Game-related ramblings.

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More Magical Misadventures

Readers unfamiliar with roguelikes (or should I say deathcrawls?) may wish to read my introduction to the genre first. I’ve also posted about Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup a lot, so you might want to read those posts too, but keep in mind that the game is continually updating so the older posts may not reflect the current state of the game. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

In my last real post (no, I’m not counting the obvious filler) I wrote about my first, clumsy attempts to seriously play a magic caster in Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. I was even gently mocked for my ignorance over at the official forums. I don’t blame them; it’s kind of ridiculous that I’ve played the game for so long without ever learning the art of spellcasting.

To be fair, however, there is a lot to learn. And once I finally started to learn it, I was drawn into the game more strongly than I’ve been for a long time. I kept playing new Conjurers instead of finishing the other games I’ve been meaning to write about. So I decided to write about the things I’ve learned about magic in Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, and the story of my latest Conjurer, who came painfully close to winning the game.

This post will have spoilers (although not as many as Urist Redbeard’s epic saga), so players who are new to the game and wish to learn about magic themselves should probably skip this one.

Another Link In The: RPG Maker Chain Game

Longtime readers may remember that I wrote about the “chain game” Chain of Retribution a couple of years ago. It was developed by seven people in succession, each handing the game off to the next after their portion of the design was complete, and I was fascinated by the strange result. Well, now there’s another chain game, also made using RPGMaker, with the imaginative title RPG Maker Chain Game. I knew I had to try it out.

Samorost 2 Is A Quick But Beautiful Adventure

Whew… I’ve found myself very busy once again, so I’ve been slow to post. But I have managed to write this short post about a short but very pretty game.

Amanita Design, the small independent game developer based in the Czech Republic, is most famous for their point-and-click adventure game (a genre for which I gave a brief historical summary in this post) Machinarium. Or perhaps for their next game, Botanicula. But before those, Amanita Design made a pair of short, charming and beautiful adventure games, the first of which, Samorost, is completely free and can be played in a web browser. And I did, a long time ago. The second, Samorost 2, is in the same mold, with the first part available free in a browser but the second part costing a modest $5 (and including the excellent soundtrack). In my typical fashion of playing games in order, I’d intended to play Samorost 2 before Amanita Design’s more recent games, and I finally got around to it recently.

But, in a sense this post is timely, as Amanita Design recently (well, sort of recently) released a trailer for the third Samorost game. So I’m actually totally on the ball with this, right?


Roguelike Updates: New Crawlers and Redder Rogues

Readers who are unfamiliar with rogulikes may wish to read my introduction to the genre, or some of my Roguelike Highlights posts. Also remember that you can click on images to view larger versions.

One of the two updated roguelikes I’ve been playing is somewhat timely: Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup reached v0.14 a mere three weeks ago (and is now on v0.14.1 with some bugfixes). The other is not: Red Rogue (which is actually a roguelike-like) reached v1.0.3 over a year ago (and I even mentioned it an an earlier Roguelike Updates post), but I hadn’t gone back to try it until recently. And then I found myself drawn in once more, playing it far more than I expected and being impressed all over again. I decided it was worth adding to my original post about Red Rogue with my more recent thoughts on the game.

Read on for details on these two, plus a run-down of other updated roguelikes.

Card Hunter Is Even Better Than Expected

Please remember that you can click on screenshots for larger versions.

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.

I Tried To Play Dwarf Fortress Again

As always, you can click on images for larger versions.

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.

Trenchcoat Time: X-Noir Demo

Diligent readers may remember that I quite liked the massive, free Japanese-style role-playing game Master of the Wind. Since it was completed, developers Solest have been working on two other games, the short puzzle game Labyrinthine Dreams (which recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund an art overhaul), and the detective game X-Noir. X-Noir was announced first, and the news about Solest’s Kickstarter campaign reminded me to catch up on their catalog. So I decided to take X-Noir for a spin.

Upgrade Your Gray Matter: Kanye Quest 3030

If you’re like me, you’re a fan of the album Deltron 3030. Because it’s awesome. A hip-hop concept album about the year 3030, with production by Dan the Automator, turntables by Kid Koala, and rapping by Del tha Funkee Homosapien — what’s not to like? If you are even more like me, then you’ve been wondering when the follow-up album, Deltron Event II, is going to come out. Production began on the album way back in 2004, and the album’s been plagued by a series of delays ever since. The latest word is that it will release on October 1 of this year, but the album has missed release dates before. So I guess we’ll see.

In the meantime, why not play Kanye Quest 3030?

Indie Platformer Marathon: Barbarium

Unlike the rest of the games in the Marathon, Barbarium was actually released after the Marathon started. That was still over two months ago, however. This is why I used the word Marathon for this series. Anyway, Barbarium is the first game from Hypnohustler Games, which is actually a single person with no prior programming experience. It’s quite impressive, considering, and I’m not surprised it took two years to make.

As the title suggests, it’s a game about a barbarian. By which I mean a huge, hulking man wearing nothing but a fur speedo, carrying a big sword in one hand and a laser pistol in the other.

Oh yeah, there are laser pistols too.

Indie Platformer Classics

The next game in the Indie Platformer Marathon is taking longer to complete than expected, so I figured I’d tide things over by covering some other classic indie platformers you might be interested in. Some I’ve already posted about on this blog; be sure to read about LIMBO, Trine (actually this may not technically be indie), Spelunky (the original freeware version), VVVVVV, Stealth Bastard (which recently got a fancy new for-sale version), Treasure Adventure Game (which has a semi-remake called Treasure Adventure World in development), Noitu Love 2, Poacher, You Have To Win The Game, Moustache King Adventure, Red Rogue, and Endless Forms Most Beautiful, if you haven’t already. And don’t miss my previous round-up of super-hard platformers, if you’re into a bit of challenge. But there are many others that I haven’t posted about, or have only mentioned in passing, and I figured they deserve highlighting as well. Click through to read about some of them.

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