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  1. #1
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    Games you're currently loving the heck out of that aren't insanely hyped.

    I feel I don't praise games enough. I mean, I talked about To the Moon, but in general I just don't. I'm not really sure if it's something that anyone would want to hear. But some games I just don't think are yapped about enough, they just sit there being rather magnificent and glorious in their own special little ways, the brilliant, shining stars in a sky that's often too big for us to notice. And that's a big sky out there, big sky, and it's easy to miss some of them.

    So let's talk about some of those games. Those games that could easily be overlooked.

    Shadow Era

    That'll be the first. I always liked the concept of card games but I could never really get into them because there wasn't enough of a hook, there. And frankly, they were a bit too nerdy for me. As I'd said elsewhere, the hero cards all looked the same to me. When you have a typical fantasy setting, often the human heroes will look so much alike that you can barely tell them apart. Like rocks in a quarry, there might be minor variations but ultimately they're just going to be much the same. The monen will be scantily clad, and the men will either be wearing robes or ridiculous armour.

    Well, I have to admit that one of the factions of Shadow Era is a bit like that, but thankfully, Shadow Era has others, and this is how it came to my attention. You can play the other faction available, and this faction is constructed of all sorts of crazy looking critters - including werewolves. That was enough of a hook for me. Now, I've never really sat down with a game like this before, I'd tampered, but it never really 'got' me. I was determined to give this one a look though because I liked the art on the shadow faction cards, I'm as simple as that, sometimes. I like art.

    I don't know whether this is a testament to their development or whether it's always this easy, but within five minutes of sitting down with it, I felt like I was quickly getting the hang of things. Within an hour? I felt like I was playing like a pro. And here's the thing: There are cards with text on them, but they display the cards in an easy to read fashion, whenever a new card is laid down by your opponent, it pops up on the screen so you can read and understand all that it does before you dismiss it, then you can fully understand its effects on the rectangular card-laden 'battlefield.'

    Choosing cards also results in magnification. It pops up a full view of the card, allowing you to admire its art and read what it does, and you can examine each card closely before either playing it, putting it back, or sacrificing it at the start of each round. Sacrificing is an interesting mechanic - sacrificing a card gives you resources, the more resources you have, the more you can do at the beginning of each round. Some people like to play fast and loose by building resources as they go, some like setting up defences and slowly building resources at the start of the round.

    The game is essentially played with allies and items, items can buff you or your allies, you can also have weapons and armour - weapons allow your hero to attack. Now here's a fun thing: Many cards have abilities, including ally and hero cards. So that beam behemoth you just put down? It has a plasma burst that does four damage, you can use that and attack. Often, when I get three beam behemoths in a hand you'll hear me cackling like a madman. If you can manage to get a damage buff card in with them, then you can absolutely decimate with a group of them.

    And yes. I have a group of beam behemoths that turn up frequently, along with those nasty werewolf buffs that turn them into machines of doom. I'm one of those players. Shadow Era players who've come up against one of those werewolf players who've ridiculously powerful allies, and even more powerful buffs, will probably be thinking how much they hate that sort of play. Yeah, I can imagine. I haven't played against too many actual people yet though as I don't have the confidence for it, I mostly stick to the AI opponents, so you won't be seeing my beam behemoths out there often.

    There are a few special effects going on on the field and they're neat. Fireballs and arcane blasts will trigger, but largely it's abstracted, the card is the star and mostly it features around damned good looking cards. If this were a game where the cards were actual creatures and they were running around beheading each other, I may be put off by it a bit, but because it's an actual card game, I'm not bothered. It's a nice abstraction layer.

    I wish I could sit down and play cards with people in games rather than having to chop their heads off. ...and now I'm reminded of how much I loved Diplomacy in Vanguard. I'd actually play a game based around that idea, I really would. So I have had some experience with this sort of thing before, now that I come to think about it, but it hasn't been too much. Though Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was hilariously entertaining, having dignified discussions with via 'discussion cards' with buff wolven warriors. I appreciated that.

    ...can I have another game where I'm a card playing diplomat? Does anyone want to make that?

    Anyway, as it stands, Shadow Era has proved to be a lot of fun. It's easy to get into, and it's very accessible, they even have camera angles for the playing field and things like that, it's neat. I don't know if all card games are impenetrable or whether games like Shadow Era are more common. But if you find that most card games just blow your mind, and that you have no interest in them, then try Shadow Era. I think it'll just sit well with most people.

