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Casual Games

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I am not sure I’ve played every MCF game, but I can’t think one I haven’t. While the original Ravenhurst and Madame Fate have a lot in common, (and I didn’t like either,) I still stand by my statement that Madame Fate is the worst of the series.

In fact, I think I tried to play it some time ago. Perhaps when it first came out. And, unlike Monolith, who liked it for being what it was way back then, I hated it way back when. Why I rebought it is beyond me, but I am going to try to finish it this time. If only so I can delete it from my system and never have to think of it again.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

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Interplay - 02 December 2012 09:07 PM

In regards to Shadow Lake (thanks to Monolith for the great write-up), I totally broke my on-sale rule and bought it at full price when it came out.  I got about 3/4 of the way through the game and then I encountered a bug where an inventory item disappeared and it became impossible to progress within the game.  I posted on the BFG forums and the bug has now been fixed, but I can’t beat the game without starting over.  I had collected 39/50 morphing objects before the incident, so I don’t think I can bear to restart it for a few weeks/months.  BFG has graciously offered me a refund, so I think I will take them up on it and just buy the SE when it comes out later.  I don’t think I’ll miss the CE stuff much since I had already played through the CE area.

Well if thats the case just read my spoiler that pertains to Madame Fate and the outcome of the Morphing Objects (which doesn’t spoil the game in general).

rtrooney - 02 December 2012 11:36 PM

In fact, I think I tried to play it some time ago. Perhaps when it first came out. And, unlike Monolith, who liked it for being what it was way back then, I hated it way back when. Why I rebought it is beyond me, but I am going to try to finish it this time. If only so I can delete it from my system and never have to think of it again.

haha, I enjoyed it mainly because I missed those ‘I Spy’ books I read as a kid which all classic HOG’s resembled front to back. Now I can’t stand any games that share the interface, have a timer 80-100% of the time or are 800x600-1024x768 resolutions, and are a string of hog scenes lazily put together, one after another. Thats how bad HOG/Casual gaming made the genre. Way to many games were exactly the same back in the day.

     

Stuart Bradley Newsom - Naughty Shinobi || Our Game: Shadow Over Isolation

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Nice Shadow Lake review, Monolith.  After reading all of the negative reviews over at BFG, I was going to pass on the game, but I think I might just pick up the SE when it comes out (the CE extras really don’t interest me much).

Speaking of BFG reviews, does anyone else find most of them to be annoying?  Only a small handful are descriptive enough to be of any help, and a vast majority of them are based off the demos.  I can play the demo myself, what I’m really looking for is info on the game as a whole so I can make a more informed decision on purchasing.  Bleah!!

Sorry for venting, just been wanting to get that out for awhile now.  Wink

     

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I remember the very small amount of time I actually took the rating system and reviews seriously….then I regretted it. Those reviews sound like very bad female house wives stereotypes. Almost offensive to read because casual game development is such a serious aspect of the industry.

     

Stuart Bradley Newsom - Naughty Shinobi || Our Game: Shadow Over Isolation

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And, as we have said before, that segment of the casual game library which I will affectional call the “Boddice Buster Genre” never gets less than five out of five stars. It is ridiculous. It’s also the reason why “serious” casual games are rarely reviewed well by these very same individuals.

But they do serve a purpose. Just like any reviewer, be it games, movies, music or literature, once you know the reviewer’s preferences, you know how to react to the review. In the case of many on BFG, it they like the game, I probably wont.

     

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As a current housewife (not of my own choice, mind you - stupid economy), those people seriously make me look bad! But I agree with your assessments of the BFG reviewers.  Usually, I can get a good idea of a game off the demo, but that still doesn’t tell me if a developer chopped off the last chapter and is forcing me to buy it as a bonus in the Collector’s Edition.  I’m always wary of getting screwed over by that racket and will go so far as to completely avoid anything from a particular developer if they start pulling that crap.

Anyhow, I’ve submitted my first AG User Review, if anyone is interested.

