Investigating Mahjongg Investigations: Under Suspicion

I have been easing myself into the week by investigating crimes through the medium of mahjong in Mahjongg Investigations: Under Suspicion [Steam page]. On Steam it’s dated as a 2007 release but we only wrote about it as part of a Steam sale post yonks ago SO!

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Premature Evaluation: Man O’ War – Corsair

Every Monday, Rob Zacny heads into the uncharted waters of Early Access in search of plunder and excitement. This week, Man O’ War: Corsair.

Warhammer is a refuge from both progress and decline. It’s a safe space where you can always enjoy a militarist’s historical highlight reel from the Late Middle Ages through the Enlightenment, where things will never get much better or worse. And Empire will always stand on the brink of collapse and annihilation, the forces of chaos and barbarism will always encroach on the margins, and there will always be a place for someone with a taste for violence and a dream.

The Golden Age of Piracy lasted less than a century before buccaneers were practically extinct, and order restored to the trans-Atlantic shipping lanes. And just a century after that, the Royal Navy’s domination of the world’s oceans was so complete that another Trafalgar or Nile was unthinkable. But in Man o’ War: Corsair, the sea will always be a bloody no-man’s land, with plenty of room for a lone captain to make his fortune and change the world in the process.

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Endgame: Why Dark Souls III Is A Fitting Finale

Dark Souls III [official site] is a superb entry in From Software’s series, and in both design and lore it feels like a fitting finale. Is it time to move on?

One day, many years from now, when I have a family that I hang out with by way of a VR headset while in real life we all fester in our isolated cubicles, I envision my future kid coming up to me in our shared virtual space and asking “Daddy, what was Dark Souls like?” At this point, I’d look wistfully out the virtual window at the setting sun (an illusion concealing the fact that in the real world the sun had set for the last time many years ago), and I’d say:

“Dark Souls, my child, wasn’t like all the other games. It didn’t play nice. It didn’t hold your hand, or make you feel loved or important, but it was, in many ways, the purest game series of all. It ended in 2016.”

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From Dust: CCP’s New Free-To-Play FPS Project Nova

Dust 514, the free-to-play EVE Online shooter for the Playstation 3, was a bit of a tragedy for me. It was both relentlessly ambitious and sadly crippled, hamstrung by its attempt to create a microcosm sandbox with a complex relationship to its big brother, EVE Online. But after talking with Snorri Árnason, the senior director for CCP’s new FPS, Project Nova, I’m worried that the failed marriage between Dust 514 and EVE Online is preventing them from doing the one thing worth doing with the recently unveiled shooter: taking risks.

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Have You Played… Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Harbinger?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

As a teenager I watched a lot of Star Trek, without ever really thinking myself a fan of it. TNG was more miss than hit, Voyager was mostly dreadful, and Deep Space Nine felt like the poor man’s Babylon 5. It turns out that I can remember absolutely every bloody detail about the shows, while absolutely none of my concurrent chemistry A level, without ever noticing I cared. But what I did know at the time was that whenever a computer game replicated the Star Trek computer design on my PC, I nerded out. Harbinger did that, in its own way.

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The RPG Scrollbars: In The Cards

These days, you’re just not a proper RPG unless you’ve got a fancy card-game spin-off either in or out of world. Gwent. Hearthstone. Arcomage. Triple Triad. Legends of Norrath. Pokemon CCG. Now The Elder Scrolls is throwing its adventurer’s cap into the ring with The Elder Scrolls: Legends, as announced aeons ago, but only just going into closed beta. Quite a gold-rush, especially given that historically, these games haven’t done particularly well in digital form, even when backed by a big name or license.
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The Sunday Papers

Hey gang! Graham’s been off performing meiosis or whatever it is parents do (???), so you may have noticed an absence of Sunday Papers lately. Now, I firmly believe that free Sundays are for climbing hills, exploring forests, and being in/around water, but a dicky hip after a day round Loch Lomond means I must go easy today. Being Graham can’t be too difficult. First question: how is his paper-reading chair still warm? Ick.

Emily Short writes about “waypoint narrative structures” – nonlinear conversation and narrative beyond simple branching with points and ideas connected by waypoints:

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