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Friday, September 25, 2009

TV Reminder: Dollhouse Season Two Tonight

Dollhouse gets a second run starting tonight (9/25). It's been left alone on Fridays with the cancellation of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but at least that frees up Summer Glau for a guest appearance, right? C'mon - it would be awesome. Especially if the guest appearance was as Cameron. Whedon, call my people.

Wait, I have no people.

Anyway, whether Dollhouse can hit the ground running or will find a kind of narrative apex remains to be seen - but seeing it when it airs is probably the best thing for the show at this point (not sure how doing things like buying it off PSN or iTunes factors into the livelihood of a show versus good old Neilsen right now). We're actually going to miss it, hitting the road and going to a fish fry it would seem - but I do have high hopes for this season.

Update: Yeah, OK - as Sterno points out, if you don't have a Neilsen box - might as well buy it online. We'll probably grab it off PSN, if it's there, when we get back.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kirk Cameron Hates Monkeys (OK, really just Darwin)

Sweet Jeebus:

What exactly does Mike Seaver think will happen if you pray in public anyway? Considering he invokes Adolf Hitler around the 1:41 mark, which by Godwin's Law ends his argument before it actually finishes... I'm not sure it matters. Be sure to check out the frisking on Salon feature or the very least the funny retort with a Romanian accent.

HoneyComb Engine On Edge Online

Props to Corvus on this column at Edge Online about the HoneyComb Engine:

The latest system finds a balance, creating rules that create the outcomes but don’t necessarily describe them. While the gamemaster, or storyteller prime, runs the session, she or he can pass the duty off to the other players – dubbed storytellers – at the table. Storytellers are expected to bring their own ideas to the session, to guide whether it’ll be funny, violent or tragic. And any genre should work: Elrod has led sessions in space, Dickens’ London, and the Buffy season eight storyline. At last month’s Penny Arcade Expo, he led a session with Dierdra Kiai and Travis Megill about four siblings who reunite at their father’s funeral.
-- Tell Us A Story [Edge Online]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stonking Great Game Contest

I should check my email box more often, because I hate to think that this is the first I'm hearing about Zero Punctuation's Stonking Great Game Contest, where people can send their flash based game to the Great Yahtzee for review and a chance at fame and glory. I'd love to consider trying it myself and do something in Flex, but I'm not sure the October 19th deadline is conducive to getting anything realistic for submission.

Jeff Palumbo of The Escapist also sends word that thirteen members of the game industry will be joining the judging. This is probably since Yahtzee famously hates everything, there might actually be a winner.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Game Play: Katamari Forever (PS3 Review)

Katamari was, in it's original form, difficult to explain but plenty of fun to play. The sum result of The Prince rolling around his ever increasingly girth of a Katamari to J-Pop music translates into a kind of wonderful digital stress ball (even if The King is always on your back).

That the 360 got a Damarcy rendition before Sony is something of a sign of how this generation has gone ... and yet similarly PS3 users are missing out on little but patience here.

Katamari Forever mixes up new levels with old, a mish mash of new graphic modes and more or less the entirety of the original gameplay intact. It really is what PS3 owners have been waiting for - a high def rendition of the first game with all the updates from the sequels along for the ride. One might argue that the game doesn't add enough to change the old formula .. but that just begs the question of why you want to do such a thing.

Obviously highly recommended.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Game Play: Fat Princess (PSN Review)

Fat Princess is an isometric class-based multiplayer game where two teams fight from opposing castles which hold the eponymous royalty as prisoners. There is an offline mode, though that is basically just a tutorial area for the real deal - though the game play still works pretty well as the bot AI is consistently good (which also helps sometimes fill out the online games).

Players choose their class by grabbing a specific hat (and can change classes in the same way on the fly). There's the sword-slinging warrior, bow-slinging ranger, spell-slinging mage, staff-slinging cleric and axe-wielding worker. Well, OK, the worker slings as well, I guess. Other relatively unique mechanics include tossing pieces of cake to your prisoner, making them fatter and harder to rescue, upgrading various items including the hat making machines (unlocking a secondary attack or stronger weapon for other players).

The core of the game is pretty strong and makes for a well-balanced match in general. No class is overwhelming powerful and each takes a bit of skill and practice to really become useful, while also being simple enough to play around without feeling like a complete tool.

For me, actually, the most problematic of all the classes is the worker ... which is something of a shame. It's by far the most difficult to achieve any decent score from as the worker spends half his time running around, getting killed (he's rather defenseless, even with the bomb upgrade) and the point rewards are meager compared to the ranger (for example) who can just stand and wound opponents to rack up a decent score.

There's also the fact that the gameplay can get a little repetitive and occasionally an experienced team will just race past an inexperienced one, especially in the normal "capture the princess" mode. The team deathmatch mode is somewhat preferable, because there's not catastrophic failures ... just a lot pointmongering. The soccer mode is fairly entertaining as well, even though moving the ball around is a bit frustrating.

Is Fat Princess worth it? It gets point for being at least somewhat unique, and has a strong online showing for the money. I wish it was deeper and more engrossing, but I'll also admit to having spent a few late nights with it. If you're looking for some cartoony online hack and slash, this might be the title for you.

September 24th PSN Update Looking Amazing

So far confirmed for this Thursday: Fallout 3 DLC, in fact the Broken Steel DLC - probably the best of the bunch. Trine (see the trailer at Average Gamer). Zombie Apocalypse.