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Matthew Gallant
Austin, Texas
Game Designer at LightBox Interactive
Recent Activity
So glad to hear you're both okay!
Toggle Commented Jun 19, 2013 on A humongous adventure at Brainy Gamer
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I don't think it's fair to use the terms "mechanics" and "gameplay" interchangeably. Mechanics (and dynamics) are the foundation of games. They are the fundamental expressive building blocks of the medium; they essentially define how games mean. Gameplay, on the other hand, is one of those nebulous game review terms that seems to loosely describe "game feel" or presentation/polish. You mentioned Deadly Premonition, a game that was lambasted for its "gameplay". The enemies were bland, shooting was clunky and driving was awkward; the entire experience lacked polish. What Deadly Premonition DID have was a variety of novel mechanics worth discussing: peeping in people's windows, shaving, eating, townspeople who went about their everyday lives, making appointments, missing rendez-vous, etc. My concern is that the holistic view you're espousing is really just the A in MDA. Writing about how a game makes you feel is good; writing about how the mechanics and dynamics make you feel that way is better. Games aren't clocks, but I wouldn't want to abandon discussing the clockwork.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2011 on Games aren't clocks at Brainy Gamer
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Sometimes they're even enjoyed together! http://attractmo.de/blog/scott-pilgrim-game-night-tomorrow-with-bryan-lee-omalley-poutine/
Super Smash Bros Brawl / Melee / 64 It brings all the excitement and competition of the fighting genre, but free from the traditional steep learning curve (without sacrificing depth). It's easy to pick up, but extremely difficult to master. The roster features enough variety of fighting styles to suit anyone's tastes. The elements it borrows from 2D platformers are a unique variant of the usual territory control dynamics. If you're not feeling especially competitive, turning on items and wacky stages makes it a great four player party game.
Toggle Commented Aug 10, 2010 on The Fun Factor project at Brainy Gamer
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Congratulations Michael, and enjoy the break!
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2010 on Hiatus...and a milestone at Brainy Gamer
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"Hoping to ease her fears, I pursued her on foot for nearly 10 minutes." If someone pulled a gun on me, I don't think it would ease my fears if he subsequently chased me across the countryside ;)
Toggle Commented May 30, 2010 on The game in the frame at Brainy Gamer
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Final Fantasy VII is the first game that jumped to mind for me as well. The Opening Bombing Theme begins mysteriously as we swoop into the city, then quickly speeds up as the team jumps off the train and begins the mission. It's a great introduction to the world and the characters, and it left a lasting impression on me. In fact, the Final Fantasy games generally tend to have very strong openings. They're generally low on exposition and instead tease everything that is to come. Final Fantasy VI had the great assault on Narshe, and Final Fantasy X had an extended opening that slowly revealed the (fairly complex) world of Spira.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2010 on Got any openings? at Brainy Gamer
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Happy Thanksgiving Michael, it's a pleasure to talk and learn about games with you too.
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2009 on Gramercy at Brainy Gamer
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How adorable! Now "Twist & Shout" will surely be remembered as "that music I drummed to as a kid" ;)
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2009 on Zoe on the skins at Brainy Gamer
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I think this is part of a larger trend for medium-philes of all kinds. Noel Murray of the A.V. Club explained it this way: Here’s how it goes sometimes: A guy likes movies, initially because he’s attracted to story and spectacle, but after a while, he sees so many movies that he starts to get tired of the same kinds of structure and style repeated over and over. So novelty starts to take precedence over quality, and the cineaste starts grooving on such esoteric virtues as slowness and murkiness. Or consider the music buff, who often gets jaded quickly and starts tossing around words like “overproduced” and “middle-of-the-road” to describe songs they can’t abide, while championing acts that traffic in drone and distortion. Similarly, I think those of us who enjoy a steady stream of quality video games tend to champion the weird, novel, flawed titles at the expense of safer well-designed iterations on a more standard formula.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2009 on I'll take refinement at Brainy Gamer
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When Blueberry Garden came out, Petri Purho wrote something that really resonated with me: In case you enjoy Blueberry Garden, spread the word, blog about it, YouTwitFace about it. Let people know, since indies don’t really have the luxury of a gigantic marketing budget so the only way to spread the news is word of mouth. It made me realize that I could help out indie developers just by writing about their games. Since then, I've tried to do my part. When I really enjoy a game, I make some noise about it on my blog, Twitter, Google Reader, forums, etc. In my opinion, a writer loses no credibility for praising a game that they're genuinely enthusiastic about. So far the results have been very positive. I've even gotten feedback from some of my non-gaming friends about how much they enjoyed Little Wheel. Long story short... sing it from the mountaintops!
