Archive for April, 2009

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Spring Thing ’09 – Josh Graboff’s The Milk Of Paradise!

April 30, 2009

(I first published this without the jump cut, because it’s friggin’ my bedtime.  Apologies to anyone who had to dance around spoilers!)

There’s got to be a joke about the last name Graboff, but I’m not sure what it is because I’m not a junior-high bully.  I know enough about junior-high bullies to be fairly confident it involves accusations of homosexuality and somebody’s mom, though, and also that it probably makes no sense.

The phrase “and also”:  is it redundant?  You make the call!  Should that colon have gone inside the quotes?  I don’t know!  It’s terrible!  I should not be allowed to have a blog!

Anyway, the Milk of Paradise.  Sounds like a good thing.  Let’s play it.

This paragraph is in the service of food RSS. I would wish to have the authorisation in order to I have the window open [anti] the air conditioning because it is to be too much boiling hot in order to it has the window open very at an early date now and goes a piece mental without clean air. I haven’t reported this anywhere but here because I’? m passive-aggressive.

[spoilers start here]

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Spring Thing ’09 – Jim Aikin’s A Flustered Duck!

April 25, 2009

Did you know that, for mating purposes, a male anglerfish will attach itself like a parasite to a female anglerfish, connect his circulatory system to hers (somehow), and then atrophy until he is nothing but a pair of gonads hanging off of her side?  This is how anglerfish Do Eeet.  Isn’t that creepy?

Not, of course, that it has anything to do with ducks, or, presumably, Jim Aikin.  I just now learned that and wanted to share.  Oh, and the rest of the Realm of Obsidian review (for lack of a better word) is up.  It’s just tacked onto the end of part one because I didn’t feel it deserved its own post.

This paragraph goes out to my mom for giving birth to me.  It was very nice of her and she didn’t have to.

Let’s get it on.

[spoilers begin here]

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I’m on vacation.

April 20, 2009

I’m just sayin’.  Click here if you want Dan Aykroyd to try to sell you bizarrely expensive vodka (it’s filtered through diamonds!  In Newfoundland!  Newfoundland you guys!), click anywhere else if you don’t.

There’s ham in the fridge and I love you.

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MyBrute: this isn’t a game, but it’s a good time.

April 9, 2009

I made no progress on Realm of Oblivion today because I was busy playing with this darn thing.  It’s – let’s be honest, above all it’s one of those bizarre internet popularity contests, where you see how many friends you can sucker into signing up, but it’s also an entertaining fighting thunger.  This is how shit goes down.

One first gives one’s fighter a name and goes clicky clicky clicky on the triangular buttons until they’ve got an avatar they’re happy with.  (I would love a non-randomized character creation screen, but the current system makes things quick, at least.)  Then there is FITE!, by which I mean you watch your character engage in fully automated animated chibi-person fighting with someone else’s character.  (Yes, you get to pick whose, which is awesome fun for an entire chat channel.)  You get three fights a day, six your first day.  (There’s some sort of tournament something, but I haven’t messed with it yet.)  If you want to make your character yours, you can give it a password, no emails asked.

The bit I am a sucker for, though, is that every character starts with a Something and gets a new Something every level, completely randomly.  It could be a mace.  It could be a dog.  It could be a club that looks like a ham and just whacks the shit out of people.  It could be a shield that is pretty much bullshit compared to all of the above, whoo hoo shield.  It could be an awesome Bionic-Woman-lookin’ color-trail ability.  Someone named RickAstleyFan even has a leek.

That’s about it.  It’s got cute.  It’s got sex.  It’s got kicking the shit out of your loved ones with ham.  The site is here, unless you want to be one of my legions of sucker friends (it’s fine if you don’t, I won’t hate you) in which case click here and thank you.  (Because somehow it matters how many people I can get in my dojo on a silly internet thing?  I guess?  But thank you anyway!)

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Spring Thing ’09 – Amy Kerns’ Realm of Obsidian!

April 8, 2009

[I don’t know if Pride and Prejudice requires spoiler warnings, but here you go, have one anyway – THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ALSO THE VERSION WITH THE ZOMBIES BELOW THIS LINE YOU GUYS]

I have just finished reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  It’s very good.  There are ninjas. Plus it makes so much more sense for Charlotte Lucas to accept Mr. Collins if you know she’s infected.

“It taught me to hope,” said he, “as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before.  I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have beheaded Lady Catherine without a moment’s hesitation.”

Elizabeth coloured and laughed as she replied, “Yes, you know enough of my temper to believe me capable of that.  After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in beheading any number of your relations.”

Realm of Obsidian promises horror and gore and general not-being-everybody’s-cup-of-tea-ness, but probably far less in the way of weddings.  Oh well.  I shall perservere.

[actual game spoilers start here]

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…yes, it’s going to be about Legends of Zork again. I refuse to admit I have a problem.

April 5, 2009

I may have been a tad unfair to Legends of Zork.  Our guild’s shammy healer, who’s been blogging about the thing as much as I have, just posted here that not only did he encounter an actual boss monster, he was given the option to run away.

