Saturday 15 September 2012

Dark Souls

The current buzz about the excellently though game Dark Souls, is primarily about how badly ported the PC version is. For instance, it requires a user generated mod by a guy called Peter "Durante" Thoman to enable high resolution rendering, a feature which for many is the whole point of playing games on the PC in the first place. 

The game has been on the top sellers list on Steam since release, and like many others I feel a little conflicted with regards to having bought it for full price. On the one hand, we are sending the message that we want awesome games like this on the platform, which is good. But on the other hand we are also telling publishers that it's OK to do a bare minimum of effort on the conversion, which is bad.

I am not asking for a redesigned interface, tailored to the mouse and keyboard fetishistic FPS crowd, I am quite comfortable with the whole game-pad-for-computers thingy. I am however a huge graphics-whore, and do expect to be able to crank the graphics up to match the native resolution of modern displays. I also expect the frame-rate not to be soft-capped at a measly 30 FPS. Even old games like Space Invaders run at 60 FPS.

Sunday 2 September 2012

There are some who call me... 'Timmy'...?

«Diablo III» © Blizzard Entertainment. Painting by Brom
Twelve years have passed since the previous chapter in the «Diablo» saga, and for most of that time the franchise has had a dedicated player base. Will «Diablo III» have as long a lifespan? In its current form, not very likely.

In order to explain why, I must introduce you to the three player arch-types of «Magic: The Gathering»: Timmy, Johnny and Spike.

For years, Wizards of the Coast R&D have done psycho-graphic profiling on players of their collectible card games.

From this profiling they were able to come up with characteristics of three player arch-types:

Timmy (The Power Gamer): Timmy wants to be bigger, stronger and tougher than his opponent. Timmy is not concerned about winning all the time, but if once in a while he wins big, Timmy has fun.

Johnny (The Creative Gamer): For Johnny playing is a form of self-expression, and winning is not as important as being able to play on his own terms. Thinking about ways to play the game is often more fun for Johnny than actually playing it.

Spike (The Tournament Player): Spike has fun when he wins. He is not particular about whether he wins by his own devices or some strategy he read on the Internet. If something gives him an edge and it's allowed, he will use it. Spike looks for efficiency and consistency.

And now for something completely different...

This week, instead of writing about the classics, I will focus on something contemporary. More specifically I am going to bitch about Diablo III. For the record, I actually liked a lot of what Blizzard Entertainment had done to modernize the franchise, I just got tired of it faster than expected. Stay tuned...