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Month: July 2011

Munitions, the Media and Myth

The three M’s of my weekly “Oh, seriously!?” whining.  I primarily recognize it in vampire shows where the antagonist is carrying that special shotgun loaded with fire, or the heroine dual wields guns like a trained pro.

I happened upon a YouTube channel that gives you some demonstration of various weapons.  The commentator, often seen in a “Professional Russian” t-shirt will often take a moment to show you just how little recoil there is.  On some of those guns, i’m shocked.  The Ulti-Max v3 is a serious piece of hardware and yet you can watch him use it one handed here:

And of course, the AA-12 Automatic Shotgun, dual wielded here:


Normally, I’d have listed Dragons Breath, or any other special ‘anti-vampire’ round in the logs of “Shit that don’t exist, Son.”  But after watching one of FPS Russia’s videos, I’m seeing a subtle truth that I had failed to account for.

Now I need to apologize to some of my players for adjudications I’d made.


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It is our enemy, our foe.  It confounds us and challenges us at every turn.  We have too much, too little and that’s usually too often.

Time features in a number of games as a key element.  But less in a traditional “30 seconds to complete your turn speed-chess” style and more in a serious Story Key Element.  To this end, I present three contenders for Time notation.


Half-Minute Hero

No Time to Explain

Our first contender, Braid, I haven’t played.  But I’ve spoken at length with a friend who has, a man whom I’m recruiting to bring his perspective and understanding of television and movie to our walls.  More on that later.

Braid uses time as a storytelling piece, suggesting a layout of linear ideas that may not be exactly what you just witnessed and.  It lets you save and reload sequences of time while actions occur around you, timing exactly when you fall through those clouds for instance.  I’ve heard numerous good things about this game from various sources.

Half-Minute Hero is a twist in a different direction.  Taking the style of many 16-bit adventure games from days of yore, we see time not as a storytelling tool but as a villainous foe we can only hope to negotiate with.  You have to quest about the land, earn exp and items on your quest.  You can reset this 30-second clock at shrines, but this will cost you precious gold which you’ll need to better gear yourself.  There’s various flavors of this style, in one you’re the princess with her cadre of guards, another the Evil Mage setting yourself for victory.  Of this, I have heard very little, but i’m keenly interested to try.

No Time to Explain is a tongue-in-cheak dash at flash gaming.  A venue i’m loathe to enter, but one that i do enjoy on occasion.  The game starts itself as your future self shows up, jumpsuit and blaster equipped “There’s no Time to Explain!” before being grabbed by a space-alien sized Crab which then parades across a difficult map that challenges your timing and skill.  And then, it happens all over again, but better.  A funny game, I recommend at least 10 or 20 minutes of your time to see it in action.

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Gratuitous Space Battles

Now, if you read my post on Solar 2 you might suspect I like space games.  GSB is something of a game.  But think of it as a higher-level strategy game.  You assemble fleets, set their orders and details and then let ’em go.  See how the die rolls in a manner of speaking.

It neatly snips out the boring infrastructural development and design, none of the warm-up til you can build your colonizers or those next best lasers.  Each mission grades you on success and how much you cleared it by.  Manage to minimize your cost and claim victory – More points!  Those points translate into additional ship hulls to outfit, different laser types or stronger shields.

Don’t buy through steam unless they’re offering a sweet deal.  This is a game that gives you all but one DLC for $25.

Something I’m appreciating in small-budget games and independent developments is load speed.  And this is one of those games that comes up and goes down quickly, none of this 10 min setup you see in games like Civilization or <shudder> ModNation Racers.

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Solar 2

Damn.  I hurtle through space, colliding with rocks twisting in the darkness, my size expands I grow to become an orb holding people.  Civilizations develop and defend me as I gather momentum.  I explode into a fiery orbital power as my previous brothers and sisters fall into my grasp.  Alliances develop and organize, my defense is their only concern as they construct vessels and attack those who fall beyond my gravitational grasp.  As time passes, I swallow those around me and collapse into the Great Darkness and begin swallowing the Universe.

Solar 2 is a game where you start small as a boring rock and hurtle through space until you become a planet.  There are missions, slightly different at each level, Asteroid > Planet > Star.  As a Black Hole you have no great options other than avoid stronger Singularities.  This is a Sand Box game, where you don’t have to do the missions, the achievements are spread around the missions themselves and how you move around.  For instance, there’s one for gathering 15 asteroids as a planet.  Harder than you’ think.

I like Sand Box games as they allow a pursuit of ideas and structures without forcing me into a linear quest and story.  Thanks, but what if I dislike the King and hate the Kingdom?  It’s rather beautiful in it’s simplicity.

PS – Free Wallpapers and Soundtracks

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July 3: The Day Before

Once a year we in the United States of America gather in groups for celebration.  We spend money to gather explosives, we burn food and mix drinks and watch as colors and light fill our skies after darkness.

Frankly, I don’t care what we’re celebrating, I just appreciate the people I stand with as we witness another day passing.

Thank you for being here.  Now.

Get the hell off my lawn.

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