May 2010

Civilization V

Last week, I impulsively reinstalled Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword on my computer, out of frustration at the writer's block I was experiencing at the time. Forty-eight hours later, I found myself uninstalling Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword, not pleased at going to bed at 3 a.m. I know, I should have known better. But after watching the trailer for the upcoming Civilization V, I have two questions for Sid Meier and Firaxis Games: why, you magnificent bastards, do you see fit to ruin my life with another one of your brilliant and masterful strategy games? Also, how? How do you intend on outdoing Civilization IV, which won at least 9 Game of the Year awards?

16 Bit Golden Age of RPGs

There was once a time when console role playing games had an uphill battle against the slicker, more action-oriented fare that dominated home gaming systems. They had less impressive graphics, required more reading than most juvenile novels and had nearly incomprehensible character statistics that were never properly explained in any instruction material. These days, RPGs are painfully pretty digital fireworks complete with voice acting and massive budgets, though they've gotten a bit too mechanically simplistic for most old school fans of the genre. In the 1990's when 16 bit consoles dominated at-home gaming, it was the golden age of role playing games, especially for those who owned the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. There are countless lists online and in magazines that mention the best RPGs of that era, but why exactly were those games so impressive?