Archive for the ‘Rocket Jump’ Category

Wash. U. takes on Columbia College in StarCraft 2

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 | Craig Ostrin

Goodbye Xbox, Hello ‘Rocket Jump’!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 | yijunmyang

Welcome to the first post of Rocket Jump, the independent video games blog of Washington University since 1878. I’m Michael Yang, the caretaker of this fine establishment, though with any luck there will be guest bloggers coming in and giving their own thoughts. But first, let’s talk about me.

I’m a PC gamer. I don’t even own an Xbox 360 or a Playstation Triple – you can feel sorry for me later. The reason I don’t own a console is because, frankly, the PC does everything they do, but, y’know, better. No, really. But I’ll let my inner elitist explain that later.

Where was I? Oh, right, me. I play just about everything, though a good majority of my time goes to shooters. I’ve stayed with Team Fortress 2 for a good three years, and though I no longer play it as regularly, I still play a pretty mean Demoman or Soldier. At least I do in pubs, so I’m actually pretty terrible. I’m also currently in the middle of a StarCraft II binge, but with no end in sight I’d say it’s more than a binge. It’s actually an abusive relationship more than anything else – I can’t stop clicking that “Search” button even if it means getting rolled time after time again.

Right now the only other game I’m playing through Thief: Deadly Shadows, and I just finished the Cradle mission, which has to be one of the most frightening and well-designed levels of any game I’ve ever played. I’ve only one more mission until I finish the game, and then I’ll probably post about it here. I just started Batman: Arkham Asylum, but I haven’t gotten far due to a friend constantly needing to borrow my controller.

And that’s all the information you never needed to know about me and my tastes in games. Hopefully you’ll stick around for an actual post next week.

Coming up: the world of mods – what they are, where they’re going, and some of the best total conversions in the business.

“Sol Survivor” Review

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 | Percy Olsen

Paul Dohmen, Cadenza Reporter

First things first, I need to give a shout out to the name of “Sol Survivor”’s developer, Cadenza Interactive. Excellent name, guys – now on to the review.

“Sol Survivor” is a tower defense game. For the uninitiated, the game involves building towers that shoot some sort of missile as enemies stream down a set path towards some objective that you would rather them not reach. The genre was made famous by numerous free flash games, as well as being popular user-created custom maps in “Warcraft 3.”

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much when I first started the game. Tower defense, but I’m supposed to pay for it? Yeah, right – I can just open “Bloons Tower Defense 4” in my browser for free. Man, was I in for a surprise.

First off, I was not expecting an actual story line. It‘s nothing spectacular, but it is easy to see that they did actually spend some time. Yes, your colony is being invaded and you have to defend it, but you’re given a considerable amount of background to the action. Learning about the economic, social and military benefits about each piece of land brings you closer to the game. Instead of just defending a meaningless stretch of nothing, you feel as if you’re actually saving a human colony from a relentless threat. Everyone else around you is failing, yet you still pull off victories nobody else can. One person has been saving the world in video games for forever, and here it’s still satisfying as ever.

There are two things that made “Sol Survivor” stand out to me. First off, I actually learned something from playing a tower defense game. Weird, right? The game has a general system in which each general has his own set of turrets and defense systems, and you only have access to certain generals on each planet. Now, I’m the type of guy who just places shotguns everywhere and blasts the crap out of everything, but the game didn’t always give me that choice. I actually had to come up with different strategies for each planet that had to be defended. While I was mad at first, I eventually realized that I was enjoying myself even more as I had to develop an entirely new strategy for each planet. Gone is the standard, “Hey, this one tower is overpowered, so if I’ll build it a bunch of times and win!” Instead, “Sol Survivor” forces the player to adapt to each mission.

The other thing that pleasantly surprised me was the player-controlled items, which can be deployed in addition to your automatic defense towers. [YMY1] Each general has access to six different types of player-controlled items, all of which make a difference on the battlefield. From lasers to mech-eating drones to an all-powerful nuke, “Sol Survivor” has it all. You can get by on the easier levels without using the player-controlled items, but they eventually become a necessity in surviving an onslaught. “Sol Survivor” really nails this aspect of the game, and as a result the game is much more dynamic and involved. It’s a huge improvement over most tower defense games I’ve played, which usually devolve into building towers and waiting. Each mission is a constant battle, and your eyes will be glued to the computer screen just in case one enemy mech manages to slip by.

