I think I just broke Game Dev Story. At this point in the game, every game I develop becomes a hall of fame game and sells enough to get the #1 spot on the sales charts.
That’s why I decided to try something. My development team is pretty good right now, with several of them having traits in the 300s, if that tells you anything. Bottom line, my guys and gals are awesome. That’s why I decided to try and make the worst game I could. I picked two unpopular genres that I had never made a game with before, making me level 0 for each of them. With C popularity instead of A, the two genres I decided to use were Racing and Detective. Yes, I got a comment that it was a strange combo and that it potentially wouldn’t sell at all.
Then I outsourced the scenario writing to the cheapest and worst possible person, because none of my own people were bad enough. I did the same with graphics and sound design and didn’t use any boosts. Oh, I also used the Speed plan to speed up development, costing me quality. The reviews I got was one single point from getting into the hall of fame and when I got word about the first week of sales, it had, surprise surprise, ended up in the #1 spot. Yes, I can’t fail in this game even if I make an effort to. Bummer. The only thing I have left to do is to get a game of the year award. I usually take home all the other awards except that one.
So maybe I’m done with that game soon. But I paid something like 3 bucks for it and I’ve spent around 12 hours on it. Pretty good value for those 3 bucks if you ask me. And the developer apparently has two more games on the way. One is a direct sequel and the other is a game where you run a game store instead of a developer studio. I’m getting both as soon as they are released. You should too.
I’ve been reading a lot of gaming blogs this year and if there is one game that has gotten waaaaaay too much hype, it’s Singularity. Weirdly enough, it began as an under the radar game because Activision stripped it completely of promotion budget. Then as the year went on people started a word of mouth type of movement, saying that it’s the most underrated game of the year. It took on, in my opinion at least, gigantic proportions, leading to a hype campaign that made the game impossible to still be under the radar. It turned into sheer hype.
Since the game doesn’t deserve that hype, it has became overrated. Vastly so. And let me tell you why.
It’s just not that good. It’s not bad, but it’s definitely not very good. It’s mediocre in almost every way.
- The graphics are bland and dated. It’s gray spliced with some gray and then some more gray. You also have some brown in there. The geometry reminds me of ooooooold shooters and the character models are just… you get the picture.
- The sound didn’t do anything for me in my surround system and the voice actors are pitifully stereotypical.
- The writing is a joke because it’s all over the place. It’s like the game can’t decide if it’s going with a poignant and serious tone or if it’s a comedy. The narrative is also all over the place, because the audio diaries that are there try to emulate what’s been done several times before in the System Shock and BioShock games, but they fail horribly. Singularity doesn’t have any explorative freedom, which was what made the audio diaries so eerie in those games. It’s not used in the same smart way in Singularity.
- The weapons are, with one exception, incredibly boring. The Seeker was an interesting take on the sniper rifle, but the rest of them were so meh I don’t even know where to begin. The setting is a research paradise turned bad, so the potential for all sorts of interesting and creative weapons was definitely there, but Raven Software pissed that opportunity away.
- The enemies are annoying and, with one exception, don’t take advantage of the time travel aspect of the game. That makes the collection of enemies boring and bland.
- The Time Manipulation Device (TMD) is the selling point of the game and it’s woefully underused. You use it, alright, and you use it often, but that’s not what I mean. It’s just another weapon for you. You point at enemies and hyper-age them to death. People will say that “oh, but you use it for puzzles as well!” but fuck you all if you bring that up. Fixing a broken staircase doesn’t count. The idea of time manipulation isn’t used properly. It never wows me and it never really makes me think out of the box. That’s what it should do if it’s a goddamn selling point for the game. The TMD just becomes your fallback plan if you’re low on ammo or something. You shoot two or three enemies and there’s a bit of pressure on you, so instead of reloading the rifle, which would take some time, you resort to your make-enemies-older-by-pointing-at-them device so you get some breathing space. It’s just not used properly.
Bottom line, it’s merely an okay game, not the blow-your-socks-off game of 2010. I get that Activision and Bobby Kotick killed all the promotion for the game and that made it kind of come out of nowhere, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best surprise of 2011. A game on the level of Army of Two doesn’t get that distinction. It’s full of broken promises and mediocrity. It had so much potential that it didn’t use, instead leaving it to be boring and bland. People compare it to BioShock all the time and the people who do that are all stupid, or they just have a very bleak memory of BioShock. BioShock was a narrative masterpiece, the weapons were creative, the plasmids were creative, Rapture was a masterfully created character in itself, you were actually scared of the big daddies and the twists and turns of the storyline were awesome. Singularity doesn’t have ANYTHING that comes to the level of BioShock. Nothing. In fact, Bioshock looks and plays better than Singularity and it’s a game that is several years older.
So stop promoting this game, saying that people should play it. It’s bland and boring and it’s a waste of time. The only reason I played it was because I wanted to get something for what I paid for it.
So I’ve been playing a couple of games recently, smaller ones. I have a bunch of triple A titles for the Xbox 360 and PC (and other platforms too for that matter) to get through as well, but in the last few days I’ve really loved playing two games.
K.O.L.M. is a game that reminds me of the Metroidvania style games and that’s why the abbreviation stands for Kind Of Like Metroid. It’s got great, albeit pixellated, art direction and the music is hauntingly beautiful. It’s just about as simple as you can get it in the Metroidvania concept, but it still has a few touches that makes it stand out. First, the narrative about the mother and the robot and how the relation between them is presented. Second, the consciously pixellated graphics that are still beautiful even if they’re very monochrome, especially the way the game zooms in and out depending on how big the rooms are. It’s not a very long game so check it out, but keep in mind that it’s purposefully slow in the beginning.
You can find it here.
Game Dev Story is a little masterpiece that I got for my Android phone a few days ago but didn’t play until last night and boy, did I get hooked. I must have played it for six hours straight. I just couldn’t put it down. Awesome entertainment. It’s like Theme Park but with the twist that you control a game developer studio and you create games by assigning tasks to your different employees. You have designers, coders, sound engineers and a lot more and as you create better and better games, they sell better and you get to expand your studio and employ more people and create even better games by leveling up your employees and training them in different disciplines. It’s all done in this extremely charming retro package and the references to the different platforms (my most successful game has been for the Sonny PlayStatus). It costs a couple of bucks but it’s sooooo worth it.
I was just messing around on YouTube and came across a bunch of trailers for movies that I’m, now, very excited to see once they’re released.
Limitless – I love Bradley Cooper. I think he’s got great charisma and an intensity that kind of goes through the movie screen and rubs off on you. This movie looks exciting.
No Strings Attached – Natalie Portman… yeah, I know I’m not alone in having a celebrity crush on her, but she’s just so… yummy. And I’ve always liked Ashton Kutcher’s comedic timing too. This one looks like a romcom in my taste.
The Other Woman – Natalie Portman… again. This time in something that seems highly intense.
Your Highness – Aaaaaand again! Natalie Portman! At least this time she’s not in a leading role and she’s actually not the main reason why I want to watch this movie. Danny McBride seems like a total hoot in this one and James Franco usually doesn’t disappoint. SUCK IT!