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Showing posts from 2010

Spunky Cola review

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Uber Entertainment's free DLC has finally been released, and it's a doozy. The DLC is over half the size of the game itself! I spent most of yesterday checking it out, so here's a bit of an examination over all of it.

Metroid 2: a retrospective

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How long has it been?  Sorry for my absence, I've been flexing my writing energy on Monday Night Combat stuff.  On the side though, I've been taking another crack at Metroid 2.  I tried it once before and got stuck from my inability to find the next step.  Now that I actually did some wall-hugging, I managed to work through the game at last and my experience is untainted by nostalgia.  This should be a good read for Metroid fans.

Finally settled

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I'm in the higher 90's for my level in MNC. I don't think I can get much more intimate on how the game works. I've managed to find a group of really good players so that I can have fairly consistent teams when I play. This will be another "collection" post without any real theme.

Time is Money

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I've always said a console is only worth it if you have a game or two that you intend on playing for a very extended period of time. Have you ever really given consideration to how much entertainment you're getting from your games? A common complaint is that games are too short, with a typical action/adventure game taking about 8 hours. Given that such games will cost $50-60 new, you're paying about $7/hour to play that thing! It's almost literally like you've employed it. That's not even taking into account the money you spent on the system and all its accessories. If you just bought a basic, refurbished console for that one game, the cost goes to about $150, making $18.75/hour. Fortunately, game consoles now can do much more that's not even related to gaming, but unless you bought that PS3 so you could have a blu-ray player, I think you're going to be using the game part more. Past the break, I record my money : time ratio for cer…

Guessing right: why you need to

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I recently made a post on a message board about the importance of guessing games in strategic gaming, and thought it'd be nice to elaborate on such a point here.  In context, someone stated that he'd rather win in a fighter game (Street Fighter 4) by good fundamental play (referring to spacing, reaction, and combo skill) than win by what he perceived as random guesses.  My response: there are always guesses to be made.  Reaction is absolutely more valuable than prediction, but the ability to predict your opponent is vital.  It will be necessary at certain points, and I argue that it is necessary for any strategic game to be good.

Monday Night Combat patch commentary

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I've finally decided to read up on the Monday Night Combat patch effects that have been promised.  The best coverage I could find is from an article on Joystiq.com, since I couldn't find it on Uber Entertainment's site.  Below is a copy/paste of the list from that article, as well as how I feel about each of them.

Just a random status update

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Yeah, it's been a while.  I've been doing more classic TV watching on YouTube than gaming, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Lucky Star.  This entry will just be some snippets of what gaming I have been doing.  See the tags for what it involves.

When these fists talk, no-one's deaf!

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I've finally started working with the Tank, and I think it's now a solid class for me.  He can often get the kill when others try to approach him, so a Tank can pretty much go where he wants without interference.  This is further complemented in closed spaces, such as the lower half of LazeRazor and the sides of Steel Peel.  The only thing is that I really feel I have to customize him to use him properly.

MNC followup

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I've purchased the game and spent the remainder of the day playing it.  My level is around the 30s, so I think I've acquired enough experience to make a solid opinion on most of this stuff.

Review: Monday Night Combat

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What do you know?  I think this is the first time I've given a review of a new game that's not simply a better version of an older game (see Super Street Fighter 4).  Monday Night Combat's been out for a little over a month, but I was rather hesitant to pick it up.  First, it's a third-person shooter.  I'm really turned off by shooters at all, and more so if I can't look directly where I'm aiming.  (I'm a bit of a sniper, personally.)  It's also a "tower defense" style of game, a genre which I've really misunderstood from mixing it up with a totally unrelated game.  I decided to check the mock "commercial" of Ammo Mule they had, since I figured it'd be some nice entertainment, and things just rolled on from there.  I got to play some real games with a friend that did buy it and the trial allowed me a couple legitimately online games.  This has got me hooked, but I'm a little reserved as to how popular it really can be…

Learn from your loss, but also your VICTORY!

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Well, good news for the Org, victory was accomplished in a recent Super Street Fighter 4 tournament.  Unfortunately, the attendance was half of the previous one, but hey, money in my pocket and experience earned.  Level up!  I do not wish to be unsportsmanlike, but to be perfectly honest, most of this tournament was easier than I thought it would be (I stress the "most," some of it was downright terrifying).  Therefore, rather than comment on each of my matches like I did last time, I'm gonna talk about what I learned overall from the experience.

