Principles: Hours per Dollar

Principles: Hours per Dollar (hr/$)

 time is money

 

Gameplay time is not the end all be all when it comes to what games to purchase. Some of the greatest experiences gaming has to offer are single-player games that you can beat in less than 10 hours. There are many indie games that you can squeeze out everything they have to offer in a weekend that are absolutely worth experiencing. Likewise there are plenty of bland JRPGs out there with hundreds of hours of content that feel like a chore to grind through. There is a vast multiverse of would-be World of Warcraft killers that lie desolate and barren on the internet with no player base and months’ worth of content. Regardless, the ratio of how many hours of gaming a title offers to its cost is a vital metric for the frugal gamer and can shape the way we pay to play. I like to call this metric the hours per dollar (hr/$) a title offers.

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Summer 2014 Steam Sale Haul

Summer 2014 Steam Sale Haul

Well it’s that time of year again folks. That magical seasonal phenomenon is over when the natural orbit of the Earth causes temperatures to rise and steam prices to fall, a thousand wallets crying out as they are gutted taking their natural place in the circle of capitalism. Steam sales are one of the few times I actually buy games anymore and are responsible for the shift from the gaming draughts of my youth to the modern gaming gluttony that takes place today. Games amass like cold war nuclear stockpiles in people’s steam libraries, well beyond the limits of any practical need. I already own more games than I could ever play in this life time and yet the compulsion for more hasn’t subsided in the least. This is what I managed to pull this summer:

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FREE STUFF: Argument Champion

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Free Stuff: Argument Champion

It will be no surprise to people that know me that I like this game. I have a reputation among my friends for being argumentative (I try to keep it in check, honest!). My coursework in college as a philosophy major was basically studying arguments. I enjoy the act of reasoning, the freedom and openness of drawing from a lifetime of experiences and coming up with clever twists of logic to support or undercut an idea. Bigblueboo Labs took this essential and prevalent aspect of life and turned it into a game mechanic with their experimental browser game Argument Champion.

In Argument Champion you connect ideas that the audience likes with the topic you’re defending and connect ideas the audience hates to the idea your opponent is defending. Helping you do this is an argument demon named Corax that reveals to you what ideas the audience views negatively and what ideas they love (is it any surprise that lawyers and rhetoricians are aided by dark forces?) Once you pick which two ideas to link, you have to show they are connected through a free association of connected ideas. So if you wanted to prove that dolphins and the moon are pretty much the same thing and that if you hate dolphins then you should hate the moon you might say something like:

Dolphins are linked to the ocean, the ocean can not exist with out the planet Earth, the planet Earth is inextricably connected to the solar system, the solar system is also connected to the moon, ergo dolphins = the moon.

It can be a bit silly sometimes but it’s fun. In actual gameplay terms once you select an idea to connect, other words associated with that idea appear around it. When you click an associated word, more words appear around the one you just clicked on which will reveal more associations in turn when clicked. You keep doing this until you finally manage to associate a word with the idea you were originally trying to connect with or the timer runs out.

As you progress through the rounds you’re given more options. It’s a short game and the 2 player mode hasn’t been implemented yet but it’s an interesting diversion and what words are associated with each other are randomized so it’s still interesting on subsequent playthroughs.

Argument Champion can be found at: www.argumentchampion.com

Review: Dead Pixels

Dead Pixels Title edit

Dead Pixels Review

or

An 8-bit Ammo Hording Sim

There is an inherent and basic drama to needing more than you have. This is the element that appeals to me the most about zombie fiction. I enjoy reading about people scavenging in old department stores and pharmacies, siphoning gas from abandoned cars, and looking at ordinary mundane places and imagining how it could be refitted as a safe haven against a hostile world. It’s not the end of the world, but the rebuilding of it that thrills me. Zombie games usually focus on the more visceral elements of the zombie genre. Left 4 Dead has you blasting holes in heads and running for your life. The Walking Dead focuses on the social drama of the scenario, having you navigate heated arguments and making tough decisions involving the lives of people that have become an adopted family to the player and dealing with their inevitable loss.  But Dead Pixels is about making the most out of what you have. It’s solving the problem of having to cross a street filled with 30 zombies when you only have 10 bullets and then figuring out how to cross the next one with what you have left over. Continue reading “Review: Dead Pixels”

Happy Holidays!

The Mayan Apocalypse Failed! Christmas is Saved!

Happy holidays folks! Christmas is in the air here at the Gaming on the Cheap household. I’ve been slowly stockpiling rations to get me through a grand family shunning marathon gaming session come Christmas day and I hope you have been too!

I’m going to be switching up the posting schedule here for a while since the previous one has been a colossal disaster (but it wasn’t all bad, explosions are always fun to watch at least =D.) Starting last week, I’m only going to do one post a week every Friday until I build up a month’s worth of content as a backlog. Once I can guarantee a steady flow of content I’ll start randomly putting extra posts up throughout the week. That shouldn’t be hard though as I have a ton of ideas.

I currently been playing Spelunky and Farcry 3 a lot. I’ve always enjoyed the Farcry series but it has never really clicked with me. I have to disagree with the complaints about the story however as I have found the depictions of Brody and his frat bro friends first world privilege being violently ripped out from under them to be well done and have enjoyed watching an inhuman savagery slowly overcome Jason with each foray into the jungle.

