Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Lovely little short by Toniko Pantoja from Calarts (California Institute of the Arts). Having students create work of this calibre when they are doing a suite of courses, no doubt working and squeezing in all the other things in their lives is still an inspiration. This is a poetic and beautifully realised piece.
Monday, 14 May 2012
I thought it might be fun to articulate some of the computer games I have loved over the years (now many many years). I have predominantly played on PC, though there have been Mac, iPhone/iPad, xbox etc moments in there. Generally this is not a scale that ranks the quality of each game at all, this is about their impact and meaning. The games that stand out are those that brought something new, expanded my gaming horizons or just have some super memories.
So, no doubt I have forgotten something, but that tells a little story or gaming for me from way back in the 80's til now. What does the future hold, well lets see how Star Trek Online fairs, Star Wars: The Old Republic could be great as well as Guild Wars 2. What else might come...
So, without further ado - here is Graham's list of super computer games:
---------- NOW ----------
First a mention for Star Trek Online, as it is the game I am playing at the moment. I have to admit I dont get too much time for playing, and STO actually accommodates that pretty well, esp with the DOFF missions. So far, this is a pearler of a game.
---------- THE TEN ----------
I have such tremendous memories of my first forays into the new world of MMOs at the time, Everquest was new, Ultima Online was stable. My whole understanding of what a computer game could be expanded with EQ, this was an immersive perpetual world filled with other players in glorious 3D. I will have to write this up better in its own post, for now, this is the godfather of games...
Portal (1 & 2)
The sheer class of these two games is hard to ignore, the quality and artistry, the humour and the puzzles. The way we all finish the game, but all feel like we are clever and achieved something. I often don't finish games, this is an exception. The integration of first person and real 3D thinking is very special.
Half Life 2
I had never real enjoyed first person shooters that much, preferring strategy games. This gem of a game came along and showed how cinematic and engaging this format could be. Whether it was zombies, head crabs, the vertigo of the bridge or the physics puzzles - simply outstanding.
World of Warcraft
The quintessential MMO, Blizzard took on the whole genre and showed that these games could be measured in Millions of subscribers. Apart from some fun times with friends, what now stands out for me was the journey me and the kids went on in this world, slowly but surely making our way to lev85 and loving every minute - a fun way for a family to play together in a truly rich and accommodating online realm.
The promise was there from the beginning of Civ1, with Civ2 things really blossomed and I have super memories of nukes falling, global warming laying waste to civilisations and more. Then with each iteration we got more and more functionality added - JUST ONE MORE TURN.
Eye of the Beholder
Dungeons and Dragons (the real table-top game) was superb, bringing some of that RPG fun to the computer was best embodied for me in Eye of the Beholder. Playing it through with different party makeups etc was part of the replayability. I still remember the clicking of those spiders.
Lots of fun battles in this creator of the RTS world, remembering us teaming up against the unstoppable hordes before venturing out beyond our walls. A fun game in coop or vs friends - strategy and action all mixed together.
City of Heroes
Another MMO joins the ranks and this time because superheroes are cool and this game presented the best actual role-playing of any game I have played. Players really acted like heroes and were in character lots of the time. This was the first place that NPC's would cheer as I went past and the character generation was just so much fun.
This little baby makes its way into this list because it also marked a turning point, up until this time the Bard's Tale like logic for navigating environments was it - then along came this smooth looking around. Here was another level of immersion and it was a real standout.
Sim City (many)
Gotta love simulations - so many cities made and lost. The idea that the game was partially design was just so attractive, when you add the virtual sims reacting to things was a great advance.
---------- THE REST ----------
These arent in any particular order, but are all interesting in some way:
So so long ago on an 2E loaner, first real foray into gaming and spent lotsa hours digging and bashing.
Age of Empires (1, 2 & 3)
The height of RTS play, bringing in randomised maps, gorgeous graphics and so so many hours of play
Real physical interaction with the game - about time.
Doom (1, 2, 3)
Spooky, great co-op 3D realised.
Crysis (1 & 2)
Spectacular engine great to play and then dream of creating.
Plants vs Zombies
Mobile gaming heaven
Lego Star Wars
Great to play with the kids, bringing Gaming, Star Wars and Lego together.
Loved the co-op game modes - most FPS hours right here.
Team Fortress 2
Wonderful design and character - fun to get in and out.
More RPG greatness.
Starcraft (1 & 2)
FPS multi-faction class.
Simple, hard, beautiful.
Early days of the RPG - but great.
Loved those randomised dungeons.
Addictive phone gaming.
3D gameplay arrives and space looked stunning.
Fun fun fun.
One of many clever tower defence games.
One of many clever tower defence games.
Tomb Raider (multiple)
3D camera, visually lush, adventure-based puzzles.
Love the randomised logic
Comics, art, coin-op machines on holidays
Epic scope and complexity in the time before the GUI
Alone in the Dark
Look it is 3D with a moving camera and creepy sounds to boot.
Batman Arkham Assylum
You really feel like a powerful superhero - tough and thumpy