Posts concerning games

Q’Rith: Navigation, Sea Turtles, and Magic

17:59 28 Aug 2011. Updated: 18:19 17 Sep 2011

While getting ready to run the second season of my roleplaying campaign, I found myself with a question: several societies in the setting (based on this outline) are able to reliably navigate over vast oceans, but how are they able to do this?

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Beauty in the Machine

23:49 29 Jul 2011. Updated: 02:20 30 Jul 2011

Dead End Thrills is a site collecting beautiful scenes from video games, mostly but not exclusively first-person shooters. They’ve had the HUDs stripped, so that nothing but the game world is visible; some of them have been viewed with custom textures or other modifications also—but, to my understanding, they’re not photoshopped or otherwise treated after being captured.

Some of my favorites:

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Friday Flash Game: Untris

23:57 22 Jul 2011. Updated: 08:31 24 Jul 2011

Via waxy.org, Untris is like Tetris in reverse.

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Friday Game: Space Rubbish

23:45 17 Jun 2011. Updated: 00:46 18 Jun 2011

Like Asteroids, but with better physics, and an upgrade system. Lots of fun, quite addictive, I highly recommend it: Space Rubbish. There’s a playable demo as well, which is also fun—one of my few quibbles with having bought the game is that the “arcade mode” of the demo isn’t available with the purchased game.

It’s cross-platform, and definitely worth the minimal amount the author is charging for it.

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Telehack Interview

23:54 16 Jun 2011

Most of you who need to know about Telehack doubtless already do, but you might have missed this interesting interview with its author by Andy Baio.

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Vaporware No More (Allegedly): Duke Nukem Forever Goes Gold

23:45 24 May 2011

A year-and-a-half ago I wrote that Duke, the character, was “an ultimately invincible final boss”, one whose reputation prevented the publication of any less-than-perfect—therefore any—sequel. But I appear to have spoken too soon: Gearbox Software have announced that it’s gone gold.

I have no idea whether or not it’s any good. Is it possible for it to be good, now? Is it in any way possible for it to live up to expectations? Or has the presumption that it’s eternal vaporware made it a success regardless of how good it actually is?

I don’t know. It’s like some strange cultural artifact that at one time was possessed of great power and was then lost, for an age (10+ years in internet terms is “an age”, yes), and has now resurfaced. But has its power waned, like that of an old, half-forgotten god? Or has it merely been waiting until now, when the stars are right?

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Friday HTML5 Game: Angry Birds

19:20 13 May 2011

That’s right, the famous originally-iOS game is now available online for in-browser play, free. I think I prefer it in the browser, since I played through more of it last night at my desk than I have in the months of having it on my phone. The quality is good, and I’m impressed with how it runs. And it’s almost pure HTML5…

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Friday JavaScript Game: A to B

16:43 06 May 2011

A to B is a simple physics/puzzle game built in processing.js. It’s not bad, and I’m happy to see games like this being made in JavaScript rather than Flash.

Note that you really have to read the instructions in order to beat level four.

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Friday Flash Game: Soul Brother

23:50 29 Apr 2011. Updated: 01:18 30 Apr 2011

Platformer fun with a cute, if deadly, twist: Soul Brother

(via MetaFilter)

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Friday Game: Dino Run SE

21:59 08 Apr 2011

I first recommended it almost three years ago, and it remains one of my favorite Flash games. Excellent simple gameplay with a retro feel, and with quite a lot of replay value. I hadn’t played it a while, though, partly because as a Flash game I felt it had a certain fragility; I couldn’t switch to playing it in another browser (or even browser profile), for example, without losing the progress I’d made, and that made me feel less invested in it after a time. (That, and I’d played through it almost entirely).

Now, however, pixeljam have come out with a standalone version. Dino Run SE is available for OS X, Windows, and Linux. I bought it this evening (the first game I’ve bought in a while) for the paltry price of $3. Even if I had no desire to play it again, I’d have paid them three bucks just for having developed the game in the first place. But getting a local version of it, which runs fullscreen and is also separated from my browser (and hence faster), makes it entirely worth it. You should pick it up.

