Electric Cartilage And The Games That Don't Exist

Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est

Fun Gun Awards: Storm Bow from Heretic 2

storm bow 5

The Fun Gun Award™, is an award for video game guns that aren’t necessarily effective, don’t necessarily give a player a tactical advantage, but which have creative behavior, unique design, and are fun to use. These guns might suck, but they’re so fun that I WANT to learn to use them effectively.

I liked Heretic 2. Probably more than it deserves; or, less than it deserves. I liked the weapons, the visual design, and the plethora of non-human characters and enemies (after the first environment, I don’t think there are any more human enemies). I even liked the silly Ogles in their mountain mines, dancing and shaking their butts every time I saved them.

This was like the sneezing panda video of character animations.

This was like the sneezing panda video of character animations.

I also really liked the Storm Bow, although it wasn’t always that useful.

There is a certain beauty to the literalness of the Storm Bows name. It’s not poetic. It doesn’t shoot a storm of arrows, or do damage equivalent of a storm. It literally shoots a storm at opponents.
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Fun Gun Awards: Bio Rifle from Unreal Tournament

Bio-Rifle

The Fun Gun Award™ is an award for video game guns that aren’t necessarily effective, don’t necessarily give a player a tactical advantage, but which have creative behavior, unique design, and are fun to use. These guns might suck, but they’re so fun that I WANT to learn to use them effectively.

I never played much of the later Unreal Tournaments, so my fondest memories of the Bio Rifle (honorable mention to the Ripper) are from the original Unreal Tournament, way, way back in the ’90s.

When I first starting playing UT I thought the Bio Rifle was completely useless and couldn’t comprehend how it made it into the game.

Years later, it became my favorite gun.
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Destiny Analysis Part 3: Making Names and Giving Ass

new destiny guardians 2

This is part three of four to my analysis of Bungie’s Destiny.

Check out Part 1, where I look at visuals, level design, enemy design, etc.; Part 2: where I look at things like story, weapons, and whether it’s worth buying; and Part 4: where I predict the future of Destiny’s story based on evidence that Destiny is a symbolic retelling of the story from Bungie’s Pathways into Darkness, but from the point of view of the monsters.

So, the way in which things are named is rarely critiqued in video games. Yet I think it’s an aspect that is important.

In Destiny, Bungie drops the ball on how it names… everything. What it amounts to is that the poorly thought out way things are named in Destiny is a microcosm for all the other ways that Bungie dropped the ball with this game.

The way some things are named in Destiny is so bad, I’d expect it from a ten year old, but not from an adult professional, working a nine to five job as a writer for a multi-million dollar video game developer.

Just read on to see what I mean.

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Analysis of Destiny part 2: weapons, characters, story, is it worth buying, etc.

Destiny-Dev-Bungie-Talks-the-Future-of-Destiny-and-Cooperative-Multiplayer-456872-2

This is part two of four parts to my analysis of Bungie’s Destiny.

Check out Part 1, where I look at visuals, level design, enemy design, etc.; Part 3: I spend my entire blogpost discussing how things have been named in Destiny; and Part 4: where I predict the future of Destiny’s story based on evidence that Destiny is a symbolic retelling of the story from Bungie’s Pathways into Darkness, but from the point of view of the monsters.

BOSS BATTLE DESIGN (analysis in the form of a haiku):

Big guy, lots of health,
stands still, and minions respawn.
Over and over.

CHARACTER CREATION (analysis in the form of a limerick):

You choose how you look in the game,
Don’t matter if it’s cool or it’s lame,
Ex or Awoken,
And the humans are token,
In the end, they play just the same.

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The Colony: a 3D FPS from 1987 that is simply amazing (even by modern standards)

the colony monsters

“THAT IS SICK FOR BEING MADE 1987 o.O”

“funny that doom and marathon didnt have desks and chairs or anything just sprites”

“Sad thing is this game has more interactivity than more than two thirds of the games out now.”

