Photos and Words of Patrick Calder

I live in Washington, DC with 1 cat named Pixel, 6 cameras, 3 computers, 158 movies, 286 books, and 1 bowling pin. I own the Design Foundry and pretend to be a graphic designer by day.

Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.

Video Game Lessons / November 2, 2009

I’ve played 3 different video games recently. Two of them had great features I would love to see in more games; and one I could definitely do without.
Just to quickly get the bad out of the way:
I finally got around to playing Darwinia, a game put out by a company whose done some other great games. It’s got an interesting concept, nice graphics, (and once they dumped the gestural interface) was easy to use. BUT… I refuse to let any application call in over the internet to their manufacturer’s servers unless there’s something productive in it for me. And judging from the error messages I get every 30 minutes when the game crashes, it won’t run unless you let it connect. Deleted.
But the good stuff:
I picked up the complete Lego Star Wars. The name pretty much says it all. You get to play through all six movies done up in Legos. There’s a great sense of humor about it all. While it’s easy to play, it’s not simplistic.What I really liked though doesn’t even kick in until you ‘finish’ the game. Once you’ve gone through every mission, and you go back through again, playing different characters, you get access to new tools, capabilities, and areas of the levels that you didn’t have before. Rather than the typical method of going back and refining your game until you could beat any level in your sleep, you’re actually not even finished, and haven’t seen everything yet. It really makes for a more interesting game, spread out over a longer time.
The other game was Homeworld 2. It’s a pretty straightforward sci-fi, space-battle game. The graphics were pretty well done for their time. The 3D navigation was a little rough, (or I was just missing something). And it was WAY too short, with a truly disappointing last mission. But what I loved was the continuity. The exact fleet you built — or at least whatever survives the mission — is what you start the next mission with. Good or bad, this carries through for the entire game. It’s nice to see a game that can handle that kind of flexibility. It saves you from either having to waste time at the start of each mission building up a whole new force or from simply being handed exactly what you’ll need.

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