Tag Archives: Computer/Video Games
Host Jonathan J. Reinhart opens the show with some announcements. He highlights the show contents: TotalCon 2012 Contest Results, SOPA/PIPA Update, Tropico 4 review, Napoleon Total War Review, and more.
Surprise is expressed at the lack of feedback to Episode 67‘s review of Battlegames Magazine‘s new digital subscription format. Episode 67 set a record as fastest growing show. Listeners are entreated to submit comments as to why they liked that episode so much and what they would like to find in future shows.
TotalCon 2012 gets its own contest. The contest ended and the winners are announced. Congratulations to all the winners, a thank you to everyone who entered, and a big thank you to the people at TotalCon with a special thanks to Steven Parenteau and Angelia Heroux for their help in obtaining the free passes..
Tropico 4, the computer & video game that puts players into the fictional shoes of a Carribbean island dictator, is reviewed and explained. Napoleon: Total War, a real time strategy (RTS) computer game is reviewed based on its demo. The historical Battle of Ligny is mentioned.
Jonathan’s weekly column at Troll In the Corner is discussed. In particular, his article Wargaming Blends Old & New School Gaming aka a Response to Ben Gerber’s “Thinking in the old school” is discussed.
The show winds down with thoughts on preparing for a con. Listeners may also be interested in 10 Things Every Gamer Should Bring With Them To a Gaming Con.
We hope you enjoy this episode of Wargaming Recon and are eager for your feedback (both positive remarks and constructive criticism). Send it all to cwfgamecast at wargamingforums dot com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Xbox Live with gamertag cwfgamecast.
Our intro song is “Downtown” by Matthew Ebel. Please give his other music a listen at www.matthewebel.com.
If you’re like me, then you really enjoy the board game Pandemic. It is a blast to play, even when losing. The board game does suffer from one major deficiency, which is also a strength. You need other people in order to play the game.
What are you to do if nobody else is available to play? If you are near a computer you can play a handful of flash games that pit you vs disease…or you may be the disease trying to wipe out the world.
Dark Realm Studios makes great flash games. They also make great disease themed flash games. Their most popular title is Pandemic II (not related to the board game. The Pandemic franchise, still not related to the board game, includes four flash games that you just might enjoy.
You can play all of these games on a variety of flash game websites. My favorite, for these games, is Kongregate.
The original of the Pandemic flash franchise. This game was released January 1997. You play are a disease attempting to infect, and eradicate, mankind across the globe. Infecting people earns points, which can be inserted into categories to adjust the disease’s lethality or transmission. You win when you kill off humanity.
Pandemic: Extinction of Man
This spin-off shows the beginnings of what would become Pandemic 2. Gamers who played Pandemic would easily adapt to Extinction of Man. The goal remains the same. Points are still allocated to adjust lethality and transmission. Those points are still earned by infecting people. You still win when humanity become extinct.
The sequel to the original hit. It is more challenging game, which includes many more options for infecting and killing mankind. The map is reminiscent of Pandemic moreso than Extinction of Man. This is a very good, but difficult, game to play.
Pandemic: American Swine Flu
This game picks up on the hype from Swine Flu. An added twist swaps the player’s role from previous games. The player must eradicate the Swine Flu in order to win the game. You can “spin” the media, research a vaccine, deploy national guard, or even nuke populations to destroy the disease. Many options, but not too many, allow the player a range of abilities. This is my new favorite from the series.
Civilization Revolution has a free version, which gives a nice taste where gamers play a full campaign. You can then choose to install the HD version for iPad, which sells for $12.99 in the App Store.
At first you may balk, like I did, at the price. Thirteen dollars is not much less than what this should sell for as a standard computer game. I strongly recommend that you do not wait the several months I did before downloading this app. It is worth every single penny and is one of the most well crafted and addicting apps I’ve used for the iPad.
It makes solid use of the iPad tap and drag features to enhance gameplay. It is not just a scaled down version of Civ 3. It is a well crafted Civ game designed specifically for the iPad. Revolution is evocative of the best Civ games and translated into a mobile package taking up less than 130 megs of space.
Regardless of your iPad’s internal space, you should always make room for this app. You will not regret it.
Posted on my iPad.
We spend a lot of time discussing games but not enough time discussing how games teach. As a librarian I believe games deserve a prominent place in libraries, and in education overall, because they not only entertain but educate.
Oiligarchy by Molleindustria is one such game that entertains and educates at the same time. Molleindustria has created a slew of games that teach us while we have fun. Some challenge social norms, some promote certain ideological agendas, and all inform us. This particular game is very enjoyable for a number of reasons. First and foremost it is easy to grasp but difficult to master. It puts you in control of an oil company where you explore, drill, lobby government, and interact with other nations. Underneath all of this is some very real science. This science is visually shown with the below prototype for Oiligarchy.
The Pirate Bay torrent website is being sued by just about everyone for copyright violations. The big trial is taking place in Sweden where the defendants, three of whom run the site and one who has donated to it, are on the receiving end of criminal charges of “promoting other people’s infringements of copyright laws” according to an article in Wired magazines blog network.
