Tag Archives: story

Watch out for the Darkness!

The evil henchmen lurk in the shadows while a halo shines over the hero’s white robes. Darkness versus light and good versus evil are common story themes, and I wish more games used darkness and light as both a game mechanic and theme.

Alan Wake is one example of a game that uses darkness and light well. You fight enemies and explore a dark landscape with flares, flashbangs, flashlights and more. When the forest around Wake becomes foggy, when the eerie music oozes out of your speakers, the tone is set for a battle between good and evil, darkness and light. Of course, you can also shoot enemies. Shooting is effective, but it’s also a bit of a problem.

See, I think a game could use all light-based weaponry to combat darkness. What exactly is a light-based weapon? I mean something that makes use of light to either stop an enemy or solve puzzles.
Leave the guns behind. They are in enough games. I propose, instead, that games should rise above mere guns,  explosions and blah, blah, blah, etc.

Imagine you play as a character who shines a light to save people. You turn the corner, not knowing what to expect, and break out into goosebumps at the next sight. You see the disfigured faces of a swarm of zombies moaning and groaning in the moonlit night. Your light frees these poor souls from their undead prison–and voilà–they become human again. That’s unexpected.

When we talk about darkness and light, we normally talk about a book or movie theme. Unlike a reading a book or watching a movie, you get to play with darkness and light in games. Non-gamers, who like a good story, might want to play just so they can take an active role when they experience this theme. And I, as game lover, would love something unique to play. So this is one game theme and mechanic that I hope see more of in the future.


 

What are some of your favourite games that use darkness and light in the story, gameplay or both?

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Filed under Video Game Trends

My Video Game Console Took over My Living Room

I woke up one Saturday morning to the sounds of shrill shouting. As I tip toed toward my living room, the shouting became louder. My teeth chattered. My knees buckled. What could it be?

Rolling thunder made a rumbling sound as if someone was moving heavy furniture on the floor above me. A crack of white-hot lightning bleached the sky as I sauntered past the window. And then I saw it.

I saw a face with a nasty snarl, pointy teeth and menacing eyes. It looked like an evil Jack O’Lantern; only the face was on my TV set!

As I scanned the living room, I noticed all of my electronics were standing in a long line in front of the TV. They looked like a set of dominoes. I could only tell the electronics apart because they sported long, sad faces, each one longer and sadder than the previous one.

My cellphone, my other video game boxes, game controllers, remotes, and blu rays were all there. They huffed and puffed while running to join the line. Like trees, the DVDs showed their age by the multiple rings that ran around them.

What were they doing? They lined up to bow before the TV and offered it gifts. They brought surge protectors, extension cords and a new set of speakers.

“Yes, yes bow down before me—the master of the living room. I am the supreme video game console of the universe,” the TV bellowed.

I noticed my video game console glowed an unearthly hue and levitated off of the table. The console was just using my TV as a mouthpiece to broadcast its message of world domination.

I rubbed my eyes and could now see clearly. My console had taken over my living room!

Your Video Game Console is Coming for You Next

It can happen to anyone. Just think about how much your console does for you and what it might want in return.  Oh,the horror! The horror!

1. Games

You couldn’t resist the bright and shiny allure of a new console. Then, once you got one, you needed something to play. Slowly, you amassed a heap of game boxes that you’ve scattered across your living room.

2. Motion Controls

So you’ve got your TV remote and maybe another remote for movies. Now you’ve got motion controllers and Kinect there.

3. Movies and TV

These are wildly popular. Who knows what’s next?

Keep your eyes open and always beware what lurks in the shadows. You’ve been warned.

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Filed under Video Game Technology

Early Bird or Night Owl?

The sun rose and bathed the forest with a warm glow. All the birds tweeted — with their voices, not their computers — and sang sweet love songs. A gentle dew quenched all the plant life before the sun rays of the day parched the forest. It was a blissful morning scene.

The songs ceased and the birds spread out to collect twigs for their nests. But Carl the Cardinal was missing.

Max, the biggest Cardinal in the forest, hopped toward his friend and asked, “Hey, Sammy, any idea where Carl is today?”
“Not a clue,” said Max.

Max puffed up his plumage as he chewed this fact over.

“Hmmm he’s not one to miss a friendly chirp.”

Sammy shook a little and squawked, “We’d better look for him then.”

So the two Cardinals flew off in search of their friend. They flew over a babbling brook and didn’t see him. They dove into the tall pine trees and chirped his name to no avail. They asked the grumpy Blue Jays of his whereabouts but couldn’t shake any clues out of them.

After a long morning of searching, the birds lazily flew back to their nest. They perched themselves on their front porches when Sammy started chirping, “I”— he felt a dry lump at the back of his beak — “I hope he’s ok.”

