School Daze is an RPG which takes high school and makes it fun. Think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Glee, Saved by the Bell, The Breakfast Club, Veronica Mars, etc. How many great TV shows and movies took the setting of high school and made it fun? Now, you can too!
I first talked about School Daze when it was in its Kickstarter phase back in March. The rules haven't changed since then, though creator Tracy Barnett has added a lot of fluff to the setting for the book's official release.
Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) is hard at work on the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, currently called D&D Next, and has a huge playtest underway. If you're looking for some more background on how this edition is shaping up and what was included in the first playtest packet, check out Jason Enright's excellent post about his first impressions. On August 13, Wizards released packet 2, which included all of the necessary rules for creating and running a D&D Next character up to the fifth level. Overall, this packet is a great next step for the playtest for those of us who had exhausted the resources provided in packet 1. I took the time to go over the new information and even roll up a few characters of my own to see how these rules worked together and thought I'd share my impressions.
Spidey has had it rough when it comes to video games. Like most superhero games, it's pretty difficult to capture the feeling of actually being that hero. 'Till this day, poor Superman has not once had anything decent in this regard but lucky for us, Spider-man has. The Spider-Man 2 and Ultimate Spider-Man video games beautifully captured what it felt like to really BE Spider-Man. As a life long Spidey fan, these games were like a dream come true. Web-slinging through the city of Manhattan never felt more rewarding. Of course, those games came out back in 2004 and 2005, and almost every Spidey game that has followed has paled in comparison. The one exception would be Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, which sacrificed the open world of the previously mentioned games yet still delivered a unique gaming experience playing as 4 different variations of our hero. It's follow up, also by Shattered Dimensions developer Beenox, was a disaster that decided to limit our hero to indoors only. And, don't even get me started on the Spider-Man 3 movie game.
The Matrix and its sequels are old, if treasured, news these days, but that same respect is rarely afforded to its imitators. Complaints of bullet time and rampant slow motion have been common critics’ fodder against action movies ever since 1999. It’s a testament to Max Payne’s appeal—or the follow-the-leader nature of shooters, or both—that Rockstar Entertainment decided to buy the IP wholesale from Swedish developers Remedy Entertainment (who are currently known for Alan Wake). Rockstar spent an estimated $105 million and eight years creating Max Payne 3, instead of putting that funding towards a surefire Grand Theft Auto expansion pack or three. If it’s a follow-the-leader gaming fad, it’s passing in appropriately slow motion.
Dungeons & Dragons has come a very long way from the game that Gary Gygax played in the basement with his friends and family. In the past 30 years, it has gone through many incarnations, and, right now, it is about to evolve again. Wizards of the Coast is currently playtesting the 5th edition of D&D in a massive playtest with gaming groups all over the world. They are calling this fan feedback playtest experience D&D Next. As an avid RPGer and a game store manager, I just had to get in on this.
Fanboy Comics' newest contributor, Jordan Callarman, advises gamers about the path to glory.
By Jordan Callarman, Guest Contributor to Fanboy Comics
In light of Double Fine’s epic Kickstarter to fund an old school point-and-click adventure game (which is still happening! Click here to donate!), I’ve been thinking a lot about this style of game lately. I mean, I was raised on classics like the King’s Quest series, so this genre is nothing new to me. But, for younger generations, and even a large percentage of my own, these types of games go unplayed. They’re viewed as antiquated and lumped in with all the other old and obsolete games. This is the future! Why play something like Pong when you can play Mass Effect 3?
Which is not to say that point-and-click adventure games (hereafter known as PACAs, because I am lazy) don’t have their supporters. Telltale Games has been releasing episodic PACAs for a few years now that are set in universes like Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. The genre soldiers on, and it’s a good thing, too, because there are modern gaming lessons to be learned from PACAs, and I’ve got the list to prove it!
I’ve never really understood Facebook games. Everyone’s heard of Farmville and its ilk, all the big time casual games on Facebook that are built to appeal mostly to the middle-aged women demographic. These are video games designed for people who don’t like video games, in that they can only be defined as games in the loosest sense of the word. As an example, Farmville and all of its copycats are civilization sims stripped of most of their gameplay elements: you obtain structures and place them wherever is most aesthetically pleasing to you while you’re working towards unlocking the next thing you can get and place in your farm or town or whatever. The game spurs you on by presenting you with “quests” like “Build a henhouse!” or “Harvest 30 carrots!” and that’s essentially it. Don’t get me wrong, I see the initial appeal. I’ve played a few of these games on Facebook, and they’re great time wasters, but, eventually, I get bored and stop, because I realize that what I’ve been doing is uncomfortably close to cleaning and redecorating my room, only far less productive.
But, Marvel Avengers Alliance is different.
Who doesn't want the opportunity to be a superhero? Mutants & Masterminds, Savage Worlds, Champions, and other tabletop roleplaying games have already given us their take on creating and playing a superhero, and now, with the blessing of Marvel Comics, Margaret Weis Productions have given us their take on the genre. MWP has a reputation for tailoring games for a specific feel using their Cortex Plus system such as heists and capers in Leverage and relationships in Smallville. This is not the first game to bear the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying name, but it is nothing like its predecessor, having been reworked from the ground up.
If you’ve been following North American E-Sports lately, there’s a new FPS on the scene that stands out from Call of Duty (a franchise that is fast becoming the new standard indie game makers measure themselves against, or better yet, away from). Tribes: Ascend is the latest release from Atlanta-based HiRez Games, the makers of 2009’s Global Agenda MMO. While both shooters are free to play and feature futuristic weaponry and jetpacks, Tribes: Ascend distinguishes itself from Global Agenda and other sci-fi fare such as Halo:Reach.
Tribes followed on the tail end of the '90s mecha simulator wave. In an attempt to cash in on the success of Mechwarrior, Dynamix released Metaltech: Earthsiege and later, its Starsiege sequel. In 1998, Dynamix and Sierra teamed up to capitalize on the buzz created by Unreal and Quake. The result was Starsiege: Tribes, a well-balanced yet somewhat derivative product, an entirely different genre of game set in the Starsiege universe essentially for the sake of name recognition.
And, that’s when emergent gaming’s invisible hand took over.
When you have multiple balls coming at you from all sides, usually you're either working in the adult film industry (ask for extra pay) or you're the last kid on one side of a dodgeball game. Nay, perchance you're playing the game of kings (most commonly that royal title is of the burger variety or McCheese Mayors), a game of flippers, spinners, locked balls, extra balls, and many a ramp (again, not porn), I speak of Pinball!