Archive for the gaming Category

In Gods We Trust

Posted in gaming, Humour, religion, satire with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by zombiebacon

Boardgames are legion, but when you boil down to the essentials behind them all you find a few key themes. Conquest is the big one – be it through an army (Risk), good business acumen (Monopoly) or Shakespearean anti-hero (Othello).

Slaughtering all opposition in the name of wholesome family fun might make you pause to think about the real messages we are sending to children, but even so, it is still JUST a game.

Another thing that is presented to children and is seen as the non-evolved backbone of the family unit is Religion. Unlike board games, the desire to conquer that comes with viewing some people as against everything you stand for is very much real. And bloody.

Which is why I think new indie board game  Playing Gods: The Boardgame of Divine Domination is one of the coolest and most important things to happen to parlor games since they released the NHS edition of Operation – a game which could takes months to complete, depending on the length of the waiting list.

playinggods

Playing Gods - Making blasphemy fun

Players can choose to be one of five major world deities – including Moses, Kali and a machine-gun wielding Buddha – whose aim is simple: take over the world with their religion.

To do this you have to build up your number of devotees (represented through coloured markers) while smiting or converting your opponents’ followers.

Add in wrath cards to bring down your heavenly fury and Conversion cards to boost your box of divine tricks and you have a game so addictive you’ll steal a TV to buy the extension pack.

It’s the creation of Ben Radford, 38, managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

Aware that much of the world’s violence comes from the source of eternal love, Radford realised that mocking various images of God and their faithful adherents would “make more social commentary” and “pierce the pretensions of extremist religious zealotry with humor.”

That it does wonderfully, passing many hours in the entertaining pursuit of monotheism.

Someone should really distribute this game to all the world’s spiritual leaders so they can settle their differences without destroying us in the process.

20 years to finish a computer game – it must be a record!

Posted in gaming on December 29, 2008 by zombiebacon

There are no words to describe the sense of satisfaction I’m feeling right now. Why? Because I’ve just completed a computer game I began 20 years ago.

Back in 1988 I received an 8-bit home computer for my 10th birthday. Apart from the Atari console that had spectacularly blown up while playing pong, it was the first games machine of my own.

Soon I was down the shops slowly bankrupting my parents with ransom demands to the repeated value of £1.99 – hand over the cash or never see your smiling little boy again.

Some games were good – like Feud – and some games were great – like Werewolves of London – but only a few cassettes made it into the realm of legendary games.

Ask people of a certain age who Dizzy was and they’ll grin fondly in remembrance of the daddy of all modern gaming icons.

Before Mario and Sonic, but well after the white block that went ‘blip’, Dizzy the egg was having a whole series of memorable adventures on the Amstrad, Spectrum and Commodore computers.

The brainchild of the Oliver Twins, the crude little oval sprite transported kids to magical worlds where evil wizards needed to be defeated, lands to be freed, and apples avoided.

I really dug Dizzy’s first game – Dizzy: The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure – which was released by Code Masters in 1988 – but the problem I found was that it was too hard.

Well, too hard for me.

When I grew up I put aside childish things; among them  the hope that one distant day I would complete Dizzy and be able to say that I did.

Until earlier this month, when I installed a Commodore 64 emulator.

If you haven’t tried one, I really must recommend it. I went with WinVice and after a bit of trial and error learning how to get games running, I was well and truly in retro-geek land.

Maniac Mansion, Jet Set Willey, IK+ – all the best titles from the early days of computer games are once again at my disposal.

And Dizzy the egg. Though I do find it sweetly ironic that I have a cracked version of the game to thank for that:)

Playing the game, my memory was jogged on how hard it was actually control the character. He rolls more times than a drunk down an elevator.

And there are bugs, causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth if you die in the wrong place and find yourself unable to avoid the same fate ad nauseam.

But no passwords or save facilities – making the game an unforgiving taskmaster that will force  you to start right from the beginning if you don’t do things absolutely right.

In short it’s hard, and frustrating – but addictive and ultimately rewarding.

Especially if it’s taken two decades to get to the end.

A screenshot from Dizzy

A screenshot from Dizzy

Dizzy! My egg is spinnin'

Dizzy! My egg is spinnin'