Protected: How gaming turned me into a better person

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Telling Stories: You are responsible

Yes, I know, it's a horrible logo. I'm not always good at those.You all know that I absolutely hate the idea that roleplaying is some silly thing that has no consequences or stresses.  This would be because it’s absolutely not true, and it’s harmful to everyone trying to roleplay with you, but it has even further reach than that: it destroys the idea that you have some responsibilities to your fellow roleplayers.  And you do.  You have several responsibilities.  There are things that you should do when you are roleplaying that obligate you.

Obviously, you’re just trying to have fun.  But just like organized PvP or raiding or any other sort of regular activity, that does not mean the fun is without some level of responsibilities.  So let’s talk a little bit about what your responsibilities are simply as a roleplayer, even if you’re not running a whole lot of large-scale events or involving everyone you meet in storylines.  Just as a roleplayer interacting with other people, it’s reasonable to assume that you can be responsible about certain things.

Read More…

Challenge Accepted: Deception

I've not yet bought the full version, for the record.

It’s super-nice how smart you feel after you successfully unwrap these after just a single try, though.

The central goal of Dynetzzle is to trick you a little bit.  Even beyond the obvious challenge, there’s the simple fact that you’re dealing with making a six-sided die every time, which has sides that add up to seven.  But that just plain sounds wrong.  You can’t get a seven from a single six-sided die without a marker and a willingness to vandalize numbered surfaces, after all.  It’s a little thing, but it’s just enough to throw you off your stride and force you to remember that the opposite sides always add up to seven.

Assuming you can work around that little mental block, it’s not a hard game.  It needs that block in there to trick you, essentially.

If you’re going to look at games as a series of decisions to make – which I’ve argued in the past – then you have to provide players with a reason to make those wrong decisions.  When you don’t have skill as a barrier (i.e. “I know what I want to do here, but I can’t manage it”), you sort of have to fall back on tricking the player into doing something they shouldn’t.

Read More…

The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, part 13

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

It occurs to me at this point that I have been in the world of Final Fantasy IV for 28 columns now.  Seriously, this is number 28!  It started in August of last year!  How did anyone spend this much time working in this world of all the possible settings?

Well, in the case of The After Years, by recycling a whole lot of the first game.  But no time to whine about that, we’ve got a final dungeon to explore… soon.

Once you’ve finally had the very final dungeon opened up, you actually do get something else unlocked.  Remember all that Adamantite that we were stockpiling all through the game?  Turns out that can be used for something, specifically for some powerful equipment.  It’s taken us the entire rest of the game to get here, sure, but now we’re finally here and we can go get ourselves some valuable items by turning in seemingly irrelevant items that we had been hoarding through every single tale.  Meanwhile, all of the other treasures from the challenge dungeons have been summarily replaced.

Read More…

Review scores are silly

Because why not.

I give this questline a solid twelve elf ancestors out of four.

I hate review scores and I always have since the age of, oh, let’s just say ten.  Don’t get me wrong; I understand the why behind them.  I know full well why people have felt it necessary to append a whole written review with a score at the very end, a quick and easy sound bite.  But I think that anything more ornate than a thumb up or down is gilding the lily, and even that has a central problem of obscuring the most valuable part of the review: the actual review.

What I do here could not be construed as “reviewing” beyond demos and the occasional Patron-sponsored piece.  I have no temptation to do scored reviews, and we’ve already seen a few high-profile gaming news sites yank scores from their reviews.  But this is an issue that goes beyond just video games.  It’s something that we’ve had to deal with for years in movies, comics, shows, and almost everything else.  It’s trying to boil a whole lot of factors down to a number.  It’s silly, and it’s destructive, and it’ll be best if we can get rid of it.

Read More…