Tag Archives: chess

Shadows are Us

It is almost 20 years ago that me, myself, I, my playstation and controller took a gander into the world of Tenchu. Even as I now shiver on the graphics that were then amazing, the gameplay is something I missed. This came to light when I got a dose of Aragami 2 on YouTube. Proper sneak games are a rare commodity, and as we look for the next sneaker (Splinter cell, Metal gear solid, etc.) those who love stealth games, we all have a fondness for Tenchu, 

I personally do not think that there is an exception to that rule. And for some reason, even as we all love Thief and its versions, it feels a little more amazing in Japan around the 1600’s. Japan in that era was a fun place (a little superstitious), but fun none the less. So Tenchu was a lovely step into the past. 10 years after that, when Microsoft still knew what it was doing, Tenchu Z was launched and the thump in my heart was as happy as it could be. 

Even as we saw some repetition in the levels, the levels themselves were amazing. And there was the second setting where you wanted to live in the levels you were mastering, the house, the inn, they were all amazing. There were off course issues, there always are for those who do some of the levels again and again, some of the parts that Tenchu 1 offered did not happen in Tenchu Z, yet I was not upset, after 10 years I got to tenchu again. 

So what happened? Why did the PS4 not have its own Tenchu, or whatever it would be called. A Japanese set stealth game, I know there is a sizeable population that wants one. Even if we see an upgraded remastered Tenchu Z, it is a stage that could propel the cloud consoles (Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and whatever Microsoft has) forward and yes, Microsoft does have the advantage, but only if they act, if not it is up for grabs. Microsoft does not have IP on Japan or stealth gaming. I wonder why I had not missed it sooner. Perhaps I had hoped that Ubisoft got its act together. Perhaps I hoped that some would remember the great games. 

Yet if Aragami 2 (due out in September 2021) delivers, we will feel happy and after such a long silence it should optionally receive a large following. Yes, the first Aragami had flaws (a few) but it felt much closer to the original Tenchu than many other stealth games. Styx and Thief are good games, they have their own niche and they are quite good, yet it is not sneaking in 1600 Japan. The era speaks to our imagination, it has pretty much since a man named James Clavell wrote Shogun in 1975. The age of Blackthorn and Toranaga. It spoke to most people and the image continued in gaming. So now, when we see the Sony PS5 and Microsoft alternative, we see a system that can render an entire village, one would hope that Tenchu gets a new lease on life in gaming, optionally in a much larger setting. We learned so much over 20 years that this is all possible and cloud gaming might actually end up with a larger advantage.

Options
Cloud gaming has its own stage and its stage is a lot larger than any game. I staged that play in a previous blog when I coined the return of Murder on the Zinderneuf. The cloud consoles will have an option what I call ‘cross gaming tokens’ Something found in one game can be used in another game, or better stated becomes an unlocked item in another game. Consider that you find a house ceramic in Murder on the Zinderneuf, that could unlock the steampunk version of Monopoly, When you play Tenchu, you can unlock a weapon that is an additional weapon in Clue, and so on. It is a stage never contemplated before , or never acted on, but in cloud gaming it becomes real, as we embrace subscriptions and therefor we need long term gaming. As such long term gaming is found in adding to games, but what makes the addition? By adding games, other games will optionally be enhanced, or even added to, all because you played Murder on the Zinderneuf and you examined the chess set in a room, a new chess set is added to chess. And there is no end to the options you can unlock making a long term connection. Now consider that setting in a game like Tenchu. As the enemy is there, it is also possible that a game like Anno 1600 will unlock more powerful enemies in Tenchu. 

Remember that evil Dutch Merchant? Well, if you played Anno 1600, he will become a VOC representative, complete with two bodyguards yielding a ‘Donderbus’ (the Dutch invention that would later become the shotgun). When the stage is adjusted the game becomes again enticing and rewarding. A simple stage of adjusting, and players like Ubisoft never went there, why is that (equally other players did not go there either). 

So whilst we can argue that we must move forward, we have a ton of options that have not been acted on, as such there are years of exploration in sight and there Cloud gaming has the option to offer more, not merely another version of a game, but a much larger game, if only the developers had that in sight when they thought that one platform is merely a port of another platform. 

In all this we can lie in the shadows awaiting what comes next, or we can adjust the lights and create alternative paths. So whilst we all await a new game, what is wrong with replaying a game we forgot about, only to see that it has been enhanced by other games we have played in the meantime. I believe that there are a lot of developers and they do not realise the impact of long term gaming yet, they seemingly forget that soon we get to a point (in 6 months) when some people will have played the same game for 10 years. There are not many games that are worthy of that but Skyrim pulled it off, so what happens when on 11.11.21 the game offers the players something new in the same game they played? In opposition, what happens when the ‘patch’ will unlock a whalebone dagger in Dishonored 2? These are options that cloud gaming can offer, or perhaps a Skyrim board in Monopoly, an Axe in Clue or a Skyrim style chess set? It is not merely cosmetic, consider that over time you get additional rooms, people and items in Clue. The standard formula you had in your mind will no longer work, it needs adjusting for the different items optionally altered items. The game suddenly becomes more fun to play again. A stage many forgot about but Cloud gaming enables it and suddenly the stealth games all get an upgrade and that is what we like a challenging game that offers more over time. So whilst we see Aragami 2 coming in September, what happens when some of the guards have crossbows? Do not laugh, the Japanese had crossbows as early as 230 AD, they called them Shudo, they also had something not unlike a ballista, but that came 400 years later, still ahead of Europe though. History provides a whole range of options and opportunities. And the coming of Argami 2 made me consider that. I wonder what Google and Amazon are doing. Most likely relying on a deal with Ubisoft, I wonder how that goes over time. 