    The presentation is there, the art is there, the rock music playing in the background and the incredible level of presentation eschews any outright nerdiness, and the friendly tutorial at the start gets you playing pretty quickly. I think that this is probably going to be the entry level card game for most people.

    Explodemon!

    I like things like this, I really do. It's an action platform puzzler with lots of humour and loads of hidden collectibles. I admit, I've a huge weakness for collectibles, even if they become worthless. Blade Kitten? I don't think many people liked that one, but that's because they were just playing straight through, and it is a bit boring that way, the combat in Blade Kitten wasn't great. But exploring and looking for collectibles was.

    In a lot of ways, Explodemon! is just like that, and that's either going to annoy you or you're going to be pleased by the thought. The combat isn't that great, it's a bit silly and involves exploding at people, but exploring the levels and looking for secrets is great fun. And it has a truly wonderful sense of humour. It might not click with you if you didn't happen to have played any (any!) of the console games of the 8- and 16-bit generations, but if you did play some of those, then you'll likely understand what some of the humour is getting at.

    There's a bit of Knytt Stories to this, too. Not too much, but a bit. The way I'm double-jumping (sorry, explode-o-jumping) around the levels and seeing how high up I can get in various places, or what unexpected secrets I can find, reminds me a lot of Knytt. But Explodemon is a lot larger than Knytt, and the experience is a lot more action-oriented. Mostly though, it's about the collectibles. There will be shiny things which you can obviously get at, and there will be tantalising shiny things which you can't even begin to imagine how to get at. And there will be things where you have to use your explode powers to 'guide' objects through areas which you can't get into, since... uh, somehow you can explode through walls. Don't ask me to explain that, it just obeys the rule of fun.

    Outside of the combat, which I feel is a bit fiddly, the controls are really, really tight, and it's not hard at all to learn how to explode jump, the timing of it comes easily, and it just feels familiar to anyone who's ever played a platformer. It just feels right, and that they've put a lot of effort into getting the controls just right.

    And the humour holds up throughout. The NPCs are always great for a laugh, and ... Explodemon himself always talks like a badly translated 8-bit game. He is a living font for NES Metal Gear style dialogue.

    Oh, and it's also kind of pretty at times. Not Blade Kitten levels thereof, but it's fine!

    This, I feel, is the kind of game which you're either going to love or hate, and how much you do depends on how much you feel like hunting for shinies, all of the shinies, every shiny.

    Rochard

    This was another one I saw via TotalBiscuit and immediately there were a few things I loved about it:

    - It had enemies but at least you didn't have to handle them by being some gun-toting idiot.
    - The hero is an everyman, he's also overweight, and this fills me with joy. I can't remember the last time I played an overweight guy in something. I appreciate that.
    - The music... look, I can't convey this with words. Just click
    - The voice actor is Duke Nukem sounding nothing at all like Duke Nukem!
    - The art style is actually quite cartoony.

    I went into this one at first expecting not to like it too much. I was worried it would be a mainstream-esque man-with-gun affair. Oh was I wrong. It is a man with a gun, but there's nothing average about him or his gun. It's a gravity gun, essentially, from Half-Life. This is, as TB said, all the gravity bits form HL2. But it's those as a side-scrolling 2.5D platformer. Do you remember how the flash portal game was a bit good? This is sort of like that, but better, as it throws lots of its own ideas into the mix.

    And I find it impossible not to like the main character. I'm sorry, but he's eminently loveable, from his South-American drawl to his really, really corny puns, which he likes to make at every opportunity, despite them being puns you've heard a billion times before. He feels like a simple person, but one of those people whom we only tend to see in stories - simple, and with a good heart. And unless you play him that way, he's not a killer. Whether he kills or not is your choice, which immediately grants it acclaim in my book.

    And really, it's his character that pulls it together and makes it work, you know the puns he's going to make and he makes them away, you might sigh, or chuckle, or do one then the other, and then you move on. This is an everyman trying to look out for the people he's come to think of as family, and doing it in the only way he knows how. It's a tale of an average person becoming a superhero without needing the aid of a radioactive spider.

    And it appeals to me.

