Game-related ramblings.

Tag: Dwarf Fortress

On Learning

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I haven’t played Paradox Interactive’s grand spacefaring strategy game Stellaris, but I have enjoyed reading about it. It’s great at generating stories, like the one recently chronicled over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. They’ve written a lot about the game, in fact. Writer John Walker, intrigued by comrade Adam Smith’s enthusiastic assessment of the game, decided to try it, despite his general dislike of and inexperience with strategy games. He wrote about his frustrations with its user interface and general obfuscation, concluding that “Stellaris, it turns out, doesn’t want new people. It wants people that already understand how to play Stellaris.”

After reading his account, however, I had a different conclusion: “Ah, so it’s like Dwarf Fortress, then?”

The Name Game: Rebranding The Roguelike

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What’s this? A Name Game post that’s actually serious? Indeed it is, but never fear, the Name Game will return to making fun of silly game names soon enough. Right now, however, the Name Game’s name-related talents are needed for something near and dear to this blog’s heart. I am speaking, of course, of the roguelike.

(If you are unfamiliar with roguelikes, you should read my introduction to the genre, and perhaps a few of the roguelike highlights that have appeared on this blog)

I recently read an interesting article (although the article itself is not recent!) arguing that the term “roguelike” is a rather poor one. It takes a genre of games and describes it entirely by its similarity to an earlier game, which is restrictive and often, to varying degrees, inaccurate. I find I agree with this reasoning, especially in light of the new and popular crop of games which borrow design elements from traditional roguelikes and expand them into new and interesting areas. I’ve used the term roguelike-like here on this blog mostly because I think it’s funny, but the reason it’s funny is it emphasizes the inherent absurdity of the original roguelike term.

Perhaps a new name is needed, then. Well, here at the Name Game, names are literally our game. We’ve got this.

I Tried To Play Dwarf Fortress Again

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It’s high time I wrote about Dwarf Fortress. What is Dwarf Fortress? It is gigantic, confusing, insane, and legendary. It has been the work of Bay 12 Games, consisting of two brothers — Tarn Adams, who does all the coding, and Zach Adams, who provides input into the design — for the past ten years. And they have every intention of working on it for another twenty. During this time they have lived entirely off of donations from players, with Dwarf Fortress itself being offered, in its still-incomplete state, for free. The business model is a modern equivalent of Renaissance patronage, with a loyal community happy to support the project and Bay 12 Games, in return, keeping healthy communication with these fans about future plans for the game. Many mistakenly believe that Dwarf Fortress is a roguelike, possibly due to its top-down ASCII graphics (OK, technically Code Page 437 if you want to get picky), and its Adventure game mode does indeed qualify as such, but Dwarf Fortress is far more (and far more interesting) than that. It is one of the most fascinating games ever made.

I tried to play Dwarf Fortress many years ago and didn’t get very far. So I tried again with the latest release, colloquially known as DF2012, this time determined to see my fortress to the bitter end. I failed to do that, but decided to write about the game anyway.

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