Last year when we posted our Dorflike Round-up, Spacebase DF-9 was still in its infancy, but the game was promising. Fast forward less than a year, and Double Fine is announcing that they’re going to release version 1.0 next month and then abandon ship. Fortunately, they’re planning to release enough source for the modding community to take over from here. Then again, the game seems light years from completion.
I’ve been playing Minecraft since before multi-player existed. I’ve spent thousands of hours hunting for diamonds, building make-shift dirt huts, and shouting expletives at creepers. Some of my best gaming memories happened in Minecraft’s voxelated environments. I appreciate the vital role Notch played in all of that.
That’s why I couldn’t be happier to hear that Notch has sold Mojang.
Minecraft’s success has come (and stayed) in spite of the work Notch and Mojang have done recently, not because of it. Minecraft and its community have been badly mismanaged for years; the sale to Microsoft is an opportunity to change directions and make things better.
Last week, Marc Watson, Mojang’s Customer Support Manager, dropped a bit of a bomb on Twitter:
@CollinPotato I can safely say things like “Selling a diamond sword on a server IS selling part of the game and has always violated the TOS”
— Marc Watson (@Marc_IRL) May 28, 2014
Mojang seems to think that their EULA gives them the authority to regulate anything related to Minecraft. It’s true that a well-worded EULA can confer tremendous power (in the U.S., at least), but that power is not unlimited.
Regardless of the legality of it, Watson’s interpretation is hostile to Mojang’s customers. It’s time for Mojang to do some soul-searching. What kind of company do they want to be?
Playing Dwarf Fortress is an amazingly deep and interesting experience, but it is not without a learning curve. The pairing of the enchanting, emergent stories the game produces with a nearly impenetrable interface has created a market for games that provide a similar experience with a prettier and more approachable interface.
This is no easy task. Gaming history is littered with barely-started projects that have been abandoned by their creators. Lately, however, it seems that an increasing number of these games are getting to playable states and showing varying degrees of progress and promise. Many of them have playable releases and I’ve tried as many of them that I can get my hands on; this is a report of my findings.
Torchlight is the perfect game for those times when you want some mindless fun or you have a mouse on its last legs and you want to try and kill it once and for all. I’ve started several different Torchlight characters and had abandoned each of them fairly early into the game’s proceedings. There just comes a point where it’s more and more of the same: run through a pretty, atmospheric dungeon, bash the skulls of some monsters in, and then return to town to sell the “goodies” (99% of which are utterly useless, short of their resale value) before repeating that cycle.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, mindless fun. It is. It’s definitely worth the price you can get it for now. But I can’t seem to escape the fact that there is a LOT of filler in the game. From items, to monsters, to skill trees — it seems like all of the creative energy for the game went into the art assets.
Maybe I was doing it wrong.
We’re deep in the midst of yet another Steam sale. This time, I thought it a near certainty that Valve would have nothing to offer that I don’t already have. For what must make for a dozen-sale-long streak, I was wrong — so very, very wrong.
During the routine task of checking my email on my phone, I got an email letting me know that a game on my Steam wishlist was on sale. Given the sheer number of games in my Steam library that I’ve never so much as installed, I have no idea why I have a wishlist. Nevertheless, the deal — 75% off of Orcs Must Die 2 — was almost too much to resist.