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Achievement Unlocked: Read the article fully before commenting

Greg Mclanahan of Gamasutra talks how to design achievements right.
posted by flatluigi on Mar 20, 2011 - 78 comments

Angry Birds

How Rovio made Angry Birds a winner. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Mar 10, 2011 - 95 comments

Fatality!!!

Mortal Kombat has been banned in Australia. In the highest profile censorship incident since last year's butchering of Left 4 Dead 2, the new Mortal Kombat game has been "refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and will not release in Australia". This should galvanize efforts to implement an R18 rating for Australian games, though so far progress has been slow.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Feb 24, 2011 - 144 comments

I WILL kill you!

In 1979, gaming company Avalon Hill (since bought by Hasbro) released a board game based on the popular science fiction novel Dune. Regarded by many as a masterpiece of the form, it is an asymmetrical wargame designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge and Peter Olotka, the people who created Cosmic Encounter. Six different factions vie for control of the desert planet Arrakis. As WickerNipple notes in his Everything node on the game, “Instead of giving subtle differences to the various factions like most games, Dune gives huge differences and advantages, that don't over-balance things only because every faction receives them.” The thing is, each player has special rules that give them very different options and abilities compared to the other sides, and yet the game remains balanced (especially when played by a full six players). The game has been long out of print due to the Frank Herbert estate refusing to re-license. Fantasy Flight Games is rumored to be working on a release of the game without the Dune license. Importantly, all the necessary files are available on the game's BoardGameGeek page to construct a copy of the game. (Homebrew game board - Rules, cards, counters and extras - Windows freeware game client and server) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 23, 2011 - 58 comments

Everything you do when you're not on the job or in school is essentially self-medicating.

Emily Short is an interactive fiction writer and general cool customer who has been featured numerous times before on the blue. She also writes the biweekly Homer in Silicon column at GameSetWatch, where she examines games as stories, looking at what they say as much as how they play. She is particularly fascinated by life simulation games and the often bizarre models of human experience that underly them. To date she has delved into the disturbing worlds of Kudos, Life Quest, and My Life Story.
posted by theodolite on Feb 16, 2011 - 15 comments

Wait Until Dark

Modern mainstream video games tend to be about framerates and millions of polygons per second. But it is possible to play games that have hardly any graphics at all: audio-only games like Papa Sangre, designed for iOS devices, being the most recent example of the genre (and with binaural audio, probably the most ambitious). There are others: In The Pit for Xbox 360 (or a PC with a 360 wired controller) [previously], the (sadly incomplete) Cadet 277 for PC and Mac, and SoundVoyager, released in 2006 for the Nintendo. More at the Experimental Gameplay Project.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Feb 12, 2011 - 14 comments

Halo: Fandom Evolved

Contrary to a lot of idle criticism, Bungie's Halo series of video games has a surprisingly rich backstory -- a universe complex enough to support seven bestselling novels, a wiki with over 7,000 articles, and one of the most successful ARGs in history (including a full-fledged radio drama). The series has also turned out sweeping audiovisual work, from the games' cinematic cutscenes and epic music (lots of free previews) to top-shelf anime and the Hollywood-quality short films -- ODST, Believe, Deliver Hope, Landfall -- that were made to promote the games (the latter of which, produced by Neil Blomkamp, inspired District 9). And that's apart from all the material produced by Bungie's dedicated fan base: genuinely hilarious machinima from Red vs. Blue, professional-level graphic novels (table of contents at the top), gorgeous artwork, hours of recorded dialogue, complete transcripts of hidden apocrypha, and more factual analysis, story speculation, and casual discussion than you can shake an energy sword at. But most of these pale in comparison to the latest and greatest exercise in Halo beanplating: the Svmma Canonica, a 40-page, 17,000-word formal treatise on the nature of canon in the world that Bungie built, and how it will fare once Bungie moves on and the franchise is managed by 343 Industries. Discussion over at Bungie's official site, or at decade-old fan forum Halo.Bungie.Org.
posted by Rhaomi on Jan 31, 2011 - 71 comments

His name is a +2 Killing Word

The Dune RPG that never was.
posted by Artw on Jan 11, 2011 - 70 comments

sf0

SF0 is a game played in the real world, where you play your character. However, it's not a LARP, and it's not quite an ARG (alternate reality game), either. Think of it more as an interface for the cities of the real world. [more inside]
posted by LSK on Jan 2, 2011 - 26 comments

Words of Warcraft

This week the BBC broadcast a Panorama special (UK only link, YouTube links here and here) on what it presented as the alarming rise of game addiction. Thoughtful responses from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EDGE, both of whom point out a number of problems with it.
posted by Artw on Dec 8, 2010 - 20 comments

The Warlocks of Firetop Mountain

An Illustrated History of Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy - Jackson and Livingstone - audio, sans illustrations. The story of how Steve Jackson (not that Steve Jackson) and Ian Livingstone kickstarted tabletop roleplaying in the UK and founded a gaming behemoth that is very different today.
posted by Artw on Nov 25, 2010 - 42 comments

Please Reject Me!

