Game-related ramblings.

Tag: Mossmouth

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.

Spelunky Is Now Out On PC

I’ve been busy (read: not playing games), so I haven’t been posting very often. But this is important. Diligent readers will remember that the original freeware version of Spelunky is my absolute favorite roguelike-like (i.e. games that borrow elements from roguelike design and combine them with other gameplay styles). Creator Derek Yu then went on to make a spiffy HD version that spent some time as an Xbox exclusive. Especially diligent readers may remember that I posted about that release too, and even promised to let you all know when it would come out on PC. Well, now I am keeping that promise. The fancy new version of Spelunky is available on PC right now, from Steam or GOG. In addition to the fancy new graphics pictured above (I totally stole that comparison shot from the Spelunky website, but I don’t think they’ll mind), there are new enemies, items, multiplayer modes, and probably a bunch of other stuff I don’t know about. I haven’t had a chance to play it yet, but I will, and you should too.

If you’re undecided, the original version is still available for free and will give you a good sense of whether you want to buy the shiny new version. Happy spelunking!

Spelunky Released Today

Do you have an Xbox 360? Do you like to play games on it? Then you should probably go buy Spelunky immediately. Why, you ask? Well, the original, free PC version of Spelunky is absolutely brilliant, and this new version for Xbox looks like it’s improved in nearly every way. You can read my thoughts on the original game here, if you haven’t already. It’s probably the best free game I’ve ever played, with superb use of procedural generation to create a new adventure every time.

But what if, like me, you don’t have an Xbox? Have no fear! Not only is the original free PC version still available, but creator Derek Yu has stated that a PC port of the fancy new version is very likely in the future. I’ll be sure to let you know if/when it sees a release, but in the meantime, go give the original a play if you haven’t yet. You won’t regret it.

Roguelike-like: Spelunky

If you are unfamiliar with roguelikes, consider reading my roguelike introduction.

Spelunky is one of the best examples of games that successfully translate roguelike design elements into a different genre. In Spelunky’s case, this genre is the 2-D platformer. I was going to wait to post this until the new, updated version of Spelunky is released on X-Box Live Arcade, but that seems to be taking forever and I got impatient. The original, free version of Spelunky is possibly the best freeware game I’ve ever played, and you should be playing it too.

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