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Showing posts with the label Electronic Games

Power of the Set Bonus

One popular thing in digital games, particularly in RPGs where items abound, are set bonuses. I have fond memories of playing Heroes of Might and Magic II as the undead, seeking out the Amulet of the Undertaker, Dead Man’s Boots, and Vampire’s Cowl to form them all together into the Cloak of the Undead King. My armies may fall, but now 30% would rise as skeletons to do my bidding! Who would rise to stop me?!?!? The power of the set bonuses isn’t strictly limited to fantasy games either. You’ll see set bonuses in games like Mega Man and Ratchet & Clank . As long as you’re including equipable items (or even just items) in your games, set bonuses can be included, no matter the genre. Why don’t we see that same thing in our tabletop games very often? This week, let's ponder that question and discuss the good, the bad, and the stupid of Set Bonuses. Strategy It's no secret that a lot of what has to do with tabletop games today is rooted in the history of strategy games. Incorp

Star Wars Gaming in the Outer Rim

B : There’s a term Doctor Who fans use to describe the period from 1990 to 2003 when, with the exception of the US-made 1996 TV movie, there were no new “official” installments of the series: the Wilderness Years. The reason they have a specific name, as opposed to simply referring to this time as “when the show was off the air” or simply a lack of new episodes, is that the Wilderness Years were anything but devoid of new Who material. Entire series of novels, comics, audio plays, and even “ serial numbers filed off ” fan movies starring the original actors proliferated during this period - many of which were made by people who would be involved in resuscitating the “official” franchise in 2004. One thing that characterized  Wilderness Years years works was a willingness to expand far beyond what had been seen in the original series, both thematically and tonally, taking the franchise in wildly different directions. Without having to worry about tying things back to the status quo o

Explosive Realism

Let's get this out there now: I love explosions. Like any 80s kid, it originated with cartoons - although I'm sure each of us has our own story, going back to a specific movie or show. For me, it was the original Danger Mouse , which premiered in the UK the year Andy and I were both born: 1981. By the mid-80s, it was on Nickelodeon here in the states, and required viewing for my father, my sister, and myself. The opening is a frenetic, yet oddly sparse, mess of energy, serving as a great lead-in to the show itself, with the titular Danger Mouse and his hamster assistant Penfold running from a number of old-fashioned  bombs, each punctuated with an onscreen "BANG" or "BOOM." With each of these "blow-ups," as I called them, my father would lift me and my sister into the air and we'd go into the episode energized and giggling. Blow-ups were not only moments of excitement, but familial joy. Before long, I'd be exposed to the ur-text of cinemat

Time for Games!

How much time have you spent on a particular game? How much time have you spent in that game? While modern electronic games present your total playtime with a prominence making it almost impossible to avoid (especially if you're using a service like Steam), it hasn't been that long since the former question was entirely on the player to keep track of and the latter simply nonsensical. While some of this is a function of the way the Almighty Algorithm tracks us and our gaming habits, it's also a result of games having endings - something else that wasn't always present. Not that the ever-running clock exists solely to feed the gnawing hunger of a monstrous inhuman marketing machine, but it really is a useful factor in how we select games and try to fit them into our busy lives. Likewise, time passing within a game's setting is the result of the medium's development in general. The passage of time in Pac-Man 's nightmare world of flashing lights, powerful (i

100%: Completionism in TTRPGs

In the world of digital games, there's often a final goal of completing everything the game offers. On a modern gaming platforms, you'll probably even receive a “trophy” or “badge” for doing this, and we’ve previous discussed bringing these kinds of achievements into our tabletop worlds. Certainly, one might feel a sense of accomplishment from having reached platinum status in Spider-Man or a feeling of regret when you just can’t finish everything in a GTA game and need to move on. Personally, I’ve been in both these scenarios, and still may re-play San Andreas yet again and finally make it to 100%. Generally, though, this is a situation that can leave you with feeling either very satisfied or with a sense of longing and missed opportunity. Both ends of the spectrum, and all points in between, can be seen in tabletop gaming as well. How can we identify different forms of completionism at our tabletops and how can we tackle them as a team? Quarrelsome Questing Your tabletop

Control(ler) Yourself!

The paddle. The light gun. The push-button guitar. All manner of joysticks, trackballs, and, of course, gamepads. The Nintendo Power Glove. The Coleco Super-Action. The Brøderbund U-Force. The Sega Toy-let (maybe... don't look that one up). We here at Never Say Dice collectively have lifetimes of experience with electronic games, and have seen all kinds of control peripherals come and go . From the straightforward to the truly bizarre , they all share a common purpose: to act as the medium between player and game, the means by which all interaction occurs beyond the one-way comprehension of audio and visual output. For such a significant role, though, the humble controller seems a little-recognized aspect of gaming as a developing artform and storytelling medium. When an idea catches on, it's quickly taken for granted, while alternate approaches are derided as foolish delusions or gimmickry. So, this week at Never Say Dice, we'd like to steer the conversation to electroni

Gaming in the Late Stages

So you’ve reached the final level of your game, maybe even the final boss. Or you’ve just hit level 20 in your D&D campaign. Congrats! Those are all fantastic accomplishments. While we do mean the sentiment, that isn’t what we mean by Late Stage Gaming though. So what do we mean by Late Stage Gaming? Like other media before it, it looks like games are starting to push to the subscription only model. A path where you’re not just paying for extras, but paying to maintain access to the game itself. What exactly is happening? What does this mean for us as gamers, both tabletop and digital? When should we really start to worry? Is there anything we can do about it? Won’t somebody please think of the children?!? Sit down with Never Say Dice this week as we try to cover some of those questions in today’s post. - A B : “Late Stage Capitalism” is a term describing the commodification and industrialization of every aspect of life, especially once the profit motive overtakes even elements of

It's a Mystery!

What should you, the detective, do now ? That's one of the first prompts for interaction I ever saw in a mystery game: The Witness by Stu Galley (although modern accreditation would likely say "directed by" rather than attributing the whole thing to him) and  published by Infocom in 1983 for just about every home computer platform then in existence. I acquired the Commodore 64 version from a yard sale and immediately rushed up to my room to try it. I've loved detective stories for literally longer than I can remember - it's simply always been . The complete collection of Strand Sherlock Holmes stories I received for my seventh birthday was one of my most prized possessions and I frequently hauled the massive tome to school with me... even if I never made it past the first few stories. Encyclopedia Brown, a little closer to my demographic, was a hero of mine and I think I had every book in the series (along with the adjacent se ries Encyclopedia Brown's Book o

NSD's NY2K24

What's that movie line everybody makes fun of again? "Somehow the New Year returned?" Something like that. In any case, as this weary old orb of ours has successfully made another orbital circumlocution of its remote and lawless star system, we thought we'd do as have in previous New Year’s posts , and take stock of how we've grown as gamers (both in the playing and the running) and as storytellers, along with our thinking of where we'd like to go in the next annum. - B A :  The goals I set for 2023 may have been simpler than previous years, but I did indeed accomplish them. That's a key to goal setting:  finding things you can accomplish. They weren’t entirely constructive, but even leisurely and time-consuming activities still require planning and organization when life is messy and complicated . I actually was able to pick up Bully once again alongside Bugsy. This time, while I didn’t 100% everything, I did make a run through the entire game and com