The Best Time to Collect Gaming Hardware (and software)

I just bought a PS VR in 2022. I paid under 100 dollars for it, and it came with 2 move controllers. It was, in fact, the same package Sony still sells on their website for 350 dollars. It was a deal, I have to say, because it’s a great piece of tech and the exclusives for it are unique and fun, and though it was a used piece of equipment, it was barely touched. I like to collect unique tech, especially gaming tech when I can, and timing can make that a whole lot easier when it comes to…

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Shadow Warrior 3: Modern games, epitomized

Shadow Warrior 3 is a game that epitomizes everything, both good and bad, about modern games. It’s a beautiful-looking game, full of color and a complex Asian-inspired aesthetic, and it runs extremely well for all its fidelity, maintaining a smooth 60fps on the PS5 during all but the most chaotic, explosive moments. The gameplay is simple and repetitive but plenty of fun, consisting of platforming sections in between arena-like areas where the player must slay hordes of demons using a vast variety of weapons, abilities, and environmental hazards. It’s a far cry from the 3D-Realms Shadow Warrior of the 90s,…

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I’m Writing This on the Steam Deck

Yes, I managed to get one. I pre-ordered it the first few minutes it was available and still didn’t get one until a few weeks after “launch.” That’s the world we live in right now – computer hardware is hard to get for gaming applications. I wonder if things will ever loosen up (perhaps after a few more bitcoin crashes?), or if the memory of going down to best buy and picking up a console when you decided for yourself to get one will be another one of those memories, like being able to show up to the airport a…

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Dungeon Encounters (early impressions)

Dungeon Encounters is a game, though the title doesn’t quite sound like a game as much as a category of play. The name is simple, but it’s got a lot of talent backing it up: directed by Hiroyuki Itou (of Final Fantasy 6, 9, and 12 fame) and produced by Hiroaki Kato (who has been involved with some of my favorite Final Fantasy games, including Tactics Advance 2), and with music overseen by Nobuo Uematsu. Despite, or perhaps because of, these particular personalities, the game comes across as decidedly stripped-down and old school. It’s a dungeon crawler and nothing more…

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Extending Play Time: How the goal of a game is to take more of your time.

his may sound a bit odd, but one of the unspoken goals of game design is to take as much of the player’s time as possible, or to put it another way, there is an in-built quest for efficiency with games regarding time. Sometimes, they advertise this by claiming the game has “a hundred hours of content,” or some such. As I’ve said before, not all time is well-spent. A boring 100-hour game is inferior to a game that is shorter but interesting all the way through. One hundred hours of really fun content sounds like a great deal, but…

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Why I Didn’t Buy Metroid Dread

After what seems like an eternity since the last “traditional” Metroid game (which was 2002’s Metroid Fusion for Game Boy Advance), a new entry emerges: Metroid Dread. I use the term “traditional” loosely, as the 3D shooter Metroid Prime series is now some 19 years old, and in fact, more time has passed between then and now than the original Metroid and the first Prime title. After 19 years of waiting for another entry in one of the classic “Metroidvania” franchises (and even more if you don’t consider the linear Metroid Fusion to be Metroidvania), the hype was incredibly strong……

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Graphics Matter, Actually

Gameplay over graphics! This is what you’re going to see from a lot of gamers these days, especially those on “my side” of things. They aren’t wrong. The problem is, these things are usually presented as a dichotomy, or at least discussed as one—you are either choosing good gameplay or good graphics. The reality is we’re looking at a field for both things, a matter of emphasis, often a matter of art and graphics actually do matter. In fact, they matter a lot. Visuals sell games. Since you cannot really “show” what gameplay is like as an experience, you instead…

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Little Blessings

My daughter had a hard night. She couldn’t get to sleep until after midnight, then she woke up at about an hour later scared and crying. That woke my son up. I really hadn’t hadn’t slept at all, but I stayed up all night with them. I spent a few hours playing King’s Quest, a Sierra adventure game in the tradition of… Sierra adventure games, with my son, and we all had a blast with it, despite the fact that I was so tired. I was reminded of how things were two years ago, right after my daughter was born.…

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2007: Gaming Ground Zero

Maybe you’ve heard of cultural ground zero: 1997. Now let’s talk games, because unlike other institutions of culture, the games industry kept on growing and innovating for another 10 years. Then 2007 happened, and as far as the bigger publishers are concerned, games reached their peak and no more change or risk was required or even advisable. Gameplay seemed to stop changing almost entirely after 2007, and the extent to which it did change is usually in the negative, involving the watering-down of mechanics and general reduction of difficulty. Of course, there were plenty of amazing games prior to 2007,…

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Games, “Narrative,” and Gameplay

I’m not going to link the article that spawned this essay, mostly because the headline, which provoked everyone, was slightly misleading compared to the content of the article. The gist was the article had a title like “Narrative-focused games should drop the hours of combat,” which most gamers understand to be part of the games-journo advocacy of games that don’t have gameplay. This has been going on for years, and I have been addressing it for years. The odd thing is, the games industry has been addressing this concern, despite the fact that the market already solved this problem and…

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