Below you'll find blog posts on the site that were made by people this account has listed as friends. You'll also see replies that your friends may have made to posts from people who you don't currently count as friends. As many as 20 posts and replies will display, assuming enough of those individuals have posted in their blogs.
Wow, it looks like you're making pretty good progress on that list! Congrats on setting a fun goal like that for yourself and sticking to it!
I don't trust myself to try a never-ending MMORPG. There are too many great games with a definite ending that I still need to play first.
Title: Expect more retro coverage here from yours truly
Posted: June 27, 2012 (02:42 AM)
I decided that it's a bit silly how I have close to 300 games for the NES, SNES and Genesis that I basically never play, especially since I know that I love me some retro gaming. The main issue was that I didn't want to fiddle around with having three separate retro systems hooked up to my television, which already is surrounded by newer systems.
The solution brought itself to my attention several months back: it's the Hyperkin RetroN 3. The problem was that I had a hard time "pulling the trigger" on a purchase, because technically I already have the hardware to play my games. It's in boxes here in my apartment.
Finally, I decided that if this would help me get more use out of my games, it was worth doing. So I made the purchase, along with some knockoff NES and SNES controllers (which are remarkably good and cheap). Apparently, with patents expired, people can make great hardware to play all these old games.
The system arrived today, and I have already reviewed a game as a result. I look forward to (hopefully) playing through and reviewing plenty more retro titles from my collection in the months ahead, if there's interest. I do have a lot of great games--or potentially great games that I've not yet played, despite owning them--that aren't yet reviewed on the site. I'd like to see HonestGamers get back to posting a nice selection of reviews for those older titles, not just the new stuff... though I plan to keep up with that, too, with help from freelancers and staff.
So anyway, that's an update from me. I hadn't posted in this blog for awhile, and I figured this was as good a reason to post as any!
Horror games -- good horror games -- go out of their way to make yu feel like you're a/ always being watched and b/ there is always something just behind you. It's supposed to make you feel uneasy at all times. Silent Hill: The Room knows that, but does not know how to employ a subtle touch. So:
There's a new landing page for the site, which I know is always a surprise but I hope that you'll all find the new layout useful. It should more effectively highlight a variety of new content for people who visit the site for the first time, while the content that more regular users tend to enjoy most is right near the top of the page (or requires less scrolling to reach).
I've posted in more detail on the forums. You can view that topic right here.
In other news, I've taken additional steps to disable iframes on the forum, both in messages and in signatures, as they can serve as a security exploit. I know some people like to use things that include iframes, but there's no telling who might control the content on the other end, so it was an appropriate change. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Good luck, man. Every now and then, something comes along that takes priority over reviewing video games online, and I suppose this just about registers as such.
Hey, congrats! The kid sounds really cute. :)
It's a shame you put this in your blog. I don't think people read these anymore, so that's probably why you didn't get any responses. I'm glad I checked, though! I was wondering when this day would come.
Good luck with raising the little guy. If we happen to see any activity from you in the next few weeks / months, then great. But if not, that's fine, too. You have a whole new chapter in your life now, and I hope you enjoy it.
It's a round number, so I'm noting it as a milestone of sorts. Which gives me an excuse to celebrate heavily today. CHEERS!
Can you provide a link? I think I know where it is on Amazon, but I'm not sure.
I decided to join on the Apollo 18 20th anniversary tribute which was posted to the text adventure forums back in December. I probably took too many games--the organizer wanted them all to be claimed by January 1 or so and so I stepped in with some ideas by January 15th, worrying nobody was going to take things. So I feel bad having taken so much, and I didn't really go after reciprocal testing, but I have to say this: it was a ton of FUN when I had the time, and despite being rather sick for 10 days, the 3-month buffer was enough.
And other people started picking things off. Some members of the Chicago-IF group took one here and there. Some other people I'd never heard of dropped in, too, some writing their first games. And if there aren't any super-big-long-time-historic traditional names writing (except Nick Montfort) I really enjoyed the opportunity to beta-test other people's games, which gave me ideas for my own.
