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…

Unit composition: cheesing, high tech, and bioballs

Unit composition is a critical element of a player’s strategy when playing games which feature fighting among armies. What units the player will develop depends on the enemy they will face as well the player’s unique playstyle. In RTS (real-time strategy) games such as the Starcraft franchise the player creates units with different roles and upgrades them to create…

Peaceful victory: why more games should feature diplomacy

In games we often associate victory conditions with beating an opponent through force or strength.  The players amass resources, develop a unit[s], and proceed to best their opponents through direct conflict.  As games begin to develop more complex victory conditions we are starting to see a rise in win conditions which also include self expression….

The little AI probe that could: persistence in the face of failure

Within games, artificial intelligence opponents can teach us a lot about the folly of human behavior due to our emotions and a spiraling defeatist mindset. The computer only calculates the likelihood of victory, the risks involved, and always keeps their eye on the prize. This determination and commitment to their goal is astounding to observe….

Skyrim Remastered: returning to an awe inspiring open world

With updates to graphical fidelity, performance, visual effects, access to mods, plus all of the original release’s DLC in one package Bethesda is ensuring that the remastered version of Skyrim will be the definitive open world experience. However, the reason it is poised to rock the world all over again is how excellent the game’s…

Playing to a crowd: the social dynamics of Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity is a popular party game in which a player reads a card with a prompt containing fill-in-the-blank values for the other players to submit answers to anonymously.  Its collection of answers include crass and dark humor, sophisticated social commentary, adult themes, and cites both pop culture references and philosophical concepts. The social dynamics…

Skill trees: choosing a path to follow 

We spend a lot of time planning out our future, dreaming up what we wish to become, to achieve, and what we’ll need to get there. What school we will go to, what our major will be, what industry we will work in, where we will live, what our hobbies will be? It can be…

Companions: choosing your friends

You are the company you keep, this old adage speaks to the nature of how the people around us shape who we are.  In role playing games such as Fallout 4, planning out a path for your character, the powers they will attain and the narrative they will complete determines how you will interact with…

Games: the hobby of making decisions

Games are understood in society as a diversion, a hobby or a pastime used to entertain people through interaction.  However it is not uncommon for people to view gaming, especially video gaming as a frivolous use of one’s time.  This often comes in the form of a concerned parent voicing their disappointment in their children’s…