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I'm still not totally sure who Kate Upton is

You might have noticed that there were three advertisements for video games aired during February's Super Bowl. All three were for free to play mobile games (1 2 3). Bloomberg Business explores how you make that kind of money (warning, super excessive design) while Giant Bomb plays the actual games. Also, just who are these people spending all that money?
posted by selfnoise on Mar 5, 2015 - 29 comments

History Respawned

History Respawned is a show where historians consider historical video games - like Papers Please, Diablo III, Assassin's Creed Unity and Wolfenstein: The New Order - with host Bob Whitaker, a history PhD and professor from Dallas, Texas.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Feb 28, 2015 - 11 comments

Fan art, reviews, ads, games

Old Game Mags is a Tumblr that looks at the way game culture was disseminated before the widespread acceptance of the net: through specialty, hobbyist print magazines. It features snapshots from the past such as the obligatory fan art pages, covers, dev interviews, reviews, advertisements, and special features. The site has fairly regular updates, and features high quality scans.
posted by codacorolla on Feb 25, 2015 - 10 comments

Stop motion joy: the short films of PES

PES Film makes amazing stop-motion film shorts in which everyday objects take on unexpected utility.
Western Spaghetti (YT 1½m) - Fresh Guacamole (YT 1½m, Oscar-nominated "Best Short Film" 2013) - Game Over (YT 1½m) - The Deep (YT 1½m) - Submarine Sandwich (YT 2m previously) - Fireworks (YT 32s) - Moth (YT 20s)
These may be slightly NSFW depending on workplace: Roof Sex (YT 1m) - Black Gold (YT 1m) - Pee-Nut (YT 1m)
A few bits made for advertisements after the break. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 25, 2015 - 8 comments

"This is basically 'Dungeons and Dragons' for sports fans."

How Madden Ratings Are Made (SL538)
posted by box on Feb 24, 2015 - 11 comments

Godus Ex Machina

Godus, billed as a spiritual successor to beloved classic God-game Populous, raised £526,563 on Kickstarter in late 2012, after being teased in the controversial mobile "event" Curiosity (previously.) A well-received demo at PAX Prime in 2013 fueled more hype, but the Steam Early access launch that followed was met with lukewarm reviews, and the release of a freemium iOS version heightened the backlash. It now appears that Godus may be on the brink of abandonment, in the wake of staff shake-ups, Molyneux announcing a new project, and an admission that Kickstarter pledges will probably not be met. [more inside]
posted by kagredon on Feb 11, 2015 - 85 comments

How YouTube Changed the World

How YouTube changed the world.
posted by chunking express on Feb 10, 2015 - 55 comments

We can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood.

Coming off a successful Kickstarter campaign, Innuendo Studios has released a really interesting piece of video game criticism, that is somewhat about Call of Duty, but also about the problems with reviewing video games; and it gets better as it goes on. Previously by Innuendo (and enjoyed by MeFi), an engaging meditation on Phil Fish, and the problems of internet fame.
posted by blahblahblah on Feb 9, 2015 - 14 comments

Our hero is armed with tampons

Now you can shoot enemies with tampons on your phone, any time you want. In Tampon Run, a young lady fires tampons at her enemies instead of bullets. [more inside]
posted by still_wears_a_hat on Feb 4, 2015 - 36 comments

Club Nintendo program ending

Last month, Nintendo announced that Club Nintendo, their customer loyalty program which involves registering purchased games and hardware, then filling out surveys about them in exchange for coins or stars (depending on your region) which can be spent on downloadable games and physical swag, is coming to a close in order to be replaced at a later date with a new program. Today, Nintendo has posted a huge list of physical goods and downloadable games (for Wii U, Wii, and 3DS) which members can spend the rest of their coins on before the system is shut down completely on June 30th, with download codes for complimentary copies of Flipnote Studio 3D for the 3DS being released to all members later this week.
posted by Pope Guilty on Feb 2, 2015 - 21 comments

games about killing should probably make you uncomfortable

"[...] She kills for a living, and her mission cannot be overlooked as you make her traipse through the maze. She’s not the type to nuke a planet from orbit. No, Samus is hands-on: she likes to explore and kill to her satisfaction. She insists on landing on a planet’s surface and fucking-up whatever network of bubblegum and barbed wire is holding the entire planetary house of cards together—usually doing this so thoroughly that the world collapses around her ears as she just barely escapes. It’s a singular talent of hers." Rei writes about homelessness, genocide, and Metroid II: Return of Samus on SelectButton.net. (SelectButton previously.)
posted by jsnlxndrlv on Jan 29, 2015 - 50 comments

