The All-Consuming Emotions of Food in Video Games [US Gamer] “Food is often seen in games as a means of survival, mostly as health. A piece of bread stolen off a vendor's table in Skyrim will grant you two health; the cabbage stew at the tavern will grant you 10. In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the spicy pepper steak will take the edge off of cold weather. A game like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has a huge inventory of food items, many of which are dropped after knocking out enemies. While the enormous variety adds an element of immersiveness into Castlevania, it's often nothing health or a novelty. Though none of these games' food systems could be considered simplistic, they have a narrow view of eating; food is health, and eating is the mechanic in which it's used. It's easy to see food only as a function of survival, but there’s a whole breadth of games—” [more inside]
Absolver: A martial arts-focused take on the Dark Souls formula that more than hits its mark [Polygon] “Absolver is a game about martial arts, but it also follows many of the philosophies inherent to martial arts [YouTube][Trailer]— especially the concept of focus. Developed by Sloclap, a team composed of former Ubisoft Paris developers, Absolver has received early comparisons to recent popular action role-playing games, such as the Dark Souls series. While there’s no denying some shared DNA in Absolver, it also has a feel and a tone that are very much all its own. That tone is, above all else, focused. Directed. Though ambitious, Absolver doesn’t let itself get caught up in trying to shove in too many details or make things too complicated. It’s about one thing — proving your hand-to-hand skills by beating up other “prospects” — and it does that one thing incredibly well.” [more inside]
The game Bloodborne (previously, previously, previously) has a feature known as the Chalice Dungeon (some spoilers in that link, and throughout). Chalice Dungeons are procedurally generated content that allows a player to explore unique challenges, pieced together from a large pool of possible room combinations (similar to a rogue-light). In Chalice Dungeons, intrepid hunters face new enemies, find new items, and experience new boss fights not seen in the main game. However, due to the fact that Bloodborne is a PS4 exclusive, hackers have yet to crack into the game to find whatever secrets might be held within unexplored chalices. A group of hunters, nicknamed Tomb Prospectors, have dedicated themselves to the exploration of this mysterious part of the game (link is directed to Reddit). Patricia Hernandez, writing at Kotaku, has a profile of the group with a little more info about their quest to uncover Bloodborne's last secrets.
Felipe Pepe is writing a book about the history of Computer Role-Playing Games. As a by-product, he's been taking high-quality screenshots of RPG games along the way. Along with screenshots taken by The CRPG addict (previously), there's now a large collection - over 16,000 screenshots of almost 400 CRPGs, from latest releases to PLATO games from the 70's. They are on Flickr and can be used freely. Albums include Fallout, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, Ultima I, Dark Souls, Deus Ex, Diablo and many more. Thank you, Felipe and CRPG addict
Overwatch and Dark Souls 3 win big at this year's Golden Joystick Awards. As does The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine. [PC Gamer] “The winners of the 2016 Golden Joystick Awards [YouTube] have been revealed, with the coveted Ultimate Game of the Year title going to the grossly incandescent Dark Souls 3. Elsewhere, Overwatch took home the most awards of the evening, including Best Original Game, Best Multiplayer Game, Competitive Game of the Year, Best Gaming Moment, and PC Game of the Year.” [more inside]
Young Hollow, there are but two fan-made Dark Souls web comics in this post: Lordran & Beyond and . But only a true monarch can click such links. Very few, indeed, have read the previous Dark Souls posts on MetaFilter. And yet, your journey is far from over. Half-grown Hollow, have you what it takes, truly?
Duckfeed.tv is a frighteningly prolific videogame and pop culture podcast network founded by Gary Butterfield and Kole Ross. Though best known for the Dark Souls/Bloodborne podcast Bonefireside Chat and the 'video game bookclub' Watch Out For Fireballs, the network also includes shows about bad games, D&D monsters and 90s music videos. Duckfeed has so many ideas for podcasts they even have a podcast devoted to podcast ideas. The network also hosts sites like Hex Crank (Kole's survival horror blog) and the inevitable Youtube and Twitch channels.
