473 posts tagged with videogame.
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“It gave you information about controls, but it did more than that,”

A Eulogy for the Video Game Manual [Cultured Vultures] “There is something quite cold and sterile about video game packaging today. Sure, the artwork is occasionally nice and cases are becoming smaller, sleeker – easier to store on the shelfs. But there is just something a bit off about them. They are merely methods of storing the disc or cartridge, which sounds an odd thing to criticise, given that is their primary function, though it seems justified. I think most would agree that the removal of the instruction booklet is one thing that is missed most.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Dec 6, 2017 - 43 comments

Traffic flow measured on 30 different 4-way junctions

A soothing six minutes of traffic flow simulations using traffic mods for the game Cities: Skyline. (slyt)
posted by bondcliff on Dec 6, 2017 - 48 comments

'Games are weird. Let's roll with that.'

"Games don't make a great deal of sense. After more than a decade of covering them for a living and for fun, we’ve realised that the only way we can do them justice is to cut the brakes, and go a little mad ourselves. If you've ever taken a step back from the hobby and wondered what the hell you were doing? This is for you."
[more inside] posted by cjelli on Dec 5, 2017 - 9 comments

“Nodes represent dynasties and vertices represent a killing...”

Crusader Kings 2 player records 700-year NPC game to find who gets “most kills” and “most children”. [Rock Paper Shotgun] “Royal incompetence simulator Crusader Kings 2 is one of the best games ever. Over hundreds of years, sultans and kings create new empires and murder their families. Today a data science man gets in touch to say he recorded a 700-year game in ‘observation’ mode, pulled out all the data like a big reel of cassette tape, shoved it through some kind of magical process I won’t pretend to understand, and came up with statistics on several rulers. This also resulted in detailed “networks” of kills and marriages. The important thing is: this lets us see who had the most babies. James Nagle is a data scientist. He’s previously mapped relationships between figureheads of the Easter Rising in Ireland using documents from the National Archive. This time, he dived into CK II, writing a script to pull out all personal data about the thousands of in-game characters – births, deaths, marital status, etc. Basically it was like doing a giant census for 691 years in a row. He’s since done a write-up of his project and produced various visualisations of the data.”
posted by Fizz on Dec 4, 2017 - 10 comments

“Are those big spots his... ears?”

The Investigation Into Toad's Head Continues [Kotaku] “In case you didn't know Toad is at the center of a heated, ongoing debate. On one side are the people who think the mushroom on his head sits there like a hat. On the other side are people who think the mushroom is part of his head. Thanks to the latest Boundary Break video [YouTube], we have some new evidence to consider. While the debate has been raging for aeons, it was recently brought back to the fore thanks to Super Mario Odyssey. There are a bunch of toads in the game and some of them are wearing hats. Like, real ones. On top of their mushroom part. This seemed to suggest the pro-head people have been right all along. A post over at Dorkly [Dorkly] that laid out the debate in detail earlier this month also explained that Toad's mushroom can't be a hat because Cappy, Mario's companion in the game, can only possess creatures who aren't already wearing hats. Mario can possess toads in the game, ergo the mushroom must not be a hat.”
posted by Fizz on Dec 3, 2017 - 51 comments

“There are geometrical shapes that make us feel happy,”

Engare, a videogame about the mathematical beauty of Islamic art [Kill Screen] “Engare started out life as a question posed by Bahrami’s high school geometry teacher. This teacher asked the class what shape would be traced by a point attached to a ball if the ball was rolled across a surface (it’d probably be a series of loops). Years later, this same question essentially serves as the concept for Engare, except it asks you to experiment with more than just a ball, becoming more complex as you progress. Each level gives you an incomplete pattern and you have to figure out how to, well, complete it. To do this, you attach a point to one of the objects in the level and then, when you press play, hope that the point’s movement upon that object draws the shape you’re after. If it doesn’t, you rewind, move the point somewhere else, and so on—.” [Gameplay Trailer][YouTube] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Dec 2, 2017 - 18 comments

“...to crush a 14-year-old would appear to be a step too far.”