(I will try very hard to shut up about Legends of Zork now.  Thanks in advance for your support during this difficult time.)

Hey, weren’t there Spring Thing games or something?  I suppose I could be arsed to play those.

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Urban Legions, or, And Now For Something I Did Like

April 5, 2009

Urban Legions is in many ways the antithesis of Legends of Zork.  My character Perculia Chuffington (AKA Lady Catfingers) has been wandering around Macropolis for several game days now, wielding a wrench in her right hand and a pair of hedge clippers in her left, and has yet to encounter a single combat.  (She’s also completely naked except for a pleated skirt and a pair of cowboy boots.  I thought about buying her a shirt, but why?)  Since moving to the city she has learned a new magic spell from a librarian, completed the world’s most angry-bird-and-pit-bull-infested paper route, bought some really overpriced marshmallows, given several scratch-off lottery tickets to homeless people, begun investigating a bizarre murder, registered for university, and taken a steady job as a zookeeper; all this despite her shirtlessness and on six hours of sleep.

It’s still very early in Macropolis’s development, of course, and a lot of its vast area is what industry wankers call “open design space” and the rest of us call “empty,” but the potential is palpable, and the non-empty bits are diverting, the main quest in particular.  It’s a mystery, you see, and the quest reward will hopefully be revelation.  Instead of leveling my attack skill so I can fight more monsters so I can level my attack skill, I’m leveling my approval rating (the tracking of which statistic lends the game a certain unusual politeness) so I can talk to a detective about a murder and hopefully, eventually, locate an overdue library book.

It’s not all sunshine and dingalings, though.  Where Legends of Zork is dripping with slickness and polish and gorgeousness, Urban Legions looks like something a career tax accountant put together using MS Paint and a freeware clip art program from 1995.  This isn’t unexpected:  there are (I think) two people working on the game and sometimes none out of two people is artists.  Art, design, and interface are a website’s clothes, though, they’re what it’s judged on before anyone has a chance to get to know it.  You might be the nicest, most fascinating person in the world, but you’re not going to get a date wearing an oversized applique cat sweatshirt, orange hot pants, and a sombrero.  (Unless you’re at a hipster bar and you’re also wearing rollerskates.  That goes without saying.)  I know there’s zero budget, but it’d be worth finding a friend’s kid or some random person on the forums or anyone really with some art skills and an altruistic bent.

Art aside, the main issue I have with the game is the map.  Macropolis is divided into sections (Downtown North, Greenhills, Hovella) and each section contains a number of specific locations (malls, hotels, nuclear power plants, etc.)  There is currently no way to see what locations are in which section without traveling to that section, which takes some of your limited in-game time.  There are helpful quest markers (which could stand to be a little brighter) on the main map, but if you’re trying to find something else – say you’ve just completed a paper route and can’t remember where the newspaper office is – you are just shit out of luck unless you search every section.  Potential solution:  have a list of locations in each section visible on mouseover or first click, or, at the very least, don’t consider a section traveled to (and time deducted for it) until the player’s actually clicked on a location in that section.

Another thing Urban Legions could use is some focus and some follow-through – honestly, right now it’s a bit of a mess.  At the very beginning of the game, Perculia was examined by a doctor to determine her superhero ability (did I mention she’s a superhero, and that this game is about superheroes?  No?) and learned a skill that allows her to use twenty percent of her brain.  This skill has yet to come in handy even once. I don’t even know what it does. When I look it up, it says “Where most people can only use up to 10 percent of their brain, you can use twice that.”  I had thought, perhaps, it would come in handy during combat.    It still might, if I ever find a combat.  I thought the same thing about these weapons, the ones I bought at the hardware store that sells a bunch of handy tools.  It’s pretty clear they’re meant to do something eventually, since they say “500 uses,” it’s just there doesn’t seem to be anything to use them on. (The hardware store also sold a $200 fishing rod I didn’t buy because I wasn’t sure there was anywhere to fish.)

These are the kinds of problems that can be solved with time, experience, and content, though, and there’s just something about this game I like.  I like the freedom to explore the city, however unimplemented it is right now (everything has a description, though, which is something) and I like how the game seems to assume I’m a nice person, and, while a lot of the quirky bits*  seem at odds with the overall tone, which is earnest and factual, I did smile at the Giant Army of Robots and the Cup O’ Pizza.  I am genuinely looking forward to Urban Legions growing and improving, because I think it has the potential to kick some ass.

(To be fair, I’d like Legends of Zork to grow and improve also; it just doesn’t seem as likely.)

* Quirk belonging to the “random nouns are wacky” school, generally, as in “I’m teaching a moose to use a typewriter!  Gosh, is that chicken wearing pants?”  I suppose it’s harmless, but it always feels a little forced.

Update:  Turns out there were combats all along, I just didn’t realize they were combats!  This game makes a lot more sense now!  I may have to buy a shirt!

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