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  • #16
    First rule of fringe software, buy it today, cause there usually is no tomorrow.

    Only the ultimately popular games seem to have any staying power on the shelf, used or otherwise.
    Life is change. Built models for decades.
    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
    I didn't for a long time either.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Aries View Post
      First rule of fringe software, buy it today, cause there usually is no tomorrow.

      Only the ultimately popular games seem to have any staying power on the shelf, used or otherwise.
      On a philosophical note, that bit of truth really goes against my grain. Before I realized what an old fogie I've become, I used to rail at kids online when they'd talk about "finishing" such-and-such a game, or about a certain game having so many hours of replay value. To my mind, anything that limited is really just a puzzle, not a game. You don't "finish" games -- not once and for all, anyhow; classic games like chess, go, and backgammon are infinitely replayable.

      Indeed, I spent a good portion of my life searching for "my game" -- the one game that suited me best -- so that I could devote the rest of my life to playing it almost exclusively, getting good at it, and squeezing all the enjoyment I could from it. If Minnesota Fats had pool, Amarillo Slim had poker, Omar Sharif had bridge, Bill Robertie had backgammon, and Bobby Fischer had chess, I figured some game must be just right for me.

      But alas, I turned out to be too much of a dabbler. The search for my "one game for life" became a sort of metagame in itself. Every time I thought I had found the perfect game, my enthusiasm for it would start to wane, and before long I'd be back to searching again.

      I still have a lot of respect for classic games like chess, checkers, and backgammon; they're timeless, and you could play one all your life and never run out of new experiences with it. There's always more to learn, more skill to build, more room for creativity.

      Yet, it seems to me that most computer games are like that too. Last night I amused myself for a half hour or so playing Super Mario Bros on my wife's DS. (She had never even opened the package, so I thought I'd give it a try.) I hadn't seen one of these games since my nephew was a little tyke (he's in his early twenties now). I remember thinking, back then, what a creative design it was, admiring all the clever work somebody put into it; but I also thought it was silly to put so much into a simple kids' game. Anyhow, I struggled with it a bit last night, had some failures and successes, and ended up thinking, "Wow. There's a lot here! A person who was really into this game could play it for a very long time -- years maybe -- and never run out of things to do. And this is just one in a series of these games."

      But somehow, I keep hearing about people "finishing" every new game that comes out. Civ IV is already old hat to many players; they're eagerly gobbling up the expansions and looking forward to Civ V. Meanwhile, I'm wondering if I'll ever find time to play it often enough to get to where I really know what I'm doing. It'd be nice if I could someday graduate beyond Warlord level (oh, I've won the rare game on Monarch level, but I'm only reasonably confident at Warlord). The basic game, without any expansions, could easily last me the rest of my life. Yet many people out there have pretty well "finished" it already.

      Then again, I guess there are a few oddballs who still play ancient games like Pong and Space Invaders. So, maybe novelty isn't irresistibly addictive to everybody.
      --Patrick Carroll


      "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

      Comment


      • #18
        I think I might have misstated my post.

        What I meant was, don't wait till tomorrow, to buy a game made in limited numbers today.

        Case in point, Steel Horizon, great game, I have not seen it on sale used, and I suspect it's day on the shelf will come, go, and you can then forget getting a copy.

        Now I think it has great replay worth, but, if you fail to pick it up, you missed out.

        Age of Empires, probably same thing.

        Panzer Tactics will likely be extremely good, but, it won't be mainstream. I plan to buy it day one, I'm not planning to let it get past me.

        I can say that for every major wargame release, is nearly the same, any platform, console or PC.
        Meanwhile, people are still playing Steel Panthers in some capacity. But, how often do you see an equal to Matrix Games giving new life to old games.

        Always makes me laugh to read comments by people bitching about old games, re released without a massive rebuild. I'm just happy to see more fresh copies put into circulation. If the game was no good, we wouldn't be still playing it.
        Life is change. Built models for decades.
        Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
        I didn't for a long time either.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Aries View Post
          I think I might have misstated my post.

          What I meant was, don't wait till tomorrow, to buy a game made in limited numbers today.
          Oh, yes, of course -- basic economics again. I always get tripped up over that. In the imaginary world I live in most of the time, economics has nothing to do with games. When a game comes on the scene, it's a part of Creation, and it's here forevermore. For instance, chess dates back to the misty dawn of history; nobody's sure where it came from (cases can be made for India and China) -- but once it arrived, it was here to stay.

          I tend to think of all games that way -- until somebody recalls my attention to the real world of today. Then I'm reminded that games are put out by profit-making companies which operate under the law of supply and demand.

