Monthly Archives: August 2014

Matt Chat 244: Robert Sirotek Part I

This is the first part of my interview with Robert Sirotek of Sir-Tech. In this episode, I begin my interview with Robert Sirotek, one of the co-founders of Sir-Tech. In this first installment, we chat about how Robert got his start and the origins of Sir-Tech. There’s a castle involved!

Download the mp4 here.

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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Matt Chat 241: Chuckles on 2400 AD

In this episode, Chuckles talks about 2400 A.D., which didn’t sell well despite some innovative design decisions. We also chat about virtual reality and the cool projects Chuck is doing for Disney and other amusement parks.

Download the mp4 here.