I have a hard time finding what sort of criticism and creative trade I like, but with text adventures, I think I am really happiest at the moment. The sort of criticism where I know someone is going to fix Obvious Bug X (e.g. they say there's graffiti there and the player can't examine it) or they don't respond to a standard verb (e.g. SING in a game with a guitar, or maybe BURN PHOTOGRAPH in a game where the room is on fire.) It gives a chance to be positive and suggest a person can do more. That's when criticism's at its best.
So whom would I recommend? I had a blast playing Carl Muckenhoupt's game (My Evil Twin) before it was fixed, and I know he will--his game The Gostak will either annoy you or blow your mind or both.
I was able to provide a lot of checking for Ben Collins-Sussman and Jack Welch's Narrow Your Eyes. As they co-wrote it, and they live a thousand miles apart, they used Google Code. I enjoyed being able to report issues to the issue page and also being able to see the source--which I learned so much from.
Ryan Veeder also won IFComp 2011 (just ahead of someone else here's fine effort on HonestGamers) and his two games are almost certainly worth playing. He writes funny stuff.
Whether or not you're familiar with TMBG, it's probably a lot of fun to poke around. I have to admit, I've got a potential embarrassment if some of my games don't work (hint: Space Suit received the most testing) but I think if you're in the mood for a quick text adventure game, any of the Fingertips will do. They're all intended to be 1-movers and many have VERY different ways of looking at things.
And I just like how this collection acted as a sort of farm system for people who were maybe newer to writing text adventures to join in.
Anyway. That's what I've been up to. I'm already planning my next game, too. It may not get wide exposure, but after my 2011 IFComp entry, I finally wrote a game (as I wanted to.) Now I want to write one really well.
So I know Jason has a full-length novel. What's everyone else doing writing-wise outside of HG?
Title: Review, in case it doesn't get into the database...
Posted: March 19, 2012 (01:16 AM)
LR for WonderSwan
I wasn't aware of the WonderSwan until I went searching for new versions of Lode Runner (LR.) It was a last resort. You see, so many ports of Lode Runner contain the same levels from the original. Maybe they throw in a story with animals to rescue or something, but it that couldn't disguise the exact same levels made by kids pulled off the street long ago back in 1980. Which is annoying to see after I've poked my way through several Japanese menus. Yeah, first world problems, rom downloads aren't perfectly legal, and so on. But when so many Lode Runner games come with level editors (also part of the original) that the developers themselves never seem to use, it's hard to believe much care went into these products.
Not so with the WonderSwan port (WS.) It's not brilliant, but it doesn't have to be. It hits all the basic LR puzzles and adds a few more. As in other LR games, you basically climb ladders, walk on ropes, and dig holes to the left and right for enemies to fall in. The holes can fill up, trapping the enemies, who reappear at the top, or even you. Get all the gold, and you will get a ladder or door to the next level, often positioned awkwardly. You die if enemies touch you, but it's also common to get stuck with no way out, which is awfully frustating but also the source of some of the best puzzles. You may have to dig through a whole structure for that one last gold piece without getting trapped, or you may need to make an educated guess about which blocks are fall-through--they look the same as the regular ones. It's part logic and experimentation, and often after thinking I knew what a square had to be, or thinking the game was vague, the solution tipped off other things. LR: WS is really good at forcing this educated guesswork or giving these a-ha moments.
And here the game changes more than just enemy speed or how fast the holes fill in--those have been enough to create vastly different puzzles. The biggest is the crumbling block--it, like the fall-through block, is indistinguishable from the regular sort you walk over. However, it disappears after a second once you step over it, often making a one-way passage or ruining an obvious digging sequence.
The other new feature is water. It's an amusing one, where a small pool can spill out to the whole level. If you dig a bounding block, it pours out to that side and below. Water slows you down, unless you chose the scuba suit at the level's start--and then, you aren't able to outrun monsters until you're in the water. There're also lobsters that scuttle back and forth in some pools. They're often guarding gold, but if you're clever, you can get the lobsters to block enemy. You can also walk on top of the lobsters for some tough-to-get gold pieces if you're very careful. And if all of this doesn't sound like much, it doesn't need to be. LR is very basic without ever approaching the total dryness of, for instance, Sokoban, and also unlike Sokoban, the action and interaction allow for believable added enemies and challenges like this.
