Game-related ramblings.

Month: February 2014

Card Hunter Is Even Better Than Expected

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Many recent games have utilized the new “free to play” business model, in which the game itself is free but players are encouraged to make small purchases, known as “microtransactions”, while playing. Purchases can range from purely cosmetic items to convenience features (reduced waiting times, single-use boosts) to major upgrades that have big impacts on the game. Multiplayer games especially have had great success with this model; since the game is free there are always a lot of players to keep things interesting, and only a small percentage need to spend money for the game to be profitable. But many players (especially older players accustomed to purchasing games with a single transaction) decry the free to play model, citing constant pestering to make purchases and game designs that ignore artistry and vision in favor of squeezing money from players. This certainly can happen, but it’s a mistake to denounce all free to play games on the basis of a few bad ones. There are plenty of games for which the model works very well, garnering both critical praise and popular support. One such game is Card Hunter by Blue Manchu Games, and it’s the perfect game to convince older, curmudgeonly players that free to play isn’t so bad after all. Why? Because it’s an homage to a beloved, classic genre that’s older than even the earliest computer game: the tabletop role-playing game.

Split, But Not Broken: Broken Age Act 1

This is as timely as my posts are ever likely to get. Act 1 of Double Fine’s point and click adventure game Broken Age was released a mere week ago; usually, months or years elapse between a game’s release and my posts about it. But the release of Broken Age is especially notable. Long before Act 1 went on sale, Broken Age was already famous for the circumstances of its creation. Tim Schafer, the industry veteran and fan-favorite developer who heads Double Fine, pitched the game (or, more accurately, proposed making an adventure game in general) on Kickstarter roughly two years ago, and the overwhelming response opened the doors for countless other game projects seeking crowdfunding. From other industry veterans to untested indie teams, the influx of games on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites can be more or less pinned on Tim Schafer, and everyone wants to see how Broken Age, as the poster child for the movement, is going to turn out.

It’s undeniably exciting, and certainly worth discussing, but I think Broken Age deserves to be judged on its own merits. So, much like Broken Age itself, I’ve split this post into two parts: the first covers the history behind the genre and the development of Broken Age, and the second discusses the actual game. Read on.

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