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Showing posts from October, 2007

Because shorter reviews are better

[Edit 11/4/10: Of course, you no longer can try this game now that it's been canceled. I have to say that the highest moments of the game had to be the base sieges, when hundreds of alien NPCs would attack the base and it's up to the human defenders to keep them away, which this was a screenshot of. If Tabula Rasa had focused more on bringing these to the forefront and less on trying to shoehorn in making the game emulate a World of Warcraft quest structure, things might have turned out much differently for it.]

Time for a clean slate: Tabula Rasa revealed

Once again burnt out on excessive overplaying of God's gift to MMORPG players looking for something different and fun (City of Heroes) it looks like it's time for me to find something else to do for awhile.

Well, how about Tabula Rasa? The NDA has dropped and I've got a bit of beta experience. If you're interested, what follows is an extremely subjective review about what the deal of Tabula Rasa really is.

Tabula Rasa means "clean slate", and the main question on burnt out MMORPG gamer's minds is "does it deliver?"

Initial impressions will be bad, because Tabula Rasa is a "kill stuff, gain experience for levels, gain loot for equipment" game. Seeing and playing this, most players will immediately come under the realization that they're just playing yet another MMORPG. They'll run around, kill stuff, gain experience for levels, and gain loot for equipment.

This behavior is not entirely Tabula Rasa's fault, really. Play…

Losing The Story: The CRPG Flaw.

There was another good reason to write stories that I forgot to mention before: It's game punditry at its best and most illustrative. To look at each of my stories about gaming, they're seem to me to be more exciting than the game itself. Yet, that does not make sense because the average Computer Role Playing Game is attempting to tell a story. Why is that? In answering this, we can see my gaming stories are also a form of punditry.

I think the real reason why the story seems more exciting than the game is because game developers lose touch with the storytelling potential of a game. It happens in the same way players devolve from enjoying fantasy adventure to instead merely optimizing their character sheets to improve their chance at winning. They, affected player and developer both, have forgotten that RPGs are about telling a story first and a game second.

My gaming stories can illustrate a point. For example, in The Rat Trap, Bruxx can be found sitting about a tavern…

Why Tell Stories?

It's been awhile since I've updated my Blog with a story, so how about this: I'll explain why it is that motivates me to write here and, in reminding myself why I should, perhaps I will produce an insightful yarn in itself.

The major change of focus of this Blog was borne of one resounding idea: that I could use it to reintroduce the magic into gaming. As a natural part of the learning process of our minds, we human beings tend to learn to disregard and trivialize the very details of what it is that we enjoyed about games in the first place. Where once we found ourselves excited to take place in an exercise of the imagination where we mentally adventure against fire breathing dragons, we now instead focus on the best way to build a character in order to win the game. When it has become about the destination and not the journey, what has been lost is this: the story.

A frame of mind is an incredibly powerful thing. There have been miserable people who have everything th…

Weekend of Gaming and Other Decadence

This is a weekend in which I was supposed to get some homework done. However, like many weekends these days, it seems my procrastination has my willpower by a stranglehold. So what have I been doing instead? Fun stuff.

GameFly has proven itself an incredible asset to me with just one game: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. I wrote up a fairly glowing review on it. Having finished it on Thursday, I sent it back on Friday and hope to get the sequel by mid-next week.

Mario Party 8 was the other game I rented and, while it has its charm as a party game, it really isn't suited to the solo gamer looking for something compelling. Far too much success or failure in Mario Party 8 depends on the roll of the dice, and it's now sealed up and ready to be sent back to GameFly.

On the PC gaming front, I was involved with two betas and one bad habit this weekend.

The two betas were Hellgate: London and Fury Unleashed. Hellgate is relatively awesome but I can't go into it further as it…

We Can Rebuild

It was an unusual operating room, but then, these were not the usual surgeons. They stood around the metal operating table containing the "patient" in the way they had been trained back when they were considered legitimate doctors. However, this operating room was strange in that it contained all the butchery tools and maniacal electric machines suitable of Dr. Frankenstein's lab. It was almost enough to overlook the operating "room" was merely a raised stone platform in a still-operating section of the Paragon City sewer system.


The head surgeon indicated to his assistants that he was ready to begin, and began to monologue for the records of the operation.

"Subject: 'The Nanites.' Cause of death: poisoned crossbow bolt fired by... well, me."

The head surgeon smiled imperceptibly under his surgical mask, the other surgeons chuckling at his little joke. He gestured, and was passed a horrible curved bone saw from amongst the tools table, rus…

Message Transmitted

It was a world-class political pep rally. The auditorium was filled with millions of people, and cameras were arrayed in regular positions to capture the action up on the stage. The candidates sat in two elite groups on the stage, people worth millions of dollars, the object of attention of the nation and the world, dressed in finery and beaming reassuring smiles for appearance. There was only one person out of place, a dark-skinned carpenter meekly reinforcing the podium nearby, doing his best to assure that nothing went wrong on the stage he built.

But something did go wrong that day. There was the matter of testing the cluster of microphones at the podium, and neither candidate wanted the other to be the first to address the mass of people. Behind their smiles there was much silent bickering between the two as they tried to find somebody harmless enough to perform this important task.

They finally agreed that the person to do it was the carpenter, who appeared to them to be…