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Kev’s Slog #9

I almost broke my hand today trying to beat the train in the Dunwall City Trials DLC in Dishonored.  I’ve never pushed so hard on some buttons trying to run a mission in only 31 seconds, and my hands really are hurting from trying so hard.  Keep in mind that I’m actually 43 years old and it’s really hard to play modern games at this age.

Which leads me into my next point.  I really don’t understand why any video game would feature achievements/game modes where they feature Speed Runs or Challenge Missions.  Both are never popular and are really hated by the general gamer audience.  For developers that don’t understand why they are so hated, let me give a quick explanation.

First of all, Speed Runs are the absolute irony of video gaming:  Games get shorter all the time, but then somebody decided to make an entire game mode where you skip as much content as possible.  Let’s pretend that all that work into your game is really unimportant and finish the game as fast as possible.  It’s like paying money to go to a theme park and you time how fast you can run to the nearest exit.

Second, Challenge Missions are nothing but asking the player to Beat the Robot.  “I programmed a gaming robot to play this game at 99% efficiency.  But if you can play at 99.1% efficiency, then I’ll give you a five star rating and a ranking on this leaderboard.”  You know what other game type makes you play like a robot?  Racing games.  If you’re wondering why the racing genre has become nothing but a niche market, then there’s your answer.

You could say that I could ignore this content if I don’t like it, but that’s not my point.  It’s junk content that many people had to take time creating.  Somebody had to come up with the level design, play test it, debug it, etc.  All that time and effort could have gone into something else.  If anything, Challenge Mission DLC (which is in many triple-A games, not just Dishonored) only seems to back the argument that some DLC are nothing but borderline junk just to increase profit margins.

As an aside, Dishonored is a game made by Arkane Studios, a company located here in Austin.  I think Dishonored is a fantastic game, just not that DLC.  If the Steam statistics are even remotely accurate, then I’m not alone in this opinion.

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Indie games that I’m seriously keeping my eye on, and they should have a release sometime this year:

* Below:  This is made by Capy (a.k.a. Capybara Games) and it’s the same team that made Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery.  The latter was a really weird art game that begged to be called pretentious, and it was either loved or hated by fans/critics.  This game doesn’t appear to be as odd.  The most recent trailer clearly states a future Steam release.

* Miegakure:  After four years of being totally silent (and being denied from the Indie Game Fund), there’s a new demo video showing the game.  This game is impossible to describe because it’s about moving along the fourth dimension.  It’s so hard to understand that many people are going to buy this game just to get their mind blown.  I am making the brazen prediction that Marc ten Bosch wants to deliver it this game this year.  It’s got a guaranteed slot on Steam since it’s an IGF winner.

* Secrets of Raetikon:  This is in Steam Early Access already but I never realized that the game was so interesting.  It’s actually a physics puzzle game but it’s barely known by the public at all.  You are a bird and you spend most of the game flying.  It’s very pretty.  The only fear that I have is how hard is it to control your character.  It doesn’t look easy since you have to do moves in mid-air.

I do know about Hack & Slash, Citizens of Earth, Last Life, Dead Synchronicity, etc.  I’m withholding judgment on those games until I can get more details.

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