Monthly Archives: September 2010

Discworld: Where monsters are folks just like us

One thing I love about Discworld is that its monstrous races, well, aren’t. They are ordinary people like you or I, and their “inhumanity” comes out mostly in the form of funny quirks. The werewolves? Prone to that slight problem … Continue reading

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Congratulations to EasyGameStation and Carpe Fulgur on Recettear’s sales figures

Update, 3 January 2010: Recettear sells over 100,000 copies. My latest post here.   Carpe Fulgur, the company which localised EasyGameStation’s Recettear (see my two earlier posts), has announced Recettear has sold over 26,000 copies in the last month. I’d … Continue reading

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Discworld: fantasy cover art that’s actually good

Terry Pratchett is, I think, pretty much unique amongst fantasy authors in that he is blessed with good cover art for his novels*. First came the covers drawn by Josh Kirby. Even before I started reading the Discworld novels, I … Continue reading

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Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale — The Verdict

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the demo of a game named Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale (please see the initial post for the game’s premise). I’ve now spent around ten hours with the demo + full game, … Continue reading

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The other Paradox game I’m looking forward to: Crusader Kings 2

The other Paradox Interactive game I’m looking forward to (once it’s had a good dose of patches and maybe an expansion pack) is Crusader Kings 2. Now, there’s precious little detail about this one; a quick search turned up nothing … Continue reading

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Another game I’m looking forward to: Europa Universalis 3: Divine Wind

Yesterday, I forgot to mention another game I’m looking forward to: Divine Wind, the forthcoming expansion pack for Paradox Interactive’s historical grand-strategy game, Europa Universalis III. The EU games model world history between, roughly, 1400 until 1800; the key word … Continue reading

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What I’m looking forward to – September 2010 edition

With Civilization V newly released in the US and about to launch in Australia, this seems like an opportune time to ask: which games, books, etc am I looking forward to? There are a few entries on this list, and … Continue reading

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Strategy games that built to climactic endings

How does a strategy game provide a satisfying late-game experience? This, I think, is a two-pronged problem. Part 1 is avoiding the things that actively drag on the endgame: micromanagement (see my previous post) and the snowball problem, when someone … Continue reading

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Strategy games and the grind of micromanagement

Grindy late-game micromanagement is an endemic issue with strategy games, especially 4X and TBS games. Normally, this is “simply” a matter of having to look after too many cities, provinces, and/or units. If I never have to spend another hour … Continue reading

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Freebie highlight: “Firstborn”, by Brandon Sanderson

There is a lot of good, free fiction (and games, and other media) on the Internet, and from time to time, I’ll highlight something that I particularly enjoyed. Our first freebie is “Firstborn“, a piece of short fiction by Brandon … Continue reading

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Art imitates life – how do your gaming habits mirror your real-world ones?

When we play games, we use the same brain that controls all our other behaviour. So it’s not really surprising that a bunch of my real-world quirks carry over to the way I play games. To name just two examples: … Continue reading

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Civilization 5 doesn’t forget the little guys

Civilization V’s release is imminent, which means turn-based strategy gaming is probably headed for its biggest launch in years. Firaxis has just released the manual, if you’d like to study the rules for yourself. And early impressions are positive. If … Continue reading

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A wretched hive of SCUMM and villainy

Remember the classic LucasArts SCUMM adventure games, such as Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Monkey Island and Manic Mansion? This entry in the Star Wars Uncut project (fifteen-second fan enactments of individual scenes from Star Wars) is an … Continue reading

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Tytania, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and a focus on factions

Lately, I’ve resumed watching Tytania, a space opera anime about the conflict between the four dukes of the Tytania clan on the one hand, and happy-go-lucky, Irresponsible Captain Tylor-esque rebel Fan Hyulick on the other. The two sides are parallel … Continue reading

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Valkyria Chronicles and unintended consequences

Famitsu magazine has confirmed we’ll see a Valkyria Chronicles 3, apparently for the PSP. On the one hand, I’m glad: the world can always use more TRPGs, and I love the hands-on unit control that is the selling point of … Continue reading

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Is A Song of Ice and Fire really that bleak?

Now that HBO has released a new teaser, a behind-the-scenes video and a “making of” subsite for A Game of Thrones, and since I had my copy of AGOT autographed by George R R Martin today, this seems an opportune … Continue reading

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Stargate SG-1 and the importance of creating a believable world

I’ve seen the first five seasons of Stargate: SG-1, and so far, I quite like it. The pilot episode was as close as we’ll ever come to a TV adaptation of UFO: Enemy Unknown/X-Com: UFO Defense, and although the following … Continue reading

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Cyclic history?

Cyclic history – and specifically, the notion that empires will inevitably rise to galaxy-spanning heights, then decline not to mediocrity or middling-power status but to utter oblivion – is deeply embedded in the DNA of science fiction. Asimov did it … Continue reading

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Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale

Have you played RPGs? Then you know how it feels to be gouged when you come into town to buy potions or stimpaks or shotgun shells. You know how it feels when you can barely scrape by selling hard-won rats’ … Continue reading

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Empire: Totally Better Than I Expected

I went into Empire: Total War (“Empire”) with very low expectations. I had read the horror stories about bugs and horrendous AI, heard the jokes about “Empire: Total Crap”. My interest in the game’s concept made me throw it in … Continue reading

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Book review from my archives: Bridge of Birds

Bridge of Birds Barry Hughart   This is a fabulous novel, a plot-coupon quest fantasy done right. It takes place in ancient pseudo-China, where the protagonist must go for help after the children of his village mysteriously fall ill. Help … Continue reading

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A book review from my archives: Declare

DECLARE Tim Powers The year is 1961, and the Cold War is at its peak. Andrew Hale ekes out a modest living as an academic in England, but a call from an old acquaintance triggers his abandonment of middle-aged obscurity, … Continue reading

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