Posts tagged ‘iOS’

Luxuria Superbia

Luxuria Superbia – ios
The other day I watched a 5 minute clip on youporn of a Japanese porn actress being pleased by a somewhat well cut man. I found myself walking around most of the day with a new perversion: a desire to please someone with my hands. Luxuria Superbia is described as sensual, but in reality it is quite sexual. I found myself clawing with 4 fingers to please a flower’s needs. It brings up so much of what makes simulation in video games unique. I have never myself actually jerked a vagina off in any meaningful way, yet this idea of pleasure which honestly I had never thought of is present in this game or is the simple pairing of the two the cause of my interpretation? Regardless, the game dares to dip into places of sensation most games do not. It doesn’t mind being sexual, sensual, or even a little grotesque. What’s great is that it turns this pseudo-sexual desire into a game. If you get to avaricious you will not score that high, if you hold back or aren’t feeling it the flower will close. Are we ate the beginnings of a cyber-sexuality? I haven’t seen this much action in years. It was also made by a husband wife team. The later part of that duo I think might have been instrumental in this game.

August 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Just Beat the Wonder Flick demo

Level-5 decided to take the jump into mobile gaming a little more seriously than their competitors and designed an entire RPG with the idea of mobile behind it. Wonder Flick is probably the most well designed iOS game I have ever played. the menus and dialogs are all touchable. the combat system uses the screen to good use. the design is similar to the family friendly stuff found in Popcap’s games. This is a jrpg designed with Peggle and Coin drop in mind.
The towns are maps you click on, as is the over world. Random encounters happen in lush fields as you make your way to the cave. The dungeons are fairly simple you rotate and tap a door to enter. It works well and the variety of dungeons probably improves over time. In other words Wonder flick is optimized for on the go play, long hauls to dungeons are turned into map jaunts, dungeons become choices between doors, the whole thing works, but nothing works as well as the combat system.

Wonder Flick presents you with a choose of circular jewels to flick at the enemy. The sword is a basic attack, the diamond is a skill, and the star is magic. You flick them at the enemies, left for the left most enemy, forward for the middle, and right for the rightie. Once flicked the tokens take a second to replenish and they respawn in a randomly. You can end up with a screen of only heal pots or all magic attacks and no MP. Basic attacks respawn quicker than abilities or magic making them your bread butter. Sometimes you stagger an enemy and have 5 seconds to flick the corresponding tokens into the Enemy to trigger an attack. Beyond the basic tokens are a series of circles in circles tokens that when flicked take 3 of your existing tokens to make a combo. Then there is an item token that can be used for potions for hp and mp and a mystery token that opens a roulette wheel that triggers item theft, a gold rush mini-game, or nothing at all. The gold rush can easily net you 200 gold in a go. The 3 circles combo token is useful because certain tokens can be used to trigger special abilities. When you flick the 3 circles token, 3 empty slots appear on the screen you flick into. You can throw an item pot on the end of a basic attack chain and you get a group heal, other buffs can be accessed similarly. This leads to a decent amount of strategy in the game as you save your pots waiting on circle chain tokens to trigger a group heal or a buff. It’s the right amount of skill and luck to make knowledgable use of tokens valuable while having you curse your luck if the corresponding token doesn’t spawn. The only major flaw with the system is that I often found myself,looking down at my tokens and not up at the enemies meaning I missed stagger combos if I didn’t hear the noise. Ad justing to the visual complexity of the can take time, you have to manage your attention between the tokens and the world.