Epic Games is suing more Fortnite cheaters, and at least one of them is a minor [Polygon] “In October, Polygon learned that Epic Games had filed suit against two individuals for making and using software that allows players to cheat in the game Fortnite. Since then, the publisher and developer has filed suit against at least nine more individuals, both in the United States and overseas. Unsurprisingly, at least one of them is a minor. We know this because a new and unusual document has been entered into the court record: A sternly worded, and legally savvy, note from his mom.” [Lauren Rogers to the U.S. District Court Eastern District of North Carolina by Polygondotcom on Scribd] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 30, 2017 - 126 comments

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

Civilization VI: Rise and Fall Expansion Announcement Trailer [YouTube] “The expansion looks to majorly shake up the flow of the game with era-long modifiers that will force you to shift your strategy for fear of losing your cities or ambition to seize others'. Its centerpiece feature is the addition of "Golden Ages," "Dark Ages," and "Heroic Ages"—macro events that apply each civilization's ever-shifting fortunes, achievements, and momentum to a struggle for territory and cultural influence, whether military force is involved or not. The expansion will also add governors, a greatly expanded alliances system, cities that peacefully flip between civilizations, and an "Historic Moments" system that gives players special milestones that impact outcomes. Players can look forward to "emergency situations," which allow the civilizations at the bottom to pool their resources in order to gain benefits that help elevate them all closer to the top players. And, of course, expect new civilizations and leaders.” [via: Ars Technica] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 29, 2017 - 63 comments

"No, your controller was not really low on batteries."

Developers share their most memorable dirty coding tricks Developers behind video games such as Super Time Force, Mega Man Legacy Collection, Titan Quest, and others solved pesky problems with dirty coding tricks. Here's how they did it. (Warning: features ambient squirrels)
posted by Servo5678 on Nov 29, 2017 - 34 comments


The History of the Sims [YouTube] [33:12] “Very few games can say they presented something truly original to medium like The Sims did, and even fewer can boast the kind of cultural significance it has. Released in 2000, The Sims allowed players to puppeteer the lives of virtual people, micromanaging every aspect of their existence with no real goal other than whatever they set for themselves. For some, The Sims provided unparalleled escapism, letting them live out a fantasy life through in-game characters. For others it was an invitation to indulge their creative whims by crafting ideal homes and, of course, there's also those that indulged their sadistic side by toying with the lives of Sims in cruel but often amusing ways.” [via: Gamespot] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 25, 2017 - 31 comments

“Yes, you’re armed with a yo-yo...”

The Quirky Voyage of StarTropics [Kotaku] “StarTropics released towards the end of the life of the original Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990, it was developed by Nintendo R&D3, a team that focused on Nintendo’s hardware and peripherals, but also developed Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. You play as young ace pitcher, Mike Jones. Mike’s uncle has been abducted under mysterious circumstances so he has to search the islands to find him. He does this using a submarine controlled by the NAV-COM, a robot with an uncanny resemblance to the Nintendo peripheral, ROB. There are many visual similarities the game has to the Zelda series. Mike has heart containers representing his life bar, needs to make his way through multiple caves, and eventually has to find three mystical items (cubes instead of triangular triforces). But the grid based battle system quickly diverges from Zelda with tricky boss battles, interesting characters, and jumping puzzles that take him to the stars.” [YouTube][1991 Original NES Star Tropics Commercial] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 24, 2017 - 10 comments

“The Playstation 4 produced in Brazil cost 4000 reais.”

[YouTube] “Brazil’s video game market is strange. A military dictatorship ruled the country from 1964 to 1985 and enforced strict protectionist economic laws. During the period, Brasília eschewed imports and attempted to manufacture everything it could within its country’s borders. That led to an odd hodgepodge of cloned systems, strange cartridges, and pirated games that are still with the country today. Drew Scanlon of Clothmap recently traveled to Brazil where he explored the strange gray markets that make up the country’s video game culture. He sees a combo Mortal Kombat/ Street Fighter II cartridge made to run on an NES, strange consoles of questionable legality, and learns what happens when the local games store learn the cops are coming to raid the place.” [via: Motherboard] [Previously.]
posted by Fizz on Nov 22, 2017 - 6 comments


