Archive for September, 2010

With Eric away on business, a backup host steps into his large shoes. The good news is that we bring in a special guest from Colony of Gamers, jpublic, and our illustrious producer returns to add his finishing touch.

The first half of the show is the breakdown of our gaming habit that you know and love, including a little insight into the Bioshock experience, and a critique of the new free-to-play model of Lord of the Rings Online. Amnesia: The Dark Descent, an indie adventure for horror fans, is introduced. We also get jpublic to talk at length about his monthly CoG feature Jpublic Will Play It.

Eric joins in after the break, and we dissect Valve big boss Gabe Newell’s latest enthusiastic comments. Valve has been dropping hits so far, but what have they got in store? More Half Life (finally)? A Portal crossover? A second Orange Box? Something we have never seen before? Relish in the speculation, as well as side discussion about the merits of different control input.

Not content to stop there, we tackle the resurgence of Duke Nukem Forever at Pax Prime. It turns out not all of us are quite ready to hail the king yet. Gaming left him behind years ago. Can he be relevant again? Is this a good move for Borderlands developer Gearbox, or just costly nostalgia? There is at least one dissenting opinion coming to Duke’s defense from a participant you might be able to guess.

Find out the winning hand in To Bet or Not to Bet on Duke.

Hosted by James [Vigil80]
Participants are Steve [Dukefrukem], Eric [Ravenlock], J_Arcane, and jpublic
Produced by Clayton [Voodoo]

Tell us your bets for Valve and Duke Nukem in the discussion thread at Colony of Gamers.

[IndieCast] Puzzle Quest II

Is there any more surprisingly addictive gameplay device than the matching of gems?  To look at the last decade of casual game development, you certainly might not think so.  Bejeweled now exists on almost every device with a screen capable of displaying it, with versions and variants almost too numerous to count, and as sold a mild boggling 50 million units since the franchise began in 2001.

Eager to share in this success, other developers have naturally tried to adapt this extremely popular mechanic to fit other games and genres.  One of my favorite titles last year, Henry Hatsworth and the Puzzling Adventure, mixed match-3 gameplay with a side-scrolling action game to make a great game that felt like more than the sum of its parts.  Probably the best well-known peanut butter & chocolate mixup involving match-3 puzzles so far, though, has been Puzzle Quest.  Combining everybody’s favorite puzzle mechanic with the gamer’s natural drive for loot and levels, Puzzle Quest was a surprise hit when it came out in 2007, and it was quickly (perhaps too quickly) followed up by numerous follow-ups with Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, Puzzle Kingdoms, some Neopets thing….

In any event, the real deal is back now with a full-fledged sequel in Puzzle Quest II, and we thought we’d talk about it a bit.  What have they changed in the core gameplay?  There are some new gametypes now – how well do they work?  Is the multiplayer any good?  Is the AI still a cheating son of a bitch?  Does the Puzzle Quest formula really merit a sequel?  Find out what we thought in our latest IndieCast.

Want to talk about it?  Come join the discussion over at Colony of Gamers.

EDIT:  Oh!  Here’s the link to the League of Legends thread I mention in the intro.  It’s kinda defunct now, but if you’re interested, go get it going again.

[Episode 38] Sequelitis

We took a bit of a break after the last episode, hoping that we could get Clayton in for this recording, but even with the delay it just didn’t end up working out – sometimes that’s how it goes.  He’ll be back for the next one – in the meantime, I think we’ve still got a pretty great discussion for you to listen to, it’ll just sound like crap without our producer.  😉

The main topic for this go-round is sequels and how we feel about them; we each brought lists to the recordings of the games we’ve enjoyed in the last couple of years and the ones we’re looking forward to in the near future, and we let the sequels and the new IP’s fight it out to see who would come out on top.  Who won?  Well you’ll have to listen to find that out, obviously.

Also discussed are some Left 4 Dead campaign maps that have been brought over to Left 4 Dead 2 – a development I find delightful – further adventures in SMOD with J_Arcane (video hopefully forthcoming), and the state of OnLive, which as it turns out is surprisingly good in some ways, while still being awful in all the ways we already know about.

One correction – at one point early on I toss out the word “GenCon”, but my brain wanted to say and should have said “GamesCom” there – and a quick note of apology:  Clayton sent me his sequel vs. new IP list before the recording and I thought I copied it over correctly, but I did not and they were left out.  While you are listening, please mentally add these to the list…

Original IP’s: Metro 2033, Plants vs Zombies, World of Goo, Brink (upcoming), Warhammer 40K – Dark Millennium Online (upcoming)
Sequels: Tales of Monkey Island, Warhammer 40K – Dawn of War 2 – Retribution (upcoming)

Without further ado, please enjoy our exploration of… Sequelitis.

Hosted by Eric [Ravenlock]
Participants are J_Arcane, Steve [Dukefrukem] and James [Vigil80]
Produced by Eric [Ravenlock]… God help us.

Want to talk about the show?  Come join the episode thread over at Colony of Gamers.