Niche Game: Final Fantasy Tactics

Final Fantasy Tactics uses a completely different battle system entirely. It is still turn-based, but the real interesting part is the use of terrain. The layout of the level has as much effect on the outcome of the battle as the strengths of the enemies or the skill of the player. In particular, holding the high ground is very important if either side has ranged fighters. Archers and mages are incredibly effective if they gain a little height, as their attacks gain a great deal of range when shooting at a lower location.

Niche Game: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

In the game, Bart is the only one who knows that space mutants have begun an invasion of Springfield. He knows this because his X-ray specs let him see through the aliens human disguises, to see the tentacle-headed monsters beneath. No one believes him so he’s on his own to stop the alien invasion.

Renaissance Woman: Nancy Fulda

nancyfulda_and_alexThat there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all story. Before I started working for Baen’s, I had this vision in my head of the perfect story, the one that all readers would adore without reservation. I thought if I just learned the right techniques, I could write a story that would sell anywhere, to anyone.

Niche Game: Black & White

The title refers to your ability to choose your own path. You can be good or evil and you can complete the game either way. If you choose to follow the path of good, then you might help people grow their crops, save people’s lives as often as possible, and make people feel good. If you want to follow the path of evil, then intimidation is the way, human sacrifice, flying fireballs, that sort of thing. And you don’t have to strictly choose one or the other, you can make every choice however you want.

Niche Game: Deus Ex

The year is 2050. The world is in a state of chaos. The Gray Death plague runs rampant, ripping through the populace. There is a vaccine, but it is in very short supply and is primarily used for the rich and famous. Riots occur everywhere, and anti-government groups are becoming more and more prominent. To combat this, the United Nations has formed a worldwide police force called UNATCO, the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition.

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.