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    by Published on September 11th, 2016 10:00 PM
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    There are some unfortunate trends that single player game developers are following, and many excellent design concepts that aren't being used. In this article we will show you both sides of the equation.

    It is no secret that most single player games today follow the same formula, falling into our "Don'ts" category and largely ignoring the things in our "Do's" category. But everything in our "Do's" category has been done in the past, but unfortunately they seem to be primarily a thing of the past now.

    From storytelling to gameplay design, level design and sound design, we will be looking at a bit of everything. This is by no means a complete list of course; a complete list for such a thing can't really be compiled as game design involves creative, artistic work. But everything here should be considered by developers and publishers.

    This article revolves around more story-driven single player games, not strategy games, and the concepts we encourage are vague enough to apply to many different kinds of games. Let us first begin with the "Don'ts" or the design pitfalls most games are falling into.

    Beware that this article is filled with spoilers for various games. Also, special thanks to Charcharo for aiding with this article and adding ideas and examples.

    This page contains design choices that are overemphasized or misused. We are not saying these concepts need to be abolished entirely. Except for one, which is the use of waves of enemies with infinite respawns. Non-stop enemies. It's excessively gamey and serves no purpose other than to add synthetic difficulty and to chew up time. Developers, never use this.

    Now, let's look at the bigger concepts.

    Cinematic Presentation

    Let us tackle perhaps the biggest issue first. So many games now are emphasizing a cinematic approach, but rather than using cinematic presentation in a way that benefits the games, they are simply trying to copy movies completely and making huge sacrifices in gameplay, level design, and storytelling. These games try to get you to focus on the "cinematography" as well as the visuals and acting, and skimp on actual writing quality.

    Another storytelling sacrifice is interactivity. Video games are an interactive medium, but these overemphasized cinematic games disregard this interactivity in favor of copying movies, thus you watch rather than play. Therefore, it is clear that these games ...
    by Published on August 6th, 2016 09:00 PM  Number of Views: 1151 
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    A game is nothing but an idea without an engine, and in today's gaming industry there are many options when it comes to engines and APIs. When cost and royalties are factored in, the choice may become difficult. But in this article we are putting that aside and focusing purely on technology, and believe it or not, for the most part it is quite clear which technologies have the most potential.

    By game technology, as you may have guessed we are largely referring to game engines, but also physics engines, graphics APIs, and audio APIs.

    The Engine

    Several engines are worthy of respect, and many are not. Far too many studios stick to their own inferior, outdated, and terrible engines just because of familiarity. Bethesda Game Studios and Bohemia Interactive are perhaps most guilty of this because their games are in need of a new engine more than most others.

    But one engine seems to have it all. One engine supports practically every platform you can name, has an array of both graphics and audio API options, is very easy to use even for newcomers, is loaded with most of the features one could ask for, and allows you to build essentially any kind of game. And it's free to install and use, and is even open source! This engine is Unreal Engine 4.

    Unreal Engine has come a long way. Unreal Engine 3 was perhaps the most used game engine for the last 9 years. Examples of UE3 games include, but are not limited to:

    • Every game by Epic Games since 2007 obviously, such as Unreal Tournament 3 and the Gears of War games.
    • Mass Effect trilogy
    • Every Batman game since and including Arkham Asylum.
    • Borderlands and Borderlands 2
    • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, Rising Storm, and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam
    • Killing Floor 2
    • Thief
    • The
    by Published on July 10th, 2016 05:00 AM  Number of Views: 1153 
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    It is time for another RPG article! Role-Playing Games are endangered, and with this article and many of our others we do our best to preserve knowledge relating to them. In this article we have created a "tier list" if you will of wRPGs, sorted from least role-playing to most. Here is the catch; we are only listing story-driven RPGs with a solid amount of role-playing, an amount somewhat satisfactory to us or better. Every wRPG excluded on the list either does not provide enough role-playing to be worthy of inclusion, or we simply have not played it.

    The purpose of this article is to enlighten gamers as many of today's gamers have only experienced dumbed down RPGs with a minimal amount of role-playing, such as The Witcher franchise (something we have written about before). Mainstream role-playing games today are very limited with how much role-playing they actually provide. Only indie RPGs provide enough to compete with many of the classics.

    For more details, go on to the next page to begin scrolling through our tier list. Tier 1 represents the most role-playing, while Tier 5 represents the least. The actual order within each individual tier is unsorted; every game listed within a tier has a comparable amount of role-playing. Note that we have excluded The Elder Scrolls franchise since we are focusing exclusively on story-driven RPGs. The Elder Scrolls has always focused primarily on sandbox role-playing, letting the player do whatever they want, and sacrifice typical role-playing aspects for this (limited variation in dialogue for example).

