Game-related ramblings.

Tag: Introductions

Rainbow In The Dark: Introduction

This is the introduction to Rainbow In The Dark, a series about games that actually contain colors. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Longtime readers will know that I often lament the lack of colors in modern games. Whether it’s the constant reliance on only blue and orange, excessive use of shaders to tint the screen a monochrome hue in a crude attempt at atmosphere, or just dull greys and browns everywhere, games tend to have very limited colors these days. I’ve had the idea for a blog series celebrating colorful games kicking around in my head for a while, but two things in particular prompted me to start it now. First, my series about early console role-playing games (which has now expanded to include action/role-playing hybrids and Metroidvanias) has been emphasizing just how much more colorful these old games were, despite technical limits that meant they could only display a fraction of the colors that computers and consoles can today. And second, I have — at long last — started playing Dark Souls for the first time, and while it’s fascinating in many ways, it sure is very grey and brown. Since it will likely take me a long time to finish it, I want to counterbalance it with a bunch of colorful games.

So, I’m starting a new series, which will highlight and celebrate modern-ish games that dare to actually contain colors. It’s called Rainbow In The Dark. Read on for some more introductory thoughts.

Death Before Dishonor: Introduction

This is the introduction to a new series, Death Before Dishonor. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

I first wrote about Dishonored (in two parts) in the early days of this blog. I’d always meant to return, especially since it has two highly regarded pieces of story-driven DLC, and its sequel enjoyed even more praise, even topping some lists of the best games of 2016.

Dishonored, of course, is a game about a corrupt government illegitimately seizing power, catastrophically mishandling a deadly epidemic, and serving their own selfish purposes while leaving the populace to die. Sound familiar? Players then get to become an assassin with weird magical powers and take their revenge on those holding the city hostage. The prospect sounds incredibly cathartic, in 2020.

The Witcher Adventures: Damn Those Swamps! (Plus An Introduction)

As always, you can click on images to view larger versions.

So, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is set to release in February 2015, and I’m pleased to see it’s among the most hotly anticipated upcoming releases. I wrote briefly about the Witcher series more than two years ago, largely to encourage readers to check out The Witcher 2, and noted then that I needed to play through it again. Well, I never did get around to it, and the imminent sequel means I need to get on the ball (no, not that Ball). But before doing that, I decided to revisit the first game. Not to play through the main story again — I remember it well even after several years — but to try out the bonus adventures that now come with every copy of the game. Created by both fans and original developers CD Projekt RED using the game’s D’jinni Adventure Editor, they offer small, standalone stories of Geralt of Rivia, recalling Andrzej Sapkowski’s original short stories.

While playing the first adventure of the bunch, entitled Damn Those Swamps! (renamed from Blight of the Bogs), I was reminded of just how interesting the first Witcher game is. So I decided to start this post with something of an introduction to the game as a whole, before writing about this specific Adventure. Read on!

Roguelike Highlights: Introduction

Roguelikes constitute an interesting sub-genre. Known for extremely minimal graphics but extremely complex gameplay, they are games which ones plays forever, essentially, returning again and again over the course of one’s lifetime. Most players will never win, but the big trick of the roguelike is that they are fun to lose. Many roguelikes are never finished being made, either, with constant and endless updates from what is often a community of developers. Rare is the roguelike that reaches v1.0, unless the developer(s) are starting with v1.0 and subsequently releasing v1.1, and so on. Far more often a roguelike is abandoned well before reaching the developer’s vision.

The most interesting thing about them, to me, is how differently I play them compared to other games. With a typical single-player game, I will start and work methodically through until the end, and then move to another game. But roguelikes are never my “main” game, they are always things that I play on the side, during short breaks in other activities, or for longer stretches when I simply need a change of pace. They do not require a significant time investment for each playing session, nor do they have any long narratives that I will lose track of if I don’t play for a few weeks (or months). They’re also great for traveling as they usually run on anything, are completely turn-based so I am free to get distracted without consequence, and they (usually) have no sound so I don’t have to worry about annoying other people. Also, the vast majority of them are free.

Unfortunately, roguelikes are notoriously difficult to get into, often having dreadful user interfaces and steep learning curves. I’m hoping to convince more players that they’re worth trying out.

With this introductory post I will talk a little about the history of roguelikes, and describe what they are and how they’ve evolved. In later posts I will highlight some of my favorites, from easily accessible games for first-timers to deep, complex ones to try once you’re hooked. Read on!

History Lessons: Introduction

History Lessons will be a series of posts about older games viewed through a modern lens.  I take a look at a bunch of games of yesteryear and examine the ways in which these games have inspired and evolved into the games of today.  For readers who have already played these games, the posts may not be particularly informative, but my goal is to inspire those who never experienced these games to give them a try, to gain some historical perspective on our favorite pasttime.  As such, I will endeavor to avoid spoilers.

The focus will be on games that I did not play when they were released, but have only played for the first time recently.  This will hopefully keep me relatively free of the effects of nostalgia, and allow me to make unbiased judgements about the games’ merits.  I will not completely exclude games simply because I’ve played them before, but if I write about those games I will re-play them to make sure I have a fresh perspective.  Some entries will be about games I’ve already finished and will be single posts, while others I will write as I play, in several installments.  I’m not going to impose any limits on what I write about, so some entries may be entirely about mechanics while others might be about how the games evoke emotion in the player (me)… basically I’ll write about whatever strikes me most.  Hopefully they’ll be interesting.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

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