Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Follow-up on "Worst Levels Ever"

A few days ago (as of writing this, as I am offsetting the publish for this post, it's probably been roughly a week) I posted a blog article about Mario Maker and bad levels.

In it, I had a section all about ultimate deductions to the "worst levels" possible in an old-school Mario game.  I described levels with no obstacles, levels with way too many enemies, and even levels with no level at all.

Mama mia!

After having a chat with my good friend Gabriel Priske (the dude I made See No Evil with) of Noetic Games, I came to some deeper inspection of what "bad" can mean in this context.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Do NPCs In Video Games Really Die?

Mortal Kombat

Since the early 90's, old people who had no idea what video games are and Florida lawyers who are willing to spin the grief of parents who have lost their children to violent crimes to make a quick buck have tried to question the issue of violence in video games.  I mean, it's undeniable that video games depict a lot of simulated death.

Now, those disrespectful politicians and opportunists who I mentioned above have tried to rattle our ears with the concept that our brains can't understand the differences between reality and video games; that these video games will rot our minds and turn us into killers.

Half-Life 2

Those crusty old farts are full of it.  We know that now.

But, what if we actually are all killers?  What if those virtual characters, packed with "AI", are actually living things that we're killing?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Brief Explanation of Educational Computer Games

Math Muncher

If you grew up in the 90's and early 2000's, then you remember playing some serious educational games either in school or at home.  The funny thing about them was that they never really felt like they were teaching you stuff.  You were just having a lot of fun.

But you did learn.  You had to!  It was the only way to play the game.  How can you munch math in Math Muncher without knowing the math?

These games were great ways of teaching children how to learn while having fun with the topics.  But there's not that much of this anymore.  What happened?  Where are the games that, dare I say, made learning fun?

Boss Battle Haikus

Image by Nick Derington
Learn to play the game
Think you're getting pretty good
Murdered by the boss

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mario Maker: Know this about bad levels

Image courtesy of IGN
Mario Maker recently released for the Nintendo Wii U, and dang do I love games like this!  Even back to when I bought the PS3 for the express reason of playing Little Big Planet, or further back when the only thing on my 3rd grade Christmas list was Jazz Jackrabbit 2 so I could play with the Jazz Creation Station, my love of level editors would likely receive a large chapter in the biography that nobody is going out of their way to write about me (yet).

Putting game design in the hands of the player gives the actor the chance to play director for a while, and I feel like this gives a great deal of perspective to gamers that they don't always get.

And sometimes it just results in terrible levels.  What gives?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What's it like to live twenty years with undiagnosed ADD?

That's Attention Deficit Disorder to those who don't know.  I've had it forever and wasn't diagnosed until a couple years ago.  I've only taken my meds for it for a year now and wow there is a huge difference.

So what's it like?  I'm here to try to put the often joked about and somewhat actually really scary disorder into an understandable perspective.