Monthly Archives: June 2011

Games in June

I haven’t made a Game Journal update in a while!
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
I finished The Ballad of Gay Tony. It had been a while since I played the original campaign or the Lost and Damned, but I think I liked the original best followed by The Ballad of Gay Tony. The characters were all very entertaining. The relationship between Tony and Luis was cool, Yusuf was a fun character, and the ending mission was a lot of fun.
Portal 2
gem finished this, but with my computer down, there’s no chance at playing co-op anytime soon.
Worms 2: Armageddon
I picked this up for the iPhone a few weeks ago. It’s pretty full-featured, but I suck a lot so I stopped playing it.
Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting
Fun but short. It didn’t have any RPG elements besides being able to upgrade weapons and armor. There isn’t even any exploration. It reminds me of the Arena in Armored Core.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
I was playing this regularly for a while, but now I haven’t touched it in a few weeks. With my room off-limits, I haven’t moved it downstairs. I was enjoying it though!
Save Toshi
This iPhone puzzle game tasks you with throwing balls at platforms so that the girl standing on top falls onto the goal platform. If you hit her, you lose. It’s surprisingly fun if you turn off the terrible voice-acting. I beat this, but it was shorter than I expected. It turns out I was playing a version that was basically a demo for a longer version.
Cell Bound
Another iPhone game! It’s kind of like Puzzle Bobble except the bubbles come from all sides towards the center, and you can rotate the center. It was fun, but I stopped playing it as soon as I posted the review.
Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing
More iPhone gaming! This just came out, and as I loved the console version, I had to pick it up. It’s a little difficult because it uses tilt to steer, but it’s better than I would have expected. I haven’t put too much time into it, but I plan to play it more.
Plants vs. Zombies
I’ve been playing this more than anything else lately. With the newest update, the iPhone version finally received some mini-games. One game comes immediately, and then there are two packs of three that can be purchased with the in-game currency. I bought the first pack but haven’t made enough money for the second. The update also brought the Zen Garden that allows you to raise plants. It’s fun!
A Slice of Life
The last iPhone game, I promise! The goal is to have your character succeed in the various parts of life – job, education, social, etc. It’s like the Sims but only menu and button-driven with no direct control. It kind of sucked.
Sonic Generations Demo
The demo only features one level of the classic gameplay, but I enjoyed it. It almost seemed a little too fast, making it hard to focus, but I didn’t run into any traps, making the speed okay. The graphics seemed odd because it was clearly inspired by the classic graphics but still 3D. I liked it a lot more than the photo-realistic background of Sonic 4. I’m looking forward to playing more of this for sure!
I’ve been playing this a bit the last couple days. It looks a lot like Mega Man X, but in A.R.E.S. you can control the direction in which you shoot as well as spend recyclables dropped by dead robots on grenades, repair kits, or upgrading weapons.
Metal Drift
I wanted to play this because I enjoy vehicular combat games, but it seems odd from the tutorial. You can shoot in any direction, including shooting directly behind you while driving forward. It seems difficult to be able to do that.
Okay, last game. Nimbus is a flying, side-view racing game in which you can’t directly accelerate. You reach the goal by attempting to keep your momentum, flying into cannon-things (think barrels from Donkey Kong Country), colliding with bouncy pads, etc. I’m enjoying it so far.
Besides playing PvZ regularly, nothing is really pulling me in a lot right now. Right now I’m mostly playing A.R.E.S. and Nimbus at home, but I have to kind of push myself to do it. We’ll see. Maybe I should hook my Wii back up again.
I also signed up for a second 365 Project, the photo-a-day site. While the first I’m using for photos as intended, my second account is now for screenshots. We’ll see how it goes. It’s here

Visually Directing the Player

UCLA Game Lab » Visually Directing the Player

…one philosophy that I try to abide by in game-design is that there are no bad players-only bad designers. If a player feels stupid, cheated, or frustrated, it shouldn’t be the player’s fault. It should be the designer’s responsibility to prevent the player from feeling this way, and in order to do this, there exists the much beloved activity of play-testing.
There are many problems that arise out of a good play-test, but I’m going to focus on the aforementioned one of “visual direction,” to guide the player a specific way.

Joshua Nuernberger, creator of the fantastic adventure game, Gemini Rue, recently (or not so recently as the case may be) posted an essay on providing visual cues to direct players in game. It’s an interesting read if you’re fascinated by game design decisions. Also, if you haven’t played Gemini Rue (as it’s an under-marketed indie game, you probably haven’t) and like adventure games, you definitely should. I love the visuals in the game, and it has a fantastic mood, setting, and story.

