Cannons and Castles

One of my earliest gaming memories: A simple Scorched-earth game where two castles on a randomly-generated terrain take turns shooting at each other by typing in an angle and power, adjusting for wind speed. My dad and I played this over and over. At such a young age, I probably learned a ton playing this game, not to mention early exposure to simulation gaming. Continue reading “Cannons and Castles”

Companions in Grimrock

Legend of Grimrock, by Finnish developer Almost Human, puts you in control of four criminals trying to escape a mountain prison. Though rendered in full 3D, the gameplay uses grid movement and owes a lot to classic dungeon crawlers like Eye of the Beholder. At a glance, it’s easy to see Just-Another-Dungeon-Crawl. Don’t be fooled. Grimrock is playful, self-aware, and earnest. It is a heartfelt triumph by a small, passionate team.

I played Grimrock in February and March of 2013. I’m only now managing to write about it because it’s been hard to capture how it made me feel. Now, with a sequel approaching, I think I’ve got it: Rarely have I felt so accompanied while playing a game. That company (both real and fictional) transformed my experience.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Legend of Grimrock.

Continue reading “Companions in Grimrock”

1000 Blank White Cards

A game where you make up the cards, and therefore make up the rules, as you go along, “The blank card game,” is heavily dependent on the people playing. With a few good seed players, this can pull enormous creativity out of otherwise reticent people, but by itself does not inspire the gaming spirit. This can be great fun for groups with lots of in-jokes.

Created by Nathan McQuillen Phoenix, 1995.