John Evans' Blog

Tag: games

Fragment of a horrible dream

by on Jan.31, 2010, under Uncategorized

Recently I’ve been playing Echo Bazaar. It’s a neat web-based game with a very evocative setting; in summary, Victorian London is dragged to Hell. (It also uses Twitter OAuth authentication, so you need a Twitter account to play…I think.)

Anyway, last night I had a dream where I was reading this text (as well as exploring the area mentioned). It was surprising how complete the text was in my dream (not FULLY complete, but the important parts were there). I feel like I was reading this from some alternate version of Echo Bazaar…some version featuring, not London, but a certain city with an island nearby.

=====

One might wonder how several thousand people on an island with so few routes on or off. Food is provided by Hunger’s blessing, in a swarm of black bees that bring forth an endless supply of honey. Chefs of the island, such as they are, most famously use black pepper to break up the monotony. There are rumors that the honey has subtle side effects on the mind and soul; the terms “sweet tooth” and “heavy eater” have a particular meaning on the Island.

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Disgaea & Odin Sphere Re-released

by on Sep.13, 2008, under Uncategorized

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has been re-released in a “PlayStation 2 Greatest Hits” edition. It’s a turn-based tactics game with its own nifty style, a cool story with often hilarious dialogue, cute and memorable characters, wild game mechanics…In short, I recommend it highly if you like tactics games at all.

Odin Sphere has also been re-released, if you missed it before. It’s a sort of side-scrolling beat-em-up with RPG elements, but the art is absolutely amazing. I’ve heard it described as coming from a parallel world where people kept developing 2D art instead of trying to work with 3D. Definitely recommended.

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Try not to become a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value. –Albert Einstein

by on Aug.14, 2008, under Uncategorized

Tonight I attended the IGDA New York City chapter’s “Demo Night VII”. People with just-completed or nearly-completed games come to show them off.

There was one I found particularly interesting. There was a man named Ilan Schifter who…I don’t know how or why he got into this, or even many of the details. But he visited a hospital where they had children who were developmentally disabled, or something…many of them in wheelchairs, having the mind of a 3-year-old, not really able to do anything on their own. And sometimes the teachers would just have to leave them alone to amuse themselves…only some of them couldn’t do anything more than blink.

So he decided to make a game for them. What he finally decided upon was a game that sensed motion. It was actually quite clever. A camera was pointed at the player, showing them on screen. When they moved, little green flashes showed the movement detection. (Or it could be changed to blue or red flashes, or flashes on a white background instead of video–because the kids couldn’t all see the same way.)

The game itself was quite simple. A bubble floated onto the screen, wafting toward the center. You sometimes heard “Pop the bubble!”. And if you moved in such a way as to intersect the bubble, it popped and revealed a little picture…A guy in a car, an airplane, a television. And you heard something like “Good job!”.

It was…really something. I don’t know why, but…The thought of these kids starved for entertainment, being able to play this simple, cute little game…It brought tears to my eyes.

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Aching Dreams!

by on Mar.03, 2008, under Uncategorized

So, I’ve finally finished a secret project I’ve been working on for…almost two years, in fact. So at long last, here’s my pornographic Flash game!

Aching Dreams – Fantasy Hentai Date Sim!

Go there and check it out (and vote 5 😉 ). It’s not “great literature”, but it’s a pretty fun game. It has completely original artwork, with dialogue and programming by me. Perhaps most important, it’s actually completely finished. 😉

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Why They Banned Legos

by on Feb.24, 2008, under Uncategorized

Why We Banned Legos is a quite interesting article I just ran across. It’s all about children constructing a social system and economy out of…well, nothing; nothing except their own preconceptions. Another interesting article compares it to economies in massively multiplayer games.

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The decline of puzzle games

by on Nov.26, 2007, under Uncategorized

So over Thanksgiving I got to play my brother’s copy of Zack and Wiki: Search for Barbaros’ Treasure. It certainly had a great visual style, great atmosphere, high production values.

However..At one point I wandered out onto a floor and it collapsed under me, causing instant death. Also, the manual tells you that there’s a hint function that will tell you when you’ve gotten the level into an unsolvable state.

Instant death? Unsolvable states? Didn’t we get past this in the nineties? Next I’ll be seeing a maze of dark rooms that you can only map by dropping items. I can hear the interactive fiction community screaming in frustration.

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Marking Out

by on Oct.25, 2007, under Uncategorized

Professional wrestling fandom has its own terminology. Nowadays we all know that the feuds and storylines of pro wrestling are fictional, and in fact they have been since the 1880s. In years past the wrestling organizations tried hard to preserve kayfabe (wrestling’s version of “the curtain”), but the internet has basically made that impossible. It used to be that the fans who thought wrestling was really real were called “marks” (wrestling and its slang terms have their roots in carnivals). The fans who knew that it was fictional were “smarts”. Of course, the smarts usually only get the information the wrestling organizations allow them to get. On some level, you don’t know everything about what’s going on, so fans sometimes refer to themselves as “smart marks” (or even “smarks”!).

In actuality, the terms “smart” and “mark” really refer to different ways of appreciating something. To be a smart is to analyze it, think about what goes on behind the scenes, the techniques, the craft, the work that went into it.

To be a mark is to sit back and simply enjoy it.

Sometimes wrestling fans will even bemoan the fact that with all their insider knowledge they can’t just sit back and enjoy wrestling at “face value”. They don’t have that mark perspective that really lets them appreciate it the way it was meant to be enjoyed. But every now and then something happens that makes you forget everything you know and just say…”Holy crap, that was so cool!”

This is called marking out.

And what’s an easy way to get people to mark out? Nostalgia. In other words–Sequels!

Bionic Commando

The Dark Crystal

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Portal.

by on Oct.12, 2007, under Uncategorized

(Fantastically innovative gameplay + hilarious, insane, warped, McGoohanesque dark humor) * months of polishing = Highest possible recommendation.

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I finally have cake.

by on Oct.10, 2007, under Uncategorized

:9

THE CAKE IS A LIE

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