Another design mechanic that should die – Remaining lives

This one has been on my mind lately after finishing the New Super Mario Bros. game on the DS. The little icon reminding you how many Marios remain with which to complete the rest of the game remains ever present. I guess it’s there because, well, it’s always been there, and this is a game about pulling some strings of nostalgia.

What happens when you run out of Marios? You get a screen that asks if you want to continue playing from your last save point. If the ‘penalty’ for running out of lives is the exact same thing that would happen if the user just turns the machine off perhaps you should rethink why, exactly, you are going to the trouble and expense of putting it there in the first place.… Fine, but this article then no more.

Expansion Packs, Add-ons, Sequels, and Other Crap the World Doesn’t Need

I love the Sims. I am hopelessly addicted to the nutty little people that live in their own world on my computer. I am so hooked to this virtual crank that each time EA kicks out another goofy expansion pack for it, I bite and grab myself a few new locales or items for my little demented Sims to play with. The Sims is a completely genius game while at the same time, a totally evil one. It is a game that is groundbreaking in a multitude of ways, but for me, one specific trait stands out: The Sims franchise, for better or worse, made expansion packs and add-ons a norm of gaming.… SaGa Frontier Readmastered

An E3 for the proletariat: Impressions Part 3

I’ve always wanted to stab a Japanese man.

Red Steel
The concept behind Red Steel is definitely cool. You use the nunchaku controller to both aim and shoot a gun and slice with the sword as well as look around while walking. The analog controller in the left hand is used to move, and by twisting it you can open doors. The nunchaku controller was very precise, though this shouldn’t be surprising because if you can legitimately blame one death in a game on your controller, chances are you don’t want to buy the Wii. Also, it did not seem like the controller required enough movement that players will get tired over time; most players already jerk their controllers around when they’re excited (no pun intended) and I think that requires just as much muscle as the Wii controller does.… Read me now, believe me later.