Archive for category Design

Still Life’s Red Herring

SafeGus

It’s often astounding, given modern titles like The Walking Dead, that adventure games used to all be about puzzles. Well, no, scratch that. Adventure games were about exploring interesting people and places at a pace that you would never find in any other genre of the day. Puzzles were how they filled the time.

That’s not meant as an insult (not entirely). One of the key elements of storytelling is pacing, and puzzles are an effective way to break up all that talking and put the forward motion on hold for a while. It gives the story a chance to breathe, or to mull over what just happened, or to delve deeper into the setting, or just to make you feel like you’re a meaningful part of this experience. But there’s no getting around it: adventure games can have some really terrible puzzles. The impossible, the illogical, the ones that can’t be solved because you missed that one object ten screens back that was two pixels in length. Yes, that one. You know which one I mean.

They really could be the worst, couldn’t they?

Now, the puzzle I want to talk about isn’t one of those puzzles. It isn’t on the level of the cat hair moustache or the wallet-fetching rat. It isn’t absolutely terrible; in fact, it’s rather clever and can be solved through simple logic. No, the reason I’m writing about it is because it’s downright deceptive.

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Modern Game Design: part II

LALoading01

It was a dark day in the lonely city. A day like any other, and the worst day of my life. A man like me looks his whole life for that one dame, the one who takes your love, caresses it, and then squeezes it into an ashtray like yesterday’s cigarettes. She might be lounging in a smoky bar, or waiting at the corner of Lionel and 3rd street. She might be that song you heard on the radio or the rain leaking through the ceiling of your downtown apartment. For me, she was L.A. Noire.

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Demeter’s Skyrim Diary: part 5

Demeter05

—Heartfire, 3rd, 4E 201—

There is a rotunda near Whiterun, an open-air forge. It has been named ‘Lunar Forge’. They say that, when the moons are out, weapons forged in its place are bestowed great enchantments.

But that is not why I am writing. During the day, I came upon a hunter’s encampment, hid under an outcropping of rock. Its inhabitants had been unfortunate, bloodied by some creature – likely wolves, as the plains are teeming with them. There were several pelts and skins as a testament of their trade. In one chest lay a fascinating gemstone.

And the gemstone spoke to me. Merida, she said was her name, she wants me to find her mountain. She wants me to go and put her gem where it belongs. She compels me to go…but I feel uneasy. She speaks of wrath and rage, that I would become an instrument of her righteousness. I don’t trust this talk. But how can I easily defy a god?

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Modern Game Design: part I.

SleepingDogs14

All right! A new game, a new adventure! It’s Sleeping Dogs! Hong Kong kung fu action thriller, baby! Let’s go kick some ass!

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