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Android: Netrunner

Front box cover

This is a reboot of game that passed me by in the mid 90s during the CCG craze. I've read a lot of things about just how great the gameplay is, so I decided to try the game out. Unlike a true CCG, an LCG has fixed packs. They still come out regularly, but there is no mystery to what you are getting. Much easier to swallow than a game like Magic: The Gathering.

The gameplay involves a hacker (the "Runner") trying to infiltrate a corporation's (the "Corp") different strongholds (HQ, Archives, R&D, etc) trying to expose their agendas while preventing the Corp from taking them down via various types of damage and other methods.

I really enjoy playing the Corp (poorly) due to all of the bluffing, etc. I can't think of another game other than Poker where you have to do this much bluffing. The game's theme is a generic Cyberpunk setting but the backstory and artwork are decent. I personally like the original incarnations's abstract/90s view of technology artwork better.

If you are looking for a 2 player game with highly asymmetric gameplay, check it out.


Magic the Gathering

Card Back

Another game I played a lot of in the mid/late 90s was the card game Magic the Gathering. Somewhere around Tempest/Stronghold me and my friends stopped playing.

I wrote a computer version of the game Dreamblade and due to its similarity to MtG I've been chatting a lot with developers who work on MtG games and from there the itch started.

I've gone to a few Zendikar drafts, installed Manalink 2.0 (old Shandalar game) with all the cool new updates, play the Xbox 360 Duels of the Planeswalkers, and built a powered cube which gets occasional play and is a total blast.

I'm not happy with some of the ways the game has evolved but overall it's still a very fun game to play.


Total Annilhilation

In game screenshots

I've been going back and playing some of the games I played in the mid 90s. I finally got Total Annilhilation and its expansions working under Wine and am really enjoying it. I also have been playing MtG/Shandalar from Microprose and Lords of the Realm II.

In my opinion TA is the best RTS game ever made. I'm not a big fan of them to be honest but this one is just great.

I'm hoping something good comes out for the Xbox 360 soon to keep me occupied over the summer. Mass Effect really didn't do it for me.



In game screenshots

I just picked up an Xbox 360 pretty much to play this game. That is sorta the same thing I did with the previous generation Xbox. Halo:CE got me to buy the original and this game in particular, Shadowrun, is probably the best FPS I've played since Halo:CE. In fact, the original lead on Halo:CE worked on this game, and it shows.

The game is a mix of Counterstrike and fantasy. The world is actually the subject matter for a pen and paper RPG but not much of that has made it into the video game. If you enjoy well balanced FPS games, this may be for you.



Starter Set Box

Starter Set Box

This is actually not a video game, but a collectible miniatures game. It's sorta Magic The Gathering meets Chess. I like it a little better than Magic because it seems to involve more strategy, I love rolling dice, and the mana rich/poor thing just doesn't happen with this game. The pre-painted minis look great too!

I'm currently writing an AI player for this game using python. Slow going.

I've also been playing a lot of old Atari 2600 games on my new A-Open set top box in the living room.



The GP2X

For Christmas I got one of these and it is a total blast. A lot of emulators have been ported to it so I've been playing Atari 800 and C64 games on it. It's a totally open platform so coding for it is a breeze. It also uses std AA batteries and SD memory cards. It plays all normal formats of audio and video too. Mine looks identical to the picture above except it is all black.




I finally installed a Vortex spinner on my arcade cabinet and have been playing so much Tempest I've developed some kinda carpel tunnel or something in my shoulder. It's a very difficult and addictive game. It was released in 1980 by Atari and was a big success in the arcades.



Trogdar the Burninator!

Peasant's Quest

This is no Sierra game

I'm wasting plenty of time playing these two games since Halo 2 multiplayer stinks. If you grew up w/ an Apple ][ computer Peasant's Quest will ring familar. Sorta King's Quest meets Monty Python. The story of where Trogdar came from is here. And yes, in the screenshot above that is a single muscular arm hanging off the dragon.