Extra: The Importance of Earnest Questions

I don’t spend as much time on Stack Exchange as I used to, but I used to frequent the sites, and one thing that I noticed very quickly was the amount of loaded questions being thrown around. Questions like “My friend said this, but I think it’s this. I’m right, right?” came up more often than one would hope. Disregarding the fact that this directly undermines Stack Exchange’s purpose, it’s also plain dumb, since instead of hearing the actual answers presented by the majority of posters, they accept whoever purports their position first as the “proper answer”, regardless of the facts. Continue reading “Extra: The Importance of Earnest Questions”

Extra: Gamer Guilt

I know a lot of gamers who won’t admit to it, or if they do will only admit to playing things like Portal or other cerebral but less mainstream games. Personally, I don’t go around saying that I’m a gamer either, even though I, of all people, recognize the value of gaming and I make it an important part of my studies, and have generally come to the conclusion that gaming tends to give people certain advantages. There’s a few reasons why I don’t really describe myself as a “gamer”.

Continue reading “Extra: Gamer Guilt”

Table Reflection: Playing with Women

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a guy (as in male, XY chromosomes, plentiful testosterone). Most of the people I hang out with and run games for are too. I don’t have insight into women from a marketing perspective, so I’m not going to try to talk about how to interest women in gaming. Instead, I’m looking at a simple thing; handling women and men at the tabletop while playing roleplaying games (this applies a little to any community which is male dominated and often perceived or legitimately believed to be actively hostile to women), mostly from my own experiences as someone whose table often includes a woman, written to guys who wonder why women don’t want to roll up a barbarian and join them. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Playing with Women”

Extra: Kyle’s Handy Game List

I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of games, and as such every once in a while I like to make a quick list of things that I like. I’ll be splitting this list into tabletop and video games. For the video games, I intentionally stray away from just saying the “best” games, and instead look at games that are unique or interesting. There’s no particular order to the list, and I’ll include both commercial and freely available games in separate sections. Continue reading “Extra: Kyle’s Handy Game List”

Game Design: Punishing For Success

One thing I’ve noticed when playing games is that many games intentionally or inadvertently punish successful players. Some of this is necessary, to prevent abuse, but other times it feels damaging to play, especially in a single-player experience.

The core example of this would be games with “adaptive difficulty”. This takes a variety of formats; sometimes they’re based off of a universal game slider of difficulty, but sometimes they just determine the challenges faced in the game. This would include something like the AI Director in Left 4 Dead, which will occasionally add more challenges if the players are doing exceptionally well to keep things interesting, but also like GearHead‘s reputation system. The problem inherent in GearHead’s system is that Renown is earned like experience whenever the player is victorious, but can ramp up quicker than players’ levels. Continue reading “Game Design: Punishing For Success”

Extra: John Smith, The Awesome

Now, this one is perhaps going to be best known by American readers, but the first English colonies in the New World was led by a man named John Smith. At first glance, looking at him through history, we don’t know very much about him. The truth? He was his era’s James Bond.

His accomplishments include: Continue reading “Extra: John Smith, The Awesome”

Table Reflection: Learning to Roll With It

Get it, because tabletop games usually involve dice?

Sorry, I figured I’d break the ice with a pun.

Moving on into more serious matters, tabletop gaming is one of my major hobbies-it’s cheap, entertaining, and social. Even though a lot of people who do it are often falsely labeled as anti-social (after all, who gets together to celebrate oft-violent narratives?) and some are rather accurately labeled as anti-social, I know a lot of great guys through the hobby, some of whom I’ve met online and some of whom I’ve met in person. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Learning to Roll With It”

Skyrim Versus Oblivion: A Game Design Perspective

Let’s quick get this out there: I love both Oblivion and Skyrim, and I’ve spent about an equal amount of time in each (I won’t throw out a number, but let’s just say that I could’ve made a lot of money by being productive in that time). The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages has a more mechanical list of these things, which can be found here: Differences Between Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. Of course, I look at things from a slightly different perspective than just the mechanical, and look to see if any of the mechanical changes really had an impact on core play. Continue reading “Skyrim Versus Oblivion: A Game Design Perspective”

Learning from Dungeons and Dragons Online Part 3: Financial Model

Dungeons and Dragons Online, as I’ve said before, is my favorite MMORPG, and there’s several things I like about its business plan that really help me as a player who isn’t willing to subscribe but is willing to buy content on occasion (though that might change; I’m not planning on subscribing forever but I might pick up VIP for the months when I’m off school next summer). Continue reading “Learning from Dungeons and Dragons Online Part 3: Financial Model”

Switching the Model

Some people may have noticed that I’ve been doing daily posts. This is really nice, but it’s not terribly sustainable, especially as full-time school starts up again and I need to worry more about writing massive essays and working on my honors thesis. I’m going to switch to a three-post per week system, and here’s what you can expect: