Boss Rush Banter: Who Are Some of Gaming’s Most Underappreciated Villains?

Video games most always focus on their heroic protagonists, but just as with other forms of media, the villains are often the more interesting of characters. There have been some stellar antagonists throughout gaming history–from the princess stealing lizard King Bowser, to the homicidal artificial intelligence GLaDOS–yet, for each one of these praised representations of pure evil, there are dozens more that fly under the radar. Perhaps they didn’t get the screen time that they deserved, or maybe the game they starred in has too gone underappreciated. Whatever the reason, countless bad guys aren’t notable in the gaming community, and it’s high time we change that.

JRPGs are known for their unforgettable stories, and one of the best examples of these is 1998’s Suikoden II. While the majority of its cast is phenomenal, I am surprised that one of the game’s primary villains, Luca Blight, isn’t brought up more when…

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What I Learned from Secrets of Blackmoor: Part II

Grumpy Wizard

In this post, I’m going to lay out some concepts I picked up, in part, from the documentary . These lessons align with an important observation made by Rob Kunst. That observation is this; Role playing games are a combination of open and closed systems.  Role-playing games are games in which players can do things that are not in the rules. Dave Arneson’s genius was in making this leap, according to Kunst. I don’t think Arneson had a “Eureka!” moment where his lateral thinking led him to that understanding. I think it was a series of experiments by Arneson and his friends who were trying to make their war games more enjoyable that led to a discovery. That discovery is that the combination of open and closed systems allow for a depth of play that cannot be matched by a pure closed system or a purely open system.

The…

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The Ochrenvault – Map 2

Dyson's Dodecahedron

The Ochrenvault – Map 2
The Ochrenvault – Map 2 (300 dpi promotional)

The Elders of the Ochren built a portal to the stars deep within the Ochrenvault – a deep set of caves and “dungeons” that were cut into the mountains by nature and the ochrefolk (a “privileged” class of humans and half-elves that were “permitted” to serve the elders). The Ochrenvault is deep in the inhospitable jungles of one of the Ochren Isles (commonly marked on maps now as the Ochre Isles, as knowledge of the Ochren fades from this world) and delves deep into the tropical island’s rocky hills.

The Ochrenvault - Map 2
The Ochrenvault – Map 2 (1200 dpi)

This section of the Ochrenvault is beyond the reach of the vegepygmies and is home to one of the more powerful morlock tribes – the Amber Ochrenfolk are known to the other tribes for their use of iron helmets instead of the wicker helms of the…

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Is Activate Games the Future of Arcades?

In Third Person

From carnival games, to arcade machines, to escape rooms, interactive amusement attractions continue to evolve. Activate Games in Canada and the US combines elements of virtual and physical play to create an experience unlike anything else I’ve experienced to-date.

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China further slashes kids’ gaming time to just three hours a week

Gamer's Outpost LLC

by Daniel Cooper, Engadget

China has announced a further crackdown on the amount of time children can play online video games, with the new limit set to just three hours per week.Bloomberg, reporting from local news sources, says that platforms like Tencent can now offer gaming to kids between the hours of 8-9pm on Friday, weekends and public holidays.

It’s a significant and notable reduction from the previous rule, which had been generally capped at 1.5 hours per day in 2019. Earlier this month, Tencent was forced to cutthe amount of time minors could playthe smash hit mobile titleHonor of Kingsto just an hour on weeknights and two hours on the weekend. The added restriction is likely to impact the share price of companies in this space, which has seen recent instability.

Historically, China has always had an aversion to video games, albeitwith…

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Jarvanna 4.0

Micki's Delirium

Not too long ago I geared Jarvanna a a caster-healer, I managed to get her hp to just over 2000 before temp-buffs and I switched main ED to draconic. I thought she was doing quite well, she could heal well and kill some trash in the Dryad raid and even kite the unicorns for a short amount of time. But then the U50 nerf happened and the first time I played Jarv after, and I could not stay alive in reaper for 5 min (Jarvanna doesn’t have the reaper points to make up for the hp loss – unlike Cerge).

So, now I want to make her into what Amalf calls a care bear. A tankish healer bear that is a healer that can tank when needed. Here is the draft for Jarvanna 4.0. Note, the build could just as well be pure, but I wanted to try the 17/3…

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There Should Be a Legal Path to ROMs

VIRTUAL BASTION

Nintendo been in the news again lately, this time for getting another ROM site to take down all their ROMs under threat of legal penalties. I’ve been kind of split on this issue for a long time. One one hand, all game companies are well within their rights to defend their IP, but I’m not so sure they always should especially if they don’t provide a legal way for fans to acquire the games. So, lately I’ve been thinking that there needs to be a “public domain” option for games too. If the makers won’t provide, then there has to be a legal way for someone else to do so.


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What I Learned from The Secrets of Blackmoor: Part 1

Grumpy Wizard

The new documentary about the invention of fantasy role-playing is out on VOD on Vimeo. I was a Kickstarter supporter and I am very pleased by the final cut of the film. My comments on it are going to focus on what I learned from the film more than what my thoughts about how it comes together as a film.

Film making is far more complex and difficult than most people imagine. Congratulations to Griff and Chris for just getting this thing done. The whole enterprise of film making is a risky proposition to say the least. Good on them for doing the work and seeing it through to the end.

That said, there are a few things about the film I didn’t care for. There was a sequence with Dave Meggary and Ross Maker where there is audio and the video is some sort of blurry still shot…

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[AD&D1e] Three-Teeth the Zealous, Half-Orc Cleric/Assassin

Dyson's Dodecahedron

AD&D1e Players Handbook from TSR

Enough of the insanity! It is time to head back to the roots for this blog. Back to the good old days of AD&D. The third edition of Dungeons & Dragons I was introduced to over the years.It seems wrong to call the third edition I played the first edition. Bizarre naming practices and everything.

That actually surprises me – my memories of AD&D1e feel like they are so long ago that it almost doesn’t make sense that it was the third incarnation of the game for me. I started playing D&D with the classic Original Dungeons & Dragons set and played that way for a few years before buying my own copy of the rules. By then it was already 1981, and “my copy” was the 1981 Moldvay basic set which remains my favourite (followed very closely by 3.x). It was only when I couldn’t convince people to play…

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The Beginning of an Indie Journey

The summer of 2008 was a memorable one for me; I was gifted a PlayStation 3 for my birthday from a few friends who worked with me at Toys”R”Us. As a poor college student, I never would’ve been able to cough up the $600 for the console, nor pay for accessories and games, but I had amazing friends. My first game was the Bioshock demo and Metal Gear Solid 4 on the system, but what I didn’t realize, is that I would find my love for indies while enjoying this console.

In 2009, I bought a game called Flower, a whimsical adventure that allowed the player to control the wind using the motion of the controller to manipulate the on-screen objects. Throughout the game, it tells a sad but hopeful story, and gives the players much to ponder upon. Looking deeper into this game, I found that it was…

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