Apr 262011

While I still have it fresh in my mind I want to put down my thoughts about the single-player campaign in Portal 2. I haven’t played any of the co-op, primarily because of the mysterious, ongoing problem with the PSN. However, I completed the solo campaign, and while I agree with many of the criticisms Michael Barnes made in his review at No High Scores, I greatly enjoyed Portal 2. I don’t think it’s a 10/10 masterpiece, but it is a very good game. One reason I felt it didn’t quite measure up to its predecessor is that the sense [Read more…]

Nov 142010

As usual, I have more written down than I can put into a review or even a coherent essay. So here’s a new occasional feature where I dump my game notes onto the blog. There’s no structure to this, just a series of thoughts I had as I was playing. The Mojave Wasteland had a lot of walls, and there wasn’t much effort to disguise them. Two areas felt particularly odd. One was around Fort McCarran, which is a walled encampment backed up against the walls of the strip, next to a walled refugee camp and a fenced-in farm area. [Read more…]

One-button war

 Gameplay Notes  Comments Off on One-button war
Mar 012010

In comparison to systems like Pong or Pac-Man, modern games tend to be extremely complicated. An XBox 360 controller has 16 unique inputs, and many of the games for the system shift the meaning of those inputs contextually to multiply the possible ways a player can communicate intention to the game. But the complexity of controllers is a response to increasingly byzantine game systems, of which there are few better examples than the typical real-time strategy game, with its array of resources, buildings, and units. So it’s refreshing to play a game that provides some RTS flavor without the need [Read more…]

May 092008

By now many of the nerds in my audience have heard about Foldit—the server seems to be wanged, so clicking on that link may not do anything for you. The idea behind Foldit is to use the processing power of human beings to address the protein folding problem in the context of a game. Despite many years of trying, predicting the fold of a protein and moving a random coil into this shape is a task that computers typically find very difficult. Distributed computing efforts, like Vijay Pande’s folding@home or Rosetta@home, are one way of addressing this problem for some [Read more…]