25 years ago, Mortal Kombat redefined American video games [Polygon] “What Mortal Kombat lacked in substance, though, it made up for with style. Its characters, digitized from motion capture footage of martial arts actors, looked “realistic” by the standards of the era. Their movements had a choppy quality, and the fighters never looked like they really inhabited their photorealistic settings, but Mortal Kombat’s gory, lifelike gloom gave it a heavy metal album cover feel that set it apart from Street Fighter’s cartoonish fare. Mortal Kombat’s brawlers bled, froze and died in a number of explicit ways ranging from brutal impalement in a pit of spikes to messy dismemberment. Midway’s brawler invested its viscera with a panache that became the game’s main draw.” [YouTube][Mortal Kombat - 25 Year Anniversary Trailer] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 21, 2017 - 74 comments

“the technical, artistic merit, while leaving all the garbage behind.”

Cuphead and the Racist Spectre of Fleischer Animation [Unwinable] “When asked in a Rolling Stone interview about the unfortunate associations of Cuphead‘s 1930s aesthetic, lead inking artist for the game, Maja Moldenhauer replies: “It’s just visuals and that’s about it. Anything else happening in that era we’re not versed in it.” But these visuals are weighed down by the history that brought them into being, despite the developers best efforts at stripping them of the more overt caricatures that are rife in cartoons for most of the first half of the 20th century. By sanitizing its source material and presenting only the ostensibly inoffensive bits, Studio MDHR ignores the context and history of the aesthetic it so faithfully replicates. Playing as a black person, ever aware of the way we have historically been, and continue to be, depicted in all kinds of media, I don’t quite have that luxury. Instead, I see a game that’s haunted by ghosts; not those confined to its macabre boss fights, but the specter of black culture, appropriated first by the minstrel set then by the Fleischers, Disney and others -twisted into the caricatures that have helped define American cartoons for the better part of a century.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 19, 2017 - 76 comments

“We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing & tuning.”

Star Wars Battlefront 2 players took on EA, and won (for now). [Polygon] “The microtransactions are gone from Star Wars Battlefront 2, at least for the moment. The fans, with their days, if not weeks, of outrage over the paid content, have won their fight against Electronic Arts. Just like that, the day before it was set to be officially released, the for-pay currency has been removed from the game. Good.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 17, 2017 - 52 comments

“Alter Dark allows you to patch NES ROMs in the browser via a REST API.”

Alter Dark is a new project that lets you create your own screensavers out of NES ROMs. It was put together by Rachel Weil, an NES homebrew expert and glitch enthusiast, and recently shown off at NodeConf EU in Dublin. For Weil, it combines two of her favorite things: messing around with NES software and the dated aesthetics of screensavers. The name is also a play on the After Dark software package release in 1989 which consisted of, among other things, a flying toaster screensaver.” API files and code at GitHub. Rachel Weil also discusses how screensavers influenced her work, spurring a years-long obsession with putting screensavers where they don't belong. [YouTube]. [via: Kotaku]
posted by Fizz on Nov 16, 2017 - 4 comments

·····?····· ? ????

The Game Awards 2017 Nominee Announcement! [YouTube] “The Game Awards nominees are in for 2017, and they are a preview of just how great of a year it was for video games. Four of 2017’s biggest games — The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn, Destiny 2 and Super Mario Odyssey — each received six nominations. Those were followed by strong showings from Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (five nominations), Persona 5 (four nominations), Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus (four nominations), Cuphead (four nominations) and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (three nominations). Nintendo, in a hot race with itself for many of the awards, took home 23 nominations, the most for any publisher. The nominees were selected by a jury of 51 media and influencer outlets. Voting is now open to the public on most awards, and fans can vote via The Game Awards website, or on social media platforms. (Full instructions are available in this Medium post.)” [via: Polygon]
posted by Fizz on Nov 15, 2017 - 33 comments

“The Last of Us is a series that deserves much better...”

