What I’m Playing : April – June 2013 Edition

As is tradition, here is an occasional summary of “What Andrew is Playing(tm)”, consisting of nondescript single line reviews of zero depth, and the odd dive into an element of game design that interested me.

A whole big bunch of Ludum Dare #26 games.

Smooth Operators : Call Centre Chaos – the call centre simulator, resource management game. I quite enjoyed the few hours I played of this. I reminds me I should pick it up again and at least see if I can run the company into the ground.

3089@phr00ts_‘s spiritual sequel to 3079. Big open world, surreal graphics, with crafting like Fallout3 to create endless weapon variations like Borderlands ! And he recently added hoverboards. Call me Marty Mcfly, but I’m a sucker for a hoverboard.

I played Fallout 3 again, since I felt compelled to explore the world some more. I even bought the first DLC I’ve ever bought for anything (Broken Steel, which continues the story and increases the level cap).

Hinterland. I picked this up in a bundle at some point. Randomly decided to play it one evening. It’s not a cookie cutter genre game, but an unusual type of RTS. It seems difficult to win.

Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter (and then briefly, the Second Encounter, and SS 3:BFE). I’d never played a Serious Sam game – I’d always felt the series was just-another-FPS, and based on playing the first few levels of “The First Encounter”, I’d be right. It’s fun nonetheless. Key points of interest are the crazy and varied enemies that dictate different offense and evasion strategies, and the noticeable lack of a reload mechanic. It’s been so long since I played and FPS that didn’t let me tap ‘R’ to reload, I’d almost forgotten that it’s a relatively modern addition to the genre. Going back to a ‘reloadless’ FPS raised my stress levels playing the game – just like I was stressed the first time I played an FPS with no auto-reload, the removal of the option fully reload between enemy encounters made me stress that I’d run out of bullets and be forced to reload in the next confrontation. It’s interesting how adding a new mechanic can initially appear to increase difficulty, then make the game easier once the player masters it, such that when it’s removed the game seems more difficult again. I don’t know of any examples of this being used in an FPS before, but making some weapons manually reloadable and some that can only autoreload, and tuning their availability through the game, could be a great way to modulate difficulty and player stress levels, particularly in something like a survival horror (postscript: turns out some weapons in Serious Sam 3 : BFE have auto-reload while others are manual).

Some Fishing Jam games (like this crazy onethis one with a poor little guy lost at sea, and this one that I made over a couple of days)

A screenful of OUYA games. Towerfall, The Amazing Frog, Knightmare Tower, Syder Arcade, Bomb Squad, No Brakes Valet, Pix’n’Love Rush, and the poignant little visual novel / game “The Life of a Pacifist is Often Fraught With Conflict”, to name just a few highlights. I love this little box – cool stuff is appearing daily, both classics and completely left-field new stuff. Good times ahead for OUYA (makes me really want to work faster on getting Big and Small on there).

While playtesting is different to playing … I’ve also ‘played’ my own little Fishing Jam #1GAM game “Catching Tadpoles”, and have been doing lots of playtesting of my tower defensish game “Def” as I develop the big expanded post-LD48 version.

No back to work. This game ain’t going to develop itself :)

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>