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Tycho / on Wed, Apr 28 2010 at 12:00 am

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A Boy Must Learn, Part Two

Look out!  It’s the, um…  Lookouts.  Listen, I’m trying here.

If you have a mind to run a game similar to Lookouts at the table, either with players as children or with children playing children on an incredible adventure, you might take a crack at Monster Slayers.  It’s essentially a version of Dungeons & Dragons mechanics that have been pulverized and then packed into capsules for easy digestion.  These rules emphasize the educational angle inherent in this kind of play, and I never really thought of it that way, but all the quick math I do on a day to day basis - the effortless, instinctive stuff - is a direct result of damage calculations or some other urgent tabletop necessity.

I’ve played the demo of Split/Second maybe ten times, and while I enjoy it, I think there must be something about it I don’t understand - I can’t yet envision where the breadth comes in.  It’s certainly beautiful to look at, plus (and this can’t be emphasized enough) its developer also made Pure.  They banked goodwill with that game, stored it up, so I’m going to hear them out when there’s a chance to see their new racer as an entire product.

This established, from a mental real estate perspective, they’re at a tremendous disadvantage against the Blur beta.  Its lineage affords it a generalized bonus as well, but above and beyond that the trial experience they’ve offered is a roasting pork shank whose juices sizzle aromatically on the fire.  Split/Second offers up a single track, in single player, with a single car in a package that I’m positive represents some ancient press demo.  By comparison, Blur offers multiplayer in four unlockable modes with a fuck-ass shit-ton of cars, persistent character growth, and customizable loadouts.  They gave me an opportunity to fall in love with Blur, to play it with my friends, and to imagine what night after nightt of this kind of play might feel like.

I scrolled up and down my Steam library yesterday, listlessly, without so much as a remembered thrill; all I wanted to do was play Blur for some reason, something I hadn’t picked up in weeks but whose thirsting fronds were reaching up through some mental fissure.  After a few rounds to loosen up, quite organically I found myself in a Party discussing the events of the day.  The conviviality and natural flow of the conversation began to disintegrate as the race progressed, slowing and then ceasing altogether, like the dwindling reports from a bag of microwave popcorn. 

That’s how this is supposed to work.  I’ve bought this game already, in my mind: I can see the entire process, from the point I leave the Cinnabon and enter the store all the way up to when I refuse the strategy guide.  The demo has forged some kind of molecular bond, to the extent that I believe not owning it would result in some terrible (though not wholly defined) breed of harm. 

(CW)TB out.

(instrumental)


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