Bumble Tales – FTW!

September 9, 2009

At long last, the game that took priority over Domain of Heroes (the game for which I was initially hired to write), Bumble Tales is now available for preview and purchase! You can find it on most of the big portal sites if you don’t trust our main site, but then you’re just giving your money to “the man” instead of us. 😉 

The Team - Bumblized

The Team - Bumblized

It feels like a long time has passed since I originally started writing the tales for these 35 Bumble characters, but our (Tandem Games) development time was only 7 months, so I can’t complain. It has been an experience full of fast-paced crunches, leisurely time-off and lessons learned on how to go about it “the next time”. We have not had our official post-mortem meeting yet, so I’ll keep quiet on all the nitty-gritty details for now, but rest assured, the creation of Bumble Tales will be known by the masses!

Check out our games at the above links or just visit www.TandemGames.comto see a trailer of Bumble Tales. Have fun and give me some feedback – what do you think of the stories? Would you rather have a more linear storyline? How do you feel about the game as a whole? Is this your typical genre?

Catching Up on Things

April 9, 2009

It’s easy to be the first to report on such things as Game Developers’ Conference and World of Goo, etc. It takes passion, talent and determination to be the last to report on these things. So, here I am, bringing you the greatness of late news.

Drew McGee in "Manifest Destiny!"

Drew McGee in "Manifest Destiny!"

First things second, I’ve been playing a couple of games including Midway’s last ditch effort at a Mortal Kombat game: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. My complete coverage of this game will be available soon on www.GamersInfo.net, but for now, steer clear. The game was obviously rushed, lacks the gore that MK fans yearn for and the overall fighting mechanics leave you more frustrated than ecstatic.

I also played TellTaleGames new launch: Wallace & Gromit in the Fright of the Bumblebees. My complete coverage of this game is already up here. As you will read, I highly recommend this game for about 5 hours of pure fun.

Okay, San Francisco and the GDC 09. Brilliant! I tip my hat to Aaron Murray, Founder of Tandem Games, for flying me out there and allowing me to experience the greatness. I spent most of my time on the expo floor where we displayed our new casual game, Bumble Tales, in the Garage Games booth. Speaking of which, BT will be available for download in May from sites like www.BigFishGames.com and various other portals, so look for it. A match-3 style game with content galore including 35 unlockable characters and stories, high-res art, full voice-over and more than 100 levels of fun!

There was an awesome game right behind these girls, but they wouldn't move!

There was an awesome game right behind these girls, but they wouldn't move!

I was given a copy of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune by Naughty Dog’s own Richard Lemarchand (couldn’t ask for a nicer guy than this) and immediately popped it in when I got home. If you’re a fan of the Tomb Raider series, this will be right in your wheel house. The music is amazing! I literally found myself sitting there waiting for the music to loop before moving on in the game because it was so big. The music took me back to the movie theater when I first saw Jurassic Park…that good. The puzzles weren’t difficult at all, but the story really made the game come together (and no, I’m not saying that just because I’m a writer). I’m going to say “Buy It” because it’s a good 10 – 15 hours of solid gameplay and finding all the treasures will have you OCD gamers enthralled.

Lastly, World of Goo. Play it! Buy it! I loaded this last night and wanted to try it for 30 minutes. I ended up playing for almost 3 hours. The game design is fan-freakin’-tastic: beautiful levels, hilariously cute Goo balls AND it makes you think! Again, the music in this game could be a soundtrack you listen to for recentering your chi or something. Take my word on this: you won’t regret this purchase.

Post-lastly, Domain of Heroes made a few headlines here and here!  Okay, that catches you up on a lot of things. Leave comments, wishes, or money. Whatever you like.

Interactive Media

September 21, 2008

Since the AGDC, a thought has been nagging me in the back of my brain-bone. I want to open this up to discussion because I want to get a feel for what others think about the idea of interactive media. A great number of theories about the future of storytelling have popped up in conversations and so I turn to you.

What are the boundaries of interactive media and what is at its core?

I feel, at its core, a book is a form of interactive media, albeit rudimentary. A reader must turn the page to progress the storyline. This said, the author has complete control of where the story goes and the “player” merely turns the page and reads on. Linear? Yes. Interactive? Sure.

The books are in the computer!

The books are in the computer!

The problem seems to arise when folks begin discussing non-linearity and interactivity. Terms like “open world” and “sandbox” get tossed about and there is finger-pointing with shouts of, “That’s still linear!” Some seem to think the idea of storytelling is a burden to be placed on the shoulders of the gamer in the future.

WHAT?! Wait, why exactly should this happen?

The general theory appears as such: in our day-to-day lives, we constantly fill in blanks with things we see and conversations we overhear. Sometimes, we are spot-on. Other times, we create stories that are far greater than the actual occurrences. To this, I say, “Kudos! We all have some level of imagination and contextual reality.” But does this make us all good storytellers?

I fully understand the desire to interact with a game’s storyline and make it my own personal experience. As a fan of RPGs, it’s what I thrive on. But what makes a game a game? Furthermore, what makes an interesting storyline? Non-linearity is great, if done well. I love being able to do what I want (in any order) and having the consequences of my actions affect the outcome of the game. This being said, I want to be part of a strong story, not something being generated on the fly that has a greater than 50% chance of being worthless and uninteresting. As a writer, I have a daily opportunity to write garbage. As a gamer, I want a refined and polished storyline that can be altered – sometimes subtly, sometimes majorly – but never breaks my immersion.

In my opinion, you should enjoy a storyline that allows you to play along; a storyline that a professional has spent time on to make sure there are moments of tension and action, betrayal and emotional pulls.  If you want full control of your destiny, play 2nd Life. Better yet, go to work.

Agree? Disagree? Let me here from you.

Bioshock Revisited

August 4, 2008

And like that, a week has passed since my last entry. It doesn’t seem possible, but between trying to beat Bioshock on the hardest setting (got the “good” ending…more on this later) and reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (a little too feminine for my taste) and work, I guess a week’s worth of time can be accounted for.

So, to keep with the theme of my blog, I present my final thoughts on Bioshock for PC. Overall, a great game…so great, in fact, I may have to change my gaming mantra, which is to always play a game on its hardest difficulty because more than likely, I won’t play it again. I think I will now play games on their easiest difficulty to save time and frustration. If I find I need more of a challenge, the game SHOULD allow me to change at any point (Are you listening 2K?). This said, I probably won’t play Bioshock again, regardless if I had played it on easy, simply because it freaked me out. I can’t take the anxiety and overall constant state of heightened tension these types of games put me through. Kudos for being able to do it, but…yeah, not for me. This does put a damper on my excitement for Resident Evil 5, however. 😦

 

I can’t say enough about the storyline…or maybe I could, but I won’t. Play this game if you haven’t already! The way things are handled with controlling the story while allowing players the illusion of freedom is amazing. And the few times you do lose control of your character, it gives you enough time to sit back, watch a quick interaction (NOT A CUTSCENE in the original sense) and force your heart to slow its BPM.

As for the ending, it was solid. Not long enough for my taste, but solid.

Short endings are for 8-bits...and even they had bikinis

Short endings are for 8-bits...and even they had bikinis

If you’re looking for more info about me, try www.MadeInMcGee.com