The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. - Tropes vs Women: Women as Reward. Tropes versus Women creator Anita Sarkeesian on the backlash to the series (Warning: GamerGate), Previously, previously.
The Revenge of Flash Friday - It's ALIVE! Anatomy Arcade "makes basic human anatomy come ALIVE through awesome free flash games, interactives and videos." There are two timed games: Whack-A-Bone and Poke-A-Muscle (both feature auto-playing music, but you can turn it off in PAM). For less stress, there are jigsaw puzzles to help you get familiar with the digestive system, skeletal system, muscular system, the brain, the eye and the heart. (Via everlasting blort)
According to Gamastura, Youtube stars like Seananners may be breaking FTC disclosure guidelines. Adam "SeaNanners" Montoya has heavily promoted a new video game called Dead Realm on his Youtube channel. He does not mention that he has a financial stake in the game's publisher, 3BlackDot, in every video about the game. The FTC has specific guidelines for Youtubers and product endorsement, which Adam (and others) have ignored. [more inside]
Fenlason dubbed his clone Hack for two reasons: "One definition was 'a quick [computer] hack because I don't have access to Rogue'. The other was 'hack-n-slash', a reference to one of the styles of playing Dungeons and Dragons." - A chapter long excerpt from David Craddock's Dungeon Hacks, a new book on the history of the Roguelike RPG.
Bell of Lost Souls user YorkNecromancer talks about different approaches to playing games (specifically about 40K and Vampire: the Eternal Struggle, but the points made apply to all games) and how particular playstyles can cause confusion and pain when unexpected. tw: child abuse mentioned, panic attacks depicted
Mods and hacks for console games are becoming more common place as tools improve and resources for newcomers grow. However, the total conversion The Call of Cthulhu based on Super Mario World is in another class. The modder completely changes aspects of the engine, turning it into a twitch puzzler with mind bending graphical effects. You can watch the game speed-run here for a quicker glimpse of the game. Vinny, of VineSauce, as a commentated playthrough here. [more inside]
Herding Cats -- a feline puzzle game by indie game maker / big gay witch Anna Anthropy. [more inside]
Spend some time with a depressed, laconic Luigi as he chain smokes and wanders through a crumbling Mushroom Kingdom, ruminating on ontology, ethics, family, identity, and the mistakes he and his brother have made, in Josh Millard's Ennuigi
Do you like Roguelikes? (Yes, you do.) Then you are going to enjoy this collection of over 700 free or open source Roguelikes available by torrent, the full set of which is listed here. Since its a torrent, I should mention that while everything seems legitimate here (Rock Paper Shotgun likes it, and the poster is a moderator on r/games and runs a highly regarded Steam group) from both a rights and a malware perspective, nothing is guaranteed. Suggestions among the 7 GB within... [more inside]
Loop - Pool on an elliptical table. The ellipse has two significant points, called focuses, which have a remarkable geometrical property that is almost always explained using the example of an imaginary pool table. "If a pool table is the shape of an ellipse, then a ball shot from one focus will always rebound to the other focus no matter in which direction the ball is shot." That sounded interesting! Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, if I could build one of these imaginary tables? So I did.
If you're a long time user of Steam, you might assume that the current top selling game would be a AAA blockbuster, or maybe a half-finished multiplayer survival game. But for the past few weeks, the gaming world has been completely gripped by a game about cars playing soccer. [more inside]
Stephen "Increpare" Lavelle - creator of many strange free games, one-going-on-two strange paid ones, the sound effect generator Bfxr and the excellent tile-based puzzle game engine PuzzleScript - released three much simpler game makers a couple of months ago: Flickgame, Tinychoice and Plingpling. Flickgame and Plingpling have help pages, each with an example game; Tinychoice needs no help page and starts with an example game in the text box. More detailed info after the break. [more inside]
Innuendo Studios (tumblr | twitter) updates with a 6 part series discussing GamerGate, self-image, and innocence: Why Are You So Angry? [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]
Diorama Club - a site where you can play interactive stories or use a simple tree syntax to create and share your own.
