Casual Bites

Long-time readers know that I am an immoderate person. I binge, I commit fully. I mentioned that I was reading Worm; I went through 1,680,000 words in 17 days. So I don’t drink and I am careful about getting invested in things. I am coming down from that Worm binge and am once again (still?) wanting games I could play casually even if I likely won’t. The metaphor still holds: sometimes you won’t commit to watching a 90 minute movie but you will watch 5 TV episodes in a row.

One thing I liked about the MMO genre was the ability to make small units of progress. Hop in, get a few easy objectives in 15-30 minutes, go on to whatever else you’re doing. Beyond coasting, it combines the casual game spirit of low investment play with the long term perspective that these little units add up. There are plenty of single-player games that are similar, which are mostly what I am seeking in my Steam library as I have given up on MMOs.

There are lots of games that I want to play but do not feel up to committing the time necessary to give them a fair shot. I have some 4Xs but it is not quite satisfying to pop into one of those for a few turns. I have Banished installed but my only visit to its tutorial reminded me of The Witcher 2, not in difficulty but in that its interface turned me off so much that by the time I can get over that feeling I also forget what I was supposed to have learned. Before I completed the first tutorial it seemed that building a basic settlement involved going 2 or 3 levels deep in each of several menus for each of several steps, requiring roughly a paragraph of explanation each. Banished has a rather good (if harsh) reputation, but I don’t know if I’m up to that kind of commitment just to learn the interface.

My current need is gaming in bite-sized increments with intuitive gameplay. Being me, I am likely to leap into and consume something in mass volume, but I need that intuitive gameplay to get me past the commitment conundrum of needing to invest in learning a game before I am able to enjoy it. I want the game to meet me at least half way in terms of interface, when many of our gamer games seem to pride themselves on requiring large time investments to learn their mechanics.

: Zubon

Bits Box Bleg

I am looking for a storage solution for my gaming accessories, mostly coins but also things like dice and meeples. I am considering tackle boxes and such, although I would need something with large enough spaces to hold small stacks of coins. I want compartments so I do not need to sift through things every time I use them.

Any recommendations or storage solutions you are using?

: Zubon

Tinker Update

If you were on the fence about Tesh’s Tinker Dice, the Kickstarter has expanded to include seven colors, and it ends this week. It stands a fair chance of reaching its stretch goal, given usual last minute interest in campaigns that have already been funded.

: Zubon

Sceptre of Goth and MMO History

Richard Bartle had a recent post about the pre-history of MMOs.

I’ve read so many histories of MMOs that are just plain wrong, that I myself always try to get it right to the best of my knowledge and understanding. This is why when people introduce me as “the man who invented online games” or whatever, I always mention that I co-invented them with Roy Trubshaw. If I’m able (which isn’t always possible in live interviews), I’ll also correct the focus (it’s just virtual worlds) and point out that plenty of other people independently invented them too: Roy and I did MUD; Kelton Flinn and John Taylor did Island of Kesmai; Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar did Habitat; Bruce Maggs, Andrew Shapira and David Sides did Avatar; Rich Skrenta did Monster; Alan Kleitz and Bob Alberti did Sceptre of Goth.

He goes on to talk about the genealogy of games and the allocation of credit.

Worthy reading for folks who care about the world before the World of Wacraft.

: Zubon

Quote of the Day

I like GOG for a couple reasons. One, that’s where I buy my Witcher games. And two, they had “booth babes” at PAX one year, but the booth babes were grandmas, and they gave you fresh cookies.

Gen Con Planning

I will be attending Gen Con again this year. Last year, a few of us said we were going, but that never coalesced into a meetup or event. Would we like to do something like that? If there is enough interest or if we have several bloggers going from our corner of the blogosphere, we could even register an event, although it looks like there are costs involved in that.

Designate a time/place to meet up for conversation and open gaming? Pick a restaurant and have a Ratslayers Tavern some evening?

I am opening the floor to discussion for attendees so that we plan and do something. It is a big event (56,614 attendees, more expected this year) and it is hard to stumble over each other in that kind of crowd.

: Zubon


I was awoken by a nightmare in which I was playing a multi-player strategy game and was so focused on mopping up an opponent who we hit with an early rush that I forgot to develop my economy and so was useless to the team in the late game. It was like the gamer version of the nightmare of going to school naked.

: Zubon

“Aren’t you forgetting something?”