Rejection Therapy is the real life game with one rule: YOU MUST BE REJECTED BY ANOTHER PERSON AT LEAST ONCE, EVERY SINGLE DAY. [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri on Nov 3, 2010 - 63 comments

Your new corporate home and personal hell

Synergon is a fully-playable ruleset for BLARPing (Business Live-Action Role-Playing).
posted by BitterOldPunk on Nov 3, 2010 - 21 comments

A Cthuluvian perspective on lolcats

The biggest literary influence on my approach to game design, however, was one of the writers I worshipped as a teenager: Alice Sheldon, aka James Tiptree, Jr. Tiptree had one particular recommendation for starting a story: “Start from the end and preferably 5,000 feet underground on a dark day and then don’t tell them.” This is precisely how we begin Half-Life. It was a deliberate antidote to the many game openings that involved pages and pages of backstory presented in scrolling text. - An interview with Marc Laidlaw, writer for the Half Life series.
posted by Artw on Oct 13, 2010 - 65 comments

Rock Paper Spear

Kieron Gillen on being a games journalist. Advice from the man who, after fifteen years, has called time on his involvement with the same profession - and a good read for writers in general.
posted by mippy on Sep 30, 2010 - 15 comments

The owl of Minerva takes its flight only when the shades of night are gathering

Gamecontrollers: A History [more inside]
posted by johnny novak on Sep 26, 2010 - 15 comments

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start

Retro video games have come back into the public consciousness. (See previously) [more inside]
posted by reenum on Sep 10, 2010 - 18 comments

A Whole World of Mine Crafts

Minecraft (previously discussed here) is a building game being developed by Notch. The developer (singular - it's mostly a one man show) has been busy since the last time the game was posted. Before, the focus was mainly creative, cooperative building. The recent direction the game has taken is a sprawling, single player survival game, where the player must harvest resources to build defenses against a hostile world. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Jul 10, 2010 - 12 comments

ROM with a view

By combining speedruns with the large-scale world maps from the VGMaps, these "zoomed out" videos of classic NES games provide a unique perspective on the game world (best viewed in 1080p). Metroid - Mega Man 2 - Contra - Super Mario Bros 3 - Zelda
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jul 9, 2010 - 32 comments

London, Seoul, Reykjavik

Nevertheless, many of the gamers I encounter report the same experience of feeling as if they have engaged in some kind of transgression. There’s often a sense of guilt that comes with tales of gaming exploits, as if games were a vice or a character flaw, a symptom of one kind or another. [...] So my cards are on the table: I’m going to offer some alternative, positive descriptions. This analysis will show how video games have inspired artists, transformed rags into riches, given purpose to empty lives, and entertained bored people on a Sunday afternoon. We’ll see how games turned young people into heroes and how gaming has enabled the realization of previously unimaginable ambitions. We’ll see how games can make us better people, how they dissolve the horrors of boredom—and how they can function as propaganda for a wide range of worthy and unworthy causes.
This Gaming Life by Jim Rossignol (of Rock, Paper, Shotgun) is a book about gaming, gamers, and how they affect each other - available in full and for free under a Creative Commons licence.
posted by Electric Dragon on Jul 6, 2010 - 121 comments

A Guide To Some Early FPS Games, Mods, and Source Ports

"Do you find yourself pining for the days of gaming yore? ...for simple sprites and chiptuney soundtracks? Is your computer a bit crap and does 11,000 frames per second sound like something you might enjoy?" A Guide To Some Early FPS Games, Mods, and Source Ports. [via mefi projects]
posted by killdevil on Jun 24, 2010 - 50 comments

Jesus Christ, Denton!

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Deus Ex, a revolutionary blend of first-person shooter and roleplaying game which debuted to universal critical acclaim and which has inspired much devotion among gamers. Its intro video has been reworked for the sake of comedy, it's been modded not only to "take the suck out" (and to improve the biomods) and for the plain sake of weirdness, but also to create entirely new games. Walkthroughs exist, from the helpful to the amusing to the simply insane, and even its music (such as its theme song) has inspired tributes and covers. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 22, 2010 - 74 comments

Wheeeeeeeee!