    Rochard steps into the fray with aplomb and nothing really seems to faze him - it's just his job, and he wants to do his job really well. He's been on a station where everything has been falling apart for a time now, he's gotten into countless life threatening situations and learned from them, so by the time he actually meets something that wants to take him out, rather than just it happening incidentally due to his workplace being so naturally dangerous, he's perfectly capable of handling himself.

    The puzzles often feel portal like in nature, too, which is also good. You have these light bridges and doors, some of which stop non-organic matter, some of which stop organic matter, so you can walk over some of these light bridges, and some you fall through, some you have to arrange blocks to pass as you may have seen in TB's video.

    But you can just go watch that to get the gist of it, really.

    I'm just saying that beyond that, I really like the feel of this game. It feels like although it's not really bringing anything mechanically unique to the table (although what it does have is polished), it's still doing something different. And I find it impossible to resist its charms.

    (Another reason I think I've taken to Rochard is that, aside from the music, it just feels in ways like something plucked out of the past. Something that shouldn't exist today. If you look at the art that accompanies the track I linked... that's something that might have been on a game cover decades ago, but today? It's supposed to be serious, and yet at the same time it's just so completely, intentionally silly. Thank goodness for indie developers.)

    So that's my post done, then. Take it away from there.
    Last edited by Wulf; 01-01-2012 at 01:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node agentorange's Avatar
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    I've spent about 22 hours in Avadon: The Black Fortress over a week. It feels good to finally be engrossed in an RPG after bouncing off of the handful of others I purchased (bought a bunch of stuff on the GOG sale). As is typical with Vogel RPGs, the game is mostly stripped of character generation, but I guess that's exactly what I needed after playing too many rogue-likes and D&D style games. I chose a Shadowwalker, the games only non-generic class, and was immediately hooked by the opening exposition where I learned I would be working for what is essentially a fantasy styled UNATCO. The game makes up for the lack of the aforementioned stat management with a shit-load of dialogue and atmosphere text, all of it competently written.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by agentorange View Post
    I've spent about 22 hours in Avadon: The Black Fortress over a week. It feels good to finally be engrossed in an RPG after bouncing off of the handful of others I purchased (bought a bunch of stuff on the GOG sale). As is typical with Vogel RPGs, the game is mostly stripped of character generation, but I guess that's exactly what I needed after playing too many rogue-likes and D&D style games. I chose a Shadowwalker, the games only non-generic class, and was immediately hooked by the opening exposition where I learned I would be working for what is essentially a fantasy styled UNATCO. The game makes up for the lack of the aforementioned stat management with a shit-load of dialogue and atmosphere text, all of it competently written.
    Been playing this on and off as well. Only about 5 hours in, but I like the fact that I'm always thinking, "I don't necessarily work for a nice group of people, do I?" while out and about. I've made a point of not mentioning I'm a Hand of Avadon when I introduce myself to people now. :p I'm also relearning the importance of remembering to save often, as I've been spoiled by current games where there are autosaves everywhere to save me from a lot of backtracking. Avadon is decidedly old-school in that it doesn't do this. Spent an hour the other day wandering around beating up wretches only to get in a fight with an orge and his pals, dying and losing a ton of progress. T_T

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    Lesser Hivemind Node DigitalSignalX's Avatar
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    I'm really loving Anno 2070, which may be too mainstream compared to the picks so far, but I consider it very under-hyped for the quality of game play so far. It's so easy to just blink and you've spent 4 hours juggling trades, building little hamlets and techno corridors to keep things moving, baiting enemy units into static defenses, and watching all the tiny people do their thing thanks to your benign (or malevolent) blessings. The one major thorn is the ark which loses all your upgrades the second your internet connection burps, so I just cracked it to be perm-offline and ignore it. Makes it even more challenging and rewarding then, frankly.

    Honorable past mention is the Drakensang series which doesn't get much press in the US at least, but are really amazingly high quality games.
    All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Wow, congratulations to anybody that read that whole first post.

    I think Serious Sam 3 is my sleeper hit of the year. Haven't really seen anyone talking about it much, and multiplayer is completely dead.

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    Lesser Hivemind Node DigitalSignalX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    Wow, congratulations to anybody that read that whole first post.
    We were all just being polite, waiting for our turn to talk.
    All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone.

