Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Five: Articles About Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines

  • Usually I write these blog posts because I want to share my thoughts with the world. Not so much this one. I just want a place to keep links to all of these great articles about Bloodlines. You should read them, but this one is all for me.

  • Vampire: Bloodlines – Heather and Me by Kieron Gillen, April 9, 2008 - Kieron Gillen reminisces on his interactions with one NPC in the game and how it made him evaluate how far he would go in becoming a creature of the night.

  • Forever Young, The Tragedy Of Bloodlines by Jim Rossignol, February 11, 2009 - Jim Rossignol discusses how this massive game went wrong and why it is worth playing anyway.

  • Retrospective: Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines by Lewis Denby, July 4, 2009 - Lewis Denby reassesses Bloodlines, making a case for why this broken masterwork is still worth experiencing.

  • Reanimated: The story of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines by Rick Lane, July 10, 2013 - Rick Lane discusses Bloodlines' troubled development and what the extraordinary lengths the community has done to patch the holes as best it can.

  • S.EXE: Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines Part 1 by Cara Ellison, June 20, 2014 - Cara Ellison tackles the sexuality inherent to the vampire mythology and who it is represented in Bloodlines.

  • Is anyone else weirded out that all of these articles come from the UK?

© 2014 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Played Lately: Catch-Up Day!

  • Warning: I am about the bend the definition of "Played Lately" far beyond to bounds of our reality. Please wear proper eye and respiratory protection while in contact with this blog post.

  • Dark Souls - I finally completed Dark Souls on February 7, 2014, twenty-eight months after it was released. Were I to name a "Game of the Generation" (which I'm really thinking about doing), it would be a contender for the top spot. Dark Souls does not waste any time explaining itself. You get a tutorial about how to use the controls, and then they throw a giant demon at you. That sink-or-swim attitude drove many people away. But the positive word of mouth that made the game a phenomenon is not wrong. It rewards patience and planning, not reflexes and button mashing. Combat is not fast paced. It is thoughtful and deliberate. You can't bend the game to play like you would any other. It teaches you to play its way or not at all.

    I love that each combat is deadly. There are no filler encounters. You take each fight seriously or you will die.

    Of course, I did play it wrong. I had the wikis and maps to guide me through. But even with their assistance, I had to make my way through the game. I had to fight the bosses and I had to win the game. I was a gaming experience I will not soon forget.

  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - What better way to follow up one of the most intense fantasy gaming experience of the decade than with a flashy, action intense epic like Reckoning. While a good game, it didn't blow the world away. It very much feels like a cross between The Elder Scrolls and World of Warcraft. It's a big, single player MMO and it looks beautiful. I can't get over how pretty everything is. Of course, I had other things to do so I put it down and moved on. But it actually is a neat game.

  • Disney Magical World - Have you ever played Animal Crossing but wished it was an actual game? That's what Disney Magical World is. At the start of the game, you receive an invitation to Castleton, a magical crossroads for various Disney worlds. Upon arrival, you learn how to shop, dress, fish, harvest, craft items, and run a cafe. Then once the tutorial is over, you are sent to one of the other lands to defeat the ghosts who have overrun them. Progression is gated by achievements via the sticker book, so there is always guidance for how to advance though the game. If you are a Disney fan, this a cute, fun adventure.

  • Dark Souls II - Then I put everything else down to play Dark Souls II. There is a lot to recommend this game. The: combat is intense and the world is expansive and full of reward. But it does not have the same spark that Dark Souls did. I don't know whether to blame me or the game. But I did not find the same awe I found in the first game.

  • I appreciate anyone who happens to read this post. It has been a while since I last wrote for real and I've been missing it.

© 2014 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Top Five: E3 2014 Announcements

  • E3 is an exciting time each year for big budget video games. With the launch of the new consoles last year, people are practically salivating at the thought of new games for their shiny new systems. Here are the five that have interested me the most this year:

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider - Seeing this trailer reminded me that I never played last year's Tomb Raider beyond the first few hours. I had even forgotten that I bought the game during a Steam sale several months ago. So I have some catching up to do before the new game comes out.

    For any naysayers about how Lara is being treated in this trailer, look at posture, the scars on her hands, and the way she cracks her knuckles. She is not some meek girl traumatized by her experience. I suspect she is there because she has to be and the real therapy is what is happening in the other half of the trailer. Watch and decide for yourself.

  • Bloodborne - After finishing Dark Souls and Dark Souls II, I find I am no longer entralled by them as I once was. But if Bloodborne is a good as this trailer (and other leaks) implies, then I will be helpless against being sucked into that world again. From Software did something special with the Souls games by making me eager to test myself in ways I didn't think I was capable. So if they can preserve that feeling in this new, beautiful and facinating world, I will eagerly take on their challenge again.
  • Grim Fandango - Any article about Grim Fandango will indubitably append the word "classic" to its description. I never played the game, so I'm taking everyone's word that it is a classic. That's why I was excited to see that Double Fine would be releasing a updated version. I'll finally be able to see what everyone was talking about.
  • No Man's Sky - The hype for Hello Games' new game has buried the needle on the ballyhoo meter. (Eff yeah, thesaurus.com.) It is hard not to get caught up in the excitement. IF (with a capital IF) the game really does everything these trailers imply, it could be amazing. I keep my figures crossed.
  • The Legend Of Zelda WiiU - I have not been excited for a Zelda game since Ocarina Of Time. Not that I think the newer games are bad. They just haven't been enticing enough to make me buy a Nintendo console. This trailer changes things. It is the very worst type of teaser: more fluff than substance. But it is very beautiful fluff. I can't wait to see if the game lives up to the expectations the trailer sets.
  • Okay, you got me. This post was just an excuse to post a bunch of trailers. Nevertheless, what did you see at E3 that has you excited?

© 2014 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

News Filter: Mythic Entertainment Closing

  • According to Kotaku, one of the old guard of MMO development is being closed by EA. Mythic Entertainment, best know for Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Of course, they are also known for the terrible Ultima Forever and Dungeon Keeper mobile games, so maybe it is not a great loss.

  • This quote received by Kotaku is particularly telling:
  • We are closing the EA Mythic location in Fairfax, Virginia, as we concentrate mobile development in our other studio locations. We are working with all impacted employees to provide assistance in finding new opportunities, either within EA or with other companies via an upcoming job fair.
  • To EA, Mythic is just another mobile developer to be folded into their other studions. Amazing.

  • There is no way a game developer can go out on top. Every good company is destined to fade out, far from their best achievements. At one time, DAOC was a contender for the MMO crown. At least until World of Warcraft swept all competitors from the field. I hope they will be remembered for what they built, and for where they faltered.

  • And definitely not for "Bears, bears, bears."

© 2014 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 14, 2014

News Filter: World of Darkness MMO Will Never See The Light Of Day

  • Polygon has news that CCP has shut down development on the World of Darkness MMO along with firing 56 employees of in their Atlanta office.

  • I have not been excited about MMOs for a long time. I have slid so far that the most interest I can muster is for an WoW emulator. But CPP and WoD seemed like a match made in heaven, if they could get it off the ground. It's too bad that it won't.

© 2014 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.
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