A few things Mark Wallace

Tag: games (page 2 of 2)

Didn’t Actually Exponentiate

Nicholas Lovell’s GamesBrief has an Interesting look at iPad / iPhone sales figure for Great Little War Game, which is actually a very good (but I would not say great) little strategy game. Co-founder Paul Johnson notes that a 5-star review from Touch Arcade, the biggest iOS games site on the Web, produced a nice spike but “didn’t actually exponentiate.” I’m not actually surprised to hear this, not because of the nature of games review sites, but because of the nature of the game. Because GLWG doesn’t actually include a multiplayer mode (other than in-the-room-with-friends “pass and play”), it’s hard to see how a spike in uptake would turn itself into viral adoption. Of course, Angry Birds was in the same boat, but that’s a different beast, aimed at a different (and much broader) audience, and with a different (and again, much more broadly welcoming) price point. So this GamesBrief post ends up being a look at the pop you can get from high-profile reviews and front-page category listings in the app store. These things turn out to be only an intro into the top of the sales cycle; what you do at that point is up to you, and it seems that the nature of the game is what determines the outcome more than anything else. In this case, I’d say GLWG might have a better time pursuing other marketing channels. Given the profile of the audience, a turn-based strategy game is never going to take off like wildfire in the app store. But I’d suggest there are channels where it might capture a more appropriate set of eyeballs, eyeballs that are ready to cough up more cash (so to speak) than most casual / arcade games are asking these days.

Hell is Game Ads

It’s a bit brilliant that online anime-styled MMO AdventureQuest (from @ArtixKrieger) now punishes players for dying by making them watch a 9-second advertisement. From the press release:

…players of the popular AdventureQuest Worlds MMORPG are being punished for dying in-game by being forced to see an advertisement for nine seconds before being allowed to return to life.

Previously, AdventureQuest Worlds players who died in-game would be faced with a grayed out screen showing their character on the ground and a nine second countdown before they could return back to life. With this new change, when a player dies, Death makes a personal appearance on the player’s screen and says a witty line while showing a static ad of an Artix Entertainment-related game or item.

“For years our players scoffed at how there was no real punishment for dying in AQWorlds,” said Adam Bohn, CEO/Founder of Artix Entertainment, LLC. “So we added a fate worse than death… ads!”

Already, AdventureQuest players are up in arms — singing exactly the tune Artix no doubt wants them to: “now when i die im threatened with ads…i rather pay 100 gold NOT to have ads when i die

Will it work? Who knows? But it’s the most amusingly innovative instance of in-game advertising I’ve seen in some time, and exceedingly fitting, if you ask me. Great incentive to level up your game.

The History of My Adventure

This great piece (written by Leigh Alexander for the great gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun) inspired me to dig up a similar piece of my own, written back in 2005 for a now-defunct blog I maintained for a year or two, Walkerings. Both pieces describe the formative gaming experience of playing Adventure at a young age. Leigh does a terrific job of bringing to life not just the sensation of discovery that the game evoked, but the wonder that was sparked by discovering what lay behind the screen, and how both the game and the lives of the gamemakers might strangely resonate with one’s own. The task in my post was a bit different: To me, Adventure represented not just the doorway to a new kind of experience, but my first inkling that a much deeper change was afoot in the world — namely, the increasing democratization of the tools that produce such experiences (not that I would have identified it as such at 12 years old). Adventure was important not just as a game, but as a distant harbinger of the Entrepreneurial Age, and for me at least, it appeared at a moment when I could gain the greatest benefit from such signals. Plus which, it still stands as one of the coolest games ever made.

Perez Hilton via George Lucas: the Homer of the Modern Age?

Homer / Hilton

Reading The Iliad lately has put me in mind of an interesting question: Can you discern a society’s evolutionary progress in the kinds of stories it tells? Or perhaps a better, more generalized version of the question would be this: What can you tell about a society (if anything) by the kinds of stories it tells? I’m sure a ton of thinking has been done on this, but since I’m not about to round it all up, consume it, and digest it this afternoon, this blog post will have to do.

I’d say we’re actually in a unique position in narrative history, given three things:

  • (a) our unprecedented access to stories that have gone before (Homer wrought his poems maybe two or three thousand years ago, after all)
  • (b) the unprecedented production of new stories that takes place in our own time, and
  • (c) our unprecedented ability to distribute those stories to massive audiences in the widest variety of media that’s ever existed

But do the kinds of stories we choose to tell these days say much about who we are as a society at large? It wasn’t Homer who sparked these thoughts so much as it was George Lucas, actually… Continue reading

What’s in a Tech Tree?

Civilization Tech Tree

Civ I Tech Tree (borrowed w/o permission from Nethog's Games Page, linked)

(Bigger image) I’ve been looking into the matter of tech trees and talent trees lately as I hammer out the details of the system I want to use in my own game, and I was going to write a long post all about their points and purposes (and how there’s not much like this out there on the Internets), but then I found this smart post from Peter Harkins (whom I don’t actually know). It doesn’t quite do what I’m looking for, but it comes close, by taking a stab at explaining “The Purpose of Technology Trees.”

As Peter has it, there are four main functions:

  • linearly organize options over time
  • act as gates on content consumption
  • increase the power scale of players
  • act as a resource sink for high-level players

I’d add to and perhaps slightly modify this. As below: Continue reading

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