  7. #7
    Been playing a lot of Revenge of the Titans. It's a straightforward enough tower defense game, but I like the charming, glossy, retro aesthetic, and the little, moustached general, and bald egghead scientist giving me tips and peptalks. The legions of enemies trying to make a dash for my base feel dangerous and menacing despite their cuteness. The tech tree is fun as well. The game has been gobbling up a surprising amount of my time.

    Snapped up Rochard today as well since it's on sale. Looking forward to dipping into that game when I have some time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalSignalX View Post
    We were all just being polite, waiting for our turn to talk.
    That's what this is about. Well, being polite is nice, but people talking about games that can fly under the radar. There are games even that RPS has never covered, games that rarely get talked about, and games which we've really enjoyed anyway regardless of that. It's just games that people can miss because they don't get the giant front page adverts across the Internet like others do, and that's a shame.

    I have to admit that I'm familiar with almost everything that's been mentioned thus far, but eventually something's going to pop up that's going to catch my attention - something that I'm unfamiliar with, and I'll probably end up playing that. And that's kind of what I want this thread to be about. Really, so many great games that don't get talked about just because they're not part of the hype machine. Well, let's talk about them! Everyone is welcome to do so.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
    I have to admit that I'm familiar with almost everything that's been mentioned thus far, but eventually something's going to pop up that's going to catch my attention - something that I'm unfamiliar with
    Fair enough, but how many of the mentioned have you actually delved into? Sometimes classics are hidden in plain sight.

    I have 1 addition Bluebery Garden is listed on steam as Genre: Indie, Adventure what is not mentioned is that it is a survival horror game. A tense and complicated truly open world survival horror game with an ecology which just happens to be cute and pocket sized.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Fair enough, but how many of the mentioned have you actually delved into? Sometimes classics are hidden in plain sight.
    Quite a few of them, even the mods! (I'll be predictable and say that I loved Natural Selection, and I've enjoyed many things in that vein. I still want in on the Primal Carnage beta.) I could go off on a philosophy spiel here, but I won't. I'm trying not to pollute this thread. Suffice it to say though, I'll try anything, even if I think I won't like it. I'm willing to give just about anything a try.

    And sometimes some of my favourite games are even the ones I fail horribly at.

    (I even tried ARMA! But it wasn't long before I realised that I was in completely over my head. I'm not at all ashamed to admit that games like that confuse me. Take on Helicopters got a try, too, but I had no idea at all what I was doing. Despite that sense of cluelessness I still had a degree of fun with it. I... just didn't know what I was doing. I'd love to see TotalBiscuit do a 'WTF is' of Take on Helicopters, frankly. Some games just aren't for me, doesn't mean I won't try though.)

    As for Blueberry Garden.... that was a delightful little thing, wasn't it? So odd. It was weird to play a game where everything was on a timer like that, and a game where it felt like you were supposed to complete it in a sitting. As bizarre as it is, there was something oddly... roguelike about it, and yet not. It was quite clever.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    Wow, congratulations to anybody that read that whole first post.
    Normally I can handle long posts, but Wulf's posts are just too long for me. I have to skim quickly through them. Sorry Wulf.

    As for games that aren't hyped... since joining RPS I've found a different kind of hype so I'm really hard-pressed to think of something that hasn't been hyped either by the mainstream gaming media or by RPS and its community. I guess I'd have to pick DCS: Black Shark 2, though I guess even it is hyped at least somewhat by people saying "It's soooo real!"

    I think this year I spent more time ditching games that were hyped too much (and not all of them are mainstream), or which people kept insisting I play despite me thinking they weren't particularly interesting for me. Also I gave up on some games which I'd tolerated for the sake of a few glorious seconds of decent gameplay mixed in with a lot of frustration (ARMA2, come on BIS your engine just keeps getting worse).

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Just played the Rochard demo and 'Portal if it was 2d, but not just a browser game" was what came to mind, its rather good but I'm not sure i want more of it

    I have a hard time calling "game that's not hyped" because half of my games I'd desperately wave in a friends face are 10 years old but they have never heard of it, my real flag waver games are not unknown though, they are simply games with massive barriers to entry that I feel are worth it. You've probably heard of all of these, maybe even launched them but never really broke the crust of inaccessibility to the tasty game underneath.

