May 242013
Xbox One and done?

Naturally we’ve been following the Xbox One news closely on Agoners. Everything announced so far is barely even related to agonistic gamers’ concerns, which is a bad thing in and of itself really. As we’ve commented on before, Microsoft has been moving on a steady track away from everything agoners care about when it comes to gaming for some time now, and I wasn’t surprised to see the Xbox One become a culmination of that at all. There have been […Full Story…]

Apr 022013
Puzzle Stricken!

A while back I gave my first timer total newbie impressions of trying to pick up Yomi Online. It was definitely a struggle but I did manage to successfully self-teach myself the game, just by reading the rules and playing the tutorial and bots lots of times. This meant I was able to pick it up using just the main in-game resources available to me, with a bit of help from forum posts and guides once I felt I could […Full Story…]

Feb 122013
Hero Academy: Early impressions from the Academy

Asynchronous competitive multiplayer games are something I’m very interested in as they are potentially a very good fit for both my gaming tastes and lifestyle. That’s why I picked out a couple at the start of last year as titles I was keeping an eye on. Skulls of the Shogun has recently been released, but I haven’t yet tried it out, but for Hero Academy, the time is now, as you can see from my raptr stats I’ve played it […Full Story…]

Dec 042012
Competitive Gaming 456

…Continued directly from Competitive Gaming 123… A quick review of what that our 1,2,3 was: 1. A level playing field. 2. Effective skill-based matchmaking. 3. Accurate and fair skill & result-based ranking. What’s always amazed me is that there’s so few competitive games that currently or have ever managed all three of these basic core criteria very well, or even at all in most cases. One caveat is that, generally, super-hardcore-tournament & clan competition stuff succeeds in adding some or […Full Story…]

Nov 262012
XBox 360 Fighting Games - Do they have effective skill matchmaking?

While I was writing my follow-up to my previous article about competitive gaming design using case examples, I got sidetracked into a very interesting debate on David Sirlin’s Fantasy Strike forums. I’ve linked it here, in case you want to read it all, but I will attempt to summarise the major points of it here. David Sirlin (and one other poster on the site) were insistent that all Xbox 360 fighting games have functioning true-skill based matchmaking. Here’s a quote […Full Story…]

Aug 062012
Competitive Gaming 123

We’ve written so much here on Agoners about competitive gaming, as per our definitions, that I thought it might be useful to re-state a few things in a single article. A bit of a re-statement of our beliefs; a competitive gaming manifesto if you like. Gaming design for competitive gaming should always mean these three things: 1. As level a playing field as possible. This means that as much as possible everyone is playing the same game with potential access […Full Story…]

Jul 032012
Yomi: Further down the learning spiral

I last took a look at Yomi when I was a complete newbie to the game. Here’s some continued thoughts on the game, the interface, and well, just about anything about it, as I’ve continued to play and enjoy it more. In case this seems overly critical, I have to say up front that I consider Yomi to be the most interesting 1v1 competitive game around right now! 1. Interface/tutorial issue – It took me far too long to figure […Full Story…]

Mar 022012
Yomi: An Intimidating Introduction?

There’s been precious little in the way of competitive video games that have interested me recently. Whilst I’ve spent time in competitive games of Halo Reach, Street Fighter 2 HD Remix, StarCraft II and even Gears of War 3 lately, none are quite perfect to my taste or are lacking in some way to my gaming design ideals of how I’d like them to be implemented as online games. Other games I’ve read about or even trialled seem to be […Full Story…]

Jan 102012
The XBox Live Fail Update

The Xbox Live Fall Fail Update Late last autumn there was the usual “Fall Update” to Xbox 360s connected to  Xbox Live, this year with the moniker (as is the trend these days) of the “Metro” update. I hoped to write about this when it was more topical, but I wanted to wait until I’d had a chance to try out all of the new features myself, and also the typical holiday festivities got in the way . However this […Full Story…]

Sep 042011
Welcome to the World of Street Fighter Three

David Sirlin’s been causing controversy again where there should be none, with his excellent articles related to the SF3 Online Edition release on XBox Live & Playstation Network: The Anti-Progress Attitude What Is “A Love-Letter to the Community” For my part, I’m just sad to see the same mistakes being made over and over again by Capcom, I really do think they’re already causing another fighting game ‘death’ prematurely with their ridiculous antics. I mean, now they are seriously expecting […Full Story…]

Jun 242011
Ms Splosion Man Beta Report

I’m not actually sure if I’m technically allowed to write this without breaking my NDA, but I’ve emailed Twisted Pixel to ask and I’ve had no reply, so I’m going to hope this is ok. They can sue me later! :O I was lucky enough to get onto the Ms Splosion Man beta recently. It’s also now been dated for a 13th July 2011 release, and I realised I hadn’t yet shared my thoughts on the beta beyond some of […Full Story…]

May 292011
Halo Reach finally discovers a ranking system

  I’ve had an article drafted for a while now about how when it comes to competitive gaming that you not only want a good matchmaking system, but also a good ranking system. At the very high end of any popular competitive game there will often be tournaments, clan matches, MLG, and all of that kind of thing – that’s all great, but it doesn’t leave much for anyone not extremely good to get into the competition and see how they […Full Story…]