August 28th, 2013

I recently spent far too much time browsing Steam for something new to play, and came away empty handed.

When true online gaming was in its infancy, the games were very story rich, deeply constructed and (at the time) beautiful.

For a while we trended towards better graphics at the cost of depth and content.¬†There was some concerted effort to bring quality and depth to games again, but it was feared it would come at the cost of those lovely graphics we’d come to enjoy so much.

I’ve long chanted that “it’s easy to make a pretty game, it’s not easy to make a fun game” — so what the heck happened? Now we have games that are as shallow as a frat boy, and look like rejects from the 1980s. How are some of these graphics even acceptable? Where’s my gameplay so intense I need a notebook? How can I possibly get emotionally attached to a character that’s 10 pixels high and why did I spend 40 minutes creating the look of that character only to have it mushed down into a blocky representation, or worse, an avatar I never see during gameplay?

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few shining stars, namely Dishonored and The Last of Us, but shouldn’t the quality of those games be the norm and not the exception? So are my gaming standards too high, am I really a gaming snob, or are games in general just really poor quality these days?


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Posted in Gaming, Rant |
July 23rd, 2013

You know you’ve had this exact dialog.

The Six Stages of Debugging

  1. That can’t happen.
  2. That doesn’t happen on my machine.
  3. That shouldn’t happen.
  4. Why is that happening?
  5. Oh, I see.
  6. How did that ever work?

It’s even possible that, like me, you encountered this more than once already today.



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Tags: , | Posted in Gaming |
July 6th, 2013

There are some community communication gaps that I’m sure everyone is struggling with right now and they all stem from the choice of medium.

Let’s start old-school; Email.
I find myself over-explaining that if you need help with your private account matters, posting your username and password on Facebook is probably not going to net you the desired result. Instead I have to instruct our players to use email to talk to our help team. This presents a problem since most of our players don’t actually use email, let alone give us a real email address when they sign up for the game. So they’re stuck without help and I’m stuck repeating myself. (also see previous post about the technologically inept)
The gap here lies in communicating the need for, and helping with the understanding of privacy requirements.

Let’s move forward; Social Media
Yes I hate that term as much as anyone, Social Media is neither social, nor media, but that’s a rant for another day. My community is fragmented, fractured if you will, between different shards of communication medium. My Twitter users are not the same audience as my Facebook users, and let’s face it, no one’s on Google or Pheed. Pinterest is its own animal and will not be let out of its cage at the moment.

Twitter is a much more immediate, succinct and (in my opinion) rewarding medium. Conversations can be had but they are in the moment, relevant to the here and now and have a much more ‘live’ interactive feeling to them. It’s a group of people at a very large party who are having a wonderful engaging conversation that evolves and dissolves naturally. It can be high maintenance, but usually only over the short-term.

Facebook is the speaker on the podium who makes an announcement and then sits back to watch others have the discussion, only piping in once in a while to redirect the conversation.  Information on Facebook lingers which can be used to your advantage but it certainly requires more maintenance over the long-term.  People will continue to comment on things you said months ago, and you tend to look at them like someone who is late to class.

The gap here lies in effectively communicating using these different methods, with differing audiences who need different take-away and timeliness from those messages.

And where does that leave our underage players who cannot use Facebook, Twitter or Email? I’m afraid they’re struggling and I’m challenged to aid them.

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