For Love of Tower Defense

When Skyrim was done sucking down my spare and not-so-spare time, I tried some smaller downloadable games.  First I played "Dungeon Defenders", a tower defense/RPG fusion.  Next (well, at the same time), I played "Orcs Must Die," a case of truth in advertising that was . . . an RPG/Tower Defense Fusion.

Starting to see a trend?

In fact, Microsoft apparently did, they even had a Tower Defense discount/special on XBox.  It appears that Tower Defense has become pretty popular and produced some good games lately, even if the genre has been around for awhile (such as "Trapt/Dark Illusion") 

This made me wonder, just are these games popular?  Why was I enjoying them?  Why did these RPG-style fusions seem especially enjoyable and well-received?  I mean, yes, Tower defense was and is popular, but these games seemed to reach something in me and other gamers that made us play for hours and speculate on new ways to immolate orcs (I recommend a spring trap that throws them back into Brimstone, by the way).

For you current and future game professionals, here's my analysis.

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Making Superheroes Work In Videogames: Implementations

Last column, I discussed superhero videogames, why they often don't work, and the two elements that would come together to make them work, or at least not suck.

Those two elements? The “thematic" elements (look, story, writing, acting) and the “mechanical” elements of gameplay and game system.

I've come to the conclusion that the big problem superhero games is that the mechanical elements are often done wrong, poorly, or use inappropriate elements from common gaming systems and tropes. Thematic element problems can usually be cured with the right graphics, writer, and self-respect. Mechanical elements on the other hand, seem to be harder.

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Why MMO’s Have an Even Brighter Future

I mentioned in a recent post that I'd been looking to purchase a new video game, and decided to wait for some titles because of the social effects of playing them – how I could share them, be part of a launch phenomena, etc.  This let me to further speculate on games with specific social aspects – namely, MMOs.

To put it bluntly, I think in today's age, MMO's are poised to do not only good, but better than they have.  I suspect as time goes on they will expand their hold on the market and onto multiple devices.

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