This has been an unexpectedly multiplayer-focused summer. I’ve probably put more hours into Splatoon and Rocket League than some people have put into the The Witcher. I’ve gotten familiar with my teammates and competitors’ personalities, but not because I’ve been talking with them. Splatoon and Rocket League downplay verbal communication and the result is an interesting mixture of emergent cooperation and trolling.
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A game whose dominant activity is searching a database may sound terrible. However, Sam Barlow’s Her Story manages to use what would seem like basic database management skills to weave an intriguing mystery that explores the nature of storytelling, fairy tales, and identity.
This week we discuss the tactics and strategies of searching databases, solving mysteries, and how to determine the veracity of the stories that we tell ourselves and the stories that we tell each other.
Lifeline is an intriguing high-concept game for mobile devices (even including the Apple Watch). You receive a distress text from the survivor of a crashed spaceship, and over the next few days in real-time, you must help him survive and escape the desolate moon by providing advice and support.
Her Story is a similarly high-concept game: You use a virtual search engine to find police interview clips of a woman who is a suspect in the disappearance of her husband. Watch the clips and piece together the story at your pace, in your own order.
It was the second time playing The Flock when everything clicked, and I reveled in the joy of its asymmetry. When I first come crawling out of some access tunnel in what the developers of the game, Vogelsap, call a competitive multiplayer thriller game, I knew only to move towards a beacon of light. A hideous alien creature, I am able to leap across the level and clamber up rocks and overhangs. I’m quick to pick up the basics of movement, and I’m first to reach the light.
Suddenly I am holding what looks like a huge flashlight with a strange meter. I turn around and the light freezes on an enemy, one of the creatures I just inhabited. Then another one comes from behind. Clever girl.
Chance has had its place in gaming since its beginnings. Board and card games either rely on it partially or entirely for their gameplay. Luck can be so fundamental that in games like poker, a player’s real skill comes in making deductions about chance, not in the actual “gameplay”. Even in pre-video game narrative games like Dungeons and Dragons, luck plays a huge role in what happens, determining the results of nearly everything that the player does. Today luck plays a part in many video games, from narrative-based games to competitive ones, but is that a good thing?
Roguelikes are a great example of “chance” based video games. While player skill still influences the outcome, in most roguelikes luck can change the amount of skill needed to win. As this very long video shows, even a very skilled player can have trouble completing every run of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. In the run, NorthernLion, perhaps the most famous Isaac player, had a string of very bad luck, and while he made it very far into the labyrinth before he died, even his immense skill and knowledge could not save him from a doomed run.
// Short Ends and Leader
"Two wide and handsome Italian thrillers of the 1970s.READ the article