Homogeneity In UI

Maybe you’ve noticed the proliferation of certain gameplay features in blockbuster games over the last few years: map screens full of icons, experience points, skill trees, crafting, you name it. Maybe I’ve already complained here before about how this trend is making open-world games too homogeneous, but I never noticed a main factor in that homogeneity — the user interface it’s all wrapped in.

A good example is this tweet from September comparing skill trees in the recent games Shadow of the Tomb RaiderHorizon: Zero Dawn, and Assassin’s Creed Origins. It goes further than that, but what surprised me are the games where I don’t mind these features — where I don’t mind gathering experience points, collecting icons on a map, or managing my gear. The main difference seems to be that they simply make the whole user experience look different. Continue reading

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Diablo Immortal: Where, And To Whom To Announce Mobile Games

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Last week I did a post about mobile gaming and now there’s the anger surrounding Blizzard’s announcement of a mobile Diablo game. Let me just say I’m down for a mobile Diablo, and in fact have been waiting for such a game for quite a while. Continue reading

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The Real Difference Between Mobile And Console Gaming

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When Apple unveiled its new iPads and MacBooks this past week it boasted the new iPad Pro can get graphics performance that rivals the Xbox One S. Whatever arguments may ensue about the differences between mobile gaming and console gaming, I don’t think hardware performance is the main factor keeping what some might consider “real gaming” from appearing on smartphones and tablets. Just being able to run Xbox games doesn’t mean you’re gonna start seeing the likes of Red Dead Redemption on the iPad. I think by far the biggest factor is the standard of pricing for mobile software. Even the touch-only interface isn’t that big a deal in comparison. Continue reading

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Rockstar Makes Amazing Worlds, But Do The Games Inside Live Up To Them? (Late to the Party: Grand Theft Auto V)

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As of this writing my save file says I’m maybe halfway through the main story in Grand Theft Auto V but I’ve decided to go ahead and make this week’s post about it and my other recent experiences with Rockstar games since Red Dead Redemption 2 is about to drop. From those experiences and the reviews of RDR2 going out right now I’ve figured out that Rockstar’s main strong suit has been its lovingly-crafted virtual landscapes, I just don’t know about everything else in these games.

I only owned a GameCube when Grand Theft Auto IIIGrand Theft Auto Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas came out so I was pretty late to the franchise and Rockstar games in general. I understood they popularized sandbox games but that was about all I understood of their appeal. When I finally tried San Andreas around 2006 or something I marveled at the setting and characters but found the controls unbearable, as  I wrote when I came back to finish the game last year. I’m having a much easier time enjoying GTAV because its controls are more serviceable, but I can’t help but compare its mission design to other similar games. Continue reading

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Big 2018 Updates Coming To Space Sim Games

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Earlier this year No Man’s Sky received its massive “NEXT” update that supposedly fixed the game. In my experience it made planets in the space exploration game more interesting, made exploration more rewarding, and made crafting a much more central gameplay element. Other big changes seem to be coming to space simulator games late this year though, and they might gobble up a lot of my time compared to say, Red Dead Redemption II. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Star Wars Dark Forces

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Next up on my list of classic shooters after finishing Hexen was the first Star Wars: Dark Forces game. I went in knowing very little about it, pretty much expecting a Star Wars-flavored Doom clone. What I got was a shooter oddly ahead of its time, incorporating aspects of different eras of first person shooters that would follow it. Continue reading

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Will 2019 See A Nintendo Switch-Lite Or A Switch Pro?

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Supply chain rumblings suggest Nintendo’s getting a hardware revision for the Switch ready for late next year. The suggestions for what kind of revision it might be are immediately apparent, but this is also interesting because 2019 is going to be an interesting time for Nintendo’s relationship with its competition. Continue reading

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Me And Pokémon At 20 Years

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Someone might notice I already did a 20th anniversary post about Pokémon in 2016, which was 20 years after the franchise’s original Japanese debut. Well, people seem to be making a bigger deal out of the 20th anniversary of the North American release of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. Sites like Polygon and USGamer are doing a whole lot of features about it. It got me thinking about what got me into Pokémon in the first place, why I haven’t touched it in years, and what it would take to bring me back. Continue reading

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Why Do The Classic Mini Console Games Have To Be Locked Up In More Pieces of Plastic?

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Sony has jumped on the classic console bandwagon with the PlayStation Classic that includes 20 games from the original PlayStation for $99. Look man, I just want to play those same games on the PlayStation 4 already sitting under my TV, I’d happily pay the same price. Or better yet let me transfer the ones I already bought to play on my PlayStation 3 and PSP.

Microsoft is absolutely right to jab Sony with that “Play 500+ classic Xbox games on Xbox One today” tweet, even if it they didn’t perfectly word it. The point is you don’t have to put another plastic box under your TV to play a handful of games exclusive to it. That’s the whole problem with console gaming. At the same time though I see why console manufactures are making these nostalgia consoles and why Microsoft probably won’t, I’m just asking for some more options here, which SEGA and SNK have been happy to provide. Continue reading

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[iPhone September 2018 Keynote] What Matters To You When Upgrading iPhones?

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As Apple unveils its new iPhone models this week, the iPhone XR, Xs, and Xs Max, I find myself once again thinking about what’s going to affect my hardware purchasing decision the most — the software.

My decision on when I’ll want to upgrade from my 6 Plus is going to depend a lot on how iOS 12 performs on my current phone when it drops next week and throughout the fall. I actually could’ve sworn I’d posted something here about that when Apple unveiled it in June but according to the search on this site I haven’t, so I guess I can go over my hopes for that too. Continue reading

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