Ever since Will Wright changed gaming with SimCity in 1989, generations of would-be urban planners have tested their mettle against an unruly populace, natural disasters, challenging transportation infrastructure and more. The appeal of making something from nothing on a grand scale has stood the test of time (see also: Minecraft), spawning no small number of imitators, spin-offs and homages, each with their own unique appeal. The Tropico series casts you as a Caribbean dictator; the Anno series covers resource management across multiple eras; and so forth. Lest you think fun can only be found at the top end of the scale, there’s also a subset of the city sim genre that has you making something from nothing in harsh conditions, challenging environments and a scale that can generously be described as “quaint”. It is in that genre that we find Shining Rock Software’s Banished, a village sim that pulls no punches with its basic goal: stay alive.
My latest video interview is with a local developer, TinyMob Games, who are working on an iOS RTS game called Tiny Realms. On the surface, it looks like a Clash of Clans clone with backstory and actual unit control (gasp!)
So, actually, maybe not so much a “clone” as a “vast improvement”.
Yeah. That’s better. Click away!
Back in March, Rituro returned from his quest to explore the world of soccer and handed me an SD card with encrypted video files on it. Well, these have finally been decoded, and I have to profess that they are quite interesting. The videos are all about Sports Interactive’s Football Manager 2014, and we in the Thumbs Control Center have chosen Episode 15 as a great launch point for those of you who wish to follow along in Rituro’s mad adventures. These videos tell the story of Rituro’s journey in the world of the game, and detail a fair number of the features of this title. Episode 15 deals with a recent patch (14.3) which was a great improvement.
It’s not the most dynamic of viewing (I’m referring to the lack of actual soccer footage). However, it is highly informative for those of you who really enjoy management-style games.
In all of the subjects that I can think of that could be described as “touchy”, religion is close to the top of the list. The source of many arguments and misunderstandings, religion can be a joyous thing to talk about for some; painful for others. Recently, we were sent a set of DVDs from Twentieth Century Fox Entertainment called Little Angels, an animated series for preschoolers from executive producer Roma Downey. Roma is best known for her role in Touched By An Angel, and is also the president of Lightworks Media – a company dedicated to creating positive, uplifting entertainment.
While this is not typical fare for this site, I think it’s important to allow for representation of entertainment choices that some folks (especially parents) might find useful. As it happens, smallest thumb was asking questions about God anyway, making this a great opportunity to review these in the context of a young mind learning something new. I won’t get into the specifics of each episode (there are quite a few spread out over the DVDs); instead, I will talk about what this faith-based, educational series is like in general.
Anyone that knows my gaming personality knows that I tend to lean towards reconnaissance in first-person-shooters; in fact, I quite enjoy stealth-based third-person games like Assassin’s Creed and Batman. I never did play the original Sniper Elite; I regret my decision from time to time – but with so many other games to play, I don’t think I ever really mourned that loss properly. Of course, when I saw clips of Rebellion’s Sniper Elite V2 and I think I just found my second chance.
While it pains my X-COM-worshipping bones to admit it, the days of the turn-based strategy game may well be truly over. Sure, some standouts might still remain (cases in point: the intriguing Xenonauts and Dead State), but the sign of the times is glowing in massive neon letters: speed it up. That’s not to say some games haven’t taken the “speed it up” mantra and run with it to an exciting hybrid of turn-based and real-time game-play; Flotilla and Frozen Synapse are two solid examples which have done just that – with excellent results. Still, these are new
properties; can an established, classic turn-based franchise make the leap to a modern hybrid style?