The Name Game: Red Dead Redemption 2

Previous Name Game posts can be found here.

Several weeks ago, a large number of people became very excited by a teaser believed (and now confirmed) to imply that a sequel to the game Red Dead Redemption is in development. Itself a sequel to Red Dead Revolver, the Western-themed Red Dead Redemption was hugely popular, and many began to wonder what its own sequel would be named. Surely Rockstar Games would keep the “R-D-R” naming convention? Alas, it was soon revealed that it would simply be called Red Dead Redemption 2. Here at The Name Game, we are disappointed. But we hope that Rockstar will consider resuming the naming convention for future games in the series. Here are some suggestions.

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Race And Gender In The Elder Scrolls

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There aren’t many games that let you play as a black woman. Skyrim is one of them.

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Returning To Skyrim: Mod Time

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I always intended to return to Skyrim. While I spent a lot of time playing it not long after release, and wrote several posts about it here on this blog, there are lots of things I never did in the game. I joined the Thieves’ Guild, but not the Companions or the mage’s College of Winterhold or any of the other factions in the game. I explored many parts of the province of Skyrim, but never set foot in two of the cities. And not only did I not tackle the game’s main storyline, I never even battled a single one of its supposedly infinite dragons. I’d planned to start again with a new character, but decided to take a break first, and then never seemed to have the time to go back.

Eventually I realized that if I didn’t play it again soon, I never would. I’m not sure exactly why I made that decision now; with the remastered Special Edition of the game releasing next month, it would seem to make sense to just wait for that, but it seemed like a bigger deal for the console versions of the game. On PC, the new art isn’t a huge improvement over the original, and there are already a slew of graphical tweaks and enhancements available from the mod community anyway. Plus, I wasn’t sure I liked the golden cast over all the new screenshots. A harsher, whiter light seemed more appropriate for the wintry land of Skyrim.

So I decided to just go for it, and start playing now. But this time, I planned to use a lot more mods.

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History Lessons: DROD: King Dugan’s Dungeon

Other History Lessons posts (including my Introduction) can be found here. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

DROD stands for Deadly Rooms of Death, although it is almost universally referred to by its acronym. I’ve actually mentioned it on this blog before, as part of my post about games without stories. In that post I was hopeful that I’d continue to play through Dustforce and DROD alongside whatever else I was playing, but DROD is the only one I stuck with. Now that I’ve finally finished it, it’s time to write about it.

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From The Ashes: Ara Fell

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Well, this was a surprise. I first played an early prototype version of Ara Fell years ago, long before I started this blog, when I had more time to scour the internet for free games. I delved into the vast catalog of games made with RPG Maker, and found a few gems (including Master of the Wind, which I’ve written about here). Ara Fell was one of the most memorable, with a beautiful world of floating islands, some nice twists on traditional Japanese-style role-playing game mechanics, and the beginning of an interesting tale. But, as with so many such projects, it was abandoned when its author realized it was too ambitious.

Then, out of the blue, I saw the news that Ara Fell was completed and on sale a couple of months ago (there’s also a demo available). I had to double-check to confirm that yes, this is indeed the same game that I tried all those years ago. Apparently the developers, Stegosoft Games (a four-person team containing the author of the original Ara Fell prototype) had been developing a different game and its engine, but this proved a little too much for them, so they were searching for a new project. Co-founder Stephen Anthony then opened up his old Ara Fell prototype for the first time in years, and decided that with his team at Stegosoft they could polish it up, rewrite the script, tweak everything, and actually finish it. Naturally, I decided to give this overhauled version a spin.

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Full Circle: System Shock Remake On Kickstarter (With Demo)

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Longtime readers may remember that one of the first posts I ever wrote for this blog was a History Lesson post about System Shock (back before I even had screenshots in my posts!). I played the 1994 game for the first time in 2010 or thereabouts, and it was a revelation. I was amazed that such an old game with such a clunky control scheme could be so immersive, eclipsing most games released before or since, and was shocked (har har) that it was not better known.

Well, it turns out I’m not the only one with such a high opinion of the game. Night Dive Studios recently acquired the rights to the franchise and made the original game available for purchase again — along with some (optional) modern improvements like the now-standard mouselook controls — in the form of System Shock Enhanced Edition. Now, they’ve decided to try their hands at a full-blown remake, with modernized graphics and all sorts of other tweaks and changes. They’ve taken to Kickstarter and are already funded with fifteen days to go at the time of writing, largely due to the strength of the pre-alpha demo.

Excited, I took said demo for a spin.

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All Your Vase Are Belong To Us: Apotheon

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I’m happy to report that Apotheon is not the first game I’ve played to feature art inspired by Ancient Greek vase painting. That honor belongs to ACE Team’s Rock of Ages (for which a sequel was recently announced). But Rock of Ages uses this style as only one of several periods in art history that players smash up with giant rolling boulders. Apotheon, by contrast, goes all in on the Ancient Greek theme, casting players as Nikandreos, a warrior fighting to save his village after it is forsaken by the Gods. Before long he meets Hera, who explains that Zeus is a dirtbag and enlists Nikandreos to raid Mount Olypmus itself to bring Zeus to his knees.

It’s also made by Alientrap Games, the developer responsible for Capsized, which I liked a lot. As such, Apotheon has been on my radar for a while, and I finally got around to playing it.

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