Friday 29 August 2014

Can the 3ds Xl still compete?

Nintendo having being in the game for a long time is certainly not one to flog a dead horse, so I'm starting to think of taking the 3ds Xl more seriously with recent announcements in mind.

Having bowed to pressure from younger household members and purchased a 3ds for a birthday present and having looked at reputable print magazines like T3 and Stuff that still rate the dual screen wonder as one of the best games consoles maybe theres more to Nintendo's little guy than I thought.

However I think that it needs a lot more street cred and be less niche to avoid making this house a city of sleep and us just turning back to the Ipad and Android for gaming. The thing is most retailers just stock the more juvenile games for the 3Ds and its darned hard to,find quality adult gaming.

That said the good adult orientated games have to be there, Ninty wouldnt be planning a NEW 3DS XL with Nfc and faster processors if the little console that could didnt have the steam for it.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Bubble Blitz Mania

Because it doesn't have to be the greatest game ever to be your go-to game.

I love "casual" puzzle games. I don't really play them in a casual way as I love hunting after every achievement. But once that's done, I keep on playing every now and then. 

A well-designed puzzle is the best way for me to clear my mind yet get my brain into gear, to start the day or to unwind after work. Here's one of my favorite: Bubble Blitz Mania. 

Nothing revolutionary going on here, just a "pop the bubble" / match-3 combo with just enough feature and bonus to keep on playing. Plus a weekly tournament to tickle your competitive side.

Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands of this kind of free games in the App Store or Google Play. There is nothing particularly noteworthy about BBM or any other. So why this one? Well, because I just happen to download it one day and it clicked with me.

And you, what's your go-to game?

Monday 18 August 2014

Episode by Pocket Gems, a Choose your Own Adventure collection on your phone

Episode by Pocket Gems, a iOS Choose your Own Adventure.Episode presents something of a dilemma to me: on one hand, it reminds me of the old "Choose your Own Adventure" books and I can't help the surge of nostalgia. On the other hand, some of the story lines apparently believe that the only things on any female teen's mind are popularity contests, clothes (to help win those popularity contests), and boys. I can't say that my feminist streak is too happy about that. 

Notice though that only some story lines are like that. Pocket Gems is moving away from those and exploring far more interesting themes, like in HUNTED, basically a "Greatest Game" kind of hunt but with a menagerie of classical monsters.

Also, the different stories available are only the beginning: they launched on in February of this year after all. And it is truly a Choose your Own Adventure collection, because you can add your own: the most welcomed feature on the app is the ability to connect to a specially-made site to write your own novelet and to submit it. This includes learning some basic scripting, but nothing too difficult.

In fact, I personally became aware of this app when they started looking for writers on LinkedIn. They also have a posting on their site. This is not a permanent position, but it can be a way to dip your toe in writing, to get your foot in the door of the game industry, or even simply to supplement a revenue.

As for the user side of this, you can download the free app on iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon. You initially get 2 passes (with one pass unlocking one chapter) and once used up, you have to wait for 4 hours for 2 more. You can also buy more, reasonably priced. Finally, when using the free passes, you have to watch two very short videos before actually reading the chapter. Not too steep for some decent entertainment.

Pocket Gems is betting on the Holy Grail of user-generated content to keep the stories coming and interesting, but is genre-savvy enough to supplement it with paid content. Not a bad way to handle this and I hope it works.