    I mean, even saying that I know many of my favourites are inaccessible or even downright menacing to try and play. Things like Splinter Cell Chaos Theroy - Versus

    I often joke its hide and seek with guns, but its actually far more than that, an objective driven stealth action game with teams of 2. You can win without being seen and without firing a shot, its one of the most intimidating games I can think of to get into.

    Project Reality is a Battlefield 2 mod, but it feels more like an action variant of ARMA, massive careful spun maps and due to the free-form nature of territory and the sparsity and brutality of engagements, patience and caution win out over reflexes.

    Assassins Creed Brotherhood might be a AA super accessible game in single player and a popular franchise, but the multiplayer can be brutal and harrowing and is nearly unknown even among owners of the game, a whole different flavour of paranoia, you will see your murder coming but you wont realise until its too late.

    Natural Selection is the reason I keep Half-Life 1 installed, it might be technically replaced by its retail sequel but the fact that its terrifyingly tense and nuanced FPS/RTS makes both versions of it a game 99% of even fps players will bounce off the first time a fade comes around the corner, eats every bullet in a clip and still kills you.

    Up until this point they are all Multiplayer action games, i choose these because they allow for freeform tactics that no turn based or single player game can keep up with but without them ever getting broken down into maths.

    But these same qualities can be found in slower single player games too. Settlers 2: 10th anniversary Is a real crush of mine, no buying buildings from your cash, they get build, no zerg rushes, you need infrastructure, a game where a fisherman can be more valuable than a knight? Sure settlers 7 exists to make this game seem undynamic, but this game is about the logistics and game logic being naked to understanding, nothing is hidden in the game, its a game about traffic and logistics, about need and supply, about farmers and cute donkeys.

    Sure these are the same games I shouted about last year, well I don't see that they have been toppled and 90% of you still haven't put any hours in on them because they are old and thus uninteresting, I'm not afraid of being the Wizardry of overly complicated shooters.
    Some of my other flag waving games are more loved like SWAT 4,Sword of the Stars or Company of Heroes Multiplayer but many people will never really break into them either. Others like the Simcity but sociopathic Tropico 3 (I dismiss 4 for various reasons) will suffer the extreme judegement of "not really my thing" because of other titles in the genre. Really, is a game where you have your political opponents imprisoned and supress riots with propoganda and dishonest political promises not your kind of game? Tropico 4 ruined the fornula for me by being too easy by default, Tropico is a game best served with failure. Spelunky is too hard, and its free meaning it gets ignored as a novelty by many, but its one of the sharpest pieces of the use of procedural generation I can think of.

    Hell, I think I think too many "difficult" games get ignored because of that feature, you really need to break through that skin, non of them that unknown but all worth in my mind.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Natural Selection is the reason I keep Half-Life 1 installed, it might be technically replaced by its retail sequel...
    Well, the sequel is definitely in the not finished category at the moment. I've not tried it in some time, but I can only recall having a single game that actually felt like everything was working correctly. The original still has its place for the time being (although, I must admit, I only played it a couple of times many years ago.)

    Brotherhood is also a lot of fun in multiplayer, although I understand the new AssCreed cocked up the multiplayer?

    As for slightly obscure games, InMomentum is a lot of fun to while away a bit of time. It is basically a first person racing game, in which you bounce of walls to build up speed. If you liked Mirror's Edge, then you are likely to enjoy this too, although it is quite a bit faster paced. .

    There is a multiplayer mode too, but it has been empty each time I've tried.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    Serious Sam games never had an insane amount of hype as it had an insane amount of enemies. I've only played little of Serious Sam 3 but I've played a lot of the older games to know how brilliant the gameplay was.

    I'm with Heliocentric on Tropico 3. Tropico 3 was one of the best city building games that ever came out since SimCity 4, with or without hype.

