Archive for April, 2012

Dear Mr. Robinson,

I, your very pixelated yet oddly cute secretary who you may or may not have banged yet, have compiled a detailed report and analysis as to how well your Videogames Development CompanyDigitalX Media, has performed over the past 160 minutes twenty years:

Capital: $216,121.2k (upon close of year 20)

Highest Selling Title: Samurai Online 2 – 20,007,093

Highest Rating: ShinobiX3 (37 points) & Medieval Wars 2 (37 points)

Awards

Best Design: Lost Count, Consistently won over the last five years at least
Best Music: Lost Count, Consistently won over the last five years at least
Worst Game: Never
Runner Up: Lost Count, Consistently won over the last five years at least
Grand Prize: Once – Year 20 – Medieval Wars 3

Console: The Xplayer – 32-bit Chip, DVD-Rom Drive – sold 9230K units and currently holds 10% of the market share.

Total Staff Salary: $2,6557.9K per annum

Staff: Two Directors, a Producer, a Designer, a Writer, a Sound Engineer, a Hacker and a Hardware Engineer

May I just be the first to congratulate you sir on getting through your first 160 minutes twenty years of business. DigitalX Media has flourished over your wise and oddly precognisant reign. It’s almost as if you knew certain things were going to happen before they happened. Perhaps you owned a videogames company in another life or something. To think, it all started with that PC game that I can’t even remember the name of anymore, because clearly the PC no longer matters as a platform and we should just keep churning out random console games to get sales.

Also, congratulations on winning the Grand Prize award before your best friend from back home, may your bragging be as epic as your game making skills.

Now, since you’re inexplicably closing down your business for reasons that defy logic and even sanity, I best go find another malible wise business owner whom I can tell what to do assist.

Yours Faithfully,

Secretary #1

Advertisements

I think I may need to lie down. It’s not often that I get sucked into a game so completely and so fully that I find myself ‘waking up’ a couple of hours later, physically shaking as I step back say ‘enough is enough’. It does happen… Hearts of Iron III, Civ V when I was reviewing it… games designed a certain way are actually pretty good at keeping players ‘looped’, with no natural cut-off point with which to take a break. Never did I think it would happen with GameDev Story though.

As is my trend, I was fashionably late to the scene with this title. I remember it being all the rage last year (or was it the year before?), but I didn’t even have my ‘roid phone then, let alone an iPhone which is where it came out first, if I remember correctly. I’m not really a heavy mobile gamer… I’ve got Angry Birds, as I thought I’d try it out and see why everyone rates it, and I downloaded a version of old school Snake for old times’ sake (it’s not very good, to be honest)… but I’m a PC/Console gamer at heart and that’s my main source of gaming entertainment. These mobile games are just a distraction for when I need them… much like my DS Lite, actually.

But GameDev Story… sweet Jesus. I decided to buy it outright as I’d heard good things and I doubt I’d be disappointed, and to be honest I felt professionally compelled to see what the fuss was about. I just didn’t expect to get so hooked. The power of managing your own studio, putting out games, levelling up your dudes… it’s all so intoxicating. And it was funny to watch the scores come in as well, and get a taste of what it must be like to be on the receiving end. I wonder if there was deliberate social commentary there or whether it was designed that way simply for simplicity’s sake – scores seem to have no impact on sales what so ever, and are only relevant in getting a game into the ‘Hall of Fame’ (which allows you to make a ‘sequel’, which to me is kind of a poor gameplay mechanic, but whatever).

It’s a shame it doesn’t paint the complete picture – I’d love to have seen the Publisher vs. Developer relationship dynamic represented in some way… bigger studios should be able to start several projects at once (and the management challenges that inherently creates). The fact that you have a choice between bug-stomping or shipping as is is kind of diminished because, so far, I haven’t had any disastrous consequences from waiting until it’s all done. I think one time a game that was ‘similar’ to the one my guys were making was released, but you know what, it still sold well. The combination of games is also a bit odd (No strategy genre from what I’ve found yet!)… But it’s fun experimenting and making different combinations.

Anyway, kudos kairosoft, for well and truly surprising me with your insanely fun little game about game development. Well Meta’d. I’ll be honest, I can already tell this probably isn’t going to have much replayability (had to start again, and already I’m feeling the numbing that is repetition), plus now that I know what is in later stages I think I’m obsessing a bit too much about planning for the best outcome, which isn’t good as that tends to just ruin the experience.

Hmm, some of their other games look tempting too….

(AND SO IT BEGINS)

I’m rather chuffed with myself I have to say -I completed Darksiders over the weekend! Yay me!I think this is actually the first game in a long while that I’ve just sat down with the aim to complete a game, outside of the fact that I had it for review or whatever. I’m not much of completionist as you may have picked up on by now.

Story driven games like Darksiders pull me through the most, but then I’m liable to get bored if the game mechanics are too boring or grindy, which was in danger of happening here but the key difference I think is that I had a purpose. You may remember I was in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago seeing the sequel, and in preparation for that I actually read up on the first game. Kind of spoiled the ending for myself, but it actually sounded like a decent, iconic moment for a videogame, and so as soon as I got back I bought it from ShopTo.net (GAME were out of stock), and the sometime last week I think I started playing it – doing a couple of hours every night before marathoning it during the Easter Weekend to finish it off.

It’s weird – knowing the ending beforehand gave me an end goal, a reason to put up with the oddities, the repetitions, and the rushed plot devices that littered the game, and when I got to that scene I wanted to see (which I probably could have easily looked up on YouTube), I had a real sense of achievement. More so perhaps than if I didn’t know what was coming. It was definitely worth it, and I don’t mean to make Darksiders sounds rubbish, because it really isn’t. Other people I talked to said the first hour or so was really boring, and I could kind of see that but again I knew what the game was about, and I knew where I was headed so it was easier to bear – perhaps foreknowledge really isn’t such a bad thing after all.

It’s a shame really that the second game isn’t going to continue on from that ending – it’s very much a “Can’t wait to see what happens next” moment, but given that the first game was a tentative first step into a new IP, the second is going to expand on the universe and the lore more, and then probably bring it all together for the third game where they’ll continue on from there. Assuming THQ survives long enough to help Vigil get a third game.

It’s like I said in my preview though – parallel stories are a dangerous thing, and I hope it doesn’t prove to be too tenuous a link to the original game – but it does have to account for the time of the other three horseman whilst War was incarcerated for 100 years at the beginning of the game. One of the game’s leads mentioned to me in an interview that they’d gone into the first game very much with a sequel in mind, and you can see that with the amount of loose ends they leave.

I doubt I’ll pre-order it though – too much potential to disappoint right now for me to commit financially for it, plus I’d like to get it for review if possible, but being freelance now there are even less guarantees.

Hope you all enjoyed your Easter.