27 October 2012

Is anyone playing Clucks?

I still maintain an AOL email address, and one of ads on the log-in page is for an iOS game called Clucks. Apparently AOL is trying to shed its old image and move into the mobile content business. I downloaded the free app several weeks ago but didn't try it out until today.

As you can see in the video, it is a mobile version of the old party game Taboo.You try to get your opponent to guess a certain word without using certain other words. For instance, you would try to get someone to guess the word "basketball" without using the words "court", "ball", or "dunk". The game makes use of video to record your clue and voice recognition to make sure you don't cheat and use any of the forbidden words in your description. Unlike many other iOS games, Clucks is actually taking advantage of the capabilities of a smartphone in a clever way. So why doesn't anyone seem to be playing it?

Whenever I decide to try a new game or write a post about it, I do a quick search on Google to see what other bloggers are saying about it. I'll be the first to admit that I don't always have my finger on the pulse of pop culture, and a game could be catching on like wildfire and I'm just coming to it late. However, when I did a search for reviews of Clucks, almost everything I found was dated 27 Sep 2012 (the date the game launched). There is very little information after that date, though. I've sent out several invitations to play through the app, too, and haven't gotten a nibble yet.

Several of the articles I read about Clucks featured comments from AOL spokespeople saying that this game is the first step in reinvigorating the AOL brand. Grand plans, but I think they need to focus on getting higher visibility for the game first.

UPDATE: An AOL spokesperson mentioned in the comments section of this post that the game will be open to non-Facebook users soon. That may help lure a few more people into playing.

12 September 2012

Gaming on vacation

What do you do when you will be spending five days either riding in a car or lounging in a deck chair? If you are me, you take this time to test out the many free games that you have downloaded obsessively to your tablet but never played. I have 24 games on my Android tablet and 13 games on my iPhone that I haven't tried yet. With several days away from the temptations of TV and the internet, it will be much easier for me to focus on playing and writing about games. So don't be surprised if there is a flurry of activity on this blog in the next few weeks.

UPDATE: Gaming on vacation was a bust. Unlike my previous vacations, this time I had a car full of people with devices that needed to be charged. Also, my daughter's tablet stopped working right before we left, so as a good mother I handed mine over. Luckily, my Zune mp3 player had a long battery life because I ended up listening to audio books on the long drive down to Florida. Oh, well -- there is always next year when it will just be my husband and me on vacation!

03 September 2012

Off The Leash: An endless runner that's gone to the dogs

I quickly figured out after getting my iPhone this past January that I'm not very good at endless runner games. I've tried Temple Run, Stylish Sprint, and a host of others. Usually I get frustrated because I have to start over every 10 seconds. Then I found Off The Leash by Big Pixel Studios. I'm still not very good at the endless runner genre but this game at least gives me a fighting chance.

Off the Leash is a free iOS game where you play a dog who is running from the law. Apparently dogs have been outlawed in your town so you are trying not to get caught. You grab other dogs along the way to create your pack and help you grab coins and food. As in other endless runners, you can use the coins you collect to buy power-ups, buy a new dog, or dress up the dog you have.

There are several aspects of this game that make it more appealing to me and my game-playing preferences. First off, the view is top-down, which is easier for me than first-person or side-scrolling views. Second, your character doesn't fall off of cliffs or anything. This is a timed game, so as long as you pick up enough dogs and food, you add to your time and can keep going. When you run into obstacles, your time bank decreases but your game doesn't end right away. Third, there are missions for you to complete. Anyone who has seen how many hours I spend on Facebook games knows that I like a game with a goal.

If you like endless runner games but have gotten bored with running through the jungle, try taking a jaunt through the park with Off The Leash.

17 August 2012

Should I buy the Zombies, Run! app?