It's well-known at this point that Valve Software hired the team of Digipen students who made Narbacular Drop to turn their student project into Portal. But even people who drooled over the new mechanics in the Portal 2 E3 videos may not be aware that Valve has hired another team out of Digipen for that. If you're looking for a preview, you should probably download and play Tag, the game the new mechanics are based on, in which you explore a grey, cell-shaded world by spraying paint on it.
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 17, 2010 - 28 comments

Using a tweet as a nine iron

Twirdie allows you to play golf via twitter. Type a word and swing: the strength of your shot is proportional to the number of times the word has been tweeted in the last 20 seconds. A project of Twitter game outfit Local No. 12, whose SXSW presentation "Playing with 140 characters" is available here. (Via the just-concluded 2010 Games, Learning and Society conference here in Madison.)
posted by escabeche on Jun 11, 2010 - 20 comments

Blue skies

""Hardcore" equals masculine. "Casual" equals feminine. It's just that simple, and all the marketing-speak about "core" gamers won't change that."
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 8, 2010 - 128 comments

And what if Chris Redfield was replaced by some sort of self-insert?

What if the original Resident Evil took place in the house from Maniac Mansion? [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 7, 2010 - 13 comments

Roll for mutations

old School Science Fiction RPGs: Traveller, Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World.
posted by Artw on May 27, 2010 - 99 comments

Spend 600 Nintendo fun points to use a Warp Pipe!

If Super Mario Bros. Was Made in 2010
posted by Artw on May 7, 2010 - 50 comments

Oral History of Gaming

On a snowy Valentine's Day weekend in Michigan Sid Meier creates a game in 48 hours called Escape from Zombie Hotel! He's there to judge a 48 hour game design contest at his alma mater, University of Michigan but decides to also work on a game alongside the student teams. He also talks about his career, focusing on his early days. This is the third installment of motherboard.tv's Oral History of Gaming series. The first profiles Ralph Baer, the inventor of the first home gaming console, and the second is about Eric Zimmerman, designer of Sissyfight. Sadly, the awesome-looking Escape from Zombie Hotel has note been released, but the oher games designed during the contest are available here. [via Rock Paper Shotgun]
posted by Kattullus on Apr 20, 2010 - 19 comments

Zerg 'em if you got 'em

StarCraft II (previously) has yet to be released, but that hasn't stopped the open beta in Korea from being played so extensively that standout players and strategies are becoming clear well in advance of the limited US beta. Moreover, tournaments are taking place and, while probably inaccessible to those unfamiliar with StarCraft, many matches are available to watch in very high definition on YouTube, complete with surprisingly professional and insightful commentary by SC veterans.

Despite not being a major SC fan, I found myself embarrassingly absorbed by a monster 47-minute Terran vs. Protoss battle, TheLittleOne vs. LiquidNazgul: parts one, two, three, four. It's an excellent crash course in SC2 culture and terminology as well as a fun watch and great match. There are many more.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Apr 16, 2010 - 94 comments

Games are jerks.

For April Fool's Day, Wired's Game|Life goes over some of the meanest tricks games have done to their players. (note: spoilers)
posted by flatluigi on Mar 31, 2010 - 64 comments

"[21:15] {Hondo} Enigmatic Mapper Hondo is the title of the anime about me"

Apparently, a lot of the custom maps for the Half-Life 1 mod Action Half-Life (download links here), especially those done by enigmatic mapper Hondo, had enormous hidden areas that in some cases dwarfed the actual level. Rock Paper Shotgun has a NGJ-style account of an effort by a group of people to unlock the secrets of one of Hondo's most infamous maps: AHL_5AM.
posted by Pope Guilty on Mar 31, 2010 - 48 comments

Aesthetic Addiction

Tom Bissell recounts how he was addicted to video games and cocaine and how beautiful he finds computer games. Tom Bissell, who was profiled by Poets & Writers three years ago when his writing career seemed like it could only go up, has written books and articles for such magazines as The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, The Believer, among others. For the last three years he's spent his writing time on Grand Theft Auto IV and other games. The Observer convened a number of games journalists and industry folk to converse about video games in connection to Bissell's essay. Earthworm Jim designer Dave Perry gave a TED talk a few years ago about the increasing aesthetic value of games which included a video by a college student Michael Highland called As Real as Your Life, which presents his thoughts about what it's like to have grown up on computer games. [Tom Bissell previously on MeFi]
posted by Kattullus on Mar 22, 2010 - 166 comments

Is it 1992 in here?

It's not Friday and it's not Flash. Eric David Ruth makes downloadable PC games which generally ape the style of old-school console games. He's got quite a bit of attention recently for Pixel Force Left 4 Dead, which attempts to recreate Left 4 Dead as it would have been on the NES.
posted by Pope Guilty on Mar 1, 2010 - 18 comments

Not pictured: line of five other kids

Pictures of toy store video game console kiosks! via
posted by Pope Guilty on Feb 25, 2010 - 11 comments

Cruise Elroy

Cruise Elroy, by mefi's own danb, is a blog about games, specifically video games and music.