    It is important to note that the only thing we are taking into consideration is how much role-playing each game actually offers, not the quality of each individual game. All is explained in the next pages, for each individual game. This article does not contain many spoilers, and the few present are behind spoiler tags.

    Divinity: Original Sin (2014)

    With this entry we are covering both the original game as well as Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition, as both are really the same game despite all the enhancements.

    This game has many different classes (especially Enhanced Edition) although no race selection. The player does control two characters instead ...
    by Published on June 17th, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 1602 
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    This is a big question. Some gamers would be appalled at the sight of it, but we find it necessary to tackle this subject. There are many who would have you believe all of the most loved classic video games, particularly from the 1990s and early 2000s, are significantly better than today's spiritual counterparts. Most gamers today wouldn't pay much attention to such claims, but we find the subject fascinating. Are all or even most of the classics really much better games, and if so better in what ways? If not, worse in what ways?

    In this article we will explore these questions with some of the most praised classics and their equivalents today, in several different genres. Beware that every page after this one will contain spoilers. Below is a listing of all the games featured in this article.


    • Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (RPG, BioWare)
    • Neverwinter Nights (RPG, BioWare)
    • Neverwinter Nights 2, Mask of the Betrayer, and Storm of Zehir (RPG, Obsidian)
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (RPG, BioWare)
    • Planescape: Torment (RPG, Black Isle Studios)
    • Fallout and Fallout 2 (RPG, Black Isle Studios)
    • Icewind Dale (RPG, Black Isle Studios)
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and IV: Oblivion (RPG, Bethesda Game Studios)
    • Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil - Code Veronica (survival horror, Capcom)
    • Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2 (psychological horror/survival horror, Konami)
    • Thief Gold and Thief II: The Metal Age (stealth, Looking Glass Studios)
    • Deus Ex (shooter/stealth/RPG hybrid, Ion Storm)
    • Half-Life and Half-Life 2 (shooter, Valve)
    • Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, San Andreas (open world action, Rockstar)

    Newer Counterparts

    • Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Inquisition (RPG, BioWare)
    • Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 (RPG, Obsidian and Bethesda Game Studios respectively)
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (RPG, Bethesda Game Studios)
    • The Witcher trilogy (RPG, CD Projekt Red)
    • Metro 2033 and Last Light (shooter + survival horror, 4A Games)
    • Underhell (survival horror, indie)
    • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl (sandbox shooter with survival and RPG elements, GSC Game World)
    • Amnesia: The Dark Descent (psychological horror/survival horror, Frictional Games)
    • SOMA (psychological horror/survival horror, Frictional Games)
    • Dishonored (stealth/action, Arkane Studios)
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution (RPG/stealth/shooter hybrid, Eidos Montreal)
    • Grand Theft Auto V (open world action, Rockstar)

    Spoilers begin on the next page.

    To start things off, we'll look at how the classic BioWare RPGs compare to the newer ones listed on the first page. We will analyze each and every game to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of each.

    Baldur's Gate (1998)

    Baldur's Gate is a Dungeons and Dragons based RPG series utilizing pause-and-play gameplay from an isometric 2.5D perspective. It is one of the most famous RPG franchises ever because the first game, Baldur's Gate, was the first game of its kind, which is also the main reason why it's praised so much.

    Baldur's Gate was recently remade in the form of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition with modern operating system and resolution compatibility. So those curious about the game can now easily play it.

    This game set some trends that perhaps every other BioWare game would follow, such as the inclusion of a plot twist, the "full circle" trope in which important plot events very late in the game occur where the game began, and of course the fact that you play as a character (not necessarily a hero due to the role-playing) who tries to save the world (Dragon Age II may be the only BioWare game to exclude this).

    The pause-and-play gameplay is something that BioWare uses to this day as well. But both Baldur's Gate games have far more complex and tactical gameplay than any modern BioWare game (and any modern mainstream RPG), with more diversity as well in the form of playable races and classes. You also play as a relatively "clean slate" or a protagonist with only a loosely defined background, in this case it is only initially known that the protagonist lived in Candlekeep studying under Gorion for most of his/her life (this does suggest the protagonist should be a Wizard). Although it is revealed later that the protagonist may carry the blood of Bhaal, former Lord of Murder.

    Baldur's Gate: Reloaded, a faithful yet unofficial remake of Baldur's Gate.

