and 3 For the win.
Humans create monsters because we want to believe that there is something out there worse then us.
The marriages at the end of some of Shakespeare’s plays are remarkably similar to really bad fan fiction pairings.
Short Story Sunday - The Monster Always Loses

The Monster always loses. Thats just how the game is played. The Monster never wins. And I’m always the monster. Of course, I know why. Kattie is the youngest, so she can’t be the monster. Same for Buddy, he’s not that old. And Kevin is Anna’s little brother so it can’t be him. And those three like Anna, and she’s the oldest, and a girl, so she can’t be the Monster. So, I’m the Monster.

The Monster sits at the bottom of the stairs, and tries to trap the Ochies. I’m not entirely sure why they are called Ochies. They just are. In my mind, the Ochies are small, fuzzy ball like creatures, that communicate in squeaking noises. That how everyone else behaves. And I’m the Monster. I’ve never really given much thought to what the Monster looks like. Its just the Monster, and so I sit at the bottom of the stairs, and roar.

The Monster can’t come all the way up the stairs. It can come up like halfway, right before they turn, and head up the stairs, but only its feet have to be touching that. So, if the Monster is clever, he can wait right on the stairs, baiting them into taunting him, waiting, pretending to be already overextended, until they come in range, and then I strike. But even if I tag them, it never counts, because I can’t just tag them, I have to be able to capture them, and for some reason we’ve never thought quite about how capturing works.

Its one of those games, one where the rules are never quite clear. I’m not sure how it started, I just remember being the Monster. I don’t think it was always like that. There may have been a time at which the Monster didn’t sit at the bottom of the stairs, but could play with everyone at the top, but thats not how its works now. Today, everyone has a number of lives, and so I have to tag them to get there lives to zero, but they can share lives, and they do. Even if Anna lets me tag her, Katie, who never really comes far enough down to get tagged will just give her one of hers. Buddy and Kevin are the only two that are brave enough to really taunt Monster.

Anna is kinda in charge, but she’s not the others mother or anything, at least as far as I can see. She’s like a older sister or a priestess or something, watching over the fools, protecting them from the Monster that lurks at the bottom of the stairs. I’ve known her forever, we’ve played Pokemon and Mario, and other stuff, but when everyone is over, we play the Oochie game as its come to be called, and then I’m the Monster.

Monsters have to have a hoard, of course, so one way of getting people to the bottom of the stairs is to bait them. The Monster chooses toys, blankets, other wonderful gathered objects, and places them at the bottom of the stairs, trying to trick them into coming down. Then it hides around the corner, and the Ochies watch nervously, expecting it to come back, and staring at the treasure laid out. Eventually one of them gets brave enough to grab at the treasure, but then the Monster roars and tears around the corner, and chases them back up.

But over time, they eventually grab treasures, and the Monsters hoard shrinks. Finally, I’m left with nothing, and the game is over. I just get to sit at the bottom of the stairs, and watch them laugh, and run around and talk about the dangers of the monster at the bottom of the stairs.

Eventually the adults finish talking, and its time to go home, and the game ends, and I’m no longer the Monster, I’m just me again. Coats are gathered, and as we head home, I hear someone mention the game, mention how much fun it was, and wonder when we’ll play it again.

And then I’ll have to be the Monster again. Its never fun to be the Monster.

 

Glyph for iOS: Quick Reveiw

Glyph is one of the more interesting games I’ve seen on the App Store of late. It has charming graphics, gameplay that is somewhat original, and energy system to hinder gameplay.

It also has what should be noted as possibly the single nastiest in-app purchase trick that I’ve seen in quite a while.

When you reach and adequate level in the game, the game informs you that you can now purchase a “mage license”. If you tap on the character who sells this license, you are prompted for your App Store login. And if you type it in, you get charged $2. Oh, and you can continue gameplay.

So what just happened? Simple. Most in-app purchases are for a given amount of some in-game currency. But Glyph only has one such purchase, so instead of asking if you would like to buy X Woggles, the game seems to have found away around asking if you would like to buy whatever by having the character immediately assume that by tapping on the character that you intend to purchase the good, and immediately bring up the prompt.

I’d encourage people to play something else. 

Freemium Part 2

While we tend to see a large number of people who want to declare that Freemium and Free to Play games signal the end of all good gaming, I don’t think that is necessarily true. Some games would not work outside the wait long time format. 