  15. #15
    Network Hub tomeoftom's Avatar
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    Helio: You have really, really good taste in games. I've always wanted to try Chaos Theory multiplayer - that video looked like amazing nailbiting fun. Natural Selection and Project Reality are both barred for me as a remote Australian, but I did manage to wrangle my friends into the imposing/daunting SWAT 4 for a four-player LAN and they loved it! Very happy about that. I've been playing through vanilla Freespace 2 and it is literally exactly the kind of space sim I always wanted as a boy. Why oh why did I never try it before? Stuff like disabling subsystems, ordering around wings of fighters, ridiculously advanced targeting, adjusting directional shields, diverting power to your various subsystems, chasing down individual bombs in an interceptor... it's delicious and surprisingly tight spaceporn - very glad I read that Starcraft 2 comparison article by Gillen. Speaking of which, Starcraft 2 has sucked me up completely in the, like, five days that I've owned it. It's brilliant, and it's taught me that polish can be extremely important when it comes to attracting and maintaining a good base of players - it has the straight-up best front end (menus, Battle.net, options, chat system with fucking inbuilt VOIP (BF3 - what the shit, where is the casual teamwork without in-game VOIP?), and that really, really helps the game as a competitive platform and environment of its own. I find myself wanting to practice, learn builds, and slowly get better more so than any RTS I've played before. Stealth Bastard - one of the very few games that truly works best in filling short interludes rather than extended play. It's quite good. Finally, Trine 2 is the most sumptuous games I've played in a while - it almost seems far overqualified for the kind of game it is. It deserves to be played by absolutely everyone. The tech running it is incredible, too. Some of the stuff with water physics and 2.5D animations is just so lovely to behold. It's cheerful and feels good in every way.

    EDIT: Oh whoops, Sc2 was insanely hyped.

  16. #16
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    I hate threads like this because almost all the games I enjoy playing fit into it, yet I can't be bothered to list them all. Even highly popular RPGs in their day such as the Gold Box games aren't mentioned on sites like this. I've never seen a single person on RPS that has played through any of them. And how about the obscure ones I play? I'm sure hardly anyone here has even heard of them.
    Last edited by Wizardry; 01-01-2012 at 06:00 AM.

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    @Wizardry

    So just pick one or two that you believe haven't been noticed that you think that others may want to at least look at. That's what everyone else is doing. Just pick a time period and pick a couple of games. It isn't that hard. If there are games you really care about and games that you want to see well, then mention them! Market the games that can't market themselves.

    I mean, look at instances like both Shadow Era and Rochard. I'm betting you that there are people who've read this thread that didn't know of at least one of those before I mentioned them. And because I have, a developer who's doing things that I like has now had a little more attention, and others may find that they like what that developer is doing, too. And they might watch that studio for other games in the future as well.

    Find a few games, games that deserve greater attention, and just... talk about them. Tell people why you're passionate about them. If you really play so many games which are obscure (and I do not doubt that you do), then you should have a developer in mind or two that's going criminally unnoticed. Well, this is your chance to fix that! Don't pass it by, because if you do, then all talk of loving these obscure games is worthless.

    @FriendlyFire

    Oh Freelancer was good, wasn't it? I could say that I'm not sure why I clicked with Freelancer like I did, but that's a lie. I know why - it was a space combat game that had both a linear story and a sandbox mode, it was accessible, not impenetrable, and it had a space whale ship. Oh I loved my spacewhale. When I got my British spacewhale ship I just didn't want to upgrade it. Whyyy did the British get the most unusual ship designs in that game? I don't know.

    The whole thing felt like some sort of 'fish & ships' pun though, which is certainly something to sigh at. But yes, the British ships went from spacefishes to spacewhales. If only more games of that type had such interesting ship designs. If more modern space combat games had the low barrier of entry that Freelancer did, and had those fascinating ship designs... then I could see myself playing a space game again.

    @Roufuss

    Fate of the World is actually a card game?

    ...

    *Wulf puts Fate of the World higher up on the 'must be checked out' list.*

    And see? This thread works. I hope it's working for other people, too!

    As for Mario? No... I actually haven't. I can't really play on the consoles any more because of sight issues, so I've only barely touched the Wii games. Though I did risk eye strain with an addiction to Super Smash Bros, and I paid the price for that. I just find that these days the PC is the best place for me.

    But you're right, Mario is a great example. Of course I'm giving you that because you are right. My point was though is that it's far, far too rare. And that we can pick out incredibly rare 'favourite examples' like this shows how rare it is.

    You know, I was talking about this the other day with a friend. He came to the conclusion that the games I loved were indeed from times where garage coding and Japanese influences were strong. When the American corporations started taking over the gaming industry (and he's American himself) that style shifted to what Americans found attractive. In other words, we were hit with this flood of games with perfect, often caucasian, damn near always straight, and always entirely dull people. It didn't do something like taking an average, fat bloke with a personality to make amazing, nope, it's these supermodel wood planks.