Magic: the Gathering is a fantastic strategy trading card game, currently in it's 22nd year and more popular than ever. But as it becomes more mainstream, an ugly issue is coming to light: there just aren't many women players. The official company line is that 38% of players are female, although that number is not represented in high level play. Gaby Spartz's article 6 Things You Can do to Get More Women Into Magic puts the percentage of women in tournament play closer to 1-2% of the field. Spartz's article, as well as her followup 7 Counterpoints to My Women in Magic Article, has sparked a debate that has raged over the past few months. [more inside]
Someone apparently found a strange horror "game" that was uploaded to a remote corner of the deep web, accessible only via anonymizing tools like Tor. No one seems to know what it is or who made it, and apparently the link hosting the file is now down. All we have to go by at the moment is part of a playthrough (note: potentially unsettling material): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
In June, 1994, a man goes missing. His wife makes a series of interviews with police. Those interviews form the basis of the recently released title Her Story, an FMV-style game that tasks the player with digging through hours of video to determine what happened, and how, and why. [more inside]
Inspired by Dwarf Fortress and No Man's Sky, Josh Newland writes about procedural generation of game worlds at Gamasutra and presents his Unity/WebGL game project.
23 Games from E3 2015 with Badass Playable Female Characters - Sam Maggs for The Mary Sue
Gaming Your Brain - How to top the leaderboard of Clash of Clans, and how Freemium games rake in billions of dollars from their players.
Barbie Breast Feeding had you drag and drop the baby from the cot to Barbie’s chest where it drinks enough milk that it promptly develops a stomach ache and then requires a leg massage and a nappy change. I assume that might be closer to reality, except instead of wiping a flower which exists in place of your child’s genitals you’re actually dealing with human poop and children can get that EVERYWHERE.Philippa Warr on the Weird World Of Frozen Pregnancy Games. SLRPS
A fan takes a look at the downturn of Sonic the Hedgehog, and presents some ideas on how to breathe new life into the franchise. [SLYT]
You're sitting down with your friends to play a boardgame, and you find yourself in a conundrum: how do you choose a first player? Sure, you could roll a standard die and take highest number, but what if there's a tie? That could take forever! Besides, wouldn't you rather be mathematically sure that everyone has a fair shot at each spot in the turn order? Of course you would!
Regular Human Basketball: A QWOP-like multiplayer game for Mac/Windows/Linux in which you play basketball as God and James Naismith intended—with the slight addition of thrusters, a magnet arm, and all-terrain wheels. Comes with realistic basketball commentary from real human commentators!
Duke Nukem Forever. Earthbound and Donkey Kong 64 on Virtual Console. DnD RPGs and LucasArts adventure games on GOG.com. What an age we live in, in which vidya games we were once denied are suddenly no longer denied. And now, Chip's Challenge and its fabled sequel, classic puzzle games long thought permanently unrereleasable and unreleasable respectively due to copyright issues, have finally been released on Steam (and let's not forget its spiritual successor from during the drought, Chuck's Challenge 3D). But why stop there? Fans have created a bunch of free extra levels for the original game, including three epic collaborative level packs, and a free program (first version, newer version) capable of running them. The latter version also has a convenient bundle including all three level packs and an intro pack that serves as a tutorial. [more inside]
'New Wave Games Journalist' and frequent Guardian and Rock Paper Shotgun columnist Cara Ellison is leaving games journalism, and she lays out her reasons in an essay on her site. Some of her best-known writing includes her S.EXE series about sex in a games for Rock Paper Shotgun, a verse review of an Anna Anthropy game for The Guardian, the Embed With Games series and a heartfelt tribute to indie game maker Increpare.
Remember the surprising stealth thing-that's-great Frog Fractions (previously)? When creator Jim Crawford (also previously) and his team released its successfully Kickstarted sequel, they won't tell anyone, and will leave everyone to find it for themselves. Enter the unofficial Frog Fractions 2 twitter account, which bugs Jim about a different possible culprit every day. And for those who didn't back the Kickstarter and thus won't be automatically notified when The Jig Is Up (TM), there's always IsTheJigUpYet, which also attempts to guess at FF2's identity (albeit using a sliiiiiightly different method). [more inside]
User Sparx recently mentioned checking sites of Japanese escape game makers for games of sufficient quality. But what if there were a single, constantly-updated website with links to an obscene number of those frustrating Japanese escape-the-room adventure games? Welcome to
hell No1Game. I figured out the site on my own but if you need help, a guide to navigating the site follows. [more inside]
Dinofarm Games explain why the demand for higher definition graphics have led them to abandon pixel art... over the course of a wonderfully explained, beautifully illustrated, and clearly demonstrated love letter to pixel art.
