A Criteria For Excellence

As far as getting some quality entertainment is concerned, it’s been a fairly fruitful few weeks.

  • Two weeks ago, Star Trek Online was released.  I had voiced earlier that I was concerned it lacks a sense of “fundamental purpose” that makes a MMORPG interesting.  Recently, I decided that this is due to a lack of immersion.  I’ve asked for a refund for my lifetime subscription and hope that Cryptic Studios is willing to oblige (if not, it will at least linger as a powerful lesson).
  • One week ago, I had finished Mass Effect 2.  I spoke at length about it: good enough to finish, a qualified continuation of the original, but with some design decisions that made have soured my optimism for Mass Effect 3.
  • I then moved on to BioShock 2, which was eagerly consumed in the space of a couple days.   It was a enjoyable experience that managed to upgrade the original BioShock in nearly every single way.  I only wish there was something left of it to play.  (The multiplayer was ambitiously executed but passe.)
  • This weekend, I purchased Fort Zombie (discounted to $2.50 on Direct2Drive at the time of this writing) and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat (fresh to Steam this weekend).  These turned out to be excellent acquisitions whose use of dynamic content and immersion (respectively but not exclusively) put MMORPGs to shame.

I called this entry “A Criteria For Excellence” because I think that being exposed to all these games lately has sort of solidified a better-than-usual understanding of the kind of games I’m genuinely interested in playing.  Games which take themselves seriously, with reasonably deep and satisfying gameplay, and ideally with dynamic content that enables a good amount of replayability.

Consequently, the number of games I’m willing to purchase has drastically decreased.  I’ve a mental lens that only picks out a specific kind of diamond out of the rough now.  Most modern MMORPGs lack adequate immersion to be virtual worldly enough to be worth a monthly subscription.  Games in general are simply affairs whose casual player focus excludes me handily.

Games like Spelunky, Dwarf Fortress, or Fort Zombie have shown the way.   Without enough alternatives, I should really return to my own game development.

Speaking of which, while BYOND is generally where I want to be (a tile-based multiplayer native platform) I recently made good on purchasing a Student Edition of Above Creative Suite 4 Web Premium while I was still in school.   As long Adobe’s educational activation department doesn’t find me disqualified for it somehow, I’ll soon have a very powerful professional suite of game development to look forward to learning the ins and outs of.

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