Zombies, Run! -- not to be mistaken for the multitude of iOS and Android apps that have the words "zombie" and "run" in the title -- is a unique fitness app. In between songs on your exercise playlist, you get bits of a story about a city that has become overrun by zombies. You aren't a passive listener, though. You are Runner 5, someone who has been sent in to help. Before you can do anything, however, you've got to make it into the compound. As you run (or in my case, walk) you will pick up items that may be useful. When you hear "Zombies Detected", you need to pick up speed to avoid them. Get caught too many times and you will fail the mission. Once you finish your exercise session, you use the items you picked up to level up buildings in the compound. The game starts with three episodes unlocked, and you get more as you level up.

There are a lot of things to like about Zombies, Run!:

--While there are plenty of fitness apps that cater to those who enjoy earning achievements and beating their friends, this app also provides something to do while you are exercising. If you dislike exercise as much as I do, you will grab onto anything that makes it bearable.

--You use your own playlist. This is big for me because one of the Wii games I really liked, Walk It Out, started to bore me before I unlocked everything in the game because of the limited playlist. I would have finished that game if I could have added my own music.

--You can use Zombies, Run! outside or inside. Other apps record your exercise session by using GPS to track your route, so they are no good if you walk on a treadmill or if you are using a device like an iPod that doesn't have phone service. With this game you have the option of using the accelerometer, which the iPod does have, to count your steps.

--You can go at your own speed. Despite the title, you don't really have to run. As long as you speed up when the zombies start chasing you, it counts. I started at 2 mph on the treadmill and bumped it up to 3 mph when the zombie horde came after me. That may not sound like much to you, but 3 mph at my fitness level causes me to break a sweat. I still managed to evade the horde.

If there are so many things to recommend this game, then why am I hesitating to get it? Frankly, it is the $7.99 price tag. Before you reach for your mouse to click the Comment link so you can lecture me, let me save you the trouble. I do believe that creators deserve to be paid for their work. However, it is difficult to pay $7.99 for an app when the most I've paid is $2.99. I even had trouble paying that since I usually stick to free apps. Another reason for my hesitation is that I already bought the app for my daughter M. She did such a great job devoting her summer to fitness and getting rid of that "freshman 15" she gained at university that I wanted to reward her. Now I'm having trouble making myself buy the app a second time.

For those of you who don't have my spending phobia, I recommend Zombies, Run! as a way to get you off the couch or spice up your existing exercise routine. It is available for the devices you are most likely to carry on a run: iPod, iPhone, Android phone, and even Windows phone. If you get it, let me know what you think of it.

15 July 2012

What we've been playing

We've never had much of an active lifestyle, but with the heat wave and me losing my job and my son recovering from surgery we have spent the summer vacation indoors. That means there has been more gaming going on, so here is a look at what we've been playing.

CARD GAMES: My kids dragged out the card games Dutch Blitz and Landlord. They even took the time to look up the play instructions online because I lost the instruction sheet a while back. That heartens me because I've been worrying about my kids' ability to entertain themselves. Their willingness to dig through the garage and play around with what they discover reminds me of my childhood summers living in the country with very little access to new entertainment sources. Another cool thing is seeing other kids from the neighborhood come over to our house and ask to play cards. I guess other parents don't buy card games. I have found that my kids won't ask for card games as gifts, but they are eager to play them when I buy them.

CONSOLE GAMES: My nephew has a souped-up Wii with all of his games saved on the hard drive so he doesn't have to carry discs around. He brought it over the last two weekends he stayed with us. The most notable games we played were Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy. I am accustomed to being the trivia and word game master among our family and friends -- so much so that we usually don't play those types of games. Let me tell you, I got schooled by my kids. Not only did they know more than I expected, but even on the questions they didn't know they were able to make good educated guesses. I look forward to playing more trivia games with them.

PC GAMES: Only my kids could turn a single-player hidden object game into a competition. M and C2 decided to start playing Grim Tales: The Bride at the same time and see who could finish it first.  It was no contest; C2 is the queen of hidden object games in this house. I can download a game for her in the morning and she will be done with it by bedtime.

