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Gaming

The ABC of Cinema (and Games)

Here’s some quick fire video tributes to popular cinema hits and video games. All are lovingly animated with great use of sound, from Evan Seitz on Vimeo .

 

ABCinema from Evan Seitz on Vimeo .

123Films | ABCinema Ep.2: Numbers from Evan Seitz on Vimeo .

Alphagames from Evan Seitz on Vimeo .

 

 

Little Wheel (Game)

Little Wheel is a flash based “casual” game you can play in your browser. It features a great swing/jazz soundrack and some impressive graphics in a silhouette style.

Gameplay is similar to most of these adventure games, where you simply use the mouse to click on on-screen features. Puzzles are simple, but some may get you scratching your head until you hit that “aha!” moment. Unlike other puzzle/adventure games Little Wheel marks the clickable parts of the level, helping you out greatly.

I hope to showcase more games in this blog, but for now check out Kongregate , Newgrounds and Armor Games for more than you could ever want!

Little Wheel

Little Wheel

World of Warcraft

What is there to say about World Of Warcraft that hasn’t already been said? Well, for what it’s worth, this is my view.

WoW is an astonishing success. It’s a subscription based Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) based on a fantasy universe populated by elves, dwarves, gnomes, orcs, humans and the like. At the last count there were over 11 million people wordlwide inhabiting the world, each paying a monthly fee. Yep, it’s a massive moneyspinner for Blizzard – the developers.

There’s a lot to love about WoW. There’s a very rich history and mythology created from the original strategy titles, through books and guides, right up to this online installment. And there’s a gigantic world to explore across multiple continents and dimensions, with every terrain from lush jungle, barren desert, marshland, populated cities, mountainous domains, magical wastelands and the like.

You start the game as a lowly level 1 in whatever race and profession you choose, so you could – for example – be a Human Warlock, a Gnome Theif, or a Dwarf Warrior. Or whatever takes your fancy. You choose a name and use some basic customisation options for your looks, and away you go. You also choose a faction to play for, Alliance or Horde.

You’ll soon hit the quest system. Because quests are pretty modular in nature, you’ll discover they only take a few basic types. Most are pretty simple, kill x amount of a certain monster, or recover some treasure, or escort a charcter through some difficulties. At their best some quests are told with panache and are pretty memorable – but at their worst they are mere “grinds”, a stepping stone to advance through the levels.

And it’s this grinding that plagues the game. In order to advance you need experience, which is derived mainly from killing monsters and bosses or completing quests. Some people choose to play by following these quests and advancing the story, while others will take the shortcut of simply killing endless poor monsters without remorse. Whatever rocks your boat!

Along the way there are extras to enhancement your playing experience. You can learn professions, for example, to create weapons, gadgets, jewels, or whatever. And you can even go fishing, mining and herb picking and other “gathering” skills.

The main problem with games of this nature is that there’s no real end. Sure, there are interim targets: for example, you’ll want to reach level 40 to get your mount, then level 70 to get your flying mount and hit the level maximum. You may aim to conquer certain parts of the world, or seek out an elusive treasure, or build up massive wealth. Some people say hitting level 70 is just the start of the game – as then you’ve reached the “end game” and can really start playing.

However, in the latter stages WoW just becomes a numbers game. You only play to increase your stats, perhaps conquer certain dungeons where the end reward is the fact you’ve gained an extra +5 advantage to your combat scores. It can become a full time job working out strategies of what equipment to carry, what spells and abilities to learn, and what skills and professions to foster.

Wow has been criticised for being addictive, sometimes going by the humorous moniker “World Of WarCrack” 🙂 This is certainly true for some people, the endless search for a better character can take an extraordinary amount of time and patience. And people who are active in guilds – groups of like minded players – even set their calenders and lives around in game events, such as raids on dungeons or enemy territories.

World Of Warcraft isn’t going anywhere soon. One massive expansion was already released (The Burning Crusade) and another is imminent (Wrath of The Lich King). These serve to keep interest in the game with extra lands to explore, higher experience levels to reach, and new professions to learn.

But the fact remains: World Of Warcraft faces a difficult balance to appeal to the casual gamer who wish to invest a few hours a week in their advancement, and the hardcore gamer who is willing to spend all day online and become “the best”, however ephemeral and ultimately worthless that accolade will be. There has to be enough content to appeal to both, a solid advancement process you can follow, and enough strategy and skill involved so that game has a real sense of acheivement when you face down a difficult boss.

Ultimately, WoW succeeds. It’s by far the most popular and accomplished of the MMORPGs around today. Because of it’s longevity and popularity (the title has seemingly been in the games charts forever) it’s difficult to see how others can topple this titan and take it’s crown.

WoW only requires a modest PC by todays standards to run. Graphically, it’s attractive – even beautfiul and times – but it’s by no means state of the art. Sonically, background music and sound samples help to immerse you in the experience.