Nightmare Adventures: The Witch’s Prison
http://www.adventuregamers.com/games/view_reviews/16976

I’m working on a review for Mountain Crime: Requital now, which is gonna be a fun one.

     

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Chudah - 03 December 2012 01:52 PM

Speaking of BFG reviews, does anyone else find most of them to be annoying?  Only a small handful are descriptive enough to be of any help, and a vast majority of them are based off the demos.  I can play the demo myself, what I’m really looking for is info on the game as a whole so I can make a more informed decision on purchasing.

I actually do find the BFG user reviews helpful, but let me explain.  I never read the text of the reviews.  The user scores are definitely way skewed high, but they are useful like this: if a traditional casual game has an average score less than 4.0/5.0, I would not buy it (let’s ignore the newer MCF outliers like we’ve already discussed).  Also, if a game has less than 80% recommending it, I would avoid it as well.  So, there is a lot of grade inflation, but if 96% of people recommend a game and it has an average score of 4.8/5.0, I can promise you it’s going to be good.

I actually rarely trial a game before I buy it.  I’m usually picking them up on sale, so I go to the sale game’s page and look at the scores.  If it ranks very high and I like the look of the screenshots, I’ll get it.  I have rarely if ever been disappointed this way.

And, of course, the other way I pick games is based on the recs in this forum.  Wink

     
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Bravo to Chudah on the review.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
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Chudah - 04 December 2012 08:22 PM

As a current housewife (not of my own choice, mind you - stupid economy), those people seriously make me look bad! But I agree with your assessments of the BFG reviewers.

I hope my mention of sounding like housewives was not insulting. I remember GD magazine going in detail the guts of the Casual gaming audience. around 80% were house wives. haha

     

Stuart Bradley Newsom - Naughty Shinobi || Our Game: Shadow Over Isolation

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Interplay - 04 December 2012 10:41 PM

I actually do find the BFG user reviews helpful, but let me explain.  I never read the text of the reviews.  The user scores are definitely way skewed high, but they are useful like this: if a traditional casual game has an average score less than 4.0/5.0, I would not buy it (let’s ignore the newer MCF outliers like we’ve already discussed).  Also, if a game has less than 80% recommending it, I would avoid it as well.  So, there is a lot of grade inflation, but if 96% of people recommend a game and it has an average score of 4.8/5.0, I can promise you it’s going to be good.

I actually rarely trial a game before I buy it.  I’m usually picking them up on sale, so I go to the sale game’s page and look at the scores.  If it ranks very high and I like the look of the screenshots, I’ll get it.  I have rarely if ever been disappointed this way.

And, of course, the other way I pick games is based on the recs in this forum.  Wink


Oh, I don’t find the BFG reviews completely useless, it’s just a pain sifting through to find the good ones.  I’m pretty picky when it comes to games; annoying music, graphics that are unappealing to my tastes, and especially sparkles that cannot be turned off, will make a game a no buy for me. Getting a good 15 to 20 minutes in on a demo usually lets me know if the game is aesthetically pleasing enough (and not too annoying) for me to want to spend my time there.  One of the things I love most about adventure games is the immersion, and if the world isn’t a place that I would enjoy exploring, I’m not wasting the money on it.

 

Monolith - 05 December 2012 01:49 AM

I hope my mention of sounding like housewives was not insulting. I remember GD magazine going in detail the guts of the Casual gaming audience. around 80% were house wives. haha


Nah, it’s fine.  I don’t mind a little ribbing, my husband teases me about it all the time too. Grin I’ve always been a gamer, I just happen to find the more casual games relaxing these days, and then I realized there are some pretty awesome stories and puzzles in a lot of them.

 

     

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I find BFG reviews interesting if the reviewer mentions some actions or design elements that I don’t like or like, then I know whether to bother playing the demo.