After battle you get the option to take 15 gold (a little less than a health pot) or gamble on more by rolling three dice. I circulated between the options constantly. This does bring up a little problem: money can be a problem in Wonder Flick. After the first level of the Dungeon was completed I struggled to best the second boss and ended up farming for a day or two for more coins. The fact that the average battle doesn’t even pay enough for a heal pot makes saving difficult. At the end of each battle you can also spend pink currency to boost your rewards, I did this once and got 300g when I would have gotten 15. I am not sure, but I believe the pink currency can be purchased using micro transactions so beware, the game might require real cash for gold later on the game. The pink currency can also be used to power up your mystery attack but I am not sure how. Finally, the game keeps track of your daily in game movement and a red foot bar counts down to your final step. When I first tried for the dragon boss I ended up grinding so much I used up all of my footsteps twice in a day and had to use pink coins (the demo comes with 33 pinkies) hence consistent play appears to require cash too. Your footsteps appear to refill everyday though. the pink coins aren’t terribly obtrusive, there are no pop-ups wanting cash or otherwise. I was able to finish the demo in about 3 days with out paying a cent to Level-5. If the rest of the game will be free is another question. I kinda hope Level-5 makes the game affordable rather than free to play. Wonder Flick is a great jrpg with an innovative and necessary combat system and great art design, it just needs to avoid the temptation of trading in quality gameplay for a micro transaction fest. At times the limitations on footsteps and the pecuniary gold drops made the game feel like a slog towards micro translations, but it turned out I just needed to farm lower level dungeons and wait a day. If Level-5 can deal with the minor over grinding & money problems Wonder Flick could dominate. This might be the start of a new breed of jrpg and is a really necessary step forward in terms of iOS game design.

20131207-125559.jpg

20131207-125553.jpg

20131207-125546.jpg

20131207-125536.jpg

December 7, 2013 at 6:20 am Leave a comment

For Kakao

20130925-103336.jpg

An iOS game only has to compete against idle time. When you’re at work and all the work is done, you can boot up Plants vs Zombies and play all you want. An iOS game only needs to be better than another iOS game. So this week I have been exploring that most heinous part of gaming: the casual or social gamer. On message boards all over the net console games decry the social gamer. Social games are often seen as the bane of console fanatics. Numerous triple A publishers have sacrificed time and resources for big budget console chart toppers to dip into the apparently more lucrative world of iOS and android games. This has led to anyone who ever liked Final Fantasy 9 having to ball tears and sheathe with hatred after discovering the director of their favorite game now makes mobile crap.

Mobile crap is the detritus of a market in which cash hungry or merely desperate, but surprisingly digitally literate, desperadoes shovel shit onto a mobile device’s App Store. These games are obviously rip offs of other games or perhaps there’s something there and console gamers aren’t seeing it. Try getting off Candy Crush Saga etc. regardless mobile crap is all the stuff you wish wasn’t on an App Store in lieu of your favorite game. In the midst of sampling these crap tarts I came across a shump that’s a bit of a gem. I have no idea what the name is though because my Korean has shriveled to a neuron in my memory bank and I think some sujo swept the rest away.

20130925-104238.jpg

Ok so I have a small confession to make: I like big brilliant cartoony graphics. Really, they do things for me. This game makes Mario look like a noir, the colors pop is so vibrant. Another pleasure of mine are Japanese shooters that involve magical girls who often ride brooms and fight hoards of baddies. This game instead has you piloting a robotic cat submarine so double points for originality.

20130925-104728.jpg

But what makes the game stand out is that it’s an endless shooter. Shumps often require you hold down the shoot button for long periods of time, hence this loss of a button is actually an improvement, more shooters should just simplify down to auto-shoot. Now unlike almost every other shump I have ever played my bullets have range. Your stream of damage only goes about 2/3 of the screen in front of you meaning that maneuvering is necessary. Ok so add to this a typical level up super powered beam thing and a distance tracker and you start to get the game. Oh yeah it also gets a bit tough early on and the waves of enemies become almost impenetrable after the third boss, so I am pretty confident practice of in app purchases are required. Probably the later. Additionally instead of being a bullet hell dodger this game is a school of fish dodger if you can damage them enough you can weave a path a through the game other wise you’re just going to have to dodge. Dead fish float in the water till a tap clears them causing bonus points and in the case of puffer fish an additional explosion.

20130925-105331.jpg

For Kakao is how I found then, these little shumps are all intended to be used on a Korean social network. As far as I can tell none of them are beatable with out in app purchases, but for the 3 days I have before vacation begins they will suffice.

