Directionless rambling

Okay I know I aim for relatively well thought out posts on here, but this one is going to be a medley of awesomeness. I use this site to write my opinions about many things, but this one will be nothing but a series of updates on what I’ve been mesmerized with lately. I warn you, this might be one of the geekier posts, so casual readers (and girls) don’t be afraid to turn away now.

I don’t really consider myself a puzzle gamer. I do enjoy puzzles in games, and I love adventure games with all my heart, but little flashing cubes usually can only hold my interest for so long. I discovered the Luxor series recently, which is a puzzle game series… I suppose. It’s not particularly ground breaking; it’s quite similar to Zuma, for those of you who have played that. That being said… Luxor is taking every bit of gamer in me and continually spitting in my face and calling me dumb.

The game is hard to explain, but it’s extremely stressful for a puzzle game. There’s something about the combination of the quick levels and the fact that you actually move along on a little world map, so you get the feeling that you’re constantly moving towards something, instead of simply repeating the same thing faster and faster. Luxor has some tough bits, but Luxor 2 is a huuuge step up. I was ready to come on here and talk about how much easier it is because some of the power ups are more destructive… no, you really need them. I don’t normally get that gamer rage, I tend to be calm even on the 30th attempt of something, but Luxor has enraged me several times. I recommend it, it’s challenging and it will seep into your soul … even if you don’t normally enjoy puzzle games. Give it about 10 stages… it takes a while to heat up.

Moooving on. After four years of translating, a bunch of loyal Earthbound (“Mother” in Japan) have translated the sequel to Earthbound, Mother 3, into english. It’s available on the gameboy advance. They have a romhack that you can use to get the game into our vastly superior language, as well as a translation book/guide if you prefer to play it handheld… with a book in your other hand. Some would call this morally dubious, but there really is no other way you can play Mother 3, since it’s not coming out in english normally, and Nintendo has been particularly dickish about the Mother franchise, taunting North American audiences with promise after unfulfilled promise. I’m playing it now, with a full review to come later. Check it out!

As the last (and geekiest) thing, I’ve discovered a program called “Inform”. I’m extreeemely late to the party on this one, but it’s an interactive fiction programming language. Interactive fiction is an overly elitist term for “text adventure”, but i’ve discovered that the interactive fiction crowd is a creepy bunch who actually do consider the literary merit of each text adventure they play. Whether you like text adventures or not, the cool part about Inform is that you type every line in plain english, and the program figures out how to interpret it and make it into a game. As a Computer Science student turned english student, this is so dorkily fascinating to me, since it literally uses the english language as its programming input. 

I thought this would be really weak at first, but this program has been around for a fair bit of time, and it’s quite powerful. It’s object oriented, with the program creating and manipulating each object, guessing and filling in blanks along the way. Some things are already known by the program, such as the ability to make certain rooms light and dark, or lighting up a room with a lantern, etc. Other things need to be taught to it. Again, using basic english with mostly proper english grammar you can teach the objects in the game world that you’re creating how to react to things like magnetism, fire, and even non player characters. If you have no programming experience at all, but wanna tinker with something in that field and have no knowledge of code, check it out. Who knows, you might make something really impressive. I might post one of the games I’ve made on this site later as well… we’ll see.

Alright that was terribly unfocused, but it quickly runs down the three things that have been interesting me lately. In short, everyone try Luxor; gamers, try Mother 3; programmers and English students, give Inform a shot.


1 Response to “Directionless rambling”

  1. October 24, 2008 at 2:27 am

    I warn you, this might be one of the geekier posts, so casual readers (and girls) don’t be afraid to turn away now.


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October 2008
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