games and developers that the IGF might implicitly filter with its $100 fee and possible biases led to the IGF Pirate Kart, a collection of freeware games by 100 developers who thought they were worth sharing, but wouldn't necessarily fit with the IGF culture.

    Even further on that spectrum, I'm also working on an odd project right now called Zero Feedback, a blog that collects games that were posted by the developer on a development-focused forum, but received zero comments from anyone else on that forum. I'm up to ONE-HUNDRED AND FORTY games so far that meet that criteria, with my backlog showing no signs of slowing down.

    We already have run out of players. :violin:

  11. Whilst playing the game I kept imaging master chief hunched over one those holo-consoles masturbating angrily, staring point blank a hair's breadth away from his ai partner

    In that vein, I can't believe one of the last scenes of Halo 4 seriously had this dialogue exchange:

    UNSC Person:: "I'll let you have the deck to yourself."


    Master Chief: "[Cortana] said that to me once."

  12. It started out with him defending himself because an elite came at him with a sword unprovoked, and i don't know where you're getting "feral" from. I also don't think Halo 3 ever really offered any definitive end to the civil war in the covenant. I mean, 4 does an incredibly poor job setting it up, but the Covenant you're fighting in 4 are simply the side that isn't pro-humanity. Further on from that, they've apparently been studying Requiem fruitlessly for several years prior to the wreckage of the Dawn drifting along and finally causing it to open up. (This makes sense, but it's several paragraphs of explanation that nobody cares about.)

    Ah, okay.

    One of Cortana's early lines (sometime before the Didact was freed) is that the Covenant on Requiem seemed more "feral" than normal, which felt like 343 trying to explain away formerly sentient beings, made an impact on my co-op group.

  13. Random plot/lore question: (spoilers for Halo 3+4, not that I fully followed the plot of either)

    Why is the Master Chief indiscriminately killing Covenant again? Didn't that civil war end with the survivors on humanity's side in Halo 3? How "feral" can they be if they're still communicating and flying complicated starships? Aren't they trying to take down the very same communication-blocking towers as MC during the first act? I get that they're the interesting enemies of the franchise, but man does MC seem even more sociopathic than usual in this one.

    And the ending:

    FUCK QUICKTIME EVENTS. A lame boss fight or another driving-away-from-the-explody-thing sequence might have been a bit of a letdown, but it would have been infinitely better than "PRESS LEFT TRIGGER TO WIN." What irritates me even more is that there isn't anything else like it in the entire game, except for a brief QTE during the tutorial sequence. It's like they had the ending all planned out, realized that nothing else in the game (or franchise) was like it, and instead of figuring out that maybe it didn't fit, they said, "Oh, just add a bit into the tutorial so that players know what to do." You can also just hang from the edge of the light bridge or sit and stare at the primed nuke for an eternity because the only actual fail state for that sequence is missing the prompt to stick the Didact with a grenade.

    It's even funnier in the co-op campaign. Only one player gets to control it, leaving everyone else stuck watching him beat the boss in a QTE.