Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit
that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird
gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy
Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos
destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments
, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations.
It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time
-- an eccentric, richly produced
, and incredibly catchy blend of funk
, bossa nova
, experimental electronica
, bamboo flute
, hair metal
, buoyant parade music
, soaring children's choirs
, Macintalk fanfares
, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros
Called a consumerist critique
by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi
(who after one sequel
moved on to Glitch
, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy
, and playground design
), the series has inspired much celebration
] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit
. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
Douglas E. Smith, creator of the classic 8-bit computer game Lode Runner, which got a second life as one of HudsonSoft's most iconic Famicom titles in Japan, has died at the age of 57
. [more inside]
Perils of The Lady Gamer.
– a New Graphical Diversion by webcomic artist and writer Shaenon K. Garrity (previously
). [more inside]
When you finally get a ship over to North America, you’ll notice that things look a little different. Europe is crammed cheek to jowl with minor duchies and single-province powers, at least in the early game. There is no square inch of territory unaccounted for. But when you get to the Americas, you’ll see a lot of “empty” territory. The provinces and territories that are not claimed by any power or nation can be colonized.
April Daniels was thoroughly enjoying the ruthless imperialistic stylings of Europa Universalis IV, until the game took her out of Europe and into a somewhat problematic implementation of colonialism
Big list of Games
– "An unfiltered list of games featuring a leading lady, because such a list should exist."
Have a suggestion for a game?
Leading Ladies in Media
– "Highlighting female protagonists in Film, TV, Comics, and Books."
Bonus link: hardcore gaming
– Fuck Yeah 1990s
“Our target user for this controller is not very specific, it’s very general, as even a beginner who has never touched the controller can use it, your grandmother can use, or even children with small hands can use it." Shigeru Miyamoto devoted more time and energy into the GameCube’s controller than any of Nintendo’s previous controllers. The NES controller was the first controller to add a D-Pad, the SNES controller would be the first to add shoulder buttons, and Nintendo 64′s controller introduced the analogue stick to 3D consoles. How would Miyamoto be able to top his previous three achievements? The Pressure to Create the Perfect Controller
, from Dromble.com
's Emily Rogers.
Previous Dromble and Emily Rogers on Metafilter
: A Dolphin's Tale: The Story of GameCube.
Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 – Tropes vs Women in Video Games
(28 min 33 sec; here's a pointer to the identical video at YouTube
: contains graphic sexual and violent game footage. Presented by Anita Sarkeesian
of the video blog, Feminist Frequency
. The website version (first link) is annotated to include links and resources, an "about the series" section, games referenced in this episode, and a transcript. [more inside]
Do you like games with awkward controls and physics? Do you dream of playing QWOP
against your friends? Well, Mount Your Friends
is just right for you! [more inside]
So all of your friends have either just started playing Magic: the Gathering or have picked it up again or else admitted to having played it continually for twenty years now, and eyes are glazing over as they discuss bomb rares and 2-for-1s and mana flooding and drafting. You're not sure if you actually want to immerse yourself in this but you can't know for sure without, well, immersing yourself in it. We've all been there.
Thankfully, Felicia Day's Geek & Sundry
channel has a show for you - Spellslingers! [more inside]
Pokémon Zeta & Omicron
are not ROM hacks
. They are standalone fan-made Pokémon clones created with RPG Maker XP
, featuring around 80 hours of gameplay
, 2 regions with 12 gyms, a coherent storyline
, "tons" of endgame content, Shadow Pokémon
, Delta Pokémon
, all 649 Pokémon
through gen V, secret bases
, mega evolutions
, challenge modes
), and sometimes quirky dialogue
. Though still in beta, it's a playable game
[YT], patches to which have slowed. Each new version is posted to the sub-Reddit /r/pokemonzetaomicron
The Daily Harassment of Women in the Game Industry.
"It’s telling that men in the gaming industry, or simply commentators, refuse to listen to the reality of these situations and try to help. They’d rather talk over women and convince themselves of a fictional reality that’s more comforting."
Defense of the Ancients
is a MOBA (what's a MOBA?
| comprehensive history of MOBAs
) that has skyrocketed in recent years from a humble Warcraft multiplayer mod to a genre-defining megahit whose worldwide competitive bracket The International
(whose finale airs tonight) boasts a prize pool of more than $10 million dollars.