The Last of Us 2 Trailer Controversy Explained [Game Rant] “One of the nice surprises at Sony’s Paris Games Week press conference was a new trailer for The Last of Us: Part 2. While many fans were excited to see more footage of the highly anticipated game, others were outraged at the extreme level of violence shown in the trailer. Over the past couple of weeks, numerous outlets have stepped forward decrying the trailer for its brutality, but some fans may still not quite understand why there’s so much controversy.” [YouTube][Teaser Trailer] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 14, 2017 - 44 comments

“They just made it harder for us smaller publishers,”

Why your favorite indie game may not get a boxed edition [Engadget] “Before September, it was possible to launch a boxed version of an existing, digital-only game without paying for an additional ESRB rating. This policy allowed Limited Run to be a lean operation, avoiding ESRB fees and still releasing physical versions of weird digital games (all of which are already rated by the ESRB). In September, the board announced a new tier for rating digital-to-physical games, allowing any title with a development budget of $1 million or less to be rated as a boxed product for $3,000, rather than the standard submission price of more than $10,000. With this change, all three console manufacturers made it a requirement for every game to pay this fee and carry an ESRB rating -- even physical launches of digital titles.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 13, 2017 - 19 comments


“Of course Mario isn’t a plumber, or at least not just a plumber. Because professionally speaking, Mario wears many hats. He’s a doctor. He’s the lead in a mariachi band. He’s a building inspector. He’s eager to fill whatever role the occasion calls for. Super Mario Odyssey expands on Mario’s chameleon-esque nature by giving him a new, all-encompassing ability: the power to take over and control other characters and enemies by tossing his hat upon their noggin. So now, with the zip of his cap, Mario is also a Goomba. Or a Bullet Bill. Or a strange woodland creature that can extend its legs to reach untold heights. Or a stylish statue with the ability to see invisible platforms.” [YouTube][Game Trailer] [via: Polygon] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 9, 2017 - 52 comments

“You have been here before, landed on these beaches before...”

Call of Duty: WWII – War Is Still Kind of The Same [Gaming Bolt] “Since 2003, Activision has released sixteen full-length Call of Duty games, if you count standalone spin-offs like Call of Duty: Finest Hour and Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. Games in the series have been created by original developer Infinity Ward, Treyarch (who has made the franchise’s most commercially successful games with the Black Ops sub-series), and newcomers Sledgehammer Games. The series has traveled from the beaches of Normandy to the rivers of Vietnam and even into space. [...] The goal is here is twofold: to return the series to its boots-on-the-ground roots, which were lacking in the last two titles, and to the conflict that defined the series before its excursion to a technology-focused future for a change of pace.” [YouTube][Trailer] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 7, 2017 - 42 comments

“All media are extensions of some human faculty -- psychic or physical.”

Our Choices to Buy Physical or Digital Games Are Controlling Our Gaming Habits [Game Revolution] “Outside of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I’ve logged the most Nintendo Switch hours playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The former I purchased on a physical cartridge, while the latter was received via digital code as a review copy. It may seem minor, but the more I think about it, the more certain I am that I wouldn’t have played either game as much had they swapped places. As digital marketplaces have become increasingly commonplace and storage becomes cheaper, most players have begun to establish a consistent preference: I prefer digital, or I prefer hard copies.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 6, 2017 - 44 comments


Nintendo’s old promotional Flash games are being brought back to life. [Origami64] “A modder, programmer, and all-around Nintendo enthusiast who goes by the name Skelux has been working on restoring all of Nintendo’s old promotional Flash games. As these creations only lived online, many of them eventually disappeared without a trace. Over time, Flash became less popular and dedicated Flash-based game websites were often deleted once they had aged past the release they were designed to promote. However, Skelux has made it a mission to restore and make available all of Nintendo’s Flash games, spanning from 1999 to 2010.” [Flash Games Nintendo Made, MEGA Collection!][YouTube] [via: The Verge]
posted by Fizz on Nov 5, 2017 - 2 comments


All the News and Trailers From Blizzcon 2017's Opening Ceremony [IGN] New characters, new expansions, and much more. Blizzcon kicked off today with an opening ceremony full of new announcements for StarCraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft. Below you'll find all the news and trailers from Blizzcon 2017's opening ceremony. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 3, 2017 - 40 comments

“This is generational and about honoring those who came before.”