As I stated earlier, Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. However without multiple options to choose between, it no longer becomes a question of economics. Instead, you simply choose to wait. 

I play games as an economist. How can I best make a decision? How can act optimally in a situation? These are the questions that interest me. A game such as FarmVille does not hold as much joy for me because I’m doing nothing more than managing the situation. I’m not truly playing a game, from my standpoint. The game can still be enjoyable for someone who likes planning out and setting up a neat and tidy farm. 

Which brings me back to my point about Freemium games. If a game offers no choice of allocation of resources, I will not enjoy it. But I am only one small part of the gaming market. 

Heres the problem. These games are often designed to target my demographic. They feature women wearing basically nothing, talk about strategy and destruction. The problem isn’t that the games are straight up bad, its that they are deceptive in their marketing strategies. And the result is that with every new game that gets released, every “hardcore” gamer starts complaining about the game.

Which brings us back to the question about game designing around freemium. If you want to make a game where I don’t do things for long periods of time, there had better be some choice involved in that decision. I should have to decide which missions I want to go on, who I want to attack, etc. There has to be choice. 

Games like Puzzle & Dragons and Clash of Clans succeed at this because they have both the waiting mechanics to entice players to buy in game currency, but actual gameplay to back it up. Neither is a game with zero strategic inputs. My decisions in both of these games actually matter. The same cannot necessarily be said of a large number of other games.

Let’s talk about Freemium

I’ve written before on the various types of freemium, and I’m about to do so again. Just before this I’ve posted a screenshot, and I’d like to discuss the screenshot, and basically have a discussion with MrGrouch.

MrGrouch seems to be a big fan of dungeon keeper, stating that the game had to be changed for tablet. Fair enough. He then states that he’s having bite-size chunks of fun, and that he’s usually an EA hater. Great.

Now let’s talk about every other review for the game, which have all basically ripped it to shreds.

I am studying how to be an economist, which as everyone who has ever taken a entry level will tell you is the study of the distribution of scarce resources. For me, much if not all of the joy in a game comes from discovering optimization, new tricks and ways of play. In a game without those tricks is not I will enjoy.

One problem I have with freemium games is that they are hard to evaluate on a gameplay level often. I downloaded and played Dungeon Keeper. It was meh. Just not fun. Not a travesty against humanity as some would make it out to be, just unfun.

Would the actual gameplay be fun for me? Most likely not. The game seemed somewhat dull, and even if it wasn’t slowed down, I don’t think I would enjoy it.

I’m gonna talk about this in a second, posting for discussion.

I’m gonna talk about this in a second, posting for discussion.

Fighting the Community

I just played two very unsatisfying games of League of Legends, so miserable that I’ve switched to TF2 for the moment. However, while we can complain about negative behavior in our communities, its more important to think about how we can deal with it.

In League of Legends there is one main piece of behavior thats irritates me, and that a player who wants to end the game before the game is over. In LoL, the game is truly never over until the nexus is destroyed. Comebacks are almost always possible. 

However, it doesn’t do us any good as players to get upset. My own personal method is to play the game until the end, and simply not get angry. My impact is obviously limited, but I would still like to think it encourages my teammates to not give up when one player tends to quit in a sulk.

So, how do you deal with players who impact your game negatively?

And this is why I don’t use primary colors when I get bored.

And this is why I don’t use primary colors when I get bored.

dreadpiratekhan:

Hey guys - please signal boost this to avoid fuck-uppery.

I’m an Americ-ish game dev; I work for a large game company in a very white European country whose inhabitants aren’t as used to talking about or considering questions of race, or of cultural appropriation, as much as Americans are (if…

Hey, so heres my two-cents on the issue.

Your fundamental problem is that your trying to make him look like a Native American. Most things that you could do that would label him as a Native American involve stereotypes. The whole idea of a feathered headdress, tattoos, buckskin, other stuff all involve cultural stereotypes.

Of the few people I know who are Native American, I wouldn’t recognize them as a Native American unless they had told me. The second big problem is that Native American is like saying European. While I think race is kinda a crappy way of grouping people, imagine trying to make a character was clearly from Europe. So, he’s got to be Irish, British, French, and Spanish, all at the same time.

Your best bet for not playing into a stereotype would be find a single tribe and use them as base for your character. From that, you could any imagery/art/symbols etc that they have in order to convey this character.