Pixel Dungeon: a gentle introduction to roguelikes

Pixel Dungeon is a coffee break roguelike, one which distinguishes itself with pixel-art graphics and distilled roguelike gameplay. [more inside]
posted by pwnguin on Jan 23, 2015 - 26 comments

"Haskel programmed the world's first video game inside joke"

Reaching for inspiration, Haskel based his first program on the prevailing trend in the video game market: sporty, ping-pong type games popularized by the [Magnavox] Odyssey and Atari's Pong arcade machine. The games made a big impact on Haskel, who vividly recalls the first time he saw the Odyssey in action during a visit to a department store. "I was going to see the furniture department, and there was a little kid playing Odyssey," recalls Haskel. "I sat down and played with him for probably an hour. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. I couldn't get that out of my mind."
The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge by Benj Edwards of Vintage Computing and Gaming, who started researching the subject after interviewing one of the people involved, Jerry Lawson, in 2009.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 22, 2015 - 12 comments

Bloodborne, Miyazaki, and the lasting impact of the Souls series

“On the other hand, I see advantages to having a smaller team, a smaller, more conceptual project. Why do I say that? I get down to the details when it comes to direction — the story, the art and everything. I’m a pretty anal person. I tinker with every little thing. In five or 10 years, my guys aren’t going to want to work with me. At that point, maybe it will be smarter for me to work on my own little idea.” Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of the Souls series of games, talks to the LA Times about his philosophy of design, and his future in games. The article references his upcoming project, a spiritual successor of the Souls series, Bloodborne. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Jan 20, 2015 - 20 comments

↑↑↓↓←→←→ B A

Face-Stabbing and Cop-Killing: Inside 2015's Most Controversial Video Game [VICE]
"Destructive Creations' Hatred has drawn plenty of criticism for the fact that its main character, a big hairy man, seems intent on killing innocent civilians for no particular reason."
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jan 20, 2015 - 60 comments

Stupid Sexy Four-armed Gorilla Dragon!

This video showcases a mod for Mortal Kombat Komplete that switches character animations. Specifically, it switches all of the fatality animations of the female characters, and gives them to the burly, manly main bosses of the game. Not work safe for gore and pole-dancing gorilla dragons.
posted by codacorolla on Jan 15, 2015 - 21 comments

Fake 3D Until You Make 3D

Louis Gorenfeld lovingly explores the mathematics and techniques behind early, pseudo-3D games. [more inside]
posted by gilrain on Jan 9, 2015 - 16 comments

Nintendo Character Guide Revealed

The Nintendo Character Guide from 1993 is a sort of "bible" for for Nintendo Partners to use as a guide for creating media involving Nintendo's characters, and has been revealed by Blake J. Harris. This affords us a behind-the-scenes look at the official backstory as it was in 1993.
posted by dtungsten on Jan 4, 2015 - 42 comments

2014 Games Writing

This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2014. Critical Distance provides a roundup of some of the best articles about games this year. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Dec 30, 2014 - 19 comments

I Have Created 50 Games This Year

Kenta Cho of ABA Games has released 50 minigames this year. They are all free to play on his site, with source. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Dec 15, 2014 - 25 comments

The Fall of THQ

At its peak in 2007, the company owned more than 15 game studios, most of which were part of the well-oiled licensed games machine. It had $500 million cash in the bank and revenue exceeding a billion dollars. It was printing cash. By 2013, its shares had plummeted to 11 cents each.

