Wednesday, February 02, 2005


I've tried out cell phone gaming with Sorrent's Baldur's Gate recently. I wanted an RPG somewhat akin to the ol' GameBoy days... something that made it easy to pass the time in some loosely held story with a lot of arcane items.

Boy was Baldur's not it. I mean c'mon, game designers should at least be able to match some of the old GameBoy carts. But this game is so freakin' awful I can't even describe it.

First, the storyline. Usually not a big part of a game - except if it's an RPG! Here I have to go around and get a few scrolls to give to some cleric to look at. Whoop-de-freakin'-do. I bet the sequel is going to be a character returning movie rentals before they *gasp* become overdue.

The game uses the AD&D ruleset and has a variety of character classes to use - but the combat is so monotonous who would even care. Swing. Miss. Swing. Hit. Swing. Die. Wheee!!! Ranged combat is the same as close combat... the only difference is with ranged combat you attack - then stand still while something implike walks up and thrashes you.

Collision detection and map layout was done better in 8-bit NES land. The overhead view you have means that maps are defined by terrain tiles - which means the 8x8 sprite might be dry land, it might be a river, it might be a ton of pointy spikes. Hell if you know - you're just trying to run away from something implike and for the life of you there's no way to cross this corner of seemingly open plain.

But at least the bad collision detection makes killing things easier - enemy pathfinding has just as much trouble trying to walk through apparently open tiles and just gets stuck on the corner of a riverbed. So if you have ranged combat just sit back, pop open a cold one, and just auto-attack until aforesaid implike creature is gibbed.

I also tried the free demo of Fox Football. Evidentally you are a football player. And you need to press numbers. That somehow corresponds to the goings-on during a "football game." I'm not sure what happened... nor do I care... I could have sat on the phone and done just as well.

If this is representative of the market right now, maybe I should be getting a copy of J2ME and trying my hand at some mobile game development instead. If I could make something half as decent as my 16-bit greyscale handheld from fifteen years ago I'd be a raging success.

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