If video games were Roman defeats, Rome II: Total War would be Manzikert, which was a pretty bad showing for the Romans, one with a high cost. But the long-term effects of that battle are complex and far-reaching, over-analyzed and often over-weighted. Some historians go so far as to describe Manzikert as the event that kneecapped the Roman Empire, which is ironic because the part of it you know about was long gone by 1071 and the other part would totter on for another four hundred years. Me, I don’t buy it. Manzikert was bad, but post-Manzikert misgovernance did more damage than the battle itself. Byzantium could have recovered, it just failed to. Similarly Total War: Rome II has ample opportunity to recover from the scattershot problems of initial release and turn itself into a genuinely remarkable game. If Creative Assembly bungles that opportunity, then Rome II, like Manzikert, will be remembered as the beginning of the end.
Viewing the comments threads on video game web sites is like stepping into some alternate universe where people are sincerely anticipating Grand Theft Auto V.
Maybe I could’ve written “I am old and out of touch” and said the same basic thing. Or maybe I’m being a hipster; I’m not buying Grand Theft Auto V, you plebeians, because it is too mainstream, and it’s what everyone will be playing and I’m way too cool for that. Or maybe it’s because I’m a woman and chicks just aren’t into this sorta thing.
Except that none of these things are true.
I’ll admit it, I was wrong! All this time I have thought, hell, fervently believed there were only three ways to get rich: (1) Inherit it, (2) Steal it, or (3) Earn it. Except for the first choice, none of those sound particularly fun; but, it turns out there is another way, a far better way and one that can be a bucket of fun, gaming enthusiasts. Did you know that computer gaming is now considered a professional sport? For example, just last month U.S. immigration officials classified the world’s top video-game players as professional athletes. Wow, does it take forever for the U.S. government to wake up, or what? We all knew how special gaming was, but all we got from the government was a lot of crap.
I’m not very good at real-time strategy games. I attribute this to my inability to multitask well, but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy playing them. The biggest problem I have with them is that most revolve around micromanagement, and since AI War, with its robust automation and smart unit management, I’ve become more of a macromanagement kind of guy. Why? Because it means I can focus on the strategy part. You know, the important part. Not the frantic juggling and tedious busy work part. Homeworld and Company of Heroes, allegedly two of the finest real-time strategy games evar, turned me off because I had to nanny certain units. I’m sorry but, engineers, you need to fix those tanks right in front of you. And repair frigates, those nearby damaged ships need looking at. Do your fucking jobs. The more granular my level of involvement the more distracted I am from the strategy, and for me, that’s a problem.
Exhausted from a trip, you drop your bags at the threshold of a dark, strange, lonely house. The night is late and stormy. No one comes to greet you; no one is home. You did tell them not to make a big deal, not even to pick you up at the airport. “Like, really, seriously, you don’t have to pick me up.” Exact words, in a tone that said “Nothing would make me happier than to reach the gate and see you smiling there.”
A tone that said “please pick me up, I’m so tired. Pick me up, I haven’t seen you in a year and I can’t wait. Pick me up, I’ve missed you and I love you and I want to hear everything that’s happened. I wish you’d stayed suspended, waiting for me, but I know you haven’t, and I’m not sure where the new house is, I’ve never been there. So please pick me up. It’s been so long. Please pick me up.”
But no one did. So, all on her own on a dark and stormy night, 22-year old Kaitlin Greenbriar, has gone home.
Dragon’s Crown is one part loot-dropping dungeon crawler, one part 2D brawler. It has a satisfying, tight core loop with high appeal: kill things, take their stuff, get that stuff identified and sold, equip better stuff, use better stuff to kill bigger things, take their stuff, repeat and repeat. … Dragon’s Crown is exactly the game we needed right now.
According to the ESA’s most recent fact sheet, women currently make up 45% of game players.
This isn’t really news. The stats about the increasing amount of female gamers have been available for years. But the common wisdom is that women are mostly interested in games on Facebook: casual games for which they are unwilling to pay actual money without being deceived by free-to-play monetization tactics. However, one company, Silicon Sisters, has been working on games targeted at young girls and sold with a money up-front model… and succeeding at it. Now, they’re planning on doing the same with a game targeted squarely at the adult female demographic. Their new game is called Everlove, and it is an interactive romance novel for an American audience.
Unequivocally, I say Rockstar is greedy, selfish and without remorse. They make it difficult, even impossible for a customer to receive satisfaction when there is a problem. The truly ironic thing is, they pretend they are trying really hard. One gets the impression, early on, that he/she is being helped. But, before long, you realize that your emails don’t seem to have been read, by real eyes in any case. I cannot help but believe there are thousands of others who feel as I do.
Last year I shared a few vlogs from a little indie start-up called Kermdinger Studios as they set out on the journey of creating their first indie game. Eighteen months and one cross-country move later, the guys at Kermdinger have unveiled their first project, launching pages on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight. They call it Stunt Runner, a physics puzzler for PC and Mac with a humorous twist. The game’s already at the top of the video game staff picks on Kickstarter, which isn’t a bad sign at all.
If you’ve been curious what the Kermdinger guys (Kermdingers? Kermdingites? What is a Kermdinger, anywise?), check out the details on Stunt Runner. You can also visit them on their own site.