Berkeley Dog

Berkeley Dog, originally uploaded by theuser.

I ate at Berkeley Dog today! It’s a new hot dog joint at the University Center. The food was decent but a little over-priced. Still, they had a nice selection, lots of sauces, and super sweet soda machines. I tried Raspberry Coke, Lime Coke, and Orange Coke! They were all good, but Raspberry Coke was my favorite!

Homefront Is On Sale and Terrible

Save 50% on Homefront on Steam
One of this weekend’s deals on Steam is Homefront marked down 50% to $24.99. Besides the fact that this sucks because it’s not an indie game (fine Andy, I’m a game hipster), it’s also a terrible game. Do not get it. I played through it, and maybe parts of it are a little fun, so if it ever goes on sale for $2, then it might be time to pick it up. Maybe. But it’s definitely not worth $24.99.
Also, keep in mind that when I say it is worth $2, I’m actually very biased in its favor; THQ threw an awesome party for Homefront at E3 2010 that I attended. With that tidbit in mind, maybe it wouldn’t even be worth $2 to someone who wasn’t brainwashed.

Cell Bound

Cell Bound for iOS | iPhone/iPod, Reviews, Action Games, Puzzle

I spent some great quality time with a new game provided to me by Hothead that I’d like to tell you all about! Cell Bound, their new iOS game, mixes up an old formula to create a fantastic new game. Colored bubbles are shot across the screen, and you’re tasked with connecting five of the same color to pop them. Don’t let them stack up off the screen or it’s game over. Does that sound familiar? Well, Cell Bound is a bit different than what you probably have in mind, because the bubbles come from all sides in a circle!

Circular Puzzle Bubble? Yeah, it’s pretty fun and only $0.99!

Food Trucks and New Bowling Record!!

I went to the food trucks at Irvine Lanes tonight with gem, Steph, Jessica, Andrew, Duke, and Natalie. There was a lot of tasty food! I had honey feta fries, beef kabob with tzatziki sauce, pulled pork sliders, milanesa sandwich, and nutella loukoumades. Everything was tasty!
After eating we went bowling. Jess had free passes that included shoe rental, but we paid for an extra two games as well. I got a 64 in my first game and 92 on my last, but I scored 114 on my second game! That’s a new personal best, beating my previous record of 106! Woo! It was pretty exciting 🙂

Wedding Recap!

