Tag Archives: games

Mass Effect: Day 4

Mass Effect: Day 4

The opening music makes me very happy – it’s so tranquil and zen.  I want to restore harmony to the Alliance and everyone in the Universe!  Seriously – this is not sarcastic.  It gives me a strange motivation to keep on trucking.

I’ve met Tali and taken her on as a … squader … person.

I like how many of the alien species don’t have observable lips – awesome cost cutting strategy on lip synching and it’s just … cool.

But, I’ve some more Keepers to scan.  I hope we find out more about them.

Mass Effect: Day 3

Mass Effect: Day 3

I want to jump.

Really badly.

Jumping around 3D environments is fun and a fun method of getting around in a different way.

I remember hearing a talk by Bioware where they showed some analytics on their players.  It showed that like 70% of the time was spent walking around.  I thought – OMG, I wonder what they did to fix that.  But… they were happy with the stat.

A LOT of time is spent traveling in this game – and those elevators!  If only the Protheans had mastered speeding up elevator travel!

BUT, I can now SCAN the Keepers and hopefully find out something about them.  I was VERY HAPPY that I get to do something with them and the Keeper Hunt is a great device to keep you….


Mass Effect: Day Two

Mass Effect: Day Two

I’m really liking the conversation system and the writing quality with the responses.

But… I’m really disappointed with the lack of interactivity.  The Citadel looks like a mall I used to hang out in as a teen.  And I REALLY wanted to talk to the insect guys, but it wasn’t until I spoke with the virtual guide that I found out they were ‘off limits’.

The hearing about Saren was a let down; why didn’t they bring the witness to testify against him?  ”Perry Mason” should be required viewing in the 22nd century.

And then there was a fight in Chora’s Den, but… the corpses mysteriously disappeared.  I was hoping to take ‘em alive for questioning.

Lost Diamonds, Wisconsin Weather and Old Regrets

Lost Diamonds, Wisconsin Weather and Old Regrets

Flush with the success of Message in a Haunted Mansion we were able to hire an actual writer, Erin Brown, for Nancy’s 4th interactive mystery, Treasure in the Royal Tower.  Erin was great to have on the design team and she prefaced each idea with “Maybe, maybe, maybe….”

Erin hated slider puzzles and had a great idea for how to deal with them: “Maybe, maybe – maybe we could like put a giant anvil hanging over a slider puzzle and you could just break the chain to smash it?”

Erin also had an odd fascination with food reflected in the strange menu of Wickford Castle.

The idea of a castle made up of parts from historic castles was Inspired by a visit to the Winchester House that the then Art Director, Laura Henion, and I visited when we attended the Game Developer’s Conference in San Jose.

It was great fun collaborating with Erin on Treasure.  It was especially fun creating the ‘puzzlemeister’ character of Ezra Wickford, inventor of chocolate milk and regretful disciplinarian.  And who couldn’t love the creator of the wildly popular Koko Kringle  chocolate bars?

I think that the direction for Nancy’s uncovering Ezra’s secret room is one of the best in the series: the soft, wistful musical theme, the lighting of the candle to illuminate his joys and sorrows and the gradual melting of the wax to reveal his key.  It was poetry to my eyes and ears!

Despite the difficult theme of Ezra and his regrets, we still kept it light especially with the zany character of Professor Hotchkiss played perfectly by Keri Healey.  I remember struggling to script her eye blinks as she talked to Nancy behind the door.  We were limited to 5 minutes of lip synching per character and had to use this device to stay within budget.

We joked about having the characters in the next game wear paper bags.




Mass Effect: Day One

Mass Effect: Day One


Why I am playing this now  I tend to either play video games right after they come out or wait several years.  This may be because I naturally resist jumping on bandwagons or maybe because I’ve been severely disappointed by the ‘latest thing’.

Regardless, I’m finally jumping on the Mass Effect bandwagon.  I’m very particular with my science fiction choices opting more for alternative reality or cyberpunk instead of space opera which I feel most sci-fi games fit into.  While Mass Effect initially feels very space-opera (save the beacon, save the universe), I’m interested in seeing how it is a “landmark of interactive storytelling” as the NYT dubs it.

Pre-game I like how you can choose the character’s background and how NPC’s comment on this, at least initially.  I’ve opted for the Colonist/Sole Survivor plan and am playing Shepard overly cautious, sometimes reckless and stony cold realist who hopefully will develop into a caring warm fuzzy at the end.  It will be interesting to see if I am encouraged to develop or not.

Game Start While my need for multilinearity and choice has been sated in the character creation, the game starts out very linearly.  I understand the need for a controlled beginning, but it would have been nice to have some choice… somewhere.  I couldn’t break the locks of the colony buildings so maybe the multilinearity is hidden.

And what was with the bombs?  I guess it added suspense and an activity, but why did they have to put timers on it?  It wasn’t like they needed to save the geth or the horde zombie things.  Was it a test that ‘they’ put up for me?  And I had no idea what my visions were but Shepard thinks they had to deal with war or death or the end.  Really?  I just saw objects flash by in a red filter.

It was strange that no one talked about the weird spike ritual to create cyber-zombies.  That was the coolest thing about my expedition, but I have no one to talk to about it…

Maybe … soon… I’ll find a zombie story loving person down the line.