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Thoughts on Limbo

Posted on Jul 30, 2010 in Blog, Now Playing | 3 comments

I haven’t been away from the game long enough to write a formal deconstruction, but I’ve been talking to a lot of friends about Playdead’s Limbo recently. My opinion differs from the majority (not to say I’m on my own), and I think writing it in the blog is the best way to articulate the angle I’m coming from. In doing so, I hope I’ll be able to get some feedback on why the things that bothered me made the game better for everyone else. Art Style The first thing everyone talks about when they see Limbo is the unique minimalist art style. It’s looks absolutely beautiful in motion, and it creates an incredible mood for the game’s world. It evokes all sorts of emotions without the use of language, and it undeniably leaves an impression with the player. Unfortunately, I found a huge drawback to this art style in the context of Limbo‘s gameplay. It’s not always clear what the player can and can’t interact with in each area, and the VFX often work against it. The majority of the times I got stuck in the game were because I didn’t know what I was supposed to be interacting with (i.e. pushing buttons on signs that change the direction of gravity). I’m all for a cool look, but it’s a design failure when it interferes with the player’s ability to understand their environments. It’s not “clever” or “innovative” to confuse the player about what they can and can’t interact with in the game world, and a few too many puzzles fell into that category for my taste. Death Like Another World before it, Limbo has an obscene number of graphic death scenes. It’s no secret that, no matter how attached to their characters, players love seeing them get mangled in creative and unexpected ways – take a look at Dead Space or Resident Evil, for example. There are “all the ways to die” videos on YouTube with millions of hits, and artists clearly put a lot of effort into making sure players are satisfied. The difference between deaths in Dead Space and Limbo is that the player doesn’t always...

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Only at Tech Hacked

Posted on Mar 31, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

Around 11:30 PM last night, the Only at Tech team became aware of malicious code that was being served through our website. It does NOT appear that this code downloaded any sort of malware to our users’ computers (our virus scans have turned up negative), but we have reason for concern because one of the affected files contained the login information for the site’s database. This means the attacker(s) could have gained access to a list of our registered users’ email addresses and hashed passwords. The offending code has been removed. We believe this was an automated attack, and in most cases the attackers do not do anything with the users’ data. It was likely targeted at multiple sites running the same backend as Only at Tech. That doesn’t mean you should be careless if you use your Only at Tech password on other sites with sensitive data. To be on the safe side, we would recommend you change your passwords on Only at Tech and any other sites where you use the same email/password combination. We apologize for our failure to secure your information on our side, and for any inconvenience this causes you. We’re currently in the process of upgrading to a more secure backend as part of a major site update, but in the meantime, we’ve taken some precautions to prevent this from happening again. Technical details on the attack are below for those of you who are interested. This is Tech, after all. Only at Tech as it appeared on Google. We love "Dancing with the Stars" as much as anyone, but... Around 11:30 PM, routine social media monitoring of the “Only at Tech” phrase revealed an oddity in the Google search results page.  Instead of the usual Google snippet of the homepage, we encountered a link to a spammy pdf file.  Further research revealed that our site returned an HTTP 302 redirect to a randomly generated URL, but only when accessing the site with a Google user agent string. We discovered that malicious code had been inserted into two of our files — a config file and an include file.  Both of these files...

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New Game: SUPÉR MATADOR 3

Posted on Jan 31, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

This weekend, I participated in the Global Game Jam at the SCAD Atlanta / Georgia Tech site. We were tasked with making a game that included the themes of “deception” and “rain, plains, or Spain.” 48 hours later, we made SUPÉR MATADOR 3. Click the image to go to the GGJ site and play! I was responsible for game design and audio. My team won first place! The contest also had “achievements” we could get by sticking to certain constraints. We were rewarded for having no text, using less than 16 colors, and being playable in a browser. Check it out and let me know what you...

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What I Played: 2009 Edition

What I Played: 2009 Edition

Posted on Jan 13, 2010 in Blog, Feature, Now Playing | 1 comment

For all the time I spent working, I still managed to play a lot of games in 2009. I’m late on the decons, but in the meantime I’ve put together a list of (almost) every game I played this year with a couple thoughts on things that stuck out to me about each of them. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney – Capcom, Nintendo DS I was hesitant about the series ditching Phoenix, but in the end, I still got to yell “OBJECTION” at my handheld and that makes everything in the world OK. The updated investigation phase mechanics weren’t all that compelling even though they made good use of the DS. Maybe I was burnt out from the previous three games, but this one couldn’t keep my attention long enough to make it past the third case. Finished: NO Auditorium – EA, iPhone I played it first on PC, so buying the iPhone version was a no-brainer for me. It’s a great mobile game. The puzzles lend themselves well to the touchscreen, and levels can played in two or three minutes while waiting for a bus. I found the gameplay to be addicting enough that I finished it before I had the opportunity to play while waiting for a bus, opting to play it over Thanksgiving when I should have been socializing with family. EA offers more levels, but you have to feed the microtransaction monster to get to them. Finished: YES Batman: Arkham Asylum – Rocksteady, PS3 As most of the mainstream reviews have already noted, this one was a pleasant surprise. It’s one of the best stealth action games out there, even if the AI is fairly predictable. The combat system was intuitive and fun despite being so repetitive. None of the mechanics would have meant  anything if Rocksteady hadn’t done such an amazing job with the game’s presentation. It truly makes the player feel like Batman, and even the collect-a-thon elements (Riddler trophies) were rewarding with Bioshock-esque tape recordings and backstory that went far beyond the genre’s usual offering. It’s a licensed game, but it’s also fun and innovative. What a concept! Finished: YES Boom Blox Bash...

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Only at U(sic)GA Rejects

Posted on Dec 1, 2009 in Blog | 0 comments

Rivalry week is past, and UGA played the better game and won. Hats off to them. We turned “Only at Tech” into “Only at U(sic)GA” as a way to poke fun at our rival prior to the game. We had hundreds of hilarious stories submitted by Tech students,  but some folks from UGA also used the site to express their displeasure. Here are some of the funnier hate posts that we rejected: Girls. Only at UGA We don’t have such a severe Napoleon complex that we have to make fake websites, and newspapers, making fun of a superior University that hardly considers us a rival. Only at….wait….thats everywhere except Georgia Tech. Get a life, geeks. “I noticed there was a ‘cows’ category now. That must be referring to all the Tech girls that visit Athens…only at UGA.” Everyone who reads this website is a loser who was too scared to go have a social life in Athens. Sorry you’re all retarded. Only at tech By the way, UGA is too hard for rednecks to get into. A for effort though. Only at tech. NERDS  NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDS Only a truly lame and retarded school would make a stupid website about their rivals. L2becreative. Only at tech. And finally… this website makes tech look retarded. ever realize people at uga don’t care about our ‘rivalry’? sorry you don’t think poultry science and agriculture is important to our country, because it is. Only at tech. I hope everyone had fun with the site! Good luck getting through dead...

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Only at Tech hits the Technique

Posted on Nov 19, 2009 in Blog | 0 comments

The Technique, Georgia Tech’s student newspaper, has an article on Only at Tech in the Focus section this week. Check it out! There are a few typos (and some misquotes – I promise my grammar isn’t that bad) but it’s full of praise for the website and the way it has been embraced by the Georgia Tech community. We’re rolling out some major updates to the site on Saturday – can’t say what just yet, but hopefully it will give Tech students yet another reason to...

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