Reigns (for iOS, Android, and Steam): Called "Tinder for ruling a kingdom", make decisions as a king by swiping left or swiping right, while being careful to keep the church, the people, the army, and the treasury from getting either too weak or too powerful. You'll also romance courtesans, get lost in dungeons, die (often), and, if you're lucky, figure out why your family has been cursed by the devil.
Video games, of course, are lousy with taverns, and in taverns you will invariably encounter bards. Some are kind of lousy, some are really quite good, some won't stop singing about you, and a few might even be trying to kill you. If there's no bard around, you can make some music yourself! Grab a guitar (or a lute I guess) and a few of your friends. Sure, a few murder ballads might be nice while you drain a pint, but don't forget you can also sing while you work!
taro4012 makes Stepmania/DDR games that really push the limits of the rhythm-game genre. The UK Sight Reading Tournament series (the latest being Version 8) incorporates mini games and an overarching plot, while HBT experiments with the step-game hardware, such as pressure-sensitive game pads. A major highlight of taro4012's work is adapting Undertale to the Stepmania format - which for spoiler reasons and due to the lack of an established playlist will be placed [more inside]
Now is a great time to get into 2D fighting games, with major recent releases like Street Fighter V and The King of Fighters XIV. It's not immediately obvious that, at their heart, they're about controlling space, so it's easy for beginners to not even understand even the basic gameplan. This series of tutorial videos for Street Fighter will teach you the fundamentals of how the genre works. Feeling a little more ambitious? Want something a little faster, looser, and more exciting than Street Fighter? Why not check out DandyJ's Beginner's Incomplete Guide to KOF (and part 2) and learn the fundamentals of King of Fighters, a series that, by the video's own admission, you probably aren't familiar with if you're from an English-speaking country.
The State of PC Piracy in 2016 [PC Gamer] “Piracy seems like it should be so simple, right? Stealing games is wrong. The end. But piracy is one of the most charged, complex, and divisive debates in gaming. Follow a piracy discussion long enough and it will spiral through issues as complicated as international economic policy, the concept of 'ownership' for digital property, game preservation, and the principle of the PC as an unrestricted technology platform. Piracy in 2016, the age of digital distribution, indie gaming, and Steam’s dominance, is a different animal from the PC piracy of 1990 or 2000 or 2010. Unlicensed software distribution is just as illegal as it was when Don’t Copy That Floppy was a meaningful anti-piracy strategy, but our own understanding of the crime and its motivations haven’t kept pace with technology.” [more inside]
Jimmy Maher of The Digital Antiquarian tells the story of Sierra Entertainment's gamble on the MS-DOS/IMB platform shaped PC gaming as we know it: from creating the first game with a cinematic score (and later helping to make the Sound Blaster a standard feature of home PCs); to pioneering the genre of adventure games with rich storytelling; to a female-friendly marketing and design strategy that was decades ahead of its time.
Looking to buy Boardwalk and Park Place? How about Torrance, California's Mulligan Family Fun and Golf Practice Center or the dental offices of Gary D. Weber in Sterling, Colorado? If you've spent time in the board game section of your local thrift store, you might be familiar with Wheeler Dealer, a Monopoly-like board game designed by a Michigan production company and localized for over 1,200 cities and towns across North America (long before localized editions of Monopoly existed). Marketed to rotary clubs, chambers of commerce, and other civic organizations as a fundraiser that would boost civic pride while supporting local business, the game board featured small ads, complete with businesses' phone numbers, on each space. But did the idea pan out? A resident of Brookfield, IL isn't so sure. [more inside]
You are a stick figure. In 3D. On squares. Don't fall down.
You’ve always wanted to be a chess master! But you aren’t one! Are you! Now you can at least look like one! Pretend you’re playing chess! Make moves! Act like you feel things! Smirk! Frown! Weep! Chess!
On December 8, 2013, a tiny video game studio called Hello Games announced No Man’s Sky [previously], a first-person space adventure game of exploration, combat, trade, and survival, whose environments would be entirely procedurally generated and functionally infinite. The game was released today on PS4; it is promised to be available for Windows PC on Friday. [more inside]
It's been a month since Pokemon GO was first unleashed in a few countries. Now with most of the world going outside, the servers somewhat stable, yet tracking eliminated and a bug that make the game harder, how's your Pokedex coming along?
