Ahh, the MOBA. It is an acronym that I see more and more of every day. I know what a MOBA is -- I've played a number of them. But when I sat down to write this preview, I realized that I don't actually know what MOBA stands for. So, off to Wikipedia we go.
- Dwarf Quest is a lot of fun. It's a fine example of why independent game development is a good thing for us gamers. Dwarf Quest takes a tired genre and does something new with it. I've never played a game that works quite like it before. Unique equals good in my book. Unfortunately, a unique idea is not always enough to make a game.
- Attention gamers: I have good news. Once upon a time, a man named Peter Molyneux -- one of the more ambitious and outspoken members of gaming royalty -- lead the development of a little game called Dungeon Keeper. For those of you who have never played it, do yourself a favor and buy a copy -- it can be easily found as a digital download in the wilds of the internet. For those of you who have played it, I'll bet you remember it fondly.
- As a citizen of a genteel and oh-so-liberal New England state, I don't get nearly enough fire and brimstone. I had a taste of it during religion class in middle school -- Catholic middle school, mind you -- but even then we didn't dwell too much on the dramatic events of the Old Testament. It looks like I'll soon be able to brush up God's wrath, though. Babel Rising: Cataclysm puts you in the shoes of the big man upstairs, and he's pissed.
- Swords are way cool. There's no use denying it. Sword fights even more so. Pretty much the only sport I cared to watch during the London Olympics was fencing. Little known fact: once upon a time I fenced. There's something almost supernatural about that feeling you get, standing before another person with a piece of steel in your hands, knowing that's the only thing between you and your opponent -- knowing that they too have their own piece of steel, and it will hurt like hell if they hit you with it. It's an awesome thing.
- The first game I ever wrote about was a lo-fi platformer by Terry Cavanagh called Don't Look Back. With its minimal black and red color palette, its elegant narrative and simple control scheme, Don't Look Back began my love affair with indie gaming. Inspired, I soon started writing a column called Free and Worth Every Penny on a fan site with a friend. As my awareness and love for all things indie grew, a game called Monaco popped up on the radar.
- A while back I installed The Dig, the classic Lucasarts adventure game from the mid-90s. I was astounded at the grace of its storytelling. As someone who is used to the flashy, hyper games that you'd find on a home console, I remember thinking that The Dig was telling a better story than any AAA title, despite its dated graphics and interface. Adventure games -- those old school, Lucasarts titles in particular -- are almost an art form unto themselves. They're still very much games, but their gameplay is a means to an end. That end is to tell a story.
- Stop me if you've heard any of this before. Elves, humans, and dwarves are in a life-or-death struggle against orcs, goblins and the undead. I assume you stopped me.Sarcasm aside, I should be fair. Faulting a high-fantasy game for having the trappings of high fantasy is like faulting a puzzle game for having puzzles in it. I for one like elves, dwarves, orcs and goblins. Like so many others, I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy. If it's wrong to battle skeletons with an elven mage, then I don't want to be right.