Finding the Fun in a Game That’s Not My Style

Adventure Rules

A few years ago I read about a useful framework for discussing video games called the eight kinds of fun. It is a lens for considering games through the desires they are the most likely to satisfy. I try to utilize the eight kinds of fun when discussing what is appealing about a game; even when I don’t deploy that exact language, the philosophy behind it drives how I recommend those games to other people. Understanding my own preferences when it comes to fun helps me to select games that will ultimately appeal to me. I am primarily drawn to games where the fun comes from mastering the game’s systems (challenge) and experiencing a compelling story (narrative). This isn’t to say that I can’t appreciate other types of fun – fantasy and submission regularly feature in a lot of what I play as well – but I’m ultimately less…

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Google Stadia to Shut Down on January 18, 2023

The Ancient Gaming Noob

You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!

-Willy Wonka describing when a thin client application shuts down

When the news hit yesterday that Google was shutting down Stadia, it wasn’t a moment of shock.  I think it had been clear to most people who were paying attention… that being a rather small population… that Stadia’s days had been numbered for quite some time now.

I haven’t had much to say about Stadia since it was announced back in June of 2019.  It wasn’t of much interest to me, and only got the mention it did due to the company backing it.  I don’t think I wrote a single post devoted exclusively to Stadia.  I covered its announcement and launch in bullet point posts and mentioned it in passing in a post about thin client applications.

I think the biggest deal I made about it was when somebody representing…

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Tower of the Five Who Watch & The Blind Guide

Dyson's Dodecahedron

Tower of the Five Who Watch & The Blind Guide
Tower of the Five Who Watch & The Blind Guide (300 dpi promo)

The five who watch stare forever at each other and at their guide, eternally lost wearing a stone blindfold. These six statues stand on the top level of this odd hexagonal tower-shrine, a weird mystery that is beyond even the greatest sages and legend lore magics.

Tower of the Five Who Watch & The Blind Guide
Tower of the Five Who Watch & The Blind Guide (1200 dpi)

But mysteries like this attract weirdos… and a number of cults have set themselves up here at one point or another. The current resident weirdos are “The Creed of Streksus” who have decorated all the statues with flowing blue ribbons and have blindfolded the five who watch so they appear as blind as the guide. All five full-time acolytes of the cult live on the second floor and are visited by initiates who make pilgrimages from nearby towns. The…

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Learning to Play Video Games Together with My Kid

Adventure Rules

Growing up, my most consistent gaming companion was my mother. She wasn’t at that time someone who would describe herself as a gamer – still isn’t now – but she saw my interest in the hobby and made time to play with me when I asked for her company or for her help. I know for sure some of those experiences playing games together were mutually enjoyable. I also know for sure a few were not. But through it all my mom made time for me and the memories that have persisted over the years are the ones of us enjoying each other’s company with a controller in hand.

Now it’s time for me to experience the other side of the equation. My child (who I will refer to as Inkling throughout the post) takes after both parents and loves to play video games. Each day when I get home…

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How Storytelling Skills Apply to Game Mastering

Grumpy Wizard

Jeff Jones invited me to appear on his most recent RPG Rambling podcast a few weeks back. He noticed I was posting on social media about a local writing conference and he had questions.

Here is the link to the podcast episode.

Jeff was wondering what lessons I had learned from creative writing classes and conferences that applied to tabletop role-playing games. We went off on some interesting tangents and I don’t know that I ever truly answered the question. I revisit the main question in this post.

Recently, I have participated in writing workshops, seminars, and conferences. I focus on the specific technical elements of telling stories. Some of those techniques transfer to role-playing games, others do not.

Understanding story convinced me that stories and games are not the same thing.

Once I started looking into how skilled storytellers think about and work on stories ; I saw clearly…

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DungeonMorphs – Lairs Set 1

Dyson's Dodecahedron

One of the final stretch goals of the recent DungeonMorphs IV Kickstarter was to include an alternate version of the DungeonMorph cards (2.5″ x 2.5″ cards of the geomorphs) in the style of one of the artists involved in the design. That artist was ME! So now that all the different geomorph designs are in for each die, I’m in the process of redrawing the various designs in my style.

DungeonMorphs – Lairs Set 1
DungeonMorphs – Lairs Set 1

I’m doing these redraws one “die” at a time. The geomorphs have been assigned faces on the DungeonMorph Dice, and I’m translating them not by artist, but by die. So this is the first die of the crypts set. (There are a total of 24 dice in the various sets, so I’ve got a lot of geomorphs to draw!)

I’ll admit it is a little bit weird taking high-detail designs by BilliamBabble and Alyssa Faden…

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10 Games From the Last 10 Years I Should’ve Ranked Higher

Vagrant Rant

I thought I’d never do this, but ten years gives you a bit of a stretch to think.

It takes time, careful consideration and countless drafts to finalise an annual videogame countdown; some would say such an abundance of effort is a waste. But as far as I’m concerned it’s all fine and dandy, because the result is a ranking that might as well be cast in iron. Once published, it’s not just that I back my choices confidently; the order I’ve chosen becomes unquestionable canon within my head, ready to reference at a moment’s notice as if it was as tangible and unchanging as a musty library book on a shelf.

But I’m also human, and looking back on a decade worth of Game of the Year countdowns earlier this year pushed up an eyebrow or two. Not only that, but the absences of a few great games I…

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What Is Convincing Enough To Try An MMO A Second Time?


A topic that I found interesting was sparked by Belghast’s recent entries on trying the New World PTR testing for a massive, game-changing update that addresses a lot of the core concerns from last year’s launch, things that make the game in many ways sound and feel like a brand new product.

New World was an interesting game to me, in that I had no interest, then some, and then I got it on a whim and I played it a lot. Over a couple of weeks, around 100 hours went into the game just past the initial launch woes and before the deathknell woes the game was sounding in the early winter as folks began jumping ship from it. There were a ton of issues that became apparent as you got deeper into the experience – the fast travel costs, the clumsy inventory management, the slow rate of progression…

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DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ADVENTURE GAME Begins Here & Now (1999-2000): What a Difference a Year Makes #2

One can trace the evolution of Dungeons & Dragons through its beginner / starter / introductory sets. The eternal quest for TSR (and later, Wizards of the Coast) was to have an easy entry point for new gamers into the unfamiliar world of D&D roleplaying. There were frequent adjustments to the intro sets, changes in…

Source: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ADVENTURE GAME Begins Here & Now (1999-2000): What a Difference a Year Makes #2

Boss Rush Banter: Why Don’t We Finish Our Games?

The Boss Rush Network

As gamers, we all have a point of pride when we roll the final credits on a game and finish it. Some of us play games for entertainment, while others play just to pass the time. Gamers enjoy the hobby of playing video games in many different ways but there’s one thing practically every gamer has in common with one another — we all have games that we have not finished.

Currently, we are in the ninth generation of console gaming with ambitious beginnings tracing back to the first home consoles going all the way back to 1972. In that span of fifty-two years, you’d be hard-pressed to find a gamer that has completed or beaten every single video game they have played. Our backlog of games just keeps growing and growing with barely a sign of relenting and, if you were to go to your cabinet and look around…

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