In the past, he has covered the music of Mother 3 and its battle system, gone over Ocarina of Time's music in six parts (plus Koji Kondo's favorite cadence and SSBB's OoT medley), described the use of irregular meter in videogames, pointed out the jazzy basslines of Sonic the Hedgehog, and even examined what the 1-up jingle says about the rest of the game.
posted by flatluigi on Jan 29, 2010 - 24 comments

Consollection!

Consollection! Also available in a beautiful hardbound edition.
posted by slogger on Jan 12, 2010 - 5 comments

Hey, you taffers!

The Dark Mod, a total conversion for Doom 3 in the spirit of Looking Glass Technology's Thief series, has finally been released after years (and more years) of development and is now available to download.
posted by dunkadunc on Oct 17, 2009 - 20 comments

Pay me now, my Lord

We've covered web-based game Evony's peculiar advertising previously. Now intrepid gamers are playing/observing the thing, and finding a lack of both freeness and heaving bosoms.
posted by mippy on Sep 25, 2009 - 41 comments

Journey to the Center of the Earth, indie game edition

Journey to the Center of the Earth - or DonDon (?) is an excellent exploration-based platformer game with fabulous little pixel graphics and a solid 45 minutes or so of gameplay. Think Diet Spelunky, or La Mulana Lite. A little more info and hints at Indie Games Blog.

Sorry, Windows only (direct link). F4 for fullscreen (but it's better in 1x windowed mode)
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Sep 19, 2009 - 6 comments

Cobra Mk 3

This month marks the 25th aniversary of Elite, the groundbreaking 3D space trading game. The making of Elite. More on the making of Elite from The Backroom Boys. Emulate the original BBC Micro version. The Dark Wheel.
posted by Artw on Sep 19, 2009 - 29 comments

Edmund

To jump straight into it, what made you decide to make a game involving rape? Inspiration was mostly personal, I’ve known a few girls who have been through similar situations, which sparked the concept. As far as the experience, I wanted to inspire emotion in the player, even if its vile and disgusting.
Edmund is game designer Paul Greasley's contribution to indie PC gaming web site TIGSource's competition's adult section. Gamers react. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Sep 12, 2009 - 119 comments

Halp your Queen's boobs, My Lord!

The downward spiral that is Evony, a web based multi-player game, advertising. Also: The Best Worst Ads by 1UP and fake in-game ads by Something Awful.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jul 11, 2009 - 41 comments

Kodename: Wolfenstein

Wolfenstein 3D, the animated graphic novel.
posted by Artw on Jul 8, 2009 - 42 comments

Resi Racey Redux

In the wake of the Resident 5 racism flap (previously), and with the final game released, one of it's chief detractors, N'Gai Croal, talks to its producer, Jun Takeuchi (Part 1, Part 2). Meanwhile industry magazine MVC takes a look at Africa as a games market.
posted by Artw on Jun 12, 2009 - 137 comments

Hey little sister what have you done

There's something in the sea... and it has a big drill for an arm.
posted by Artw on Apr 20, 2009 - 74 comments

The German-style game

Monopoly killer - how The Settlers of Catan redefined board games.
posted by Artw on Mar 29, 2009 - 160 comments

Dude, I never made it to this screen before!

The niftiest thing at Coin Op World? The mp3 files of Classic Arcade Sounds. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Mar 13, 2009 - 27 comments

Playing pretend for grown-ups

Want to play a swashbuckling pirate, space opera hero, or monster-fighting Victorian dandy? How about a supervillain fighting against alien invaders? Or a mutant snack cake? Welcome to Savage Worlds. [more inside]
posted by MrVisible on Feb 25, 2009 - 56 comments

Professor Layton and the DS Adventure Game Revival

Despite the oft-declared death of the Adventure Game, Nintendo's success has raised the genre's mainstream profile and quality to a level unseen since the 90s. The DS in particular has been an ideal platform for AGs, leading to the release of a number of popular Japanese titles in the American market. Professor Layton and the Curious Village is only the most recent to receive praise from western game rags - but it is the most consistently well-reviewed - making many short-lists of the best DS games of 2008. Featuring beautiful illustration, engrossing puzzles, and a charming story, Professor Layton topped Japanese software charts on its release (as did its sequel, Professor Layton and the Devil's Box, still unreleased in the US), though all indications are that its American sales have been underwhelming. [more inside]
posted by macross city flaneur on Jan 21, 2009 - 62 comments

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