Video Game Thoughts Bonus Bag #2
A nice sample of the world's fresh crazy. Plus, new game!
Time for a quick survey of neat stuff that caught my eye the last few months!
1. Crass Self-Promotion!
Our newest indie adventure, Queen's Wish 2: The Tormentor, is out for iPhone and iPad! Our innovative Empire-maintainance RPG will be playable on the subway.
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2. So Is Halo Still a Thing?
One of my fondest gaming activities is playing shooters on the couch with my wife. Our peak experiences have always been with the Halo series, which has had couch co-op since the beginning. The early Halos are a blast played together in a living room.
When Halo Infinite came out in December, 2021, we were really looking forward to it. Then they said couch co-op was delayed. Then, in September, 2022, they canceled it completely.
This struck me as weird, and it still does. I mean, this is a trademark feature of a major, major game series being published by only, like, the biggest software company in the world. It's a software feature so crushingly difficult to implement that they did it with no real difficulty in 2001.
If they canceled it at the beginning, that would be one thing. When they say they’re going to do it for a year and THEN cancel it? This smells like dysfunction.
Also, couch co-op is still a hugely popular feature. Look at Mario Kart or Smash Bros. Nintendo really gets this, which is a large part of why the Switch is an enormous success.
So I'm pretty curious what the deal is here. Why couldn't they manage this? I mean, Microsoft's quality control has always been a little iffy, but at least they've always been able to ship things.
3. My Own Paranoia
I wonder about it because, and this might be my own confused imagination, has software been getting worse over the last two years?
I've been noticing that every app I use, by Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and just about everyone else, seems to have more bugs, and those bugs are slow to be fixed. (Psych! They are never fixed lol!)
This is just an idle musing, but I'd love to hear if anyone else has had this same deranged observation.
4. Which Makes Me Think About Working From Home
So, to be clear, I love working at home. Being able to work at home is a large part of the reason I write games, even though I could have easily made more money with a Real Job. I think most tech jobs could be done in part from home, and it's shameful that it took a plague to make some working from home standard practice.
Yet, there is one open question about widespread working from home: Can large products, with big teams that require a lot of coordination, be done as well by people who are spread out over the world and never meet each other?
Humans are pack animals, and being in contact with each other is one of the ways we maintain the standards of a society. I don't have any comment on the whole idea of "Quiet Quitting." Yet, I also wonder how many people will day-drink (or day-toke) if they don't have to be visible, functional, and free of the smell of booze around co-workers.
I don't have answers to any of this, and I want as many people to work at home as possible, if just to keep traffic low. It's just, this is still an open question, and I'll be fascinated to learn the answer.
5. Children Need To Feel Physics
I kind of want to write a full piece on this. It's interesting.
At the recent TwitchCon, there was an agonizingly unsafe foam pit. Basically, a thin scattering of foam cubes on a concrete floor, with ledges providing a 6 foot drop onto the unyielding floor below.
It resulted in multiple injuries, including this spectacular one. (Painful to watch, but highly instructive.)
This was not the only video from Twitchcon about young people with only a passing familiarity of how physics work in the real world. I could make a cheap shots here about how this symbolizes Twitch's attitude towards its streamers.
Let’s be clear. That second train video? That is how people die.
Here's what I'm really thinking. I'm a parent. Over the last couple decades, I've watched perfectly good, awesome playgrounds all over the place torn down to make them "safer". Any chance to slip or fall or get a bump must be purged, in order to make them perfectly safe (read, "boring") places for kids to play.
It turns out, playgrounds SHOULD make it possible for kids to fall. Why? Because it teaches them how gravity works and how hard different sorts of falls feel. A three foot fall feels like a bump. A six foot fall gives a MUCH harder impact. I've tried both, and I know this in my bones.
When I look at that poor streamer jump, I wince because I know, at an instinctive level, how hard she's going to hit the ground and how bad it will hurt.
At some point, she was denied the chance to learn that information as a child. The results were inevitable.
6. Vampire Survivor
I put a bunch of hours into Vampire Survivor, a super-cheap indie twin-stick shooter that only uses one stick.
It's a hit, and it deserves it. It gets everything right with this deceptively tricky genre in ways most don't. Lots of fun.
If you want these pieces emailed to you for freeee, press the button above. Our new game, Queen’s Wish 2: The Conqueror, an all-new, innovative, Empire-building indie RPG, is out for Windows & Mac. Also iPad and iPhone.