Submitted by sebastian sohn on Fri, 11/18/2011 - 04:07.
Adslife is a ad-agency management sim browser game, written in HTML5. You run a one-person, fictional ad agency in the 1970s but you get to make ads for real companies. You scour the Internet and input urls into an in-game web browser looking for clients. What size of a company you can take as a client depends on your reputation. You have to work your way up from small organizations to bigger ones.
The game has crude in-game desktop-publishing software and you take clip art from the web to create a your on ads. When you submit an ad, another player competes for the contract and a third player judges who wins the contract. When you win the contract it gets published in the game's newspaper.
Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 11/01/2011 - 06:36.
TC Tennis is a tennis simulation strategy boardgame. TC Tennis (TCT) simulates the statistical realism and deviation (via dice) rather than the twitch/dexterity elements of tennis. Designer Terry Coleman spent much time on tweaking the numbers to find the right ratios and probabilities. TCT comes with 24 champion tennis player stat cards that you can play, from modern players to players from the 1920s. Each player card has is ranked from AA to F on four different surfaces: Grass, Clay, Hard, and Indoor. The card backs have a short bio of each player. Lots of hard work went into gathering and organizing information on each athlete. Coleman is no stranger to sports games and sports data because he has worked on several sports videogames for Electronic Arts.
Bistro Boulevard is a kind of remix of Trevor Chan's Restaurant Empire and Diner Dash. You start with one plain vanilla restaurant in a restaurant row that has seen better days; as you increase in "stars" (Michelin, presumably), you can reopen other restaurants in the row, with different sorts of cuisine.
It's tuned to a casual audience, so pretty easy, but with a continuing grind; while open, all you do is seat guests at tables that fit the party that arrives (no color-coding ala Diner Dash), which is simple if tedious. Between days, you unlock new recipes, train staff, modify decor and table arrangments, hire new staff, and so on. When I say "tuned to a casual audience," I mean things like "to train a chef from a D cook for produce to a C cook, you click and pay $100; it happens instantly."
We don't normally review anything as mainstream as Cityville, which has something like a hundred fucking million MAU, making it vastly more successful than Zynga's previous big hit, Farmville. I don't intend to make a habit of it. And in fact this isn't so much a review as a personal response -- in other words, I feel a good rant coming on, and I'm inclined to run with it.
Before I begin to rant, I should say that actually, I rather like this game. But...
Majesty was a game that my brother and I played a lot over Easter about 10 years ago, because in my family, we got presents on Easter - resurrection trumps birth in material yield, my father used to say (he didn't). The game had a certain iconic magic to it, you played a king who had to run a D&D kingdom indirectly, creating the economic incentives for the various heroes to go out and explore, kill monsters, gather loot. The heroes then spend the profits of their adventures on better equipment, healing potions, or new spells. It was a process not unlike the engine that allows the US to conjur money out of nothing and scare the rest of the world into honoring it. It's fantasy Keynesianism, as opposed to the Keynesian fantasy we deal with in real life. But I digress, insulting two religions in the opening paragraph, and I haven't even talked about the religions in this game, which are comparatively more useful.
Cities in Motion is a game in the mold of Railroad Tycoon, but with an urban setting. Four European city maps are provided with the game -- Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, and Helsinki (the developers are Finnish), along with a map design tool, so one presumes other cities will become available over time. You represent a private transit monopoly, apparently, since profit is the goal but there's no competition.
You may build five sorts of transit routes: buses, trams, subways (metros), ferries (water buses) and, oddly, helicopters. Thirty vehicles historically used in European cities are modelled, each with its own game stats. Bus routes are the easiest and cheapest to build; you simply place bus stops, link them together in a route, and purchase some buses to serve them. Trams require you to lay rail at street level first; and metros can be built at grade, underground, or as elevated lines. More....
Submitted by TheDustin on Sat, 12/18/2010 - 02:36.