My favorite form of gaming -- playing casual games online -- has taken a nosedive. The kids can't ever agree on what to watch on TV, so they spend a good part of the day streaming video on the various devices in the house. This makes it nearly impossible for me to play games on Facebook. I guess I'll have to wait until they go back to school to resume my normal online activities.

02 July 2012

Song Pop: A 21st-century version of Name That Tune

When I was in elementary school, I enjoyed the game show Name That Tune. Even at a young age I was pretty good at guessing songs. Now Freshplanet is bringing the fun of that game into the mobile gaming age with Song Pop. My kids and I have been playing it all afternoon with great gusto.

The game is so easy to jump into that there is no tutorial. You create a game with someone from either your Facebook list, your email contacts, or a random person. Then you pick a playlist like 90s Alternative or Modern Rap. After a quick 3-2-1 countdown, a clip of a song starts playing and you have to pick either the song title or the name of the artist from a list of four choices. There are five songs per round and then the challenge is sent to your opponent, who will try to identify those same five songs faster than you did. The person who had the fastest time overall wins that round.

Song Pop ticks several of the boxes on my mental list of characteristics I like in an app. It is cross-platform, so I can play with my friends whether they are on Facebook, Android, or iOS. It is a freemium game that is still fun even if I choose not to put a penny of real-world money into it because the coins you earn from each round can be saved up to unlock more playlists. One of my favorite characteristics is the ability to play a random opponent; so many casual games lose their allure for me because I can't get past a certain point if I don't have at least five friends who regularly play the game.

Even though you don't need to have a lot of friends playing this game, I think I could talk some of my non-gamer friends into playing this. I have found that among my pals there is a group that wouldn't go near an Xbox and finds Facebook games like Castleville boring, but they have 20 games of Words with Friends and Draw Something on the go at all times. Song Pop is the type of game that would appeal to them.

18 June 2012

Thoughts on Township

Last week I spent some time playing Township, a city-building game from 6waves. It is playable on Google+ and Facebook. I decided to try it out because 6waves has created some other games that I enjoy a lot, like Astro Garden and Ravenskye City. Unfortunately, this game doesn't look like one I will be playing for long.

There are some positive aspects to the game, like the energy system. With Township you can perform actions in your city as long as you want; no waiting for an energy bar to refill. You may have to wait for a crop to grow but that's it. Also, the graphics are attractive, which makes a difference when the tasks are somewhat mundane.

That is the downfall of Township -- the tasks are mundane and repetitive. There isn't even much of a story to go along with the quests. As a player, you are adding to an existing city but for what reason? Most other games in this genre give you at least a basic reason like a hurricane destroyed the town or an evil prince cast a spell over the town.  All I've been doing in the game is planting wheat, then making flour, then making bread, then planting wheat again. Without a story, it is more apparent that I am doing the same thing over and over.

The company 6waves has created some games that I go back to again and again, but Township is one I will skip.

12 June 2012

My Thoughts on the Raven games

Yesterday I finally got around to playing Ravenshire Castle. It is the third installment in 6waves' group of "Raven" games for Facebook. I've been playing Ravenwood Fair and Ravenskye City for a while, so I figured I would give this one a try. All three games are of the city-building variety. That makes it sound as if all the games are pretty much the same, but there are some key differences and I like different aspects of each game.

Ravenshire Castle is similar to Zynga's Castleville in theme. Your character shows up at the castle and is mistaken for a royal by Prince Patrick. The kingdom has been ruined by an opposing force so there are a lot of diseased trees to chop down and structures to be rebuilt.What makes this game different is that there is more of a sense that you are competing against other players (PvP, the gamer types call it). You have to sneak into other people's castles and search for the trinkets you need to rebuild things without getting caught by the guards who are constantly moving through the corridors. It isn't terribly challenging to avoid them, but it does give more of a feeling that you are actually playing a game rather than just clicking on items.

