Setting Paths and Changing Outcomes in RPGs

Dragon Age: Inquisition screenshot by Flicker user Mark Molea (CC)
Dragon Age: Inquisition screenshot by Flickr user Mark Molea (CC)

Recently, a number of our posts here have focused, in ways directly or indirectly, on challenges associated with being adult gamers. As much as we might not like to admit it, as we grow older, our gaming habits change, sometimes by choice, often by necessity. Demanding jobs, growing families, and surmounting financial concerns all eat away at free time that we may have once had to devote to games. In my gaming life, the requirements of the real world have especially impacted one of my gaming habits in particular, that of playing through a single game with multiple characters and having each follow a distinct path.

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Kerbal Space Program has Cleared the Tower!

Image from publicly available images page of the Kerbal Space Program website

That’s one small step for Jebediah Kerman, and one giant leap for Kerbal-kind!

This past Monday, one of the prodigal sons of indie game development has finally left the confines of Early Access and has found its way into the wilds of full release. Kerbal Space Program has launched version 1.0, closing the book on one of the most remarkable examples of a playable beta since Minecraft. With a strong core concept, endless replayability, and a strong community of gamers, modders, and streamers, you have a formula for indie greatness.

So, in honor of Kerbal Space Program’s momentous release, let’s take a look at where it came from, what it is, and to what galaxy it may be going next.

Continue reading Kerbal Space Program has Cleared the Tower!

The Duck Apologizes to Retro Studios

Screenshot by Flickr User: Gieson Cacho
Screenshot by Flickr User: Gieson Cacho

As you may very well be aware of, I have complained a good deal about the fairly recent Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii.  It’s way too hard, I feel silly shaking the controller around (though, I do with all Wii games, so that’s nothing new), and it lacks the feel and the charm of the original Super Nintendo games.  Due to all this unhappiness I felt towards the game, I had my doubts about getting the sequel on the Wii U, Tropical Freeze, but I had some money to spare and decided to give it a chance.  And I am now forced to eat my words.

Now, I don’t really need to get into tons of detail about this game.  It’s a simple concept, as it’s a platformer.  We know what those are.  And many of us have played Donkey Kong.  It’s a platformer involving lots of apes and a monkey (Diddy is the only monkey I know of).  And so I’d just like to focus this post on what this game does so right and why I finally believe Retro Studios has done a commendable job bringing back a series from 20 years ago that I used to adore.  I will always have a special place in my heart for the original games on the SNES and will always feel they are far better, but any gamer that has been playing for more than a few years knows how strong nostalgia can be.  And I accept that I can’t always compare games to those I loved many years ago. Continue reading The Duck Apologizes to Retro Studios

Animal Crossing: Just Livin’ Life

Image captured by Hatm0nster

As time passes, I’ve been finding myself less and less able to dedicate it to playing video games. Where once I had full nights, and even days to spend in the digital realm, I now have a mere handful of hours each week. Those hours have become a precious commodity; something to be spent wisely making as much progress as possible in one game or another rather than idly whiled away in multiplayer or simply wandering around. “Making progress” has somehow become very important to my gaming experience; it’s even gotten to the point that I have difficulty considering games like Bloodborne simply out of concern that I’ll somehow end up wasting time with them (what with all the difficulty and retrying, and well you know…death). Oddly enough, there is an exception to this. An oasis of stillness amidst the almost absolute desire to “make progress”. That bastion being the admittedly odd, Animal Crossing games. Continue reading Animal Crossing: Just Livin’ Life

Saturday Video Round Up: April 19 – 25

The following post was submitted by GamerCrash. See more trailers and news at!

It’s a brand new Video Round Up! Brace yourself for a whole week’s worth of video content from the latest trailers to the biggest gameplay footage. Sit back and relax as we dive into the biggest videos from the week that was. Here’s a taste.

After going completely silent since it’s original announcement, Avalanche Studios has finally released a compelling trailer showing off the many gameplay features of their upcoming Mad Max game. From the looks of the footage, it’s going to be a beautifully huge game that stays true to the spirit of the franchise.

Get ready for more Call of Duty as Activision and Treyarch released a 3 minute teaser trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops III. It has a heavy Deus Ex feel to it, complete with augmentation, controversy of wearable tech, and eventual conflict. Hey, the trailer got the attention of Eidos Montreal.

I’ve also got new videos for Splatoon, Project CARS, Rainbow Six Siege and so much more after the break, so come check out this week’s batch of trailers!

The full list of videos await you after the jump…

Continue reading Saturday Video Round Up: April 19 – 25

Sentient Ostrich Weapons and Cyber Dragons: Celebrating Pranks

The following post was submitted by GamerCrash. See more trailers and news at


Considering my schedule these days, it’s hard to know if I’m coming or going. My good friends over at United We Game held a celebration of sorts this month, looking at some of the best April Fools pranks, tricks, and hoaxes. I could have sworn that I missed all the fun but as it turns out, I made the cut in the nick of time. Better late than never though, right?

While I’m not a person to obsessively pour over a game trying to unlock every secret or delving into the smallest of places on a map to potentially discover an easter egg, there are a number of tricks and fun pranks I’m pretty fond of. For more, (Shameless site plug) check out my April Fools recap posts here.

Here’s my short list:

Continue reading Sentient Ostrich Weapons and Cyber Dragons: Celebrating Pranks

Video games, will you still love me when I’m 64?

Image by Flickr user MTSOfan
Image by Flickr user MTSOfan (CC)

For the past several years, it’s happened without fail. April comes round and BAM! life kicks again into high gear after a slow, cold winter. In and among all the wonderful chaos that takes up my springs, summers, and autumns, gaming goes waaaay down on the priority list. And even though I know this change comes every year, it’s not one to which I look forward, especially when Spring usually brings round a crop of new and exciting games. Here’s a post I wrote for Geek Force Network in which I further pondered this yearly event, as well as my possible future with games.

Another year, another birthday – that’s life. There’s no avoiding it; it just happens. A certain day goes by and poof!, suddenly you’re one whole year older than the day before.  My birthday is still several months away, but it’s an unsettling one with terrible thoughts of MID-LIFE CRISIS AHEAD looming in the back of my mind. But throwing personal messes aside, this year has really had me questioning my future with video games. Not questioning their perceptual existence in my life but questioning the role that they will fulfill in the future.

Continue reading Video games, will you still love me when I’m 64?