Monthly Archives: December 2010

And my Game of the Year – 2010 is…

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Game of the Year Awards

This would normally be the time to review the best and worst of 2010’s games, except I only played a handful of the titles which came out this year. Despite being an RPG fan, I played neither Mass Effect 2 … Continue reading

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An extraordinary life: storytelling in Fallout 3

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Storytelling in Games

Note: Storytelling in Dominions 3, part of this feature series, is available off-site. You can read it at Flash of Steel.     Warning: this post contains extensive spoilers for Fallout 3, including its ending! *** Ask people what they … Continue reading

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2010 is so 1991: thoughts on Civilization V

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Civilization V

I’ve played Civilization V for 32 hours, according to Steam, and I’ve won my first King (hard)-level game. And with that, I think I’m ready to formulate my opinion: I like Civ V, but I don’t love it. I would … Continue reading

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Designing victory conditions: lessons from Company of Heroes, Rise of Nations and Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy

I’ve talked about how a strategy game should ideally build to a dramatic climax, a point also made by the most recent episode of Flash of Steel. I gave several examples: Civilization, Emperor of the Fading Suns, and (going by … Continue reading

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How to make dilemma effective: Stargate SG-1, “Between Two Fires”

In real life, how often have you had to make an unpalatable decision because you felt it was the lesser of two evils? Characters in fiction, though, get off easy (especially if they’re the heroes). Often, they’ll find some way … Continue reading

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Distant lands, national interests, and cold steel: impressions of Civ V’s city-states

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Civilization V

I’ve now won two practice games of Civilization V, and while it’s still early days for me, so far the new city-states system (which I blogged about back before the game came out) has already given me some “wow, this … Continue reading

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Trailer’s out for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Well, the trailer is out for the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides. It automatically gets one star from me for being about Jack Sparrow rather than Will Generic Protagonist Turner, and a second star for having … Continue reading

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A better way to classify games

Shooter, puzzler, platformer, strategy game, RPG – these classifications, and more, should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s spent a bit of time playing games. But what makes a shooter a shooter? What are the shared themes underpinning two seemingly … Continue reading

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Two very different characters inspired by the same person: Civ 4, The Curse of Chalion, and Isabella I of Spain

The name of Queen Isabella I of Spain should be familiar to any player of Civilization IV. And it will most likely not be a friendly familiarity. For in Civ, Isabella is a thoroughly unpleasant neighbour, a zealot with a … Continue reading

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Digital Distribution Prices: E-Books vs Games

Supreme Commander 2, VGReleases informs me, came out in the US on 2 March 2010. The PC version originally sold for US$50, and the Xbox 360 version sold for US$60. At the time, it received solid if unspectacular reviews (a … Continue reading

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The joy of playing with other people in Worms Reloaded

While I have been in no great hurry to play single-player Worms Reloaded, the recently-released (August) entry in Team 17’s long-running series,  multiplayer is a different story. Anyone living with me should be able to tell when I’m playing multiplayer … Continue reading

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US Versus UK Cover Art: Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes

I usually prefer UK (and, by extension, Australian) book covers to their US covers (see Discworld for an example of good British cover art), and Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes is no exception. Look at this UK cover: yes, it has … Continue reading

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Here comes the ten-minute look at Game of Thrones!

As promised by HBO, here’s the long “Inside Game of Thrones” video! It’s also up on Youtube in ten-minute and twelve-minute versions.   Mostly, it was the little things that stood out for me. Jaime Lannister’s ornate armour (go to … Continue reading

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Storytelling in Star Control II: Playing space detective

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Storytelling in Games

Note: Storytelling in Dominions 3, part of this feature series, is available off-site. You can read it at Flash of Steel.     If you were a hero, tasked with saving the world from an overwhelming menace, how would you … Continue reading

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Freebie highlight: The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold

I’ve talked about the Vorkosigan Saga, the multi-award-winning science fiction series, by Lois McMaster Bujold, a fair bit on this blog, and especially in the last week. The novels are some of my favourites (and certainly my favourite science fiction), … Continue reading

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Victoria 2: Now THAT’s detail

Victoria 2, Paradox’s historical simulation of the nineteenth-century world, is a game to which I have to take off my hat. Now, I have not played the full game — just the first game in the series and the demo … Continue reading

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A sneak peek at Lois McMaster Bujold’s upcoming “Ivan book”

EDIT: My review is up!   No heroic tale would be complete without supporting characters: Han Solo, Jack Sparrow, Franz d’Epinay, Lieutenant William Bush, Issun… Ivan Vorpatril. Ivan, Miles Vorkosigan’s cousin and sometime sidekick, is more than just comic relief. … Continue reading

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Book review: Cryoburn

CRYOBURN   Lois McMaster Bujold     Cryoburn, the latest entry in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, is something of an odd beast. It lacks the sparkling wit and manic energy which I typically associate with the series. In exchange, … Continue reading

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