While publisher Valve is determined to help mainstream
the esports craze with helpful
noob newcomer-friendly broadcasts of the final
and a simulcast on ESPN
, the community has been dogged by accusations of hostility
and a very steep learning curve
. Luckily, you don't have to know anything about DOTA to enjoy the best thing to come out of it so far: 45 minutes of witheringly sarcastic in-game meta-commentary
] in the dulcet tones of Kevan Brighting
, the very charming (and very British) narrator of beloved metagame The Stanley Parable
. Once you're finished with that delightful deconstruction of esport tropes
, you might also enjoy perusing similar announcer packs for Portal's GLaDOS
, Bastion's Rucks
, and... a pirate
. ＤＩＧＩＴＡＬ ＳＰＯＲＴＳ!
Could Mario Kart 8
be the Bullet Bill that propels
Nintendo's Wii U from its slump? Outstanding reviews
, a free game
with purchase, plus the Luigi stare of death meme
, helped make MK8 the best-selling game in June
and boosted Wii U sales
tremendously. An arcade version
- featuring Fusion Carts - is forthcoming. Hop over to MetaTalk
and share your Nintendo Network ID. [more inside]
Yo ho, matey! Ever get to sorting through Doom mods and think "Wow, that's a lot of techbases and hell castles. I'd really prefer something a bit more Monkey Island-esque"? If so (and even if not), you'll want to check out Pirate Doom
, which dresses up Doom monsters as pirates (down the Imps' fancy hats) and sends the player through 18 levels of pirate-demon action! Rock Paper Shotgun
has a quick writeup, Doomed
has a review of an older version, and here's a video
of level 2, "Melee Island", to give a good idea of what you're in for. [more inside]
On the first day of [the 1999 Electronic Entertainment Expo], the game’s producers, Kana Ryan and Chris Trottier, watched in disbelief as two of the female Sims attending the virtual wedding leaned in and began to passionately kiss. They had, during the live simulation, fallen in love. Moreover, they had chosen this moment to express their affection, in front of a live audience of assorted press.
Many PC gamers were disappointed that Ubisoft's latest AAA game Watch_Dogs did not look as nice as when displayed at E3 in 2012. But this week a modder discovered that code to improve the game on PC is still buried within the released game, and can be turned back on
without difficulty or performance hits. Ubisoft has yet to answer whether (or why) their PC release was deliberately handicapped. [more inside]
has released the third video in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. It's an exhaustive (and exhausting) look at how women have been used as background decorations in video games for the last three decades. [previously
Terry Cavanagh's indie hit VVVVVV
was an instant success, melding a Commodore 64 look and feel to a difficult but forgiving platformer whose only controls are move left, move right, and reverse gravity. The second edition of the game expanded from Windows and OSX to Linux, and added a level editor which could be used to make and export custom maps. Today, Cavanagh has announced VVVVVV: Make and Play Edition
, which contains only the level editor and the ability to play custom levels, and which can now be downloaded for free for Windows, OSX, and Linux.
A year ago
, Microsoft was crucified in the press for the PR fiasco of the Xbox One
, with rival Sony winning thunderous applause
for its PS4 by simply maintaining the status quo
But after doing a
360 180 on its hated policies
, Redmond is attempting to close the gap with the most valuable package deal since The Orange Box
A remarkable feat of engineering, Halo: The Master Chief Collection
will feature on a single disc the complete HD-remastered campaigns
of Halos 1-4 alongside Ridley Scott's Nightfall
, the Halo 5 beta
, and the holy grail of Xbox gaming: every last one of the series' 100+ multiplayer maps
in a single unified matchmaking system incorporating the original engines, gameplay mechanics, and idiosyncrasies of each
Ten years after Halo 2 (and four years after MS shut the taps
), IGN suspects a plan by 343 to rekindle
) Bungie's magic for an uncertain Halo 5, while Eurogamer welcomes the return of what it calls online FPS's peak
. [More reaction: NeoGAF - Ars Technica - Reddit]
Bungie, meanwhile, stood with Sony to showcase its upcoming Destiny
, the vaunted space epic
that will beta this summer
before facing its revamped forerunners later this year. More E3 coverage: Microsoft
) - Sony
) - Nintendo (airing noon EST) - SW: Battlefront - AC: Unity - MGS5: The Phantom Pain - Evolve - No Man's Sky - The Order: 1886 - Sunset Overdrive - Grim Fandango - Bloodborne - Arkham Knight - Scalebound - Mortal Kombat X - The Division - LittleBigPlanet 3 - Inside - Uncharted 4 - Crackdown
is an in-progress Interactive Fiction competition where all the games are based on a song chosen partially by the intfiction boards and partially by the game's author. While the voting/judging is ongoing, all the games submitted for the competition have been released
and are playable now!
Team Service Announcements
is a series of short skits demonstrating basic principles of Team Fortress 2 tactics and strategy.
- the co-founder of innovative OS X and iOS software outfit Panic
reminisces about learning how to beat Dragon's Lair
in the pre-Internet age, but that's not the fun part...