          Even when I realize that, though, I stumble over economics. If a game is discontinued, I suppose people are now tired of playing it -- because if they weren't, those who own it would be telling others about it, and more people would be buying it all the time.

          But of course it's as you say: some kinds of games only appeal to a limited group of people, and once that niche market is saturated, sales dry up.

          It's easy for me to forget that everybody's not a wargamer. My mind is quirky that way. If wargames are the best games around (and to me, they are), then everybody ought to prefer them to other games. It doesn't make sense that everybody isn't a wargamer by now.

          My next thought is that people just need to be educated, because many of them don't yet know how cool wargames are.

          Finally, I get around to realizing that what seems best to me is not the best thing for everybody else. There's no accounting for taste.

          I forget that pretty easily and slip back into my imaginary world, where I know what's absolutely the best -- for everybody. (Hmm -- maybe I should join Dr. Sinister's movement.)


          Case in point, Steel Horizon, great game, I have not seen it on sale used, and I suspect it's day on the shelf will come, go, and you can then forget getting a copy.

          Now I think it has great replay worth, but, if you fail to pick it up, you missed out.
          I passed it up the other day. Maybe I should grab it after all. (I was just put off yesterday, though, by a review which complained that the CPU tends to arrange your ships in a weird way, with vulnerable transports, etc. exposed.)


          Age of Empires, probably same thing.
          Well, I've got that now. And at first glance, it looks like a game that could keep me entertained, interested, and challenged for years.


          Panzer Tactics will likely be extremely good, but, it won't be mainstream. I plan to buy it day one, I'm not planning to let it get past me.

          I can say that for every major wargame release, is nearly the same, any platform, console or PC.
          Meanwhile, people are still playing Steel Panthers in some capacity.
          And TOAW.


          But, how often do you see an equal to Matrix Games giving new life to old games.

          Always makes me laugh to read comments by people bitching about old games, re released without a massive rebuild. I'm just happy to see more fresh copies put into circulation. If the game was no good, we wouldn't be still playing it.
          For as long as I can remember, people have been talking about the imminent demise of the wargaming hobby. When board wargames came along as an alternative to miniatures, miniaturists saw it as a sad step toward inferiority. When computer games made board wargames all but obsolete, people again thought it was the end.

          What always surprised me is that the wargaming hobby didn't grow into massive, worldwide popularity. Because I like it so much, I imagine that everybody else would too, if only they'd try it and find out. So when I was thirteen and just starting out in the hobby, I figured that by the time I was in my forties or so, wargaming would be as popular as golf or poker.

          If I stand outside myself for a moment, I can see that's obviously never gonna happen. Relatively few people have that kind of interest in things military, or the patience to put up with complex, involved games.

          But from inside myself, that seems weird. Everybody ought to be a wargamer.

          I remember walking into a toy store with my sister years ago. She was shopping for something for her little boy. But my eyes lit upon a shelf full of wargames, and some were on sale. I couldn't believe Struggle of Nations was discounted to five bucks or so! I bought a copy and got out of the store fast, before they realized their mistake. It felt almost like stealing. But my sister gave me a reality check when she said, "It might be a bargain to you, but how many people would walk into this store and be the least bit interested in a game called Struggle of Nations?" Not many, I had to admit.

          I may be part of a niche market, but to me it doesn't feel like a niche; it just seems the rest of the world hasn't wised up yet.
          --Patrick Carroll


          "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

          Comment


          • #20
            Don't pass on Steel Horizon, thus far, it's likely the most serious wargame made for the DS.

            As for play, well it does NOTHING if the player is uninspired. I will grant, that turn 1 orientation always requires the player to make sense of the arrangement, but then nothing ever happens on turn 1, and frankly who cares if it hasn't got as perfect opening set up, are you planning to accept anyone's ideas over yours anyway?

            The lower screen is a plotting map, very basic graphics and easy on the eyes. The Upper screen is used for eye candy during battles, a sort of cinematic view.
            Otherwise the upper screen is also a purchase screen and a ship sorting screen.

            A Chess player should like Steel Horizon, because the game is very chess like. No convoluted finger playing in an arcady environment. Dexterity means nothing to winning. You either suck or you win

            The AI though could be harder. But against a human you better be in control of your plan.
            Life is change. Built models for decades.
            Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
            I didn't for a long time either.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Aries View Post
              Don't pass on Steel Horizon, thus far, it's likely the most serious wargame made for the DS. . . .
              OK, OK, you talked me into it.

              Well, alright, I talked myself into it. I went nuts yesterday and ordered a DS Lite for myself, along with Steel Horizon and the "R4 Revolution" device. And today I found a like-new used copy of Advance Wars: Dual Strike, so I grabbed that too.

