Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Most of my Christmas shopping is done. Guess I need to...wrap this stuff or something.

Did some DnD Sunday. It went pretty well, but the adventure needs some polishing. The next story begins with a tavern tale from one/some of my players, which could go terribly wrong. I also need to give everyone some slightly better equipment, since my dragons, kobolds, and zombies don't come packed with treasure (not that it would matter, as they've only killed kobolds thus far).

Haven't done much with Magic because I am pretty Magic-ed out.

I am not, however, video gamed out. Double Dash is awesome enough to make me contemplate buying a TV (and a Game Cube/Wii), but only in transient fits. I also bought the Humble Indy Bundle for Child's Play this week, which really worked out. Braid and Osmos are tons of fun in that they're challenging and make me think while I'm playing them.

Osmos: It's not science; it's fun science with dodgy menus.

Cortex Command is aggressively bad, but it tells you that it's just a beta and you should cut it some slack so I don't hate it. It'll be a nice ragdoll physics Real Time Tactics game just as soon as you stop getting curb stomped and watching all of your reinforcements crash their rockets in the tutorial. Getting beaten like a clueless, drunken Bane stumbling to into an S&M scene is not informative. Well, it is informative in a "let's never do that again" kind of way, but that's a very specific kind of information.

Cortex Command: It's okay; it's still in beta.

Revenge of the Titans is a passable time-killing castle-defense game, but I kinda ruined it by considering the fact that it might actually be a cunning twist on the castle-defense genre. The general who briefs you about upcoming missions suddenly becomes despondent ("Faceless Commander, the next battle is in Stockholm. Expect waves of enemies from all sides...sometimes it feels like this bloody, pointless war will never end.") or the scientist who explains your new technological breakthroughs starts getting to familiar ("These cooling towers will increase the firing rate of our turrets...but Faceless Commander, whose cooling off your turret?" replete with little pixelated hearts.).

Sadly, I know that's not to be. The generic levels will keep getting generically harder until the time and attention needed to beat a level well exceeds what I'm willing to put in on a cookie cutter game with no emotional investment and enemies who actually look kinda like the Night Fury from "How to Train Your Dragon". I'll just say "fuck it all, I'm playing Dawn of War" and then do just that.

Revenge of the Titans: In all probability, it's what you play before you start playing Dawn of War again.

Machinarium is an adventure game that, like Yahtzee once said, requires you to rub every item on your inventory in each item in the game world before you move on to the next room. While they do parse down the whole "ton of inventory items thing," the best way to skip the indeterminable time you spend clicking everything around you, you can consult in-game hints (which you are encouraged to do only when you're really stuck, which would only change the hint-seeking habits of the most impressionable and idiotic of Catholics). The hints, however, are safely locked away behind a crappy, three-button mini-game about key that shoots lasers to kill spiders in a randomly-generated map of bricks and spiders, both of which will kill you when you touch them. Which is an interesting idea to deny the fact that if no one gets your game, then they can just beat it by completing a slightly better game. The hints don't "hint" anything. Which is glad because the first time through I naturally thought was doing all this key-navigating, spider-shooting bullshit for nothing, or rather for the chance to see some high-sounding, vaguely worded hint or an esoteric picture of a few components around me. No, the hints are just how to beat the level in words.

Machinarium pretty much plays like so; look at all the charming things that happen when you're retarded robot enters a room, decide how much of this room's arbitrary bullshit you're willing to deal with, kill some spiders, die, die, die, punch your computer, die again, finally kill all the spiders and don't get killed by bricks until you get a picture of what you're supposed to do, then try to do it, and punch your computer.

Machinarium: It's two games that will both make you want to punch your computer.

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