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Gaming & Tech

Heart of the Swarm Campaign Impressions

Heart of the Swarm Nydus Worm

Heart of the Swarm is among Blizzard’s strongest single player experiences to date. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the shortest. I completed all of its 27 missions and side missions in under 10 hours without skipping a single conversation. Ultimately, though, the $40 pricetag is well worth it. The game picks up where Wings of Liberty left off, but quickly takes steps to get away from all things Terran. This is a good thing because the real fun doesn’t start until you get into the nitty-gritty Zergy bits of tailoring your own custom Swarm. I won’t waste time describing the mechanics to you, I’m just going to talk about what works and what doesn’t. Read on…

Daniel Stacey and Himalaya Studios are Keeping Adventure Alive

Himalaya Header

Throughout the late 80′s and 90′s, point and click adventure games defined PC gaming. While modern genre saturation has classified these well written puzzle solvers as considerably more niche, there was a time when they weren’t just a popular way to play, they were THE way to play. In 1984, Sierra Entertainment released King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown, the first in a point and click adventure series that dominated more than an decade of the genre.

All good things have to come to an end, though, and 1998′s King’s Quest VIII: The Mask of Eternity was the series’ final title to date. As PC gaming evolved there was fear that these classic gems may get left behind. Fortunately, the good people at AGD Interactive (Anonymous Game Developers), a non-profit group founded in 2001 by Britney Brimhall and Christopher Warren, set out to release enhanced versions of the King’s Quest games along with several other titles from that era. After publishing several successful remakes, the organization moved into commercial territory, forming their own shop, Himalaya Studios. After the successful release of their first original title, Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, and it’s sequel/spinoff, Postcards from Arizona, the studio moved on to an even more ambitious project. Read on…

EA Sort of Dismembers Dead Space 3

Dead Space 3 Cover

Last week, I profiled the Dead space series thus far. This week, I beat the final installment on its hardest difficulty setting. Here are my thoughts on the experience:

I was halfway through DS3 when I decided that what I was playing was no longer Dead Space. The environments looked like Dead Space. The skittering sounds induced nervousness like Dead Space. The gameplay even felt like Dead Space. So why did I feel so different? I looked at Isaac as he stepped out of the new suit kiosk, glimmering in his bright golden pre-order First Contact suit holding a DLC Evangelizer as Ellie came in over the comm system. That’s when it really hit me: Isaac you’ve changed, and for the worse. Read on…

Dead Space Thus Far

ead Space Zero G Concept Art
Dead Space Zero G concept art, click for more images from the official site.

My interest with Dead Space first peaked after reading about two key details: Necromorphs (read: space zombies) are the enemy and headshots are not the way to go about killing them.

Fast forward a month and I was stepping into Isaac Clarke’s boots for the first time, crash landing into the USG Ishimura, the ship he was ironically supposed to fix. After spending 10 minutes running away weaponless from necromorphs and screaming like a little girl, I finally got Isaac his first weapon. I then opened a door and stood face to face with another necromorph, immediately decapitating it without thinking. It stumbled backwards onto the floor in what I assumed were death throe animations, so I move Isaac to the next room. Then all of the sudden, BAM Isaac was in a death grapple sequence, and I was mashing the A button as fast as I could to escape my now headless assailant. Isaac freed himself, strafed backwards and deftly took off both the necromorph’s legs. When it stopped moving, he stomped on it for good measure. I ran Isaac to the next room where a plot sequence began. He was temporarily safe. My hands were shaking and I am only 15 minutes into the game. Read on…

A Leader’s Memoir: Conquering Civilization V on Deity

Civ V CoverSid Meier’s Civilization V is one of the best turn-based gaming experiences on the market. Its mechanics are polished, its presentation is impeccable, and it’s addictiveness is legendary. After over 500 hours of playtime over several years time, I finally conquered the game on it’s highest difficulty setting, Deity, in one crazy all nighter. Here is how history unfolded:

Map size: Tiny (4)
Map type: Pangea
Civilization played: China
Rival Civs: Persia, Siam, Germany

I started in the heavily wooded north of Pangea, with so many sources of deer and truffles that I knew I would be foolish not to rush towards the Goddess of the Hunt pantheon (+1 extra food from camps). With this I was able to build up Beijing really tall, and coupled with Republic under the liberty tree, I was able to double expand along the barren north coast to grab the natural wonder, Rock of Gibraltar, and to the center of the continent to set up Shanghai as a forward position against the southern Persian empire. Read on…

Why Gaming needs a Next Generation Earthbound

Earthbound BoxWhen I was a kid, I played ice hockey for seven years. I was generally lacking in self-confidence and wasn’t very good, but I still enjoyed the living hell out of it. Occasionally I’d even pull off a few relatively skillful maneuvers and have a good game. It was after one such experience that my dad, acting on the understanding that deep down his son was a nerd, told me I could buy any video game I wanted. It was the perfect positive reinforcement for a nine year old me. We went to the store and I naturally picked out the game with a box twice the size of the others, making my dad most certainly question his decision.

The game I wanted was Earthbound, and it was amazing. An American port of designer Shigesato Itoi’s Mother 2, it’s the second in a series of games involving young children trying to save the world from the intergalactic terror known as Giygas. As the only title in the franchise to make it out of Japan, Earthbound is considered by a strong cult following (myself included) to be a standalone classic for its unique art direction and writing, a staple of the SNES era, and one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Read on…

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Various writings about Movies, TV, Games, Books, Comics, and Technology. You know, nerdy stuff.

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