Realm of the Mad God takes the compulsion loop of a conventional MMO and boils it down to its essential nutrient broth, eschewing all the frippery and getting down to what such games are all about: Kill, loot, level-up, kill some more.
With NES-level pixellated graphics, frenetic top-down shooter play with WASD movement, and permadeath, it feels like a game from another era, yet informed by the tropes and techniques we've come to expected in dikuMUD-likes; games from another era are not, obviously, browser-games and massively multiplayer. It's a game that might have been developed in 1985, if we had an Internet in 1985.
Submitted by JohnEvans on Fri, 11/06/2009 - 23:33.
In honor of Halloween...Urban Dead is a web-based persistent world game; your character is either a "zombie" or a "survivor", two factions eternally trapped in an urban warzone. You gain experience by fighting, you buy skills when you level up, you have "action points" that accumulate over time.
That much is easy to say, but there are surprising depths to Urban Dead. It's worth playing for a while, and it's even more worth seeing how other people play. There are some interesting aspects of the game when you start out, like: Which skill should I buy first? How do I survive as a newbie zombie? But many players have all their skills bought, and that's where you start getting into the really interesting strategies.
If you read about game design at all, you'll eventually come across something about "second order design". The idea is that game designers create experiences indirectly; they create rules, the rules delineate the players' actions, and those actions lead to experiences that are engaging in some way. The designer attempts to create rules that lead to the kind of experience they're trying to engender. A related concept is "emergent behavior", which arises when rules interact to encourage new actions.
The designer of Urban Dead, Kevan Davis, has set down a number of simple rules delineating what someone could do during a zombie apocalypse. The persistent nature of the game implies that there have to be some times when you're logged off, but your character is still around. Zombies roam the city searching for survivors, so if you're a survivor, you want somewhere to hide. Therefore, survivors hole up in buildings and barricade them. If a building is at all barricaded, a zombie cannot enter it; they can attack the barricade, but success is dependent on a die roll and tends to take a lot of AP. Survivors can enter buildings unless they're "heavily barricaded" or above. Therefore, newbie survivors roam about looking for buildings that are barricaded well but not completely.
From the other point of view, a zombie wants to find a likely building, tear down the barricades and feast on the brains of those inside. However, if you're one zombie against a building with 10 survivors, they're likely to blast you with a shotgun and repair the barricades as soon as they log in again. You could get a dozen friends together and coordinate in real time to break into a survivor safehouse; players certainly do that. But there's another, more interesting way...
When a zombie is face to face with one or more survivors (which usually means they've broken into a building), they can use the skill Feeding Groan. Everyone within a radius of several blocks will hear the groan and its position. Zombies that hear this groan know that someone broke through a barricade--that the survivors are, for that moment, vulnerable, and that a fellow zombie is asking for help.
The result is decentralized organization. Like ants or slime molds, the zombies swarm in where there's a vulnerability. Nobody said "Attack this building"; even throwing 10 zombies at a building might not work if it's heavily barricaded, or if there aren't any survivors inside! But Feeding Groans allow the zombie hordes to organize themselves without a central authority. Each zombie is acting on its own initiative, but for the greater good (in a zombiecentric sense).
From a survivor's perspective, one zombie breaks through and starts groaning--and suddenly a huge fucking zombie horde bursts into the room and totally tears shit up.
Sounds kind of like a zombie movie, doesn't it?
(And hey--those 10 friends coordinating their invasions through IRC or messenger? If they start groaning, they can attract huge numbers of zombies into their little crusade.)
There's more to the game I haven't even touched on. For example, if survivors are killed, they rise as zombies...and some skills let survivors resurrect zombies into survivors. This has fascinating implications for how you play your character; Do you like being a survivor, or a zombie? If you die as a survivor, do you try to be the best brain-eating zombie you can, or do you try to get resurrected? If you're a zombie and someone revives you without your consent, do you just jump off a building to "die" and become a zombie again?
If you're at all interested, you don't even have to play the game, you can poke around the Urban Dead Wiki. It's filled with strategy suggestions, roleplaying tips, humor and all sorts of crazy stuff produced by the (extremely passionate) UD community. Just skimming through will show you what can grow out of a few simple rules.
It's a World of Warcraft screenshot, right? Well, no -- it's a screenshot from WTF?!, a Flash-based sidescroller parodying WoW. And it's note-perfect, too -- every interface element and the backgrounds and characters look like they're ripped straight from Azeroth.
Let's face it, money is as imaginary as time. The only difference between the cash in your pocket and the Monopoly bills buried in a cardboard box at the family lake house is this: your government mandates that the cash is accepted for all debts, public and private. In other words, it has value because they say so.
When you’re first acquainted with Twilight Heroes, it may seem a bit...well, average. In all respects, it looks a bit like a low-fi ripoff of Kingdom of Loathing. After a little while with the game, though, you learn that this isn’t true at all.
The basic structure is the same. You use up adventures/turns in different areas, fighting monsters with neat pictures and funny text. The similarities stop there, though. Twilight Heroes has a much darker and more serious feel to it; there are still jokes, of course, but your avatar and his enemies take themselves much more seriously-which isn’t a bad thing. The art is different, too; instead of relying of simple art to convey things, Ryme, the creator and admin of the game, takes ordinary photos and warps them in Photoshop, creating images that can, at times, be downright creepy.
In Kingdom of Loathing, players take the role of a loosely-defined “adventurer” to save King Ralph XI from the evil Naughty Sorceress. Along the way, you’ll fight such monsters as Sk8 Gnomes, Goth Giants, and Racecar Bob.
It sounds stupid, I know, but KoL is actually a very funny game. Originally designed by Zach “Jick” Johnson, the game uses his simplistic stick figure art. That, in addition to the extremely witty jokes, are some of the major draws to the game.
Will the real H.P. Lovecraft please stand up? One of the following three descriptions is from an H. P. Lovecraft story. The only thing changed in that sentence was the tense so that it would read in the present tense, just like descriptions in a game. The other two are from Lovecraft Country: Arkham By Night, a text-based game--a multi-user experience, if you will--available on the Skotos Network as part of a package of games. The package may be the best monthly expenditure on entertainment this side of Netflix. But that is a decision you'll have to make at a later point. Right now, you have to decide which is vintage Lovecraft and which is web-age Lovecraft. Is it a, b or c?
What's interesting about Boomshine is they way it both fits into and defies expectations about "the game," that is, the elements that (pace Wittgenstein) all games actually do share, that makes them, in esse, games.
It's a little one-click game in which a number of colored dots wander about the screen, in a Newtonian way, bouncing off the edge of the screen. Once each level, you may click anywhere; doing so creates a bubble that quickly blows up to a fixed size, and lasts in duration for a few seconds. During that duration, any dots that encounter the bubble likewise blow up into bubbles -- and any dots that encounter this bubble then likewise cause dots to bubble up as well. In principle, you can clear the screen through a chain-reaction of bubbles; in practice, this rarely happens.
...when you Log In or Register. Gives you the ability to post to the forums and your own blog; to rate games and receive recommendations based on your ratings; and to bookmark games for later reference.