But is that how these games work? Do they provide such small subjective and personal Utopias that cash flush gamers like myself end up punching lots of little transactions into them? Has the App Store fragmented our tastes and little niche bubbles pop up a FarmVille addict there a match 3 fan there? What mobile crap makes me wonder about is how to design a market place that rewards such niche markets, that dots every subjective desire with affection, but then requires them to stand in line with their nemesis? It makes me curious how hegemonies in the industry will strangle it and make it their usual plateau of influence. Big name publishers are desperate to dominate the mobile space, is their consistent and steady output of crappy games and ad campaigns intended to destroy the lush indies underneath who might have your perfect game? And let’s not forgot about those consoles. They compete with your home time, when home cinemas and 3D TVs could be equally demanding pressures as much as family or the joy of jogging could be. Console games compete against time that capitalism requires: your leisure time or the spending moments, it’s that iOS and Android have out a shopping mall in our hands and ask we spend our idle time more productively that worries me.

Tried these two today:

20130926-091614.jpg

20130926-091634.jpg

I don’t remember the name of the game, but one is a really direct clone of a puzzle arcade game. The thing about the games is: I had fun playing two of them, so I don’t know maybe the console mobile division is a healthy separation.

September 25, 2013 at 4:04 am Leave a comment

Bad Games: Steam Trading Cards / Guardian Cross

Villian had begun to simply leave the games open. “Sell them immediately,” he told me. jas concurred. In the second day of the Steam sale they discovered Steam Trading cards, a new currency Valve has introduced that sounds odious on paper. Cards work like this: you open a game and let it sit there. Every half hour you get a new card. The cards are worth 0.40 to 0.12 u.s. cents. The wages of play are low. The case gets worse when you look at the trading card’s FAQ: be sure to login in every week to be eligible for boosters, the FAQ advises. So not only do we need to play more games for puny material rewards, we need to use steam weekly to qualify for more cards. The problem is, the system works fine when you’re actually playing a game. I opened Dust: An Elysian Tale as my first trading card game and immediately got engrossed. Every hour or so a new card would pop up in my inventory. The cards were carefully made, the art work expressive and exactly like the thing on collectible trading games in my youth. The promotion worked in other words, instead of sitting there waiting on cards, I played Dust for a few hours. Trading Cards are only available in certain games, but they work as a reason to open games. You are rewarded with a nice piece of artwork and the possibility of netting a u.s. quarter in profit for doing so. The cards are then in turn grindable for experience points on your steam profile. Get to a higher level receive rarer cards. My level was already well above many other players, I have the 8 years of service badge and numerous holiday sales behind me.

The gamification of Steam, the way it has become a RPG is questionable. Gamification often makes Things competitive that shouldn’t be. Karma fishers (I am one btw) race to get their links on reddit before others do. Particularly avaricious fishers down vote other Fisher’s links and often triple post links to several reddit’s to score better. Both of the later behaviors I do not engage in. Points systems are great, but introduce stress in places we go to relax and converse in. In the case of stackoverflow teenagers racing for guru status in a particular nerdy field often troll each other just to gain an advantage in status or merely take out deep seated frustrations. Long before quantization became a norm, delicious made links… Delicious, I loved posting to it as much as I enjoy the new followers on my blog. The problem with Steam’s exp is that it doesn’t seem to introduce anything: reddit at least encourages timely link drops while sadly degrading conversation with fishers looking to score high points in comment threads. In other words points encourage better coverage of the net outside of reddit while making conversing inside of reddit less tenable. Steam exp can do something worse: it can inspire game gluttony and completely enjoyable stings of literally watching a menu screen for nothing more than 0.15 cent card drop.

As it turns out Dust: An Elysian Tale is far more than I anticipated. The combat is breezy, but the three enemy types require strategies to get through and the story line picks up amazingly well around chapter 2. Questions of ethics and genocide, of situational violence and the greater good come to the fore. It’s a really well done game with a very well rounded ethical compass. The only problem is, I wasn’t really playing Dust: An Elysian tail I was playing Steam Trading Cards. You see, steam only allows you to collect half of the cards required for a badge from a game by playing the game. The other cards need to come from different games. In order to complete my mission and try out these new badges I had to get out of an engrossing platformer just opening up to a dimension most games don’t touch and get into another game.

