In my third installment with SSI founder Joel Billings, we chat about the Gold Box series, Panzer General, and Dark Sun. If you've ever wondered why TSR chose SSI to represent its interests in the videogaming world, this is the video to see. Also check out my rad 3D effects on two of the classic Gold Box box covers.
You can download the video.
In the second part my interview with Joel Billings, founder of SSI, we chat about his company's growth and publishing strategy. During this period, SSI was publishing games from third-parties such as Questron and Phantasie, before doing some in-house work with Wizard's Crown.
You can download the mp4 here.
Here's the first part of my interview with Joel Billings, founder of SSI and strategy wargame aficionado. We focus on Joel's background in wargaming and video games and then the earliest days of SSI and their battles with Avalon Hill.
You can download the video here.
Most of us who are heavily involved in games and game design realize the massive benefits to simple, classic turn-based mechanics. I'm not going to say that turn-based is "better" than real-time any more than a screwdriver is better than a hammer; they're just tools which we can use to get the job done. These days, however, many game designers are indeed using a hammer to nail in a screw, and building some pretty shoddy birdhouses. So many games coming out today would greatly benefit from a turn-based gameplay mechanic - often you can see that the designers knew this, but that something held them back from using one. Today I'm writing about what this something is - a deep-seated cultural mistake that we make about games in general.
This episode features Westwood Studios' real-time strategy game Dune II, the game that launched the genre. It also marks my first attempt at using a green screen! Enjoy, and, as always, please let me know what you think of the game and the video.
Hi, Armchair Arcaders! Kick back in those armchairs and watch a new episode of Matt Chat on the Armchair Arcade Television Network (AATN for short). Even on Antsy the Aardvark would like this one. Remember him? Okay, enough silliness. Here's the eppie!
This week's video looks at one of my all-time favorite strategy games, Heroes of Might and Magic. Debuting in 1995 and based on earlier 1990 game called King's Bounty, HoM&M fused role-playing and turn-based strategy games. Hybrids of that sort typically fail, but Jon Van Caneghem is no ordinary mortal. The game is well polished, with great attention to detail and superb audiovisuals. I had a little fun with the video, so let me know what you think! I've also posted some personal notes below.
The world is a small map with 12 territories, each containing a castle. Surrounding the land portion of the map is an ocean perimeter. The land part of the world gets divided up among the players and everyone gets an equal number of castles. The object of the game is to take over everyone else's castles using your armies. You can attack any castle if it is immediately adjacent to one of your castles. After capturing a castle you get to draw a loot card which gives you gold. Use the gold to buy more armies or to buy a ship which you can use to transport armies to attack castles that aren't immediately adjacent to your already conqured land.
To Attack a castle there are two phases. The External Battle and the Internal Battle. The external battle by land can be either a Direct Attack or a Sneak Attack.
The Direct Attack is the only time you directly face-off against an opponent using the Odyssey. The duel is simply this: The Attacker sends the BallSpot across the screen at the highest speed possible, and attempts to wiggle it, using ENGLISH, past the Defender who can only use their Vertical Control to block it. It IS a bit more challenging then, say, Tennis or Football, because of the high speed of the BallSpot. Really, the game is mostly on the game board and in this case, the video component is used when dice or even Rock, Paper, Scissors would have sufficed.
This week, I decided to cover one of those games that "are so bad they're good," namely, Colin Jones' A Rockstar Ate My Hamster. If you're into tabloids, parody, chiptunes, and British wit--this weird "bargain bin" title is a must-play. Check it out!
Firebird's Elite, released in 1984 for British computers and quickly ported to the major platforms of the day--is the greatest videogame ever made. It is to videogames what the movie Citizen Kane is to film--a Mozart standing boldly against the Saliere's of his day.