Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Puzzle Quest Problems, 2/11, Danganronpa, and Monster Hunter Illustrations 2  


I don't keep meaning to come back to Marvel Puzzle Quest, but I've been spending a lot of time with it lately (and so have a lot of my friends) so it's a topic that comes up often.

Two things.

First off, I don't understand why people have such a problem with the idea that a person might kick a few dollars into this free-to-play game. People don't blink at the idea of paying $60 (plus tax) for a triple-A game that they probably won't even finish before putting on a shelf or deleting from their hard drive, but tell somebody you spent five dollars on a free-to-play? They laugh like you're an idiot.

Look at it this way. If you bought a game off a shelf (or on Steam, whatev) for $20 and you got a hundred hours of actual fun out of it, you'd think that was one of the best values ever. So if you spend that $20 on a free-to-play and enjoy that hundred hours, why does that make you a sucker or some kind of dupe?

Besides that, I've spoken to several people who have played the game for 10 or 20 hours (or more) and have not put a single cent into it, and have no intention of doing so. These are the same people who support Kickstarters, support small indie devs, and rail against piracy. But for some reason, the developers who gave you their entire game for free and let you play it with essentially no limits don't deserve any compensation? These folks have families, need to pay rent, feed themselves… What's so bizarre about them being rewarded for good work and to keep working on the game you're playing?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be a cheerleader for free-to-play in general. I'd much rather have a standard "buy the complete thing for one price" model and there are plenty of evil, predatory "games" out there that exist solely to suck money out of people, but when someone does free-to-play right, there's no shame in that.

Second thing. Still talking about Marvel Puzzle Quest, but slightly shifting gears… Obviously I love the game quite a bit, but I'm becoming more and more frustrated with the way the tournaments are run, and I really hope that the developers do something to tweak it.

Basically, people who are below you in rank can challenge you. If your team loses, the winning team steals some of the victory points that are used to determine your final standing and prizes. It doesn't seem like a big deal at first, but it's possible for multiple people to attack you at once, and it's frequently impossible to earn back as many points as you lose. 

For example, I was participating in a lightning round today and I went from being #40 to#200 in the span of one match because six or eight people had attacked me when I was busy fighting someone else.

It's mega-frustrating to work your way up the ladder only to be taken down by *groups* of people below your rank, and if you take the time to retaliate against the attackers, the points you earn almost never make up what you lost -- and of  course, while you're fighting them to regain your lost points, other people are in the process of taking away even more.

I really, genuinely enjoy this game and I've already put tons of hours into it, so I bring this up not to tear the game down, but because I want it to be better. It's kind of sad that I feel the only time it's "safe" to play in a tournament is late at night when less people are active, and although I certainly admit that this is a complex problem to solve, the way it is now is definitely not to my satisfaction. Demiurge has gotten so much of this game right, I have faith that they will be able to figure out something that works better.

But, like... I hope they hurry.


Now, onto another topic… I'm currently writing up my review for  Embargo'd AAA Game, and I have to be honest… I was incredibly disappointed with it.

I can't say much besides the embargo will drop on February 11, but this was a title I was really looking forward to. It was tough to get a sense of what the full experience would be like from the demo (which was great) but I didn't complete the game because it was so goddamn boring that I couldn't force myself to keep playing it. Basically, another big-budget dud that fails to find the fun. 

Look forward to the full writeup on launch day.


Speaking of February 11... If you're a Vita owner, don't forget to put your preorder in for Danganronpa, which also drops on the same day as embargo game. However, it's an infinitely better use of your hard-earned money if you're at all inclined towards visual novels (think Phoenix Wright).

Definitely check it out, and I'm guessing that the physical copies will become quite rare in a hurry. Don't say you weren't warned!


Finally, just a heads up that the second volume of the Monster Hunter Illustrations is now available.

I got my copy a couple of days ago, and it is absolutely fantastic and worth every penny if you're a MH fan. It's as thick as a small telephone book, in full-color, and goes into painstaking detail on armor, weapons and monsters. Absolutely 100% recdommended. 


Seattle Retro Gaming Expo is back and bigger than ever for 2014! This year, SRGE doubles in size as we move to our permanent home at the Washington State Convention Center, Hall 4C! This June 28th and 29th, video game collectors, retailers, and enthusiasts will descend upon the Emerald City to come together for SRGE 2014. PreSale tickets are available now! Tickets can be found online at and locally at participating locations. PreRegistrants are allowed early entry to the vendor hall to secure the best deals from our vendors.The first 300 presale will be entered to win 1 of 20 mini 3D printed NES as seen on Kotaku! Sponsored by Game Gurus (, SRGE 2014 will focus on the main components of what makes retro gaming fun: collecting and trading games, playing your favorite games with friends, multiplayer tournaments where everyone is in the same room, and meeting new people who share a passion for the classics. SRGE 2014 has all of these aspects covered and more. We will feature 20,000 square feet of vendors, game rooms, tournaments and panels on the fourth floor (4C) of the Washington State Convention Center!

The 2014 vendor hall will be bigger than last year! Our vendor hall features local game stores and sellers, artists, products and best of all; it will be filled with collectors and video game fans of all ages. SRGE 2014 will also feature an exciting panel lineup with topic including collecting, industry insights and more! SRGE will release more information as the show approaches via and

The Freeplay Zone is open to all attendees, and features over 1200 games, including every US SNES and Nintendo 64 game ever released, all free to play! In addition, there will be consoles from every generation (not currently in production) with games, challenges, contests, and more for free. We also have a multiplayer room, with 8 Steel Battalion controllers, and over 50 Multiplayer Xbox system link games all set up for epic LAN partystyle fun!

Seattle Retro Gaming is dedicated to strengthening the local retro gaming community. We have partnered with Ninkasi Brewing and the EMP to bring retro gaming events to Seattle. In  addition, the last Tuesday of every month SRGE is sponsoring the QUESTION BLOCK Video Game Trivia Night at the Wilde Rover in Kirkland ( Details for these events and more can be found at
About Seattle Retro Gaming Expo

Seattle Retro Gaming Expo provides a conduit for local business and video game enthusiasts to connect and build a community. SRGE embraces the diversity and range of fandom, and strives to bring gamers together locally and globally. Established in 2011, SRGE was cofounded by Gerald Levinzon and Nathan Martin. Gerald and Nathan have also worked with NWCGE (Northwest Classic Gaming Enthusiasts) and PRGE (the Portland Retro Gaming Expo),  SakuraCon, and PAX, providing classic games and consoles for everyone to enjoy.


Banshee’s Last Cry is a suspenseful visual novel and choose-your-own-adventure story that takes readers on a deadly ride of murder and deception. While staying at a hotel around a ski resort, vacationers find themselves caught up in a murderous “whodunit” game when a guest winds up dead. With the lodge completely snowed in and no escape, they will have to use all their cunning to solve this mystery and protect themselves from being the next victim! Local legend tells of a banshee whose screams can rip through flesh, but, is the killer really a deadly monster or the work of a madman?
Banshee’s Last Cry features a “choose-your-own-adventure” style reading meaning that the choices readers make ultimately affects the story. Each path readers take will take them into a unique story with over 30 endings - some serious and some, even a little silly! With visuals that bring the scenes to life and music to add foreboding to every decision, Banshee’s Last Cry is more than just a book, it’s a thrill ride. The Banshee's Last Cry App is available for $3.99 from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at


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