Monthly Archives: October 2010

Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cryoburn is out!

Glancing at my “What I’m Looking Forward To” post from September, I realised that I clean forgot to mention one of the novels that I was keenly anticipating — Cryoburn, the latest entry in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga.   … Continue reading

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Conquest, Plunder and Tyranny: Explaining Dubious Morality in Strategy Games

Why do we play strategy games in ways that, in real life, would land us in the dock for crimes against humanity?   Three Moves Ahead, Troy Goodfellow’s strategy game podcast, recently discussed the ethics of wargames, but to me, … Continue reading

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Another game joins the backlog: AI War

Since Arcen Games’ AI War, which I’ve previously mentioned, is currently 50% off at Steam and Impulse, I took the plunge and bought a copy. I’m still in the midst of the tutorial, but one look at the game’s very … Continue reading

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Storytelling in Games: “What’s it all about?” Or, the importance of gameplay mechanics

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Storytelling in Games

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Storytelling in GamesNote: Storytelling in Dominions 3, part of this feature series, is available off-site. You can read it at Flash of Steel.   “What’s the story all about?”   … Continue reading

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Calling all wannabe starship bridge officers! Artemis: Starship Bridge Simulator

Artemis: Starship Bridge Simulator is one of the more entertaining game ideas I’ve seen in some time. Six players get together around a LAN, with each player taking on a specific starship bridge officer role: Weapons, Communications, Science (sensors), Engineering, … Continue reading

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One sign that our geeky hobbies have gone mainstream

How do we know when a favourite, but hitherto niche, hobby has gone mainstream? I’m sure there are many indicators. The most obvious is, have its sales skyrocketed? There are others: has it featured on a talk show? Are our … Continue reading

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The State of the Matchsticks — October 2010

I’ve been blogging on Matchsticks for my Eyes for about a month and a half, during which time I’ve been updating pretty much daily, usually on games or books but sometimes on anime, movies or TV as well. What’s coming … Continue reading

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Fallout 3 finished – time to rummage around in the backlog once more!

After 80 hours, I finished Fallout 3 last night. While I can see why people were angry with the ending in its original state, those flaws didn’t detract from what I liked about it. I’ve put the postgame content added … Continue reading

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“The golden age of science fiction is when you’re 12”: when do you have the most fun with a hobby?

There is a saying, attributed to one Peter Graham, that “the golden age of science fiction is when you’re 12”.   Now, assuming “12” is a metaphor for “when you first discover it”, I can understand the argument. I discovered … Continue reading

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Fallout 3: So near and yet so…

I haven’t yet finished Fallout 3, but I love the game. It is one of my favourite games of all time, and so when I came home today, I was eager to proceed with the main story questline. The ending, … Continue reading

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How much would it cost to start a game development company?

I’ve previously guesstimated the amount of sales revenue Carpe Fulgur would have received from Recettear, and discussed the finances of Arcen Games, the developer of AI War. Today, I found a series of posts estimating how much it would cost … Continue reading

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Kirby’s Epic Yarn: awww!

Kirby’s Epic Yarn for Wii is one of the cutest, most adorable games I have seen in some time. You can check out gameplay footage here at Giantbomb. I particularly love how Kirby’s eyes seem to float as a result … Continue reading

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What I’ve just read: Lustrum, by Robert Harris

Tonight, I finished Robert Harris’ Lustrum (released in the US as Conspirata), the second novel in his Cicero trilogy (the first was Imperium). It was an enjoyable, fast-paced read, although I doubt I’ll reread it any time soon. There were … Continue reading

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One of those funny little coincidences…

I started getting into Napoleonic-era naval fiction (Hornblower, Aubrey & Maturin) earlier this year.In the last few weeks, looking at Sydney’s colonial-era buildings — such as Cadman’s Cottage; or Fort Denison, the round little construction jutting out from the midst … Continue reading

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Storytelling in Games: An Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Storytelling in Games

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Storytelling in GamesNote: Storytelling in Dominions 3, part of this feature series, is available off-site. You can read it at Flash of Steel.   Ever since the first men and … Continue reading

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Rise of Nations first impressions: A font of ideas for later games?