Sometimes, you just gotta shoot Bambi

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This is essentially an apology post.  By that, I mean I'm explaining my thinking on something that gets me hatred, not any regrets for it.  This primarily comes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, although I haven't actually played that in a long time.  Why do I sometimes go for the weaker player with nothing going for him rather than the best opponent who's on a roll?  It's nothing personal, even if it can easily feel like it.

Put Pandemic on Xbox!

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Seriously, this game would work perfectly as a video game. For one-player, it's like a tactics game. You literally are playing against the board game, and it's got a ton of ways to kill you. For multiplayer, each player simply does their own roles. It could just as well be playable locally, since if you can discuss what cards are in your hand without showing them, it's really not different from keeping them revealed.

For Mother Russia's Skies!

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I basically was bored today, so I wrote a summary of who dictates what ultra I use for Zangief. When figuring out which was more useful, I had to ask myself several questions.
1) Which is more useful for okizeme (anti-wakeup game)? Keep in mind that I primarily will use body splash crossup tricks by default, and then once in a while throw in Atomic Suplex/Spinning Piledriver.
2) How useful is Siberian Blizzard when I'm down? This is the best time for me to throw it out consistently.
3) How useful is either one in the middle of the overall fight?
As you'll see, I often tended toward Siberian Blizzard in my answers, largely because Ultimate Atomic Buster is just a more powerful version of Spinning Piledriver. It's usually better to have a different threat/answer than it is to have a more powerful version of something you already have.
*: Characters with a * by their names can be hit by Siberian Blizzard while crumpling. It requires precise timing. After hitting with a …

Play to draw?

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As I was watching Star Trek: the Next Generation today, an interesting point came up. How do you win against something better than you? How do you turn the "playing to win" attitude against its user? The answer may surprise you, unless of course you actually read the title.

Thank you?

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Way to show us how much time we've wasted, Microsoft. Even better, way to put it in terms of other massive wastes of time.

Glass Ceilings Hurt

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My ego has finally healed up enough that I can talk about what happened Saturday. I attended a Super Street Fighter 4 tournament that day, hoping to use it as a first step into professional play. Now that I don't have a job, I need to find some way of making income, and I've improved tremendously in my gameplay since the last tournament. If I could win this thing, I would take that as a sign that I absolutely should pursue it seriously. Obviously, that didn't happen. I still can't completely discount it, but something happened to me that hit so hard it'll be a while before I even feel like I can pick up that controller again. I've been avoiding my Xbox for everything but DVDs since.

Politics and Playing to Win

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I am thoroughly bad at playing politics. I am too honest of a person to do that and people see right through me. Unfortunately, I am not playing with people who have an identical mindset to my own, and people will take dick moves personally. I have finally settled on that reality and have started to see how political maneuvering can work for me. Some games seem to rely on it, so despite how unreliable it is, it's still a tool to be used under the Playing to Win philosophy.

Capcom & Namco: All you need to know

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Apparently, there's an article in Game Informer talking about not only Capcom Vs. Namco, but also a separate title of Namco Vs. Capcom. One would use the SF4 engine, the other would use the Tekken 6 engine. I already made a comment earlier about how I generally hate the Vs. series, but I want to be more unbiased on this specific issue. Fortunately, anything I'm saying here is purely speculation, because this hasn't even been officially announced yet, let alone any real gameplay aspects.

Too Much Customization

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Many people who know me already know that I have a thing against Capcom's Vs. series. Personally, the reason I see for them selling well is simply that people love crossovers, then the high-execution pros love the skill it takes to get the best combos involved. This is actually a good strategy in terms of sales, satisfying the core and the casual audience simultaneously. However, these games universally go too far and thus make what I consider to be flaws in their game design. Although my primary issue is the infinite combos they all have, my issue today has more to do with the level of customization they all have.

Whatever it takes to win

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One of the tenets of Playing to Win is that not only do you do whatever is necessary to win, it can actually be advantageous to sometimes take bad strategies because your enemies won't see them coming. I had an opportunity to exercise this yesterday in Chaos in the Old World. Khorne generally wins by letting his advancement dial get run up, killing anything standing near him. He doesn't usually care about the score track except to consider who's ready to explode there. Well, I had that ridiculous opportunity to actually win by points, and I did so in a rather awesome way.

It finally hits me

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!

Dominion review, for real this time!

