Grand Ages Rome.
It's an insanely addictive city-builder set - obviously - in the late Roman republic era. Nice graphics, nice music, excellent interface, easy to learn and hard to master, long, very varied and challenging campaign. The twist? An RPG-like system as you start by making your avatar choosing one of the prominent families of Rome, each with its own tech-tree and abilities, unlockable by spending Talent points earned during campaign play. And replaying a game with a different Gens (family) is very different.
An example: I'm playing as a Julii. They're populists, enjoying vast support from the plebs, which means they got several bonuses regarding the plebeians city dwellers. Julii plebs seldom rebel even when out of work, give more tax revenues, boost production if they're the majority in town, they even get to be as productive as Equites (tier 2 population required for higher buildings, but when placed in tier 1 economic structures in place of plebs they produce almost twice as much). So Julii cities tend to be huge and surrounded by satellite towns for resource production.
The Valerii (?) are slave drivers, getting bonuses for slave camps and raiding barbarian villages; they get a bonus out of every building slave operated. As slave camps have no needs - unlike free citizens which need food and stuff - cities tend to be smallish and tier 2 and 3, with lots of slave camps about. And so on for the other families.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
All you need to enjoy ARMA Multiplayer is to know the basic infantry controls (the same as for any other FPS plus a few extra) and how to use a VOIP client.
We mainly play CO but if you don't want to shell out you could grab Arma 2 free and holler in the RPS steam chat to get some guys for a more organized game on the ARPS arma 2 free server. Or just watch the videos of our glorious failures and desasters.
And to get back on topic: Arma 2 would probably be my pick. I got into it this year - via said RPS group - and spent more time with it (playing and editing) than any other game in my steam library. I still crash anything that remotely resembles a helicopter or a plane into the nearest hill in less than 2 seconds. And I don't care at all.
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.
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.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.
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 12:18 PM.
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.
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
Nimbus. You play as a little sentient, sort of steampunk ship whose girlfriend has been stolen away by a big, bad floating eye. To get her back you have to navigate through a number of worlds, each composed by many levels arranged in alternative paths. The ship however has no engine of its own, so it's all about exploiting gravity and helpful devices that are scattered along the levels, like bounce pads, adjustable cannons, acceleration strips and a lot more.
It's been described as a puzzle/racer and while most of the games I play these days are puzzles or tend to have a puzzle element to them, I've never been fond of games where you have to be fast, accurate and flawless in execution, so it felt surprising when I tried the demo and instantly fell in love.
It was not just the cutesy graphics or the great soundtrack, the key to making a game like this work is level design and careful management of difficulty. There's a ton of games out there I get bored of or frustrated after a dozen of levels. In Nimbus both are spot on: the difficulty curve is gentle but steadily rising, new elements or twists are introduced at a regular pace, so gameplay stays interesting and grows in a way I'm tempted to call organic. It gets challenging pretty soon, but it never becomes exceedingly frustrating. Difficulty can be adjusted, but the only difference is the numbers of respawns you have within a single level at checkpoints: on easy you can respawn infinite times, on normal each checkpoint grants you 5 respawns and on hard, none.
If you're playing only for the puzzle part, you can set difficulty on easy (although normal should be manageable for most) and only focus on getting through; worlds have alternative paths, and you can tackle whatever feels easier for you. The game however does try to keep you in, with secret levels that can be unlocked by finding a hidden exit, and golden coins that are usually slightly easier to find than exits but often require some thinking and skill to be collected. Coins are linked to an unlock mechanism, but there are no power ups, just visual buffs. There's a handful of achievements, most of them are awarded for completing a level under a set time, and are designed to teach the player some new trick or technique.
The time it will take you to complete it depends a lot on your playing style. I sunk 45+ hours on it and I still haven't done everything, but that's entirely up to you.
As many other indie games, Nimbus was rushed out of the door. There are no real rough edges as far as I'm concerned, all the key elements are in place, but it left me willing for more. For once, it's single player only and you compete through leaderboards, multiplayer was planned but axed. I don't generally care much for multiplayer so it's not really a problem for me, but I sure hope there will be a Nimbus 2 which adds further polish, game modes and content.
It is only available through Steam (currently 50% off) and has a demo with a selection of levels (so difficulty ramps up faster than in the full game).
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
ARPS unofficial motto - And then we leave. No heroic stands.
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.
Another thing I'll note is that Pirates of New Horizons may be gearing up for pre-orders, soon. I mention this because I went absolutely bonkers over the alpha. You may or may not remember this but I was literally exploding with praise for it like a veritable fountain of good will, I absolutely loved it. The PC has nothing like it, really, and it just struck me as our Jak & Daxter, or Ratchet & Clank. (Those being of the few console games that I was ever willing to risk eye-strain for.)
I can honestly recommend playing the alpha though because it's so fun, and they haven't really had any marketing and that makes me sad inside. No one's really been talking about them. So I'm going to talk about them.
The alpha can be found there! Sadly, the preorders have been delayed for a bit due to issues with Unity, but they'll be up soon.
This thread though... it's really roused some memories of old, obscure games. And this was one of them. It would be remiss of me not to mention this, because this is one in a million. And when I say that there's nothing else out there like this for the PC, there isn't. Not any more. There used to be, but not now. The only thing I could really compare it with is Sonic Generations, but even then that's like comparing Sonic with Jak & Daxter, and that doesn't quite work.
I'll be grabbing myself Fate of the World, then. Thanks.
I may try a demo first due to the accessibility concerns I tend to raise, but if my sight has no issues with it then I can see myself playing that a lot.
