Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Question Of The Week: Currently Casual


By GM Staff

Most everyone's got some casual title or another that fills the time between bigger games (and sometimes winds up becoming an obsession all its own). With so many to choose from, everyone's playing something different, so we thought we'd make that the subject of our first "Question of the Week."

Our own casual considerations, after the break...

David: Zen Pinball on PSN. Those are some crazy pinball tables in that game. The game basically consists of physically impossible tables with crazy animation effects - they recently released two new tables that are very entertaining. I like how they have expanded their library of tables and each one is pretty cheap to purchase as an add-on. I have a couple complaints with the game, the primary one being that the load times are pretty darn long. And as entertaining-looking as the tables are, they aren't as strong as some of the classic pinball games out there. There is something to be said about a classic Street Fighter II pinball table though!

Kirk: I've been playing a ton of the updated version of Battle Bears for iPhone. I get that sucker going on the bus and I can't put it down - the new bosses that came with the update are great, though I'm happiest when I'm blowing the heads off of little pink bears and faster gold bears.  And using a bearzooka on those giant blue bears. You know, as usual. When we talk about camp in games, I see Battle Bears as a great example - the game works like a charm, but also feels patched together and low-budget, and the voice-acting on the cutscenes alone is so hilariously wretched that I never skip them, even the ones I've seen a bunch of times. Battle Bears has also awoken a hunger for ursicide I never knew I had - color me kinda excited about Naughty Bear.

Annie: OK, look. I've been offline. Or not truly offline, but my email/chat/etc function have been preempted.  Because I decided that the time was right for me to play through Diablo II again. I have room in my life and my heart for 99 levels of hack and slash. Some women decide to have babies, some women install expansion packs. I know this is not a casual game. I suppose my answer to the casual game question would be Pet Society by Playfish (a.k.a "Bizarro Zynga") on Facebook, because I was playing that religiously for quite a long time, mostly due to the fact that I missed my dog. But now my actual dog is back with me, not wearing liederhosen, and it felt like the right time to slay some demons.

Dan: Well, I definitely haven’t been playing Magic: The Gathering – Duel of the Planeswalkers on XBox Live. If I were, it wouldn’t be even remotely embarrassing and I’d totally confess. While I was at it, I’d probably also confess to having sunk like a bazillion dollars into the actual physical cards about 15 years ago, when everyone else I knew was also playing it, which also definitely never happened. Anyway, if I was playing the XBL version, I’d probably mention how fun it is to duck back into the MTG mythology and relive the nostalgia of a simpler time, while feeling somewhat annoyed at the strict order-of-operations and obligatory waiting period between spells.  I’d probably also make quips about the hilariously un-listenable soundtrack (an unholy hybrid of metal guitar and elevator music).  But I won’t do any of those things, because I’m definitely not playing it.


But that's just us - what casual game have you been playing lately?

10 comments:

drewbert said...

Oregon Trail on the DSi. Nostalgia and memories of the 3rd grade Mac lab. Can't beat it.

Daniel Bullard-Bates said...

I really don't know what you mean about the terrible music in Magic: The Gathering, nor do I have any idea how many more battles I will have to win to unlock all of those precious, precious cards.

Tim Mackie said...

You know, when I think over all the things I've been doing lately, I can't classify any of them as "casual." Between college and Dragon Age: Origins, my time is pretty much spoken for. I was on a Plants vs. Zombies tear a couple months back, but I haven't hardly touched it since I figured out that the cob cannon will get you through at least 25 rounds of endless survival.

David said...

I sadly missed out on Oregon Trail, but at GDC I saw a very funny "You have died of dysentery" t-shirt.

Regarding Magic, that is a dangerous place for me. I used to play it, as well as Vampire and a couple other CCGs. I still have Netrunner decks...

Kirk Hamilton said...

I also totally never played Magic: The Gathering. Never.

When I was in middle school, I absolutely didn't go to the Bloomington public library to play every afternoon. I also totally didn't have a kick-ass black deck with like three Nightmares until I lost one and had to convince people to let me play with a proxy.

Also, I believe the Vampire: The Masquerade card game was called "Jihad." Which I have no way of knowing, firsthand.

Steven O'Dell said...

Perhaps a predictable one here but it's all about Peggle for me right now. I actually get sick of it if I play it for too long in one day, but I just can't resist firing the XBLA version up between games and having a few rounds. And before I know it, the night is gone.

It's just... too... damn... addictive!

The Tetchy Snail said...

For me a casual game is a bit like comfort food. My faves are hugely over-familiar, but I keep returning again and again, almost like a palette cleanser between courses.

When I have an urge to click something for a few minutes I always return to Peggle. The final 'ode to joy' moments remain bizarrely thrilling, ridiculously, despite seeing them hundreds of times by now. They really bottled magic in this game, but even as it manipulates my brain, I'm damned if I know exactly what that is. Also, this game finally showed me some of the previously inexplicable attraction of Japanese pachinko parlours.

The other perennial is Audiosurf. Only ever played in the simplest 'mono' mode, I play it as a kind of interactive visualisation. The other modes can be very distracting, but mono really achieves a kind of audio visual synesthesia, where the visuals complement and heighten my appreciation of the music. There have been entire instrumental themes in tracks that I simply hadn't heard/registered until I played them in audiosurf. Add in the fact that this grows as my music collection does, and I find it hard to think that I'll ever stop playing this one.

Dan the Man said...

Just when I felt secure that I'd weened myself off of my Peggle addiction, these comments have me jonesing again.

David, you really DID miss out if Oregon Trail wasn't a part of your upbringing. I was so excited when it came out for iPhone, until I discovered that the adaptation was totally booty.

Dan the Man said...

Also: Kirk has a snakebite.

Kirk Hamilton said...

Ah, hell. I hope I don't end up like The Internets.