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Archive for the ‘monkey island’ tag

The decline of memory challenges in games

Posted on 11th Sep 2012 at 07:52 by Ben Mansell with 25 comments

Ben Mansell
“You fight like a dairy farmer...”

Anyone who has played Monkey Island, and even a fair few who haven’t, will immediately know the correct response is “How appropriate, you fight like a cow”. Insult swordfighting is one of the most famous examples of a gameplay mechanic which has utterly fallen out of fashion in recent years: memory challenges.

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Monkey Island 2 - An Alternate Perspective

Posted on 10th Aug 2010 at 10:48 by Paul Goodhead with 19 comments

Paul Goodhead
Over the course of the last week or so I’ve been trying to play Monkey Island 2: Special Edition. I say trying because frankly I’ve been finding it pretty hard going. I’m not even sure whether what I’ve been doing even constitutes playing; maybe my first sentence would be better re-worded slightly.

Over the course of the last week or so I’ve been swearing continuously at Monkey Island 2: Special Edition.

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Thoughts on Cheats and Walkthroughs

Posted on 5th May 2010 at 10:33 by Joe Martin with 78 comments

Joe Martin
I don’t often cheat in games, but nor is it something that’s completely unknown. It’s usually just a last resort, because I’ve hit a brick wall or I can’t find a way out of a level and need to look at a walkthrough to get a bit of direction. I should point out that I never cheat in online games because, well, what’s the point? I’ve also only ever cheated in one game that I was reviewing – an adventure game where I got stuck for three hours on an early puzzle and which sent me back to the developer asking for help.

Outside of the review process, I honestly don’t usually see a big problem with cheating in games as a whole as long as it exists within certain parameters. In my opinion for example, you should never just sit down and cheat straight away – you should try and play the game properly first because you need a proper sense of risk to feel the reward. At the same time though, if you reach a point in a game where the fun is being bled out of it then why wouldn’t you use an exploit to get around it?

There’s always going to be a fraction of gamers that disagree with that last point and who think that games should be incredibly challenging, but I’ve had the enjoyment sucked out of far too many titles that way to possibly agree with them. Some of my absolute favourite games have been almost totally ruined by moments of excessive difficulty. I’ll confess that the last boss in Beyond Good and Evil sent me scrabbling for a cheat list after the eighth try and, when it turned out there wasn’t one, I was very put off. The game was saved from my hatred purely by the fact that I knew it was the last boss and that I wouldn’t have to repeat the experience. If the game had threatened to go on beyond that point or if the experience up to that point hadn’t been so brilliant then I’m pretty sure I would have just thrown it away. I’ve done it with other games.

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Games I Own: Outlaws

Posted on 23rd Mar 2010 at 10:44 by Joe Martin with 7 comments

Joe Martin
Ah, Outlaws. I cruise a lot of gaming forums and I often see people expressing he opinion that developers should just go back and do hi-res remakes of old games. If I were going to make that wish then the game I’d want them to start with is Outlaws, because it sorely needs it. Other popular choices, like Deus Ex or Thief, are still perfectly playable today. Outlaws is not.

In fact, it never was. It always looked terrible, even back when it was released in 1997. Or, parts of it anyway – it’s never clear-cut with Outlaws. To clarify, the actual game looked worse than an angry mother in law, but the cutscenes were beautiful thanks to being hand-drawn.

Back then though, graphics didn’t matter that much and Outlaws had three very important things going for it. First, it was a cowboy game. Second, it was made by LucasArts back when they still made really good games. Thirdly, it was a cowboy game.

I really like cowboy games.

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Like Father, Like Son

Posted on 26th Feb 2010 at 10:59 by Joe Martin with 39 comments

Joe Martin
I had an interesting experience the other day. It was late and I, staggering home from a party through the streets of Reading, overheard something unusual. My ears caught a familiar word in the lull between the music I was listening to and I looked around. It was a dreary, drizzly night and the streets were almost empty, so it didn’t take me long to locate the source.