No, this video game is not ‘eco-terrorism’ [The Verge] “...Minnesota lawmakers and oil lobbyists have slapped a terrorism label on an unexpected new target: a game about a bird. Specifically, a thunderbird. The video game Thunderbird Strike [Vimeo], created by Native designer and Michigan State University professor Elizabeth LaPensée, transforms players into a thunderbird flying across Canada and through the Great Lakes. In dozens of indigenous traditions throughout North America, thunderbirds are considered sacred beings that can bring renewal or destruction; in the game, you restore fallen caribou and buffalo to life, and strike construction and oil equipment with divine lightning. "My goal was to examine the modern through the lens of our stories," LaPensée told The Verge in an interview.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 2, 2017 - 34 comments

“It seems video games have a thing for world-pivotal trees.”

An Ode To The Greatest Trees In Video Game History [Now Loading] “With trees being a fairly common sight in all but the harshest environments found on Earth, it's only natural that they soon made their transition into the digital world. From the blurry emerald blobs found in the top-down games of the '80s, to the fluffy 3D structures seen in Super Mario 64, trees have been with us gamers all the way. Sometimes, they have a purpose beyond aesthetics. As in Black and White where your divine avatar is able to pick them up and use them for ungodly purposes, or in today's MOBAs where the fog of war created by trees is an essential part of the mechanics. But mostly, they're just there to create a recognizable and immersive world. Let's take a closer look at some of the defining trees in the history of games” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 1, 2017 - 29 comments

“I’m full of crucial information you can’t get anywhere else.”

Ignorance really is bliss: Video games are better when they tell us less [Digital Trends] “Communication is one of the biggest challenges of video game design. How much information do players need before they go where you want them to go? Looking back, the games we think of as “retro” were often vague in telegraphing what players should do. In the modern era, the pendulum has swung the other way, and now many developers seem to err on the side of caution, guiding players through even large, open-ended experiences. But it doesn’t have to be that way. While it is important to make sure gamers can find out what to do and where to go at any given moment, those mechanics increasingly come at the expense of discovery, diluting some of the greatest joys to be found in exploring virtual worlds. Fortunately, in the last few months, we’ve seen a wave of games experimenting with ways to look past the clutter of in-game UI, using everything from photo-modes to minimalist maps, to put their games worlds’ in the spotlight.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 31, 2017 - 57 comments


Boyfriend Dungeon: Date Your Weapons [YouTube][Game Trailer] A dungeon crawler from indie team Kitfox Games (Moon Hunters, The Shrouded Isle), which combines hack-and-slash gameplay with very, very cute guys and girls.
posted by Fizz on Oct 30, 2017 - 14 comments

“Can the player open every door in the game?”

“The Door Problem” by Liz England [Theory & Design] “Game design is one of those nebulous terms to people outside the game industry that’s about as clear as the “astrophysicist” job title is to me. It’s also my job, so I find myself explaining what game design means to a lot of people from different backgrounds, some of whom don’t know anything about games. [...] One of the reasons I like this example is because it’s so mundane. There’s an impression that game design is flashy and cool and about crazy ideas and fun all the time. But when I start off with, “Let me tell you about doors…” it cuts straight to the everyday practical considerations.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 29, 2017 - 54 comments

“...combat system is incredibly satisfying and strategic.”

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]
posted by Fizz on Oct 28, 2017 - 3 comments

First Female Video Game Designer

In 1976, Joyce Weisbecker programmed games for an RCA PC and console based on technology created by her dad–a significant achievement that went undocumented until now.
posted by MovableBookLady on Oct 28, 2017 - 8 comments

Because we don’t know what soup is, and neither do you!

SOMETHING SOMETHING SOUP SOMETHING could be defined as a videogame. We prefer to think of it as an interactive thought experiment: a piece of technology that discloses situations and presents notions in ways that are interactive and negotiable (and maybe even playful).
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 26, 2017 - 26 comments

“Crunch trades short-term gains for long-term suffering,”

Video Games Are Destroying the People Who Make Them by Jason Schreier [The New York Times] “Among video game developers, it’s called “crunch”: a sudden spike in work hours, as many as 20 a day, that can last for days or weeks on end. During this time, they sleep at work, limit bathroom breaks and cut out anything that pulls their attention away from their screens, including family and even food. Crunch makes the industry roll — but it’s taking a serious toll on its workers.” [Previously.] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 26, 2017 - 99 comments

“Complex women, interesting women, women who defy stereotypes...”

