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Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Bearded Difficulty Curve — Volgarr the Viking

A tl;dr haiku: Intense platformer Eats time through difficulty. Also, flaming swords. There are certain camps of gamers who complain about difficulty in modern games. Not that they are too hard, but rather too easy. Old gamers who are for some reason disgruntled that intense challenge has ceased to take central focus in games. These old gamers, with their long white beards and walking sticks, declare loudly and often about how all these new games are too damn easy nowadays. Well, turns out, someone was listening. Specifically, Crazy Viking Studios was listening. And they responded by producing Volgarr the Viking: a fantastically well-designed game for Windows that permits no crutches, punishes mistakes, and grudgingly tolerates success. For a game I haven’t able to progress in further than the second level, Volgarr surprisingly never crosses the threshold into frustrating difficulty. By that, I mean I don’t feel like I am getting ...

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Row, Row, Row Your… Tank Down Main Street — Saint’s Row IV.

A tl;dr Haiku: What makes a good game? Super powers? Guns? Free tanks? All of the above.   Mindless fun gets a bad rap. For some reason, when I hear something described as mindless fun, the speaker is usually talking down about something – implying that anything of real worth, substance, and enjoyment demands a certain level of intellectual involvement or else it is not truly fulfilling. Saint’s Row IV (for the PC, Playstation 3, X-Box 360, and OS X), made by Volition, Inc., laughs in the face of intellectual stimulation, gives pretentious thoughts an atomic wedgie, and swirls off in a cyclone of instant gratification and gratuitous explosions. Saint’s Row IV  challenges the idea that the harder something is worked for, the more rewarding it is. Saint’s Row IV tests that theory by going completely in the opposite direction. Within the first ten minutes of the game, I could ...

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