Monday, 14 August 2017

Gordon's Alive: A Trip To Black Mesa


I wasn't sure quite what to expect from Black Mesa, a fan created mod to recreate Half Life in it's sequel's more modern engine. The project has been long, and indeed still continues. A large group of people are even now continuing to create and refine the original Half-Life experience from the initial tram ride all the way to the interplanetary finale. Not to mention that now, as a standalone experience, you must pay to experience it, like Dear Ester or The Stanley Parable.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Police Quest 1 VGA - A Considerable Amount of Paperwork


Police Quest, one of the classic Sierra adventure game series. As the title suggests, it's about being a cop, something which is quite a good fit for an adventure game. This was first released in 1987, but remade in glorious 256 colour VGA in 1992 with Sierra's then-new icon-based point-and-click interface.

For those that were put off by the text-based interface of Sierra's older games, this remake makes the game look and feel very similar to Police Quest 3, which was the latest game in the series at that point. Unfortunately, Sierra stopped remaking their old titles not long after this, so we never got a remake of the second game in the series. But if you're a fan of older games, I'm sure you can get used to the text-based interface for Police Quest 2.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Legend Of Kyrandia: A Flawed Gem


When the Adventure Gamer blog moved onto the Legend of Kyrandia, I was pleased. Another game I had fond memories of, and I was sure would stand up to a repeated playthrough. So of course I decided I'd play along, and make my way through the game yet again.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn: A Tour Through A Post-Apocalyptic Wilderness


Horizon Zero Dawn is a terrible name for a brilliant game. I would usually never even bother trying an open world game of this type, but I heard good things that included mention of post-apocalyptic robot dinosaurs. Who wouldn't be intrigued by that premise?

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Stardew Valley: Farming Fantasy


Stardew Valley begins with a letter from your grandfather, but more importantly it begins by contrasting modern city life with the rural idyll. Right from the opening cinematic, it paints modern living as soulless, boring, unfulfilling and almost unnatural. By contrast, Stardew valley is bright, colourful and full of opportunity.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

5 Ways to Make a Dark Souls Easy Mode

Prepare To Die A Little Less Edition?
Many people have suggested that you just couldn't make an easy mode for Dark Souls. They are of course incorrect, making an easy mode is actually really easy, and to prove this I've made a list of ideas.

As a disclaimer, I'm going to add the point that many of those do also make, which is that these changes may change the nature of the game, or alter the experience of the game. That's pretty much the point though, since there's already a fundamental difference in experience that different players have when playing the same game. Everyone has their own personal skill levels and tolerance for difficulty, challenge, patience and frustration. We all have different rates with which we can learn, with which we can adapt and with which we can persevere.

A Discussion On Difficulty

What makes a game difficult? What makes a game challenging? What makes a game frustrating?

I'm sure if you asked a hundred people, they'd give you a hundred different answers. Difficulty, challenge and frustration depend on individual experience, and expectation.

The key to thinking about this is not to consider what you personally find difficult, but rather to consider that not all people are created equal, and therefore tasks that might seem trivial to one can be frustrating to another. It is then important to consider that a game developer can only draw from their own knowledge and experience, and that they will always have to make choices about how they create the challenges in their game.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Discussions on Definitions: The Rogue-like

Words can be flexible, they can be changed. Language is dependant upon usage, and so new words can crop up or old ones can be co-opted to new meanings. With games, a new language had to be created from scratch once those first games appeared. As they became more popular, the language evolved and terms were borrowed or created from wherever was required.