Category Archives: Game Design

[ #52Games ] Theme 5: Exam [ #Pokémon ]

Everyone knows them, most of us probably played it at some point. When I read the theme for week 5 of #52Games from ZockWorkOrange I instantly knew what to write about this week. Pokémon is probably the best example for a game created for young players. All those eight Arenas you can find in the different Games has a certain theme around it – moreso if you know the TV Series. Players get to learn about friendship and how to treat people, how to be nice and see the ‘bad examples’ in their counterpart being mostly a nasty guy who’s selfish and arrogant – yet loses in the end. Every single arena is like a exam for a topic of education. Pokémon is played by a really large audience and also many adults play it, but I can’t help it and always see how GAME FREAK also tried to get a few educational aspects into their games. I totally enjoy playing Pokémon and got myself the Black Edition for the 3DS – though it doesn’t really feel as it did more than 10years ago, when I first got my hands on Pokémon Red and played it on a old Gameboy (the ones without a color screen) after school with my friends for four or five hours straight. We were so interested in everything this game had to offer, I even forgot to tell my parents I’m coming home late and they were terribly terrified when I got home at 6p.m. – at least it was ‘only’ Pokémon.

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[ #52Games ] Theme 3: Nature

This week, I’ll have a pretty short post about the 3rd theme of #52Games from ZockWorkOrange.

When I heard about the topic, I clearly had ONE GAME in Mind. Fate of the World

In Fate of the World, you’re getting to control the World in the year 2020. You’re there to control the political and economical Fate of the World – trying to prevent climate change, while trying to have your people well educated and wealthy. It’s turn based and after each turn, you get to see the consequences of your doing on the screen. It’s all in your hand – from Nuclear War to World Peace – everything can happen. A really interesting game with a serious background by Red Redemption from the UK. It’s up there on Steam and if you can, you should really try this out.

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A huge disappointment…

Hey guys,

I love games – I love them to the point that I spent most of my life with or on games. A few days ago, I worked on the first topic of the #52Games project and wrote about Jagged Alliance 2. Now, Jagged Alliance : Back in Business was finally released, the sequel I waited for over 10 years now. And to be honest with you: Don’t buy this game, don’t play this game. It’s a shame what those guys made with the licence of Jagged Alliance. This game does not deserve to wear this name and I’m enormously disappointed to the point, where I won’t play this game. The essential parts, which made Jagged Alliance 2 one of the greatest games of all times have been changed and twisted and the game feels anything but right. Play the old game, add mods to it (like 1.13) and play it, if you want a good, solid, extremely well made strategy game with a depth and character strenght – it’s mindblowing. JA:BiB is nothing like this and I, as a fan and enthusiast for games – I can’t stand it and I’m uninstalling it right now. I understand having a game that’s bad – that’s not a big deal. This game is not bad per se, but this game is NOT Jagged Alliance – it’s a freak of development, where someone had an idea how to make Jagged Alliance better. You can’t – a**hole! You should’ve just made Jagged Alliance, not some freakish abomination of a Game. You may have bought the Licence, but you didn’t buy the idea and you certainly didn’t understand it.

 

Sorry for this rant, but after all those years… this hurts.

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[ #52Games ] Theme 2: Cold as Ice, Ice, Baby [ DotA2 ]

After last weeks start to the 52Games Project, which came pretty easy, I had a pretty hard time deciding what to write about the 2nd weeks theme: Cold.

I thought about the old, and for many of the younger ones, already forgotten Winter Games,which was one of the first games I played in my life – only the Turtles game on the NES was earlier. It’s a classic and I don’t know how many controllers and joysticks went to hell for this game. – I decided to choose something else, to find something I could write a bit more about.

After that, I thought about games I played, which have a cold setting – like Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, but since I thought this to be too easy (and already handled pretty well by PeteBACK & Dons Welt). Another great Game I dismissed, despite having a huge amount of cold effects, spells and an overall ambient of FREEZING cold about it, is Diablo 2 : Lord of Destruction! But this still didn’t feel like I had the right grasp on this topic.

Then, last night I went to play some DotA 2 from Valve with a few friends of mine. I chose to play a random hero – and by my surprise, I got the Crystal Maiden – a Ice Mage Heroine!

She’s classified as a support character who can disable enemy heroes extremely well, slowing them with nearly every single spell, freezing them in place and dealing tons of damage while doing so. Now, if you think about it, it’s logically perfect to have something that’s frozen move slower or even be frozen in place. On the other hand, Ice is not only slowing things down, but it’s also slippery and sometimes even dangerously sharp and cutting. Now in most Roleplaying Games or Games with a bit of a roleplaying character, Ice spells have a slowing effect. On the other side, if you take Racing Games, Ice is most likely letting you lose your control over your vehicle while speeding you up. But I’m drifting away here… let’s get back to DotA2.

The first time I played DotA2, I was hugely disappointed about it. The overall game Look&Feel had something wrong about it – I had a really hard time to discern which units were heroes and what simple minions, the whole map colours seemed weird to me and it all blurred out to the feeling of playing on mud (Screenshot). The buy menue (and I still think they can improve it) is really confusing at times and gives beginners with DotA2 a really hard time finding what they’re looking for. For me, League of Legends has a enormously lower entry point for new players and I think DotA2 caters too much to the hardcore DotA players and esport fans from the Warcraft III Mod. I finished only a few games before I quit DotA to get back to playing LoL with my friends. Now about a week ago, a friend from my Steam list asked me if I’d like to join on some DotA2 fun. Since I was really interested to see how it works when you actually got teamplay, I joined their Teamspeak and went for a game. DotA compared to LoL is having a much bigger list of things you have to care about – it has a lot of micro management, where LoL is trying to keep you focused on your hero – I actually like to focus on my hero. But the positives about DotA are there, too. It feels (after the 10something games I played) like there is more action overall and your actions are more meaningful to the outcome of the game. Your hero or heroine is a lot easier to be smashed into pieces within seconds than it is in LoL, so you need to play a steadier and more defensive minded game, where mistakes are seldom forgotten and in my opinion also a lot more costly, as you lose a big part of your amassed gold once you die. Ultimately DotA2 and LoL are too different in what their target audience is. LoL is already having a big esport branch with tourneys all over the world and even TV coverage, but the overall look&feel of the game is that it’s targetting a mass audience rather then hardcore gamers. DotA2 set a high standard for their esport future, when they had a 1Mio$ tournament at the GamesCom in Cologne last year, while not even being released to the public (it’s still in closed Beta stadium). I am really curious as to how DotA2 will change the current dominance of LoL in the Free2Play DotA ‘Clone’ market (we still don’t know if DotA2 will be free2play).

Now I wrote so much about DotA2 and beside the fact, that I played a Ice Mage yesterday, it’s not really about Cold. But I can tell you something: It’s cold outside and sadly also in my apartment, which has some really bad heating installation – so I wrote this whole post while freezing and being wrapped up in a fluffy blanket.

Leave your comments and whatever criticism or praise you have down there, and thanks for the read.

Ursu

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