As I said Steam Trading Cards is an advertisement, it promotes playing through a multitude of games. Most of these games I already own. In order to get my Dust badge I needed to sell cards acquired from other games in a marketplace and then turn them into the cards I required. This turned out to be a 6 hour affair. I opened The Binding of Issac and sacrificed my badge in that game and almost four of my life in order to shift 4 more cards out of that. The gave me enough for 1 or 2 more cards for Dust. I like The Blinding of Isaac, but I have to admit, I really just wanted to play Dust. Isaac expended I moved onto Monaco. Now Monaco is not a game I enjoy and even worse all my progress had been lost in an update that enforces online play. I struggled through Monaco, but ultimately left it and Isaac running on the PC while I went out and paid bills and ate dinner etc. promotion avoided, I got the cards and didn’t even play the game. What’s worse is that the game I was playing was the most heinous of con jobs, it incentives spending time with media I would rather not consume while discouraging you from using any other service except Steam for long periods of time. Ludology needs ethics, capitalism needs more than trade laws and bankruptcy courts: it needs a moral conscience. Steam Cards work great as a reward for playing media you enjoy playing. Really, I wish I still had my fidget card as a memento of my play through, but their design also degrades the practice of games while turning a game into time sink, players simply open an application and wait on money to come through. As a game it subverts the practice of gaming, and me more skeptical of digital marketplaces as a whole. It also turns out my friends list is now limited, expandable only by grinding a useless quest unless I happen to like trading card enabled games. Yet we see these games so often now. On iOS Square-Enix had turned Hiroyuki Ito from a game designer into a cash machine.

Ito was the director of Final Fantasy 9, the game that in many ways Introduced jrpgs to the more serious plots and writing that mark Final Fantasy today. He did this by directing a game that had great characterization, all of the characters were enjoyable to interact with and their role well realized. He did the Sam thing win Final Fantasy 12. Both games made us aware of what it’s like to care for digital characters and then made this link part of a slice of atmosphere miles long in length. Ito is a master of intention, his characters inhabit real understandable states, they are relatable and often down trodden, their worlds are perfect simulacrum of our own presumptions of what a fantasy world should be, he gives us what we want with out the power fantasies that usually permeate gaming, although his games do build into power trips eventually. What makes this situation devastating is that Ito’s last game is Guardian Cross, a pay to play iOS title that nickels and dimes you at every turn. You have lose 5 points per battle, gaining 3 of you win. When you run out of points, you need to purchase more. The game is based on cards (again cards!) that you must squire from a shooting range. The gun game is so rudimentary it almost feels like a budget hunting sim. In addition to this, the hunts are also limited, you need to pay for them too eventually. Graphically the game has the production values of third rate Church booklet. It looks like a piece of crappy propoganda more than the exaggerated details of his previous games.

20130720-195715.jpg

20130720-195831.jpg
Ito is clearly being under utilized, and seeing his work being degraded to this stature is alarming in the extreme. The artwork on the cards though is beautiful.

20130720-200138.jpg

Cards are not gaming’s oldest medium and the simplified combat system in Guardian Cross is sickening. However trading cards are a more recent medium. Wikipedia claims trading cards came about in the 19th century and then picked up popularity in the 1950s with Topps trading cards. Trading Cards hold literally no intrinsic value. They are an abstract commodity, like money, reliant on a group of users who assign value to them. In the case of sports cards value is often determined by performance of player although personal preference comes into play too. In the case of purely made up cards like the Garbage Pail Kids, they are simply collectible because they work as miniature artwork. In a country such as America that lacks pronounced art galleries, they work as a totem for children to trade in for their image needs. Cards have artificial rarities, Topps trading cards makes sure that some cards are rare, foil, common, etc. their artificial scarcity makes them desirable. Yet, despite this asymmetry, despite the fact we could easily produce a more lenient and less competitive world of trading cards where consumers can just buy the cards they desire, we continue to buy into an artificial market that scars us, rewards us, and disappoints us. What we want is winners, but we all agree to be regular losers in order to do so. Asymmetrical markets, scarcity, and inequality are part of the discourse of these markets. trading cards are a cruel world, but the exact hell we desire. If they are anything to go by, we’ll be designing games with even more punishing systems of control, with scarcity that truly envelops entire wholes, with the exact necessary cruelty we all seek to produce by purchasing them.