Gamezebo did a review of Ravenshire Castle about a month ago. I agree with most of the criticisms. Although the graphics are the most advanced of the series, I can't appreciate them if my computer can't render them. The game was glitchy even on the speedy work computer. I honestly prefer the graphics and animation in Ravenskye City. They are prettier than Ravenwood Fair but they don't slow my laptop down. It is strangely relaxing to pull up Ravenskye City and just chop down vines at the end of a stressful day.

All three of the games suffer from one of the most common problems in Facebook games: lack of friends who play. Luckily the fans of these games have found a workaround for this. On the game forums you can post a link for an item you need, and another player can click that link and give it to you without being your friend on Facebook. It is still time-consuming to seek out and click all those links, so I only do it for Ravenskye City.

That leads me to which game I find more compelling. Although I still go back to Ravenwood Fair just to cut down trees (again, it is strangely relaxing), I find that the story for Ravenskye City is more fully realized. Reading the history and the feuds between the NPCs gives you more of a reason for the quests you are completing. The PvP twist of Ravenshire Castle doesn't make me want to stick with it. If I was to recommend only one of the three, it would be Ravenskye City.

30 April 2012

Facebook Games: My Current Favorites

Gameplay on Facebook goes in cycles for me. I latch on to a game and play it until I get stuck or until it becomes overwhelming. For instance, Pioneer Trail is an example of a game that literally became too much for most of the computers to which I have access. There are so many items on my homestead that the game can take 15 minutes to load, if it bothers to load at all. Other games, like Wild West Town, are not widely accepted by my group of Facebook friends so I barely get past the tutorial and then my progress stalls. I know that the idea of Facebook games is being social, but I think game creators should add some balance for the players who don't know many people who want to play games.

Anyway, despite these issues, I still visit Facebook daily for a quick hit of fun and these are the games I'm playing:

Ravenwood Fair -- This is a city-building game where you are trying to build a fair to entertain a bunch of woodland creatures. There are far too many quests to keep up with, but you can delete the seasonal ones once the holiday has passed (unlike in Zynga games). Even though I can't make a dent in the quests at this point, I find it calming to click on the trees and make them disappear.

Ravenskye City -- This is another city-building game that is related to Ravenwood Fair. I like it because I can continue to progress without too much help from my Facebook friends. Even on the quests that require help, you can go on the game's forums, help random players who aren't on your friend list, and they usually return the favor. The storyline seems less random in this game than in other ones.

Astro Garden/Big Farm Theory -- These are both the same game, so which one you pick really depends on which one your friends are playing. This farming game is filled with vibrant colors and it is another game where you don't have to have many friends to progress. I've been playing for over a month with only three neighbors and have yet to run into a quest that I couldn't complete. The bulk of the gameplay involves growing vegetables that can be used as components in creating more outlandish vegetables. Unlike Farmville, nothing you grow and none of the money you earn seems irrelevant. I can see myself playing this for a while.

Sushido -- This is a recent addition to my daily list of diversions. It is a match-3 game combined with a Diner Dash sort of game. You match sushi ingredients to provide the ingredients needed for the dish that the customer wants. If you don't do it quickly enough, the customer becomes angry and leaves. This is a simple game to understand but tough to play. It took me a while to realize that I have to match unrelated things to try to make other ingredients appear. It never fails that the customer is looking for cucumber slices but there is nothing but fish and rice on the screen. Still I keep playing; a timer will bring me back to a game time and again.

Bejeweled Blitz -- Speaking of games with timers, I play this one a lot. Ever since PopCap Games created a version for the iPhone that connects to Facebook, I've been playing whenever I am stuck waiting somewhere. The version on Facebook itself slows down after playing a few games; it is a condition that a lot of Facebook games suffer from called memory leak, I believe. I don't have that problem with the phone version. This means I get the speedy game play wherever I happen to be and it still shows up on the leaderboard with my Facebook friends.

