A Tiny Post about Tiny Moments

Posted by Cha

You are in a cave. The obvious path is to the right but it’s unclear from where you start whether there could be other offshoots at the top or bottom.

Take a step. Sit down.

The primary challenge of any game is simply to put in the time. Maybe there are other difficulties, but the simple concept of spending time is fundamental and always required. Patience can be hard, whether for a long grind or a series of repeated attempts. And there are so many other things that could absorb us and take us away from a particular experience.


The Challenge of Dinner Date

Posted by Cha

This post is part of the Blogs of the Round Table at Critical Distance, on the topic of "Challenge".

Julian Luxemburg waits anxiously in his apartment for his date to show up. She never will. We know this, and since we're sitting in Julian's subconscious he likely knows it too, deep down, but we have to go through the motions anyway. We're in a narrow kitchen with a small dining table off to one side.

Intimate, you might say.

Or cramped.

Everything is in place and there's nothing left to do but wait. It's a simple space, but carefully tidied and arranged for this moment. The table's set for two, with empty wine bottles forming a candle holder and flower vase. Soup bubbling on the stove, crusty bread, and a decent drop of Merlot.

Because he wanted everything to be nice for her.

Because he's lonely and wants to get inside her knickers.

DeadEnd: Cerebral Vortex is a brilliant example of current trends in stupid game titles. We have "Dead" and "End" mushed together into some unlikely abomination, while "Vortex" is there to sound cool without having anything to do with the game. "Cerebral", well, that's because it's an indie game delving into a shattered subconscious. It's so symbolic and deep, you know?

Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of DeadEnd: Cerebral Vortex. It's just a first-person maze game using grid-based click-to-move. As in, you have to constantly inch yourself along clicking square-by-square and see how long it takes for your patience to run out.


Demon's Souls: Challenge and Despair

Posted by Cha

"Do not be concerned, life is hardly as precious as one might think" - Yurt, the Silent Chief, Demon's Souls

[Post includes spoilers for the early part of the game]

Returning to Demon's Souls after a long hiatus feels like falling back into the arms of an intense lover. Part of me regrets ever leaving, but it's hard to maintain so much passion and focus. From the outside this affair might seem unhealthy, but it's a willing submission to a fair master who always encourages the best from me.

In the past I've written about the difficulty in Demon's Souls being far less than many have suggested. I still feel that way, but it was also a knee-jerk reaction to difficulty dominating the conversation. My lover is not cruel. The first word I'd choose to describe Demon's Souls isn't brutal, punishing, or (gods forbid) hardcore. I'd call it 'coherent' – every element serves the overall dark fantasy vision.


Infinite Adaptive

Posted by Cha

I'm not a particularly skilled player, so I do like having difficulty options of some form. I have also improved considerably and am working on continuing to get better. The only way I can do that is if game difficulty stays just a little above my current level. Enough to challenge, but not to give up in frustration.

One of my pet annoyances in games is when I die a few times and start getting messages reminding me I can turn down the difficulty level. The game seems to be mocking me. You aren't good enough to be here, why not just switch to easy mode, you loser? The occasional tip I could probably handle, but once I know the option's there I see no need to hammer the point. Unless someone out there in game-developer-land really enjoys teasing people like me, which is valid I suppose.