“Ever, Jane” promises dancing and backbiting

Ever, Jane is a new type of MMO: there are no dungeons, swords, guns or spells. Instead, it is set in the polite society of Regency England. Your goals are to advance your status by attending balls, making matches, and vicious gossiping.

Even though I’m not a fan of Austen’s work (I appreciate it — it’s just not for me), I’ve often wondered how one would build a computer game with a non-combat conflict resolution mechanic. Tabletop RPGs have a whole indie niche dedicated to this (and there’s always freeforms), but this would be my first encounter with a computer game that attempted this.

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The Last of Us

Spoiler warning: This game is really good and you should definitely play it. I’ll do my best to talk in generalisations, but since this is a discussion of the story, I will have to make some assumptions. You have been warned.

If I were going to call a contender for the 2013 Game of the Year award, it would have to be Last of Us. It’s no technological marvel, and the gameplay is nothing new, but it sets a new standard in storytelling. Well, probably not as high as Torment – little approaches the masterpiece – but for a linear stealth/action game, it sets the bar really high.

Stories are most effective when we can identify with the characters. P likes to say she prefers Boromir over Strider because of his flaws. She finds Aragorn almost inhuman in his heroic perfection, while Boromir is more relatable because of his pride and susceptibility to temptation — and his redemption brings a little hope to the rest of us mere mortals. Continue reading

Review: Kobo mini

I was recently at my local JB Hi-Fi browsing around (as most gadget geeks do) and noticed that the Kobo Mini had reached the impulse-buy price of $50. As part of her due diligence on a similar purchase, P had asked me to look at a bunch of e-readers and tablets and I had confirmed her conclusion that the Glo model was good. For my needs, though, I had stuck with the tablets I already owned (an iPad and a Nexus 7). Still, I figured that $50 would be worth experimenting with e-ink myself.

I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now, and here are my thoughts. Continue reading

10 Things To Do While You Wait For That MMO Update

10. Complain you have to download the update
Chances are that the devs anticipated you might want to get in right away. Chances are also good that the game can download an update automatically. You weren’t silly enough to turn your computer off last night were you?

9. Complain you can’t log in
Ok, so you and half the population took a break three months ago because you got tired of grinding the same endgame content on all nine alts across three servers day after day, week after week. I get that. But when you and your thousands of fellows decide to come back en masse, do you really expect that you can all log in together at the same instant? Continue reading