Category Archives: gaming

Free to Play (or to not play)

If you play video games, chances are good that you have run into a game operating on a free-to-play business model. It has been around for long enough that I will just assume you know what it is. If not, then… well, read some short stories instead. It’s probably a better use of your time, anyway.

This last week, I have tried a few new free-to-play offerings on the iOS app store, and I have a mixed feeling conundrum to deal with here. As much as it feels desirable to do so, I will not break out the diatribe about how free-to-play is destroying gaming (ever noticed just how many things are destroying gaming, and just how much gaming seems to survive?), so do not fear this development in this particular post.

Let’s get right down to it. Continue reading Free to Play (or to not play)

This Week’s Games and Stuff

As recently stated, I have been busy, but no amount of business is enough to keep me away from my occasional dips into leisure! (Well, that is theoretically not true, for I know from experience that this can happen, it just has not happened anytime in the last month.)

The last week has felt pretty jam packed with work and other life necessities, but I have managed to fit in some gaming. The games I have to discuss today might seem a little outside the norm that I present on this site, but it all hearkens back to a time in my past, when I played a lot more games.

But enough about that. Let’s get to the actual games, shall we?

The Blackwell Legacy
playing on Steam, also available on iOS

This game appealed to me when I first saw it available for iPad, but it came up at a particularly lean financial time when I could not afford the few dollars to get it. However, when I saw the same game tied into an affordable Humble Bundle, I could not, I say, I could not help myself.

The Blackwell Legacy is an adventure game of the old school, relying entirely on a point-and-click interface. It drops you into a situation and lets you figure out what to do about it. Perhaps this would be tougher on those new to the genre, but I had no trouble figuring out how to start moving forward through the story.

The story, in which a frustrated writer finds her life situation unsettled by a ghost who won’t leave her alone, is pretty basic but well done. Maybe I am biased toward cutting stories about writers a little slack (although, I remember enjoying Stephen King’s Bag of Bones well before deciding that I might actually do it myself). What pulls it together is the cast of characters, who despite generally being in a rather mundane situation each manage to make their mark on the game world, and in the mind of the player.

What really sold me on the protagonist, Rosangela, was her repeated social awkwardness. I could not help but laugh (and the laughs were of the wry and head shaking variety) every time she broke out the awkward smile.

BlackwellLegacy_awkward

It took me just a few hours to get through the story, which I think was fine for the story that Wadjet Eye Games wanted to tell. It was smart to not drag things out unnecessarily. The ending was a bit surprising, in that I had not expected the direction they took. I can’t talk too much about it without potential spoilers, and besides, I was hoping to learn more about it in the sequel…

Blackwell Unbound
same deal, Steam and iOS

In a fit of daring do, or whatever it is that the man behind Wadjet Eye Games would call it, the sequel is actually a retrospective, or perhaps a prequel, in which we get to see a slice of Rosangela’s aunt’s life. Having not played the previous game, that might sound terribly dreary to you, but trust me, it is relevant to the overall story of the series.

And it is a series, as I recently learned. The fifth and final game was recently released, so there seems to be an overarching story here, and we will get a piece of it with each installment. Tying the game together is the spook from the previous game, Joey, who does a good job of bringing a little charm mixed with a little crazy to the gig. I’m not entirely sure I like Joey, and I’m glad I don’t have to spend my entire life with him floating over my shoulder, but he does interest me.

As with any sequel that does this, I was disappointed to find that I would not be learning more about the characters that interested me in the first installment. Hopefully the third game, Blackwell Convergence, brings us back to Rosangela, because I want to find out what is really going on there.

And, last but not least (expensive)…

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes
I’m playing on Xbox 360, but it’s available for basically all major consoles and PC

Well. Disney Infinity was something that I was loosely aware existed but my experience with it beyond that is basically nil. I would not have gotten involved with this new edition either, were it not for the generous donation of a starter kit by a friend. He sealed the deal by giving me a Nick Fury figure, making it impossible for me to decline playing the game.

I’m not really sure how to categorize Infinity. It’s just kind of a big ol’… thing? The starter kit I received comes with an Avengers playset as well as two minigame additions. The Avengers playset is ostensibly the star of the show, and though it features a pretty cool New York City, does not have a lot of content. Heidi and I played through it, she as Black Widow and me as Iron Man because that’s how we roll, in a few evenings.

The somewhat hidden star of the show is the Toy Box, wherein you can do “anything you can imagine.” Well, anything you can imagine and figure out how to program. It makes me feel a little old, trying to set up a sequence of events the way I want using my magic wand.

Yes. Nick Fury looks a little silly wielding a classic Disney magic wand.

I am on the verge of completing my Toy Box masterpiece, a quasi-port of the phenomenally bizarre game Soccer Physics. I’ll try and keep you apprised to any important developments on that front.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: SUPER SOLDIER: a reaction

Captain America Super Soldier

My friend Lance keeps me on my toes when it comes to gaming. Sometimes he drops a bomb on me (“Say, Stoffel, how do you feel about boosting out ten thousand multiplayer matches?”), but from time to time he finds a game cool enough that he thinks I ought to play it myself. Even the occasional single player game makes the cut!

Lance gave me a copy of CAPTAIN AMERICA with the caveat that though he found it quite enjoyable, this was after playing RIDE TO HELL: RETRIBUTION. From what I have seen of that turd, anything would seem a masterpiece after hours exposed to it. And since Lance is not satisfied until he has reamed every ounce of enjoyment out of each purchased game… yeah, my expectations wavered on this movie tie-in game. Continue reading CAPTAIN AMERICA: SUPER SOLDIER: a reaction