Henry Skey

unplugged_henry

For the next two weeks, Snackbar Games’ columnists are all mixed up! Serotonin‘s Henry Skey steps in for this installment of Gaming Unplugged.  

I’m not exactly a board game person. Oh sure, I pretended to like Monopoly like everybody else growing up, and we’d roll out some obscure card game at a friend’s house, usually involving multiple languages, ripped cards and missing instruction booklets. The obvious joke of playing a “bored” game came up frequently. I sound like the perfect guest host for a column dedicated to talk about non-electronic games, don’t I?

The truth is, I like board games and card games, but they’re an entirely different kettle of fish from video games. READ MORE

smrpg2

I’m not proud that I’ll probably go see the fourth Transformers movie. I could tell myself, “Henry, you’re an adult. You don’t have to go see a movie you don’t want to see.” It’s no use. I’ve seen the first three movies and everybody’s talking about how horrible it is. How dare I deprive myself of such collective misery?

The first movie was fine, in no small part to Steven Spielberg encouraging director Michael Bay to restrict computer-generated imagery and use more practical effects. The fight scenes were fun to watch because you could mostly see what was going on. There’s no accounting for taste, but giant, transforming robots fighting is a genuine treat to watch. But the key factor was perspective; I could see what was going on. READ MORE

sero_licensed

Sometimes we have no idea what we want, despite our vehement insistence that we do. This goes for nearly all aspects of life; our tastes change as the years go by, for food, friends, hobbies, athletics, television, books… you name it. Nearly everything and anything that you enjoy, perceive and think about will change as you get older. Nearly. But when it comes to some things, we stand firm and withstand any change life throws at us. We’re stubborn, even in the face of intelligent persuasion. READ MORE

sero_location0

Realism in games is a touchy subject. There’s a distinction between praising a game for being “so realistic” and a game verging into “too realistic” territory. Make a game that mimics real life and you won’t have a very fun game. It must be a fine, wobbly line that developers walk to ensure there’s a mix of suspension of disbelief, a rational plot and a physics engine that will allow us to appreciate, but not critique too harshly.

Currency, or rather acquisition of currency, shouldn’t be as much of a chore in games as it is in life. What drives our society shouldn’t necessarily be present in games. Sure, we enjoy a different political world, or different sociological issues that mimic the near future of our own, but it’s a fine line. That being said, I truly believe that artists, animators and level designers should welcome our little planet with open arms when it comes to constructing levels and use its landscapes as a source of inspiration when creating new worlds. READ MORE

sero_rogueleader1

I’m thankful my Snackbar duties don’t extend to reviewing games. I don’t have the objectivity to separate my feelings from actual game design. I’m a sucker for emotional impact and that is my greatest influence when discussing games. There are just too many factors to contemplate when considering an overall score. Would it really bother me if there’s clipping on level six? How about if the plot isn’t original? Is there multiplayer?

One of the weirdest aspects of a game to review, I would think, is the presentation.  Much like with food, with video games it really matters. What does the box art look like? Does everything “fit” with the overall theme? How long are the load times? My ultimate decision on presentation, however, boils down to the menus. READ MORE

valkyriaiia

I’m currently trying to get through Valkyria Chronicles II. Note that I said “trying.” It’s certainly not a terrible game; the soundtrack and visuals are very similar to the first Valkyria Chronicles, which is nothing but a compliment. The music ranges from tranquil and relaxing to foreboding and intense. The world is a mix of fantasy, anime and historical fiction. At first, I couldn’t help but think how ridiculous it is that teenagers in high school are being trained for war, until you remember that children younger than these have been expected to fight for their countries for thousands of years. READ MORE

sero_MEbridge

I didn’t have much luck last week in the health department. I woke up one morning to find myself covered in hives (a disgusting first for me), only to visit the hospital a few weeks later with what felt like a broken toe. So, with my skin feeling like it had a mobile sunburn and my foot not letting me put any weight on it, I stayed home from work for three days. The first day was a blur; a combination of medication-induced hallucinations and not much food. But on the second day I started to feel better. I took a long, three-hour nap and woke up to a magnificent feeling. READ MORE

guildwars2f

At Snackbar Games, we spend a lot of time discussing core mechanics. Visuals, presentation, audio and gameplay are common topics we cover. However, more detailed analysis will yield our thoughts on the game’s longevity, emotional connection, progression, use of tech, multiplayer and a slew of other facets, providing an indication of a game’s quality relative to our experiences. Sounds pretty simple, right? READ MORE

I just finished the original Peter Pan novel, from 1911. It was based on the 1904 play and originally entitled Peter and Wendy. This is hardly the Peter Pan you know from Disney. The titular character is far cockier, bloodthirsty and psychotic than what you would expect from a “children’s book.” The safety of the Darling children isn’t his top priority; he’s obsessed with adventure, and brags about how fantastic he is throughout the story. READ MORE

lightningreturns

I’m an avid reader. When I was young, my father started reading to me before bedtime; Calvin & Hobbes was a mainstay, along with Swallows & Amazons, King Solomon’s Mines and other classic novels that would probably have been more appropriate for a seventh-grade English class than for an eight-year-old. I think that’s one of the main reasons I enjoy role-playing games so much: they contain far more text and story than other genres, and the speed at which I can scroll through it means I don’t have to endure long periods of inactivity.

However, some games cross the line. I’m all for reading, but lately I’ve been reminded that, sometimes, less is more. READ MORE