Sunday, November 29, 2015


Due to have deleted GTA Vice City, I now have space for other games to be installed in my iPad. Since I'm now working on the interactive drama genre, I think it's time to try some of those games and I started with Telltales' Game of Thrones

The game has fairly good ratings, but it hasn't impressed me much. On the positive side the story is engaging, it fits smoothly into the universe (which is no little feat) and most of the original TV series cast lend their voices for the game

On the minus side, practically there is no other mechanic than selecting dialogue options - Just a couple of times you're allowed to wander around a limited space - and above anything else other problem I already detected on (also Telltales') The Walking Dead; The outcome of the episode is defined no matter what, and aside from some minor decisions the story is a one-direction tunnel you cannot really change

I understand it's not easy to change that design (common to other games in this genre) since other options are too costly, but somehow I'm a little tired of these limitations. Maybe it's time for someone to come up with new approaches?

By the way, I feel a little uneasy listing the game here, where I only include finished games. After all, I've only played the first episode. But since I won't be playing the rest, and the business model allows you to put a stop after the first chapter, I think it's fair

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I’ve been fairly focused on WoW lately, but now I hit the 21k achievement points I’m cutting down gradually. So in the last days I pushed for finishing a game I’ve had waiting in the iPad for many months: GTA Vice City

I deeply enjoyed the original PS2 version, and when I learned it was available on iOS I bought it and played it mainly on air trips. I often rank it among the best 10 games I’ve ever played. However at a point I run out of missions and couldn’t unlock the end. Now I’ve done a comprehensive search of missing properties and hidden quests, and I’ve finally completed it

The port itself sucks big time. It often crashes and the FPS drops dramatically very often. Controls are not particularly good (but not different from similar games). I suspect they dropped the difficulty substantially to make it bearable. And furthermore it is the game which occupies more space in the iPad by far of all the ones I’ve played. I don’t think they invested much time on testing, they just pushed the original build into the Apple store without much consideration

Aside from these issues, the game retains its flavor. And being a fan of the 80s and games set on past times I really value the effort. The dialogues and cutscenes are fun, enjoyable and these pals at Rockstar don’t have any shame when depicting a very ironic version of the US society. I don’t recommend it on iOS but if you can play the PS2 version and you’re not a pixel whore you will probably enjoy it

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Excellent article on Gamasutra, about the elements you actually control when designing an indie title to make it a hit

Read it here. You're welcome!

Monday, August 3, 2015


It´s being difficult lately to finish games since I´m once again “hooked” to WoW. While waiting for the internet connection for my new apartment, I did some pending PS3 trophies and completed the latest Medal of Honor

Not a great game, but not bad either. Remember I´m an advocate of games rated between 6-7 as long as their price is adjusted accordingly. I got my MoH copy very cheap from a friend so it was definitively worth it. Didn´t play the MP, though. Maybe some day

In general terms, it´s another Call of Duty copycat. Yes, they´ve tried to singularize it by going realistic (as opposed to the futuristic path CoD has taken lately) and used real locations from the Afghan war. Still the theme, questionable storylines, the similar combat mechanics plus occasional exotic gameplay with some moneyshots here and there make this product feel like Activision lawyers could make a case at court

Aside from repetitive level design, nothing wrong on it. Visually speaking is a little disappointing and certainly doesn´t have any personality by its own, but it works. With the usual “America fuck yeah” moments, in general is a game that offers pretty much what you expect, but not an inch more

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I haven't posted much lately since I'm back to WoW and that consumes most of my time. Haven't played many games other than killing gnomes and such. Lok'tar Ogar!

