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Winter Holiday Video Game Music

Winter Holiday Video Game Music

How do you feel about Christmas music? I don’t care for it. Too cheerful and lyrics make straight references to snow, being jolly, holiness, or Christmas itself. It’s very niche music! And then you hear Christmas music in that awkward span between Halloween and New Years when it’s okay to play it, because apparently there’s way too much of it to be limited to December.

Here are five of my favorite tracks from video games that resemble Christmas music. Unlike real Christmas music, none of this is awful! Also, the lack of lyrics makes this music timeless, so you could enjoy it on a hot summer’s day. There’s also something really cheerful about sleigh bells, which nearly all of these tracks feature.

Tormishire: The Coolest Indie Game You Haven’t Played

Tormishire, the coolest indie game you haven't played

Tormishire is a game independently developed by James Whitehead. It is an adventure platformer with quasi-experimental gameplay. Tormishire draws similarities to Cave Story, Super Metroid, and Turrican, but it’s not quite like those games, and it’s not lacking in action; it’s best described as Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow meets Metroid.

Astrada, the world where Tormishire takes place, was inspired by Whitehead’s own local caves and landmarks. A resident of Saddleworth, England, Whitehead lives near several natural—and constructed—caverns and mines. The Speedwell Caverns, the Titan caves, and Dovestone Reservoir have all been cited as inspirational, albeit romanticized to some degree. Naturally, Tormishire takes place in a large cave system.

With so many sources of inspiration for both visual aesthetic and gameplay, Tormishire is the coolest indie game you haven’t played.

One Year of Clever Musings!

On October 24, 2011 Clever Musings officially opened for business with Adam’s look at Gears of War 3. Taking a look at what we’ve accomplished in that year, we’ve written some popular articles about Skyrim, looked at the legal issues surrounding Zynga’s blatant clone of Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower, and did a lot of talking about World of Warcraft. We really like World of Warcraft, (or at the very least, we have a lot to say about it). It’s natural to take a step back when reaching a milestone like this to assess how things went and where things should be heading. Join us as we share our thoughts on the one year anniversary.

World of Warcraft: Adventures in Tanking Azeroth

I’ve been leveling a tank the past two weeks in World of Warcraft. I’m leveling a Death Knight in the Blood specialization. I first made the character back in 2008 and completed the starting area that same day; Death Knights start at level 55 and leave the starting area at level 58—59, if you’re not rushing through it. Once I got to Hellfire Peninsula, I found I didn’t really care for playing a Death Knight.

After I read people were discontent with the classic Blackrock Depths dungeon, I decided to pull my Death Knight out of retirement and run a group through the Dark Iron capital. Much had changed since I first lead groups through flawlessly on my Paladin. The talents had received their Cataclysm overhaul—Frost, which was the spec I had originally intended for my Death Knight to tank in, is now purely a DPS spec—and the dungeon itself had been streamlined to expedite the new generation of leveling players. And now, with the latest patch, things have changed all over again.

World of Warcraft: In Defense of Blackrock Depths

Bael'Gar would be the new endboss for Detention Block

On WoW Insider, Matthew Rossi posted an article titled “And the Dungeons Keep on Shrinking.” In a nutshell, nothing captures the same epic scope of Blackrock Depths and Blackrock Spire. In the comments, there were people disagreeing with what Mr. Rossi had said regarding Blackrock Depths. Their main complaints were “it was too long” “it was too big” “it makes LFD a chore” and “it’s too easy to get lost.” Let’s address this shit, just because I’m bored. Also, I did a mock-up that would totally fix BRD.

A good tank is capable of leading her group through the entirety of Blackrock Depths in less than an hour. It’s a larger time investment than any other dungeon in LFD until reaching the current endgame content. There are also 20 bosses and not much trash between which makes BRD the best place to acquire more gear in less time compared to other dungeons. However, this large boss count is what people get caught up on, despite how few of them we actually need to kill in order to “finish” the instance.

New Plot Devices Needed

I am sometimes often accused of being too critical when I judge gameplay mechanics. For example, while I understand that an invisible wall is sometimes the best way to limit a player’s movement, generally I find them to be a product of lazy game design. I also think it is cheap to temporarily take away a player’s abilities during an encounter just to make it more difficult (like removing Ezio’s ability to use “acrobatics” in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations or decreasing the player’s health in Bioshock).

I feel the same accusation mounting as I write this, but I cannot help it. For a while now I have felt that games lack a certain amount of creativity in their plots. It was difficult for me to put my finger on it exactly, but I felt like I encountered the same story in every game I played, even though they were very different at first glance. After I thought about it, though, I realized that there are two plot devices that are far too common: zombies and super weapons.

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