July 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

Kickle cubicle, ZiGGURAT, Torchlight, ff xiii-2

In a house in a little area right by where Jandek lives a boy played a game for a day and fell in love. kickle cubicle was a brief dream for me. I still don’t remember why it had to be returned so quickly, but sitting in my brother’s room the game had serious charm. Zelda never quite pulled me in, Super Mario was frustrating, but Kickle Cubicle was my first experience with a game that’s logic seemed intimately familiar. From the way the kickle explodes out of a swarm of hearts to the absurdity of the engine, the game is a nonstop trance of puzzling machines that seem significantly more simple than their behaviors suggest. Emergence is the chemical process where in two or more things produce behaviors that the original ingredients don’t possesses (btw in the middle of delanda’s synthetic reason right now) Kickle Cubicle is often one of those games where the behavior of a slime, a hammer, and a spring can lead to numerous possibilities. I won’t say that Kickle Cubicle is great, but it did manage to marry post Zelda enemy bopping with the push and pull of genuinely engaging level design, but what I primarily remember is that it made me think, something that the puzzles in Zelda or the moments of lolo I played never did. The nes version is available online at the first link, the mame emulation of the Arcade version is also out there. I also like how the leader boards have queer names on them as if some gay couple ensconced in a Japanese hovel in the eighties collected the rom and made it available for mame to emulate.

P.s. have not tired Solomon’s key, but will soon. Also kickle cubicle and bomberman were main line examples of addictive game play when I was young.

ZiGGURAT is the latest game from Tim Rodgers and its a little surprising, because the controls suck. Ziggurat requires you swipe the bottom of the screen to rotate your character’s weapon or you can use an angry birds like sling shot mode. While with time I will probably get used to it, I just wanna touch the screen, have the gun track my finger’s x and y cords and then let go with my projectile of death. Sadly, this is more of an emulation of one of those pong paddles that came with the Atari 2600. Now please look I’ve been harassed by assholes before, and Mr. Rodgers will probably stumble upon this review so let me get to the positives, or what I like about ZiGGURAT. First the game essentially channels the moments of intense play in mega man in thirty second increments, which is awesome. Despite the control scheme I found myself playing it in the taxi this morning and even now it nibbles at the subconscious, a world of chaos is a click away. Two the chip tune music is nice too. I don’t actually understand why indie games are so often consciously retro, but Ziggurat is perhaps a nice example of this nostalgia, it doesn’t require you to spend tons of time playing a full length game to do your reminiscing, rather it gives you the pivotal moment of a mega man game in a seconds worth of game play. That is worth 99 cents. Btw do support it, Mr. Rodgers is quite passionate about his games and this is a step towards further friends based improvisations on the iTunes store and also be sure before you lick to hope that he gets a girlfriend, a hot lesbian girlfriend who dresses in anime outfits and makes out with her girlfriends in private moments before the tentacles strike….