Some possible articles you might see in the future:

Should I Wait for the Price Drop? A Max Payne 3 Review

Delving Deeper: Tips for Traversing Spelunky’s Mines

Buying on Release vs Waiting for a Price Drop

Publishing my (absurdly huge) to Game List

The Dragon’s Lair on the 360 

Holiday Steam Sale 2012: What I’m Buying

Holiday Steam Sale 2012: What I’m buying

Happy steam sale everybody! It’s that time of year again when gamers shout for joy and wallets cry out in horror. From December 20th until January 5th, Steam will be showcasing new deals every few hours. If you have been thinking about purchasing a particular game for some time, now is your opportunity. Just keep your eyes open and you’re bound to find a moment when that game is going for less than the price of a Chipotle burrito. As for me, these are the games I’ll be looking to grab. Continue reading “Holiday Steam Sale 2012: What I’m Buying”

Review: Guardians of Middle-earth

guardians-of-middle-earth

Guardians of Middle Earth Review

or

In Soviet Russia, Gollum Owns Sauron!

So I’m just going to throw some buzz words at you. MOBA, League of Legends, Lord of the Rings, Consoles, Streamlined, Turbo dynamic integrated business processes.  That pretty much sums up Guardians of Middle Earth. Guardians of Middle Earth is a Turbo Dynamic Lord of the Rings tie-in console exclusive MOBA game with streamlined mechanics.

For those that don’t know, MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is a competitive game genre where two teams of five players try to out level each other until they are strong enough to destroy the opposing team’s towers and base. Guardians of Middle Earth takes the familiar genre and sets it in middle earth using Lord of the Rings characters as champions (or in this case guardians.) What makes Guardians of Middle Earth interesting is that it takes the familiar MOBA genre and adapts it to be played with a gamepad. No other game has tried to bring the MOBA genre to consoles in its purest form. Every other console MOBA has attempted it by mashing it up with another genre. Awesomenauts mixed MOBA gameplay with a platformer and Monday Night Combat turned MOBA into a third person shooter. Granted, these other genre experiments are interesting but MOBA games have a certain magic to them that can only be invoked in a straight MOBA game. Still, Guardians of Middle Earth may try to bring the wholesome MOBA goodness to consoles but the changes necessitated by adapting the genre to consoles keeps it from being the unadulterated MOBA experience you would find in League of Legends or DOTA 2. Luckily these changes come off as fresh rather than debilitating and makes it a worthwhile experience for hardened fans of the genre looking to spice things up a bit. Continue reading “Review: Guardians of Middle-earth”

Check This Out!: Awesomenauts

 

Check This Out!: Awesomenauts

or

Super League of Legends Two Turbo HD Remix Electric Boogaloo

Do you enjoy MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games like League of Legends, DOTA, and Super Monday Night Combat but sometimes wished that they were 2d and had platforms? Neither did I until I found out  Awesomenauts existed. MOBA games are one of the cores of modern competitive gaming with millions of players feeding and ganking every day. In a MOBA game, you try to level up a hero with a unique set of skills by killing computer controlled bots and other players until you’re team is powerful enough to break through your opponents’ turrets and destroy their base. Each character plays a certain role on the team such as the carry (damage dealer + finisher,) tank(distracts and absorbs damage for the others,) or support(buffs and debuffs.) Teamwork is essential. To be successful, teams need to cover every role and avoid dying needlessly as it is easy for a single opponent to level up to the point that he can steamroll the entire team if a player keeps carelessly getting killed by him over and over. Consequently, the community of MOBA gamers is notorious for its hostility towards new players as one bad player can single-handedly lose the game for his team. Still the community has come a long way; a peer review system and experience based matchmaking has gone a long way towards defanging the trolls and it’s easier than ever for new players to get into the addictive MOBA madness.

Awesomenauts is of particular interest because it takes the familiar MOBA gameplay and turns it into a 2d platformer. It is also one of the few MOBA games available to console gamers. I haven’t tried but it looks very interesting.

What the critics are saying:

“It’s so enjoyable” – TotalBiscuit

“It will give you its love.” – Joystiq

You can get Awesomenauts on steam, xbox live, or the playstation network for $10. If you get it for PC though I would suggest buying it through the developer’s website here so that the money can go directly to them without the digital distribution services taking a cut. http://www.awesomenauts.com/

REVIEW: Darksiders

Darksiders Review

or

War! UH! What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!

I am a man who appreciates a bad ass opening cinematic. Some games have such amazing opening cinematics that I wish they would of just never made the game and used the money to make a movie instead.  Half of the time these games are MMOs.

The three cinematic trailers for Star wars: The Old Republic were some of the most fantastic, visceral action sequences I’ve ever seen. I’ve shown them to everyone I’ve met who has ever said the words “Star Wars” and have rewatched them countless times. However the game itself was just something I couldn’t get into (much to the benefit of my productivity.) The same could be said for World of Warcraft and, unfortunately, Darksiders.

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SALE ALERT: Gamestop 10/24 – 10/30

Sale Alert: Gamestop 10/24 – 10/30

Gamestop is one of the reasons I started this blog.  I remember walking about my local Gamestop, perusing the shelves and seeing great AAA titles that were only a year or two old being sold for pennies.  I was ecstatic at these discoveries because I could finally afford my own copies of these gems but I still felt a tinge of sadness.  With these lower prices, these games weren’t getting the esteem they deserved.  Often times some of the more obscure and novel games would receive a price cut not because of their age but because they simply weren’t selling.  The cream does not always rise to the top in the gaming industry.  And thus I started this blog, to inform the people at large of the rich veins of gaming gold that run deep through the cavernous Gamestop library and beyond.  In keeping with that idea, here are the price cuts worth noting in this week’s Gamestop ad. Continue reading “SALE ALERT: Gamestop 10/24 – 10/30”