Eve Online: how a virtual world went to the edge of apocalypse and back The video game Eve Online is one of Iceland’s biggest exports and has become the world’s largest living work of science fiction. While rival games have come and gone, it has survived – thanks to a unique experiment in democracy
In December of last year, the NYC-based digital art nonprofit Rhizome successfully Kickstarted an online exhibition of cloud-emulated copies of the three CD-ROMs created by Theresa Duncan and based on young girls' everyday experiences. Last month, they were made available for play for a minimum of one year with probable extension. You can read about - and, thanks to embedding - play them at Rhizome itself and The Verge (or just play them right here). Note: you may have to wait in a queue. Also, you may have to wait a while for the computer running the game, which will be streamed to you, to start up.
In what would turn out to be a watershed event in the history of viral videos and online multiplayer gaming, footage of the Leeroy Jenkins incident was uploaded to the internet ten years ago today (previously).
Game developer Itay Keren talks 2D scrolling in this very visual and nostalgia-filled post and talk.
Not long ago, 3D Realms (formerly Apogee, not to be confused with the spin-off Apogee) revamped its website and store, including an anthology (several of these games have also been released on GOG.com). A few days ago, after much negotiation with individual rights holders, a Steam version of the anthology (missing Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen, which are (apart from two certain Keen titles) already available on Steam via iD/ZeniMax) was released (direct link to store page). Over the years, they have also made a bunch of their titles freeware. After the break, a full list of links to download those free games via their legacy site (apart from two, downloadable elsewhere) in order of original release. Most of the newer ones are also available in the revamped store for registered users (via the same library as game purchases). Those not available via that store will be marked. Oh, and as always, DOSbox is your friend when running old DOS games. [more inside]
You couldn’t control the camera, I mean. The Silent Hill video games were blunt and herky-jerky—you, backed into a corner, swinging a plywood board clumsily at two sets of mannequin hips bolted horrifically together, flailing at you. Clay-colored, faceless children grabbed at you in the dark as you tap-tap-jogged awkwardly in circles, desperate to regain some kind of control. The world fell silent for cutscenes, PlayStation glory-era wax-lipped women with empty eyes mouthing hollow dialogue at you from the mist and shadows.Why Silent Hill mattered.
It was all really bad and scary, and kind of broken, and everyone loved it, especially me.
Flash Friday! In Murder, don't get caught killing the King, then catch others trying to usurp your reign- or get usurped and get revenge! Red Light Green Light was never played with higher stakes!
A highly addictive and adorable Japanese Smartphone Game Available for both IOS and Android and exclusively in Japanese, it's pretty easy to navigate, and a clearer explanation of how to play can be found here.
"What could you possibly have in common with a mushroom, or a dinosaur, or even a bacterium? More than you might think. In this Lab, you’ll puzzle out the evolutionary relationships linking together a spectacular array of species. Explore the tree of life and get a front row seat to what some have called the greatest show on Earth. That show is evolution." Evolution Lab is a educational game created by the Life on Earth Project and NOVA Labs
Want to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle? Not possesed of a Scrroge McDuck style moneypit or willing to sell organs in order to buy figures? Kieron Gillen and Matthew Sheret are here to help with Hipsterhammer. Jump in with guides to building Dwarf, Empire or Vampire Count armies on the cheap! Doubles as a bit of a guide to the weirdo world of Warhammer Fantasy, as distinct from your more generic Tolkienesque efforts. They even have a manifesto!
The Women I Pretend to Be, by novelist and game writer Naomi Alderman (previously):
No one in tech has ever been as sexist toward me as teachers and rabbis before I was 12 years old. But I've come to notice more and more how working within the particular masculine sexism of the tech industry has nudged the way I present myself, just a little. I've noticed how, very slowly, I've started to acquiesce into playing roles that get assigned to me. I've noticed how I disappear behind these masks.
What follows is not a horror story. It's a series of moments.
As an archivist, my ethical duty is to maintain those objects of intrinsic value to future generations. I’ve often found that others assume my profession is focused on facts and figures, the hard data from which a census or otherwise lifeless historical record can be drawn. Such data will inform one on how a people survived. As important as this data is, it cannot tell you how a people dreamed. [more inside]
It's clear that narrative is an important part of video games and something that the audience deeply relates to. However, the strengths of interactive media are player participation, the ability to experience content in different ways on different playthroughs and the fact that the content is not static. It's time for narrative to deeply embrace these elements.Ken Levine, of System Shock and BioShock fame, explores player driven replayable narrative gameplay.
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]