Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Highborn Chapter for iPhone/iPad

Highborn for iPhone has been chugging along, pushing out new episodic content and updates. It's one of the more notable iPhone/iPad games for its humor, art style, and solid gameplay. It's also available for Android and the Chrome Web Store. Chapter 3 is available now, so go take a look.

Final Fantasy Tactics iPhone news

An update regarding Final Fantasy Tactics for iPhone/iPad on Square-Enix's downloadable games Facebook page has been posted.

The new release date target is late July.

They claim the slowdown problems found in the PSP version have been fixed.

The iPad version will be released "1 month later" than the iPhone version.

Multiplayer has been axed.

No DLC plans.

Autosave function has been added. Not sure if this is a self-deleting Autosave or not.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Devil Survivor 2 Trailer, Rainbow Moon screenshots

Developers of Rainbow Moon for PS3 have posted some first screenshots. Looks bright and colorful with very traditional RPG features. From the screenshots, it looks like you might only control one character at a time, making it less of a tactics game and more of a dungeon crawler.

New Devil Survivor 2 gameplay trailer. It plays more or less identical to the original Devil Survivor. Atlus is eager to get more Devil Survivor into the hands of NA gamers, which has sold well relative to other strategy titles.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Common logical errors in video game discussion.

 People make mistakes all the time when trying to discuss games or other media. Here are some of the most common. I've made these mistakes myself, of course.

1. Trying to portray an opinion as a fact or confusing opinions with facts, especially ones own opinion. Opinions can never be facts. Applying subjective adjectives like fake, real, actually, artificial, etc. to objective, quantifiable terms like difficulty, balance, complexity, etc. is illogical and impossible. There can be no arbitrarily defined limit at which point difficulty suddenly becomes "real" or "true" because difficulty is a form of objective measurement based on a required amount and type of skill. Any measurable amount of difficulty is "real" difficulty. If a person has an opinion about the skill requirement of a game (reflexes, timing, memorization, execution, spatial awareness, analysis, strategy formulation, etc.), they should say so clearly without implying their opinion is a fact.

2. Declaring your opinion of what someone's intentions or feelings are as a fact. Making a bunch of ill informed assumptions about someone else then declaring them as facts is a failed attempt at mind reading. Mature adults will ask for clarification instead of making childish assumptions, if they are unsure about the intent or meaning of something that was said.

Another related mistake is ascribing motivations or intentions to game developers without convincing proof such as game code or statements by the developers.Unfortunately we can't read the developer's minds to find out what their intent was.

3. Making false accusations that someone else never said, or using "strawman quotes" to caricature an argument rather than quoting someone directly. Ad homenim attacks that personally insult the poster instead of dealing with their arguments. Strawman attacks where an argument is distorted and misinterpreted to mean something far different from what the original poster intended. This caricature is then attacked as if it were the original argument. False dichotomy logic where a poster presents two extremes as the only available options. All of these are usually combined with failing to provide any quotes evidence, or research to back up an argument, while ignoring, cherry picking, and distorting any opposing arguments. Most video game forums are crammed with such fallacies, fanboy bias, refusal to consider opposing views, etc.

4. Confusing objective measurement of difficulty with subjective perception of difficulty. While difficulty is perceived differently by different people, it can be objectively measured. Often in strategy games, the complexity of the solution is a good indicator of how much work must be put into solving it.

5. Pretending that a game mechanic or condition that significantly reduces difficulty, such as access to grinding or ignoring turn counts, doesn't reduce its difficulty in an analysis that takes all player options into account.

6. When discussing whether a game is balanced or what rules should be adjusted to increase its balance, failing to assume that both opponents in a hypothetical match up are equally skilled. The argument that a more skilled player could defeat a less skilled player with a weaker character choice is irrelevant. Fighting game tier lists assume both players are of equal skill, for example

7. Trying to measure a players skill using inaccurate criteria or methods. For example, games that allow time invested or money spent to equal an unfair in-game statistical advantage against newer players. It's difficult or impossible to compare player skill levels in such games because the playing field can often become grossly uneven. It's also difficult to measure skill in strategy or puzzle games without taking into account the amount of time needed to solve the mission or puzzle(s), or the amount of people collaborating on a problem, or whether it's the same problem/playthrough conditions.

