Martian Fluxx from Looney Labs available for pre-order!

Martian Fluxx from Looney Labs is now available for pre-order!

“Are you ready to conquer the earth? Martian Fluxx is a classic monster story in ever-changing card game form. It’s an Invasion from the Planet Mars! The players are the Martians determined to destroy the Pathetic Humans who are keeping them from winning. It’s got Flying Saucers, Giant Tripod War Machines, Tentacles, Ray Guns, a Mothership, and of course, a Space Modulator. Be careful – you don’t want your Humans escaping from the Abduction Chamber!”

Martian Fluxx

Routes Game – games

Ran across this odd breeding game: Breeder. It took me a bit to realize there’s a goal state that one’s trying to reach, but that makes choices more than just aesthetic.

They’ve got other stuff. And, it’s part of an 8 week long series:

“Routes is an eight week game from Channel 4 Education in association with the Wellcome Trust. Routes is live from January 26th through to March 26th, and during that time players will be invited into a world of genetics, evolution and the human genome.”

Mirror’s Edge, Parkour-Continuum

There’s a video of game play at “Mirror’s Edge: Mirror’s Edge DLC In Motion“:

“As someone who has never had occasion to play the game, this video, with its vertigo-inducing visuals and that catchy Still Alive song has certainly got me wondering what I’ve been missing. While I’m not a big fan of Time Trials, I have been known to get excited about hopping from colored box to colored box, and there’s certainly a lot of that going on here.”

It’s like a modern mash-up of Parkour and Continuum!

I had a flashback to a game I’ve sorely missed many times over the years: Continuum. I think my first dabble with emulation of DOS was for Continuum. Ah, that was a game! Er, was it a game? Like PilotWings 64 and Tranquility [also] … it’s radical singleplayer already done right!

Come to think of it, isn’t Parkour a modern athletic re-versioning of dérive? Is this strain of “radical singleplayer” another form of drift as well? I wonder what an intentionally Situationalist video game would look like, or maybe that’s an oxymoron of sorts?

Monty Python Fluxx pre-order and promo card

It’s now, finally, possible to buy Monty Python Fluxx, the newest variety of the card game Fluxx from Looney Labs:

Now taking preorders! All orders that contain this product will be held until Monty Python Fluxx is available – sometime in mid September – if you order other items, and you need them sooner, please place two orders.

And now for something completely different — it’s Monty Python Fluxx! Yes, that crazy card game where the rules keep changing has joined forces with Monty Python to create the Looneyest card game ever! Help King Arthur and his Knights find the Holy Grail. Bring a Shrubbery to the Knights Who Say Ni! Lob the Holy Hand Grenade at the Killer Rabbit with Nasty Big Teeth! Just do it quick, before the Goal changes again!

Monty Python Fluxx at Fluxxgames.com

And, I got my Monty Python Fluxx promo card in the mail last night, but you can get your own too:

Monty Python Fluxx 1, 2, 5 Promo Card

The cheat code of the day is TURK

Via “Chinese Gold Farmers: Work or Fun?“:

“This relationship is an amazing tangle of play and work. The gold farmer works playing a game, so he can earn money which he spends playing the same game. The customer finds part of the game too much like work, so he works at another job to earn money to pay a gold farmer to play for him, so the customer can have more fun when he plays. Got it?”

The crux of the issue is poor design. Game designers are designing games that slow players down in order to get more subscription money, which from a player perspective is just lots of boring grind. So, the players are gaming the game design. For multiplayer games, cheat codes are not available, the players have found they can use throw a turk at the game to enable a kind of cheat for themselves.

This is Globalization’s version of, “Here, let me get you past this level and then I’ll give the controller back.”

But, it’s all about how the game design sucks in every MMORPG. World of Warcraft did change the recipe a bit, but there’s just too much grind still. I know that I quit Everquest because the idea of having to build another character from nothing made me sick and angry. I felt cheated, and when people feel cheated they start to feel entitled. When people feel entitled they take back for themselves.

So, if game companies keep designing boring grind, then they will simply re-create a market for turks. Frankly, when it comes down to it, every MMORPG these days is an economic simulation more than it is a game, so players will end up coming up with economic solutions.

If I’m going to play an RPG, then I want it to be a role simulation, about relationships and factions and not about collecting currency, whether that currency is gold or number of monster kills.

Wake me up when there’s an MMORPG that actually is about roleplaying. There’s just not enough fun in these games to make it worth the time.

