...tucked between the Jerry Lewis Movie theater and a specialty bra shop. From the outside, it looked forbidden and dangerous, two things that combined to point a beckoning finger at me.
Gina opened the door and I followed, knowing that this was exactly the kind of place my parents warned me about."
-- Michele Catalano, on the lost age of pinball.
Gina opened the door and I followed, knowing that this was exactly the kind of place my parents warned me about."
-- Michele Catalano, on the lost age of pinball.
Scott Buchanan is a Super Mario 64 challenge runner who can do amazing things in the game while pressing buttons as little as possible. Here's a 25 minute long video of him collecting the Watch for Rolling Rocks in Hazy Maze Cave star while only pressing the A button one half of a time.
John Walker, games writer for Rock Paper Shotgun, eulogizes his father Hugh and reflects on a life spent playing and talking about games together.
Zelda Day 2015:
- If you love the NES original but are sad you know where everything is, try the Zelda Randomizer! (Windows EXE, requires ROM). Tries to guarantee solvable games! YouTube play.
- Did you know that, in the original releases of N64 Ocarina of Time, if you hold the R button down when you get a certain item, you get a different one instead? Info with more OoT glitches.
- From Double Fine! Devs Play The Legend of Zelda, four parts: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
- Fan animation, "Racing For Rupees".
RetroAchievements provides customized emulators and an account structure to add Achievements to hundreds of old-school video games on the NES, SNES, MegaDrive/Sega Genesis, GameBoy, GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advance, and PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16. Browse the most commonly won achievements, the games with the hardest achievements, and the most popular games. Or if you're more into coding than gaming, you could always just check out the GPL-licensed source code for the emulators.
To avoid spoilers by quoting JHarris from here, "Retro Sabotage is a collection of recreations of classic video games. Or is it?" And they have just released their first content in almost six years to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Space Harrier: To War. Oh, and here's JHarris's hint about Retro Sabotage in general: "If a button needs to be pressed, it's the space bar unless it's explained otherwise." [more inside]
Today (Dec. 12, 2015) marks a few significant milestones for Saudi Arabia: the third time municipal elections have been held in recent times, and even bigger, the first time women could vote, and stand as candidates, though female candidates had to deal with a number of restrictions and rules not placed on male candidates. Despite these limitations and the low turn-out by women, Hatoon al-Fassi, a Saudi professor and leading women's rights activist, embraces these "baby steps" towards more equal rights and greater democracy. At the same time, the younger generation of Saudi women find more freedom and progress in a new gaming convention for women only.
Uncanny Valley (SLVIMEO) Short film of a possible future path for VR gaming.
Gaming for Millennials: "Games such as Mass Effect allow a millennial to spend hours modelling my own face but prettier, something that has become important to me after years of Mad Men era advertising deriding my own self-image in order to have me buy their beauty products in a feeble attempt to feel better. Mass Effect also enables me to go out into a world of arseholes to battle some made-up concepts in order to gain made-up currency, something I imagine Wall Street executives braying over as they have a butler hold their dick at a urinal. What an outlandish idea! How could it be applicable to the real world."
Nintendo still won't make Link a girl, but they'll put him in a dress and call him 'Linkle'. [Kill Screen]
There's is no conceivable lore reason for why Link can't be reincarnated as a girl. As the Zelda Wiki states, Link is, "the name shared by the main protagonists of The Legend of Zelda series." There are many different reincarnations and iterations of the Link character, "each possessing the Spirit of the Hero, with some of them being blood related as well," but, most importantly, all Links are connected by the fact that they were "chosen by the Goddesses to protect the land from evil whenever deemed necessary."[more inside]
Arstechnica contrasts gaming performance between SteamOS on Steam Boxes and Windows 10.
In an attempt to curb in-game harassment, online gaming communities have tried to develop a variety of workable solutions. One of the most prominent of these communities has been League of Legends (previously, previously), an extremely popular game that uses a virtual judiciary of gamers' peers, among other tactics, to identify problem players and mete out consequences. Two years ago, the tribunal drew public attention when it chose to expel a professional player from the game for a year (potentially ending his gaming career) for harassing other players. But is it working? Preliminary data indicates that the system is helping.
On Monday, October 26, SXSW Interactive made the call to cancel two sessions for the 2016 event: "SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community" and "Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games." We had hoped that hosting these two discussions in March 2016 in Austin would lead to a valuable exchange of ideas on this very important topic.[more inside]
However, in the seven days since announcing these two sessions, SXSW has received numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming.