Dark Souls III [YouTube] [Trailer] Dark Souls III is coming April 12, 2016! The opening cinematic from Dark Souls III sheds a tiny beam of light onto the mystery of where and when Dark Souls III takes place. [Previously.]
Dark Souls (previously and previously) remains popular for its challenging single player, and dedicated PVP community. Github user Metal Crow has developed an AI for the PVP aspect of the game, and shows off its talents at this YouTube video. In the write-up.txt file at GitHub, he explains the process, capabilities, and difficulties of programming a bot for what is (ostensibly) a total black box of a game (Pastebinned version to add word wrap and improve readability). Especially interesting is the use of a neural network to train the bot to avoid backstabs. [more inside]
After famously playing through Pokemon (previously) and Metal Gear, the Twitch hive mind has decided to try its hand at Dark Souls. [more inside]
From Software left fantasy for horror, and the results are mind-blowing. More detailed analysis and spoilers below the jump. WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE GAME BLOODBORNE. IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THIS YET AND WOULD LIKE TO, IT SPOILS SOME COOL REVEALS LATER IN THE GAME! LIKE EVEN MOUSING OVER URLS COULD SPOIL STUFF - BE WARNED. [more inside]
Marsh Davies talks about how games distribute power to players and how power fantasies often fail to work as parables about bigotry through the window of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with side discussions of how violent combat became so common in video games, how stealthy paths can be less interesting than combat-heavy paths, the tension between player power and narrative, and how these narratives can encourage people who already have power to feel sorry for themselves. [more inside]
The brainchild of Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team at From Software, the Souls games have gained a rabid cult following over the past few years. The newest spiritual successor Bloodborne (trailer 1, 2) has been out for a couple weeks now, and it's received stellar reviews across the board. It might very well be the best in the series, reconfiguring the dense gameplay in surprising ways and offering up an intricately-realized Victorian gothic world. Tim Rogers has written a lengthy, articulate, spoiler-free (in a narrative sense) analysis of Bloodborne's design - You Are the Experience Points. [more inside]
“On the other hand, I see advantages to having a smaller team, a smaller, more conceptual project. Why do I say that? I get down to the details when it comes to direction — the story, the art and everything. I’m a pretty anal person. I tinker with every little thing. In five or 10 years, my guys aren’t going to want to work with me. At that point, maybe it will be smarter for me to work on my own little idea.” Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of the Souls series of games, talks to the LA Times about his philosophy of design, and his future in games. The article references his upcoming project, a spiritual successor of the Souls series, Bloodborne. [more inside]
To be fair, I did watch someone play most of the game. Many of those moments repeatedly. And if I wasn’t in the room, the plaintive “Nooooo” that would echo from the living area told me that I’d be able to see whatever it was in another ten minutes. And probably again another twenty after that. And another twenty after that.Kristin Bezio reviews Dark Souls through her husband's gameplay
Ambient Dark Souls. Virtual field recordings from the world of Dark Souls.
InsaneDifficulty.com is a community site dedicated to modifications of classic games which make them more difficult and complex. There are many games hosted by the community: Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy VI and Dark Souls among others. Most mods are supported in dedicated forums (including installation instructions) on the site's message boards.
As the conversation about the state of games criticism continues, there is a site that acts as a platform for some of the best writing in the field by theorists, critics, and independent developers: Nightmare Mode dot net. [more inside]
Dark Souls, the spiritual sequel to 2009's Demon's Souls (previously 1, 2) and heir to the series of games, is out in most of the world this week. Reviews have been excellent, sales have been surprisingly robust; Dark Souls was the top selling title in Japan last week, with 279,567 copies sold, compared to an estimated 40,000 for Demon's Souls first week of release. From Software has taken an interesting approach to players who somehow acquire the game early: rather than banning the player outright or limited online features, From Software is embracing Dark Souls' unique multiplayer model, sending super leveled invaders into player's games to hunt them mercilessly. [more inside]