    Indie though still have that garage coding element to them, even though they might be receiving a lot of funding, and getting/spending a lot more money. And, indies, like the garage coders of the day aren't really limited to anything. They can make a game that fits the more open-minded development ethos of the home computer era, or they can make something that's distinctly Japanese. And they just do what they think is cool because they don't have marketing departments.

    This is why I'm more and more coming to the conclusion that marketing departments in large corporations are the bane of modern day entertainment, as they assume what the 'lowest common denominator' likes and they're not always right about that.

    This is why I still have a lot of appreciation for indies.

    Every now and again I can just smile because I'm not playing a hero that was created all too obviously by a marketing department to hit upon what's 'cool' in pop-culture. I can just play as a fat bloke who's very good at doing his job. And I really enjoyed Rochard because of that. I mean, I like superhero comics and all as much as the next guy, but I really am tired of the Everyone is a Supermodel trope in current corporate games development.

    I cite Rochard because it is one of those rare instances of relief. I would have liked it anyway, because I like how Portal-ish it is and I love, love, love Portal-ish things. But that the hero is as he is? It's just the icing on the cake.

    @soldant

    Yeah. No worries about ARMA, it wasn't that it seemed like a bad game to me. It didn't, not at all. It's just that I felt completely out of my depth. I don't have the patience that I used to have, so it was one of those games that I had to set aside and recognise that it wasn't for me. I'm not the smartest person in the world with games like that. And STALKER even almost drove me insane, but I could see that it was an absolutely brilliant game doing clever things.

    But yeah, I wish I'd been able to get into Take on Helicopters. For those that like sim games I'm just going to recommend they take a look anyway. Because I wanted to like that so much. The presentation was fantastic, and the trailers were brilliant, and I like flying. But ultimately it was just too much for me. Again though, I could recognise that it was a fantastic thing and I'd love to be able to play a game like that, one of these days.

    Though I worry that currently anything with controls more complex than those of a Star Wing are going to confuse me.

    @Caleb367

    I used to love city builders, so I may end up adding this one to my list, too.

    If I may ask... what's the interface like? If it's full of tiny, tiny fonts then it's not going to be something that I can play, and I'd rather know than be disappointed. If it's minimal on text though, or you can resize the UI or something like that, then I'll give it a look.

    The reason I ask is because, well, look at Shadow Era. I always expected card games to be too inaccessible due to having cards with tiny text, but Shadow Era got around that. So maybe other genres are learning too?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
    Fate of the World is actually a card game?
    Not to the extent of Magic the Gathering, but the premise of the game is that the world is going to end; you are a diplomat charged with trying to lengthen how much time we have left by making choices that benefit and help the world. You do this by selecting a card from your deck (its always the same deck and the same cards, mind you) that you think will best remedy the situation.

    South Africa is having increasing amounts of violence? Play a militarization card to help stem the tide of violence while you work on stopping the reasons they are resorting to violence, such as fixing the famine they are currently going through (by playing another card.) The whole game is composed of playing the right card for the right situation, and the game comes with about eight situations such as a fuel crisis or imaginative stuff like your only goal is to destroy the world rather than save it.

    Fate of the World is difficult to get into but extremely rewarding once you get into it. It doesn't have a demo and if you were a new player looking at the Steam page, it looks like its not using cards that much at all. However, the cards are a key gameplay element. Like I said earlier, the cards are always the same and its all in how you play them. Of course, playing cards can lead to more advanced cards, such as by increasing South Africa's education levels you can more advanced cards.

    At $2.75 in the Steam sale for the base pack, and $4.74 for the pack + DLC, its really worth checking out.

    In other words, we were hit with this flood of games with perfect, often caucasian, damn near always straight, and always entirely dull people. It didn't do something like taking an average, fat bloke with a personality to make amazing, nope, it's these supermodel wood planks.
    I agree that these days, too many heroes are exactly what you are describing in terms of men, or they are also the "I'm a female, going out to battle in a vicious war, but I'm going to expose almost my entire body" trope. But I highlighted this quote in particular because, as someone who grew up in the NES era and has played pretty much every console since, the line I quoted pretty much sums up the entire Japanese industry as well though as you seemed to imply the Japanese audience were more diverse in creating characters.

