The personal site of Grahame Murray

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Armadillo Run [Computing,Games]
I just bought Armadillo Run last night and am really enjoying it. It is a physics simulation game and, while that might not sound like much fun, it really ends up being a very cool puzzle game. Your aim is to guide a ball-shaped “armadillo” through a pathway you build from various materials such as metal tubing, rope, cloth, elastic bands, etc. Once you’ve completed building your structures you turn on the simulation to see the physics go into action. Seriously, it’s better than I’m making it sound. There is a free demo that has tutorials and introductory levels included. For the time being it’s Windows only. Armadillo Run Screenshot
Mini Pacman [Games]
Break out your reading glasses, this is the tiniest version of Pacman I’ve ever seen. After you start to go blind, use Window’s Accessories/Accessibility/Magnifier application to make things easier.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne [Games]
After a few days of good entertainment, I finished up [[amazon:B0000D12XI Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne]] last week. The first Max Payne was quite excellent, it broke several boundaries. It was the first noir first-person-shooter, if not game, that I was ever aware of. The voice-acting, the environment design, the storyboard narration, all made for a very unique gaming experience. The sequel doesn’t really add all that much in creativity. Technically the game is more advanced due to the 2+ year advance in technology. Where the first game’s stylized narration worked (in a peculiar way), I was rolling my eyes quite a few times in this one. This game also felt noticably shorter than the original. All in all, it was enjoyable to play. No big surprises, I guess I just expected to outshine its ancestor.
Aliens Vs. Predator 2 [Games]
Just completed [[amazon:B00005QX4F Aliens Vs. Predator 2]] today. I didn’t play the original, so I can’t contrast. But it sticks to its premise, which is pretty good. You can play as a Marine, an Alien, or a Predator, all of which have their own gameplay in a joint plot. Being a big fan of the Alien(s) film series, I was really looking forward to this game. And they really pulled it off, the atmosphere of Aliens is in this game. The Marines and Aliens are true to the film origins, which I really appreciated. That distinct pulse rifle noise is spot on. The Predator is sort of thrown into the middle of this Aliens environment, but so be it. The gameplay is great. You’ve got three different characters to learn, each with special controls and abilities. You learn more of the plotline with each character you play. There are also cute overlaps where you see the character you just played. Each character takes around 3-4 hours to complete; I finished the game in two partial days. This game is also a couple of years old now, but it isn’t really that obvious. Compared to some other 2001 games, this must have really been amazing when it was released. I would have been happy to pay twice what I payed — it would have still been a bargain. Congratulations to Monolith on this achievement. I’ve been a fan of them since I downloaded their Monolith CD _way_ back in 1994 or so, before they existed as a company. Can’t wait for their upcoming version of Tron 2.
Iron Storm [Games]
Finished up [[amazon:B00006HCHF Iron Storm]] this weekend. Your standard first person shooter with a twist in the storyline: What if World War I had never ended? You play as an Allied soldier, fighting hordes of envisioned-1960s-technology equipped Germans and Russians (wait, wasn’t Russia fighting Germany?). I did have to use the Walkthrough to get through some parts of the game. Sometimes it is just not obvious where to go, or that a particular object needs activating. And some of the enemies are uncannily accurate 🙂 Over the game is pretty much just okay. The gameplay can be frustrating at times. They should have done better bounds checking — I kept getting shot through walls, as an enemy’s rifle barrel would project through the wall. At first the game feels completely strange, something is untangibly klunky about the interface. But after a weekend of playing, I was getting into it.