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As promised, I have a review for this Dominion game written for those who are not already familiar with the game. The popular opinion here is that this game is ideally played with 3 or 4 players, but I've only ever had a chance for a 2-player game once. I cannot honestly say it's bad to go 2-players with this level of experience, particularly because I do enjoy personal games. The essential idea is that you have a deck of cards that is set a certain way, and you have to purchase more cards for the deck (game money, not real money) using the coins in your existing deck to improve it. More powerful cards are worth more money. The end goal is to purchase victory point cards which, for the most part, offer little to no value in assisting your gameplay.

Dominion strategies

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I'll get to reviewing this game in a later post. For right now, I think I've played enough Dominion games to understand a few principles. I've mostly figured things out as I was writing them, but I've stumbled upon 3 primary deck focuses: money, actions (draw), and production (actions generating things for you).

If not now, when?

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I'm in need of income. I have some money after selling some Magic cards, and I've decided that I'm gonna use it to invest in something I know I can do well: my gaming. I heard of Virgin Games through HLN's Clark Howard, and it's essentially where people can bet on games they play. Currently, it's all sports games + Halo and ModNation. In their list of games, they show a silhouette of Ryu in place of where Super Street Fighter 4 obviously will be. Once that takes place, I will sign up and see if I can make some money. I need to put my skills to use. There's certainly no guarantee of anything, but it's about time I took a risk like this with something to back it up.

Back in action

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With the loss of my job, I have significantly more free time, even after going out looking for other jobs.  I can now practice Street Fighter, Doom, Halo, Catan, whatever!  I got to playing some SSF4 last night, and clearly the people there got better while I was grinding my teeth at work.  I haven't worked so hard to win my matches in a long time, even though I was consistently winning.  I also got worse in some aspects, because even though some people were playing really stupidly, they still managed to beat me.  The one thing in which I can now pride myself though, is that I can almost reliably get Ultra 2 out when I want it, and it feels really good.  I can bait out Shoryukens, answer crossups, even finally hit the Reversal EX Spinning Bird Kick.  I can't use it carelessly, but it's still a powerful tool (especially when I can manage to get it twice in a round).

It's finally happened

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I can't believe this is happening, but I'm actually going to try practicing Halo now.  I have the same opinion as I always have: I don't like console shooters.  However, I am open to playing it if I nobody else is willing to play my games, which is just about all the time.  Therefore, if I am going to play the game, I may as well devote some effort to playing it well so that I'm not completely useless at it.

Social Gaming: Doom 2

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Normally, I use my Social Gaming section to show games I think are best played in groups.  Well, this time I want to talk about something that's better left to single-player campaigns.  In all fairness, it's probably a fine game in Deathmatch when done appropriately (some maps absolutely are not meant to be for multi), but since I give off a kind of fear aura with the people around me, we all went co-op.  What followed was a mashup of stupidity, and not in a good way.

Unmasking

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Well, I've officially turned in my two weeks notice to my job at the arcade.  This isn't really any particular news, but it does mean I won't be so anonymous with this after that point.  Most of you who read this (if not all) know who I am already, but I've always kept this as something private to be spread only by word of mouth.  Any public advertisement of my blog would quickly expose it to my bosses who would definitely not approve of some things I've stated, especially since they've already said we can't talk about work in public.  Well, once I'm officially gone, I have no reason to keep this private and maybe I'll get some readers who'll actually comment once in a while.
(In other words, not meaning to sound rude, but I like it when people respond to what I have to say.  If you like what I have to say or just have something relevant, please post even if you know me personally.)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney unanswered questions

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This entry will kinda contain spoilers for those who have not played the game.  If you don't wanna see them, play the game and come back.  I'll wait.

Late to the Party: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

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Wow, I am really late to this party.  I had considered getting Phoenix Wright for a long time, but I have a little thing about doing games in order.  I could never find the first game for Phoenix Wright, so I never started it.  Well, this was made available on the Nintendo Wii, I had some points given to me free, so I finally got myself started.  Not surprisingly, I'm very glad I did this.  This game has sparked my interest in law again through the philosophies it expresses, even though the judicial system of Japan in 2016 is far from the American judicial system of 2010.  Of course, Capcom really brings it up with its music, as it always does.  If you have not started Phoenix Wright but have an interest in puzzle/mystery games, I strongly suggest picking this up (or at least start with Harvey Birdman's game).

