The Daily #14 – I’m hurt but I’m not running from it

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I just played a pretty horrible round of League of Legends. ‘Tis an old story: toxic players on your team and a horrible match-up in your lane. Now, it’s pretty natural for me to try to make myself feel better by pointing out how much the people telling me to fuck myself also sucked, but I don’t think that’s God’s prescription for it. Indeed, I think moments like these in life are crucial to testing my endurance and trust in God, because moments like these naturally draw me away from Him. Continue reading

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Current Obsession – Sword & Spoon

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Here’s the game that’s kept me up till 3am tonight: Sword & Spoon

The gameplay is simple; defend your castle from invaders by building and upgrading its rooms. From the variety of rooms you may choose to build, there are those that spawn units to fend off invaders and/or support those that do; and there are those that spawn or affect the different resources you are tasked with manipulating, such as food in the form of potatoes, which governs the rate at which your combat units respawn, and currency in the form of gold, which allows you to build and upgrade rooms (as well as activate level-specific gimmicks like watchtowers and lanterns).

Sword&Spoon 1

Though the game is not all that complex at first glance, it really pushes you to make the best decisions possible in each situation. It’s often required that you go through at least some trial and error in order to get the hang of each level’s challenges. Thankfully, and I am very thankful, Sword & Spoon is free-to-play in the truest sense of the word, like old browser games on Newgrounds, Nitrome, or Miniclip. Which is insane for a game as fun as Sword & Spoon is.

Honestly, I’m impressed. This here is a real treasure of a game. The difficulty amps up just the right amount from level to level. Nothing has felt impossible so far, no level too easy either (except for the short introductory levels at the start of each set, there just to give you a preview of the challenges to come).

I’m at a loss for words about this game. In a certain way, it’s hard to say what makes a game good when it all just works. Just goes to show how little I actually know about game design. I’m sure there’s an elaborate web of mathematically interwoven mechanics that have been fine-tuned to deliver just the right amount of difficulty at just the right time. But when a game is so tightly made, it’s hard to see what makes it work. Without chink in the armor, it’s hard to deconstruct and reverse-engineer it.

Sword&Spoon 2

It took me 3 tries to get this screenshot. The first two times, I got distracted and ended up completing the level before I could snap a shot.

Alas, it ain’t a perfect game. I haven’t completed it and seeing as it’s nearly 4am now, I don’t think I’ll finish it tonight. The game’s difficulty, so perfect through the first two sets of levels, seems to unravel at World 3. It stopped feeling like a challenge. It can’t be that I just got too good at the game because I’m about to fall asleep and I’m not even trying. I wouldn’t have been able to get through a level from World 2 playing this way so it’s disappointing that the game has let me down now.

Still, it ain’t a bad game and it’s definitely, definitely worth a look. It requires just the right mix of planning and thinking on your feet that I love, and makes me feel clever for playing like I do. Hopefully, the difficulty balances out again before the end of the game. But then again, I think I may have had my fill already. Or maybe that’s just the disappointment speaking? I’ll know tomorrow if I don’t forget to return to the game. As it stands I neither hope to remember nor forget. All I want to do is sleep, haha.

Props to Jayisgames for repping the game on their site. I recommend that site as well, they host and hype some quality stuff.

Why Do I Bother Writing Game Reviews?

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What’s Your Tag? – Are Game Reviewers Really Just Egomaniacs?

 I’ve been asking myself a version of that question lately. I don’t write game reviews very often but, being a new addition to the team over at Analog Addiction, I imagine I’ll be writing them more often. It’s got me wondering: Why do I even bother writing video game reviews? Continue reading

Video Game Long Reads – What relationship is there between a game’s narrative and its level of challenge?

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Chris Crawford’s Dragon Speech

I’m blessed to have found friends who share in my love for video games, not only by common interest but in a common way as well. I don’t only love games because they’re fun. I also love them because of their unique ability among forms of art to be interactive, and because of the amazing experiences that were made possible by that unique ability.

If you’ve read the speech, then I have a feeling I could go on about how I relate it with my personal experiences with the medium. If you haven’t, well, this little site of mine isn’t going anywhere. Take your time, and for everyone who isn’t so interested in games, it’s also a strong message on finding and committing to your dreams.

Anyway! This here is another long read. I apologize, I just had so much to say once again. The topic for today? What’s the relationship between the unique narrative ability of video games to put us in the protagonist’s shoes and the way we also enjoy challenge in our games?

Stay hydrated, friends, and find a warm place to sit. Oh, and have some beats.

Continue reading

The Daily #4 – No one’s afraid of effort, only of trying harder

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There’s definitely garlic in my breath, but I think the taste of basil is hiding it. Made for bruschetta for breakfast this early morning.

wpid-20150224_062851.jpgAnd I do mean early. I woke up at about 3am (or earlier, can’t really remember) and came to a conclusion: I need to start challenging myself again. Before I continue on that, I’d like to mention that the bruschetta was a tad too salty and savoury for me and could’ve been a little more sour. Would’ve been great chilled too, but it was definitely edible. Anyway… Continue reading

For better or for worse, Call of Duty players are getting better at the game

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Just thought I’d post a video from a YouTuber whose work I’ve long admired. The topic is on player sophistication in the Call of Duty franchise, echoing concerns that I wrote about just a short while ago in Learning Curve VS Fun – Video Game Long Reads.

I don’t have anything to add at the moment, just though it would be nice to share.