The word I had heard was ‘Tegra’ and what I saw was a father walking behind me, explaining something to his young son. The kid must have been no older than 11, in fact.

Now, I should clarify that I don’t really know very much about Tegra. I know the basics, but my knowledge pales in comparison to the rest of the bit-tech.net and Custom PC staff. It’s why you don’t see me writing graphic card reviews. Still, I knew enough to follow a bit of this eavesdropped conversation in which the Dad explained what Tegra was to his boy.

I was intrigued. It wasn’t the type of conversation you’d expect to hear on a city street at 11AM and the fact that the boy was earnestly interested fascinated me. Discreetly and slyly, I stopped my music and let the pair overtake me. We were heading in the same direction and I wanted to hear more about the conversation, so I listened in for a bit as I made my way home.

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Games to play with your children

Posted on 3rd Sep 2009 at 15:16 by Joe Martin with 36 comments

Joe Martin
I don’t have children, but I do have a lot of younger siblings and nephews and nieces, and we've played a lot of computer games together. A lot of the experiences we’ve shared have been through the medium of joysticks and mouse clicks.

Looking back on that recently I’ve come to think that parents should definitely play computer games with their kids, even though a lot of parents are of the opinion that "games are bad for you" and "all games are violent". Absolute rubbish, every word of it.

Of course, some games are violent and there’s a huge amount of games out there which aren’t at all suitable for children – but violence, if handled responsibly, isn’t always bad and there are a lot of games that are good for kids. My parents had an inkling of this and I spent a lot of time playing either with my Dad or talking about it with him. It’s something I plan to do with my children too, heaven forbid, and something I reflect on every time I go into a shop and see a parent blindly buying Grand Theft Auto for their seven year old. Grrr.

This isn’t new thinking obviously – any number of child-rearing programs or handbooks will tell you it’s important to get involved and find experiences you can share with your children. The problem though is that if you’re not someone who’s ‘into PCs’ and your kid is then it can be hard going. Thus, here are some recommendations for games that are suitable for most children and which open themselves up to this kind of activity.

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Who Should Review Monkey Island: Special Edition?

Posted on 16th Jun 2009 at 12:02 by Joe Martin with 36 comments

Joe Martin
Journalistic integrity is something we pride ourselves on here at bit-tech and we always try to make sure that our reviews are fair-minded, open and in-depth. Each of us at bit-tech and Custom PC magazine has a specialty and we always try to play to that expertise. Tim does graphics cards. Richard does motherboards and PSUs. I play games. Harry makes the coffee.

It’s this integrity that explains why you’ll never see me review a hardcore racing sim such as Forza or Race Pro; as a man who can’t even ride a bike, let alone ride a car, I have no right to talk about the flaws in a racing sim.

This integrity though does present one very big problem for us though and that is; who should review the upcoming swathe of Monkey Island games – both the newly announced episodes from Telltale Games and the Special Edition re-release from LucasArts proper?

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How I Met Tim Schafer

Posted on 1st May 2009 at 09:58 by Joe Martin with 7 comments

Joe Martin
Meeting your heroes is always a strange thing and all too often such events end in disappointment. Thankfully though, that wasn’t the case yesterday when I met Tim Schafer – who co-wrote The Secret of Monkey Island and the creator of Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts and some truly hilarious blog posts of his very own.

Tim is, to put it bluntly, someone I’ve admired for a long, long time and in the run-up to the EA event I met him at I was a little worried that he might not be as funny and random as all the interviews I’d read with him over the years had led me to expect. Worse, I was worried that I might make a tit of myself in front of him or that I’d just collapse in sweaty palms and schoolgirl giggles.

Thankfully, neither situation happened and while Tim was certainly a lot quieter and more modest than I expected he definitely lived up to my rather presumptuous expectations. I chalk my lack of humiliation up to the fact that I was wearing my lucky Fallout 3 t-shirt.

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