John Tromp is a computer scientist whose interests include mazes (playable: 1, 2), chess problems, Go (previously), graphical representations of combinatory logic, Connect-4, code obfuscation, darts, pop music, and much, much more.
Brand New Subway is a browser game that lets you build the New York City subway system, either starting from scratch or working from an existing model (including a few past and future plans). Predictably, this leads to all sorts of idiosyncratic designs which score poorly on the game's metrics for ridership and cost, but do much better on metrics such as Number of Figure 8s Through Hoboken. [more inside]
Nintendo has shocked the gaming community by announcing the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition, a "new" version of its legendary NES hardware which will cost $59.99 in the US. It connects to your TV via HDMI and comes with that classic NES pad, which can also be used with your Wii or Wii U. [more inside]
Even Doing Academic Research On Video Games Puts Me At Risk: On managing personal information in a risky field.
Users come in all shapes and sizes; some tall, some short, some seated. Since the user interacts in a room-scale VR space with a realistic approximation of their body, the physical dimensions of both the space and the user matter. Depending on the design of the space and the dimensions/limitations of that user, they may not be able to interact with the space in an ideal fashion, if at all.
Accessibility in VR: Head Height, first in a continuing series of articles.
Accessibility in VR: Head Height, first in a continuing series of articles.
"Autism is seen like some sort of mental superpower where we can see math in the air. In my experience, this isn’t really the case." - Dispelling some myths about the autistic wunderkind programmer. Also: Why you might not want to get TOO excited about autism employment initiatives. Autism FAQ
Charge your phone battery. Head for your nearest church and pray that the servers stay up. Just try not to get run over. Pokémon Go has been released (previously).
If you have a small kid they have probably spent countless hours with characters such as Barbie, Dora the Explorer and Frozen's Elsa. Now you can scar them for life and instill some valuable life lessons about personal hygiene and healthcare in general with gross and weird video games such as Dora dentist day, Dora hair care, Elsa Arm Surgery, Barbie Sore Throat, Nail Surgery And Foot Spa 2, Sole Surgery, Jimmy At The Doctor, Barbie Shave, Cinderella Pumpkin Accident, Hello Kitty Care, Justin Bieber At The Doctor, Pregnant Ariel Injured, Dentist Fear, Ladybug Skin Doctor, Elsa Brain Doctor.
Overwatch, Blizzard's new game, incorporates a 'play of the game' highlight after each match. How does it work, and what gets picked?
IF Only by Emily Short [prev.] highlights the new trend in Interactive Fiction (or Text Adventures, if you were born before 1990) for games that use parsers but also manage to be reasonable simple to play by providing limited options in clever ways. Among the highlights she points out are Kerkerkruip which is a rogue-like interactive fiction game, Treasures of a Slaver's Kingdom a "faux-retro adaptation of a nonexistent 1979 text adventure" where you play as a dumb barbarian, and Midnight. Swordfight. in which the story takes the form of a stage play. If you want to get more into the weeds, Short also suggests this interesting article on narrow parsers with many more examples.