A Short History of Game Panics: [Boing Boing]
"Do you know where you child is? Watch out: they might be in an arcade! Jesse Walker of Reason Magazine on video gaming's juciest moral panics." [Previously] [Previously] [Previously]
"Work is a large component of many types of game. The professional chess player competing in a tournament game does not have the carefree, leisurely attitude sometimes implied by the term “playing”: she is performing massive amounts of cognitive work. Similarly with poker players or tennis players: they are not merely fooling around but labouring mightily. [...] But videogames seem more and more to resemble work in a different sense: working for the Man
The world of video game music has blossomed in recent years, enough to support live concert tours
and bestselling albums
. But while most such work is licensed or contracted out to third-party composers, a rare breed make their living at a single company, imbuing entire franchises with their unique sound. And apart from Nintendo's venerable Koji Kondo
, there is perhaps no dedicated gaming composer more renowned than Martin O'Donnell
. From humble beginnings writing the jingle for Flintstones Vitamins
, O'Donnell and longtime collaborator Michael Salvatori
joined developer Bungie in 1997, penning music for Myth
, and most notably the Halo trilogy
-- an iconic blend
of sweeping orchestral bombast
, haunting choirs
, and electronic ambience
that became one of the most acclaimed and successful gaming soundtracks of all time. O'Donnell also helmed Bungie's audio department, managing voice actors
, sound effects
, and an innovative dynamic music engine
, and was most recently working with Paul McCartney
on the score for the upcoming Destiny
. So it came as a surprise today when it was announced MartyTheElder was being terminated without cause
(flabbergasted reaction: HBO
). With O'Donnell following Joseph Staten
, Frank O'Connor
, Marcus Lehto
, and other Bungie veterans out the door, what might this mean for the company and its decade-long plan for Destiny? [more inside]
Mark Zuckerberg buys Occulus Rift
the darling of 3D VR gaming (previously: 1
) for about $2B
. Given that the Oculus Rift
was poised to be a major breakthrough for gaming, getting acquired by a
social network has sent The Internet into a collective freakout
For the past three days, the world of streaming gaming has been riveted by an unlikely phenomenon: Twitch Plays Pokemon
. Consisting of a live Twitch.TV
chatroom hooked up to a classic Game Boy emulation of Pokémon Red
, the program is set to recognize a limited number of commands and execute them in real time, allowing an audience of tens of thousands to collectively control the action as they watch
. An astonishing amount of progress has been made, including the dramatic last-second defeat of a third gym leader
) and the solution of a notoriously tricky puzzle on the very first attempt
. But all for naught, it seems, as Team Twitch finds itself hilariously stranded on the ledges of Route 19
where, as one viewer explained
, "they basically have to walk a small path for about ten spaces without anyone pushing down and jumping Red off the ledge," a grim democratic reality the dedicated subreddit /r/twitchplayspokemon has had all kinds of fun with
over the last dozen ludicrous hours
A Dolphin's Tale: The Story of GameCube
The company discovered that many gamers became personally attached to their consoles. They would take their consoles over to a friend’s house to play, or they would move their console from one room to another. Nintendo decided to include a handle on the GameCube to give it portability and a more personal, friendly look.
Reverse engineering Strike Commander
. Fabien Sanglard
realized he wanted to play ORIGIN Systems
" combat flight sim using an Oculus Rift
virtual reality headset (Sanglard on Oculus Rift development
). But, after he learned the source code went missing during the shutdown of Origin by EA, he decided he no choice but to reverse engineer the massive—for the early 90s—game (eleven 1.44MB floppy disks!).
, developers of Bejeweled
clone Candy Crush Saga
, have trademarked the word "candy"
and are attempting to use this to take down other developers' games that have the word "candy" in their names. Also, despite their thus-far failure to trademark the word "saga", they're already trying to prevent other games from having the word "saga" in their titles.
The Year of the Crush: How the Radically Unfair Candy Crush Saga Took Over Our Lives
We are clearly drawn to structured entanglements with chance. We use rules and money to define the stakes, and we use cards or dice or candies not as generators but as channelers — mediums — of the chance we believe is already out there, secretly running the show. Despite whatever other beliefs we have about fate or God or a deterministic universe, we often act as if luck is quite real in our daily lives. Candy Crush Saga has capitalized on this to become the mobile game of the year. Not the best, nor the worst, but the mobile game that dominated the charts, that succeeded at free-to-play in a way that will be studied for years, that penetrated the wider culture and came to stand in for all of addictive, time-wasting mobile gaming in 2013. And yet Candy Crush is not simply game of the year in the way that Stalin was once Time’s Person of the Year. It’s a genuinely compelling game that fully commits to radical unfairness. In fact, this is the primary source of its appeal.