There is One Good Thing About 2017: Lots of Queer Women In Games [Waypoint] “2017 has been an infuriating, sad, disgusting year, politically. But it has also been a great year for games, and maybe the greatest year so far for games starring or about queer women. Prey (my GOTY pick thus far) was amazing for so many reasons, not the least of which was a very cute and well-done relationship between two women in a main quest storyline (and, again, the protagonist if you picked a woman character). Life is Strange: Before the Storm leans heavily into the gay. Butterfly Soup, which I wrote about a bit a few weeks ago is a hilarious visual novel about four young queer Asian-American women who play baseball. At least, from what I've played, that seems like a higher-than-usual percentage of mainstream games featuring queer women front and center. In all of these instances—outside of Life is Strange—we're talking about queer women of color.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 24, 2017 - 13 comments

“You were almost a Jill Sandwich.”

The Best Horror Games [PC Gamer] “So you're looking to spook yourself with the best horror games you can play on PC, are you? Whether you're into jump scares, interactive fiction, thematically interesting stories or just large men running after you with a chainsaw, we've included a wide variety of games that'll hopefully freak you the hell out. Like our lists of best strategy games or best FPS games, we tried to focus on a variety of horror experiences that still hold up well today, though we've expanded the remit slightly to include a few retro curios as well.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 23, 2017 - 50 comments

“For every joke that lands, another one makes me feel uncomfortable,”

[Waypoint] “Nostalgia and references were enough to propel me through The Stick of Truth, but while playing the sequel, The Fractured But Whole [YouTube][Trailer], rose-tinted glasses haven't been enough, my nervous chuckles replaced with sighs. This is a game where one of the main characters, Cartman, dresses up as a Racoon-themed superhero and calls himself The Coon. The joke, of course, is "coon" is also a racial slur for black people. Pretty funny stuff. It gets even better when one of the main missions has players invading the homes of innocent black people and helping the police arrest them. The punchline is that the police are racist! The Fractured But Whole, much like modern South Park, often feels like "well-meaning" people desperately holding onto an ability to laugh at shitty jokes made at the expense of people who don't deserve it, even though they know better.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 22, 2017 - 62 comments

“...closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace.”

Big-budget, single-player gaming isn’t dead (yet) [Ars Technica] “Yesterday's news that EA is shutting down Visceral Games is bad news for fans of franchises like Dead Space and for the studio's unnamed Star Wars project. But the abrupt shutdown has also caused a bit of an existential crisis to creep into the game industry chatter regarding the future of big-budget, single-player, story-driven gaming in general. [...] Looking around at the most popular games these days, it's not hard to see the market shift Söderlund is talking about. From Hearthstone and Overwatch, to Playerunknown's Battlegrounds and Rocket League, to Dota 2 and League of Legends, to Clash of Clans and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege, and on and on, the games getting the most player attention (and money) today tend to be never-ending online competitions.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 21, 2017 - 76 comments

A Mortician's Tale: “What would a mortician’s private emails look like?”

Video games have never really gotten death.... Death in games is a punishment, a roadblock, a temporary setback, an opportunity. It's not a real end; it's mechanical, never philosophical.... A Mortician's Tale ... takes death—the real thing, that universal human experience of being divorced from all sensation, from existence itself—and handles it in direct, even quotidian ways. It makes the end of life visible, and in doing so crafts one of the only meditations on death in videogames that feels authentic.
[more inside] posted by filthy light thief on Oct 20, 2017 - 7 comments

"I could have made something empowering."

