Video Games as Slot Machines

Slot machines in a casino

I stumbled across this podcast the other day, TrailBlazers, while I was doing research about a related topic. The episode, titled Jackpot, that popped up first for me was about gambling, in particular slot machine.  I’ve actually written a fair amount about gambling in my series on lock-boxes so I was really interested in this particular episode and it didn’t disappoint. I highly recommend you give it a listen — I’ll cite a few quotes here, but the full piece is worth a listen.

Continue reading “Video Games as Slot Machines”

Bringing it Home – The Lock-box Debate part 3

Now I’ve looked the what of lock-boxes and the potential increases in profit, whether lock-boxes are gambling or not, and finally what makes lock-boxes in games different? For all the parallels we can draw between gambling and lock-boxes today, they are still different and those differences shouldn’t be glazed over–they are definitely important.

Continue reading “Bringing it Home – The Lock-box Debate part 3”

Is it Gambling? The Lock-box Debate – Part 2

Poker Chips

We’ve established what lock-boxes are and how they are used in games. Next, I want to tackle fiercely debated topic in lock-boxes: Are lock-boxes gambling? After several hours of research through lots of court opinions, the answer is a resounding not yet. I spent an afternoon reading to understand the leg whats and whys of lock-boxes and gambling in virtual worlds.

Continue reading “Is it Gambling? The Lock-box Debate – Part 2”

Why EQ2 is Still Worth Playing (even under Daybreak)

I swore up and down that I wouldn’t support Daybreak anymore after the EverQuest Next cancellation. Last week, I caved and re-subbed to play EverQuest 2 on the progression server. The core game is fun and offers features you can reliably find anywhere else. While my druthers quiver in rejection, having fun is all that matters when it comes to gaming.

Continue reading “Why EQ2 is Still Worth Playing (even under Daybreak)”

DayBreak Games Cancels Flagship game EverQuest Next

Everquest Next


Russel Shanks of DayBreak Games took the interwebs today to announce the company’s cancellation of it’s flagship game, EverQuest Next.  EverQuest Next was to be the continuation of the EverQuest franchise, which ushered MMOs through their infancy into the genre that it is today.  Early journalist review said it was like nothing in the genre, with an interactivity and responsiveness in world AI that didn’t exist anywhere else. The news comes as a blow to MMO gamers, and raises larger questions about what the future of DayBreak Games is, if any at all.   Continue reading “DayBreak Games Cancels Flagship game EverQuest Next”

Pokemon Mounts Announced for Pokemon X and Y

Pokemon Mounts Announced for Pokemon X and Y

I’m ridiculously geeked for the new Pokemon games — and now literal pokemon mounts?! Multiple Pokedex’s in just one game?!  The collection addict in my just squee’d and wet itself a little bit.  Catch the video from the Escapist below.  The rideable pokemon featured is “GoGoat” cause it’s a goat …. that goes (as they so eloquently say in the video :-)).  Also, it makes me hungry for yogurt.

So is it October yet?  It really should be…

Anyway, check it out below.



Pokemon Conquest – Initial Thoughts

So I picked up Pokemon Conquest on Friday (since I actually managed to find it.)  I had stopped 4-5 other places throughout the week without success to pick it up (along with Theatrhythm, but thats for another day).   Anyway, I started playing the game and I’m probably 3-4 hours in–it’s actually pretty fun, though a little bit shallow at this point in the game — I’m not sure if the gameplay will deepen a bit more as time goes on.

From a pokemon perspective, it’s very much like pokemon lite — not all 600+ pokemon are in the game, instead only a subset of 100 or so.  As you battle other warriors and warlords and wild pokemon, you add their pokemon to your “Gallery,” which is loosely synonymous with the pokedex.

As far as strategy goes, it’s pretty standard far with how pokemon games with the pokemon types being more/less effective against other types.  In the beginning of the game at least, Pokemon Conquest goes out its way to make this easy for you to see.  The first couple kingdoms you conquer all play into this strategy to help drive the point home.

Overall, thus far into the game — it’s pretty fun. At this point, it’s not horribly complicated and the strategy at this point isn’t all that deep, but at only 4 hours in, that could easily change down the line.  At the very least, it’s a good addition to the Pokemon Universe.

Reviewed: Pokemon Conquest

Ouya has the potential to Change the Video Game Industry

I originally posted this article over at my personal tumblr, Loud and Pithy a few days ago and thought it might be good to have on here as well.  To see the original post- check out here. 


So I saw this thing a few days ago, and thought “Huh, that’s a nifty idea…” and left it at that. I didn’t really dig into it because … I don’t know, it was interesting to me, but not overly much. I’m primarily an MMO gamer these days, and while I still rock out some other games, I spend most of my time in MMOs. I loathe mobile games. Not because mobile games are as a genre bad, but just because they never seem to think about the game beyond the quickest and sleeziest way to separate me from my money. Of course there are exceptions to this, but by-and-large, this is the primary type of game you will find on either Android or iOS. 

So looking at a console platform, built on Android, I immediately thought the same which is probably why I went “Huh, neat.” and moved on with life. But it happened to come across my feed that Ouya set a Kickstarter record. I thought “Huh, neat again.” and moved on with life. Then, a day later, I saw that it had made an ridiculous amount of money, to the tune of about $4million in funding, just 2 days after the project launched on Kickstarter. 

Ok, NOW you have my attention. I did some digging and some reading, and realized that Ouya has potential for more than just the stupid, give-me-your-money-NAO! GluMobile type of game (Full Disclosure: I hate GluMobile, so my perception of them will be likewise somewhat biased). Ouya is working to get some big name games ported over to the platform and with the amount of interest generated here, and a sizeable install base BEFORE launch, I think they’ll get some big publishers to bite. Simultaneously, new development will be a huge portion of the platform too, as each and every console will ship with the free SDK, and there’s no complicated licensing procedures to go through to get your game on the market for people to try. And everything has to be free-to-play (for a portion of the game, anyway — this piece makes me a bit nervous). 

Overall, the business plan seems solid in theory, but the actual implementation will be the deciding factor. I for one, think that this platform has a lot of potential to upset what is quickly becoming a stagnant industry. While it’s been brewing for a while, there’s been a pretty marked increase in the dissatisfaction with the game industry in recent years (more on this in an upcoming post). I think that if Ouya executes well, it has a the potential to sooth that pain point for a lot of modern gamers. 

As I read more information about the platform and it’s vision, I see lots of similarities between Ouya and Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, and Playstation Network (or whatever they call it now-a-days). Those platforms have been wildly successful because they allow development of games on much smaller budgets (and occasionally, astronomical profits). Ouya sort of bridges the gap between the console indie dev market and the steam indie market — it’s a console indie market, but instead of the licensing and exclusivity deals that comes with the current generation of consoles, it’s much more open and developer friendly – like Steam. 

They’ve got a ton of crowd funding, and as such, a ton of support from gamers. But gamers are fickle and demanding mistresses. I’ll be interested to see how they progress the platform and manage the gamer expectations over the next few months.