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Extra Credits: Energy Systems

This is another interesting episode from the guys and gals at Extra Credits. This time they cover "limitation systems" or "energy systems," systems used to actually extend playtime or the life of a game. Things like this sadden me only because it makes me more aware of how games (and their creator's) these days are trying to manipulate you into spending more money without realizing it.

2012: The Year of the Games

Journey (PSN) Screenshot

2012 has been an amazing year for games. I had meant to put together a post extolling the virtues of the top candidates for game of the year, but the list kept getting longer and longer, with more and more games that would have been obvious choices for a top-five list in any other year. The task was clearly beyond me. So, I enlisted the talents of Michael Abbott, Brandon Bales, Mattie Brice, Kate Cox, Denis Farr, Brad Gallaway, Brendan Keogh, Justin Keverne, Cameron Kunzelman, Kris Ligman, Eric Swain, and Dan Weissenberger. With my superteam thus assembled, let's look at some of the year's super games.

Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia Review

As Addicting as Halflings' Leaf–or Pie

Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia Screenshot

HIGH Addicting tower defense gameplay to while away the hours.

LOW Trial and error scenarios and bland high fantasy package.

WTF Does every fantasy character have to sound like Sean Connery?

Extra Credits: On Game Schools

One thing that the video game industry needs to be more proactive in is the education of the general public with regards to video game schools or game design programs. When people think of gaming schools, they might think of the ones that get the most coverage like a DigiPen Institute of Technology or Art Institute of Vancouver. However, not everyone gets to attend these shining examples. Some aspiring Shigeru Miyamoto's and Ken Levine's might wind up wasting four years and tens of thousands of dollars at a less than reputable institution. That's where Extra Credits comes in to give some advice for anyone thinking about attending a school to actually become a game creator.

My wife, my life... and games

Emergency Room Sign

If you follow me on Twitter, then you're probably aware that my wife became very ill Sunday and had to be taken to the ER. I know that it's difficult to follow any given story from beginning to end in tweet format, so I just wanted to give a quick update on the whole thing for anyone who was wondering.

Extra Credits: Mechanics as Metaphor, Parts 1 & 2

The guys at Extra Credits discuss mechanics as a metaphor or "mechanics with meaning" and for a visual aid, they use an interesting game or non-game called Loneliness. A description wouldn't really do the game justice, but it is well worth your time to try it for yourself considering the game is free.

One of the more interesting things brought up in this two-part series though is the lack of trust game creators show the player. Modern game creators simply do not trust the player to fail, experiment or uncover any meaning (assuming the creators intend for there to be any) while playing. After playing Loneliness you might understand why. It is a pretty gutsy thing to attempt in a free game, imagine how it would be received should you require payment for a similar experience.

Extra Credits: Digital Resale

Recently, European courts ruled that digital property is the same as physical property. Extra Credits does a brief breakdown of what that could mean for games should such a ruling be held up on appeal and duplicated here in the United States.

Extra Credits: Perfect Imbalance

The guys at Extra Credits look into incorporating imbalance in a game. Ironically, imbalance is just the thing that when worked into character classes, weapons, tools and gameplay rules can wind up giving both the wet-behind-the-ears newbie and grizzled veteran new strategies as each plays and progresses through a game.

Extra Credits: Perfect Imbalance

Extra Credits: The Hero's Journey, Parts I & II

Extra Credits has an interesting two-part discussion about the hero's journey, a concept explored by Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Thatgamecompany's Journey is the game example featured here (along with The Legend of Zelda) but this seems to be a concept exploited in all entertainment genres.

Extra Credits: The Hero's Journey, Parts I & II

Too many games, not enough time

The Walking Dead: Episode Four—Around Every Corner Screenshot

Although it's exciting to see so many great games start popping up in the fourth quarter... there are too many great games popping up in the fourth quarter.

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