    Baldur's Gate is known first and foremost for its role-playing; being able to play as almost any kind of character. However, ...
    by Published on May 15th, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 836 
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    The term "walking simulator" is a new development in the gaming industry. It is used as a label, a tag, and often times an insult. In this article we're going to examine the origin of this term, how it's used, and why it's misleading.

    We cover this subject in our "biggest myths" article but quite frankly this deserves its own separate article.

    The origin of the term "walking simulator" is intertwined with the game Dear Esther. This game caught attention for several ...
    by Published on April 29th, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 1549 
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    The 1990s was a decade of breakthroughs for video gaming. It is the decade in which serious, immersive games were born thanks to technological advancement. Some of the greatest games of all time were released in the 1990s, especially when it comes to role-playing games (RPGs) which were generally far more advanced and complex back then compared to now. 1998 stands out as one of the best years in gaming history, with a plethora of amazing releases.

    In this article we will look at the greatest games of the 1990s (1990-1999 specifically), giving out awards similar to our Game of the Year awards and our previous Game of the Decade article. This will be the last Game of the Decade article until the 2010s are over, so you don't want to miss this one! You may notice some awards were excluded, mostly since gaming was very young at this time and we couldn't find any truly spectacular games eligible for the awards that were omitted.

    Best Soundtrack

    Game Title: Myst
    Release Date: 1993
    Developed By: Cyan
    Published By: Brøderbund
    Platforms: PC / Mac / AmigaOS / PlayStation / Saturn / Jaguar / CD-i / PlayStation Portable / 3DS / DS / iOS
    Genre: Puzzle Adventure

    Soundtrack is one of very few areas in which gaming in general has advanced since the 1990s. Only a few 90s games can compare to today's best video game soundtracks, including the winner of this award: Myst (1993). It wins a razor thin decision over Planescape: Torment. Myst's soundtrack by Robyn Miller (one of the two lead designers of the game) is truly special, a real stand out among video games of all generations.

    Other Nominees ...
    by Published on March 9th, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 1629 
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    We talk about it often, but now we figured it was time to write an article dedicated to discussing and pointing out the degeneration of gaming. Today, the video game industry is one afraid of innovation, and one that looks to milk consumers like cows. Most modern mainstream games are barely even a shell of the pioneers.

    How and why did this happen? The truth is, there were multiple causes that led to the degeneration of the gaming industry. Continue on to the next page to find out why.

    In order to understand the video game industry, one needs to understand its origins and follow its timeline. Without getting into an in-depth history lesson, video games were initially created for distraction; to kill time and offer a brief reprieve from boredom. Many games still exist for this same purpose, like virtually every mobile ...
    by Published on February 19th, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 3999 
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    Time for another Flashback Friday article! You don't want to miss this one. We are just past the half way point for this decade, the 2010s. This article takes from all of our Game of the Year articles, but instead of looking at the best games of one year, we're looking at the best games of the previous decade, the 2000s! More specifically, we're looking at all games from the years 2000-2009.

    It was an interesting decade with a lot of experimentation and change, with many changes being for the worse primarily toward the end of the decade. Still, 2007 stands out as one of the best years in gaming history with many great releases.

    The awards given out are the same as the ones we use for Game of the Year, although some will be excluded since it's too hard to choose a single game for some of these awards. Also, expansions and even mods that equate to a whole game (like Natural Selection mod or Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer expansion) are now eligible for awards. We're even including a few new awards! These new awards may even be included in future game of the year articles. But for now, go on to the next page to continue reading.

    Special thanks to InfaRedd, aka Valkayria for the basic idea behind this article.

    Best Soundtrack

    Game Title: Dragon Age: Origins
    Release Date: 2009
    Developed By: BioWare
    Published By: Electronic Arts
    Platforms: PC / Mac / XBOX 360 / PlayStation 3
    Genre: RPG

    We were considering excluding this award because there were numerous amazing soundtracks in games from the 2000s. But we were able to agree on a winner, and that winner is Dragon Age: Origins (2009). That's a huge win for Inon Zur and BioWare. Dragon Age: Origins is a dark fantasy game and the soundtrack is absolutely perfect, including some of the best individual tracks we've ever heard in a game (and no, we aren't doing that award since it's too hard to pick one) like the main theme, Ferelden at War, and I am the One.

    Other Nominees

    • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer (2007)
    • Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir (2008)
    • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mysteries of Westgate (2009)
    • Neverwinter Nights (2002)
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002)
    • Neverwinter Nights 2 (2006)
    • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006)
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (2004)

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