A menagerie is a collection or group of animals, in today’s case, we’re going to be looking at magical ones. This isn’t just a list of herds or groups, but rather areas which feature a collection of the most magical creatures. In this week’s Top 10, we’re going to get all magical and in some cases, a little bit science-fictiony. But don’t worry, we’ll stick to our guns and only pick gatherings of creatures that have some strangely magical properties. (more…)
For fairly simple reasons, this is a pretty video game heavy list. However, other media may get through as well. Critters are small creatures that, typically, aren’t all that harmful. However we decided that there were two lists; one for conventionally adorable critters and one for oddly adorable critters. Today we’re focusing on the latter, where we look at slightly weird critters who you can’t help but smile at, so let’s get all fuzzy in this week’s Top 10. (more…)
Greetings brothers and sisters and welcome, to our humble little family. Do not be put off by the burning Satanic rings around the place, for we’re merely in the process of redecoration. We’ve got a simple test to see if you’re worthy to join us, or if you might not fit our requirements. Today, we’re going to share with you our list – Our Top 10 Cults. Be prepared, for you’re about to learn about some of the limitations of the human brain.
Hello people. I wanted to write this piece for a few reasons and yes one of which was just to prove that I was not just a one trick review pony. Through the course of last year Joel wrote a few pieces on Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), and I thought I would tell you about my experience with Role Playing Games (RPG’s).
You tied the vote, so we carried the swing of the decision! So I guess you can blame us for the fact that you’re stood on the kitchen table, taping your trouser legs closed to make sure these ratty devils don’t get up there and bite somewhere essential.
Welcome you poor nervous fools to our Top 10 rodents in the world of games. We have adopted our standard method of arguing until our fingers hurt (because we talk on Steam) about whether or not a rabbit is a rodent (turns out it’s not, damn you overly specific zoologists!) and whether Pikachu or Rattata deserves their place here or not. Guess you’re going to have to scroll for that one. (more…)
Not all games are made to include everything in the box. Not all video games are made with all of the content ready. But all games have one thing in common: They’re generally pretty damn fun! However, is it really fun to have games that don’t have all of the required components in the box, or is it just a massive waste of money? We’d argue it’s not always that bad spending money on games that you’ve already poured money into for the base game, I mean some of our favourite games are some of the most expensive games in the world.
Today we want to take a look through what we think is the Top 10 Collectable Games! Join us as we throw all of the cash out of the window as we collect more pieces in the already expensive game of collectable gaming!
It’s a padding device as old as games themselves. Throw in a little variety in your creature catalogue by changing the colours, copying the code over and slapping a completely different name on it. Cheap trick it may be, but it’s not without it’s up-sides, and it’s not impossible to do it well.
Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde became very distinct personalities in Ms. Pacman, but in the original Pacman they were just multicoloured clones of one another. Aside from the obvious advantage of giving them cool names, what benefit is there to making them different colours? It would have been simpler to leave them all the same colour, or perhaps change the colours between levels, increasing the sense of progression, but for the player, having unique colours makes it much easier to keep track of each ghost’s movements. It’d be easy for four identical ghosts to fade into your peripheral vision, and thus make them impossible to spot until too late, but changing the colours keeps the player’s attention.
Another early example of identical creature given a variety of colours, the aliens from Space Invaders: the block of sprites has a very singular strategy, one that never changes no matter how many you destroy, no matter their colour. Aside from breaking up the wall of enemies, the changes in alien design help the player track progression, although the colours have no effect on the game, the stripping away of layers is much easier to track mentally by colour than by number.
Now let’s talk about Diablo…. here’s a prime example of palette swapping gone wrong. Of all the hundreds of monstrosities Diablo 2 (for example) has to offer, they boil down to a grand total of 72 sprites for general mobs, maybe another 20 or so for unique bosses. The classic of course that we all know and love: The Fallen
Identical tactics, identical sounds and art, but with different colours! Now I don’t expect miracles from a turn of the millennium game, but I think my real question is why go to such drastic lengths with the naming scheme? I feel like it’s some poor attempt to make us believe that they’re supposed to be different creatures, and I’m not buying it. Great game, but compared to its’ contemporaries like Titan Quest or Grim Dawn (two games I talk about far too much, this is why I promised at the start of the year I was going to try and get through my Steam list) where creatures like the Satyrs are palette swapped, they’re named as different breeds, rather than different creatures.
Done well, this kind of palette swap can build up a kind of ecology, and feel within a world, make it a little more real by keeping some small level of consistency. So it really needn’t be all pointless corner cutting.
In short, I’ve grown accustomed to palette swapping, but I’m old enough now to realize that M&Ms aren’t different flavours because they’re different colours. Recently though, I’ve started observing palette swaps appearing somewhere I didn’t expect.
More and more, Games Workshop are producing twin model kits, swap a few pieces here and there on the spru and the figure counts as a completely different unit on the table, initially I was fine with that, not a big deal when the difference was between one type of tank or another, an assault sphinx or a transport sphinx:
But I find myself drawing a line when one build is an entirely different faction to the other as they have begun to be recently, and the differences are not suitably significant to be drawing that kind of distinction. I suppose my biggest question here is why? Is it to give the builder more options with the kits they buy, rather than being bound to a single model? Or is it just to save some money in plastic and moulds, because apparently the price increases just aren’t helping any more.
Call it a sideways move on the topic, but this feels like a palette swap! A cheap rehashing of old material sold as something different, and they’re not the only ones. Fans of Ashens, the action figure/cheap tat reviewer of YouTube will know how full the industry is with repainted figures resold under a different title, even as a different intellectual property. One of my favourite tabletop games is packed to the brim with palette swaps:
Resources are limited everywhere, that’s a fact, be that resource plastic, money or time. Unfortunately this means corners will be cut here and there, but at times clever design can make this kind of cheat to great advantage. This is one major incident where we can look to the past for lessons to apply today. At one time the limited resource was colour, but it was used to greater effect than perhaps it’s used today.
Creativity and nerdity tend to be an explosive mixture. Art is an expression of emotion through various media, and geeks tend towards extremes of emotion regarding their particular fandoms and passions, the two make for a happy and productive union that produces a great deal of beautiful and thought provoking material, and many of the works we know and love today were originally the product of fan art in it’s own way. (more…)