Game Review: Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time

RatchetLike previous installments, CIT delivers lots of weapons (though the Quickselect menu is no longer customizable), enemies, worlds, spectacular visuals, and gadgets. The series’ humor is still firmly in place. Particular favorites include Mr. Zurkon, a homicidal “synthenoid” robot who loves to taunt your enemies (and sometimes your friends), and the battery bots, who complain bitterly every time their brief rebellions against being used as power sources are thwarted. The game also introduces mini-worlds with mini-games that feature various prizes, including treasure items and weapons mods.

Technology and Writing

Technology is constantly changing the way we do so many things, and writing is no exception. How exactly? I’ve broken down the answer to that question into a set of categories. Keep in mind that all of this is through my own perspective on writing, which has been primarily speculative fiction short stories.

Is there anything I’ve left out, related to any sort of writing? Leave a comment!

Niche Game: Blast Corps

Two defective nuclear missiles are being transported cross country to a controlled demolition site. In transit, they start leaking, and the autopilot of the carrier kicks in, sending it on a direct path to the destination at a steady speed to the demolition site. A DIRECT path, completely disregarding any buildings or any other obstacles If it hits any bump, no matter how small, it will detonate. So the demolition squad called Blast Corps is hired to tear down everything in the carrier’s way.

New Story: “The Disconnected”

PseudobanThe Disconnected is a tale about a possible future, in a world where cell phones have grown so important that to imagine living without them is unthinkable. If I had to pigeonhole it, I would classify it as dark science fiction with a little action/adventure mixed in. The story is not a reprint–it hasn’t been seen anywhere else before this publication. And it’s free, so you have nothing to lose but a half hour of your time. Whether you like it or not, I’d like to hear what you think. You can leave comments on this thread, or you can leave a comment on the story thread at the Escape Artists forums. Negative comments are okay too, though if you dislike the story I’d prefer if you would be willing to explain why.

Niche Game: Space Station Silicon Valley

Each type of animal has its own set of abilities which must be used to solve environmental puzzles in the game. The sheep is one of the first animals you encounter. It has no attack, but it can glide slowly down, floating like the little puffy cloud that it resembles, which lets it cross long gaps easily. Also in the early stages you can become a dog which can jump and bite. Hyenas have contagious laughter which causes area-of-effect damaging hysteria. Pigeons can grip dormant robots and carry them from place to place. You get the point.

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

PerdidoCoverPerdido Street Section is a great book, well worth the read. This is the first story I’ve read by China Mieville, but I will now be on the lookout for more from this author. It doesn’t take long to recognize China Mieville’s obvious skill at worldbuilding. The city of New Crobuzon is multi-faceted and schizophrenic, populated by humans and a multitude of semi-human races. But it does have its flaws. The good parts were great enough that I am still happy to recommend it.

Niche Game: Laura Bow 2: The Dagger of Amon-Ra

LauraBow2Besides the cool notebook idea, I really loved the sense of humor instilled in the game from the very beginning, in particular the manner of obtaining a press pass near the beginning is very funny (I won’t tell you the details to spoil the fun of figuring it out yourself). Also, the murders in a museum setting are always fun. Lots of cool artifacts from various eras surround and can be murder weapons, and I had fun just wandering from room to room and examining all the different items.

The Best of Pseudopod

PseudobanSince July I’ve been plumbing the depths of Pseudopod’s backlog and now I’m sad to say I’ve listened to everything they’ve offered to date. Now I only get one new Pseudopod a week like the rest of the world (released every Friday). But now that I’ve listened to all of Pseudopod’s offerings, I feel qualified to make a list of the Best of Pseudopod, my top ten favorite stories that have been posted to the site (and a few that ALMOST made the list). If you think you might want to give this audio fiction thing a try, these stories are a great place to start.

Niche Game: Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters

Star Control II The best part of the original game, also done well in Star Control II, is the combat. Each round of fighting pits 2 ships against each other in a battle to the death. Each alien race has their own ship design, each varying wildly from the others. As you play, you see an image of that alien race manipulating its controls as you press each button, which I always found amusing. Each ship has two resources they must draw on: crew, and energy. Crew is the number of crew members left on board. These are basically used as hit points for the ship. The energy is what is drawn on for most of the weapons systems (with a few exceptions). Except for one or two exceptions, crew do not regenerate, so once you lose a crew member you can never regain that. Energy is depleted by a specified amount each time a weapon is fired. Different weapons require different amounts of energy, and each ship type regenerates energy at a different rate. In addition, each ship has a different mass, acceleration, and top speed (though that speed can be exceeded by using gravity slings, more on that later).

Dark Muse Within: Jeremy C. Shipp

jeremyphotoEven before I knew how to write, I enjoyed storytelling and using my imagination. My brothers and I would play pretend and create strange worlds and characters. Super-powered robots, friendly mummies, Neanderthal side-kicks, the grim reaper. Then, in 4th grade, I wrote my first short story, and I loved the experience. So on the one hand, I’m a writer because I love writing. On the other hand, I want to do what I can to affect people positively. And I might as well have a good time doing that.