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2009 on The pulpiteer at Brainy Gamer
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I doubt there's such thing as a truly original colour scheme on the Internet :P
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2009 on New duds at Brainy Gamer
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v410/Tolbi/brainygamer.png Disclaimer: my GIMP skills are limited.
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2009 on New duds at Brainy Gamer
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The new design looks very nice, great job!
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2009 on New duds at Brainy Gamer
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I doubt I'll be able to join in, but I'm hoping for Wind Waker!
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2009 on Next stop: Hyrule at Brainy Gamer
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I'm glad you decided to explore Zeno Clash here, the post and comment thread have been very enlightening to me (I sadly lack the artistic background to identify the game's stylistic influences). I strongly agree that Zeno Clash is not about right and wrong, but rather explores more nuanced ideas: "overcoming apathy", extreme individualism vs. extreme groupthink (as the other Matthew suggested above) and "Buddhist-like" reason and non-violence. Game bloggers clamour for games that deal with ethics in more subtle ways, yet we seem to overlook titles that don't put the moral choice in the hands of the player.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2009 on Zeno vision at Brainy Gamer
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You have my full agreement!
Toggle Commented May 21, 2009 on the cultural elitistsbrilliam at brilli.am/hasADD
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Great post Michael (+ Steve & Dan), it's terrific to see the fairly nebulous greatness of Mother 3 spelled out in such a concrete way. I'm still working through Chapter 7, but I look forward to reading the rest of the discussion that has centred around the game's ending. Thanks again for the link!
Toggle Commented Apr 29, 2009 on Playground hero at Brainy Gamer
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I really enjoyed the fact that the game was designed around a small town evolving over time and seen from many perspectives. Shigesato Itoi mentioned in a recent interview that he did this to move away from the "road movie" mentality in RPGs: Iwata: [...] I think many of your ideas for MOTHER 3 then share things in common with Animal Crossing. Itoi: Now that you mention it, you might be right. When we were working on MOTHER 2, RPGs were all basically “road movies”. The main character would set out on a journey and go from town to town. By laying this out in a spiraling fashion, an RPG’s structure would start to resemble a simple board game. -Shigesato Itoi / Satoru Iwata Interview I look forward to reading about your perspective on the game!
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2009 on Small town love at Brainy Gamer
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Chrono Trigger is worth playing for the music alone, after all these years the soundtrack is still on regular rotation at my place. I'm particularly fond of At the Bottom of The Night and Corridors of Time. I don't know if I can manage a full playthrough but I'll definitely pop in and see what's happening!
Toggle Commented Mar 17, 2009 on Vintage Game Club: Chrono Trigger at Brainy Gamer
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I've been trying hard to find a copy, apparently they're not shipping many carts to Canada. I'll have to redouble my efforts now, the game sounds fantastic.
Toggle Commented Mar 15, 2009 on Mashup genius at Brainy Gamer
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Break everything but your thumbs, Michael! I too look forward to your theatre/video game analysis.
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2009 on Opening night at Brainy Gamer
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Thanks for the link love Michael. I really like the Wild Tyme blog and Sparky's in-depth compilations are always fascinating. I was humming and hawing over Ruben & Lullaby, but described that way how can I resist?
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2009 on Link love GO, podcast NO at Brainy Gamer
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Spoiling the solution to a puzzle in Braid?
Toggle Commented Jan 29, 2009 on The spoiler ball and chain at Brainy Gamer
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Keith Moon! Neil Peart! John Bonham! ...ok, those are the only ones.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2009 on "I'm With the Band" - a short play at Brainy Gamer
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