I Didn’t Sign Up For This: Musings on Minigames

Recently I’ve been mulling over the subject of variety in games. Generally speaking, more variety is probably better. After all, no matter how good your core gameplay mechanic is, eventually players are going to need a break. And given that the last thing you want is for your players to put down the controller, this means adding in extras.

The problem is that when it comes to variety it IS possible to go too far, like with certain minigames.

Don’t get me wrong, minigames are a great way to introduce variety. However, I always find it important to remember that … Continue reading

Sleepy Days

Have you ever had one of those days where everything was incredibly difficult for some reason?

It’s like the world dissolves into some kind of foggy mess, and it takes all this extra energy just to see through it and get shit done.

And before you say “Yeah, cocaine is a hell of a drug” (I appreciate the Dave Chapelle / Rick James reference, but really, man — was that entirely necessary?) I’m only referring to days that are like this free of the influence of any kind of narcotic substance.

Days like today. Days that drag on and on, … Continue reading

On Focus Tests

So I was doing my daily search through gametab.com, as I am wont to do, and I came across this little gem:


Dave Jaffe liveblogged during a Focus test for Calling All Cars. It’s funny to me because I’ve been to a lot of focus tests, and it’s interesting to see how people react to Jaffe’s impressions.

I mean from what I read, it sounds like a pretty normal focus test to me.
All sorts of things going wrong — check.
Frantically scrambling to get everything to work — check.
Players who are very Continue reading

I’ve been playing a lot of adventure games

Recently, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been playing a lot of adventure games. This is fairly unusual for me — I stopped playing adventure games sometime in the mid nineties when they went out of style.

What brought them back for me, I think, was the new Sam and Max episodic content. They really do a pretty good job of bringing them up to today’s game design standards.

I think the main thing that adventure games of yesteryear had that stopped appealing to me has a lot to do with failing. I don’t just mean dying, because … Continue reading

Wii Play

I was just remembering yesterday how over the holidays I took my Wii home for my relatives to play. It really amazed me how easily they all, from my 5 year old cousin to my 60 year old aunt, picked it up.

Most of the time, when I brought my game systems with me, I’d get a lot of “Hey, can you turn that off.” Or when I’d ask if anyone wanted to play, I’d get “No thanks, it looks too complicated for me.” The only exception to this, before the Wii, was Guitar Hero.

So it really was a … Continue reading

How Games Affect Us

Sometime last year I played a game called “Indigo Prophecy.” (If you haven’t played it, I highly recommend picking it up. I can vouch for the PS2 version, at least). The game had a number of really interesting mechanics about it that felt very good, but one in particular stuck in my mind, and I find that I’ve been pondering it a lot lately.

  • Spoiler Warning
  • Essentially, there’s a part where you play as a character who is claustrophobic. The mission involves walking into a dimly-lit, very tight space — which obviously sets your character’s phobia off.

    The interesting … Continue reading

    First post!!

    Well, this is the first post of (I hope) many on my new blog. My goal is to force myself to update it, so we’ll see how that goes.

    As a first post, I figured I’d talk a little about what I’ve been into lately. I just finished Twilight Princess — that game ruled.

    I’ve also been playing a bunch of more “Indie” games recently. If you haven’t had a chance yet, go check out what’s going on at Manifesto Games (www.manifestogames.com). They’re doing the lords work there, publishing little games that would otherwise not see … Continue reading