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The Boss of Bosses

Mega Man 2 Bosses

That guy with the earthquake move. The ice thing. The stupid jerkface that won't hold still. Whatever their form, bosses have been a part of gaming since the early days of Atari. Personally I've always been a sucker for boss battles-they can very heavily influence my opinion of a given game. However, based on many games I've spent time with recently, Tim's question from the most recent podcast (mentioned around the 39:00 mark) is a valid one-do they even make good boss battles anymore?

Interview with Jakub Dvorsky, lead designer of Machinarium

Interview with Jakub Dvorsky, lead designer of Machinarium

I recently had the pleasure of playing Machinarium, a fantastic adventure title from indie developer Amanita Design. Currently available on Steam and on their website, Machinarium has received accolades from many critics, myself included. Their CEO, Jakub Dvorsky, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the game his company, and his team.

The War Update: And then there was one...

Team Fortress 2 Screenshot

So it comes to this. The engineer, my favorite Team Fortress 2 class, the one in which I saw a need for some additional items before the medic update even came out, the one that I have almost 130 hours of playtime with, will be the last to get an update. I'm not mad. Really....I'm not.

Dreamfallen: Why some platforms and genres just aren't made for each other

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey Screenshot

Recently I began playing Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the sequel to the adventure classic The Longest Journey. My expectations were oh so high, after the original's blend of fantasy, sci-fi, and wonderful characterizations made it instantly climb onto my all-time favorites list. My reaction upon seeing about 45 minutes worth of Dreamfall was similar to one who may have just come home to see his dog ripping apart the giant K'Nex roller coaster/burger stand/space station he spent so much time building-who is this monster, and what did they do the my masterpiece?

Richard takes on the Internet: Why I think Perfect Dark is better than GoldenEye

Perfect Dark Box Art

I've always felt that Perfect Dark was superior to the original Nintendo 64 GoldenEye 007 in just about every way. However, a recent poll from this site concluded that most of our readers favor the James Bond-inspired shooter over its spiritual successor. I fully acknowledge that GoldenEye was a landmark title in several ways, mainly in breaking the Doom mold of "just kill everything on the map" and beginning the trend of more tactical shooters we see today, such as Half-Life 2. However, Perfect Dark built on those early achievements in such a fashion as to eclipse its ancestor in more ways than one.

The reality of memories

The reality of memories - Mega Man X Box Art

Over the past few weeks I've been eagerly awaiting Left 4 Dead 2, and in the meantime I've been digging through my collection of old games, giving in to a sudden and inexplicable wave of nostalgia. There were the old pleasures to be sure, but I was amazed at how many of these games just didn't do anything for me anymore. I remember spending countless hours with these titles, but for some of them it was like looking in the basement for that old toy or comic book you loved so much, only to realize that maybe it wasn't all that great to begin with.

Tree running! Team Fortress 2's Prop Hunt mod

(Note: I could've used Mad Props as the title but that's already been done like a thousand times)

I stumbled upon a really sweet TF2 mod a few days ago. The red team spawns as various pieces of scenery (barrels, rocks, trees, etc.) with the scout's health, and the blue team spawns as pyros. Blue has to kill all the scenery scouts before time is up or else red wins. Needless to say, the sight of a tree running away from a pyro is pure awesomeness. If you've not played it, you don't get to sit with the cool kids at lunch. You also don't get to sniff dry erase markers with us during recess.

Mad Props (couldn't resist) to the mod author. The Steam group page has a list of servers to play on.

Boycotts, blandness, and re-beating a dead horse

Left 4 Dead 2 Screenshot

Been out of action for a while, so I'm catching up on some old news. I did the pre-order deal for Left 4 Dead 2 with three friends, which nets us a discount and the Scout's bat from Team Fortress 2 as a melee weapon. I'm genuinely impressed with what I've seen so far, so hopefully my purchase is justified. In effort to quell some the unrest over the release of the sequel so soon after the original, Valve recently flew two of the most prominent boycotters out to their headquarters for some hands-on time with the game. Now if I'm understanding this correctly, if I complain loudly enough about one of their games Valve will fly me out to their secret bunker and let me play it before anyone else. And so, I'd like to announce my boycott of Half Life 2: Episode 3....

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions.

Disclosure: This post has nothing to do with gender, sexism, or the like.

Playing inFamous made me think of other games that I've played where I have the ability to make choices that effect the story or other parts of the game—to be "good" or "evil" so to speak. And after some thought on the subject, I discovered I was hungry and made a sandwich. After that, games such as Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, BioShock, Morrowind/Oblivion, and Fallout 3 came to mind. The question that I pose is this—what makes a good way to allow the player to "choose" their path while not pandering to ideological extremes and still providing an engrossing experience? Ideally I would be able to chose virtually any action I wanted, and have the game respond accordingly regardless of what I chose. Is this even possible? Or has it been done already?

The shortest Longest Journey, crackdowns, and choices

Finished The Longest Journey last night, and it was fantastic, if not a bit awkward at times. The "battles" are strange in that since I can't fail, I can stand completely still and do nothing while the monster just looks at me and waves its arms. I'm aware that Dreamfall has a combat mechanic but my friends tell me that it isn't very well done. I'm curious if something akin to Shadow of the Colossus (which I haven't played) or the new Prince of Persia would work here.
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