The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds


I just finished "The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds" for the Nintendo 3DS so here's a few random thoughts.

The hype for this game led me to buy it. I actually sold my 3DS back in July, 8 months ago, and so I had to by a 3DS just to play.


Feminist Frequency


If you haven't watch Feminist Frequency you should. Depending on your background it might be a hard message to hear but trust me, if you listen with an open mind I think you'll get something out of it. I know I did.


The Computer Spiele Museum


I got to checkout the Computer Spiele (games) Museum in Berlin. Lots of interesting stuff.


Android vs iOS Game Myths


I was hoping Chris Pruett would post a version of his talk, "Fact and Fiction: Lessons From Wind−Up Knight and Rise Of The Blobs" but he has not done so yet. The talk is available on the GDC Vault so if you attended GDC you can watch it there. It's only 23 minutes.

In it he attempted to break some common myths about iOS vs Android games. Of course this is just his experience but he made the point that most of the myths of iOS vs Android are not backed up by any data so he brought all his data.

I'm kind of hoping if I post this he'll feel compelled to post a version of his talk in his own words instead of mine. Hey Chris. Post your talk! In the meantime here's my summary of his talk


The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword - A Critique


If it's not clear from my writing I'm a HUGE Zelda fan. I also consider it the best series of games hands down. As such I was hugely looking forward to Skyward Sword. From that alone you can probably already guess where this is headed.

Before you read this, while there are no spoilers, if you haven't played Skyward Sword and you plan to do so I suggest you play it first before letting the critique influence your experience. With that out of the way...

Revisiting some other Zeldas if I had to rank all console Zeldas I'd put Skyward Sword absolute last. My ranking

  1. Ocarina of Time (N64)
  2. Link to the Past (SNES)
  3. The Legend of Zelda (NES)
  4. Wind Waker (Gamecube)
  5. Majora's Mask (N64)
  6. Twilight Princess (Gamecube)
  7. Skyward Sword (Wii)

Why does it rank so low for me? Well, various reasons.


The Zelda Test (or Why no Zelda Clones?)


It's no secret, especially among my friends, that the Zelda series of console games is my favorite series of games period. They are beloved by a great many people and are some of the top ranked games of all time on all time top 100 lists and on places like Game Ranking and MetaCritic.

The thing that strikes me as most interesting though is that there are almost ZERO clones of Zelda. I'm probably missing a whole bunch but I'm going to try to point out what I see as unique to Zelda that is missing from every other game that claims to be close.


Microtransactions: Good or Evil?


This is just a random brain fart but I was thinking this morning, aren't micro−transactions in games kind of scammy?

You could argue if people are willing to pay it's not scammy since no one is forcing them to pay. It's more the issue of value for money. If I buy GTAIV for $60 I'm getting the results of 200 people who worked 2−3 years to make that game. When I pay $1 for some seeds in a game I'm paying effectively for some designer to spend no more than a few minutes. Sure, every thing costs money but feels like charging someone $6 for a burger at McDonalds and then charging them $1 for each napkin, $1 for a straw and 50¢ for a toothpick. Those things cost money too but their costs are so small that no one would go to a restaurant that charged for them.

So why then do people buy micro−transaction virtual items? I guess to some degree it just feels like selling snake oil to me. I suppose that's unfair as there is no deception involved. At the same time if some kid at school managed to sell single sheets of plain white school paper to an 8yr boy for a $1 a piece I'd expect his mom or dad would give him a strict talking to that sheets of a paper are not worth a dollar each. The kid selling the paper for a $1 a sheet would looked at as scamming the other kids. So how is it different with in game micro−transaction items? How are the designers of those games not being scammy?

I can already see the counter argument to the paper example. People ready buy pieces of paper for $$$. Greeting cards, Baseball Cards, Pokemon Cards, Wrapping Paper. I guess my counter argument would be what I'm getting in each transaction. A Greeting Card, I'm paying for the convenience. It's much easier to buy some card for $3−$4 than make my own and trying to think of something witty or funny to write on it. Wrapping Paper? I'm paying to make something pretty for a friend and again for convenience. I've made my own wrapping paper for special occasions but it's a lot of work. Baseball cards and Pokemon cards are generally pretty cheap. Average 10¢ or less per card? It's only the rare ones where the market goes up. I personally find it silly but still, that's different than the types of virtual items sold with micro−transactions. A few bytes enabled in an app that appears as some seeds to plant flowers in a game seems on the surface to be about worth as much as the pencil lead it takes to draw a simple flower. Not the sketch itself, just the lead. Ie, not much.

Note, I'm not talking about DLC. Paying $5−$10 for a new Left 4 Dead campaign seems worth it because I'm getting several hundred man hours of work for my $5−$10. Paying $1 for a virtual sofa to decorate my virtual house though seems like a rip off, especially when I get say 5000 items in the main game I paid $50 for. That's 1¢ an item. Less if you put a value on the game itself and everything that's not items.

It's as if the music industry started charging $10 per single music track after CDs had already set the price at about a $1 a track in bulk.

I've heard some people claim that the whole microtransaction market is about to collapse. That the novelty is wearing off. We'll see I guess.


My First Game Jam


A co-worker of mine used to work in the Research Triangle area where he used to participate in some of their local game jams. Even though he's on the other side of the country now at Google he still wanted to participate so he put out the call and 6 of us jammed for a weekend.




You never know what you're going to find on the internet. I was searching for screenshots of games I worked on and I found someone has played through Robocop Vs Terminator, an NES game I wrote that was never released. It actually looks better than I remember it.


My $345 Quest for a Space Channel 5 part 2


This is the story of how I spent $345 for a video game, Space Channel 5 part 2.