alex and darnell's wedding

I can’t believe Alex and Darnell actually got married! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
On Thursday, I met Jarrod and Shayne at Disneyland, and Jarrod drove us to Palm Springs. It was a lot of fun getting to know them during the ride. Jarrod does pest control for Disneyworld (so I had a lot of questions about dealing with home problems), and Shayne works for Kraft. We got in that night and hung out a little with the group. I had my own room with a nice sign and everything! =D The house they rented was amazing! There was five bedrooms in the main house with one or two (I think) in an unconnected part. There was a large living room and an entertainment room, but the outside of the house was the amazing part. It was absolutely beautiful! There was a large pool with a cool bridge leading over to the grass. This is where Hal had the canopy set up under which the wedding took place. There was a hot tub that flowed into the pool, and a rocky waterfall over the pool. Ther was also a cool lake on the property!
Friday we got up to a wonderful breakfast thanks to Jarrod. We had fruit salad, french toast, and biscuits with gravy. So good! Then it was time to get to work! I helped Hal with the canopy for a bit. It was very impressive, but I wasn’t surprised at all. Hal is the perfect guy for that kind of task, and I love how much he knows about building things and getting tasks done.
I went with Alex on some errands. First, we went to Men’s Wearhouse to pick up our tuxedos. There was one small problem. My tux didn’t fit at all. It seemed at least two times too big for me, yet the lady checked the size adjustment things on the sides to see if they could make it fit. Of course now. They assured me they’d get one shipped from Texas that would be there by Saturday at 11. Well, the wedding was on Saturday, and the photo shot was scheduled to start at 11. That wasn’t really going to work, but we didn’t have a lot of options. When Alex asked, they said they could bring it to the house. They also refunded my money.
Then we were off to pick up flowers and bring them to the baker for the cake. We couldn’t find the exact flowers because they don’t survive the heat in Palm Springs. Luckily Darnell isn’t the type to complain, and we found substitutes that would work. Then it was time to get home!
When we got home we met Venus who was performing the ceremony. She was very cool, and we quickly went through the rehearsal. Hal tried to try on his tux, but it was way too small. I tried his, and it fit perfectly. It turned out the had just switched our tuxes. Hal called, and they offered to bring us the tux that they had kept. Then it was time for dinner! There were tasty appetizers, a yummy salad, a tasty steak, and an amazing “pie” that was basically a sundae. We did our toasts to the happy couple. I was planning to make a toast, but I purposely didn’t prepare anytihng written because I just wanted to speak from the heart and leave most of what I wanted to say for the reception. The toasts were all very touching, but Hal’s was just amazing. He loves Alex so much, and it was evident even from his eyes. I couldn’t stop crying. After the toasts, we headed to the Fantasy Springs Casino for cocktails. gem met us there, and we all had a couple drinks. Venus happened to be at the casino, so she came to the bar to hang out as well. It was a lot of fun. Then Friday night we went home to drink and swim!
Saturday was the big day! We finished setting everything up, including building a photo booth that ended up falling apart in the wind. Alex gave all the groomsmen a gift – a glass with our initials on it, a pair of sunglasses, and a tie to match our bridesmaid partner! I received a green tie to match Laura’s green dress. The sunglasses were interesting because I had previously told Alex about how I wanted a pair sunglasses.
The wedding was amazingly beautiful. I can say that it was definitely good that I had tissue in my pocket, and Darnell couldn’t look over at me. There were three dogs in the wedding too! How awesome is that? I felt really good holding the ring, and I’m glad everything went well! After the wedding, we hung out for a bit while the guests were at cocktail hour. Unfortunately, Devin paid the servers at this time, and they just took off. We were a bit worried! Then everyone moved from the front of the house to the back for the reception dinner. The wedding party was announced, and we went out in pairs. Then a few of Alex and Darnell’s friends volunteered to serve the food. They did a fantastic job! Dinner was pretty tasty! There was a crepe cart, a hot dog cart, and four beers on tap! When it came time for the speeches, I got incredibly nervous. While I had a lot of it memorized, I still used index cards on a keyring. It seemed to go well! Although I recorded, I can’t get myself to watch it to see, but Alex and Darnell seemed to really appreciate it. The speeches were all great, and I enjoyed all the love that was there! They cut the cake, and it was cute that they seemed to have trouble. They also couldn’t quite figure out how to drink champagne correctly. I loved it, haha. In the evening we rested, talked, laughed, and eventually went swimming.
Sunday was a day of relaxation and eating. We grilled burgers and hot dogs, and everything was tasty. I spent most of the day in the water, and I ended up getting burnt. Oh well! We also went down to the lake and swam, found a row boat, and rowed across the lake. It was a lot of fun. But the most fun was just talking with people. Everyone was so fantastic. I can’t believe how great Alex and Darnell’s friends and family all are, but then again, I guess it makes sense that wonderful people attract other wonderful people. It was a great celebration, and I’m sure I’ll remember it forever.


sonic championship

Today I discovered that Gameworks in Las Vegas is a great arcade! We went there to play Pac-Man Battle Royale, an awesome cocktail cabinet featuring 4-player versus Pac-Man action. I won the first time we played, but gem beat me the second.
We also ran into Sonic Championship, the Sonic fighting game! I never expected to run into one of those. It looks sort of like Virtua Fighter (yeah, bad) and has a story with a strange continuity issue; you’re trying to collect the eight Chaos Emeralds. Anyways, it was actually pretty fun. Whenever you get hit, rings fly out too! gem beat me. 🙁
They also had Sonic-themed air hockey! Hell yes! Sadly, she beat me at this too. Lastly, we played some Mario Kart Arcade GP. Unfortunately gem’s unit’s camera didn’t work. I got 3/4 and gem got 4/4. We sucked!
All of this cost us only $7, which wasn’t bad considering they were all some rare games and it cost $2 just for the game card. I wish we had some of those games closer to home!
I’ll always remember this arcade… because I just might have bought a Sonic toy to take home. The cashier asked, “do you have a Sonic fan at home? If you want to write down his email, we can send the Sonic catalogue.” No, no Sonic fan at home. He’s right here. And yes, I’ll take your catalogue!

The Freakin’ Frog

The Freakin’ Frog, originally uploaded by theuser.