I should also mention that this game has several multiplayer modes, including a co-op mode in which one person builds towers and another uses the player-controlled items. Though it doesn’t allow for both players to build towers, the co-op mode adds a whole new level to the game and is quite exciting. For the competitive player, there is also a mode that sees two teams of four players trying to outlast the other as both teams spend resources to build towers and send enemies.

Multiplayer is rounded out with survival, in which enemies pour out in ever increasing waves. You eventually run out of places to build, making it all the more interesting, and the volume of enemies thrown at you deep into a game of survival is enough to make any commander lose his wits. An added bonus is that the developers play their own game, so you may even end up playing a round with one of the game’s creators.

Would I recommend buying this game with its $10 price? If you’ve ever played a tower defense game and received even the smallest bit of enjoyment then, by all means, yes. Ten dollars for a great tower defense game like this is well worth it. And besides, you can take pleasure in supporting an independent developer, especially one named Cadenza Interactive.

4 stars out of 5

LeakyCon 2009: A Harry Potter Conference in Boston

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 | Student Life Staff

From May 21-24, hundreds of Harry Potter fans gathered at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel for LeakyCon 2009. What is LeakyCon? I’m glad you asked. It was a Harry Potter conference held in Boston this past week, organized by Yes, there are HP conferences.

Amidst strange looks from passerbys, Potter fans from around the world came together, dressed in costumes, to celebrate their love for the series and have fun at the same time. I was one of those fans.

This was my first Potter conference, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had read the schedule beforehand, but I didn’t know exactly how everything was going to happen.  The conference opened with food of course (The Opening Feast) at the Castle across from the hotel (which was made into the Great Hall).

I, having just arrived from the T, was not in my costume. I was not alone, but some fans went all out and dressed as various characters from the books. There were of course various students and all of the houses were represented: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Then there were the much more creative costumes: Dumbledore and Hagrid took time out of their busy schedules to come to the conference and talk to one of the many Bellatrix Lestranges that were mingling about.

After the feasting came the real fun: Wizard Rock (Wrock).  The first of three concerts at the con, “Evil Night” featured performances from Wiz-Hop group Swish and Flick, the out-of-place Justin Flinch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills, The Parselmouths, and the more well-known Draco and the Malfoys. Ultimately, this opening night embodied what the con was all about: a bunch of Harry Potter-obsessed fans getting together to join in some Potter fun.

Throughout the rest of the conference, I went to a few talks, including one in which Leaky Cauldron staffer (and PotterCast host) Sue Upton exalted the virtues of the Hufflepuffs (concluding that everyone has a little Hufflepuff in them with a few exceptions (someone who will not be named in this blog)) and another that examined the different types of bigotry found in “Harry Potter”.

I caught a screening of the documentary “We Are Wizards”, which helped to portray the Potter fandom at its core.  I was able to see my favorite Potter podcast (PotterCast) record a live show. I got to attend to a Q&A with Leaky Cauldron webmistress, PotterCaster, and “Harry, A History”-author Melissa Anelli. And of course, I wrocked out multiple times, seeing thirteen bands total (in addition to those mentioned above: Tonks and the Aurors, Gred & Forge, The Whomping Willows, Harry and the Potters, Ministry of Magic, RiddleTm, The Mudbloods, The Moaning Myrtles, and The Remus Lupins).

LeakyCon 2009 had to be one of the best experiences I have had in a long time. It was fun and interesting. I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who were all interested in the same thing: Harry Potter. Everyone was super friendly, willing to talk to anyone about anything concerning Harry Potter or life. The feeling of community was unbeatable. Plus, who can top the experience of jumping around screaming “Harry Potter!” at the top of your lungs to the tune of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with Harry and the Potters? Trust me: it is an incredible sight and sound.

It’s difficult to sum up the awesomeness that was LeakyCon for those who did not attend (or those who don’t obsess about HP as I do), but it’s kind of like an extended family coming together for a reunion, except we all like each other. It was a giant three-day party, complete with costumes and wrocking tunes!

As Harry and the Potters sing in their song “The Weapon”: “And there’s one thing that I’ve got/One thing that you’ve got inside you, too/One thing that we’ve got/And the one thing we’ve got is enough/To save us all/The weapon we have is love.”

If you want to see videos, YouTube “leakycon”. There are tons of videos of the wizard rock and really the whole conference!