10 Mar

Casual Gaming

I love computer games, always have since I first fell in love with an Apple ][e in my Mum’s college and spent a whole day writing a very simple text based dungeon exploration game in BASIC. Ever since I saw Sonic on a Sega Megadrive in a branch of Tandy in Newark we have had at least one console in the house, and we’ve gone through handhelds from the Atari Lynx, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS. A Megadrive, Playstation, Dreamcast, Gamecube and Wii have all shared our TVs, and I am proud to say that my kids have all grown up game savvy and scarily adept with a joypad.. Which is odd.. ‘cos I’m rubbish at computer games.

Hand and eye co-ordination is not my area of skill. My butterfly mind means that the only adventure game I have ever completed took me 18 months [Lord of the Rings: Third Age on the Cube]. I can also throw in a busy and active work and private life, family, friends and lots of other hobbies.. but basically I am a casual gamer. If it’s simple, fun and I can get 10-30 minutes of fun from it before moving on then it’s probably best for me. Now sometimes I can invest an hour or two in Battle for Wesnoth or Age of Empires on my Nintendo DS, but best for me is short sweet and easy.

Over the last week I have supplemented quite a high degree of productivity on work with some great new casual games (well new to me) and I’d like to show them with you. All three are available for Windows, Mac and Linux and are either open source or free or available as a demo.

Monsterz game in play
Monsterz: Monsterz is a little arcade puzzle game, similar to the famous Bejeweled or Zookeeper.The goal of the game is to create rows of similar monsters, either horizontally or vertically. The only allowed move is the swap of two adjacent monsters, on the condition that it creates a row of three or more. When alignments are cleared, pieces fall from the top of the screen to fill the board again. Chain reactions earn you even more points. This game is mostly about luck, but it remains highly addictive. You have been warned.

gridwars in play
GridWars: A wonderfully vector graphic pschedelic game which I believe is a clone of Geometry Wars (which I have on my DS), and reminds me so very much of Jeff Minter‘s epic vector based games. Essentially it’s a modern Asteroids with endless waves of geometric shapes trying to blow your little ship to pieces, all played on a grid that warps and twists like a first year lecture on space-time. I can sit down to play this for 10 minutes and an hour goes by, so it score very highly on the ‘one more time’ factor.

World of Goo in play
World of Goo: You may well have heard of this. It’s Worms meets Lemmings meets Goo. Relentlessly cute, not too hard but hard enough, it explains nothing and yet is amazingly simple to play and enjoy. Essentially, build matrices of goo balls to reach a pipe and save the remaining goo balls. Simple. Download the demo and then buy the full version. I must go and rescue some right now.. Also available on Nintendo Wiiware.

So that’s my 3, what are yours?

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04 Feb

Gaming Plan 2009

All Flesh Must Be Eaten

Image via Wikipedia

Well it’s taken a month but here is my draft gaming plan for 2009. Ambitious, probably unachievable, but a plan:

General

  • Tidy up Omniverse.net adventure and spells.
  • Sell WHFRP books.
  • Sell TORG.
  • Read Jorune.
  • Read Earthdawn and evaluate for 2010 gaming.
  • Read Gwenthia and re-evaluate and update Cromaigne changes in main pdf.
  • Buy and play more Star Wars miniatures with Kieran.
  • Write up Savage Showdown stats for my SF Near Future minatures and play some skirmish games
  • Play Tannhauser boardgame.
  • Play Stonehenge boardgame.
  • Play World at War boardgame.

Games I want to play

  • Play Qin
  • Play a One Roll Engine game
  • Play MRQ
  • Play GUMSHOE
  • Play StarBlazers
  • Play Cold Crusade
  • Play I-War
  • Play HELLAS

Games I’d like to run

Run Pathfinder Chronicles using BRP:

with cults like RQ3;
with simple Elric! level rules;
3 2-3 sessions, not necessarily with the same players.

Run Vikings using either Savage or Wordplay;

use RQ Vikings as source;
use Beowulf (various versions);
Create a short (3-4 page) players pack for playing Vikings (non system specific),
Culture,
Mythology,
Gazeteer,
Scan and collect lots of images and flavour;
Collect suitable music;
Write a 3 session arc, 1 of which is suitable for a con game, not necessarily the same players.
 

Renuwal Survival Horror using AFMBE:

3 part Trilogy of single games,
underground lab,
escape from the town,
post zombie apocalypse;
Strongly influenced by Resident Evil but with some twists;
Collect music and images;
Use the AFMBE pregen characters from sourcebooks,
Age the characters from game to game,
Not necessarily the same players;
Suited to cons.
 

Noir – Mean Streets – A Dirty World:

Prepare to run noir style games as one offs using the scenarios in Mean Streets book;
Consider using ‘A Dirty World’ or GUMSHOE, but probably stay with genrediversion from MS book;
Lots of photos, images, maybe some music;
Suited to cons.
 

Deadlands one off:

Mix up Deadlands and Coyote Trail and GURPS Wild West sources;
Use the Coffin sourcebook;
Be able and ready to run at short notice.
 

B5 Traveller:

Probably not going to happen in 2009, but read, prepare, evaluate.
 

Battlestar Galactica rpg:

Probably also not going to happen in 2009 but read, prepare, evaluate.
 

Talislanta:

Probably not going to happen in 2009, retire to shelves and allow to ferment.
 

Freeport:

Not going to happen in 2009, read if time and life allows.
 

Gwenthia:

Not going to happen in 2009. Need to resolve system and just how well I can get on with MRQ. Need to play some more MRQ.
 

Let’s see how it goes

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