The Freakin’ Frog. Oh my god. It was amazing. No one (include the cabbie) had heard of it. It looked like a little hole-in-the-wall joint from the outside but we were pleased with the bar inside. Upstairs it had a whisky attic that was unmarked. You have to ask about it to be taken up there, and it boasts the largest selection of whisky in the United States. It was cool to see, but we didn’t buy anything.
Okay, the food! First we had the chips, and they were fantastic. Checking out the bar, we found that the two bartenders do all the cooking themselves right there at the bar in a small deep-fryer and grill at the bar. They cut the tortillas and fried them right there!
We were warned a bunch about how hot the chili was, so of course we ordered chili cheese fries. It was so good! Yeah, it was a bit spicy, but still safely in "white people spicy" levels, not Asian or Mexican spicy. I ordered the BBQ pulled chicken sandwich, which was fantastic, and I had some maple bacon steak as well that was pretty damn tasty and nicely medium rare. I also had a bite of Devin’s fish sandwich that was good.
The food was amazing. I very highly recommend eating here if you’re ever in Vegas!
But there was more than the food! We asked about some beers that weren’t on the menu, and our waitress, Jenny, asked if we wanted to see the beer cooler. Remember how the Freakin’ Frog had the largest selection of whisky in the United States? It apparently also has the largest beer collection in the Western United States. The cooler was huge and packed with beers, and Jenny stood there in shorts easily discussing beers while I shivered in jeans!
We were told that they have live music every night, and while we were enjoying our beers a three-person acoustic band set up on stage. They played soft rock covers and while they were nothing special, I always enjoy live bands.
After talking with Jenny more, we found that the owner, Adam Carmer, was her professor at UNLV. Despite her never having witnessed Adam finish a drink, he’s a beer a whisky connoisseur. Jenny was a lot of fun, and Jack, the biker-looking, large bearded bartender was pretty friendly and awesome.
The pricing on the beer on tap was average, but some of the rarer beers in the cooler were pricey. The food was absolutely amazing and very cheap though. Combine this with the superb service and atmosphere and you get a great bar to which I’m definitely going to return.

The rest of the weekend

The rest of the weekend, originally uploaded by theuser.

Saturday afternoon was time for Texas Hold’em! I didn’t really want to play anything at a table, so I hung out with them and watched, betting on who would do well. Pretty much no one. Mike ended up with some money left though!
John had driven to the casino, so when we decided to go back to his casino, Hooters, we all walked while he drove. We never did make it. It’s like a magical casino that can cloak itself I guess. We stopped somewhere else after getting lost and just started drinking. When it was time for dinner, we headed to the Freakin’ Frog!
(I wrote about the amazing bar here, but it got so long that I’ve cropped it into its own post. Super great though!)
After dinner and drinks, we drove back to the Flamingo, hid from some cops, etc. Devin may have mooned the camera in front of a cop car. Back in someone’s room, we drank a bit and hung out even though the girls trashed the room completely. Oh, and a guy I didn’t know very well showed us a body part that I didn’t really want to see. 🙁
I was pretty tired, but Alex was up for more, so Alex, Mike (awesome guy by the way), gem and me walked the strip for hours!
When we got back, I took a nice bath and then went to sleep around sunrise!
On Sunday, gem and I watched the fountains at the Bellagio before heading to the M&M World Store. We bought some for us and a bag for Alex and Darnell in their wedding colors. Then we went to the MGM to see the lions! They were cute and napping! We played some penny slots because we like Lobster Mania. It took our dollars, but then… ta da! gem won $6! Amazing! But then we realized we lost the M&Ms 🙁
My grandparents picked us up and we went to Ta Ta’s, a Japanese restaurant for dinner. We ate with Uncle Rocco, my cousin Akira, and her friend. Afterwards we stopped by my great-grandmother’s house and then my grandparents’. We scratched Tilly’s (their tortoise) chin and looked at some of their various souvenirs from countries they’ve visited. I also saw my grandfather’s expanded collection of gems he’s found, cut, and polished and the award he’s won. It’s really impressive! I hope I do as many great things as they have. Oh, and I also saw his huge collection of DS games. He plays every night and has beaten most of his collection. He gave me Flower Sun and Rain (a Suda51 game) and Mystery Tales.
We went back to the M&M store, made our purchases a second time, and then checked out the Coke store. They had a soda bar! It was amazing! I do happen to love soda. We tried the World Tour sampler of Coke products from around the world. It was pretty interesting! Then we met back up with the guys for more drinks and adventures across the strip!
This morning we were going to head out, but I decided to check for Pac-Man Battle Royale locations. Turns out it was at Gameworks on the strip! We checked out, walked down there, and was amazed the arcade. I’ll post that separately too!
Anyways, some drama happened between a few people, and Daniel was left without a ride back to CA. He was going to have to fly back or rent a car, and we couldn’t have that! He’s with us in the car right now. We stopped at Peggy Sue’s for lunch and are now about an hour from home. Lunch wasn’t too special, but the burger with ham and pineapple was tasty.
And that’s the end of my weekend!

