Category Archives: What We Think About …

Reactuate Games does Dominion

The Reactuate team played Dominion, a strategic, table top card game based in the Middle Ages. While the player is busy ruling his/her kingdom, he must worry about the other monarchs trying to expand their own territory. About thirty minutes into play, we were evilly laughing as we placed our militaries against one another … so it got a little competitive. And fun.

P.S. No video. Well, actually, we have video but no sound. So just imagine us, sitting around a table, staring, confounded at the cards in our hands for half an hour.

The Pros

  • Preparing for the future. Although this game can be fast-paced once you get going, there is ample time for future planning. As the other players go around, playing their cards, you can be thinking about what action you’d like to take, what you’d like to buy, and how much you can spend. Situations can change fast of course! For example …
  • The action cards can do some unexpected damage. Throw your military out there at the exact turn your opponent wants to buy a province and gain the lead, and he might just lose that money to your armies. Oh how the tables have turned.
  • The chains created. If you play an action card, sometimes it will allow you to take another action, or draw more cards, or have two rounds of shopping. In these moments, the strategy is against yourself. Put out the wrong card and your opportunity could be lost.
archive.wired.com
archive.wired.com

The Cons

  • Game doesn’t make sense at first. Like most strategic games, this one takes a while to warm up to. We spent a good thirty minutes trying to figure out all the intricacies of the game. And even though short clues are given on the cards themselves …
  • Rules aren’t clear. We got about 3/4 of the way through the game when a player asked a specific question about choosing cards. No one had asked the question because it didn’t seem right that one would be able to make that play. And yet, the instructions didn’t clarify that one couldn’t. Therefore, read ALL the rules and come up with some clear instructions before playing. And yes, I’m still a little bitter about it. Why do you ask?

Here’s how to play the game:

Reactuate Games does World of Tanks

In preparation for an upcoming podcast guest (Craig Fryar), we played World of Tanks, a strategic warring game that involves war tanks from various countries battling for territory. In this “capture the flag” game, people can play in large groups or mano a mano.

Surprisingly, we had a lot of fun just playing one-on-one. And though there was a bit of scheming and spying going on, the excitement shook our office’s walls.

Oh, and I came out undefeated.

Just thought I’d mention that.

Pros

  • Numbers don’t matter. Though we only had two people playing at a time, we all still engaged in the game. Sure, there was a little cheating going on to quicken the battle, but that was part of the fun and camaraderie-building. Game play in a group or alone would probably have a different energy, but the hide and seek aspect of the game is just plain thrilling. No matter how many players you have.
  • Controls are simple. The mouse, WASD, the scroll wheel. That’s basically all you need. Double-tap “R” and your tank gets a little kick. A quick tutorial also shows you all you need to know, like how to hide in a bush or move and shoot at the same time.
  • Realistic movement. Whether your tank is moving up hill, through the lake, or on a dirt road, it’s going to respond realistically. Hills are slow to climb. You have to sludge through water. Every decision affects your game play, making the battle more interesting and life-like.
tanks
worldoftanks.eu

Cons

  • Countdown before battle is so looooonnnnggg.  For thirty seconds, players must sit still, twiddle their thumbs, and question all of their life’s decisions. Seriously. It’s pointless to wait that long. (Although, if you were cool and strategizing with your team, it would make sense to have this time.) But for one-on-one play, it dragged on.
  • Boring stretches. Especially during our play, there were lengths of time where the players couldn’t find one another to even start the fight. And because the tanks move slowly, it can take about an hour for any legit shooting can take place.  (However, we understand this game can be enjoyed methodically and slowly for others.)

Watch the trailer here and tell us what you think.

Reactuate Games does Tales from the Borderlands

In our eleventh week at Reactuate Games, we decided to play Tales from the Borderlands, a Telltale game that stems from the Borderlands series. Vault keys, bandits, and lots of one-click punches = the new generation of choose-your-adventures.

I was handed the task of maneuvering through the game, and though there was relatively little game play, I still managed to die … twice.

Watch the video here:

The Pros:

  • Interactive movie. If you’ve ever watched a film and thought, “It would have been better if …,” then these games may be for you. The cinematography smoothly runs like a movie, and it personally gave me a little thrill to be director of such a beautiful project.
  • Plugs into the universe. Everything, from the references to the sketch lines, is reminiscent of the original game. The tone and wit from the series transfers over into this Telltale game, too, so for those wanting more of their favorite game world, you can get that here.