Although I still enjoy this daily rotation of games, I feel like I need to branch out and try some new ones. I read Gamezebo regularly and there seems to be at least one new Facebook game released every week. Now that I have shaken off the mental funk caused by my broken foot, I'm ready to do some sampling of the new Facebook wares.

27 March 2012

Temple Run is now on Android

When I pulled up my Twitter feed this morning, the first tweet to catch my eye was the news that Temple Run is on Android. I already have the game on my iPhone and it plays pretty well, but I made the mistake of pulling it up on an iPad in Best Buy and that diminished my enjoyment of the smaller version somewhat. Also my daughter C2, who opted for an Android tablet rather than an iOS device like her siblings, keeps grabbing my iPhone to play the game. I'm sure she will be excited to learn that she can finally have the game on her own device.

For those not in the know, Temple Run is part of a genre called "endless run". I've never seen this style of game on desktop PC but it is pretty popular on tablets and phones right now. In an endless run game, you don't control your character's forward motion. He is constantly running and you move him out of the way of obstacles. You are trying to keep him running for as long as possible. In the case of Temple Run, you are being chased by monsters so you try to pick up as many coins as you can along the way to buy power-ups like invisibility or extra speed. I'm not very good at games that require quick reflexes, but every time I crash into a wall on this game I immediately want to try again. It is easy for me to see how this game drew people's attention away from Angry Birds.

I didn't have an iPad handy when I wrote this post, so I compared the Android version to the one on my iPhone. The gameplay was exactly the same in both versions. The only difference I noticed was in the graphics. The colors in the Android version weren't as bright and the edges weren't as crisp. I'm not sure if this is due to the display capabilities of my tablet or the differences in programming for Android versus iOS. However, this is a minor difference and in my opinion it shouldn't keep anyone from enjoying the game. I know it isn't going to stop C2!

21 March 2012

OMGPOP and Draw Something

My daughter C1 introduced me to the gaming site OMGPOP several months ago. C1 and her siblings all signed up and played for a couple weeks but eventually abandoned it. Although there were a few fun games, none of their friends were playing. When I played, it almost seemed as if the other users of the site were NPCs rather than real people so I didn't stick around long, either.  Imagine my surprise when I found that the game C1 has been playing obsessively on her iPod Touch these days is Draw Something, a game from OMGPOP that has been ported to iOS, Android, and Facebook.  It has caught so much attention that Zynga is now interested in buying OMGPOP. This news prompted me to give the site another look.

I spent about an hour poking around the OMGPOP site and found that I still don't like it much. While the graphics are engaging, most of the games are brightly colored takes on game concepts like match-3 and solitaire with no new twists added. None of my online friends play on this site and playing with strangers wasn't much fun. Since the last time I played, OMGPOP has added an option where you can post a link on Twitter or Facebook to get your friends to play. I tried that but didn't get any takers from my feeds, just random OMGPOP players. The only way I see myself revisiting this site is if Zynga buys it. Many of my Facebook friends are Zynga-loyal, so I imagine I could find others to play with me once Zynga puts their PR machine to work.

My experience with Draw Something was more pleasant. The game is basically like Pictionary between two people. You can invite one of your friends or let the game match you with a random opponent. When it is your turn to draw, you get a choice between three words and each word has a coin value. You draw the word with your finger on the touchscreen and send it to your friend. If your friend guesses it, you get the coins for that word. You are given a basic palette of colors but you can spend the coins you earn to buy more colors. I didn't have any trouble finding people to play with and it is fun to see the word picture being drawn rather than being presented with the completed picture all at once.  Although I couldn't get the Facebook version of the game to load, the Android and iOS versions worked fine for me. If you log in with your Facebook info, then your games follow you from device to device. I prefer playing the game on my Android tablet just because it gives me a bigger screen to draw on. This game almost makes me wish I had my old Palm back with its stylus so my drawings would be more accurate.

I would definitely recommend skipping the site and downloading Draw Something to one of your devices instead. It is the best of the OMGPOP bunch.