A business simulation of a sex harem for comic book characters? This game cannot not be reviewed here. However -- refrain from any lewd remarks here -- I couldn't last more than fifteen minutes with it. Blame an early childhood rife with the Dark Knight, my (sorta) aversion to games without a jump button, or plain old apathy, but I just couldn't get into it. From what I gathered there was some Macguffin that required Professor Xavier to pimp out his mutants, or something. The game threw Horniness, Stamina, and Kinkiness meters at me and I got a chuckle from that, but my kid sister walked into the room and asked what I was playing. I didn't experience any Puritanical shame or anything like that, but I didn't really want to crack open that proverbial can of worms at that specific moment -- and especially in that context. I exited the game, told her "nothing", and we played some Mario Kart 64. She's devastating with those damn green shells.
So you're probably thinking "another Facebook game on 'Play This Thing!'?" with nested quotes and punctuation neatly laid out, because that's how you think - nested. However, here are some things you may not know that makes this particular FB game touchingly indie:
- it's made by the designers of Train and uh... this game you may have heard of: DOOM.
- its parent company is currently being taken the woodshed with hardcore mafia-style, Hostel 2-level grotesque punishment by Facebook. They've disabled all the distribution/retargeting channels on all the company's apps for six months, except this game, which is only suspended until Wednesday. The company is technically not owned by anyone, except its owners and maybe some VCs, but this kind of singling out gives it a shred of indie dignity, maybe?
- it makes numerous, canny references to the Millenial Fair in Chrono Trigger.
You take all the stuff that Brian Reynolds made work in Frontville but tweaked out, collections for example play like a slot machine reward every time you click a tree. You get one click every two minutes and you need some special items that pop-up to complete buildings. This alone will drive a significant percentage of the audience to pay less than a dollar into the game, just some extra Facebook credits and why not, but I think they'll be tapping into a higher monetization rate for that. They also have a more balanced economy, with the battle between nature and your energy bar brokered by Protectors which cost wood - in Frontville there was always a surplus of wood, here the snake gorges on its tail.
But wait! It doesn't sell out the level curve and adjust it so you get a Ding! at frequent, clean intervals, it instead has a meaty level curve, where each new Ding! marks new things to do, and where getting to level 20 puts you on par with Drizzt Do'Urden - albeit a Teddy Bear version.
There are monsters to fight, and gothic stuff mixed with Winnie The Pooh meets Redwall character designs.
My biggest criticism is they over-saturation of newsfeeds. Until recently, the way you promulgated a Facebook game and got people to re-engage was through prompting newsfeeds. Every conceivable thing you could post about is solicited for a feed, because maybe you'll click on one of those options, and it will shotgun some "virality" to people who browse your page. Well, Facebook nerfed the newsfeed, now only people who are already playing can see it - personally I think it's the best goddamned thing to ever happen to the platform. If they adapt this game to having just a few key feeds that relate to some actual social gameplay, a dimension where the title is currently weak, that would do wonders for the experience and probably the longer-term business.
My biggest praise is that this game has, more than any other title I've seen on the platform, pop-up book potential for new features to recombinantly deepenify it. I wish Brenda and John the courage, nay, the bravado - ok, that's just a synonym - to take this game in bold directions that challenge the conventional mass-market logics chaining the rest of the industry.
But I have a feeling the company politics surrounding the only revenue-generating property in the portfolio might complicate that. If that's the case: Brenda Brathwaite, John Romero, I am hiring.
Ian Bogost was on the Colbert Report, if you didn't see it, you can tell because his Facebook portrait says so. Bogost has long been using gameplay for dry satire, the variety best tasted with a spot of mustard on a cool day, but his latest work takes it to another level of meta-referentiality. It's a social game criticizing social games. To that effect, I'm going to meta-referentially explain my choice for a title for this review of this meta-referential social game about social games: it's a play on a typical phrase that adolescents use to summarize their eager capitulation with human sexuality which at once juxtaposes a very complex, nuanced and deeply social interaction with the most basic, one-dimension interaction of clicking; this summarizes how complex decisions have been reduced to context-senstive clicks, the whole becomes a mere unit, or perhaps, a unit operation. There's also this bestiality thing in there if you have enough neighbors to unlock it.
What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed was released in 2006, before we launched -- but if you missed it at the time, it's eminently worth playing.
Linus Bruckman is two games that you play at the same time -- sort of. The upper game is Kami, and is the story of a Japanese goddess seeking her freedom from imprisonment. The lower game is DocMcVonSpaceburgers, in which you play a goofy little alien guy trying to run a burger franchise and get his Dad out of debt (he lost everything playing poker online).
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