Stardock has a Cosmic Encounter

I noticed Stardock’s walkthru of Dark Avatar includes a feature that is a key part of the game design of Cosmic Encounter. [also, also]

“Each civilization has its own unique super-ablity. And they’re not afraid to use it. Here, ‘someone’ has persuaded the Altarians to go to war with the Korx. Someone has the Super Manipulator ability…”

This is such a mash-up of memories for me. Stardock was originally a developer of software for OS/2. [see, also, also] Stardock’s original Galactic Civilizations was built to take advantage of the multitasking and multithreaded environment that OS/2 provided. Back in the early 90’s, I owned the original Galactic Civilizations as well as Stardock’s Object Desktop. Those were the days before I migrated to Linux as my primary environment. (Or, maybe I have my own timeline confused and I was already using Linux by that time.) It was in part on the strength of a help document I wrote about connecting OS/2 to the Internet via dial-up that I got my job at a regional ISP in Seattle where I was re-introduced to NeXTstep and for many years used a NeXTstation as my primary work computer.

There’s a comment on the wikipedia’s page about Stardock’s reliance “on the goodwill of its previous customers, who essentially purchased Windows subscriptions for Object Desktop in anticipation of the products it would consist of.” [via] I was one of those customers. I remember buying that to support them even though I had reservations about moving to Microsoft’s environment.

Well, the memories go back even further to the previous decade. The mash-up with Cosmic Encounter revives faded memories of my first gaming group sessions. Back in the early 80’s, I had a friend that convinced me to go to a gaming group that met at a local library and one of the games I was introduced to there was … Cosmic Encounter.

Cosmic Encounter is for me one of those games. It’s stuck in my memory. But, I never play it. I have a copy of the game, but every time I try to play it some other game is chosen. It feels a bit daunting to explain the rules and get people playing when other games are so much faster to start up. But, I think in large part what is really going on is that I don’t want to ruin my memories of the game by playing it and finding that I don’t like it any more. I guess, in a way, by not playing the game now I’m trying to preserve my memory of it.

A mash up of memories and decades …

Game developer gets gamed by players

So there’s a recent kerfuffle involving accusations of corruption in EVE Online, the game not the ecofeminism. There were some accusations of the developer colluding with favored players that created a stir. Then, after a delay, the game company responds that they’ve been framed; via Slashdot:

“The objective of this scheme was to permanently paint CCP as a biased and corrupt company that favors a select group of players over the rest of our community. In this particular case, instead of receiving notification of a possible problem and sufficient time to examine and address it, we faced a coordinated and hostile attack executed on our forums, Digg, Wikipedia, Slashdot, and other outlets at the beginning of a three-day weekend.”

Now, to pull in a thread: this was that game that got press back in 2005 for having a wildly deep in-game conspiracy that took 12 months to arrange. There were scanned magazine pages that are online describing the caper. [cache, also]

Back to the present, there’s a conspiracy involving a group of players that embroils the game developers of the game in which complex capers are enacted in a real life caper. Now, that’s ironic and deeply interesting.

I was pretty impressed by the 12 month quest that the players created for themselves back in 2005, but today I find myself reflecting that this is a game where the players have forced the developers to play a part in a game-related quest designed by the players. The players gamed the developers and nerfed the game and the developers in real life.

mmorpg, eve online, quests, conspiracy, irony, petard

Icebreaker 2 is new old

The pending release of Icebreaker 2, a video game that is a sequel to an old 3DO console game that features the virtual pre-cursor to Icehouse pyramids, snuck up on me and yelled, “Boo!”

Sorry for this tangent, but this is a game that might have been lost behind obsolete copy protection if that protection scheme had not been broken. Score one more for the anti-DRM team, and there’s now a poster child for the need to be able to circumvent DRM schemes to, actually, protect copyright holders and to, actually, encourage economic development. So, one of the real reasons for DRM is revealed: to kill old software behind obsolete barriers in order to create artificial scarcity and build in planned unilateral obsolescence.

Okay, now, back to the main topic:

Andy Looney included the news in this week’s weekly news, naturally:

Icebreaker 2 will make its official debut on July 28th at the tenth Classic Gaming Expo, held at the Riviera casino in Las Vegas. (Pre-orders not picked up at the show will be mailed out immediately afterwards.)

There’s a video preview of the game Andy posted:

I guess it’s time to dust off that 3DO again!

As another aside, while browsing around grabbing URLs for this, I was gandering are a page about pyramid obsession and scrolled down to find Andy’s “across” navigation:

It’s a bit synchronicity that I was browsing through some Xanadu information last night, but I like the idea of putting asynchronous navigation where there’s major tangents to the primary organization. Deep down, I feel like there the “across” that points northeast should occur before the “next” that points east, but I like it.

Using various “across” navigational icons, I might use them to mean thinks like “more general,” “more specific,” “see also,” and “see instead.” But, while it’s a good scheme, the main issue is that the navigation icons should be clear and concise and a taxonomy like I’m thinking is too complex to be represented by single icons. For example, the navigation would get immediately cluttered and confused if there were, say, two “see also” links.