              In a couple weeks, I should be in DS heaven, I guess.
              --Patrick Carroll


              "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

              Comment


              • #22
                Well here's more good news.

                I saw some reeeeeeeeeally great stuff on a Panzer Tactics web site.

                http://www.panzertactics.com/index.php?id=34&L=1

                And Civilization is slotted to appear on the DS.

                Now it is not often that a console has so many right on titles for it, but, clearly the DS can deliver on your needs hehe.

                I want it to be October so bad man. Panzer Tactics released in October. Man it's been a long wait.

                I have a dream, and in my dream I am able to stop giving a **** whether wargaming lives or dies on the PC, because I will have moved on to playing my non board game wargames on something easier to deal with

                Yes I still love some of my computer wargames, but I'm tired of wondering if I get a new computer, will it still run my old PC wargames.
                The hassle of retaining old OS using computers eventually gets to be a pain in the butt.

                Nothing quite compares to just inserting an sd card type cartridge into a DS lite and playing it.
                Life is change. Built models for decades.
                Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                I didn't for a long time either.

                Comment


                • #23
                  OK, so I got my DS yesterday, along with Steel Horizon. Pretty exciting. I was thinking, Ah! Now, at last, I can enjoy these cool games anyplace, anytime.

                  Then, this morning, I wondered whether to take it to work with me. Hmm -- not much point in that really. I'd only have the hour-long lunch break, and I have to use most of that for eating. Can't very well eat and play at the same time.

                  Which makes me suddenly realize that there aren't many times I'd be free to use this little gadget -- except when I'm home and could just play a game on a full-size computer. Once in a blue moon, I'll drive my wife to an appointment someplace and have to wait a half hour or so for her. But I don't have many gaps like that in my day usually.

                  So, what was the point?

                  I guess what I really wished was that I'd be free to make gaps in my day. That I could take a two- or three-hour lunch break on a work day and just sit around enjoying a DS game. Funny how I fool myself that way.

                  Still, I'm enjoying Age of Empires, even though I play it in my den at home, where there's a full-size computer nearby. And I tried Steel Horizon (the tutorials) last night; it looks promising (though so far I've been completely lost during the 60-second real-time battles).

                  Also got a used copy of Advance Wars: Dual Strike. Haven't done much with it yet; just took a quick look. But I'm wondering if it'll be possible to reset the scores or whatever, because somebody else has obviously made some progress in the game already, and I don't want to start in the middle.
                  --Patrick Carroll


                  "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Pat learns a valuable lesson.

                    Some days my DS is all but forgotten, then some days it all I have to do. There will be times of the year it has more use than others. And it matters what your routine is too of course.

                    If you commute on a train, major bonus. But not much good if you are in a car and driving.

                    If the day is gawdawful hot, it might be the only thing you feel like indulging. And it can really be a sanity saver if you want to escape from it all and hide somewhere quiet with just your DS.

                    Great at the cottage of course, but, if you're just killing time at home, you could as you say just use a PC or proper console.

                    But occasionally, it will actually be the specific game that matters.
                    I don't want to play a complicated naval sim like Harpoon. Not my thing. But I like Steel Horizon, because it's simple, uncomplicated, and there really isn't anything out there much like it.

                    Brain Age is proven effective though at keeping your mind alert. And a person devoting 20 minutes a day to fiddle with it, is not actually "wasting" time. It can be all the difference in getting your mind relaxed after doing something that wore you down. Sort of like standing, and stretching and taking a breather at work. And any boss with any brains, actually would not bitch about their workers taking a 15 minute mid shift break to use a DS and Brain age to fresher their minds.

                    The DS is a tool though, and a tool is only as good as the user allows it to be.
                    I like having my DS handy for when I am waiting in a line, be it for a movie or anything else.
                    But the DS is unlikely to ever be able to compete on even terms with more sophisticated programs. But, look up the true meaning of the word "sophisticated" some time. You will be amused at how appropriate it is in describing a lot of our wargames
                    Sometimes simple and basic is better.

                    Sometimes I want to sit in the livingroom, and watch TV, but the wife is watching a soap or something I don't want to watch. Well, if that means 20 minutes of dead time, I can always play my DS, while still getting the relax time in my lazyboy, waiting for my turn at the TV

                    How much you enjoy your DS, is limited usually only by how you perceive its usefulness.
                    I don't own a cell phone, because, your call isn't worth enough to me, that I need to always be able to receive it anywhere any time
                    I'd like to have an mp3 player though, and it might be in the top 3 on the christmas list this year. I don't commute or anything, but, I do like to go for walks, so it would get used.
                    Life is change. Built models for decades.
                    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                    I didn't for a long time either.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Quick update: I ate lunch quickly, then whipped out my DS Lite, popped in the Advance Wars cartridge, and played the first campaign scenario (an easy training mission). Fun and refreshing!

