Saturday Morning Gaming: Cognizer



Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Em Carpenter

    Currently addicted to another version of the mindless three in a row mobile games- GardenScapes. Like Candy Crush but much harder and with a storyline.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Em Carpenter

      I have a theory that these games mostly just come down to luck, in that on some levels, you get few enough moves relative to whatever goal you’re trying to accomplish that you simply can’t win unless you get a lucky draw. And since you only get a few attempts per hour, this means that you’re pretty much guaranteed to be stuck for hours or days.

      I also have a more sinister theory, which is that the distribution of pieces isn’t actually random, but is rigged to create situations that are ideal for tempting players to pay for extra moves or extra attempts, i.e. they’re specifically engineered to frustrate people into paying. Then if you bang your head on a level long enough, they’ll let you win.

      I tried Candy Crush for a while when it was really big just to see what all the fuss was about. I kept seeing a pattern where I would fail a level several times in a row, and then easily blow through the next attempt, despite not changing my strategy in any meaningful way.Report

  2. Avatar Brandon Berg

    I’ve been playing PlaneScape: Torment. It’s all right, but even wearing my 2000 goggles, I don’t get all the “greatest game ever” praise that it gets. There are an awful lot of words, and the quality isn’t high enough to justify the quantity. I think I’m going to have to replay the last few hours, because the guards in the Clerk’s Ward keep attacking me for some reason. I’m able to kill them, but I don’t know what bridges that’s going to burn.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg

      I think one of the things that did it for me was that this was one of the first D&D games that understood that different, for lack of a better word, “alignments” would have different goals. (Though Fallout came out a couple of years earlier, it wasn’t set in D&D.)

      And the game wanted to give each of those goals a reasonable shot at being completed. Like, if you asked “but what if I wanted to be antisocial and do X?”, the game developers thought of that too and they made that an option for you to decline.

      The Bioware people said that they tracked how Mass Effect was beaten and they said that 80% of the people who beat it beat it on Paragon and only 20% of people beat it on Renegade.

      But, and here’s the point, the fact that you had the option of playing Renegade made the Paragon choices that much more meaningful.

      So, too, with Planescape. Now, sure, we have a lot of stuff that has been built on that game and it’s one of the giants whose shoulders we stand upon. I’d probably not call it the greatest game ever or even the greatest RPG ever.

      But the people who made the greatest RPG ever? They played Planescape.Report


    Yay, you liked my recommendation enough to mention it!

    I was hoping it would be more meditative like Lumines or Tetris though.Report

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