Bennett Foddy, he who made exquisite torture games QWOP (MeFi), CLOP (MeFi) and GIRP (MeFi), released a new game as part of the October Humble Monthly, called Getting Over It. It'll be available on Steam on December 6, but in the meantime you can watch this trailer. It is a surprisingly realistic model of a guy in a cauldron with a pick trying to climb a mountain.
posted by JHarris on Oct 16, 2017 - 20 comments

↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → ? ? START

The Quest To Make A Better Video Game Controller [Kotaku] “Next time you play a video game, look down at the controller in your hand. Is it comfortable? Does it work well with the game you're playing? Are your fingers all being used efficiently? If you could change one thing, what would it be? About 10 years ago, after permutations ranging from Atari 2600 joysticks to Sega Genesis "C" buttons, console game controllers arrived at something resembling a standard. A modern console controller must have: Two clickable sticks and a D-pad, four face buttons, a pair of triggers, a start and options button, and a pair of shoulder buttons. That configuration has held steady for at least one full console generation. The modern PS4 controller, Xbox One controller, and Nintendo Switch Pro controller all have more or less the same functionality as their predecessors. Of course, some people still think it's time for new ideas.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 15, 2017 - 78 comments

“It is not noble men we are dominating, but savage orcs.”

Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War can’t decide if it thinks orcs are people too [The A.V. Club] “There’s a horrible reality underneath all the blood and bombast of Shadow Of War: When you “dominate” an orc, you are erasing its agency and enslaving it. There’s really no two ways around it. The notion that this entire game is built upon the act of removing another living thing’s will and using them as an object is an unsettling truth that you’re forced to confront over and over again. Sometimes it’s not enough to brainwash your enemy. Sometimes you also have to explode your allies’ heads or steal their life like the miserable vampire you are. Sometimes the people around you will question your methods, pointing out that the Ring Of Power enabling your domination has been used time and again to deceive and corrupt others and that its use never ends well for the wearer. [...] The game clearly wants you to think about what you’ve spent dozens of hours doing, or at the very least, it’s finally accepted the fact that there’s really no escaping the hypocrisy and ugliness of its entire conceit.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 14, 2017 - 84 comments

“If it's not broken, don't fix it,”

Humble Bundle has been acquired by media giant IGN. [Gamasutra] “Media giant IGN announced today that it has acquired Humble Bundle, the company best known for selling packs of indie games at pay-what-you-want prices. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. This is potentially a big deal for game developers, since Humble has expanded beyond its bundling business to publish games, pay devs to make games for its subscription-based monthly game club, maintain a subscription-based online game trove, and operate an online game storefront. However, a press release confirming the deal also noted that Humble will continue to operate independently in the wake of the acquisition, with no significant business or staffing changes.”
posted by Fizz on Oct 13, 2017 - 31 comments


The Fright for the Future Returns | Overwatch’s Halloween Terror 2017 skins [YouTube] [Pepsi Blizzard Blue] “This Halloween, explore the haunted streets of Eichenwalde and Hollywood, expand your collection of spooky seasonal cosmetics, and team up to fight the forces of evil once more in not one, but two Junkenstein’s Revenge-themed brawls! We’re also re-opening our crypt so players can unlock their favorite Halloween-themed items from last year along with over 50 new tantalizing treats, including legendary skins like Corsair Ana, Van Helsing McCree, Dragon Symmetra, Cultist Zenyatta, Jiangshi Mei, Dracula Reaper, Viking Torbjörn, & Totally 80s Zarya.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 10, 2017 - 36 comments

Adorable, hackable NES and Super NES Classic

If you're stymied by the limited number of games on the NES Classic and Super NES Classic (both prior posts), the hacker community has your back. For the original NES Classic, it’s not as simple as drag-and-drop, but no screwdriver or hardware mods needed to load ROMs of almost any of the official NES catalog, and Super NES Classic hack is similar, plus you can load custom backgrounds and tweak the "scanline" feature via telnet operations. But because of more custom chips and other irregularities, to play all your SNES backups, you will have to increase the versatility of the SNES model by loading a different emulator, like RetroArch. And yes, these run on Linux builds that you can download for free, and as such, you can load your own (custom) distro. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 10, 2017 - 41 comments

“Then comes the Turbo Tunnel speeder level...”

