Game Diary

Nox (2000, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

I really can’t even remember how I came across Nox at first, but I know it was in late 2004 when I bought the European release of Kult: Heretic Kingdoms. At the time I remarked that the games were similar – somewhat small in scope, but very successful in accomplishing what they try to do. Nox is an isometric action-RPG released in early 2000, which means that it was immediately labeled as a ‘Diablo Clone’. In many ways it fits that description – but it offers much more depth than any of the traditional action-RPG’s, making it more similar to…

The Power of HTML5 & WebGL: Quake II in a Web Browser!

There has been much discussion about HTML5 versus Flash recently, so it was very interesting to see this: Some engineers at Google have taken some of their ‘play time’ and tried to see how well a non-plug-in based video game would play in native HTML5 with WebGL support. They chose Quake II, the groundbreaking 1996 first-person shooter, which is now open source and already has a Java port. As noted on the Google Web Toolkit Blog: We started with the existing Jake2 Java port of the Quake II engine, then used the Google Web Toolkit (along with WebGL, WebSockets, and…

Collapse! Chaos Free for iPhone/Touch

Just when I thought I had played or reviewed just about every puzzle collapse game, I found Collapse! Chaos Free.  The game was number two on the free app rankings this week so I gave it a try.  At first I was leery of another match the color blocks collapse game and did not expect anything we have not seen many times.  To my surprise, this is a fresh and fun version of an old favorite style of game.  Details after the break…

Nintendo DSi XL Released … DSiWare Takes Another Hit

Image courtesy of VGBlogger I know I haven’t talked much about the recently released Nintendo DSiXL … well, that is because it is a DSi that is bigger, and I already did a DSi Review last year. There have been plenty of other reviews, but today from GameStop there was some news that should make owners of existing DSi systems take pause if they are considering buying an ‘upgrade’: You cannot take your DSiWare purchases with you.

Thief: Deadly Shadows (2004, FPStealth): The Netbook Gamer

One of the great things about doing the Netbook Gamer is revisiting games and memories from years past. The Thief franchise of first-person stealth-action games touches a couple of memories. I was given the first game as a Christmas gift when it came out in late 1998, at a time when having two children under two years old was pretty much all consuming and left scant time for computer games, most of which I spent on first person shooters. So a stealth game like Thief demanded me to change my basic approach to gaming.

Cops and Robbers for iPhone/Touch App Review

This week’s Blue Plate is time sensitive, so read quickly and get to downloading.  Most of the games featured in the weekly column have been puzzle type games.  Cops and Robbers is going to break this streak with a 3D scroller that is sure to provide an entertaining diversion.  The game is usually $2.99 but is free for the time being, so if this one looks interesting you better jump on it; I think you will not be disappointed. Details after the break…

Final Fantasy iPhone Game Review

What does it say when Final Fantasy VII is released on the PSN Store as a downloadable game for the PSP & PS3 for $9.99 and everyone rejoices, yet when the original Final Fantasy comes along for the iPhone for $8.99 and there is a general sense of being over-charged? Perhaps it is the reality that all business models aren’t created equal. I will talk about the business model in a bit, but for now … let’s explore the iPhone release of the original Final Fantasy!

Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

Every now and then we come across something that brings us back to the origins of our love for a hobby. For me and computer games, my first real love was Castle Wolfenstein for the Apple ][ in 1981. I have related that story more than once now, since I have reviewed the iPhone version of Wolf 3D, the iPhone game Wolfenstein RPG, and last fall’s franchise reboot Wolfenstein for PC, X360 and PS3. In between all of that, Activision released Return to Castle Wolfenstein in late 2001. In this episode of The Netbook Gamer I see how the game…

Finger Physics Free for iPhone/Touch App Review

The number of puzzle games in the App Store is staggering. I have played or reviewed a fair amount of them myself. Many of the games are very similar with their own different twist. Once in a while we run across a puzzle game that is unique. Finger Physics Free is one such game. Find out what it is after the break.

Star Wars Dark Forces (1995, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

I now come to the conclusion of my reviews of the Jedi Knight series (see my Netbook Gamer reviews of the original Star Wars Jedi Knight, the Mysteries of the Sith expansion, and the Jedi Knight II and Jedi Academy sequels) with the game that started it all – 1995’s Star Wars Dark Forces.

The Video Game ‘DLC Double-Dip’ Debate Rages on with New Bioshock 2 DLC!

