Review of an Insecticide interview

Insecticide is a recently released adventure game featuring shooting levels. It was developed by a team composed of several of the people responsible for some of the great adventure games produced by LucasArts over the years.

And it got some pretty bad reviews. With a Metacritic score of 55/100, it’s looking less and less like an overlooked gem. Reviews so far have tended to enjoy the adventure aspects, and have almost universally panned the action/shooter sequences.

IGN offered Mike Levine (who worked on The Dig, Sam and Max Hit the Road, and The Curse of Monkey Island among others) a chance to respond to the negative reviews.… Read the rest

Review – Sam & Max: Night of the Raving Dead

I’ll be honest with you. When I started writing this review, I was only doing it to get this game out of the way. I really wanted to review episodes 4 and 5, and it just didn’t seem right to skip this tale of the emo undead, no matter how mediocre I may have found it upon first playthrough. As I began writing, however, I realized that this game taught me something. It taught me why I play Sam and Max. Not a deep, meaningful life lesson by any means, but a lesson nonetheless.

To catch people up who haven’t played the game already, New York is invaded by hoards of zombies, and Sam and Max must travel to Stuttgart in order to stop them at their source: a castle-turned-goth-club called “The Zombie Factory.”… Read the rest

A Passage to games as art

If you have not yet encountered Passage, don’t google it. Don’t go read reviews, don’t even read the comments to this post.
It only takes 5 minutes to play the game, and you would have spent that long reading. So just play it, and remember that you can explore up and down as well as left to right.

Here’s the Windows version
and the Mac version
and Unix source (SDL libraries required)

Try to beat my high score…1563

Then – and only then – read the creator’s statement, and play it again.

I’ll wait…

Congratulations, you have just experienced games as art.… Read the rest

Ten years without a new genre

A decade is a long time.

A few days ago in the comments to “Houston, Wii have a success story“, I made a rather old-fogey remark about re-hashes of games that I’d essentially been playing since 1992 or thereabouts. This got me thinking…when I complain about developers making the same game over and over, what I’m really complaining about is the fact that they’re making games in the same genres. Do you remember the sense of anticipation when you first played Wolf3D or Dune II? It didn’t just come from what you could do within that game – it was a realization of what that particular game meant for the future…because its underlying gameplay mechanics were simple enough and yet deep enough that they moved from being differently quirky games to inspiring an entire genre of development and expansion.… Read the rest

Laying this generation to rest: Dreamcast

To celebrate the new generation of consoles, we will be honoring the last generation by listing our favorite games on each system. These aren’t Best of lists, or games you will die without, rather they are simply the titles we think made these systems special.

The first console of the past generation was the Sega Dreamcast. This proved to be Sega’s final console so while we remember it fondly, keep in mind that emotion partially clouds our view. Teary eyes aside, there is no denying the console had a number of excellent exclusives, most of which were made by Sega themselves.… Read the rest

Making enemies move and shoot: An A.I. Primer part 1

Okay, so after I read the conversation on A.I. between Jay and Christian, I started coming up with comments. Then I re-organized them, and kept coming up with more. Well before I felt I had addressed things enough to post a comment, I had the makings of a brief paper on A.I. as it applies to video games. That was when I spoke with Jay about just writing it up as an article instead of posting a several-page comment, and he said to give it a shot.

Unfortunately I tend to go a little nuts when A.I. is concerned, and so it’s now turned into what’s possibly a multiple installment piece.… Read the rest