posted by Elementary Penguin on Dec 13, 2014 - 25 comments

It’s about ethics in video game parenting

What happens when a 21st-century kid plays through video game history in chronological order?
posted by nadawi on Dec 9, 2014 - 41 comments

Ralph Baer Has Passed Away

The father of video games has passed away. Console inventor Ralph Baer is dead at 92. Wikipedia. [more inside]
posted by cjorgensen on Dec 9, 2014 - 36 comments

Bazongle

What if instead of just being the catchphrase that Sheldon says several times a week on the Big Bang Theory, Bazinga was everything? [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Dec 2, 2014 - 19 comments

Game level: extreme

How to play the game of life when you are Black. Mike Sholars, associate editor at the Huffington Post Canada, on what it takes to "win". [more inside]
posted by Cuke on Nov 27, 2014 - 11 comments

Students applauded and were visibly moved in the game's final moments

The best learning games are always fun. Try playing them yourself and see if you enjoy them. No matter how advanced your understanding of the subject matter, a good game should still be fun. I've understood algebra and number partitions for decades, but DragonBox and Wuzzit Trouble are still challenging puzzlers that I like to fiddle with on long airline flights. All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways. In fact, this is the reason games work so well for learning: Players are intrinsically motivated to identify and succeed at understanding the game's mechanics.
The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning provides a basic introduction to the use of video games in education, gives several thought-provoking examples, and points to numerous sites with related goals, including Edutopia's articles on game-based learning and Graphite's reviews of digital games with educational content. Meanwhile, this being what The Guardian has just called "Board games' golden age," resources such as Play Play Learn, BoardGameGeek's Games in the Classroom, and The Dice Tower's recent countdown of "Top Ten Games for the Classroom" offer interesting options for the tabletop as well. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Nov 25, 2014 - 5 comments

"stopped vampires from pinning their crimes on babies and children"

A selection of curious notes from videogame patch logs.
posted by Sebmojo on Nov 25, 2014 - 39 comments

"I had no idea. You won't either."

Hey, Parents. What Minecraft Is Doing to Your Kids Is Kind of Surprising. - A comprehensive look at how Minecraft is enabling kids (and adults) to be more creative, collaborative, and aware of some harsh life-lessons. [more inside]
posted by quin on Nov 22, 2014 - 42 comments

Always on Twine

Laura Hudson at NYT Magazine offers a great profile of Porpentine, one of the most talented voices working in an ultra-accessible medium for crafting new interactive fiction. She also reviews landmarks in the genre from other authors. What better time to celebrate the profusion of excellent Twine games out there? Links galore inside. [more inside]
posted by zeusianfog on Nov 20, 2014 - 21 comments

BE GARBAGE OF CESSPOOL HA HA HA

Classics Of Game, a series of short-and-surreal context-free game videos, has mysteriously resumed updating after seventeen months. (MLYT)
posted by BiggerJ on Nov 17, 2014 - 19 comments

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Far Cry 4's alternate ending (spoilers) turns the genre, and gaming expectations, on its head. [more inside]
posted by thecjm on Nov 16, 2014 - 44 comments

The dogs are green marbles

Writing for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Alice O'Connor shares her favorite excerpts from her collection of the readme files included in game mods.
posted by gilrain on Nov 14, 2014 - 23 comments

U JELLY, CURIOSITY?

xX| Kerbal Space Program MLG_PRO_SKILL | NO_MECHJEB | 360°_ORBITS |Xx
posted by Foci for Analysis on Nov 13, 2014 - 37 comments

"This is it, baby. Hold me."

