I’d seriously sweated for my midterms. Astrology, dialectic and calligraphy, I felt I had in the bag. Arithmetic and geometry, well, I figured I could get by on geometry with the extra-credit work that I’d done.
Incantation, though. Why had I taken incantation – one of the toughest branches of magic – this year instead of something like botany? Pride? The lure of being able to bend the forces of nature with a well-tuned wand? Whatever it was, I just knew I was going to make a poor showing on my midterms, and I had a lot to make up before the finals. I didn’t dare wash out.
All in all, I’m glad I picked up Academagia: The Making of Mages. I played it right through, and I had an awesome time with it.
The appeal of mercenary company simulators is somewhat more broadly-based than other gaming genres, as they tend to (more or less) successfully blend strategic, tactical and logistical tasks into an appealing framework. Choose your work, or your targets, select your personnel, make sure everyone’s equipped, fed and getting paid, fight your battles – and maybe get some looting and pillaging in on the side.
Here are my pet picks from the genre, in no specific order.
This is sort of awkward. I don’t want to tell you about this game.
That’s because I don’t want to spoil it for you.
Let’s pull some adjectives out of the bag. It’s refreshing, surprising, haunting and surreal.
Got that? Good. Play it now!
For the rest of you who are still here, I’m wondering quite how to describe this without giving you the wrong impression.
Something a little unusual this time around. One that you can play right away.
From the very skilled – and I might even be inclined to suggest ‘artistic’ and ‘spectacular’ – Andrew Plotkin comes a sterling piece of short interactive fiction. It’s compact and lovely, and not too difficult.
Seven dwarfs, a wagon with tools and supplies, and a landscape rich in raw materials. Set up a colony, protect your dwarfs, expand and grow rich.
That’s Dwarf Fortress, perhaps the deepest and most intricate sandbox simulation game I’ve seen, and I have been meaning to write it up for a long time.
Where did this come from?
While it’s not really very complete, Energy Tycoon has come quite a long way in production and polish without seeming to catch much attention.
Or maybe don’t play this one, actually. I likes me a good horror game, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a very good horror game. It’s so very good, in fact, that some of you will probably hate it.
It’s from the folks who did Penumbra, so I pre-ordered this without much in the way of hesitation.
Once upon a time there was a girl and a fairy.
The girl, Recette Lemongrass, lived on her own because her father had gone adventuring and not returned.
The fairy, Tear, worked for the Terme Finance company, and Recette’s father’s debts were about to come due.
Reasoning that getting the money back was better than taking Recette’s house and auctioning it at a loss, Tear helped Recette set up a small item shop on the main street of the town. Just the sort of thing to cater to locals, and the hordes of hopeful adventurers and treasure-seekers needing supplies.
Working off your debt retailing doesn’t sound very exciting, but Recette and Tear’s adventure is only just beginning.
Way back when, I wound up with a place in the Alganon MMOG closed beta. I really liked it. I haven’t really played it since launch, though, and there’s been a lot of water under the bridge at Quest Online, the developer. A change of management, bringing in Derek Smart (of whom I understandably have mixed feelings), lawsuits and more.
Anyway, Alganon went free-to-play last Friday, so I figured it was time for another look.
The Earth has become overpopulated. Cities just grow up and up and ground-level is something that most people — the lucky ones — never get near. Even the rundown and decrepit levels just below the clean, shiny, and urbane upper-city are the turf of the homeless, the hopeless, the diseased and the gangers. And things get just get worse further down.
But there’s something brewing. Something calling. A piece of the past that refuses to sleep.
Core Design, which was established in 1988, is a design studio I think of fondly, although the studio is essentially gone these days. The name is still the property of Eidos Interactive who acquired them as a part of CentreGold back in 1996. Core Design was responsible for Tomb Raider, but Project Eden was probably their finest PC game.
You can still find Project Eden in game-store budget bins for just a few dollars (skip the console version, the PC version is vastly superior, as usual). The game scored above average reviews, except for Computer Gaming World who gave it a miserable 1.5 out of 5. CGW’s influence was fairly widespread then, and coupled with some launch bugs and an astonishing lack of advertising, Project Eden barely sold through at retail despite shipping a lot of copies, making it one of the best games that you’ve never played.