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Ladykiller in a Bind

Bit of Play: PAX EAST OVER

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Bit of Play: PAX EAST OVER

We wrap up the Penny Arcade Expo East with more talk about procedural generation and the future of visual novels. 

Procedural generation really struck a chord with us at this year's show, and in some ways we turned our head on it. Procedural generation is simply the process by which a computer remixes premade design elements or assets within a game. That could be a level, where the rooms in the level are shifted around between rounds, or through something as nebulous as animation, leaving you with wildly gesticulating. In our last Bit of Play, we took a much more negative opinion on the roguelike fad, a genre of game primarily known for its procedurally generated levels. While neither of us think that procedural generation can be a catch all solution to money problems, replayability or all that surprising play, it does have its uses. And just as we found games that seem to be abusing that concept, we also found ones that have put it to good effect.

Perhaps the direct opposite of procedural generation was the handcrafted narrative of the visual novel, a genre that hasn't changed much since its inception. The visual novel is quite literally a reading experience where you make choices between yes or no/left or right/sexy times or no sexy times. With mechanics so simple it's rare that you come across any that deviate from the traditional, and yet we found two on the floor that take the genre in new directions. Our first, VA-11 HALL-A gave you the role of bartender, and replaced decision making with cocktail creation. The drinks change the options from here or there to Martini, Daiquiri, or poorly made versions of both. We also saw Christine Love's new game, Ladykiller in a Bind, which makes conversations more active by allowing you to interject with choices throughout dialogue, or ignore them completely. Both games showed ways to make the visual novel a more active experience, and gave you some agency that visual novels often lack. 


THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR "Baby Sleeping" by Natalie Skvortsova

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE CJRU RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Bit of Play: PAX EAST START

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Bit of Play: PAX EAST START

Built to Play visits PAX East and decides to talk about roguelikes and their friend in a bind, the MOBA. 

PAX East is our one big trip of the year. We can't afford planes, trains or automobiles, so we really try to go to a convention where we'll see a lot of new ideas and fascinating approaches to gameplay. One of the big trends we noticed on our first day, however, was gameplay based on two genres, the roguelike and the mobile online battle arena. They like like fairly different genres, but tend to be implemented for the same reasons: People like them, and they make money. That's not to say that these genres have been implemented poorly, but stretching the idea of both a procedurally generated landscape can only go so far, and often results in a more generic experience than a replayable one.

The MOBA by comparison feels more like a blatant cash in as various companies are slightly tweaking the concept of heroes running at each other in an arena to target potential League of Legends players who have yet to pick up the game.  There has been some advancement in the MOBA The shooter equivalent the Team Fortress 2 replica or first person arena combat progresses the genre beyond the scope of the top down perspective. But even that seems to be copied frequently and without nuance.


THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR "Hundy Mil Tight" BY PODINGTON BEAR. 

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE CJRU RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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