Battletoads: The Strange History of a Nigh-Impossible Franchise by Gavin Jasper [Den of Geek] “In the early 90s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the kings of children’s entertainment. They were everywhere and like all successful concepts, they were followed by copycats. Over the years we’d see attempts to piggyback on their success with such concepts as Street Sharks, Biker Mice from Mars, and the Country Cuckoo Clock Codpiece Zulu Warriors. There was one pretender to the throne that appeared as a cheap Turtles knockoff at first glance, but had more than enough uniqueness to stand on its own. To a point, at least. I want to talk to you about Battletoads. Battletoads is one of those game franchises that had so much personality and quality that it should have survived for years. Unfortunately, it’s become a relic of semi-obscurity...” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 8, 2017 - 35 comments

“Hooray for people being allowed to enjoy a game in a different way...”

Now Ubi’s opened the door, can we have our “Skip Boss Fight” button? by John Walker [Rock Paper Shotgun] “Ubisoft made a fascinating announcement this week. They revealed that the latest Assassin’s Creed [official site] is to add a “Discovery Tour” mode, removing all the combat and challenges from the game, to let players just freely experience their in-depth recreation of Ancient Egypt. It’s fascinating, to me, because it’s a big deal. And goodness me, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Because games should be delighted to include modes that remove all their difficulty and challenge, and players should cheer when they hear about it. Oddly enough, a lot of players don’t cheer. In fact, people can get awfully angry about it. Since the announcement I’ve seen on Twitter a combination of people declaring, “Hooray! I’m interested in playing Assassin’s Creed for the first time in years!”, alongside others pointing toward those utterly furious that it demeans their hobby, cheapens games, and most heinous of all, lets in the riff-raff.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 4, 2017 - 221 comments

“... games that encourage players to take a moment and breathe.”

Treat Yourself with Self-Care Jam Games “There's… kind of a lot to be scared of. I'm grateful for the efforts of the Self-Care Jam creators, who all made small games in early December 2016, with the theme of self-care. Self-care is a pretty self-explanatory concept: these are things meant to give you a moment to breathe, reflect, literally take care of yourself. There are many games, zines, and interactive vignettes, all available on the Self-Care Jam page. I'd encourage you to check them all out when you need a breather.” [via: Waypoint]
posted by Fizz on Oct 2, 2017 - 38 comments

“It’s possible that length and quality are weakly correlated,”

How long does it take to beat your favourite games? “...the brainchild of Minnesota IT technician Randy Gleason. Gleason started HLTB in 2011, when his game backlog grew long enough that the lack of length information frustrated him. “I’d be going through a game and be like, ‘God, how long is this going to take me?’” Gleason says. “A lot of times it was just looking at my Steam game list and [thinking], I’ve got like three or four hours to burn here?—?what can I get through? What can I knock off my list?”” [via: The Ringer]
posted by Fizz on Sep 30, 2017 - 28 comments

50 years of BIRDMAAAN! Hero of earth, failed talkshow host, and attorney

Birdman debuted fifty years ago this month, on NBC on September 9, 1967, paired with unrelated segments of The Galaxy Trio. Three segments ran as a single episode, with a total of 20 episodes, and that was that. Except Birdman was revived through syndication and repackaged with other vintage cartoons in the 1980s, then being redefined not once but twice by Cartoon Network, first as guest host on Space Ghost Coast to Coast in the mid 1990s, then as the moderately competent attorney, Harvey Birdman, from 2000 to 2007. And it's all online, one way or another, linked up below the break. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 29, 2017 - 30 comments

“...microcosm of everything that is wrong with AAA gaming today.”

Microtransactions Are Hurting and Devaluing Video Games by Taneli Palola [VG Chartz] “Over the last few years microtransactions have become increasingly more commonplace within the video game industry, popping up in a huge number of high profile games as video game companies have realized the potential profits that can be made from them. This system is understandable in free-to-play games where microtransactions are the only source of income for the developer. A good example of a game like this would be something like Dota 2, where the main purpose of microtransactions is to buy cosmetic changes to the various characters in the game, while the game itself and all of the characters remain free-to-play for everyone. However, the use of microtransactions in games becomes an issue when they are used in full priced premium titles. We already have to deal with things like pre-order bonuses, season passes, barely justifiable DLC, content cut from the base game to later sell as said DLC, and so on. It's been a long time since the video game you bought was the one you got and that was it.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 28, 2017 - 59 comments

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