“I think this was also the first game to feature crates!”

Those are some select quotes from the comments section of two walkthrough videos of the Colony, a 3D FPS from 1987 (I just found the videos even though they’re from 2009). The last quote is from the creator himself, David A. Smith, who narrates the videos and reveals some really fascinating stuff. Like, one wall in the game took up 2 Bytes, and an entire map took about 4K. 4K!!! As one commenter points out: “Now days you can’t even send a email without going over 4kb.”
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Analysis of Bungie’s Destiny: Part 1, enemies and other things that caught my eye

venus fly over

This is part one of four parts to my analysis of Bungie’s Destiny.

I’ll also have a Part 2: covering player characters, story, weapons, and whether i’d buy it or not; Part 3: I spend my entire blogpost discussing how things have been named in Destiny; and Part 4: where I predict the future of Destiny’s story based on evidence that Destiny is a symbolic retelling of the story from Bungie’s Pathways into Darkness, but from the point of view of the monsters.

So, before Destiny was released, before it was in Beta, I wrote an article about my initial reactions to a “making of” presentation given by the lead art designer and lead writer. You can read it here. Basically, I said that I was excited about the game, clearly a lot of work went into it, but that the end product looked really boring and derivative. It seemed like something weird must have happened between the initial conception and the actual execution that seemed to take the really amazing ideas and watered them down into a bland final product.

Someone named Analyze commented on that blog post, and asked what I thought about the game now that it was out.

So, Analyze, here you go. Just for you, my thoughts on Destiny now that it’s out and I’ve actually played it. It’s long and there’s quite a bit of nitpicking and microanalysis (and this is just part one). Brace yourself.

QUICK SUMMARY:

For anyone who wants to know what I think without reading too much.

Tactile design: the game is so much fun to control, it feels amazing.

Visual design: my eyes bleed from the beauty.

Sound design: it’s pretty good; love the Vex death warbles.

Enemy deaths: so rewarding, so fun, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.

Level design: Vex have the best and most unique level design; everywhere else it’s the same hallways and rooms.

Architecture: I like the Vex and Hive the best; Fallen, Cabal, and human all look the same; also, everyone has castle merlons on their walkways (check the pics).

AI and Enemy Behavior: the same boring, unintelligent AI is recycled among different races; the Vex and Cabal barely have any AI, the Fallen seem to have the most developed AI, and the Hive seem to have the most diverse AI among their units, although that’s not really saying much.

Enemy visual design: Fallen is most developed, other races are boring and look alike, and the Cabal are a blatant rip off of Warhammer’s Space Marines (check the pic, they look identical).

Spaceships: Love the Fallen and Hive dropships, Cabal look like Pelicans from Halo, and the players’ ships look “meh”.

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Fun Gun Awards: The Needler from Halo

needler 3

An award for video game guns that aren’t necessarily good or effective at killing, but which are creative, unique, and lots of fun to use. These guns might suck, but I want to learn to use them effectively because they’re so enjoyable.

The needler became my favorite weapon in Halo almost immediately. It is unique and fun and quintessentially a video game weapon. It just wouldn’t be as interesting in any context other than a game.

It’s visual design, first of all, is great and exemplifies visual weapon design in games. You’ve got this strange, beetle shell casing, which makes it look fundamentally different from any other weapon, Covenant or human. When you reloaded the needler, you kind of shake it, and the needles spring out from the top, which kind of made it feel like a living creature, like it’s raising its hackles.

Then, to make it stand out even more, it’s got glass(?) needles, the gun’s ammunition, sticking right out the top like a field of obelisks. Only a video game designer would think of that. No one else would think to have a gun’s own ammunition physically located on the outside of the gun; not a film director, not a writer, not a painter, not a manufacturer of real guns. And then the needles shrink as you shoot the gun! You actually see the ammunition get used up! That tangible, visual communication is quintessentially “video game”, and it is just one of the aspects of the weapon that makes it fun and memorable.
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