Review – Rune Factory

Game flow usually follows a straightforward path. In any Zelda game, you adventure, find items, speak to an odd character like Tingle, then adventure some more. The adventuring itself is compelling because it is great fun and the items you receive for adventuring often add a new play mechanic and unlock new areas for adventuring — it’s a very simple loop that has worked well for 20 years.

A game like The Sims is significantly more complex but the game flow is still easy to understand. The players micromanage their Sims in order to gain skills and keep their various meters high. In turn, they are rewarded with job promotions because they are skilled, socially relevant, and come to work with full stomachs and empty bladders. With the promotion money, players extend their homes, plant bushes and buy new furniture and electronics. →  Read the rest

Review – Steambot Chronicles

Have you ever played a game for hours on end and then realized what you played had unbalanced gameplay, a clunky battle system, and very slow character advancement but you loved it anyway?

This happened to me last week. On a whim, I bought Odin Sphere and Steambot Chronicles. Though I might argue both games are guilty of these faults, in this case I am talking about Steambot Chronicles because it kept my attention better.

My question – Wouldn’t a better name be Trotbots?

I still don’t completely understand why, but I loved this game. It has a cliched anime look with cliched anime-type characters named after spices (the main character is Vanilla Bean), standard music (with a few exceptions) and clunky gameplay. Though the voice acting was really good for English voiceovers (even in songs, though the lyrics are lacking), that usually isn’t a great motivator on its own. →  Read the rest

MMOs: Grinding away my patience

Lately, I have been playing Eve Online. For those of you who don’t follow my every move on this website (and for those two of you who do, you’re awesome!), Eve Online is a space based MMO. Unlike other games, the skill training system is based on real-time training, which continues when off-line. Therefore actions in the game: killing spaceships, trading, etc, do not yield experience. So while I have been only tepidly interested in the game, and not playing, my character has been training, basically at the same rate as an active player.

As a result of having a nearly six month old character, I can fly all sorts of awesome ships, which makes the game fun. However, because I haven’t been playing–just training, I have no money–money is only earned from those activities in the game itself. →  Read the rest

The Electronic Arts I remember

A long, long time ago, back when Electronic Arts went by the abbreviation ECA, the company was not clearly evil. It turns out that they screwed Chris Crawford in the 80’s and undoubtedly weren’t the pinnacle of business ethics, but they also published good games. Every now and then, usually after reading a review of some terrible EA published game or news that they bought and destroyed a small developer, I reminisce about the good old days when the ECA logo didn’t make me cringe, but was actually a sign of quality. What’s that, you ask? You’re a snobby gamer who dislikes EA, too, but you wonder why they were once a respectable publisher? Like all good questions, this one can be answered with a list.

Archon II: Adept — 1984
The first Archon is a bonafide classic, but I still prefer the sequel. →  Read the rest

The Ethics of Farming part I

As someone who once used to rent the old school NES “cheats” videos (it’s how I learned to beat Castlevainia 2) I am not sure if I am the right person to talk about what is ethical in the gaming world. I will anyway though, so take that!

Anyone who has ever made it beyond level 10 in World of Warcraft knows that there are people in places usually not the US that grind away all day in game collecting items and gold (in game currency) to sell for real world currency. Big deal, right? Well here is what I think… No, it isn’t a big deal. Blizzard, in one of their more incandescent moments, decided to combat this by making the best in game items BOP, which means Bind on Pickup. →  Read the rest