Dwarf Fortress: A video game on display at MOMA

August 13th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Dwarf Fortress looks like a color version of ASCII art. Needless to say it is not on display at MOMA because of it’s aesthetics. Yet it is indeed a work of art. When you start the game it first takes a few minutes to generate the world. When I say world I don’t simply mean the physical landscape but the entire world. Set in a Tolkien like middle earth it generates a couple hundred years of lore and it doesn’t stop at large scale conflicts between Orcs and Dwarves. The game dives deep into it by creating individuals that have their own history that begin and end before you even start playing. The detail is so deep that the mod community has created tools that allow you to dig through the lore of your randomly generated world. It’s like your own personal Wikipedia. If you were to gamifiy The Silmarillion I expect it would looks something like this.

For more watch this screencast as some folks from Polygon stride into war atop a cave dragon in Dwarf Fortress.

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Sequelitis – ZELDA: A Link to the Past vs. Ocarina of Time

August 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Egoraptor, of Mega Man X is FUCKING AWESOME fame, takes a look at the Zelda franchise with the same keen eye towards game design. He spends most of his time completely tearing apart one of the sacred cows of gaming lore, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, while also finally making clear to me why I was unable to finish Skyward Sword.


Shigeru Miyamoto once described his idea for Zelda as coming from a feeling of wanting to explore caves near his house as a child. Which led to an amazing game where you explore caves and dungeons and found wondrous things. The irony is that when it came time to make sequels Nintendo cared more about the things that were found, rather than the mystery itself. There is no mystery in modern Zelda games.

Dopy figure representing Zelda Skyward Sword

Hey man! I’m mysterious


(turns red with anger) GOD, SHUTUP! Seriously. You want all this attention like you care, like you really gave it your all in a “new innovative Zelda experience” but instead you led Zelda into a frustrated monotony. You know what started the franchise was this sense of wonder and what has this far concluded the franchise is a sense of formality. A predictable, time consuming mess that asks you not of your sense of your sense of adventure or even your wits but instead on your ability to listen andfollow directions. You ask us of our ability to point something [wii mote] at something else and walk towards it. You ask of us to get another bow & arrow and fight another boss with a giant glowing eyeball. Gee, I wonder how to FUCKING beat it. I fucking WONDER Skyward Sword.

Also, now I really wish I could play A Link Between Worlds.
(hat tip: Kyle Starr at ZeroCounts.net)

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GameDock for iPhone, iPad, and iPod

August 15th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

And here I thought nobody would be able to make a console with iOS. It’s criminal that this project has a fraction of the backers that the OUYA recieved.

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OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console by OUYA — Kickstarter

July 10th, 2012 § 8 comments § permalink

Hands down the coolest Android product I’ve seen yet. The first good example I’ve seen of the so called “open” advantage. Obviously there is no way this could be done with iOS which is a damn shame.


Controller for the OUYA

A comment from Alfred made me realize that I need to clarify what I meant. I have never been one to advocate open software as an ends in it of itself. While it can be a means to an end I usually find that the finished product is lacking in basic usability. I realize this is a dramatic over simplification and there are exceptions but in my opinion they are exceptions that prove the rule.

In the case of OUYA1 the benefit I see is that they have been able to leverage an existing platform to create a console that already has thousands of games on it! Granted most of those games will probably need to be updated to work with a controller but this console has a huge advantage over previous attempts to create an open console. Namely that they are not asking developers to learn a new platform or create new games for their platform. They are merely asking them to modify their existing software to work with a different control set. If these same developers like the console then perhaps they will start building apps specifically for it using the knowledge they have already attained building Android games. They also don’t have to worry about distribution or online credit card transactions which are both pretty big hurdles.

When I said “there is no way this could be done with iOS” I did not mean to imply that there won’t be a way to play iOS games on your TV. I fully expect Apple to update their AppleTVs to allow third party apps to be installed, including games obviously. This system will be far superior to the current Airplay method of playing games which I find to have way too much latency to be enjoyable. I don’t expect it to be a particularly great console though and because Apple doesn’t license iOS nobody else will be able to come along and leverage the iOS app store to build a better one.

  1. pronounced “Oh-yeah”? []
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