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BoingBoing’s Classic Game Deaths

21:00 25 Mar 2011

If you haven’t seen this already, you should definitely watch it (assuming any interest in classic video games, that is).

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Realistic Sounds for Old Video Games

22:47 21 Mar 2011

Bits of this are just hilarious. The Pac-Man ghost-eating sound is probably my favorite.

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Educational Flash Game: High Tea

19:44 13 Feb 2011
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The “Dickwolves Thing”

22:43 06 Feb 2011

This is a post about humor, taste, rape, offensiveness/offendedness, and limits on discourse, all centered on a three-panel webcomic about video games.

It’s rather long; I meant it as a tighter, more abstract, discussion of the points above, but got pulled into a lot of the specifics as I went through them.

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Q’Rith: The Underpinnings of Magic

22:41 25 Jan 2011

Magic exists in, and is very important to, my fantasy milieu of Q’Rith. But what is it and how does it work[*]?

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Good Moves or Terrible Tackling?

23:22 14 Jan 2011

First up, Marshawn Lynch’s ridiculous run that sealed the crazy Seahawks upset of the Saints last weekend—with sound effects that, frankly, make the run more realistic to me than the version without them.


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Q’Rith Season One

23:15 13 Jan 2011

Last night I and my players finished the first story arc in my first roleplaying campaign in 15 years. I’m very happy to have done it, and will run the second arc later this year. I want to review what worked and what didn’t in the first arc.

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2011 Goals

04:02 02 Jan 2011

My goals for 2011.

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2010 Goals Review

11:51 31 Dec 2010

I once again had eight goals for 2010, and it’s not too likely that any more of them will be accomplished before the end of the year.

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Vim Golf

17:59 28 Dec 2010

That’s right, a competition to do edits in Vim in a few keystrokes as possible. I haven’t even installed it yet and I’m sure it’ll eat large chunks of my time.

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Justice Aphorism

18:51 27 Dec 2010. Updated: 02:24 28 Dec 2010

“The story is told of a Chinese law professor, who was listening to a British lawyer explain that Britons were so enlightened, they believed it was better that ninety-nine guilty men go free than that one innocent man be executed. The Chinese professor thought for a second and asked, ‘Better for whom?’”

I came across this in Eugene Alexander Volokh’s “n Guilty Men”, which I was reading as a result of a longer post I was writing about the problems of dealing with allegations of rape; the question that the apocryphal Chinese professor is disingenuously raising (i.e. whether it’s really better for a society to err on the side of innocence in such matters) is quite central to issues arising out of trying to deal with rape, in evidentiary terms. I bit off a little too much in that post, which is why you’re not seeing it now.

There’s also the question of whether any kind of enforcement mechanism solves more problems than it causes, but rather than ponder that right now I’m instead pondering the injustice of my having to get up in the morning to play Twilight Imperium.

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Friday Game Analysis: Pac-Man

22:35 03 Dec 2010

Chad Birch has written a fantastic dive into some of the guts of Pac-Man’s ghost behavior mechanics, and found it highly enjoyable and illuminating, despite not having played Pac-Man in years. Definitely worth reading. I’d previously read Susan Lammers’ interview with Toru Iwatani, which Birch refers to in his post and which I’m happy to see is available online.

If that’s not enough depth about Pac-Man for you, there’s also an entire “dossier”.

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Clearly What Smartphones Are For

23:52 25 Nov 2010. Updated: 02:25 26 Nov 2010

SOWPODS lookups. I’ve been playing Bananagrams a lot again recently, and have found myself in need of an easy way to do those lookups. My physical copy of the combined word list is too unwieldy (and I tend to forget it), and oddly online lookups have proven very unreliable. But there’s an Android app for that, it turns out.

SOWPODS is the most inclusive word list, which is why I prefer it; otherwise it gets a little too arbitrary about what’s allowed (e.g. no “da” in OSPD, no “vid” in OSW).

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