A defense of ring-outs

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I was going to talk with someone regarding Ring-Outs in the Soul Calibur series when I realized, hey this is a great topic for that blog I don't write!  :p  Soul Calibur has a lot of unique things going for it, and the unique thing about ring-outs in particular is that if you push the opponent outside of the stage's boundaries, it kills them instantly regardless of health.  A lot of people hate losing in such a way, so most of the matches you'll play online will end up with people choosing 1 of the 2 stages that is completely walled off.  However, when you go to compete in tournaments, you'll find that they consistently force random stage picks, where there are far more stages with edges than without (varying sizes and shapes, too).  This article is not going to be an analysis, but simply a full defense of the existence of ring-outs.

Social Gaming: Settlers of Catan

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Ok, so I've officially been sucked into Settlers of Catan.  It's definitely an interesting game, and personally, I feel it's a better alternative for those who might otherwise be inclined to play Monopoly.  The basic principles are mostly all there, but the game's maximum time more closely resembles Monopoly's minimum time.  It's still not a quick game, but its progress is pretty automatic.  The theme basically has the players colonizing a new island, using their settlements to generate resources so they can develop further.  There's some stuff to diminish your opponents' capabilities, but it's not really the dominant thing of the game as in Monopoly.  Dice are rolled each turn, whoever has settlements next to tiles with that number will get that particular resource.  If you care to read more, I'll go over the strategies I've noticed for the game.

Who are you people and what am I doing here?

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(The following is mostly a cut & paste of a post I made on a message board.  I felt it was a significant enough observation that I should share it here.)

It seems to me that every game has roles to a certain extent, although I'm not so sure I can really count the first one as a "role."  There's a strange entanglement too within theory & practice.  Equal games with equal starting roles will usually end up with players adopting certain play styles based on the natural circumstances, so they are no longer equal.  Set role games have the possibility of mirror matches, at which point there's no difference in capabilities.  Set games will often also have a very blurry line with customizable games as slight customization options are available (choosing an Ultra in Super Street Fighter 4).  Customizable games, in practice, often end up with very few viable options and therefore will have even less options possible than many set role games.  Read past the break …

Social Gaming: Chaos in the Old World

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This one really took me by surprise and is now quickly becoming a regular game with us.  It really took some convincing to get me into this game (sounds familiar to my own struggles getting others into my games), but I'm glad I did.  In this game, heroes are more of an inconvenience than anything else.  Instead, you all are playing 4 dark gods all trying to corrupt the world in your own ways.  Each god tries to win by different means, so players can really get into character here.  Although the game takes up very few turns, those turns can take a very long time to set up (especially when I'm over-analyzing everything).  Players can win either by amassing lots of points from domination & corruption or just improving themselves to perfection.  It's rather pricey at $60, but considering I paid about that much for Pandemic with On the Brink, I don't feel so bad about it.

Weird things with SSF4

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As you can see, a lot of my time is being taken up with Super Street Fighter 4, partly because I've got a game show appearance for it coming up tomorrow.  To at least make that productive with this blog, I've jotted down some interesting things I've noticed with the game.

I am absolutely crazy

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I just spent $300 today... for two fight sticks... that I will never use.  I decided to be somewhat charitable to my friends who have trouble using the Xbox 360 controller and just get these fight sticks for them.  I hope you guys appreciate what I've done here.  I really go all-out in providing the best possible gaming experience for my friends.  All I can think of now that I own them: damn that Mega Man is sexy!  I am all kinds of crazy.
Note: The above images were taken from the internet, not my personal pictures.  They are the correct product designs, however.

Review: Super Street Fighter 4

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Well lucky me, Capcom splurged on quick shipping and it was actually overnight!  I received my package on Friday and proceeded right away to my game store to try it with my friends.  Of course someone wanted to play me purely because I didn't know any more about the moves than he did... but he didn't know I was already familiar with T. Hawk from Super Turbo.  We played it throughout the store's weekend (they close Sunday), and I'm happy to report that everybody found something else they're proud to work with.  I'm pleasantly amazed someone could put up a good fight against my Zangief with Adon.  Read past the break for details.

One very interesting day

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Today, two very interesting things happened.  1) Possibly due to pirate distribution, Super Street Fighter 4 was officially released, although not every place was complying with that.  2) I got an invitation to be a "pro gamer" from a good friend, and possibly get some Youtube fame/infamy as a result.  What's amazing is that none of this was really motivating.  Check it out.