A decade after Halo 2 (and a day before the MCC), enjoy this loose timeline of essential Halo fandom: Halo.Bungie.Org / Halo at Macworld '99 / Red vs. Blue / The Halo Trilogy in 5 minutes / The Cortana Letters / HBO's cutscene library and dialog databank / Main Menus / Kitty Cat / Warthog Jump (and BOLL's Warthog Launch game) / How Not To Be Seen / Fan Art / Panoramas / The Music of Marty O'Donnell (prev.) / Video Games Live: Halo / Analysis by Stephen Loftus / Who was Brian Morden? / I Love Bees and the ARG radio drama / Halo 2 Trailer / Halo 2 E3 '04 Demo / Full Halo 2 making-of documentary / Voice acting / Conversations from the Universe / The Beastiarum / Surround Sound Test! / Geography of New Mombasa / This Spartan Life / The Solid Gold Elite Dancers / Creepy Guy at Work / Gameplay May Change / Master Chief Sucks at Halo / Another Day at the Beach / '06 Bungie Studios Tour / Halo 3 Trailer / Starry Night / Believe / HALOID / No Scope Was Involved / 100 Ways to Die / "Bungie Favorites" gallery / Mister Chief / OONSK / OneOneSe7en / 2553 Civilian 'Hog Review / Griffball / ForgeHub / 405th Cosplay / Neill Blomkamp's Landfall / Weta's Real-life Warthog / Halo Legends anime anthology / List of Halo novels / Halopedia / Halo 3 Terminal Archive / DDR Dance / Animatronic Elite project / HBO's "Guilt-O-Lantern" contest / Keep It Clean / We Are ODST / Sadie's Story / Halocraft / "A Fistful of Arrows" fan comic / RvB Animated (and CGI) / Project Contingency / Halo Zero / Halo 2600 (prev.) / Reach Datapad Transcripts / The last Halo 2 player on Xbox LIVE / Bungie's Final Halo Stats Infographic / Key & Peele: Obama on Halo 4 / Top 10 Halo Easter Eggs / Behind the scenes of Halo 2 Anniversary
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 10, 2014 - 36 comments

Everything not saved will be lost

Here are some recent thoughts of mine: I am playing too much Destiny. Also, games might be an expression of the futility of the human condition. [more inside]
posted by Sebmojo on Nov 8, 2014 - 11 comments

"Bayonetta Doesn’t Care If She’s Not Your Kink"

Ultimately, I just don’t care what straight men think of Bayonetta. If she’s not your kink, that’s fine. Not everybody likes to be stepped on. But to dismiss her entire game as a product of “male gaze” seems like an unkind oversimplification as to who might be doing the “gazing”—let alone the identifying—and perhaps evidence that gaming desperately needs a new phrase to describe the complex interlocking of factors that occur when players identify with a character. We don’t just get invited to watch Bayonetta, we also inhabit her. When I play, Bayonetta is me, and the camera’s glances are just the “sub gaze”—the male submissive’s gaze. Bayonetta holds all the cards.
Maddy Myers on why a game like Bayonetta is about more than just the male gaze and the problematic nature of using this term in videogaming in general.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 2, 2014 - 78 comments

This. Script. Sucks.

Max Landis, son of John Landis and screenwriter of Chronicle, has shared a 436 page screenplay that he wrote as a 20-year-old: Super Mario World. Via CHUD.
posted by brundlefly on Nov 1, 2014 - 36 comments

ACTUALLY

Actually, it's about ethics in games journalism.
posted by griphus on Oct 24, 2014 - 955 comments

...just don't try this at home and don't take it too seriously

"A hypocrite knows right from wrong; they know they sin when they sin," Chmielarz said. "They find excuses for these sins just like we find excuses to mow down another hundred enemies in a video game. And even though they don't follow it, deep down they know which way the moral compass is pointing. Hatred takes the excuses away from us and asks us to enjoy the sin out there in the open." Outrage and debate over the announcement of the upcoming video game "Hatred," in which players take the persona of a mass shooter. (Disturbing content in both video and company website.) [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Oct 22, 2014 - 126 comments

"I’m actually kind of surprised that no one has made one by now."