8. Trying to justify one perceived flaw with another one. Two wrongs don't make a right, and revenge is not a valid reason to justify your actions. No, a class being nerfed or buffed is not an excuse for another class to be nerfed or buffed. Comparing an imbalanced game to an even less balanced game does not justify either game being imbalanced.

9. Trying to portray a group of people as hypocrites by pretending they are all the same person giving conflicting opinions, despite being made up of a variety of people with differing opinions. Or trying to claim a gaming community "complains about everything", despite being made up of a variety of people with differing opinions. For example, it's illogical to lambast "gamers" for both complaining about DRM and DLC but then buying the product anyway, because they might be two mutually exclusive groups of people.

10. Rating a game poorly because it doesn't fit a preconceived notion of a game genre or other game categorization. A game does not have to fit neatly into any genre category, it should be judged based on its merits and rules. Similarly, arguments about the definition of game genres is usually pointless, as there is no official reference or definition, nor can you claim your definition is a fact.

11. Complaining about a games difficulty being too difficult for you after choosing a difficulty level other than the easiest one. There is no standard definition for what constitutes 'easy', 'normal', and 'hard'. Choosing 'normal' or 'hard' out of pride or preconceptions then complaining that it's not 'normal' enough for you is illogical.

12. Failing to take into account that video game companies are businesses that exist to make the most money possible in the least amount of time. Blaming marketing when your favorite niche genre game fails. Marketing and advertising is the oft flogged whipping boy used as an excuse when a niche game fails, even though it would have made little to no difference if it were advertised, and probably would have made the publisher even less money due to the cost of advertising

13. Failing to recognize that players of different skill levels besides themselves exist, and that they may have different experiences or opinions. Frequently happens in reviews when the writer assumes every gamer on the planet has the same skill level as them, and thus will all have the same experience. This goes hand in hand with claims that a game "forces" them to level or stat grind, when in truth no grinding is required and they are simply not skilled enough to do so. Similar to inexperienced, poorly skilled gamers refusing to acknowledge that someone might be more skilled and experienced than them and thus have greater insight, knowledge, and better strategies than them. Subjective perception of difficulty and an objective analysis of difficulty are not the same thing.

Further reading:

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 2011 Tactics News

It's been quiet this month, despite E3 coming and going. Some very good tactics games remain in Japan only, but not all is lost.

Panzer Corps for PC has been given a release date of 7/11/11. This looks like a solid tactics game in the style of Panzer General. Features include 26 scenarios and 400 unit types with 20 stats each.

Atlus announced at E3 that Devil Survivor 2 is coming to NA in 2012. Devil Survivor was well received, being simple and easy enough for your average gamer to enjoy.

Record of Agarest War Zero is out in NA this month. I don't recommend it unless you loved the original, which is full of grinding and simple, repetitive fights on a tiny grid.

Gloria Union was released in Japan this month. It plays much like Yggdra Union and Blaze Union. Unfortunately Blaze Union hasn't come to NA and I doubt this one will either. I wasn't a big fan of the overly random and slow paced fights in Yggdra Union, but it's an ok console game.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is coming to iPhone sometime in July. Expect this to sell quite a lot of copies to the usual crowd of gamers who refuse to look at anything that doesn't have Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre on the cover.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3 2011 Tactics News!

Atlus announced Devil Survivor 2 (DS) for a 2012 NA release. The original Devil Survivor was pretty well received so it's not a big surprise they're translating the sequel.

I know there are some indie games on the show floor like Skulls of the Shogun, which is shaping up to be a fun and accessible tactics game.

As far as news, though, that's about it. The biggest news is that Fire Emblem 3 DS and other potential titles weren't announced for NA release. That means you should start brushing up on your Japanese if you want to play them. It's really not that hard to get down some kanji so you can navigate the menus and such. The DS is region free so enjoy that while it lasts, because the 3DS isn't. On the other hand both the PSP and PS Vita are region free.

Speaking of PS Vita, I'm sure there are some tactics games in the works, but nothing has been announced yet. You'll see more PS Vita announcements as the year goes by and Tokyo Games Show 2011 takes place.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tactics game list updated

It's been long overdue, but I've updated the release list of tactics titles. All entries from 2011 on will have region information to go with the release date. Look forward to E3 2011 tactics announcements and info.