Twine Weeky: Bower of Blood and Thorns

Bower of Blood and Thorns is an interesting game that often feels like a love song written by the likes of Tolkien or Martin. The writing is whimsical with a flourish for the dramatic, most noticeable when making reference to the battles that have taken place. However, there is much more here than just a fantasy piece about a special relationship. This is a tale of everything and nothing, beginning and end, intimacy and betrayal. Continue reading

Inaccessible Gaming Part 2: Mechanics

Last time I talked about how video games have an accessibility issue on the hardware level, sometimes even before any purchases have been made. However, that is only one of the issues surrounding video games not being accessible. This time I will discuss how video games’ systems and mechanics are inaccessible, especially for people just entering into the hobby. Unlike other media, the skill required to consume video games has increased as the medium has aged. While some of this ties into last week’s article — controllers gaining more buttons, touch pads, gyrometers, multiple joysticks — I’m mostly going to be looking at the increasing difficulty of navigating and interpolating the information and mechanics and how developers can address these concerns. Continue reading

Windows 10 Gaming is a Joke

Three weeks ago, Microsoft hosted a sale on their Windows Store promoting Windows 10. They had a slew of apps and games priced down to $.10. I wasn’t interested in much but they had Hydro Thunder Hurricane and ilomilo+, both of which were games I had been interested in but never owned an Xbox 360. As hesitant as I was to make a Microsoft account, make a Live account, and buy into another ecosystem I eventually took the plunge. After all, even if the whole thing was a bust I would only be out two dimes. I have since completed both games and have come away with some very mixed feelings about my experience. Continue reading

Inaccessible Gaming Part 1: Hardware

It seems there has always been talk about finding ways for gaming to break out of its own little box. We used to discuss about how to get gaming into the mainstream but I think those days are over. Some of our largest games are costing more to make, and earning more in a launch weekend, than summer blockbuster films. Television advertisements for video games can be seen running between ads for Suave and McDonald’s during commercial breaks on network channels. It is becoming more and more difficult to find someone who doesn’t play video games, even if it is the widely popular Candy Crush on a mobile phone. Yet, despite all of this breakthrough into pop culture, there is still a huge schism between the idea of “Video Games” and culture. What is it that film, music, and prose have accomplished that video games have not achieved yet? Accessibility. Continue reading

Twine Weekly: Fibromyalgia Simulator

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started Xandir’s Fibromyalgia Simulator. I had never heard of this chronic disorder beforehand and the word “simulator” in game titles has increasingly been used ironically. I went in with an open mind and was surprised to emerge better educated about a disorder that affects millions of people. Continue reading

Mad Max: The Dangers of Safe Game Design

I am going to start off by saying, I have never seen a single Mad Max movie. In fact, my only knowledge about the movies is that they take place in a post apocalyptic wasteland. With that said, I went into this game with an open mind and zero expectations. I came away from Mad Max with utter disappointment, feeling as though I had been duped into playing a cobbled together mish-mash of half baked mechanics stolen straight from other games. Every bit of my experience was mediocre and disjointed. Continue reading

Twine Weekly: Ghosts Are Good Hosts

I’m a little late for a spooky edition of Twine Weekly but I’m going to do one anyways. Ghosts Are Good Hosts deals with manipulation through conversation, self preservation, and well…ghosts. Having been invited to an reunion dinner, you embark to the Chateau de Carnelle just outside of Paris. Upon arriving, however, there is only one other person, Annabelle, whom you do not know. Then the ghosts appear and it grows more evident that you are the meal for this dinner. Continue reading