LR also makes challenges optional, so you don't get stuck as easily. Non-gold items you can get in WS compromise between die-hard fans and people new to the game and a great way to get around the usual "gee, you're stuck" in a puzzle game. For instance, cake slices just get you points, and getting 90% of feathers unlocks the sort of bonus round Lode Runner fans love. Often you need to do something like jump and run on a falling enemy, or futz with a certain area at the start, to get these. Sometimes you just need to pray that the ladders that pop up after you get the gold will let you grab everything.
All this gets more demanding and nastier, and I mean this in the most complimentary way, as you reach the end of the 125 levels. Sometimes you need to freeze the screen to see the whole board--the WonderSwan screen not being very big--and that leaves the game feeling like busy work at times, because you have to scroll up to see where the enemies you just killed are about to reincarnate. This doesn't ruin the game, of course, but often feeling like the WonderSwan is asking you to check your work can get in the way of basking in a nice solution.
This is about the biggest nuisance, though. LR is a good game for black-and-white systems, and here the lobster and your squid-like opponents are more than acceptable. The scuba suit you wear is also very cute, with little bubbles coming from your guy either way (no, he won't drown if he stays underwater.) And if there are no especially wild puzzles, the game never seems to be mailing it in.
All this left me with a very favorable impression of the WonderSwan. Not that I found another game to play. But it's good to find a port of my favorite series on an obscure system that upholds the tradition and does something new. It'sabout the right balance of challenging and inviting, and if every port had thrown in a tweak like water or crumbling blocks, it'd have been quite exciting. It's too late to hope that Lode Runner will ever make a comeback, and I think I've exhausted all the old-school systems that might have new levels, so I'm grateful to be able to find games on the Nintendo 64, TurboGrafx and, yes, the WonderSwan which at least reminded me that other people enjoy the challenges in Lode Runner and were able to pass them on.
Title: Dumb baddies in my game prototype leads me to Pacman docs
Posted: March 13, 2012 (08:44 PM)
Last night I was programming some super-elementary pathfinding into the game prototype I'm working on and I noticed enemies were getting stuck on corners when following the player. They don't yet have the brains to try moving a few more pixels forward so that they can round the corner and continue the pursuit.
Here's a demo video (152kb). The pink/red rectangle is the player. The bottom-left blue rectangle is the enemy ploddingly following him. (And the things that look like a trail of turds are player footsteps… In case I have a level set in dust or snow)
Googling for information on path-finding, I came across this nice webpage called The Pac-Man Dossier which explains the workings of Pac-Man in extreme but user-friendly detail. It didn't solve my problem but it's more interesting than my problem and you may enjoy having a look at it.
Title: Re: I really want to go for a walk on the beach with Venter
Posted: March 11, 2012 (01:48 AM)
It's worth every penny, but don't forget, you'll also have to pay for your own airfare and lodging! I'd maybe let you sleep on the floor in my front room, since you would have to come all that distance, but you seemed just a little too excited about the walk on the beach.
I didn't even listen to 300 new songs in 2011, probably. Wow.
Title: Re: Six wins Best Implementation at XYZZYs
Posted: March 09, 2012 (02:46 PM)
Congrats on your win. That's gotta be gratifying!
Lol...you might be right. Since, while CC was a long review, it wasn't 350K words long.
Title: Re: My reviews are getting longer again...
Posted: March 06, 2012 (08:03 PM)
I think you mean KB. MB would be a LOT of text.
This morning I attended the 2011 XYZZY Awards Ceremony on IFMud. The XYZZYs are best quickly described as the Oscars of Interactive Fiction, voted for by any interested players over two rounds.
My game Six was a finalist in a lot of categories:
Best Supplemental Materials
In the end I won Best Implementation. And I think that was a good win, as I do believe in the strength of the game's implementation. The game that really mopped up, and ultimately won Best Game, was Cryptozookeeper.