                      These "juvenile" games are great for me, it turns out. I like being handheld and walked through the tutorials before I have to tackle anything too challenging. Puts my mind at ease and makes it more fun somehow.
                      --Patrick Carroll


                      "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        ""juvenile" games"

                        Sometimes that's not really fair.

                        Sometimes a game is just simply uncomplicated fun

                        It's likely the console video game industry would have fizzled if not for Mario Brothers and the success it created when it was released.

                        Our industry's most complicated games, are likely not the ones making the industry strong.
                        Life is change. Built models for decades.
                        Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                        I didn't for a long time either.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Aries View Post
                          "juvenile" games"

                          Sometimes that's not really fair.

                          Sometimes a game is just simply uncomplicated fun
                          True. But I have to admit I've harbored a prejudice most of my life against anything that seems juvenile.

                          At my first wargame convention in May 1972 (I was seventeen then), I looked down my nose at all the grown men playing with toy soldiers. My friend and I were board wargamers, and to us it was a serious hobby -- a dynamic, interactive way of studying military history. We couldn't believe others were crawling around in the dirt shooting rubber bands at model tanks. Or even just pushing their toy-soldier collections around on a tabletop.

                          I've never been one to give my "inner child" free rein. In fact, I'm reluctant to ever do anything just for fun (I always have to have some seemingly intelligent reason or excuse, like "brain training" or studying history).

                          These DS games are pretty obviously marketed to much younger folks than me. They're juvenile in that sense. And indeed, I just saw a thread at amazon.com the other day where someone asked, "Are there any DS games for adults?"--because this woman liked Brain Age but was dismayed to find that all the other game cartridges looked so childish.

                          Btw, one person (maybe someone after your own heart) replied, "It's mostly just a state of mind." Meaning most any DS game can be enjoyed by an adult, as soon as he gets over his prejudice.

                          I have a hard time getting over mine -- but I'm working on it!


                          It's likely the console video game industry would have fizzled if not for Mario Brothers and the success it created when it was released.

                          Our industry's most complicated games, are likely not the ones making the industry strong.
                          I'm sure that's true too -- but I really couldn't care less about the industry. Maybe that's short-sighted or selfish of me, but with me it has always been a matter of principle.

                          Some argue that we have to keep the industry strong, no matter what it takes, so that it'll be strong enough to keep producing the "niche games" that we prefer. By that line of reasoning, it's good that Hasbro bought out Avalon Hill several years ago, because Hasbro is an industry giant that will likely remain healthy and productive for decades to come.

                          But actually, Hasbro has produced only the most uncomplicated and "juvenile" games under the Avalon Hill logo, and "real" wargames are being produced only by small, independent companies.

                          What keeps the industry (any industry -- games, music, video, etc.) strong is pandering to the mediocre masses -- dishing out a lot of shallow, dazzling, just-for-fun indulgences. Feeding the people various kinds of junk food. Encouraging people to be fat and lazy and stupid, which most people are happy to go along with since it enables them to cozy up inside their comfort zone.

                          What I'd like to see are quality games (and music, video, and everything else) and people who appreciate them. I'd like to see the people offered things that will tend to elevate their consciousness instead of perpetuating their mediocrity.

                          So, if the mainstream industry fails, fine. Then entrepreneurs can step in and probably start offering something better than ever.

                          (End of tirade.)

                          Meanwhile, here I sit -- hypocrite that I am -- enjoying all the "uncomplicated fun" that I'm complaining about. Kinda like the stuffy old schoolmarm who has a bottle of brandy tucked away.
                          --Patrick Carroll


                          "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Funny is in the details though.

                            Table top miniatures is actually "real" wargaming in some people's minds, and really predates all other forms. THEY likely see all the rest as the phonies hehe.

                            I recall when Axis and Allies came out, and all my friends laughed at it, for it's silly minis, and we all had to eat crow when we realized it was actually quite fun.

                            Interestingly enough, but you comment on Hasbro is perhaps slightly wrong. While they have admittedly licensed out the "work" of producing it, Hasbro still officially owns Advanced Squad Leader, which is still on the market hehe.

                            But even though the Nintendo DS has likely a few dozen overtly "kiddie" games to every clearly serious adult games, that's simply because it's easier to make kiddie games than serious ones.

