Super Gamer Ep. 39 – Sports! …Virtual!

In the immortal words of Homer: Sports! Sports! Sports! Sports! Sports! Sports! Sports! Sports!

This episode features Robert Jeffrey and Garth Coutu of Winnipeg’s RP Fantasy Sports. They’re a sports games fantasy league. They’re just starting up and looking to expand.

Plus, Mark talks about his new PS4, Civ: Beyond Earth, and games you can finish but still lose.

Download link – Episode 39 (RP Fantasy Sports)

Follow @RPfantasysports on Twitter.

Evil Brother Breaks Other Brother’s Brain With CSGO Prank

A brilliant prank played on Twitch streamer Kyente (friend of the show – see here) is getting the attention it deserves.

Trel (also a friend of the show – see here), Kyente’s brother, is about as good as I am at CSGO — which is to say, not at all. For Kyente’s birthday stream, Trel enlisted the help of professional CSGO player DUM0RE. With DUM0RE on the mouse and Trel on the mic, Kyente was left wondering how his brother got so good, so fast.

Everything about this video is fantastic and it’s already close to half a million views. Conflagrations, lads!

Advice From A Dungeon Master

Dungeons and Dragons is not a video game. Well, it is. They’ve made lots of them.

But tabletop D&D is not a video game and fledgling dungeon masters would do well to remember that.

Video games have influenced my understanding of storytelling more than any other media. Levels and worlds. Boss battles. Loot. Starting areas and world maps. Mini-games. This is how I think when I write a D&D campaign. For the most part, it’s a good system. There’s obviously a ton of overlap.

Whoa.

Whoa.

The problem is player agency. Choice.

The illusion of choice is an old discussion among gaming nerds. No matter how robust and intricate, a game can only allow you so many options. No matter what you choose, you’re following a path laid out by the developers. Bioshock made fun of this. So did one of the Metal Gear Solid games.

A dungeon master tries to guide his or her players by offering that same false agency, but it doesn’t always work out.

People are unpredictable. Frustratingly so. I’ve written pages and pages, scenario after scenario, thinking no matter what my players choose I’ll have a plan to lead them to the goal. But my players surprise me. Every time I offer them an option A and an option B they choose C. Hours of work on an NPC or an encounter scrapped with one unexpected move.

The players run the show. You can tell them all about a magic spear that will unite the planet and end all suffering; if they don’t want to find it, they don’t have to. If the players want to pick berries all day, they can!

Of course, it’s a give-and-take between the players and the DM. Sometimes you just have to hope the players pick up on what you’re doing and are willing to play along. But what’s an obvious choice to you isn’t necessarily an obvious (or even a sensible) choice to the players.

So my point is: don’t waste your time writing every detail of every encounter you think will happen. Lay out some major plot points — some checkpoints you will get the players to come Hell or high water — and then just know your world. Know the culture, know the geography, know the people. Be ready for whatever your players can throw at you. Do the research and prep work that will help your improv.

One more thing: I recently downloaded Twine to try my hand at games writing. I’ve found it to be the best darned organizational tool out there for writing D&D campaigns. I highly recommend it.

Super Gamer Minisode: Critical Hit Charity Stream

Hey folks. Here’s a quick 10 minutes on a live 24 hour gaming stream happening RIGHT NOW! Unless of course you’re getting here late. Then it’s probably over.

It’s in support of the Extra Life charity and it’s with the great people at the Critical Hit podcast. Check it out if you like fun. You like fun, don’t you?

(Blame my crappy, almost-free video editing software for the blip in the music.)

The stream: http://www.twitch.tv/criticalhitdottv

Super Gamer Ep. 37 – Fun with Punguins

Boom! We speak to Laila Shabir of LearnDistrict about educational gaming and a wonderful summer camp that teaches girls how to make video games called Girls Make Games. Fantasticness ensues.

Download link – Episode 37 (Laila Shabir)

LearnDistrict’s website -http://learndistrict.com/

Girls Make Games’ website – http://girlsmakegames.com/