I tend to spend months on a piece here and there, but once this one got in my blood, I couldn’t stop. It all started with the Cyberdemon by Reaper Miniatures my friend Chris Fields gave be back in 2004. After doing a paint job on it back then I wanted to build an environment for the little evil cyborg.
-Icons of Doom
posted by griphus on Oct 21, 2014 - 17 comments

Cursors

Cursors is a fascinating maze game where you have to cooperate with others with very limited ways of communicating.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Oct 19, 2014 - 58 comments

Let Me Tell You About Homestuck

5 years.
7,000 pages.
13,000 panels.
700,000 words. [Approximately the length of the Bible.]
Over 3 hours of animation.
Over 23 hours of soundtrack.
15 separate games, in 3 unique styles.

PBS once called Homestuck the "Ulysses of the Internet". Its author, Andrew Hussie — who resembles Joyce in his impishness, stylistic maximalism, and fondness for disturbing smut — calls it "a story I've tried to make as much a pure expression of its medium as possible". It has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring proms and dominating Amazon makeup reviews. But most importantly, it's a rollicking good read, equal parts slapstick and epic, bildungsroman and cultural commentary.

What on earth about it makes its fans so overly zealous? And how the hell does one start the daunting process of reading Homestuck? If you're even the remotest bit curious about this Internet phenomenon, the following is a teensy-weensy introduction to just what makes Homestuck so terrific. [more inside]
posted by rorgy on Oct 16, 2014 - 231 comments

New traditional videogames

Locomalito describes himself as "a free developer of NEW TRADITIONAL VIDEO GAMES", and his games- all freely downloadable- bear that out. "I grew up with arcade gaming values", he says, and he wears his influences on his sleeve while creating his own style. From the horror platforming of Maldita Castilla to the autoscrolling shmup Hydorah, Locomalito's games have that old school feel- beautiful pixel art, music by frequent collaborators Gryzor87 or RushJet1, and a difficulty which is challenging, yet fair. Each game also has downloadable posters, trading cards, box art, and more to complete that old-school feel. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Oct 14, 2014 - 12 comments

"But the Skinner box is still real."

The role of game mechanics should not be the oppressive tyrant telling you to fetch and grind and be thankful for your crumbs of XP and DPS as the scenery blazes past. It should be an à-la-carte menu of options which is opened up for your benefit and at your direction. Slow enough that you can get familiar with each element in turn, but fast enough not to frustrate and limit. Unlockables and crafting should be a way to enable new abilities, not just busywork. Level ups should let you specialize in certain tactics, not just keep up with the Joneses who all bought new glass armor and plasma rifles overnight. Compulsion is just a stick, not the carrot.
Steven Wittens: the Cargo Cult of Game Mechanics.
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 14, 2014 - 44 comments

Visualizing Game Flow

Reversing the Design: The Two Games of Chrono Trigger is an essay that examines the way that Chrono Trigger tells a story in two parts to the player using every aspect of the game's design. Aside from analyzing the game story itself, the authors also look at things like weapon power, player agency, quest design, graphics, dungeon layouts, boss scripting, and the battle system. The essay concludes with a list of design considerations that can be applied from Chrono Trigger to games of all genres.
posted by codacorolla on Oct 13, 2014 - 39 comments

Because "there’s much more to Tetris than simply clearing lines."

Coming soon to a theater near you, it's Tetris! The Movie.
posted by hoodrich on Oct 6, 2014 - 60 comments

"I hope Jason has a bedpan or something in his car..."

Jeff Gerstmann and Dan Ryckert of Giant Bomb infamy (previously) were looking for a more challenging mode in Super Mario 3. How about playing on a roller coaster?
posted by selfnoise on Oct 2, 2014 - 8 comments

But wait...your medallion begins to glow!

Nethack's Dev Team have confirmed that code circulating under various next-version numbers (3.4.4, 3.5, 3.5.0) was a leaked development build. [more inside]
posted by kagredon on Sep 24, 2014 - 89 comments

No mention of the cats of Queen Berúthiel

The long and tangled history of video game adaptations of the worlds of JRR Tolkien.
posted by Chrysostom on Sep 24, 2014 - 36 comments

A little Clump of Soul

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, salsa, bossa nova, experimental electronica, J-Pop, swing, lounge, 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 and thought [2, 3] 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]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 21, 2014 - 92 comments

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