Torchlight
Steam sale! Bought this with the 75% off coupon and just what like a month or two till torchlight 2 comes out and let me tell you… This game is annoying. You see unlike Lara Croft and the Gaurdian of Light which frees you from moving with the mouse torchlight restricts everything to the mouse… Except of course spell casting, item management, and everything else. Torchlight works like this, you left click to move or to attack, your right click for an additional attack or spell. The problem is that playing a ranged character becomes ├╝ber annoying because you run away with your meek ranged based archerer only to turn around and then if you happen to not quite click the enemy chasi you then RUN BACK TOWARDS THE GUY YOU ARE TRYING TO AVOID. This is a serious flaw, one that it turns out you deal with by holding shift, but then holding shift you can’t move and only aim. Compare this to Lara Croft in which you run around with the keys and then use the mouse to hurtle spears, bullets, what have you at the enemy. That control scheme works, Torchlight though, despite these short comings is what I usually play at home these days. Once you get past the carpel tunnel inducing click and play the game becomes at heart one of deep customization. My little archer started in an absolutely horrible leather cap which I replaced with a magically powered hair accessory before upgrading to an enchanting and enchanted Russian navigator’s cap. We now take down gigantic tree folks with ease and swing through lion hearted monsters while unleashing some impressive spells and saving select loot for the moment you get the matching accessories for them. Who thought that point of click of consumerism could be replaced by the shoot and gun of diablo? That’s what these games really are, they’re like magic packs, you open one you get a shitty rare u can’t trade but someone will buy it for nothing and maybe if you open a few more you’ll get the cards you need. Someone needs to make a mall based after Diablo where your hard earned cash is spent in blunt kicks and the swing of the mace. All that sweet schwag coming down on you. I guess I continue to play Torchlight for reasons very different than league of legends, LoL I keep finding new things in the play, Torchlight just gives me more to consume. A little strategy is involved with the enemies, swordsmen with shields need to run from, big spiders avoid and whittle down, but for the most part this isn’t really a game of skill or adrenaline, rather it is just shopping. It’s
Iike having a little mall in your pc, one that you wonder around shooting and maiming in, and then you rob the bodies. J.G. Ballard should have played this game.

Still trying to finish Final Fantasy 3 on iOS, watched the entirety of ff xiii-2 on YouTube and loved it! Really liked Serah and the romance angle the game is increasingly taking also the Snow ending was awesome. Going to pick up Chaos Rings Omega when I get a chance or my steam coupons expire… Also Ghost Trick which is now out on iOS is great and really enjoying the demo. Will probably get the full game. Anyway, my life through software increasingly seems to be me life, which brings up another thing. My coworkers have all been commenting on my iPad addiction, for the past two weeks I have showed up everyday with a Bluetooth headset and a YouTube full of final fantasy xii-2 videos. Not even playing the game, simply going through tetra ninja’s walk through took up at least 20 hours of my life. The game became a very real story and one that actually touched me in a way an anime hasn’t in years although it’s still at times cheesy. But what occurred to me is that we’re increasingly living in virtuality almost all the time. The cost of a nearly endless supply of world of Warcraft is small and as terra nova has noticed the total amount of work done in virtual worlds is increasingly reaching the same level of as the actual economy. Mmos aside, the rate of production of games now exceeds the time required to consume them. Watching ff xiii-2 took almost two weeks out of my programming practice and steam at home takes even more. Passions come and go and post final fantasy YouTube is bereft of anything to attract me for awhile, but games continue to rain in and their worlds still feel fleeting. This is where ff xiii-2’s endings come in hand, the game can actually end multiple different ways. While this has been tried before something in the variety of endings suggests the staggering possibility of the narrative. These possibilities also lend the game consequence, it begins to feel as if the narrative is weighty and full of holes, sockets, places to hang a spare lesson or two. What it also suggests is that the future of these games is story, ones where players spin off from each other and separate teams of digital weavers keep their audiences occupied all within a single virtual world, just one that splinters and portals into different experiences. Kinda like the historia crux itself, the act of playing many modern games creates parallel worlds, paradoxes, and other things. Consequence is important in a game, and in ff xiii-2 I believe u can still go back and get all the endings, in fact I know you can because if u get all of them u get a special secret ending, but the necessity of games to be likable often means that they don’t let players get locked into the consequences of their actions, we like replayability, the ephemeralness of the digital world, in skyrim I can still go back and kill the monk on top of the world if I so choose, but I have never made that choice, I wanted him to live, And the idea of replaying that much game is tedious. Anyway, ff is less a game and more the skin of a movie on which you surf. I like ‘m, but only because I like the stories (ff 9 I loved ff 7 bored me), it doesn’t quite have the open narrative structure that skyrim has, but what it does have is worthy of a game and better than many RPGs out there. I really wish they would release it on pc.

February 22, 2012 at 2:36 am Leave a comment


Calendar

January 2020
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Posts by Month

Posts by Category