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Thu 20 October 2016

Filed under Games

Tags design theme the matrix

All through 2015 and 2016 I thought I was going to be regularly updating this thing, but there’s “always something,” which in most cases means “I’m an adult with a full-time job and a garden who travels a lot.” Unfortunately that means that I haven’t been writing, even if it does mean that I got to eat some pretty great salads. Fortunately, I recently declined to contribute to this year’s The Revenge of 31 Days of Horror Games because I don’t really play very many video games anymore which require turning on something other than my phone. Even more fortunately, I then played SOMA, a game which frustrated me so much that I thought it might be worth breaking down what about it does and doesn’t work - mostly, it’s things that don’t. The game seemed to be relatively lauded when it came out, and I loved Frictional’s Amnesia, so I was pretty excited for this under the sea horror adventure. What a sad thing life is.

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Mon 22 December 2014

Filed under Games

Tags gia theme civilization design

After I wrote my piece about Civilization: Beyond Earth for The GIA, there was something nagging at me that I had forgotten to write about or clearly articulate. It took me listening to the excellent Three Moves Ahead episode on Beyond Earth and a discussion with my friend Alexis for me to really nail down precisely what it was that was bothering me so much about the game that I could distill into a single word: Ownership. Games in the Civilization series tend to be very centered around “owning” your civ as part of the emergent story that you write, but Beyond Earth — because of its aggressively sterile theming — makes it very hard for you to claim ownership of any of the content that arises over the course of an indivudal game. I decided to dig a little deeper into what I remember about the game to isolate the individual elements that contribute to this problem — and how they might be fixed by an enterprising community modder or an expansion which drastically restructures parts of the base game.

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