Whether you want to play solo or seek to join in partys and guilds of other players – or even battle them in player vs player realms, arenas and battlegrounds – WoW hits the mark. But those who like traditional games with a real, scripted path and a definite ending may look to look elsewhere.

Rating: 9.5 / 10 – at least until bordeom sets in!

I don’t play much anymore. But if you do see an alliance human warlock called Essjayar or a horde tauren druid called Wreck on the Ghostlands EU realm, be sure to say “Hi!” 😀

Four Second Games

At Armor Games you’ll find a few titles in the Four Second series. These are a series of mini-games, all to be completed in 4 seconds, that are thrown at you at a frantic rate. Every one is played with the arrow keys and the space bar so no excuses that your mouse reactions just aint good enough 🙂

How long can you last? I’m finding these ridculously addictive but I’m not giving up yet!

You need fast reactions and an even faster brain! As you get the feel for the games you’ll do better but this is a quickfire gaming session like none other.

Four Second Fury

Four Second Frenzy (the most popular)

Four Second Firestorm (14mb so the flash may take a while)

20 Greatest Spectrum Games

MSN UK has a list of what they say are the 20 greatest Sinclair Spectrum games of all time.

The Spectrum, the most popular of the 8-bit era of computing, had a massive array of titles, with almost no quality control. There were outstanding classics alongside pure dross.

For more on the Spectrum you can read the outline below – pasted direct from the original version of this site 🙂

There are some strange choices – but Jet Set Willy and Head Over Heels, for example, deserve their places.

MSN 20 Greatest Spectrum Games Of All Time

Sinclair ZX Spectrum

This might be one of the most emulated computers out there. The sinclair had a VAST software library and programmers managed to squeeze astounding feats out of the little rubber-keyed 48K 3.5mhz 8-colour machine. The Spectrum was also my first ever computer. In the UK at least it was incredibly popular. You either had a CBM 64 or a Speccy! In the 80’s this was the machine to have, even though it cost £175 when released!

The Spectrum was an evolution of the ZX80 and ZX81 machines. It was released in 16k, 48k and eventually 128k formats. When Sinclair sold out to Amstrad after the C5 fiasco more machines were released (the +2 and the +3) but by then the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga were making inroads.

The Spectrum, even with its humble specs, has everything you could want available for it. In its heyday the magazine racks were filled with Spectrum titles and the software shelves the same. Much of it is now freely distributable. Amstrads e-mailer phone even plays Spectrum games to this day! Some companies, notably Ultimate Play The Game (now the top developer Rare) request that their back catalogue are not released.

The Spectrum really kick started the home computer market in this country and deserves it place in history. Many of todays PC users and hobbyist programmers started out here. It is easy to get lost in nostalgia remembering this humble machine and community that sprung up around it. For more information on the Speccy visit Planet Sinclair or this page .

There are many, many, emulators available for the Spectrum. They are now near perfect. There are Java emulators for your browser and emualators coded to run on every machine under the sun. The Spectrum is probably the most emulated machine you can find! For things to use with it look for either snapshot files or tape-image files.

HOB Java Emulator – Play perfectly emulated games right in your browser!

World of Spectrum’s Emulator Archive

Free Games With Gametap

Gametap – a Turner Company – is a games membership site where the customer can choose between free or paid options.

What’s interesting about this site is the broad array of games even in the free membership.

Gametag offers a mix of emulated classics from the arcades and consoles as well as classic PC gaming fare. This emulation is in itself very well designed, and some titles you can even play multiplayer! The system has a lobby for these multiplayer games so you can find people to play against. You can play challenge , or co-op with players.

For example, play the Sega Genesis version of Streetfighter 2 – against a remote, human opponent 🙂

Gametap also has some episodic games, some of which are unique to the site such as American McGee’s Grimm. Unfortunately, while a unique concept with interesting art design the first episode at least is an average playing experience.

To round the site off, you can even save playlists of games (and access others) as well as

Here’s some of the old school titles on Gametap:

Robotron
Joust
1943 (multiplayer)
Tapper
New Zealand Story

All 100% authentically emulated.

And the retail PC titles?

Hitman 1 and 2
X2
Deus Ex (recommended, highly rated)
Tomb Raider Legend
Myst
Thief
Colin McRae Rally 2005
Daikatana
Bloodrayne

And the console titles? A wide array of Sega and NeoGeo titles – take a look at these…

Cannon Fodder
Sensible Soccer
Metal Slug 1 + 2
Art Of Fighting
Fatal Fury
Final Fight
King Of Fighters
Mega Man
Samurai Showdown
and… Psychonauts!

If you’re a figher / beat ’em up fan you’re well catered for 🙂

Every game I’ve listed above is in the free subscription, and even this is just scratching the surface. If you want to go gold you’ll get access to many premium games including all the Zorks, Tomb Raiders, Sam and Max’s, and Hitman: Blood Money. In fact, over 900 titles.

To round things off Gametap even runs tournaments and other events daily.

Join Gametap here