I’ve been very negative of episodic games before, mostly because I don’t want video games to turn into soap opera stories that string you along forever because they want to keep selling you games. This was a real concern with Dreamfall, which brought the tale to a gut-wrenching low and then abandoned the player without any assurance that a sequel would be made.
(The jury is still out for me on Half-Life 2. I thought the ending to the game itself was a cheap cliffhanger, the opening of Episode 1 was a deus ex machina, and that episode ended in a cliffhanger as well. I’m not crazy about this, but unlike Dreamfall Half-Life is more than just the story. It has fantastic gameplay to back up the story. I’m ready to forgive Valve’s cliffhanger excesses if they can bring Episode 3 to a satisfying close.)
|Sam & Max, freelance police.|
Sam and Max are “freelance police”. Sam is a Humphrey Bogart-ish dog. Max is his insane saw-toothed bunny rabbit sidekick. The two of them inhabit a world otherwise populated by humans who don’t seem to question the existence of a Dog & Rabbit freelance police team. This is modern adventure gaming at its best: Click on stuff, listen to the funny dialog, pick up everything that isn’t nailed down, solve puzzles, and watch the surreal events unfold.
I can’t sum up the plot in any meaningful way. It’s just too strange. Episode 4 is titled Abe Lincoln Must Die! and indeed you do meet Abe Lincoln, visit the White House, and sucker-punch the President of the United States. (Sort of.) The game steers clear of partisan politicial humor and aims for more universal themes like “the government wastes a lot of money” and “politicians are liars”. This is a smart move not just because it appeals to people all over the political spectrum, but because the more specific, headline-driven humor tends to age poorly and quickly. The game got me to laugh a number of times.
You can get the full game here. On the right you can see a big green button for “Get the free DEMO”, and just to the left of that is a link to “buy” the full game for $0.00. Yes I realize that is strange. No, I don’t know why it’s like that.
It’s nice to see adventure games thriving again. I’m sorry I didn’t check out this franchise sooner. Great stuff.
A Lack of Vision and Leadership
People fault EA for being greedy, but their real sin is just how terrible they are at it.
Quakecon 2011 Keynote Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Artless in Alderaan
People were so worried about the boring gameplay of The Old Republic they overlooked just how boring and amateur the art is.
Starcraft 2: Rush Analysis
I write a program to simulate different strategies in Starcraft 2, to see how they compare.
The Best of 2014
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2014.