 

The Cons:

  • Time limit. As the story chugs along, every once in a while, the player will be given a decision. “Say thank you,” or “Say screw you,” or “Ask about the promotion.” It’s fun to choose, but a time limit prohibits the player from making an analyzed choice. Perhaps this is for technical reasons or maybe just because developers didn’t want us to overthink things … either way, it’s a pain. Sometimes I didn’t even have time to read the options, so I just 2524097-tales_rhysfionaclicked one.

 

 

 

  • Too much instruction. I suck at games. I know. But I’d like to get a little more credit than this game gave me. Tales from the Borderlands displays the buttons to use in order to dodge left or right when someone is attacking and shows you exactly where to hit the bandit so as to win the fight. There’s little room for experimenting or figuring it out on your own. Which makes me feel a little patronized…
  • Doesn’t explain game references. I had no clue what a vault key was. Yet I was searching for one most of the game. It was my fault to play a game from a series I really knew nothing about, but not even subtle discussion occurred in the game to hint at why I really wanted a vault key.

Thoughts:

Austin made a good point after our gameplay — will hardcore Borderlands players even transfer over to the Telltales version? The games are radically different, one being more story-oriented and the other being a “role-playing shooter.” Some would even go as far to say that this is not a “gamer’s game.”

But maybe that’s the point?

To bring others (like me) who are not as into shoot ’em ups into a brand/universe. To share with me a world that I otherwise would not have really been interested in.

tales border2

What do you think? Do Telltale games count as games?

5 Things You’ll Learn When You’re New to Gaming

Stephanie Whitlow

Time to be honest: I work at a video game company, and I haven’t played a ton of video games. I’m what some would call a Noob. But while working at Reactuate Games, I’ve learned a lot. For example …

 

 

  1. People like to talk in three-letter terms: GUI, RTS, MMO, RPG. WTF?
conceptdraw.com
conceptdraw.com

As with most fields, knowing the jargon is essential. Whether you’re developing a game for an app or just learning to play, it’s best to figure out what some of these acronyms mean. You have a GUI (gooey), a graphical user interface, for instance, on your cell phone now. It’s the section of icons where you can tap Facebook or Pinterest. RTS or Real Time Strategy is a genre in which the player focuses on tactical solutions to conquer or defend something. Society is shortening terminology all the time, and in the gaming world, it’s no different. Here’s a pretty conclusive list of game terms to check out.

 

  1. You find out the “standard” keyboard keys for moving are W, A, S, D and not the arrows.

Some PC games call for finger-action on the keyboard, and instead of the four arrows moving the character or camera, the letters W, A, S, D do the job. Why is this a thing? Way back in ancient days, some arrow keys weren’t available on keyboards, and even if you did have them, the space between left and right hand was awkward, and you couldn’t access the space bar quickly, etc. Before you jump into a PC game, check the controls, or prepare to be killed, eaten, or, worse, look stupid in front of your friends.

 

  1. You learn there is such a thing as inverted control playing. But even after you learn that you are, in fact, inverted, it doesn’t really help you anyway.

What’s that? You’re pushing the joystick up thinking it would make the camera go down? You’re probably an inverted game player. Or a pilot. There’s a division between gamers who are inverted and those who play non-inverted controls. Neither is wrong; however, switching controllers among friends may call for extra time getting used to it if y’all are a mixed batch. Aiming is still hard regardless.

 

  1. You realize characters can become much more interesting than Mario and Luigi. No offense to them.

A pair of plumbers who wear overalls and suspiciously have a secret life fighting for a blonde princess is just the beginning of unique characters and story arcs in video games these days. Game developers are creating humorous, smart, and intriguing characters all the time– take Tiny Tina for instance. This thirteen-year-old with quick wit and a knack for blowing stuff up is a favorite in the Borderlands series because she is so unusual. Watch a montage here. Caution: she’s a mess.

tinytinawp
saynotorage.com

 

  1. AAA suddenly means more than car help.

AAA (triple A) refers to the top stars of the video game industry. These games are the ones with the highest budgets and have the most people working on their development. These types of games take a long time to create because of the high quality produced. While none of this means these particular games are the best, a lot of time, effort, and money has been put into them, and some titles, like Call of Duty, Halo, and Final Fantasy,  tend to stick out even if you’re not a big gamer. Here are some previews of the top 30 games in 2015, which may give you an idea of what AAA means.

Are you new to the gaming world? Or do you have any suggestions for new gamers? Let us know in the comments below!