One thing that came along for the ride with the introduction of the XBOX360 is late 2005 was the ability to add post-release ‘downloadable content’, or DLC. DLC was different from the ‘expansion packs’ PC gamers were familiar with as it was smaller and more focused, and able to be delivered much more quickly and at a lower price. The system is attractive to publishers since it allows fast turn-around on the product as well as higher profits, but through the reuse of existing assets; it is attractive to gamers because it allows for frequent and inexpensive updates to favorite…

The Two Things It Would Take for Me to Support UbiSoft’s New (draconian) PC Game DRM

Comic courtesy of Penny Arcade I have already talked about the new DRM system Ubisoft has implemented in their games starting with Assassin’s Creed 2 – basically even for single player offline games you need to be constantly connected to the internet or the game boots you out and you lose all progress since the last checkpoint. While I bristle at the thought of such a system, I do accept that publishers need to find a way to protect their property from improper use and outright theft. I started writing this with a few quick ideas about how to make…

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

Continuing my love affair with the Jedi Knight series (see my Netbook Gamer reviews of the original Star Wars Jedi Knight, the Mysteries of the Sith expansion, and the Jedi Knight II sequel), I now move to the last game in the series, after which I will return to the first game (Dark Forces) to complete my look at the life and times of Kyle Katarn! For now, let’s look at Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.

Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption (2000, RPG): The Netbook Gamer

Considering that I tend to be a very linear person, it is interesting that in terms of role-playing games pre-2004 I tended to play them all ‘out of order’. For example, after enjoying Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic, I asked around and was recommended to seek out Gothic 2 and Baldur’s Gate 2. I played and loved both of those and then sought out the original games in the series. The same was true with games based on White Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade tabletop RPG – I played the 2004 Troika game Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines through…

Alienware m11x Gaming Laptop: First Impressions

… and as Alienware claims, this is NOT a netbook! Sitting side-by-side with my Lenovo s10 the Alienware m11x seems large, and given that it weighs twice as much as the Lenovo it also FEELS much bigger. But compared to my 15″ Macbook Pro or the HP Compaq 15″ laptop I use at work, it looks and feels quite small. That is exactly what Alienware was going for – a high performance system in a portable package. So while I have only had a short time with the system, here are a few initial thoughts about the m11x as a…

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes Nintendo DS Game Review

When someone introduces a new game for a new platform by a new developer in a totally unrelated genre with a familiar name, most fans of the original feel that it is likely someone is trying to cash in by attaching a familiar name to a mediocre game. The Might & Magic franchise has seen both sides of this: the most recent addition to the Heroes of Might & Magic franchise is the best in years, but the promising but mediocre action game ‘Dark Messiah Might & Magic’ from 2006 had no reason for a franchise attachment. Might & Magic…

Torect Free for iPhone/Touch

As more and more of my students get iPhones, they become a greater source of apps.  At first, they asked me about games and apps they should get but now they are slowly beginning to share their findings with me.  Last week I walked into my second period American History class with four students standing at my desk.  They excitedly told me I must download Torect Free on my phone.  They explained that all of them were highly addicted to the puzzle game.  One of the young men handed me his phone and said he was stumped.  I solved the…

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002, FPS): The Netbook Gamer

Since I have already expressed my love for the original Star Wars Jedi Knight and the Mysteries of the Sith expansion, it is only fitting that I move on to the sequel! Don’t worry, I will return to Dark Forces soon enough and have also recently completed Jedi Academy … so soon I’ll have reviewed the entire Kyle Katarn saga on the netbook for you! But for now, let’s look at Jedi Knight II.

Cogs for iPhone/Touch

It is crazy how different my gaming habits are than they were ten years ago.  I was once a heavy console gamer, staying up late to finish levels or a game and searching for tips in magazines and websites.  These changes are probably due to age, available time or becoming a parent or combination of the three.  At any rate, my gaming habits has gone from shoot ’em up action packed games to more slower paced “smart” games.  Especially puzzle games.  Larry introduced this game to Dan who in turn sent me an IM that read, “Get Cogs.”  That is…

Divinity 2: Ego Draconis PC Game Review

I have already done a Netbook Gamer for Divine Divinity, declaring it one of my all-time favorite games, so it was only a matter of time before I’d find myself immersed in the sequel, which was released in early January. So does it deliver on all of my hopes and dreams for a follow-up? Read on and find out!

Free Word Warp for iPhone/Touch

I will admit it…I have become a word game junkie on my iPhone!!  It is a sad state of affairs, but lately, my spare time has been spent playing a number of word games.  The latest addiction is Free Word Warp.  If you have played the flash game text twist on your computer then Word Warp will seem familiar.  Lets take a quick look.