Much Ado About Nothing

My dreams have become more vivid as of late. I wonder if it has anything to do with my creative juices sitting in the cupboard. I hope that I can keep it on a simmer, and that it A) doesn’t atrophy, and B) doesn’t explode into some kind of insanity. I used to be able to sleep fitfully, my brain having expelled its contents towards some kind of goal. The spark kindled into something useful, or at least interesting. Now it seems that my subconscious would rather let me know of its boredom via exceptionally vivid dreams casting me as a red bearded samurai or watching a show about a college based super hero that gets around by way of slip and slides. It’s gotten to the point where I go to sleep and wonder what I’ll watch tonight, and if I’ll wake up amused or shaking.
Methinks that my Iron Lung needs to go away, else my spark ignites and consumes me with it. What worries me the most though, isn’t the dreams, its the idea that given time they may just stop. I’ve taken to thinking of mechanics and concepts in my head. I’ve also started reading Making Magic, a column where the Lead Designer for Magic The Gathering (one of my favorite games of the last 15 years) talks about design and the principals of it. It’s knocked Penny Arcade out of my go to first internet spot for Monday.

Since I haven’t mentioned it yet, Star Frog Games has a new website. There was some stupidity involving hosting that I’m sure nobody cares about. The new site is template based and doesn’t look like ass. I’ve taken to actually showing people it instead of just using for an email address. I’ll probably figure out how to post all of this, there and then we can have a single website for everything. That would be cool I think. Also since it’s based on a template I worked out a way to have the site have multiple templates. That means that when it’s working we can have custom pages for The Thief’s Tale and Paper Zeppelin and anything else we build. I’m already thinking of making the page art match the games themselves, so construction paper pages seem like a possibility at some point. Or I’ll forget all about it.

I’ve been playing some games recently and I usually will comment on them as I play them, but I didn’t want to put up stuff about nothing, so I;ll just go through them now.
The Forgotten Sands is the new Prince of Persia game. I liked it, the combat is still not terribly good and the story was kind of an excuse. I mean, you can’t have character development when the character is already established in the bookend games. The platforming is still ducky though. Oddly, and this may be the radical view, I preferred the last one with the talkative Prince.
Okami was awesome, and very long. I played it on my Wii, and the brush just worked (more or less – stupid straight lines). It’s like a Zelda, this is true, but without all the Zelda crap in it. Free of all of the tropes, it was free to do what every Zelda game since Ocarina has been trying to do. It’s like Batman Begins in that way. Although I’m ripped apart by the sequel. On the one hand, I don’t think it needs it since the story was tied up all nice. On the other, I so want a plush Chiburatsu, but I’m kind of a whore for merch.
Finally, I’m currently into Alan Wake. I usually don’t play these kinds of games since the things that go bump in the night give me the creepies. I mean, games are usually power fantasies and making the player afraid of everything seems to defy my, “Make the player look cool,,” game philosophy. Wake has these downright well designed mechanics. The flashlight is the first, mostly because it points where you point it with the stick. So when it’s really dark and you’re spazing out, the flashlight light spazzes too. Every shadow begins to look like something then. If there are enemies hiding in the darkness, the spastic movement of the flashlight (so you can see) actually makes you more screwed. I love that synergy. It’s like the game is telling you to try to stay cool, and then doing everything it can to deny said cool. Oh, and the pages are ridiculous. They’re hidden in the darkness and tell you what’s going to happen, so you quickly become a junkie trying to find them, since the fear of the dark is the fear you know. The fear of the truly unknown is a different beast altogether.
After playing Alan Wake, my dreams always have a flashlight in them.

Yes, the thing that keeps me from doing anything cool is still hung around my neck like a monkey. I am trying to stay positive. I really am. I promise.

We are grateful for our iron lung…

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