19 March 2012

About to Say Goodbye to Zombie Island

Zombie Island is a Facebook game by 6wave LOLapps. There isn't a lot of explanation at the beginning of the game, but as far as I can tell you play a zombie who is trying to become human. If you have played games like Farmville and Pioneer Trail, then you are halfway towards knowing how to play this game. Gameplay revolves around planting crops, erecting buildings, and collecting items needed to complete missions.

The biggest twist that Zombie Island has to offer is in its energy mechanic. In most city building games, you have a certain number of energy units and each action you perform burns one unit. Once you burn up your units, you can either buy more, get more from your friends, or wait until the energy meter refills on its own. With Zombie Island you are the leader of the tribe and other zombies do the work like cutting down trees. As long as you have a brain available, then your zombie will work. This is great for me because I often want to play for longer than five minutes at a time.

Despite the cute graphics and fun animations, I am on the verge of dropping Zombie Island from my daily game list. There are a lot of good games on Facebook that become unplayable shortly after you get through the tutorial levels if you don't either put in real-world money or have a lot of Facebook friends who are also playing that game. Zombie Island falls into this category. I only have three active neighbors in Zombie Island and two of them have already reached the level in the game where your zombie becomes human. From what I've read in the FAQ, there isn't much reason to play the game once you get to that point. It has become a frustrating experience to log in every morning and not be able to do much, and there are so many other games to try that I may not continue with this one.

28 February 2012

Do You Play With Sound?

One aspect of video games that I haven't mentioned very much in my blog posts is the sound. That is because I rarely play my games with the sound on. As a matter of fact, the first thing I do when I try a new game is look for the options menu so I can press Mute. There are games that I've played for months and then read reviews commenting on how wonderful the music and sound effects are, and then it hits me that I have never even heard the music.

Why do I mute the sound on games? I do it for a variety of reasons. Ever since the release of the original Sim City, the prime time for me to play games is late at night while my husband and kids are sleeping. I don't want to disturb the quiet of a sleeping house with a bunch of bleeps and bloops. When I play games during the day, it is usually while I am talking to someone or watching TV, so the game sounds would be distracting. What about when I'm playing alone? Well, I could listen to the game soundtrack then, but I am so accustomed to playing without it that the music becomes monotonous to me after a few minutes.

I am making more of an effort to play with the sound on these days because I feel like I am missing part of the game experience. It never bothered me before, but as games become more complex the sounds become more sophisticated. I don't want to miss anything!

24 February 2012

Same Game, Different Titles -- Why?

Facebook and the casual game market are filled with look-alike or copycat games. I just wrote about an example of that in my last post. This week, however, I discovered two versions of the same exact game on Facebook and I can't figure out the reasoning behind that.

Astro Garden is a farming game run by 6waves. There isn't much that sets it apart from Frontierville or Farmville, but I'm a sucker for pretty graphics so I started playing it. Somehow I got distracted during the opening of the game and I missed what the story was and why I was growing vegetables that looked like they were from outer space. When I did a search on Facebook for the game's page, I found another game called The Big Game Theory and an entry on the wall from 06 Feb 2012 saying that they were starting a common project with 6waves called Astro Garden. As I said, I like the graphics in Astro Garden so I thought I would go ahead and try The Big Game Theory. Both games are identical!

I don't understand what the advantage is of having two copies of the same game on Facebook. What incentive is there to choose one over the other? Why would a person play both? It seems like the fan base would be split.

21 February 2012

Tiny Tower vs. Dream Heights

One perennial topic of discussion in the casual gaming press is companies copying each other's games. A company that has been accused of this more than once is Zynga, and they have come under fire again for the similarity of their new game Dream Heights to a game by NimbleBit called Tiny Tower. I have embedded two YouTube videos so you can see for yourself how much the games are alike.

