Tag Archives: In Praise Of

In Praise Of: Pirates!

Or to give it its full title, Sid Meier’s Pirates! We’ll chuck the “Sid Meier’s” part – since it’s more of a trademark these days, kind of like Uncle Ben’s or Potatoes O’Brien – but we’ll keep the exclamation mark. In the case of Pirates!, it’s actually justified.

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In Praise Of: MechCommander.

Joe asks

Not a science question but not sure how else to contact you without derailing one of your posts. Forgive me.

Are you a fan of the MechWarrior/Battletech franchise? If so are you aware of the up coming MechWarrior Online game coming out soon? Either way, are you planning to play and how excited about it are you?

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In Praise Of: Z.

Ah, Z. A game all but forgotten by the annals of gaming history; an unconventional RTS released in the wake of C&C’s runaway success that would deserve its obscurity but for one curious quality: Z foreshadows most of the new and revolutionary gameplay mechanics of RTSes which were released a decade later. Now matter how pretty the graphics or detailed the slaughter of titles like Dawn o fWar and Company of Heroes, Z not only got to the territory control mechanic nearly ten years before they did, it actually took a damn good stab at it. By 1996 standards, anyway.

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In Praise Of: Baldur’s Gate.


Yes, Baldur’s Gate. Not Baldur’s Gate 2, or Throne of Bhaal. Baldur’s Gate. The original, and (I think) the best, although there’s not much to separate the two in terms of quality.

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In Praise Of: Command & Conquer.

Wait, Command and Conquer? The game that sold hundreds of thousands of copies back in the day? The game that kickstarted the RTS genre as an actual discrete thing and spawned a franchise that is still being flogged to this day, seventeen years later? That Command and Conquer? It’s hardly a forgotten classic, so why would I be talking about it here?

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In Praise Of: Jagged Alliance 2 and the 1.13 Patch.

Anyone who has been following my excited jabbering on various forums and Steam will have known this article has been coming for a while. The recent release of Jagged Alliance: Back in Action continues the trend of “remakes” and “updates” of beloved old games being unable to resist tinkering with the formula that made the original so successful. The UFO: Afterdinnermint games introduced real-time action with pauses and were widely perceived as mediocre at best; the third game in the series made the bizarre choice to remove permanent soldier death, which is something I view as being fundamental to the squad tactics format. Silent Storm retained the turn-based format and was loved as a result, right up until the panzerkleins reared their ugly heads. And now there is Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, a remake of Jagged Alliance 2 that missed the point so badly it actually removed the fog of war at one point. By all accounts it isn’t offensively bad, just remarkably unremarkable, and if it didn’t have the Jagged Alliance name attached to it it’d probably be getting a much better reception. Unfortunately when you stick the name “Jagged Alliance” on your game and you say it’s a direct remake of what is only the second-best squad tactics game ever by a razor-thin edge, you’d better make bloody sure that it lives up to its heritage. Comfortable mediocrity just isn’t going to cut it, especially when your 2012 game actually looks worse in some respects than the 1999 original.

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