You might have heard of D&D Essentials already; I don't really know what to think of it yet. Billed as a streamlined yet compatible version of Dungeons & Dragons, it makes a virtue of speed at every level of play. It's not hard to find thoughts out there on it, but I couldn't contextualize them because I don't know what's true.
I wondered when this day would come, to be sure. In the same way that you don't broach the subject of inevitable death at the register of the pet store, Gabriel was taking to this type of play so quickly and so well that I did my best to prolong the magic. He saw the Holy Wars over the Third and Fourth Editions, along with the conscientious objectors who went to Unisystem, Burning Wheel, Savage Worlds, or any one of a billion indie systems. None of it made sense to him, because he was missing a crucial piece of the puzzle.
He tried to run a game with it this weekend, actually; in my mind, I can see his lip arch with each new heresy. I wonder how it went.
I was talking on Friday about what I think "fifteen dollars" means as a price, but it's interesting beyond that, because it's one of the few times Sony and Microsoft share a model. Virtually from the outset, Sony has priced their digital offerings below Microsoft's quite on purpose. It's been that way for a long time, since before the machines had achieved something like price parity, when the message out of Japan was one of total value. Sony also chose to release substantially fewer titles, but titles of higher fidelity, to further establish that idea.
Xbox Live Arcade was one a repository for Indie surprises, dusted-off "gems" from the back catalogue, original works, and assorted Goddamned mutants. There's been an effort to make it a little more boutique by forking off the Indie tier altogether, which I've been making an effort to incorporate into my consciousness. it feels like work, because even with free demos for every game I often come up empty handed. It's a wild place. I don't want to make value judgments, but... it is overgrown. This can be exciting, too. It reminds me of QuantumLink, with its vaguely curated bazaar heaped with exotic spices and chooking game birds. A few minutes sifting through the bins produced Ancient Trader, a genuine nautical treasure; rewarded thus, why wouldn't I return?