John Evans' Blog

Tag: games

Game dates!

by on Aug.22, 2007, under Uncategorized

So my calendar informs me that today is the 20th anniversary of the US release of The Legend of Zelda. I can’t find a source for the exact date, but the year is correct, so…Yay, historic date!

Speaking of dates, September 1st is the deadline for entering the Annual Interactive Fiction Competition!

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Downloadable Developments

by on Jul.28, 2007, under Uncategorized

So I had on my iTunes, playing through various songs, while I looked through an Xbox Live newsletter I had received by email.

Also sprach Zarathustra began to play…

…just as I saw something new coming to XBox Live Arcade…Marathon: Durandal.

This can’t be a coincidence. Eat the path.

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Random Thoughts

by on Jun.15, 2007, under Uncategorized

Being a game designer/developer, I write in second person a lot.

If I see one more anime, manga or game with a brother and sister who “aren’t related by blood”, I’m going to scream.

Does anyone else really dislike the taste of mace? It seems somehow rancid to me.

What is the one game available on both XBox Live Arcade and the Wii Virtual Console?

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by on May.29, 2007, under Uncategorized

Today’s mail had a surprise.

Ryan Miller rocks.

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Revisiting the topic of ‘fun work’

by on May.28, 2007, under Uncategorized

“One of the dirty little secrets of gaming is that playing a game is work. Not hard work and, if we’ve done our jobs right, not unpleasant work. But compared with other media, playing a game is absolutely work. A story moment can serve as reward for successful in-game actions, pulling players along to the next part of the game.”
Warren Spector

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The evil from…The Future!

by on Jan.01, 2007, under Uncategorized

So, last post I talked about the past. Now I’ll talk about the future.

Aching Dreams. Ghostlashing. “LSC…” Rosewood. Colonization. Time travel. The Octopoid Alectrometer. Secret languages. Tengu. Outer Gods. The Armadillo Dimension. Transuranics. Lebiscites. Mazuronium. Sweet Flash Mashup. Dragon food. Heju. The Secret Spices. Spell research. Slippery heat. I-Con. Confluence. FINAH. World 7. Return of the Yellow Turbans. Room 2-214. The Nine Games. And…the Piper.

“I think I’m supposed to laugh maniacally now.”

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Game Theory – Fun Work

by on Nov.07, 2006, under Uncategorized

So I have this theory…Games people play are made up of tasks to perform. These tasks could range from throwing a ball so it goes through a hoop, to tapping buttons in the right rhythm, to planning a battle strategy for your virtual units across a virtual battlefield. Since I like strategy computer games, though, I’m going to be focusing on mental tasks. (Applying my arguments to other games is left as an exercise for the reader.)

But playing a game encompasses other tasks, too. Clicking the mouse in such a way as to select the exact combination of units you want, that can be thought of as a task. Or waiting for the game to load can be a tasks. In a larger perspective, leveling up your characters until you’re powerful enough to get to the next part of the story is a task.

All of these tasks are work. The interesting thing is that some of this work is “fun work” and some is just work. Game players expect to (are trained to?) put up with various bits of unfun work to get to the fun work. We just hope it’s worth it in the end.

What’s really interesting is that different people find different types of work to be fun. Depending on your tastes, you may enjoy a completely different aspect of a given game than someone else. For example, I know the old game X-COM: Enemy Unknown/UFO Defense has some devoted fans. I played it, and I enjoyed it. Yet, while it seemed like the focus of the game was the turn-based tactical battles, I saw those battles more as something to be endured. For me they were not-quite-fun work; what I really enjoyed were researching, constructing bases, planning overall strategy like that. (I bet someone out there probably thinks this position is heresy, but all I’m talking about are my personal gaming tastes. 😉 )

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but I was particularly inspired by a post on Penny Arcade today. To quote:

When a battle pops up between your party and let’s say some wolves in [Final Fantasy X] you just select attack on all your characters, maybe toss in a fire spell for fun and then watch the wolves bite it…Most of the time, it’s just you selecting the same moves over and over, occasionally dropping a healing potion. Well all that [Final Fantasy XII] has done is streamline that process. I’m not pushing “X” as much but I’m doing the same things. It was hard for me to get my head around at first because I wanted to believe I was doing more than that but I wasn’t. I wanted to believe that every fight in [Final Fantasy IX] really required strategy but it didn’t…You just grind through monsters until you hit a boss and that’s when the combat really gets interesting.

So what he’s saying is that the Final Fantasy games have a lot of “work” which basically doesn’t require any work at all. These “non-boss monster encounters” can be handled the same way once you familiarize yourself with the battle system. Basically, with the new battle system in FFXII, you can just sit back and watch them be taken care of automatically.

Which begs the question, why are they there at all?

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Game Review: Sigma Star Saga

by on Oct.19, 2006, under Uncategorized

So I recently found Sigma Star Saga marked down a bit. It’s a Game Boy Advance RPG…with a bit of a twist.

BRILLIANT idea. So-so execution.

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Gaymer Survey

by on Jun.09, 2006, under Uncategorized

I’ve heard about an interesting survey, dealing with online games, socializing and (a little bit) sexual orientation.

The Gaymer Survey

I encourage everyone who plays computer or video games to fill out this survey. Anyone, of any sexuality. Some of the questions are kind of personal, but it’s all completely anonymous. I’d like to help out people that are actually trying to research this stuff…and I’m interested to see what their results are…

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