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Making a new, but Old School RPG

Brenda Brathwaite and Tom Hall of Loot Drop believe that people are ready for more of the old, not the new. They might be right. Their Kickstarter originally started out as simply “Old School RPG”, but has quickly evolved to include many more details and a proper name under Shaker. Its a project that deserves a little attention both for its original story setting as well as its veteran creator cred. We’re going to take a deep look at everything this project is about and try to make sense of it all as you may be about as overwhelmed as I was at first. These Kickstarter projects are definitely beginning to get a little hard to digest!

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Project Eternity passes $2.5 mil, begins to take shape

I’ve been watching Project Eternity with a distant eye. I know its there, I pledged a bit of money and I’m sort of trusting the guys at Obsidian to do something special. But obviously Obsidian aims to impress us and prove that they’re not just out for a quick money grab. Indeed, Eternity is already beginning to take some real shape and form, even while its Kickstarter winds down.

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PAX going international, gets extra day

PAX will be soon heading to Austrailia, as confirmed by Jerry “Tycho” Holkins and Mike “Gabe” Krahulik. This means that the Penny-Arcade brand and the PAX event will be becoming an international license and will likely be spreading elsewhere to places like the UK some time in the future.

But the biggest surprise is that PAX Prime will be extended by one day next year for a total of 4. That means that at this point, the 3 day mark, I would still be only 3/4 of the way done! That’s nuts!

PAX Prime is always an amazing experience, but going this year as a blogger and someone looking for leads and stories made a huge difference, I had way more fun than I ever expected and talked to so many people that my head is spinning. I haven’t figured out how to write while going to these things quite yet, I was busy at all times of the day. So I don’t know how these other sites do it, but I’ll figure it out. I guess what I’m saying is: sorry for the delay in posts, but expect a huge influx this week, I got more than I can handle, which is great.

Glad to be back everybody!

Running a “train” on board games

Ticket to Ride has become not just one of the most entertaining games to play lately, but the definitive pastime for get-togethers.  Excuse me here if I’m a little late to the party for something that clearly has been around for some time and has been enjoyed by many, but that’s typically the case for me when it comes to analog games.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing it like crazy, both on the newly released Steam version as well as the old-school board version.

For the uninitiated, Ticket to Ride plays as a secret mission style of game where only you know which route it is you need to connect, say New York to Memphis or Toronto to Seattle.  Each turn is a risk-reward between either laying down new track to collecting resources for future turns.  The hoarders are rewarded by not revealing their strategies and laying everything down at once, while the aggressive are rewarded by snatching up early leads and ruining the best laid plans of conservative players.

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Humble Bundle 5 ends at a staggering $5.1 million

Bundles and indie game sales are not going away any time soon, not if you consider the latest success from Humble Bundle.  With possibly the best catalog of games in their bundle to date, this Humble Bundle earned over $5 million, selling to nearly 600k people over 2 weeks.  The record number eclipses the last successful Humble Bundles 2 and 3, which earned just over $2 million a piece.

I’d chalk it up to a lot of now must-play indie games all being gathered in one place.  I mean, this is the cream of the crop and I may even go so far to say that many of these are indie game classics.  Bastion, LIMBO, Amnesia, Braid, Super Meat Boy and darling hit Psychonauts, amongst some others.  Its hard to articlate just how amazing these games really are.  Add on the soundtrack of each game to boot and you’ve got one nice little package for an average sale of $8.53, which also happens to be the same price I spend on lunch at Quizno’s.

I was for awhile a doubter that the bundle model could continue at its current clip and I think Humble Bundle did a good job in slowing the pace down a little so the rest of us could catch our breath, but now we’re talking some much more tangible numbers that don’t completely devalue the games they are representing.  I feel like even at $8.53 people are percieving these things to be a little more valuable, but time will tell.

This isn’t post-apocalyptic fiction, its Civilization II!

Reddit user Lycerius has been playing the same game of Civilization II for nearly 10 years and the results are the thing of Fallout fan fiction.

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What the heck is the point of these E3 press conferences anyway?

Do all good things have to come to a crash and burn ending?  At one time I used to be extremely excited for all of the big publisher press conferences at E3.  They were easy to stream and digest, one could extract quite a few nuggets of greatness from them and in a way they gave E3 a very official air, but this year proved that the format has become extremely stale.

Sure, part of the problem might be playing to the lowest common denominator, a great deal of the games shown were gritty first-person shooters, but I have a hard time knocking on that as I enjoy a lot of those games.  A lot of the press doesn’t though (apparently), so I can understand why many are frustrated with this year’s big conferences.

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Playing the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend

Betas can be a 2-edged sword.  While there’s a lot of great things associated with them, such as stress testing servers, tweaking gameplay and finding copious amounts of bugs to fix, there’s also a lot of problems with them, like previewing too much of the game early and turning players away with an unfinished product.

The problem with MMO betas is that they need you to level up your character at the early stages of the game for some time, so you get to see a lot of the early game, but typically the late game is what is actually interesting.  Plus, the fact that you are usually reset in progression when the retail game releases means that there will be a lot of retreading over the same material.  Those are the actual problems I have with betas and I wish there were some way around it, but honestly this is the best way to vet a game before its ready to make a debut.

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Next Gen Jam

Millions of mostly unnecessary, shiny red particles, the definition of next gen.

So here’s the problem: the next generation of graphics is quite literally already upon us, the next generation of video game consoles is mostly unknown and the next generation of gaming is still developing.

Is anyone ready for some long-winded analytics and opinion?  E3 was a just a huge pile of conflicting themes and emotions and “next generation” was like the term that couldn’t be actually uttered, for fear of being backhanded by a Microsoft lanky.  I’ll try my best to keep the thread of discussion coherent, so here it goes.

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Deadlight: If the prince met a horde of zombies

What’s in a name anyway?  I’m not really sure, but all I know is that when I heard a passive mention of the name “Deadlight” from E3 this week, I looked it up and was immediately taken in by a game that looks like it “gets it” when it comes to the fine line between innovation while still feeling familiar.

As far as I can tell from demo videos, Deadlight is a zombie apocalypse game (whoa now everybody, don’t leave just yet!) on a 2D, Prince of Persia-inspired space.  The game looks very devoid of guns and ammunition and it looks like you will need to use your wits and the environment around you to survive.

The game also doesn’t look totally unlike another Metroidvania rip that I absolutely loved: Shadow Complex.  In fact the engine looks like a direct port, so I was a little surprised to hear the game wasn’t from Epic Games and Chair, but from good old Microsoft Game Studios with a new developer called Tequila Works.  Gameplay itself looks like it is much more akin to the classic Prince of Persia style with lots of acrobatic puzzlers.

Right now I’m just straight-up impressed with what I see and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the sleeper-hit of the summer.  The game is rumored to be featured on Microsoft’s annual Xbox Live Summer of Arcade.  Hit the jump for some video footage!

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