    A large amount of Japanese games offer the same Caucasian young adult, same good looks, always straight and entirely dull personality main character. Hell, that describes pretty much every JRPG leading character. I'd say the Japanese are just as guilty as the western games you describe. For the most part, a lot of the major companies and games have created nothing more than stereotyped anime characters for years now, same as the US continues to create 80's action stars.

    Do you have any other examples of specific Japanese characters you're thinking of to support your claim? I'm just curious as I'm sure you had some in mind. The only one I can think of is Captain Olimar from Pikmin, a chubby short astronaut who also happens to be created by Miyamoto.

    Also, its interesting to note the backlash Capcom received over Dead Rising 2: Off The Record. They made Frank West a bit chubbier than his last incarnation (though fully explained in the story as to why he was this way) and a lot of fans went nuts, that they "didn't want to play a fat Frank West." So it would seem thats exactly what the player base might want when you describe your stereotypical main character, as the main outcry was that "he gained weight" even though he could still do everything he originally could.

    You gotta excuse any typos or anything that might not make sense, as it's getting quite late for me, haha.

    I wanted to add one more game that I think you might enjoy:

    Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers... either 2011 or 2012 version. This is Magic in an easily accessible and simple form -- I hadn't played Magic in about 15 years when the 2011 version came out, but they explain the concepts very well and my girlfriend, who had never touched Magic in her life, was able to pick up the concepts extremely quickly too.

    Decks are premade but you unlock additional cards you can put it into your deck, so there is a small degree of deck customization too as you can't fit all of the extra cards into your deck, so you have to pick and choose. It also includes multiplayer options and a pretty diverse single player.

    I think its definitely worth a look for you; the artwork is fantastic and from what you've described of Shadow Era and what you like in terms of characters and artwork, I think you'd really dig Magic if you haven't already checked it out. It also does a lot of the mechanical things you've mentioned, like zooming in on the card so you can read the description.
    Last edited by Roufuss; 01-01-2012 at 01:18 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
    @Caleb367

    I used to love city builders, so I may end up adding this one to my list, too.

    If I may ask... what's the interface like? If it's full of tiny, tiny fonts then it's not going to be something that I can play, and I'd rather know than be disappointed. If it's minimal on text though, or you can resize the UI or something like that, then I'll give it a look.

    The reason I ask is because, well, look at Shadow Era. I always expected card games to be too inaccessible due to having cards with tiny text, but Shadow Era got around that. So maybe other genres are learning too?
    Minimal text, don't worry too much. Loads of informations laid to you via colored layers in a simple, intuitive manner (i.e. wanna check who has access to water? Click the fountain. Houses in green have, houses in red don't. Entertainment satisfaction level in a precise house? Click on it and check the percent near the greek theatre masks.). UI is minimally intrusive, context-relevant windows appear on click. For example, if you wish to lay down a plebeian household, you right click to open the radial construction menu, select housing, left click on the pleb house and lay it down with another left click.
    Here's a screen: http://www.gamestar.hu/apix_collect/...628_normal.jpg

    The cards on the lower part appear when you have military units around, the right-hand window is context sensitive and disappears completely when you have nothing selected, on top you get the vital stats (money, order, military reserves - only Equites, tier 2 inhabitants, can form military units - and honor, which is rarely used for special stuff like requesting help from the Senate and stuff) and down low the resource submenus. As in, click Materials and icons for material produced appear together with stockpiles and highlighting production centers, very useful if you're looking for stuff to trade. Finally, upper left has the message icons. You may have noted the big-assed font. XD

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    I've never seen a single person on RPS that has played through any of them. And how about the obscure ones I play? I'm sure hardly anyone here has even heard of them.
    Probably not, but you could rectify that. I played maybe half the Gold Box games (interest dwindled when they started with those awful giant maps made of repeating chunks; liked Dark Sun, though), Bard's Tale, most Ultimas, some Wizardries, and a couple of those rubbish real-time things like Eye of the Beholder and Bloodwych. Not Might and Magic, for no reason I remember. Menzoberranzan, sadly, I did. I just don't feel the need to natter about them here - you seem to have that covered, in any case.

    Anyway, topic: Romance of the Three Kingdoms? Sort of Total War with more emphasis on the zoomed-out bit, I suppose. You can get XI on gamersgate, though sadly never discounted, not even now when they have some 2,000 items on offer.

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