All posts by James Lowe

Master of Orion: Silicoid After Action Report (Early Access 3)

I did not write about Early Access Two, but it contained several good incremental improvements and introduced the Klackons and Terran Khanate to the game. I played it for a bit, but didn’t really dive deep.

I was compelled to write this article because since Early Access 3 was released late last week, I binged on a large galaxy game that I completed with the Silicoids, one of the new additions to this edition of the game.  Continue reading Master of Orion: Silicoid After Action Report (Early Access 3)

Master of Orion: Early Access First Playthrough

First, a Little History

I have been a huge fan of the Master of Orion series since the very first title, but I became obsessed with Master of Orion 2: Battle at Antares. I probably played hundreds of games of MoO2, mostly all single player. I was invested in the setting and the game was deep enough that each playthrough was unique and had its own challenges. Continue reading Master of Orion: Early Access First Playthrough

My First Game Design Kit

My daughter is 8 years old in a few days, and she’s expressed a lot of interest in board and video games. She’s also said that she wanted to “make up her own game.” After seeing a post a few months ago with a $20 Game Design Kit (sadly, the original link no longer works, but here’s a post that contains a fair amount of it), my wife and I decided we would put one together for our little girl.

Few things have been more creatively enriching than walking around a dollar store (and later, a craft store) searching for potential game pieces among the stock.

Continue reading My First Game Design Kit

Good Design and Frames of Reference

In his article From Design Philosophy (Part 1: What is “Good Design”?), the author defines “Good Design” as follows:

Good design is when the thing in question accomplishes what is desired in an efficient, reliable, intuitive, thorough, positive, and inspiring way without contradicting its own goals, being dishonest or misleading, or being unnecessarily obtrusive or overwrought.

Personally, I think that definition might be over-designed. I would simplify it by ending it early. Continue reading Good Design and Frames of Reference

Games I Would Play

In the spirit of Pokémon  Conquest (a mashup of the monster battler and Nobunga’s Ambition), here are some games that I would love to play, remixed or mashed up or developed in a different way:

  • Super Mario Brothers: A Telltale Games Series
  • Sid Meier’s Ninjas!
  • Crusader Kings: Modern Warfare
  • World of Pokémon (a.k.a. Pokémonline)
  • Starship Troopers: Total War
  • Assassin’s Creed: Red Sky
    • (set on Mars, like Red Faction. With space pirates.)

What Would Strax Suggest?

function strax(){
$begin = array(“a full-frontal”, “a pincer”, “a surprise”, “a brutally excessive”, “a suicide”, “a multi-pronged”, “a glorious”, “an acid-heavy”, “an immediate”, “a violent”, “a traditional Sontaran”, “a devastating”);
$type = array(“laser”, “berserker”, “acid”, “armoured attack”, “proton”, “three kinds of”, “atomic”, “toxic”, “explosive”, “red-hot”, “thermal”, “automated fire”, “cluster”, “enhanced germ”, “energy-drink-fueled”);
$action = array(“assault”, “attack”, “bombardment”, “offensive”, “barrage”, “charge”, “strike”, “operation”, “manoeuvre”);
$enhance = array(“bees”, “chainsaws”, “marmots”, “acid”, “monkeys”, “mines”, “bombs”, “snakes”, “nanites”, “spiders”, “knives”, “rockets”, “sharks”, “owls”, “repurposed cybermats”, “cannons”, “alligators”);
$enhance2 = array(“robots”, “ninjas”, “grenades”, “a dolphin full of napalm”, “acid”, “dynamite”, “xenomorphs”, “lots and lots of C4”, “tactical nukes”, “bio-weapons”, “rocket launchers”, “an elephant”, “a memory worm for afterwards”, “this pencil.”);
echo “Might I suggest {$begin[1]} {$action[1]} with $type[1] $enhance[1] and $enhance2[1]?”;

Continue reading What Would Strax Suggest?

Hatred and Violence in Games

Today, Hatred was pulled from Steam Greenlight.

I could understand the “what makes this different than GTA?” arguments for this game if it were meant to teach a lesson. The point is to hunt down and murder defenseless people. If the point was to sicken and disgust me, then well done. Point made.

Continue reading Hatred and Violence in Games