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Insomnia non habit legem

Yup, could not sleep and it is 03:00. So what happens? My mind thinks up a new game, actually I came up with two games. One came to me via Ryan Reynolds (bloody bastard). I was watching his Gaelic Wrexham advertisement and things started to click, it is a game that is based on two games, two existing games mind you.

Consider Draughts (Checkers on a chess board) and Chess, but both playing on the same board at the same time (hence a digital game would be essential). Chess remains the same, all the pieces move in the same way, no difference. It is the draught game that alters. Consider you are playing checkers, you hit an opponents piece. There is a difference now, the move remains the same, but if a chess piece of the SAME colour as the checker piece, then the piece is NOT removed. It opens up a new way of strategic thinking. In opposition, it forces you to place your chess pieces in a different stratagem. Do you support your draught pieces or forfeit the location? I wonder if the game could be playable in that way and when you ‘king’ a checkers piece, the setting becomes more complex and in that fact, hitting pieces that are protected might set you up for the fall, you might end up losing your ‘king’ a lot faster. 

The second game is based also on an existing game. The original was a game on the CBM-64, it was called something like kinetic puzzles. It was a puzzle of a videoclip. So the image of the puzzle would always be in motion, as such the puzzle was more challenging. I liked that game and until today I had pretty much forgotten about it. Yet my mind wanted something more and now we go off the deep end.

As I was contemplating stories (some time ago) I came up with a quantum puzzle, the stage was a little bit like an episode of Fringe. We see a room and a person appears out of synch in a room moving irregular all over the place, like slices of a videoclip. Yet if you analyse the images, you will see a different timeline, something that shows (read: indicates) what the sequence of the motion is and when we see the image in time and side by side the image shows the image, or the person to represent a location, now if we see that same person in that location, the things we see will seem to make sense, the are all connected in some way (the way is the final part of the puzzle). Yet there is the crunch, we would need Google Maps to be able to translate the initial number (like a 14 digit map reference) to represent a location, any location in the world and that gives us the puzzle challenge, to set a puzzle not to a 2D image, but a 3D location and that place becomes the actual puzzle. I am still working on a few angles, but that I what my mind came up with. New ways to invoke a different way of viewing things. We forgot to take the stage and change the stage of application and distribution giving us a new way to solve things. I see it as an essential step in the evolution of our minds, if we do not, we are lost, we need to push forward and offer more to our brain, it can do so much more and if we get tuck in the setting of reinventing the wheel, we remain mere wheel dealers. I think it is time to tell the box that it has become too much of a limitation. 

It reminds me of a thought I had, or was told hen I was young (like half a century ago). The shadow one one dimension is the representation of the previous dimension. So the shadow of a 2D object is a line, the shadow of a 3D object is a 2D object and so on, so in that light, how do we see the shadow of a 5D object? Perhaps that view is too limiting to use but it we are to reflect pace as a shadow, what will we get? Computers can give us that represented image and as such we can use them to evolve our mind. I know it is far reaching, and perhaps it is over reaching as well, yet I believe that if we overreach we might be able to see what is just beyond our reach. Am I nuts? Perhaps I am, but the creative mind seeks an outlet, through gaming, through books, through art, through stories and in that instant we might touch on something we were not able to touch before. If reengineering is merely the setting to redesign something, it is not always to adapt to wider application, sometimes it is to start a new direction of what was never contemplated before. In my mind what does a game, a nuclear meltdown and a movie have in common? They are merely all the contemplation of stories, the question becomes, which of these stories can become a reality? More important, should they become a reality? It was Spielberg in Jurassic Park who gave us the question of whether we can versus whether we should attempt something. In the business world the only limitation is profit, cash is king, money is all. Yet we seemingly forget that we should or should not might not be a question of profit, but a setting of ethics. In that same setting I reused an image of a report yesterday that states that 50% of all pollution comes from 147 facilities in the world, the EU reported on it and the media remains seemingly blind. Some blame the rich and their jets, yet I did not find any newspaper or media piece that takes a long hard look at these 147 facilities, why is that? Is it too much about profit? It links because if we can learn to think differently, in different path and multiple stages, perhaps something could be done about these 147 facilities, it is merely a thought. 

If IBM completes its quantum computer to a degree we need it to be, we will need practical applications in quantum settings and at present there is a workforce of ZERO that can get us there, as such we need a next generation that thinks differently thinks on different levels and what I stated in the 80’s now applies. Gaming gets us there, it took some 30 yeas to get to that level of thinking. If we do not prepare the next generation, the ones that do will end up ruling all others. If you doubt that consider the 5G stage where America is blindly accusing and not providing evidence, they are losing the race and they are scared. So what happens when Asia and Europe rule the Quantum computing realm? As I see it the US and its Trumpism is setting itself up for a rather large fall and if he gets enough votes the economy will change, it will change by a lot and in that, should the 5G and Quantum computing fall outside of the US workforce, it will be game over for them. So they better learn that new shapes of games need to be taught to the next generation it is all we might have left. And yes, this sounds negative, but wonder for yourself if more of the same will solve whatever you see is wrong around you, or does it require a different form of thinking?

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