A little more on Mega Man 10

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Well, I beat the game in all its modes now and have played as all 3 characters.  For me personally, this is probably going to be the Mega Man game I turn to for any quick fix I need, at least for a while.  I suppose 9 would offer just about the same thing that 10 does, but 10's just got more for me.  Mostly, it's the challenges that will bring me back.  9's challenges were essentially pseudo-achievements you did through regular gameplay.  For 10, it actually has custom-designed levels to play through.  You can beat them normally, but you only get full completion when you do so without taking damage.  For Hard Mode challenges, you even have to use just the Mega Buster.  Getting the full completion is what's going to make this intriguing for me, and I don't anticipate myself getting all of them.  I'll be proud if I can just get in 90%.
Read more past the break to get a summary of the alternate characters available for the game.

Diggers dig up something extra

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This article is about a random discovery I made and some commentary about the game Mega Man Legends.  I wanted to save my discovery for after some buildup, so to preserve space, I've put it all past the break.  I doubt you'll be as surprised as I was, but this was still a cool find.

Late to the Party: Mega Man 10

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So, I got Mega Man 10 on Friday.  I had a little issue with getting points registered, so I had to go out and buy points from Target.  Small hassle, unrelated, but at least it made me feel like I was going out to physically pick up a game.  When I started playing it, I must say I didn't feel the same kind of rush I felt when I played 9, but that's honestly to be expected.  Nobody expected Capcom to ever go into the NES theme again, so when 9 hit, it hit HARD!  It was new and bold.  It was a fresh infusion of the new retro that got everybody excited.  Now with 10, it was recently done so it doesn't have that same fresh feel.  This means it cannot possibly give the same feeling that 9 had and it has to work harder to be good.  Looking objectively, it seems this game has the same kind of replayability that 9 had, if not moreso.  However much you would have liked 9 as a game, you'd like 10 just as much if it had come first.  It's got all the same type of stuff and defi…

Busy Busy week

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When searching for an image to use at the head, I was looking for a clock my local store has themed on Magic's "Time Spiral" set.  I had no idea I'd find a literal "time spiral clock."  Awesome!
Ok, so I haven't really done anything with this blog lately.  I want anyone reading this to keep reading, so here's a little summary of what's been going on with my week in gaming.

My take on Smash Bros. Brawl items

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I'm bored, so you're getting a triple dose of posts today.  This time, I'm tackling how I handle each of the items in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  You can see the full review of items after the break.  For an overall statement, I read something from David Sirlin's commentary on the last Game Developer's Conference that really resonates with me.  Bad players are going to want more luck because it gives them a higher chance of winning.  Skilled players will want less chance because they want a 100% chance of winning.  A good game designer has to find the middle ground that keeps both sides entertained and balanced, a difficult feat to achieve.  My primary philosophy was to be very liberal on items, because the more items exist, the less chance any particular one is going to come up at any given time.

The importance of failure

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Well, sad news today.  I lost terribly at my Street Fighter 4 tournament yesterday.  I didn't get one win during that.  In casuals though, I cleaned up, so I feel I learned some things from it.  This video released just days before our tournament, so it should be no surprise that Zangief was the favorite character to use.  It gave me a lot of insight on the mirror match I definitely had to endure.  Read more to find out what lessons were learned from this.

A new way to play Chess

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I made a very surprising discovery yesterday.  After some guys in my game group would not let us use their Chess board, I went ahead and bought the only Chess set the store had.  When I first saw it, I thought it would just be a Chess board with some cards you keep by your side to illustrate how it plays.  While you could use it that way, it goes far out of its way to ease people into Chess in a way I would never have conceived.  I played it with someone close to my skill level (I'd say I'm a good casual player), and while we were skeptical about it, it turned out to be very interesting and fed into a different kind of mind-reading that we're actually used to.  I definitely recommend picking it up regardless of your skill level.  Read more to find out what makes this so special.

I do fly solo

Sometimes, anyway.  I have a tendency to stay away from single-player adventure games because I like things that I can play with other people.  That said though, I still am a fan of plenty single-player games.  Here's some off the top of my head that I not only enjoy, but find myself coming back to them repeatedly.


How games teach you the rules

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Whether you know it or not, most games go out of their way to teach you how they are played.  It is in their best interest to do so to guarantee the best possible experience.  For non-electronic games, it's rather necessary, because everything is merely symbolic.  Video games will actually teach you because they want to, and they'll usually do a good job of doing so.