We do not support illegal activities such as the sharing of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. But, we do support free speech. This trial hinges on the prosecution’s misunderstanding of how file sharing works. It is very rare that I will discuss anything not directly tied to gaming here on the blog. After all the purpose of this blog is to discuss gaming. ”You Play It, We Discuss It” is our motto and one that I do my best to adhere to. On the surface The Pirate Bay’s trial has nothing to do with gaming but we must dig beneath the surface to find the link.
Many electronic games such as those played on computers suffer loss of sales, or so we’re told, from gamers illegally downloading the games on the internet. This loss of sales is supposedly the cause of major problems in the computer game industry covering everything from delayed releases, poor products, and lack of finances to fund new games and pay the developers for the games they’ve already made.
At the heart of the case is free speech and intellectual property. Where does one end and the other begin? The mighty Games Workshop corporation takes a hard line on intellectual property. They have been kind enough to share a list of what gamers can and cannot do with their IP. Most of it is benign but some is as draconian as to inhibit your freedom of speech on internet message boards and webcomics that you own and create. If you discuss any Games Workshop game on an internet forum or webcomic in less than a positive light then Games Workshop may come after you for violation of their intellectual property.
From their official Can and Cannot Page regarding online forums:
We have no problem with people using forums to express their love (or even hate) of the hobby. We would, however, ask people to bear in mind that the hobby is for people all ages. Please be careful of the language used and the topics discussed. We would strongly recommend that you avoid any discussion of illegal behavior.
We would probably not take issue with anyone creating a web comic based upon our intellectual property – but as with forums, keep in mind that the hobby is for people of all ages. Please be careful of the language used and the topics discussed. We would strongly recommend that you avoid any topics concerning illegal behavior, obscenity, or libel.
Many gamers will remember the legal dispute between Games Workshop and the makers of the Warhammer 40,000 inspired fan film Damnatus (we discussed it here). Games Workshop predicated their stance on their legal rhetoric below:
The video games that our licensing partners have created have done an incredible job of bringing the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 games to life, and we appreciate that hobbyists may even want to make movies based upon our intellectual property. Unfortunately, due to the nuances of the law in some territories, we cannot allow any unlicensed movies to be created which are based upon our intellectual property.
Other game companies use similar methods and take related stances. These companies do spend a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and money to create the games we love and play. They are entitled to ownership of their work and to protect it. Nobody can reasonably support someone illegally copying and disseminating an entire rulebook for a game.
The recent legal disputes…represent only skirmish in what is likely to be a decade long war over intellectual property, a war which will determine not simply the future direction of digital cinema but the nature of creative expression in the 21st century.-Professor Henry Jenkins, Rethinking Media Change (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003)
Then there are companies who seem to turn a blind eye to gamer activity that could potentially be in violation of the company’s intellectual property. Wizards of the Coast sticks out in my mind. They allow gamers a wide berth when it comes to creating works to use with and based on the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying system. I know many gamers who create their own adventures and derivative works from the D&D system. In fact up to and including D&D edition 3.5 is covered by the Open Game License. Their 4th edition is covered by a different license however WoTC has said they do not require others to switch to their new license to cover older versions of D&D (3.5 and below).
We spend a lot of time discussing War at Sea on the blog, which is also produced by Wizards of the Coast through their Avalon Hill subsidiary. I’ve come across numerous gamers who create scratchbuild ships to use with the WAS rules or who convert existing WAS models. Some make other ships from the models, some repaint them, some modify them to better fit the unit represented. In none of these instances have I heard that WoTC slinging a lawsuit against the gamers for violating their intellectual property.
These two gigantic game manufacturers (Games Workshop and Hasbro, which owns Wizards of the Coast) have taken two different roads when it comes to intellectual property. The trial on The Pirate Bay symbolizes the clash between free speech and intellectual property. The defense lawyers used what is being called the King Kong defense to state that a user named King Kong could “very well be found in the jungles of Cambodia” to show that the owners of The Pirate Bay have not interacted with the user King Kong and do not have a close tie to them.
Instead of governments working to truly reform copyright and trademark law to both protect the creators of original products AND encourage creative outlets by customers, which ultimately serves to heighten the visibility of the games and products, we see the various industries lashing out at four guys in an attempt to terrorize consumers everywhere. Their scare tactics won’t work and the day will come when free speech is vindicated. A balance is necessary and obtainable. We do not condone violating anyone’s intellectual property but at the same time game companies must realize and embrace the fact that fan actions taken with a positive attitude serve to broaden the scope of the games we play. These fan movies, fan fictions, converted models, scans, and distribution projects help to raise awareness of the games while also inducting more gamers to purchase and play these games.
In the long run the game manufacturers will make out. People need to be sensible and the game manufacturers should allow gamers to police themselves. If the manufacturers place a little trust in their customers they will be greatly rewarded. This is why we support The Pirate Bay’s King Kong Defense and why we hope The Pirate Bay is proven innocent at the conclusion of their trial. We have not, do not, and will never support piracy but we do support free speech and free expression of ideas.
If you agree we ask you to DIGG The Pirate Bay Trial and raise awareness on this issue.