Suave-looking straight-up 2D . Free, free, free. I don’t know about network play, though.
Archive for February, 2008
In case you couldn’t tell from our Portal themed podcast a while back, the OgreCave crew really enjoyed our participation in the Aperture Science experiment. Well, we aren’t the only ones, as during last week’s Game Developers Conference in SF, the show’s Game Developers Choice Awards gave Portal the nod for 2007 Game of the Year (I’m sure the words “This is a triumph. I’m making a note here: huge success.” were uttered). A pair of announcements trickled out of at the conference as well, the main one being the rumor of Portal 2 getting confirmed as “in progress” by this X-Play interview with Valve’s Kimberly Swift. Secondly, Jonathan Coulton‘s outstanding and hilarious Portal song “Still Alive” (if you haven’t heard it yet, keep playing, you’ll get there) will be available to download for Rock Band at a date still to be determined. Both announcements are for the good of all of us, except the ones who are dead.
For those who didn’t spot my comment, I went back and played Dragon Hoard, the in-browser casual game hosted rather incongruously on a section (which it currently occupies all by its lonesome) of Gen Con’s site labeled “Gen Con Now.” I have no idea how long it’s been there, but seeing as how I found it when I went to look for the press release about the bankruptcy filing, well, I kinda reacted.
Dragon Hoard is fine. It’s a fairly original casual game – it’s all about dragging stuff, which might not be to your taste, but hey. The only problem with this game is where they put it; games like this currently live or die on a flood of people looking for something clicky and mindless to do (and there’s no shame in that whatsoever). Said people are not currently coming to Gen Con’s web site to find it, and won’t be in the near future, no matter how badly Gen Con wants another revenue stream. Now, maybe there are plans to hook Dragon Hoard up to the usual spigots (BigFish, Yahoo Games, whatever), but right this second, the partnership here between Gen Con and DH’s developers Hidden City Games – that is, Peter Adkison’s other company, publishers of Clout Fantasy and US licensors of Bella Sara – seems even more unfortunate in light of Gen Con’s admittedly unforeseeable new resource crunch.
So, okay. Maybe not what I would have done from a business standpoint, but fine. I go on about my business, and get this thing I read about on Penny Arcade, this Spectromancer. From the description and title alone, you know it’s gonna be a bounce off of Magic, but reading the website I’m surprised to learn that Richard Garfield and Magic R&D legend Skaff Elias actually did development work on the game design. I download, I run the installer, and what’s the publisher’s name on the newly created folder? Hidden City Games. Well, that’s… actually pretty cool. And yet, where does the link go if you click through to Spectromancer’s discussion boards? To community.gencon.com.
Maybe I’m the only one this is all news to, and again, nothing’s wrong with Spectromancer as a game – there are some translation issues right now, but the ways in which it simplifies M:tG are actually really elegant and appealing – but does anyone else think it’s a little weird how thoroughly Hidden City seems to be leaning on Gen Con right now? Especially given that Gen Con’s got trouble and Hidden City’s got pony crack?
Gen Con LLC files Chapter 11. Okay. That and the Lucas thing, kind of not wonderful together. Kiiiind of crazy. Bankruptcy is by no means a death sentence or a threat to the Indy show, most likely, but the list of crazy isn’t over. Here’s the new Gen Con LLC home page, with entries for the company, the Indy show, and “Gen Con Now.” Click on “Gen Con Now” and… “Dragon Hoard“?? Might be a fine game, but at the moment I’m a little scared to find out.
Okay, this is creepy. I was literally just thinking about how the CCG was only one model of business, and of game design, in what is probably a much wider array of yet-undiscovered possibilities, and about how much I’d like to see somebody start exploring that (the same way that the space of play possibilities near what we’ve always thought of as RPGs is being pushed outwards). Maybe you could say that online CCGs are best equipped to do this, I don’t know. And I don’t think this is really necessarily it either, but it’s a step: Fantasy Flight announces the “Living Card Game” release format for A Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu (PDF link). Maybe the only difference between this and a card game expansion is the marketing term… but maybe people will take to it. The commons-and-rares angle is kind of interesting and might support things like league play (remember leagues? Ah, memories) in new ways.
So, what do we think? Nevermind for now whether it’s a new idea; fixed sets of 10 single cards and 3 copies each of 10 other cards – good idea, or bad? It reminds one of the periodical model that Pinnacle tried back in the day with Doomtown, but maybe with better survival characteristics in this day and age.
It’s hard to know what to make of this item, so here’s a quote: “LucasFilm says that Gen Con, a company that puts on gaming conventions, failed to uphold a contract to deliver proceeds from a ‘Star Wars’ memorabilia auction to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. [...] According to this complaint, Gen Con owes almost $1 million to the charity and to LucasArts for proceeds from an auction held at last May’s Gen Con convention in Los Angeles. LucasFilm says it undertook expenses to advertise the auction to increase participation.” Wow.
Well, that’s probably not the reason. To me, the interesting bit about this announcement is the attribution of “paint scheme design” to Mike McVey, the painter that Privateer made, um, I guess famous for some definition of the word. The addition of a “name” painter to the marketing is interesting, if only because the paints still don’t look very interesting. But yeah, Upper Deck’s doing it, it comes out in the fall, and, er, nobody has yet taken credit for the actual game design.
I’ve always wanted to get more use out of BoardGameGeek.com but have been stymied by its user interface. Well, they’ve given the front page and controls a nice overhaul – I’m not sure how recently – and I’m finding the site a lot more pleasant to use now. (Unfortunately there still doesn’t seem to be an easy-enough way to quickly tell it what games you own… from what I can see, there is an “export collection” feature but no way to import. So you’ve got to hit the page for each and every game you own, check a little box that says “I own this,” and repeat for the rest of your
life collection. Bad show, BGG.)