Sunday, June 29, 2008

A very PC year.

Now that I have just seen the gameplay trailer for Diablo III, I'm really getting excited about PC gaming again. I can't wait till I get a decent computer to play an ever-growing list of PC games.

I've been wanting to play Sins of a Solar Empire for the longest time now. I bought it when I was still back in Singapore, waiting for the day I get a new PC to play it on. It's been sitting in my suitcase, beckoning to me to rip open the plastic wrap.

Starcraft II is also something that I'm eagerly looking forward to. I was never any good on the original, but it was heck loads of fun. I forsee many nail-biting multiplayer matches, most of which I will get my ass handed to me.

I want to play Team Fortress 2 on the PC too. I've got it for the Xbox 360, and it's quite good on it. But honestly, it's the sort of game that needs to be played on a keyboard & mouse combination, with my face about 10 inches from the monitor.

Valve's upcoming Left 4 Dead is looking very good. 4-player cooperative multiplayer? Zombies? 8-player Adversarial mode with 4 players taking the roles of zombies? Winning formula!

I have also been keen on making the jump into a MMOG, and there are a few I've got my eyes on. I have been thinking about starting Lord of the Rings Online for the longest time. It looks very nice, and from what I've read, seems suitable to solo-play as well. That's good because I might not always be in the mood to play with other people all the time. EVE Online seems like such an captivating world that I'm seriously contemplating joining. I've heard the crazy stories of intrigue and politics that spill into real life which absolutely fascinates me. Jumpgate Evolution seems like it'll scratch my fetish for space opera, spliced with edge of seat dog-fights in space. There's also a persistent rumour that Star Trek Online will eventually be published, which is already making my head spin with all sorts of sci-fi goodness. Then there's Mythos, whose action-heavy focus, and pick-up and play experience seems to be right up my alley.

And now there's Diablo III! The Witch-Doctor has a spell called Wall of Zombies! How bloody awesome is that!? I swear I almost creamed my pants seeing that. It sure seems like all of the years' outstanding PC games are made especially for me. It's going to be a very Ken-friendly PC year.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Boardgames and Videogames, Part 2

See part one of Boardgames and Videogames here.

I previously talked about the long-standing relationship that boardgames had with videogames, and how boardgames has left a thumbprint on videogames.

Here, I'd like explore how boardgames, especially in recent years, has been drawing a lot of inspiration from videogames as well. Boardgames has seen a bit of a resurgence especially within the last 10 years, this being prompted in part by the increase of German-styled (or Euro) boardgames becoming available in USA (and by extension, worldwide). This is coupled by the increase in production of various other genres of table-top gaming (e.g. wargames, RPGs and miniatures). There is also a sizable overlap in the demographics between videogames and boardgames. In addition, anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that many new boardgamers specifically sought out a different gaming experience because they were burned out on electronic gaming. One of those reasons is the lack of (or minimal amounts of) social interaction; Being able to sit across a dining table and enjoying a shared gaming experience is often cited as a pull factor of boardgames. So at the beginning of the decade, we have more boardgames, more boardgamers, and gamers who had more than a passing knowledge of videogames. It would seem inevitable and obvious that crossovers would be emerging before long.

One of the first few high-profiled videogames to be converted to the table-top format was Warcraft. The game attempted to recreate the feel of the videogame, by requiring players to gather resources, establish buildings and bases, build units and engage in combat. The boardgame was not well received however. Main complaints about the game were that the gameplay was too one-dimensional, and it was quite bland, with barely any differences between the 3 main races. Part of the appeal of the videogame was the vast differences in each race, but in trying to balance it for the boardgame, most of that appeal was lost.

One of the next major videogames to be converted was Doom. Released in 2004 by Fantasy Flight Games, the same company that produced Warcraft, the game was initially panned by what players felt were glaring oversights in the game rules. Many players, including myself, felt that the game was extremely unbalanced, which made the experience extremely frustrating. In trying to re-create the foreboding sense of claustrophobia and terror, the game was initially skewed too widely against the player, by essentially crippling their abilities to progress in the game. It did not help that Fantasy Flight Games did not handle post release backlash very well. However, they have since refined the base mechanics, and released an excellent game based on the original system: Descent: Journeys in the Dark.

Sid Meir's Civilization: The Boardgame (Eagle Games, 2002) is a particular example, as I had earlier pointed out. The 2002 version of the boardgame was inspired by the PC game that was inspired by the original Civilization, published in 1980.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Office Nerf War! - Watch more free videos

Sir Lord Baron Von Vaderham

I find the lack of Penne ala 'Arrabiata disturbing... Enjoy!

Monday, June 09, 2008

What's the best way to add mainstream appeal to any activity? By including karaoke, of course! And that's no different when it comes to video games. Team Fortress + karaoke = unrivaled awesomeness. Or in this specific case, total annoyance.

Hit the link for: Team Fortress presents Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.