Archive for October, 2010

[Episode 41] Bring it on Back

In Episode 40, we talked about the longevity of games – how well a game, or a franchise, or a gameplay idea holds up over time, and what determines whether or not they’re worth revisiting years or even decades later.  Towards the end of that conversation, we started talking about reboots, and in the spooky spirit of Halloween, that’s the main attraction for this episode: necromancy!

Specifically, everyone was charged with proposing a franchise or a gameplay style that hasn’t yet been brought back from the dead, but that we’d like to return to.  We had a full house for this one, so there’s plenty of good ideas within.  Oh, and speaking of “bringing back”, former co-host Robert has returned in style to the show as a panelist, and brought a newcomer along with him – thanks to him and Turner both for joining us, and I hope they both make regular appearances from here on out!

Unsurprisingly, there was also some talk about Minecraft, because it’s amazing and we’re all psyched for the upcoming Halloween patch.  I promised to toss a link in here to the epic Colony of Gamers Minecraft thread, and so now I have.  Oh, and the city of Rapture made entirely in Minecraft.  That’s a thing that happened.

Also some chatting about what we’ve been playing, some complaining about Valve’s DOTA 2 announcement… you know, the expected stuff.

It’s starting to get cold outside, so find a nice warm beverage, get cozy and join us as we attempt to… Bring it on Back.

Hosted by Eric [Ravenlock]
Participants are James [Vigil80], Chris [JPublic],  Robert [Trebor] and newcomer Turner
Produced by Clayton [Voodoo]

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

EDIT: I forgot a link again! (Of course I did, I’m me.) The Vintage Game Club, currently re-playing Planescape: Torment, which is available on GoG if you don’t already have a copy. There’s a widescreen mod discussed on the GoG forums over here, to make it look a little more up-to-date, too.

[IndieCast] The Silver Lining

I grew up loving King’s Quest.  I mean, loving it.  The first title in the series was the first proper PC game I ever played, working my way through each puzzle with my parents until we finally helped Graham gain his seat on the throne of Daventry.  I was maybe six years old when I played for the first time, already being raised on classic fables and Disney movies, and here was a game that let me take part in one – respond to it, help shape it, determine its destiny.  I played a lot of games as a kid, but I am a gamer because of King’s Quest.

As I grew up, the series grew with me… to a point.  KQ IV, V and VI were wonderful experiences, but VII was Sierra’s attempt at turning the franchise into an interactive animated movie – with mixed results – and VIII was simply an abomination, an attempt to add action and RPG elements to a franchise that had always been about charming characters and simple storytelling.  And then it was over – or seemed to be.  KQVIII came out in 1998, the year I went to college, and another game in the series was never announced by Sierra.  I (along with most fans, I imagine) sadly assumed that the series was dead, and looked back fondly on the good games that had come earlier in its life.

But now it’s back.  Not officially, of course – The Silver Lining, first started by fans banding together ten years ago to eventually form “Phoenix Online Game Development,” has had to lose its King’s Quest label and was “shut down” twice before finally being cleared for release this year – but the first two episodes out of an eventual five are now out in the wild, available for you to download and put on the feathered cap of King Graham one more time.  How does it fare?  Well, that’s what we’re here to talk about.

It has some problems, I’ll say right up front.  Some of the writing is a bit awkward, there’s FAR too much exposition for a game that will largely only be of interest to folks who are already fans of the series, and the first episode in particular is extremely light on the gameplay.  But stick around, because there’s a lot of good things to say here as well.  The production values for a fan project are rather astonishing (some of the music and voice acting are superb) – most importantly, though, for someone who grew up with King’s Quest like I did and watched it fall to pieces, the world feels right.  These are characters I know, back in a place I want to visit again, and that’s more than enough to make me forgive their missteps.  The project was clearly made out of love, and that can go a long way.

There’s more to say, but obviously that’s why we recorded an episode about it.  So listen!

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

[Episode 40] Immortal Games

PC games are not an old medium, but they create memories as vivid as any. Everyone remembers the great games that hooked them. But what makes the difference between a good time “back then” and a timeless experience? We explore the experiences of yesteryear, and the realities of revisiting old favorites. Or in my case, trying something for the first time to further a classical gaming education.

We also ponder over what it takes for developers to take a seasoned franchise into more glory days. Clearly, there’s no lack of trying, with names like Duke Nukem, Fallout, XCOM, and others still on people’s lips after a decade or more.

Preceding that is a short appraisal of the minds behind the recent Good Old Games gaffe. And for a pithy What We’ve Been Playing: Minecraft, with a quick critique of The Sacrifice DLC for Left 4 Dead 2.

Immortal Machines are one thing. Come and ask yourself if there are Immortal Games.

Hosted by James [Vigil80]
Participant is Eric [Ravenlock]
Produced by Clayton [Voodoo]

Tell us what you think makes a game last forever in the discussion thread at Colony of Gamers.

[IndieCast] Recettear

The Action RPG has gotten a lot of love from the indie gaming scene over the last couple of years, and deservedly so – it’s a fantastic genre that we hadn’t seen enough of for quite some time after Diablo II threw its massive weight around a decade ago.  Now, though, with Torchlight and its upcoming sequel headlining the indie ARPG scene, and smaller excellent projects like Depths of Peril, Din’s Curse, or the PAX 10-honored Bastion also on the stage, how is an up-and-coming loot festival to stand out?

How about one where you play as the shopkeeper?

Admittedly, the pitch for Recettear might not immediately strike you as brilliant, and given that it was a fairly low-profile Japanese indie game to begin with, it’s a wonder that we get to play it at all, but thanks to the diligent translation efforts of Andrew Dice and his company Carpe Fulgur, this quirky division of dungeon crawling and price haggling is open for business, and we’re very glad that it is.

You may already have read the review that Lekon posted on Colony of Gamers for Recettear (hint: he liked it!), but I couldn’t let such a unique and charming game go un-discussed even if we are rehashing a bit of what’s already been said. The important thing is, if you enjoy Action RPG’s and want to play one with a little variety, $20 from the sales of your last loot drop should go towards buying this little gem.

Not convinced yet? Well, come on in and let us sell you on it, then.

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