Showing posts from May, 2011

Clash of Heroes Impressions

Might & Magic Clash of Heroes is an Ubisoft creation with something in it for both puzzle and strategy game fans.  I stumbled across the demo in the Xbox Live Arcade, but the game is also available on PSN and Nintendo DS. The basic premise is a match three puzzle game where army units are the things being matched.  Match 3 vertically and they become an offensive attack.  Match 3 horizontally and they form a defensive wall to block incoming enemy attacks.  The player is limited by the number of moves in a turn before the opponent gets to respond in kind.  Completely drain the opponent's HP with attacks and you win the battle. It's a simple enough premise, but it quickly gets complex in a fun way.  Experience points, leveling up, gear, new units, and new skills all show up in the course of the game.  I've had a great time tweaking my army as I progress.  Personally, deciding between using giant treants or acid dragons was especially difficult. The main game is spl

Mental Combo-Breaker

 I've been working 60+ hour weeks between multiple jobs lately and when I get home I've been having trouble getting my mind out of work mode.  My thoughts are still on the projects of the day and what I have coming up tomorrow.  I've found one of the fastest ways to successfully get my mind out of work mode is to play a video game. Watching TV, movies, and just hanging out are relaxing activities but they don't usually require my full mental attention.  But when I jump into a game it requires me to strategize, pay attention, and act.  It uses up most of my mental processing power and is definitely a mental combo-breaker for the day.  It helps get me into a mental state where I can fully enjoy my time at home. I'm realizing that games can be a great tool for attitude and mental state if used correctly.  Has anyone else found that to be the case?

A Chance to Play

Games have goals.  Save that princess, kill ten rats , level up, defeat evil.  We all know and accept that these goals are set for us by the game developers. We take it for granted that the goals will be presented to us and we will try our best to accomplish them. But trust me, there is another way. Look at the success of Minecraft : a game with no goals.  We're given a tool set and told to have fun.  It's like being given a stuffed giraffe as a kid.  We can make up epic adventures for the giraffe to go on.  He can explore his environment and interact with other toys.  He can befriend a tiny tiny elephant or become bitter rivals with a cake.  Or maybe you'll just choose to chew on his head (like my daughter).  It's all up to us and our imagination.  We are given a toy and what we do with it is up to us.   Delicious choice. How many games like that are out there?  Not many at all.  Minecraft is the only one that readily springs to mind.  But why can't more ga

Strategy and Execution. Friends or Foes?

I have an itch to play strategy games at the moment.  StarCraft 2 has been fulfilling the need but I'm running into a problem.  I love the high minded thinking that goes into the strategy.  The clash of minds draws me in and keeps me captivated.  The dream of inventing a brand new strategy staggers me with it's awesomeness.  I want to invent a new strategy that wows and amazes. But then I go play the game. I get annihilated.  Absolutely demolished.  I go on losing streaks and just can't understand where the weak point in my strategy is.  The truth is, my strategy is fine but my execution is lacking. I only have so much time to devote to gaming in a given day.  I have two jobs, a wife, and an 8 month old.  They take priority over gaming.  So let's say, on average, that amount of gaming time is 2 hours per day. Is there any possible way for me to compete with master level players who devote 12+ hours to the game each day?  No.  There's no way that's goi

Crossing the Divide: From Mediocre to Master

It's interesting to watch the evolution of a gaming community around one specific game.  Things begin to change after the hype and excitement of launch.  People play through the game and discuss it with friends.  They revel in the shared experience.  And then it slowly fades from mainstream attention.  But, for some, they cling to a game and never let it go.  This poses some challenges in competitive multiplayer games. The divide between mediocre players and master level players increases as time goes on.  No longer is there the full spectrum of players be paired against.  Instead, most of the player population has gotten good at the game and they are the only competition left. If you're looking for some specific examples, think along the lines of the Halo or StarCraft series. Where there is a lot of competition to be found. As the total population playing the game decreases, the average skill level of each player rises.  The longer the game has been around, the higher t