OS X Gaming Journaled, Episode 1

Astute readers may have noticed I’ve been unsuccessful at getting out a second episode of The One Game, which was supposed to chronicle my rise through the leaderboards of HearthStone. Well it didn’t go according to plan, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the mechanics of the game are not very conducive to writing. Writing about something like HearthStone requires either giving a blow-by-blow account of each turn, the plans and failures, or it requires talking about the broader picture, such as general strategies and deck design. The latter ties into my second reason for not continuing with the series: the more I played HearthStone, the more it seemed to me to be a shallow game.

I wholly realise many others don’t share that opinion of the game of course. Part of the reason I chose HearthStone in the first place was because a lot of people have been spending a lot of hours with it. But for me, having a fair bit of experience with other trading card games, particularly Magic, I found it a frustrating experience. The main problem I had with it was that you couldn’t play cards except on your own turn. That means twiddling your thumbs while your opponent plays out their turn, and it means you can’t scupper their plans like you can in Magic, unless you use “trap” cards, which are automatically triggered and so cannot be used for specific purposes.

So I played some more HearthStone, and haven’t returned (I will probably now wait until the mobile version is available). This got me to thinking, there have been many games that I’ll be interested in, play for a little while and then decide it’s not for me (or worse, run into some technical issue, and be unable to continue). I don’t ever write about these games, because I try to stick to publishing full reviews (and the occasional preview), but actually doing so might be useful, to give brief impressions of a game.

Case in point: this week brought a load of games to Mac via the Humble Bundle 11. I’ve spent some time with almost the entire bundle, but not enough that warrants a full review for any of them. I have some thoughts on most of them though. I didn’t pass the hour mark of Guacamelee, because I found the special moves too difficult to pull off with an Xbox 360 controller. It’s very old-school platforming, requiring precision of the sort I have little patience for. On the other hand, I played a lot more of The Swapper, finding the puzzles to be well-tuned, and a good aesthetic throughout, but I’m not sure I’ll complete it, because it lacks a certain something to keep me coming back to it.

With all that in mind, I’m going to start a new series, “OS X Gaming Journaled”, where I’ll jot down some thoughts on some of the games I’ve played that aren’t likely to get full reviews, and just maybe, some games that I have played that I keep coming back to. It will also give me a way to write about games that I can’t even get to work at all (hello, The Sims 3). It’ll be “semi-regular”, an otherwise useless phrase by which I mean I’ll try to write something every couple of weeks or so, but naturally will depend on whatever else I’ve been doing. I hope you’ll find it useful.