I just wish I’d paid more attention or something before buying Haunted: Realm of Ghosts.
The element of past areas interchanged with present was interesting in that you had to get the objects and hide them in a place available in the present. 
The story got lost somewhere along the line or I lost it.
By the time I quit the game in boredom I had met only three ghosts, that truly awful cat, the lawyer and the mother. That yowling cat was enough to make you want to kill it or the game. Since it was already dead, that wasn’t an option.
The puzzles had no instructions, I’m one of those dense people who want to know what I’m supposed to be solving. Though most were fairly easy and a few minutes of experimenting got the idea. The puzzle of the dated urns was the last straw, it wanted something extra that I would never have thought of.
The HOS were cluttered with some interaction.
The areas were detailed and you are told when there is nothing more to do there.
Music ok, though repeating.
I played about a third of the game before giving up and deleting it from my pc, still wondering what I could possibly been thinking when I bought it.

     
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Monolith - 28 November 2012 10:48 PM
rtrooney - 28 November 2012 07:42 PM

I’ll be honest. I love the Mystery Case Files series. But Madame Fate is, in my opinion, the absolute worst of the batch.

If I were to design a game I might hate I would be sure to include timed puzzles, incredibly obscure hidden objects, horrible music and a totally obnoxious voice over that only becomes more irritating as the game progresses. Madame Fate has all of these and more!

I sell golf equipment for the largest golf retailer in the US. Occasionally a customer will decide to buy a used club that is marked at $3.99. I will often tell the person that, if it doesn’t work out as a golf club, he can use it as a tent-peg-hammer. Because, at $3.99, it’s cheaper than any hammer he’ll find at Home Depot.

That’s what I think about this game. If it came on a DVD I would use the DVD as a coaster.

I’m sure some will like it. It’s just not for me.

I thought I was the only one that felt this way. I liked Madame Fate for the fact that it was one of the early HOG games I’ve played…but I never really got into MCF until Dire Grove.

Well, I was finally able to work through the technical problems and play through Madame Fate.  I hate to say it, but I loved it.  I found it to have a highly addictive quality.  I have to stress again, that I think it’s basically a different genre from the later MCF games.  It’s straight up HOG, not even a quasi-adventure game.  I think that the fact that it’s timed makes it much more engaging.  I definitely plan on trying to replay it and better my score (there’s no way in hell I can imagine beating the 2 1/2 hour top spot, though - my initial run through was about 6 hours).  I’ve replayed Ravenhearst several times because of this, and I don’t think I’ve replayed any other casual games more than once. 

Again, something that has always been MCF’s strength is unique and fun puzzles.  Madame Fate has more of the door puzzles from Ravenhearst (though you’re not really opening a door).  Those puzzles are the best, where you have to experiment and work your way through the red herrings and finally figure out what needs to be done to complete it.  Great.

Anyway, I can see how it might not be for everyone.  It’s definitely not for those who like adventure games because of the slow, contemplative pace.  It’s not exactly a relaxing-after-work game. 

Personally, I would love to see them revisit Madame Fate as more of an adventure game as has been suggested, a la Return to Ravenhearst/Escape from Ravenhearst versus the original Ravenhearst.

PS I’m just waiting for our first snow to replay Dire Grove.

     
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That is great to hear. Sadly all of those features are overused in games so it became watered down and boring. It was great at first, but it got old real quick when the 5,000th game played just like it. I’ll be honest, MCF set standards for the genre. Grin

Yeah, I really hope that hint in Shadow Lake means the next game will be another Madame Fate!

     

Stuart Bradley Newsom - Naughty Shinobi || Our Game: Shadow Over Isolation

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As the saying goes, “One man’s fish is another man’s poison.”

Of course we will forget about the “poison v. poisson” translation problem.

I think I have been fairly lucky trying games that others have recommended. But there have been some bombs. Just as I’m sure some have tried some of my recommended games and thought “What was he thinking?”

I’m glad you like Madame Fate. Not my cup of tea.

     

For whom the games toll,
they toll for thee.

Casual Game Developer List
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohuMgk8BGFTdExjM2s4eGdJRGZmcWJxMUNoUTlMZVE#gid=0

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A sequel to Phantasmat came out earlier this week.  I definitely plan on picking that one up when it goes SE.  If anyone tries the CE, I would love to hear what they think.  The first one was great.

     

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