Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dub's Diatribe: Misogyny Bad, Violence OK.

Nothing from me today, but here is an excellent post from a former GameSquad alumnus who has just effectively and succinctly called out politically correct game reviewers for their cognitive dissonance.  Check it out!

Dub's Diatribe: Misogyny Bad, Violence OK.: I must admit that I am probably bothered by Gamespot's recent review of Grand Theft Auto V and the subsenquent response to the review ...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Etmirku! Give Me Back My Space Legions!

Seeing how I had planned on playing countless hours of Creative Assembly's Total War: Rome 2 by now, I knew that any blog posting I managed to squeeze in would probably begin with Emperor Augustus' anguished cry at the loss of his legions in the Teutoburg Forest (actual quote: "Quintili Vare! Legiones redde!" Transaltion: "Quintilius Varus! Give me back my legions!").  Of course, I am not playing Rome 2 because it arrived in CA's habitually buggy and incomplete state (yet further reinforcing my belief that game design has now become so complex that gamers will need to "lay down" their games for a period of time so that they can fully mature, just like wine).  So I needed to find another reason to use the quote (skip it?  Never!).  With that in mind, blogging about Arcen Games' masterful AI War: Fleet Command seemed to fit the bill nicely since it did, in fact, get me to exclaim something similar!

Briefly, AI War is a wonderfully genre-bending game (my review of the base game here) where the elements of traditional 4X Strategy are combined with such disparate elements as Tower Defense, Real Time Strategy, and even a touch of Role Playing (if one includes the Ancient Shadows expansion).   Take this thoroughly original - and daring! - mix, and add in perhaps the best AI opponent this side of the world of Chess, and you have what I believe will go down as one of the all time classic space strategy games of all time (it has already grossed over $1 million dollars).

Now, why the anguish....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Syria on my Mind: The Subjugation of Pomerania

One of the things I have tried to show via this blog is how modern video games, like a good book or a good movie, can shed light on geopolitical events.  This is not that startling: military and political scientists have been using "games theory" for a very long time to simulate the world of real politik.   Games are very good at this because they can smartly abstract the salient military and political principles that are operative in our world, thereby making them easier to digest.  So, for example, in my last post I showed how DICE's first person shooter Battlefield 3 captures an essentially correct vision of high intensity warfare in the Persian Gulf, making it a game I believe every politician should play at least once before glibly voting for another Gulf war (especially in light of the fact that a mere 21.8% of congress have actual military experience).  In the specifics it might not come close to real combat, but it does capture the fundamentals of it, and that can be as effective a teaching tool as any multimillion dollar military simulator, something most people will never have access to in their life.

People who don't game and/or are ignorant of games theory would probably be surprised at how often, and how well, most modern video games succeed as teachers.  Heck, sometimes I am surprised at the lessons unexpectedly imparted to me by video games.  Take, for example, what happened to me last night in a session of Paradox's superlative Crusader Kings 2 (you might want to hit play on this vid before you start reading)....

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Battlefield Three: Obama, McCain and Graham

Did you hear?!?  American troops have engaged Russian forces in combat in Syria!  It's true!  Here's the footage:

Darn intro text got cut off!  I am still not good at video editing!

Okay, okay, that wasn't actual combat footage, but footage from one of my recent sessions in DICE's Battlefield 3, a first person shooter that revolves around American and Russian troops fighting it out in the Middle East.   So that wasn't real...but I find it a strangely compelling vision of just what a larger international conflict might look like in Syria.