Today I picked up Robert Harris’ Lustrum, a novel told from the POV of Cicero’s secretary and sequel to Imperium; Rise of Nations, the 2003 RTS by Big Huge Games, and its expansion pack; and a non-fiction book (Empires of … Continue reading

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Where are all the steampunk games?

Along with zombies, steampunk is probably the main wave sweeping through speculative fiction right now. Locus magazine (September ’10) and Tor.com (last year) have run steampunk months, and Tor.com is following up with a “steampunk fortnight”; more and more steampunk … Continue reading

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Cowboy Bebop: How to flesh out characters in a single sublime moment

Characterisation is vital to a good story. And storytellers can enlighten us about characters and their relationships over hundreds of pages, in elaborate flashbacks, in grand, dramatic revelations.   But sometimes, a single eloquent moment can tell us as much … Continue reading

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The Dance with Dragons draws closer

The latest news on A Dance with Dragons is that GRRM has five part-chapters left to write, and that his publisher “[hopes] to have a finished manuscript by Christmas.” My head knows I shouldn’t get too hopeful. After all, we’ve … Continue reading

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Rereading books and re-watching movies

I’ve previously mused about the extent to which game-playing habits reflect real-world habits. That said, there must also be plenty of cases where the two don’t match. Take, for example, rereading books vs replaying games. As I noted yesterday, I … Continue reading

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What proportion of people actually replay games?

About a year ago, Stardock disclosed that only 23% of people who bought Demigod – a game designed primarily for multiplayer! – even attempted to play online. (The link goes to Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s write-up, because the original link to … Continue reading

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Stargate SG-1: The mysterious vanishing Jaffa helmets

In the Stargate movie, and in the early seasons of Stargate SG-1, the bad guys are resplendent in animal-head helmets: Horus guards (from the movie) wore falcon-headed helmets, Apophis and his serpent guards from SG-1 make their first appearance in … Continue reading

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When losing in games is NOT fun

One of these days, I will write about losing in games and how to make it fun. But for now, I will just say, I know when it isn’t fun: when the player feels cheated out of victory. This is … Continue reading

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Hurrah for a Porco Rosso sequel

I was recently quite thrilled when I stumbled across the news, apparently dating from August, that Hayao Miyazaki is working on a sequel to Porco Rosso. The sequel is entitled Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie and is apparently set during … Continue reading

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Authors’ advances: science fiction & fantasy vs literary fiction

Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran an article entitled, “Authors Feel Pinch In Age of E-Books”. Now, I have seen other bloggers rip the original article full of holes, but for me, the premise of the original article wasn’t … Continue reading

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Arcen Games: a sobering reminder of the expenses involved in indie game development

Last week I wrote about Recettear’s sales figures, which, on my assumptions, would have pulled in revenue of ~US$500,000. However, expenses would be pure guesswork. Today’s post serves as a sober counterpoint. According to this PC Gamer article, “AI War … Continue reading

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Sea power in strategy games: How to ensure it’s not an oxymoron

By now I must have played the Civilization games for sixteen or seventeen years, but never did I see an armada to match that in my latest game, over the weekend. Multiple stacks, each consisting of several to half-a-dozen modern … Continue reading

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Crest of the Stars / Banner of the Stars: A space opera of the (trans)human heart

Crest of the Stars and its sequels (Banner of the Stars I – III) are some of my favourite anime of all time. Based on a series of novels (Seikai no Monshou and Seikai no Senki, by Hiroyuki Morioka), they … Continue reading

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New trailer for the forthcoming PSP Tactics Ogre

There is now a trailer available for the forthcoming PSP remake of Tactics Ogre. Apparently, it’s a translation of a trailer that was showed at TGS. The actual in-game dialogue in the trailer is still in Japanese, so no glimpses, … Continue reading

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