“I’m sure he’s fine. He’s a tough bird and he always kept his beak clean.”

“I know but…but I just have awful visions of a mountain cat and…”

“Don’t Worry,” Max interrupted, “Let’s just try to get some shut-eye.”

Suddenly loud music and explosions seemed to echo throughout the forest. It was coming from Carl’s house!

The birds flew next door to Carl’s nest and found the front door wide open. It seemed like no one was home. They moved deeper into the house and found Carl sprawled across his couch with a controller.”

“No, no shoot left!”

“Carl!” they both screamed, “Have you been sitting here playing video games all day while we worried sick about you?”

“Carl turned around to face them so quickly that his cigar fell out of his beak. “Oh, sorry guys. I woke extra early this morning to squeeze in some game time. I forgot that we were collecting twigs today and just kept playing.”


 

So I’m not much of an early bird when it comes to playing video games. Let me tell you what I am by way of a story…

***

Much later, the forest became deathly silent. Darkness covered everything like a giant black blanket.

There was some relief, though, from the darkness. Something like a gigantic bowling ball with three huge craters appeared high in the night sky.

Then there were two yellow orbs that pierced through the darkness that blanketed the landscape. The orbs were so bright that they even shone through the dense packed trees.

A lone traveler with his flashlight headed towards the trees. He scratched his head, furrowed his brow and wondered “What could those orbs be?”

He walked so close to the trees that he bumped his head. The branches were perfectly camouflaged in the black night, and it was a dangerous time to be in the forest.

“Owww what was that?,” he said.

He moved away from the branch and heard a strange sound.

“Hoo, Hoo!”

The traveller clenched his fist. “Not who. I said what.”

“Hoot, hoot!”

“Oh a wise guy, eh? Alright you asked for it pal.”

The traveler pulled his arm back to deliver a deadly blow. That’s when he noticed the orbs seemed to blink.

“Wait, what the…”

The traveler’s eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped when he saw it.  An owl, perched on a branch, and staring at a glowing white screen. It was playing a handheld video game at night!

“We’ll I’ll be… playing video games at night,” the traveller thought.

The Owl replied, “Hey, will you keep it down over there; I’m trying to play. Geez, the nerve of some people.”

————————————-
I don’t obsessively play video games in the middle of the night in a tree. But this was a different way of saying that I’m a night owl gamer. What about you? Are you night owl gamer or an early bird?

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Filed under Video Game Misc.

Meanwhile, in the Middle of Nowhere…

desert islandYou board your boat and set sail for a lush tropical oasis. The tiny red schooner bobs back and forth in the choppy seas, and waves splash against the deck. You know things aren’t going well when you can taste the warm salt water in your mouth.

Bang! You should have seen it coming.

You hit a huge rock near an insular coast, and you’re forced to abandon ship. Looks like you’ll have to swim and slosh your way through to the island.

Once you get there, soaking wet and coughing up enough sand to fill a beach, you stumble upon a hut. It seems like a sturdy hut, but it could use some work. For example, when you walk on the wood floor, it groans as if it wants to give up and collapse beneath you.

You sit at a desk and realize something: you are all alone and no one knows where you are. You calculate it will take a week before loved ones catch on to your whereabouts and send help.

In the meantime, you have to do to something to keep sane. The island has plenty of food, and an inexhaustible supply of necessities. But you won’t find people, an internet connection and – it seems – there’s no entertainment.

What will you do until help arrives?

Lo and behold! You look straight ahead and magic seems to solve your problems. A huge top of the line gaming PC stares you in the face.

Then you reach into your pocket and find another surprise: you have three great games! You brought them along in case the boat ride became boring.

If that was me on the island…

Let me tell you the three games I would choose. Each one will make time fly faster than a supersonic jet.

1. XCOM

This game is perfect for those rainy days on the island. XCOM is a great turn based game that can keep you busy. You can plan both your base and your troops on the field to kill time. Even better, gun blasts and explosions will keep you awake when you start to doze off and drool on the desk.

2. Civilization series

It makes sense that you’d yearn for some civilization. After all, you are alone on an island somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

This is another immersive turn based strategy game that will have you saying “One more turn!” You’ll find plenty of reasons to kill time with this one: beating the highest difficulties, beating the game with every civilization, and getting every kind of victory. You might turn away your rescuers after you start to play this game. They might have to pry your cold, obsessed fingers off the keyboard just to take you to safety.

3. Tetris

I mean the old school version of Tetris with the bleeps and bloops soundtrack. With Tetris, come to the think of it, I might not even need the other games. The reason is very simple: this game never gets old for me.

Now where’s my island drink?

***

What three games would you bring to a desert island?

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Filed under Video Game Misc.