Archive Page 2

19
Oct
10

A Halo: Reach Mind-dump: It’s All I’ve Played For A Month

Halo: Reach

Turns out that if you work full time and go to school full time at the same time you get less time to type stuff.  Well, here’s to another effort of that not happening again!

Let’s kick this revival out in style with yet another post about Halo: Reach because this blog doesn’t have enough posts about it.  It’s been out for about a little over a month, now, so it seems like a good time to dump some words on the screen about what I think about this most Halo-ist of Halos.  Excuse the writing quality; this is literally a dump of words without much review, and my brain’s been melting from too much work in yacc.

Continue reading ‘A Halo: Reach Mind-dump: It’s All I’ve Played For A Month’

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03
Jun
10

Deadly Premonition: Ignoring the Standards

Deadly Premonition

In Deadly Premonition, an open-world survival horror game for the 360 released a few months ago at the budget tier of $19.99 MSRP, players take the role of FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan, or York, an expert criminal profiler who visits a small western seaboard-inspired town to investigate a young woman’s odd murder.  He is supported by an alternate psyche in his mind named Zach that he is willing to talk to in front of anybody.  He collects important leads from visions in his coffee.  He seems to pull out a new cigarette once every 15 minutes.  There is a name for each main character for every letter of the alphabet.  Oh, and he also fights backwards walking black and white zombies that stick their hands down his throat.

If that’s all developers can come up with these days, they need to try harder.

Continue reading ‘Deadly Premonition: Ignoring the Standards’

20
May
10

Stress Free for You and Me

Halo: Reach

If you know me at all, you know I can be a pretty busy guy, even to the point where I seem to “fall off the grid” here and there.  I juggle a full time job, full time loads of upper-tier classes (even summer semester this year!), and a whole awesome menagerie of friends.  I also pass out a lot!  The number of hours I get to put into video games is reduced compared what I used to be able to pull off maybe a year or two ago, but even then, I think I might still play too much.

At any rate, here’s the story: it’s Wednesday, May 19th, 2010.  I worked a hard 9 hour shift that morning, and after a short nap I’ve batted down the hatches for several hours straight on homework and studying for upcoming exams in multiple courses.  On a whim, I decide to shut it all down and end the night with a few hours of games.  I turn on the TV and my 360 and I sit down, ready to roll.  I’ve been juggling several games at once lately, so I have a good selection to choose from for the night.  The top three: own the countryside in Red Dead Redemption, find some more clues for the case in Deadly Premonition, or jump into the very last opportunity to take up arms in the Halo: Reach beta, as the 19th would be the last day the beta would be active.  The deciding factors I use to choose what game I want to play vary here and there, but there’s an overriding, persistent factor that seems to take over lately: stress relief.

Continue reading ‘Stress Free for You and Me’

03
May
10

Halo: Reach Beta: Shot Through The Face, And I’m To Blame

Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta

Thanks to my ongoing status as an illegitimate expert (ahem), I’ve already been playing the Halo: Reach mulitplayer beta without having to wait for pesky Mondays (and the summer semester at Weber) to roll around.  So far, there’s only been play on two maps and the Arena didn’t seem to be available until today, so no words about things I haven’t tried yet.  There’s plenty of other new stuff I’ve rolled around in, however, so I’d like to let you know of a few of my thoughts on this new hot Spartan-on-Spartan experience, if you would be so kind as to entertain them!

Continue reading ‘Halo: Reach Beta: Shot Through The Face, And I’m To Blame’

02
May
10

Grand Theft Auto 4 PC: Reliving The American Dream

Grand Theft Auto 4 PC

Steam sales did it again!

There was a “Rockstar week” of sales running all last week on Steam, and Grand Theft Auto 4 came on twice for $7.50.  The first time didn’t catch me, but after I read stories of the Friday night multiplayer battles still raging on Shacknews and watching a good number of hilarious videos care of the PC-exclusive video editor feature on the game, the second time roped my wallet in.  The big download finished when I came home late last night so I did what any guy who had his first Sunday off in around a year would do: play a video game until around 4 AM.  Now, I’ve played GTA4 to a good percent of completion on 360 already, including both of its amazing expansions (Gamerscore: 955/1500 ranging from 4/29/2008 [Release Night] to 11/10/2009 [completed story on Ballad of Gay Tony]).  Playing it again on PC seems to be scratching the same itch again and is somehow pretty satisfying again.  This isn’t a complete dressdown of GTA4 as a game, but I just want to hit on a few points about the PC version that is doing it for me.

Continue reading ‘Grand Theft Auto 4 PC: Reliving The American Dream’

31
Mar
10

Osmos Review: Mo’ Money, Mote Problems

Osmos

I wrote this pansy review for Osmos a few months back for a class and I thought I’d just share it here.  Osmos is a good, relaxing time (most of the time) and people should jump on Steam or Direct2Drive or whatever and give it a shot.  Please ignore the sloppy generic intro paragraph!  Enjoy:

Continue reading ‘Osmos Review: Mo’ Money, Mote Problems’

30
Mar
10

Probably a brief thought on probability

Civilization: Revolution

Sid Meier and Rob Pardo of Blizzard gave a couple of talks recently at GDC 2010,  and they inadvertently talked about similar things; fudging the math away from “truthful” math under the nose of the player, usually to the player’s advantage.  Meier, for example, reported frustrations in playtests when players lost fights where the game had given them a 50:50 chance to succeed, and even more so when they lost consecutively.  Mathematically, it’s a completely reasonable scenario but that didn’t matter to the beaten and battered player.  They decided to fudge the math that actually increased chances of success after failures above and beyond what the statistics would report (the player’s unit strength vs. their opponent’s).  Players responded well, and now the game launched with that system in place.

The debate here is that fudging the math like that seems to be undercutting the strengths of gaming to pushing players’ abilities and thought process to higher levels than before the challenge is presented and their experience has stagnated for it.  Jaron linked a good overview of that argument on the Game Design Advance blog here.  The points being made there are valid and I don’t disagree with them at all.  A good game, like a good book or a good movie, isn’t afraid to keep shoving you towards its own intentions, no matter how uncomfortable you might get, until you start to learn, grow, and better yourself through its obstacles (or stories or messages or whatever).

Continue reading ‘Probably a brief thought on probability’




intro

My name is Anthony Munar, a computer programmer in Utah. I also play a bunch of video games every now and then. I talk and think a lot about them, but I never really solidify those thoughts anywhere, and writing is something I like doing, so I thought I'd do it right here. I don't intend to be high-and-mighty authoritative about what I say and I don't really have any sort of standing in the games industry. This is just for me to muse about games when I want to.

Naming a blog these days was harder than I thought. In calculus, the inflection point on a curve is where its concavity changes between upwards and down. So, maybe, the inflection pixel is the pixel which represents something that turns my opinion around on a game, like the pixels representing a beam cannon firing in FreeSpace 2, the pixels representing a flying car wreck in Burnout, or the pixels representing my own sentry gun holding off an army in Team Fortress 2.

Using the word 'pixel' in naming something game-related seems clichéd, so sorry about that.

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