As for the Japanese element. It's not so much that, but rather that they actually had imperfect heroes. I can remember as many scarred, or chubby, or one-eyed, or otherwise disfigured, or strange, or even monstrous characters as I can average caucasian males. And therein lies the trick. The point I was making is that back then the Japanese entertainment industry wasn't too closed minded about its characters, though I suppose today they're almost as bad from the modern games I've been seeing.
I'm not on a campaign to completely exclude the perfect, healthy, caucasian hero because that would be as bad as what I perceive happening because of them. But rather I promote diversity. I just want to see more diversity, and in general, I felt that there was more diversity in those old Japanese games despite that, yes, they were not perfect.
But what is?
...that actually looks sensible. Have developers been taking UI design accessibility lessons behind my back? I don't mean to be nasty with that, I really don't, but because of my poor sight I've been kept away from so many games. Some I've just managed to get away with by running them at incredibly low resolutions (which doesn't bother me), but some scale their text in such a way that it remains unreadable to me.
Seeing something as cleanly laid out as that, without making everything impossibly tiny, makes me fairly happy. Okay, that's definitely going on my list. Like I said, it's been so long since I played a city builder and I definitely have had that itch because I like building cities! But... yeah, the UIs often keep me away. This is very promising, though.
Very surprised, to be honest.
I couldn't support your words more if I wanted to. I've had Nimbus installed since I bought it, and it's still installed. It remians installed for whenever I want to go back to it. Rarely have I played a game which feels so incredibly clever. And I have to admit, when they gave me a rainbow trail, they just earned every bit of love from me they could. >_> But really, it's such a clever, clever little thing is Nimbus.
Even down to the notion of Batteries Not Included-like sentient ships, which happen to be in love. Everything about it was just perfect, and Nimbus, like Rochard, was something right out of the '80s or '90s. That special sort of impossibly quirky that just shouldn't exist today. But there it is, and seeing that it does exist makes me happy.
InMomentum was pretty great. I have that too. To a degree it actually reminded me of Sky Roads, too. And that's not at all a bad thing to be reminded of. I think there's a lot of potential in this particular genre for expansion, to do things with. I think the simple concept of running, and even running away, is a grand one.
I'm hoping to see more of this, and perhaps games which are somewhere between Mirror's Edge without the guns, and InMomentum. Sometimes just running and jumping is great fun, in and of itself. It was one of the simple joys that Knytt Stories employed and it did so to great effect.
I have played Stuff like Bards Tale (c64),Phantasy 3 (Atari ST),Wizards Crown (PC),TOEE.And most of the others.
Knights of the Chalice is quite nice,if i remember correctly that Tip came from you,so thanks.
Its always good to have someone point out the Oldschool Classic,i for my part for example would have never seen Movies like "Kind Hearts and Coronets","The awful Truth" or Books like "1984" or "The Old Man and the Sea".
Last edited by Arona Daal; 01-01-2012 at 09:50 PM.
Great Search Engine for Game bargains:
I've had a chance to spend some time with Rochard now, and while I'm not very far into it, I'm liking what I see quite a bit. Rochard as a character is very likable as more of a regular guy than your typical musclebound, gun toting hero. I've been trying to get all of the little golden chalices as I make my way through the game, and it's a lot of fun figuring out how to get to them.
I agree with the Portal comparisons as well, as the game seems more about finding ways to get from point A to point B using the gravity gun, reducing gravity, hopping on boxes, etc. It's just that there also happens to be a the occasional jerk bad guy, or malfunctioning security cannon shooting at you along the way. Since getting the rock blaster, I still don't like having to use it unless absolutely necessary. It's a lot more fun to pick up some boxes, and toss them at enemies, or better yet tossing it, hitting someone, grabbing it, hitting the next guy with it in rapid succession. Also, trying to reflect their shots right back at them is good for a chuckle. Both of those are far more fun than just running around blasting stuff in Rochard. I hear the game is short, and judging by the fact that there's an achievement for completing the game in less than 3 hours, that's probably the case. Still a fun, charming experience so far.
When I saw the thread title I thought "Rochard"!! :)
After doing the Trine (man does that game frustrate me) and Magicka (actually I quit in disgust when the tutorial b0rked and then an online game crashed) achievements yesterday, I was in a deeply bad mood and for some reason I decided to try the Rochard Demo.
First impressions were of an 'ok' game I'd not really want to get much further into - but I pressed on (it's a goodly length demo) and it just opened up and became a thing of joy...
The anti-gravity is PERFECTLY done - it's enormous fun floating gracefully around throwing heavy objects into enemies faces. It's almost disappointing when you get a gun BUT the game continues to encourage you to use physics to kill stuff and the Recoil Jump is just inspired!! I described it somewhere else as "Trine but not frustrating and shit" and I'll stick to that. I've only managed to paint myself into a corner once and one puzzle was 'less than obvious' but otherwise I'm really, really enjoying it.
My other find of the recent sales was HARD RESET - I was expecting a linear shooter but what I got is a really GOOD linear shooter with loads of boomboom potential (and secrets - man I love secrets in FPSs). My only gripe a few levels in is that the enemies are getting tougher much faster than my weapons are getting better - but it's still a LOT of fun.
http://www.moddb.com/mods/fuel-refueled - it's basically a community 'fix' for the whole game, from handling thru races to, well, just about everything...
Not tried it myself but it comes highly recommended.
Been loving Dungeon Defenders, Orcs Must Die! and Magicka recently. Proper awesome games, soaked up far more time than Skyrim or any of the other AAA games to come out recently.