                            But Brain Age is not the only adult game for the DS, there's actually several. It's just they are not as numerous.
                            I mean, in the realm of board game wargames, you can find countless kiddie games, for every serious hard core wargame, but that's just because, again, kiddie games take less effort to make.
                            Life is change. Built models for decades.
                            Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                            I didn't for a long time either.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Aries View Post
                              Funny is in the details though.

                              Table top miniatures is actually "real" wargaming in some people's minds, and really predates all other forms. THEY likely see all the rest as the phonies hehe.
                              Yep, that's true. But at the same time, wargaming "societies" in Great Britain seem to be take themselves both more and less seriously. They approach the hobby very seriously and conservatively, but at the same time most everybody seems to have a streak of eccentricity and an almost tongue-in-cheek attitude toward the whole business.

                              I have been looked down on by American miniaturists, though, back in my board wargaming days. And indeed, they had me mostly convinced. For years I wanted to start collecting miniatures so I could become a "real" wargamer. But all I ever managed was a series of abortive efforts. I still have a box full of half-painted miniatures in my closet from decades ago.

                              Modeling and craft was never my thing. Just couldn't get into it. In addition, the miniatures side of the wargaming hobby is more sociable than other facets; and I was always more of a loner than that.


                              I recall when Axis and Allies came out, and all my friends laughed at it, for it's silly minis, and we all had to eat crow when we realized it was actually quite fun.
                              I've never played A&A, or even seen it up close. But when Hasbro's Battle Cry came out and was highly rated by gamers, I bought a copy, thinking, Aha! Here's how I can finally play a wargame with miniatures, without having to get into miniatures in a big way. But I only played the game solitaire, and it was so ludicrous that it clashed with my Civil-War-buff sensibilities, so it's been gathering dust for a long time now.


                              Interestingly enough, but you comment on Hasbro is perhaps slightly wrong. While they have admittedly licensed out the "work" of producing it, Hasbro still officially owns Advanced Squad Leader, which is still on the market hehe.
                              Hmm -- didn't know that. Suppose it makes good business sense, though, just in case MultiMan Publishing makes a success of it.

                              What's really funny is that all those games I used to take so seriously (like ASL) now seem pretty silly to me in hindsight. In my younger days, I took them to be a dynamic form of hardcore history. I guess I figured there was as much value in playing wargames as in getting a degree in military history or earning a military commission. I didn't really play wargames; I studied them. (But I secretly had fun with them too.)

                              Today, ASL looks like way too much work to me. I wouldn't even want to buy one of MMP's starter sets and start over. What could I hope to get out of it? Some fond memories, maybe, and a few challenges or headaches. But I now regard wargaming as more for fun, so I prefer something simpler.


                              But even though the Nintendo DS has likely a few dozen overtly "kiddie" games to every clearly serious adult games, that's simply because it's easier to make kiddie games than serious ones.

                              But Brain Age is not the only adult game for the DS, there's actually several. It's just they are not as numerous.
                              I mean, in the realm of board game wargames, you can find countless kiddie games, for every serious hard core wargame, but that's just because, again, kiddie games take less effort to make.
                              Also because many people consider games something for children or old people. Adults aren't supposed to be wasting time on such nonsense during their productive years.

                              But parents can always be counted on to provide entertainment for their children. And retired people are often looking for something amusing to do -- preferably with their grandchildren.

                              Anyhow, I guess there's still some child left in me after all. Last night (after getting frustrated trying to get the "R4 Revolution" device to work), I spent an hour playing Advance Wars: Dual Strike on my DS Lite, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Got a little tired of all the dialogue, but I have to admit those cartoon characters do add something to the game experience. And I could do with the tips and guidance, since I'm no kind of strategist or tactician.

                              Came across another surprising thing yesterday: In the "Games for Adults?" discussion thread over at amazon.com, someone recommended the newer Pokemon games. Apparently, despite appearances, those have something to offer adults as well. (Never having tried one, and never having seen anything but a few-minute snippet of a Pokemon cartoon or two, I wouldn't know.)
                              --Patrick Carroll


                              "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Dr Sinister here is a Pokeman fan (although he hates being one hehe).

                                Original Axis and Allies has been reborn as a better edition, but in the years since, it has also spawned a Pacific only version a Europe only version as well as a D-Day and a Battle of the Bulge edition.

                                These games, the rules are basic, no brain killers, but, they ARE seriously enjoyable all the same.

                                Axis and Allies has also come out as collectible pre painted minis as well, and frankly, all I want to do is play minis, not paint them hehe
                                Life is change. Built models for decades.
                                Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                                I didn't for a long time either.

                                Comment

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