Bang bang!

Bang bang!, originally uploaded by theuser.

gem was angry at that sheet of paper!
So, our trip so far!
The way out was decent. We a couple new CDs and a CD we hadn’t heard in a while. We also played MadLibs and made fun observations personifying various construction vehicles and power lines!
There were some mix ups on the first night, so after meeting up with Alex and the group, we split up. I tried to get together with my family, but long story short, that failed, and we ended up eating at the Village Seafood Buffet. Expensive, but oh god so good. We also watched some TV and saw the flamingos!
We met up at a bar and drank with everyone, which was a lot of fun! Some people had trouble learning to take jello shots 🙂 Then we took an overpriced limo back to one of our rooms to drink champagne and play with their dog, Tegin!
This morning we went to the shooting range. I had shot a little at a YMCA camp when I was much younger, but this was basically my first time shooting. We had three different handguns and a rifle. I enjoyed all of it! The amount I shake with the rifle was crazy. Using the scope was harder than I expected too. All in all, I was much better than I thought I’d be.
Then I went on a quest to find an ATM. It took so damn long. I then rushed to the pool to find the group but had to go back to the room for a forgotten ID. I never did find them.

Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting

Monster Hunter Dynamic Huntig | iPhone/iPod, Reviews, Action/Adventure

This past week I’ve been putting a lot of time into Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting for the iOS, provided to me by Capcom. I had never played a Monster Hunter game previously, but I enjoyed Dynamic Hunting a lot. While it doesn’t contain any leveling, talking, or exploring, it features a great deal of combat and crafting. It can be played well in small increments, and most importantly, it’s superbly designed for the touchscreen.