Hideo Kojima's new game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, is the video game analogue of Jonathan Franzen's books: technically dazzling, but built upon a bed of sophmoric ideas.
As Valve prepares for the general release of a divisive PC gaming controller (and Microsoft readies their "Elite" version of the popular-on-PC Xbox One Controller), perhaps it's time to revisit the strange history of our attempts to make the ideal dedicated controller for PC games. [more inside]
RockPaperShotgun asks the British game industry how they would make a game out of The Great British Bake Off.
The making of X-Com, Julian Gollop's squad based tactical game. Many subsequent games have taken the XCOM name, often of dubious qaulity, to the point when an XCOM FPS almost had Gollop crowdsourcing his own remake. Fortunately Firaxis did a "very very good" job with it's XCOM: Enemy Unknown" , though Gollop would have done a few things differently. A sequel, XCOM 2, is on the way, and will show "what happens when you lose Enemy Unknown.> [more inside]
After a long wait, PC developer/publisher/hivemind Valve have finally begun to roll out their big push for the living room space. [more inside]
Here is the new series of video articles started by the ultra-knowledgeable folks at Hardcore Gaming 101. The first two are up, the beginning of series on Pre-Super Mario platform games and on the early history of JRPGs. Related is the video adjunct to the Game Club 199X Podcast, with over 50 videos. (Previously.)
What's going on, and how to work around it. If you play some older PC games, you may have noticed that they don't work after a recent Windows update. They don't work because the update broke SafeDisc DRM. Another reason to hate SafeDisc DRM, as if we needed one.
It started with the Humble Indie Bundle. (Previously, and multiple times.) But there's now plenty of other places to get indie games bundled cheaply: IndieGala, Bundle Stars, Groupees, and, because you can't get cheaper than free, Freebie Bundle and Free Bundle. There's also Indie Game Stand, Buy-Some-Indie-Games, Fire Flower Games, Shiny Loot and GreenManGaming's Indie section.
Our hero, one of the few surviving, is someone like me. An individual who you’d think would be the first gone — not last surviving — due to physical disability. Here was a game presenting Max and saying "He survives." The subtle message, vital message that goes unsaid is the next part: "And so can you".Tauriq Moosa at Polygon writes about representation of physical disability in the new Mad Max video game.
The New Games Criticism - a response to Kieron Gillen's The New Games Journalism 10 years after the fact.
Here is Justin Alexander's "Jaquaying the Dungeon," a crash course in old-school D&D adventure complex design, for all you grognards out there.
- 1.Definition - Jennell Jaquays wrote many classic RPG adventures for a variety of systems and publishers, notable for their non-linearity.
- 2.Techniques - On non-linear dungeon construction.
- 3.Philosophy - Why do non-linear dungeons matter, how to make good use of it.
- 4. Applied to Keep on the Shadowfell - Jaquaying a typical linear dungeon module.
- 5. General application - Othter ways Shadowfell could have been improved, summation.
- 6.Ways to connect dungeon levels - An appendix of ways to connect dungeon levels to each other.
- 7.Tips and Tricks - Tricky ideas to delight/annoy players.
- Justin Alexander's Gamemastery 101 is further loaded with good GMing advice.
Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015: Do You Still Shower With Your Dad? was released on Steam today.
Here's a list of things not to do in your Mario levels, consider it advice for when Super Mario Maker comes out in a week and a half. Also, here's things not to do in your Mario overworld. They both come from the rom hacking community at SMWCentral.
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.
While more girls are (silently) enjoying games than you might think, many still feel cultural pressure to unlearn that love. Is this reinforced by an orthodoxy about who the "core" gamer is? Let's hope not.
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.
Nintendo's quirky squad shooter Splatoon, which sold 1.6 million worldwide copies in two months of release, is their first real new property since the Gamecube era. People are calling it the game that could save the Wii-U. [more inside]
You are first a wife and a mother. Go to the Doll House. Sexism was conceived in 1971 by Carolyn Houger, (interview at link) a resident of Seattle, Washington. With the creation of Sexism, Houger hoped to “bring out the humor in the Women’s Liberation movement.” The idea for the game came to Houger after her four-year-old daughter returned home after playing the card game “Old Maid” with her friends and made the statement, “wouldn’t it be terrible to be an old maid?” [more inside]
"I do like to believe that people will be inherently good if you offer friendship in the game. ... I communicate entirely through Jazz Hands." A player describes an attempt at a non-violent gameplay in Grand Theft Auto Online (via @TheQuinnspiracy).