I downloaded Tiny Tower for my iPhone before Dream Heights was even released. It was one of those games that I download because I've heard it mentioned in passing by several people as a fun game. I didn't really know what the game was about, but I figured I would suss it out as I played. Once I tried it, however, I had trouble understanding what to do. The 8-bit graphics that other players found charming were grainy to my poor old eyes and difficult for me to decipher. The pop-ups at the start of the game gave minimal instruction. Although I prefer my tutorial to be provided in-game, I would have welcomed a separate how-to page, but I couldn't find one in the game's menu. I ended up deleting Tiny Tower after a couple days.

Zynga has a pretty good cross-promotional strategy. If an ad for a new Zynga pops up while I'm playing Scramble with Friends, I will most likely download it and give it a try. That's how I ended up with Dream Heights, and like other Zynga titles, I had no trouble jumping right into the gameplay. The graphics were clear and the opening tutorial was easier for me to understand. Playing Dream Heights actually made me want to download Tiny Tower again. This time I was able to understand a lot of the stuff I couldn't figure out before, especially the ratings that help you match the right person to the right job.

As for Zynga copying NimbleBit's game, I have conflicting thoughts on that. I know that it isn't fair for a multimillion dollar company with over 2500 employees to steal the ideas of a little indie company that amount to three guys in the den. However, for me, Dream Heights is an improvement on the original concept and the one I would pick if I could only keep one. I still feel guilty about siding with the game world's robber baron, though.

19 February 2012

The New Why and What of This Blog

When I originally created this blog in 2007, I created a post that explained why you should read this blog and what to expect. My gaming life has changed, so I thought that it might be a good idea to revisit that post and give you guys an update.

Why do you want to listen to my advice on games? I believe the ideal reader for this blog is someone older who is trying to fit fun into a busy life. As a 45-year-old wife and mother, I enjoy games but I don't have the endless time to devote to them the way a teenager does. I also don't have a generous allowance with which to buy games, so I will continue to focus mainly on games that are cheap or free and games that can be rented.

What style of games do I like to play? The answer to this question has changed the most since 2007. Although I am still interested in board games, I don't play them much any more. Nowadays, I play mostly casual games. In particular, I'm hooked on the diversions offered by Facebook. In the past year I've acquired both an Android tablet and an iPhone, so I am exploring the offerings for those platforms, as well.  No category will be completely off-limits, though. If I get a chance to play a board game or an XBox 360 title, I will most likely comment on it here.

Who do I play games with? Well, since I am mostly playing casual games now, I don't really play "with" anyone. None of my real-life friends or family enjoy the Facebook games so I have recruited strangers from the game forums to be my "friends". As for the iPhone and Android games, I compete with my kids to be the top of our own personal leaderboard, much the same way I competed with my friends as a teenager to have my initials next to the high score on Centipede in the arcade.

My hope is that this blog will be one more source in helping you make a decision about what games will get a portion of your limited free time.

17 February 2012

Here I Go Again

When I decided to restart this blog and write a new post to end the hiatus, the lyrics to the Whitesnake song kept echoing in my head:

"Here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I've ever known."

Those words encapsulate my thoughts on blogging lately. The blog written by an individual for fun (and possibly a little money -- let's be real) seems to have fallen out of fashion, and is making way for blogs by companies or individuals trying to market themselves as a brand. Others are turning away from blogging to express their thoughts on social networks like Twitter or Facebook. I guess I am an online dinosaur in this respect. I visit lots of professional blogs and participate in several social networks, but when I really have thoughts to share I want to do it in a corner of the internet that I can call my own.  Hence, the relaunching of this blog.

After a long period where I wasn't playing much of anything, I find myself consumed with playing games again and I want to share my thoughts on what I've been playing. Although I do read sites like Gamezebo and the individual games have sites with their own forums, commenting in those places feels like writing my words on the last page of a notebook. I want to put my thoughts on the front page by using this blog. Even if only five people read this, it will have served its purpose as a place where I can go back and find what I wrote more easily than trying to sift through boards on someone else's site.  Basically, I'm inviting you to read my personal gaming diary. I hope you enjoy it!