An examination of level hubs

Level hubs are bad. There, I said it. Well, they’re usually bad anyways. Level hubs are the worlds you explore to find the actual levels. In a level, you have fun, progress the story and game, are taught new mechanics, and are tested on those mechanics. In the hub, you look for a level. Why? Menus will always be better than explorable hubs.
The Mario series has an interesting history with hubs. At first, there was no level hub at all. Finishing one level sent you on your way to the next. Super Mario Bros. 3 let you pick your level from the hub. You didn’t really explore. You couldn’t jump. You weren’t really in control of Mario, but you could pick your next level. There were multiple paths of levels, and sometimes things could block your path. Because you’d need to see the paths between levels and try to get to (or away from) the enemies blocking you, the level hub was important. Super Mario World was similar; it had multiple paths you could take. Levels that had multiple exits would lead to multiple exits and were marked on the map. Again, the map had a purpose. Importantly, these hubs were not difficult to navigate and didn’t add a significant amount of time between levels.
Super Mario 64 changed all that. Peach’s castle was the level hub, and in it you controlled Mario the same way you would in any level. Certain paintings in the castle allowed you to enter levels through them. In this way, the game rewarded (and required) exploration of the castle. Was this good? I loved Super Mario 64 when it came out, and I’m still quite fond of it. It’s hard to decide whether this was a bad decision. There are a few things that Nintendo did to keep the hub from being terrible. First, the game mechanics functioned the same way. If you enjoyed controlling Mario in a level, at least you could potentially get the same enjoyment out of the hub. Second, most levels weren’t hidden. You could clearly see where a level was based on the doors, and the doors were even marked, letting you know how many stars you needed to unlock it. Third, after obtaining a star, Mario would come back out of the painting, standing right in front of it. This is great because the majority of the time you need to go right back into the same painting for another star. Still, I’m going to go ahead and declare the hub bad. At the time, it was a good thing. It was new and interesting to have an explorable hub world, and it made Mario’s adventure seem grand. We were still at a time where all video game urban legends weren’t immediately debunked by the Internet, which made the hub feel like a mysterious place worth exploring. We were also new to 3D platformers; the hub gave gamers a chance to get used to controlling Mario. We’re past all that now. The hub is bad.
Nintendo thought we still needed hubs in Super Mario Galaxy. It’s practically amazing how terrible the hub is in that game. Not only was it a waste of time when what I really wanted to do was get to a level, but it was also confusing and hard to navigate. Things got a lot better in Super Mario Galaxy 2. The level select screen is very close to that of Super Mario Bros. 3 with multiple worlds consisting of different levels, this time called galaxies, with a star select screen after that like the one found in Super Mario 64 or the first Galaxy. However, it seemed Nintendo couldn’t shake the terrible idea all the way. Perhaps young gamers like a non-threatening place to play as Mario. Whatever the reason, there is still the spaceship that Mario uses. After beating a level, Mario once again appears on his ship. What’s there to do on the ship? There are plenty of NPCs with whom to speak, but there is little incentive to do so. Yes, there are times where there’s a reward, but this could be awarded to the player in a better way (such as the mini-game at the end of levels in Super Mario Bros. 3). In actuality, every time I get back to Mario’s ship, I run forward for a second to jump onto the button that brings up the level select map. Why put me on the boring spaceship hub if what I want to do every time is get back to playing Mario? And no Nintendo, that’s not an invitation to put more crap on the spaceship next time. It’s a request that you list what we want to do in your game and take out everything that isn’t on that list.
Now Nintendo definitely isn’t terrible. Sega is terrible. Sonic Adventure had an awful hub world that was incredibly time-consuming. Finding a level shouldn’t take a long time. Despite the bad hub, I did finish Sonic Adventure. I wasn’t as angry at hub worlds back then, and I had a lot more time on my hands. However, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to play it again. Luckily, it seemed Sega had learned. In Sonic Adventure 2 it was much easier to find levels, and in Sonic Heroes it did away with all hubs and went back to stages and acts. Fantastic! While Sonic Heroes was buggy, I greatly appreciated how they mapped out the game. And then there was Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). What. A. Mess. The hub world was back in full force, and it was terrible. It was the first game I purchased for PS3, and it was a big mistake. I never have picked it back up again. Sonic Unleashed on 360 was a lot more fun, but still suffered from the bad hub world. Trying to figure out where the next level was got so bad that I gave up all together. While I haven’t yet, I plan on trying it on Wii because that version, or so I hear, doesn’t have the hub.
How about open-world games? Well, Grand Theft Auto does it very well, but I don’t think it’s exactly the same. Finding missions take place in a city that, for now, let’s call the hub. The missions take place in the exact same city. It’s seamless. Because the levels exist as part of the hub, I wouldn’t really call it a hub. In addition, in Grand Theft Auto 4 at least you can take a taxi to any mission on your map. And how do you pick your destination? With a menu. No More Heroes looks similar but is actually very different. There’s a city in which you can drive, but none of the actual game takes place in the city. This makes NMH’s city a hub, and a terrible one at that. Whether this was a mistake or not is debatable because Suda 51 has made the argument that this was a critique of open-world games. If he’s critiquing Grand Theft Auto though, then my previous statements about GTA would stand as my counter-argument.
Many iPhone games use a grid to represent levels. Level select screens have multiple pages, and each page has a grid of stars, with each representing a level. Not every game uses stars, but I see a level select screen similar to this in many games. This isn’t a hub, and this is close to what I’m advocating. However, you can’t deny that this looks very dry. In fact, I saw we look once again at Nintendo. Quite often they get it exactly right. They don’t use multiple pages. They use multiple worlds, such as the different islands in Super Mario World. Instead of stars representing levels, arranged in a grid, Super Mario World featured dots set up to reflect the world they represented. You could maneuver through the hub quickly and effectively, yet it still conveyed the idea behind that set of levels. It looked fun, but most importantly, let you get back to the actual fun quickly.
Thank you, Super Mario World.

A Contest I Don’t Want to Win

[Company,] a leading video game developer and publisher, announced today the winner of the Win A Rim Job promotion…

No thanks. I’d rather not have a rib job from you.
Okay, want to know what that really is?


How do relationships in game affect relationships in real life?

Breakfast Topic: How do relationships in game affect relationships in real life?

Most of the time, relationships in and out of World of Warcraft are completely separate. There are people I know in the game and people I know out of it. With the number of available realms, even the people I know in real life who play WoW are on different realms. This contributes to keeping in-game and out-of-game politics separate. But what happens when these two parts of your life come together?

I like this one the least of my published WoW Insider articles.
Also, what’s with the picture they chose?