"Games offer a way to simulate and view complex systems from the outside, to pick them up and play with them as a child might play with a toy machine, to understand what they are able to do and where they are broken." Bea Malsky at The New Inquiry writes about casual time management gaming, Marxism, affective/emotional labor, worker alienation, and whether just maybe Diner Dash is doing subversive feminist work.
Innuendo Studios (tumblr | twitter) updates with a 6 part series discussing GamerGate, self-image, and innocence: Why Are You So Angry? [more inside]
Ernest Cline’s Armada is everything wrong with gaming culture wrapped up in one soon-to-be–best-selling novel
Diorama Club - a site where you can play interactive stories or use a simple tree syntax to create and share your own.
For PC gamers, the launch of a new AAA game is always occasion to wonder whether the port will be wonderful or agonizing. Some games have needed end-user modding to fix issues that developers ignored, with some games seeing truly heroic efforts from the community. But just as thing seemed to be getting a bit better, Warner Brothers and Rocksteady released Arkham Knight, a game with such serious technical issues (and harsh user reviews) that they have been forced to take the almost unprecedented step of suspending sales on Steam after launch.
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.
It's E3! As various tech companies demo, talk up and otherwise flog their entries in the great VR headset race, John Walker of RPS suggests they may be wasting their money.
AC Stuart illustrates your D&D stories. The artist AKA Noob the Loser (previously) is doing a series of comics based on YOUR ridiculous tabletop RPG stories. Warning: distinct lack of tastefulness. (I mean, it's really nothing compared to an actual gaming session, in my experience, but ... )
In the long history of pinball machines, a new golden age of pinball was started with the introduction of player-controlled electronic flippers, first seen in 1947 in D. Gottlieb & Co's Humpty Dumpty. Unfortunately, this was five years after the start of the War on Pinball, ushered in by New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and others who saw pinball machines simply as another form of coin-machine gambling (PDF) and source of moral decline. Following New York, pinball bans spread throughout the United States (PDF) and Canada, with fears escalating to the point that some in criminal law looked to alternative solutions to the Pinball Problem (PDF). Even though a bold "Babe Ruth" move by Roger Sharpe in New York City in May of 1976 overturned the local ban and other cities again followed suit, some local pinball bans have only recently recently been lifted, after people discovered such laws were still in place. See also: Pinball: From Illegal Gambling Game to American Obsession (VICE short documentary).
You know, sometimes life can be rough. We all got hard things to deal with, right? Sometimes we lose people. Sometimes people hurt us. And some days we're just not feeling it and we don't even know why. When I'm feeling down one thing I like to do is play a game. I feel like games can really bring us together. - Life got you down? Play a relaxing game of Dungeons & Dragons with action star Vin Diesel.
For the past few years, a small group of psychiatrists, researchers, educators, and game designers have run a quiet but intense footrace to become the first to earn FDA approval for a medically sound, prescription-strength video game for ADHD. That’s not a metaphor. They are seeking approval for a game that a doctor can actually prescribe..In this excerpt from his new book, posted on Medium, journalist Greg Toppo discusses a variety of new neurogames and how they may in the future treat conditions like ADHD and anxiety, strengthen skills like multitasking and mindfulness, and reduce the need for pharmaceutical interventions for children. (Fair warning, the article has an animated header image that may annoy, so you may want to scroll right on down past it before you start reading.)
In Japan, people applying to work at Nintendo are given an amazing company guide (2015), bursting with color, that they remake every year. 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 ( via Simon Carless [Twitter], thnx)
"Every one of these sites is worthy of visiting." Sophia Dembling highlights U.S. women's museums and sites for The Toast. Related: Women in Game Developement, a recently opened exhibit at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in Oakland, California. This exhibit features the work of early developers like Roberta Williams, Carol Shaw, Amy Henning, and more — see MADE's webpage for full list and game screenshots.
After almost 4 years of development, Kerbal Space Program hit version 1.0. Today, Kerbal Space Program reached a major milestone, declaring the release of version 1.0 and the removal of the "Early Access" label. [more inside]