In this day where closing studios is the established and accepted norm, we want to do our part to combat the norm. "We want to challenge how success is measured and point out that money shouldn’t be the only applied metric. In an industry that is smack full of impostor syndrome, depression, anxiety, and other things that are sometimes associated with the emotional work that goes into creativity, it is also important to think about how we measure success and failure. Of course money is important, as an enabler, but sometimes you need help creating something that doesn’t only serve commercial value, but an artistic need. Not acknowledging that is to miss the point of making games." [more inside]
Overwatch goes online May 24, 8AM KST. Releasing its first brand-new universe in almost two decades, Blizzard is launching a new game today. Borrowing and polishing gameplay and design elements from classic team shooters such as Team Fortress and Titanfall, Overwatch is one of the most eagerly anticipated games of 2016. [more inside]
(Content warning for pretty much the whole post: Body horror, bright flashes, and disturbing imagery abound.) Kitty Horrorshow (Itch, Twitter) is an independent game developer making fascinating, horrifying things. Minimalist horror games that go bold directions and are deeply uncomfortable experiences. Her biggest game by far, though, is ANATOMY, a game in which you explore a dark house, seeking out cassette tapes and studying the "physiology of domestic architecture". [more inside]
If you can't make it to the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines (previously, previouslier), don't fret, you can experience it in the comfort of your own browser! [more inside]
I know that you've gotten bored of roguelikes because they're so easy to wrap your head around and master, so here's one that takes place in hyperbolic space
"Although it will seem remedial to mention this, all Breakout-style games have at least three things in common – each contains paddles, balls, and target objects for the balls to hit." -- Lego Bricktopia level designer, Mark Nelson, shares his vast of knowledge of Breakout-style games (previously 1, 2) in Breaking Down Breakout: System And Level Design For Breakout-style Games. [more inside]
One of the most infamously bad NES licensed games ever released, Friday the 13th is known for its obtuseness and difficulty. Still, there's many who see an interesting design buried beneath Pack-In Software's incompetence, even inspiring an action figure based on its odd Jason Voorhees sprite, and it's for those people that YouTube filmmakers TripleZeroFilms created a 50-page, full-color, illustrated strategy guide (with its own trailer video!) for this unpolished gem in the extremely rough. [more inside]
Based originally on a description in a story by Andy Looney, the game of Icehouse was a board game without a board, played in real time without turns with a set of colored pyramids in three sizes. It still has its fans, and you can find some pretty detailed fan stuff out there on the internet regarding the game of Icehouse. Over the years, though, people found ways to use such enticingly generic game pieces for far, far more… [more inside]
As if strategy gamers didn't have enough devouring their free time between Stellaris and XCOM 2, Firaxis have just announced Civilization 6. [more inside]
Historic Card Games described by David Parlett. "These pages (Timeless classics and treasures now forgotten) present (a) histories of classic games such as Poker and Euchre and (b) details of historic games, such as Gleek and Quadrille, that are now only museum pieces. This project was started at the suggestion of John McLeod, who tells me that visitors to his award-winning Pagat website for the rules of card games often inquire after the play of some old game that they have come across in period novels or film or readings in cultural history." [more inside]
Eat to grow longer! Don't run into other snakes! When longer, hold the mouse button for a speed boost!
In the late ’70s and ’80s, the arrival of personal computers like the Commodore 64 gave rise to the first generation of kids fluent in computation. They learned to program in Basic, to write software that they swapped excitedly with their peers. It was a playful renaissance that eerily parallels the embrace of Minecraft by today’s youth - Inside the Minecraft Generation.
On April Seriousness Day, Vinny from Vinesauce streamed himself playing and watching four instalments of an obscure but beloved video game franchise. What, you've never heard of Scrimmy Bingus "and the" Crungy Spingus? [more inside]
Tabletop Gaming has a White Male Terrorism Problem (TW: nasty stuff)
A Brief Bibliography about IF History is a review and overview of the sometimes-mainstream, sometimes-forgotten genre of Interactive Fiction, and chock full of good links besides. By Emily Short, from her blog.
Mark Twain reveals his surefire method for memorizing the reigns of the English monarchs. [more inside]
A deep dive into the FBI's bizarre anti-extremism browser game: Don’t Be a Puppet: Pull Back the Curtain on Violent Extremism [more inside]
The story of Cosmic Encounter is about a flash of creative genius in the early seventies, followed by four decades of struggle to see that vision fully realised. Despite the rapturous critical acclaim Cosmic Encounter has accrued in the 39 years since its first publication, it has not been followed by commercial success. Indeed, the creators of the greatest boardgame in existence have never made a living off it. The making of Cosmic Encounter, the greatest boardgame in the galaxy
Billionaires, partying until the early morning, and Internet sleuthing: A recent scandal that rocked the world of high stakes contract bridge has it all.
The first game between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol is scheduled to begin at 23:00 EST tonight, in Seoul. There will be a livestream with commentary in english. Since the Deepmind Go-playing computer's previous victory against Fan Hui, Go professionals and AI researchers alike have had time to consider what it means. [more inside]