Category Archives: general

The Matt Chat Gold Box Special

Only you can get this video into production.

Only you can get this video into production.

I announced in this week’s episode a project I’ve had incubating for some months now–a lengthy special feature covering my favorite CRPG franchise–the one that got me started in this business. Of course, I’m talking about the Gold Box series. It’s been awhile since I’ve played them, but I have played almost all of them from start to finish on my trusty ol’ Commodore 64. I’ve also recently had the pleasure of interviewing several key folks on their design teams. In short, I love this series, and I think (and from what I’ve gathered from my informal polls of you guys), a feature on them is just the sort of bait I need to grow the show.

You see, this special won’t get made unless (or, hopefully, until!) I reach 25,000 subscribers on YouTube. I need to grow the show for various reasons, but the main one is attracting a steady stream of designers and other professionals to be my guests. The bigger my audience, the more likely I am hear to a big fat “YES!” to my requests to have them on. Matt Chat has its fans, but, sadly, the numbers just aren’t as appealing as they could be.

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It's time to retire the Saitek.

What’s my Type?: Thoughts on a New Gaming Keyboard

I finally get fed up with the hair, bugs, eye lashes, and various toxic waste that had been building up in my Saitek keyboard for the past–decades???—and tossed it. Now I’m in the market for a new one, and preferably sooner–the silly HP Wireless thing I’m using right now came with my PC and doesn’t even have real keys to type on. UGH!

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Son of Down with Pots

urlJay Rampant Coyote Barnson has written a nice post responding to my earlier post about pots in CRPGs. In his post, Jay writes in defense of consumable items, although he shares a lot of the same issues–the ol’ wand of fireballs that you keep on toting around because you just know you’re going to really need it for another battle. Eventually, of course, you find it still sitting in your inventory at such a late point in the game that any  monster you used it on would laugh at you.

As I was reading his post, though, I had a couple ideas. One was to make items specific for a particular boss battle. WOW does this all the time, giving you, say, a gnomish thingamajig that will shrink down an elite water giant so you can easily smite him. However, my friends and I always have to try killing one in his elite form–just to prove we got the guts to do it. Unfortunately, usually the only way you can actually complete the quest is to shrink them with the device.

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Down with pots!

Damn them all to hell!

Damn them all to hell!

By the Gods, I’ll quaff no more.

I’ve been having a small discussion on my last YouTube video about hoarding potions, scrolls, and the other sorts of temporary power-ups you tend to collect in most CRPGs. It seems that I’m not alone in saving all of these for some perceived future battle, in which I’ll need to use them all to overcome a particularly nasty fight. However, what usually happens is I simply never use them, and by the end of the game have a huge, mostly obsolete stack of low-level stat boosting and emergency stuff. For the sake of convenience, I’ll just say “potions” here, though I also mean things like healing scrolls or anything else that either grants a temporary bonus or is considered an “emergency” item, such as a healing or mana recovery potion.

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On Sublime Videogames: Games for All Ages

On the Sublime is a classic treatise, apparently wrongly attributed to Longinus, that has long been one of my favorite works of literary and rhetorical criticism. Essentially, what the author wants to do is figure out why some works of poetry, or prose, for that matter, are sublime. What exactly the author means by the term “sublime” is, of course, most interesting to academics and of little interest to anyone else. For our purposes, though, I will merely point out a few characteristics the author attributes to the term:

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Underground

Lately, I’ve been reading a fabulous book called Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the Present. I thought I knew a lot about comics, but, as I learned after just skimming this thing, my knowledge is almost totally myopic–that is, I know something about the D.C. and Marvel superhero comics of the 80s and 90s…but there’s a whole world of much more interesting comics that I didn’t even know existed. Yes, I was of course aware of R. Crumb and so on, but had no idea that such incredible work was being done with comics in France, Italy, Spain, and Britain. Furthermore, although I was familiar with the term “manga” and Japanese comics, I have an all new appreciation for it after reading this book.

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Rogue Lifter Blog: Introducing the game

Crates and turrets!

Crates and turrets!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any blogging, mostly because I’ve been doing lots of work with Unity, Blender, Photoshop, and, er, Mount & Blade. This time around, I decided to revisit one of my earlier projects, the game Thrust Lifter, but make some decisive changes. First, I wanted the levels to be procedurally generated, with random terrain. Second, I wanted to use Unity physics to implement the thrust component of the Thrust game–picking up and depositing crates in loading zones. On a more basic level, I wanted to explore Unity’s 2D engine and increase my knowledge of Blender and Photoshop for making models and graphics.

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Games and the “It’s Just Entertainment” Myth

Meet Molly the Barbarian. Or, better yet, let's introduce her to non-traditional gamers!

Meet Molly the Barbarian. Or, better yet, let’s introduce her to non-stereotypical gamers!

One of the most common (if annoying) gibes I get when I talk about gaming in an academic context is that there’s nothing culturally or rhetorically significant about these things as a medium. They’re just games. The very idea that games might exert some kind of influence on us beyond just eating up our free time is beyond most people. The most common retort is “yeah, but they make more money than Hollywood,” but I’d be the first to agree that money and popularity are insufficient grounds for studying something academically. No, what we chiefly need is to acknowledge their influence on our lives, and take at least some responsibility for that influence on us and our fellow human beings on this planet.

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oculusrift

The Oculus Rift Facebook Fiasco

You’ve probably heard by now that Facebook has snatched up Oculus Rift, the Kickstarter-funded VR interface. Oculus Rift was a particularly noteworthy Kickstarter, a real breakthrough success story–it raised 2.4 million dollars, far more than its humble goal of 250,000. Naturally, there is outrage among the community of folks who supported its campaign, and also, of course, plenty of apologists.

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