Okay, everyone. Now is the time to sound off about your experiences with MMOs and MUDs!
Ah, yes, it's time to start thinking about the Rogue chapter of Vintage Gaming. Of course, I covered this game briefly in D&D, but want to develop a different sort of idea of the game for this project. We've already covered Diablo in another chapter, so I don't think there'll be a great need to dwell on that relationship.
Ah, Simcity. Yup, that's the chapter I'm currently working on, and learning all kinds of neat stuff about Will Wright. There are tons of interviews with him on the net, perhaps because he attracted so much attention from journalists and teachers.
Hail, brave adventurer! That's right--it's time for me to start drafting the chapter on Ultima for Vintage Gaming, the forthcoming book by your very own Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton. Thankfully, I've already done much of the necessary research for this title for Dungeons & Desktops, but I'd still like to hear your stories about the Ultima series. What is the best Ultima? What is the worst? What do you consider the most important innovations introduced by the series? I can think of several right off the top, such as the focus on ethical decisions and the more personality-driven character creation system of later games. The series is also known for introducing really memorable characters and stories, years ahead of the more character and plot-driven JRPGs. Other factors worth considering are the heavy attention given to the interactive world in Black Gate, and the radical changes made to the engine from game to game.
Well, the time has come for me to turn my attention to King's Quest, having recently finished the drafts of Pac-Man and Myst. I played through the original King's Quest and a few of the later games, though again they're blurring together somewhat in my mind (will have to go back in to refresh my memory). Naturally, a discussion of KQ will let me talk about the PcJr as well as EGA and the early PC game industry. It'll be fun to talk about the many spin-offs, though I don't want to get too far away from the original game.
***UPDATE: Links to my reviews of all the Myst games below.***
Whew. I've been working all day on the Myst chapter of the book. I'm actually a good choice for this chapter, since I've played ALL the Myst games from start to finish and have a great love and respect for this venerable series. That said, it's been challenging; the games tend to blur together in my mind. I still think Myst IV: Revelation is the greatest of them all, simply because it had the best graphics and puzzles. Still, I admire III because of its brilliant marble puzzle and voice acting, and the final game for its luxury car interface that I still think is the best ever made for an adventure game. It's *comfortable.* I love it.
Well, I've decided to leap forward a bit and start working on the Pong chapter. While many people seem to think Pong is more fun to historians than gamers, I did see its draw demonstrated recently in Chicago during a videogame exhibit.
"Art" is a word frequently thrown around in the videogame world, usually in the question, "Are videogames art?". While art truly is in the eye of the beholder and it's ultimately fruitless to try and argue if videogames and art can be one in the same, from my perspective there have been precious few times when something in the videogame world struck me as beautiful and made me feel emotions normally reserved for my experiences with other forms of entertainment. It's with that idea in mind then that I come to Braid from Number None Inc., for Microsoft's Xbox 360, via Xbox Live Arcade. To me, this time manipulation puzzle platformer is art in its truest sense, from the painterly, animated graphics style to the almost transcendental instrumental music to the rather flowery and richly constructed prose. Braid is also a game of seemingly purposeful contrasts, embracing often overly tread videogame constructs like jumping on enemy heads to dispatch them (Super Mario Bros.), finding and using keys (Shamus) and puzzle pieces (Impossible Mission), and reversing time in order to meet or re-do certain goals (Blinx), all wrapped up in an achingly beautiful aesthetic that makes everything else about it quite all right thank you very much. If I weren't terrifically busy and feeling a bit guilty about best use of my own time, I'd buy the 1200 point game immediately, but I will have to make do with a taste of the free demo for the time being, a demo of a game I'll want to expose my wife to at the first opportunity so I have someone else, firsthand, to share the experience with (and an experience it is). There are already countless reviews of Braid (whose title, for those wondering, is also fitting), but here's a brief one to get you started that hints just a bit more at what the game actually offers...
I was browsing Slashdot's Top Indie Games You Wouldn't Mind Paying For and came across GameBiz, an absolutely fascinating game that puts you in the role of a game developer. You get to create games and then market them on a range of platforms including the Amiga (the game begins in 1980). You can also make your own platforms! It's a freebie, so might as well try it out. I know it'd be fun to finally get to see how the Amiga would've turned out with proper management! If you do try the game, please let us know what you think. Click more to see the developer's blurb.