That was partially the reason why I gave it a try to Rambo the videogame. It was supposed to be a short experience but I couldn't imagine it'd be so painful. Seriously, the game sucks in almost every possible aspect

Let's back track: Despite the horrible reviews (it currently holds a shameful 34 in metacritics, 1.9 for users!) I'm essentially a kid from the eighties and well, Rambo was part of that. I wouldn't say it was a hero for me, but getting older makes me somehow nostalgic

But I wasn't ready for this: The gameplay mechanics are poorly implemented to the point that it's extremely frustrating. The aiming is uncontrollable (particularly if you use a pad), the level design is extremely predictible, the weapons are limited and not enjoyable, the number of systems is not necessarily low but each of them are sub-par. The difficulty is boolean, either it's too hard or piece of cake. The story doesn't tell you a thing you don't know, the scenarios are the same from the movies... and above all it's a shooter on rails, which doesn't give you much choices. Some times you get to perform a QTE or a turret fight, but that's all

Seriously, don't buy it. I finished it just because I like to put an end to everything I start, but this is easily the worst game I've played in 20 years. The length was the only aspect that didn't disappoint. I finished the game in a little more than 4 hours. A time that I will never get back.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Iteration or laziness?

Here is an interesting Gamasutra article, in which they partially talk about an issue I've noticed on certain designers: How they mask their lack of vision or simply laziness with the Iteration motto

Click here or copypaste the following URL:


Sunday, January 4, 2015


I had heard of Framed some time ago as an innovative storytelling proposal, and it was in my to-do list. After started playing "Papers, Please" I thought I was behind on this genre in particular and I purchased Device 6 (still pending) and the aforementioned

Framed is a great game. The gameplay proposal is simple: There is a story going on, told through animated comic frames. If you let it progress without action from your side, the characters will fail. You need to re-arrange the frames in the proper order (only one on each case) to progress

The concept is well adapted to tactile devices (you just swipe in most of the cases) but doesn’t look impossible to port to other platforms. The design is simple (KISS principle) and elegant. The play sessions are short (each page takes 3-4 minutes) and engaging, you easily fall onto that Civilization attitude “just one more”

Visually speaking is also impressive. It has a neo-noir style and the animations are very good and varied. On the negative side it’s kinda short (specially if you paid 5 bucks as I did), you cannot replay specific pages afaik and I personally couldn’t fully understand the story – keep in mind it’s like a silent movie: No dialogues or texts whatsoever, only characters doing things -

In any case, it’s a game that tries to do something new and succeeds. No wonder it was the game of the year for Hideo Koyima. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Almost a tradition, in the annual family gathering I set up a gymkhana for the young ones. In the past I went for “move pingpong balls from A to B using spoons” and such

This year I decided to change the concept a little bit, using World of Warcraft as a reference. I created 21 quests, and organized the kids into teams competing for being the first one to complete 7

These were the rules:

  • 3 teams of 3-4 members on each. The 3 elder kids would pick their components by turns
  • Each team randomly chooses 3 from the 21 envelopes containing the quest briefings
  • Quests will commonly involve locating little pieces of paper hidden on certain house areas. The briefing will specify how many, generally with humorous texts
  • There were some other challenges such as find out who was the oldest of the family elders, find out the name of the movie whose soundtrack is playing, etc
  • I commonly hid 1 more objective paper than the mission required. In other words, if the objective was to find 4 papers in the house showers, I would place 5 of them to ensure they could not get stuck
  • It’s up to the teams if they want to work on the missions simultaneously or focus on them one by one
  • Every 10 min of playtime they could change 1 mission for another from the pool, in case they got stuck
  • The game will end in an hour no matter what

From a design point of view, the victors were the only team that worked in 2 missions in parallel. The girls seemed to be more efficient and less complainy than boys but they all requested help at some point. It took approximately 7 hours from me to create the gymkhana, from brainstorming to write the texts on little pieces of paper, and then hide them all around my parent’s house

Overall I think the kids had a great time. The parents told me they expect the event with a lot of anticipation and talk about it for days. Still, it took too much time from me and not sure if I’ll be willing to do it next year

Ah, and a minor disappointment: One of the missions involved to get a score of 100 on a classic Nintendo game watch console, Donkey Kong. Two different teams tried and failed, finding it frustrating. Times sure have changed...