The Wolf Among Us: Being big and being bad

In my article The Wolf Among Us: being brave and kind I explored the challenge of sticking to one’s morals when others are in danger, and choosing between results and righteousness.  In my first playthrough of The Wolf Among Us I chose to focus on being diplomatic and kind.  After seeing the results of my choices…

The Wolf Among Us: being brave and kind

In narrative games I typically try to steer more towards being kind and diplomatic, yet The Wolf Among Us makes it clear that being nice is a luxury the player cannot afford via a world with dire consequences for not getting to the truth in time. Its timed dialogue selection sequences force the player to be decisive…

Design Home: player opinion as a mechanic

The thing that elevates a good game to a great game is its ability to make the players’ choices feel meaningful. Typically we think of mechanics as the tools and actions we use to complete the objectives of a game.  They can sometimes be reflections of the players personality, like in rpgs such as Dark Souls…

All or nothing affinity: Why NPC interactions are broken

In roleplaying games conversation trees, and dialogue options open up a world of character expression and interaction with the non player characters.  Whether it is as simple as talking to a bartender to tap into the rumors floating about town, or diving deep into the history of a companion to learn their motivations for joining you…

How genres shape the impact of a game: Roleplaying Narratives

Genres and what a game means to a player The use of genres to identify and categorize the content of different forms of art is nothing new, however the change in genre in games can have a massive impact on the gameplay experience.  The differences and defining points of genres within gaming have grown and…

Cause and effect: the Mass Effect trilogy in 17 days

Just a few…more…games… As the last console generation drew to a close, I lamented the transition into the next generation, the cost of a new console, the lack of backwards compatibility, meaning I would need to start an entirely new library with games and franchises not yet proven to have what I so loved about…

The world that he wants: the aftermath of siding with Shaun

*Spoiler alert, this article contains descriptions of the events after completing the main story line in Fallout 4.*    A wandering lab coat My time in the Commonwealth took me in many directions.  To complete my first playthrough I focused on roleplaying as a scientist, curious about the science behind the things I encountered in…

Lights, Camera, Dogmeat!: making Dogmeat the hero

A star is born Let’s be honest, Dogmeat is not a terribly efficient companion.  He’s kind of a bullet sponge, he certainly distracts the enemy, but beyond being a loud melee unit, albeit a charming one, he simply doesn’t do enough to make keeping him as your companion a worthwhile option. I’ll admit that I…

Turtling: the fearful, the arrogant, and the lucky

Within RTS games there is a strategy known as turtling; in which the player builds a formidable base and waits for their opponent’s assault.  The idea is that when the player has survived the onslaught of their opponent’s aggression the player can then easily counter attack while their enemy is busy rebuilding their army.  However,…

League of War: Mercenaries: squad building done right

League of War: Mercenaries, developed by MunkyFun Inc., lured me in with it’s 3D models and 3D combat space, I saw tanks, infantrymen, and helicopters all fighting on a battlefield together.  It actually looked like the combat so many other games such as Mobile Strike promise in their ads but fail to deliver in gameplay. The…

Mobile Strike: complexity vs depth

Mobile Strike touts “Nonstop Action’, yet the pace of the game is more of a soldier’s low crawl than that of the jets flying overhead in its commercials. It gets bogged down with the builder elements and sits the player down in front of resource spreadsheets, quest logs, and timers instead of battlefields. (Mobile Strike ad,…