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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 - 38 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 - 35 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

♫ Ad hominem! ♫ ♫ False equivalence! ♫

♫ Are Video Games Sexist? ♫ Auto-Tune Rebuttal. Jonathan Mann responds to a recent video by Christina Hoff Sommers on sexism in video games. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Sep 19, 2014 - 67 comments

We believe objectivity to be antithetical to good games coverage...

Yes, we could more easily aim toward something considered more “objective” at this point, simply listing the facts as presented by the developer/publisher. But oh my goodness, what now? See – see where this notion of objectivity has so quickly taken us? Objectivity is now demanding that we parrot information given to us by the creator/publisher of the game, and not apply our own critical faculties – our own subjective expertise – to this.
-Some Subjective Thoughts On Objectivity [in Games Criticism]
posted by griphus on Sep 17, 2014 - 133 comments

Your weekly dose of nostalgia

'I place the blame for gaming history at the feet of the medium itself, or rather the industry that runs it. You can turn on the radio and hear the entire post-Beatles spectrum of popular music history represented as you run down the dial; flip through cable channels on a Sunday afternoon and you're as likely to see yet another repeat airing of an '80s release like Die Hard or Back to the Future as you are something that hit theaters in the past five years. For games, though, you practically have to go digging to find the classics. And chances are you won't even find them.' Jeremy Parish on the preservation and availability of classic video games. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Sep 14, 2014 - 9 comments

Binders full of women

They have a very sexy cow in Murky Waters, the tiny, rural village you find yourself in for the duration of Chapter 4. The peasants are devoted to their cow, and dedicate themselves to her every need, guarding her jealously and evangelising about her voluptuous udder. They seem to take less care of their daughters, who keep wandering off and getting killed. Quick, better screw some of them first!
Kate Simpson is collecting all the ladycards in The Witcher: part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. (The Witcher, for those who don't know, gave the player collectable trading cards for each character they ahem "romanced".)
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 14, 2014 - 55 comments

Poor Dan.

Ultra Street Fighter IV ultra combos without the cinematic camera (cf. with the cinematic camera).
posted by griphus on Sep 13, 2014 - 21 comments

Very, very, very low graphical settings

Skyrim optimized for a netbook changes the look of the game to something completely strange and different. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Sep 9, 2014 - 31 comments

Bleep Bloop

Diggin' in the Carts: A documentary series about Japanese video game music, and it's effect on global music.
posted by zabuni on Sep 6, 2014 - 12 comments

Download vs. store-bought games. Which is hotter?

Downloading video games from the Internet creates a larger carbon footprint than driving to the store to purchase the same game on a Blu-ray disc, according to findings published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Sep 4, 2014 - 55 comments

Breaking Madden 2: Break Harder

The 2014 NFL season begins tomorrow, and with it comes the return of MeFi Favorite Jon Bois' weekly quest to destroy the laws of God, man and video-game football, Breaking Madden. The first installment, in which he seeks to record 201 sacks in a single game with Houston Texans rookie Jadeveon Clowney, is already up. Breaking Madden previously. His similar basketball series, NBA Y2K.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish on Sep 3, 2014 - 37 comments

Ruin Jam 2014

"Ruin Jam is a game jam celebrating the nonexistent demise of video games, inspired by a lot of current events and a certain blog post. It's open to anyone and everyone who has been, is being, or plans to be accused of ruining the games industry. All Ruiners are welcome to contribute to the death of video games, provided that they adhere to the spirit of the jam." [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 2, 2014 - 114 comments

Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 (Tropes vs Women in Video Games)

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). Warning: 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]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 27, 2014 - 399 comments

45 Game Reviews

I could tell you about the first time we made it to Death Egg. I took it pretty seriously. Instead of a controller - there's no place for Tails in the final level - I had a pencil and paper. I recorded every move the final boss made, so we could figure out the pattern, so we could win. I felt important, and smart, and so sure that I could be Player 2 and be happy.
Alex Roberts, aka @muscularpikachu, reviewed one game per day for 45 days, examining the autobiographical impact of each one. All games listed in chronological order below the fold. [more inside]
posted by Greg Nog on Aug 25, 2014 - 22 comments

SORRY, I'M DEAD.

Chronicler of the gross and creepy Bogleech presents a look at the bosses of classic NES weirdfest Monster Party and the sprites recently discovered in a ROM dump from a Japanese prototype cart.
posted by Pope Guilty on Aug 13, 2014 - 7 comments

What does it mean to follow Metroid?

Maddy Myers of Paste magazine connects the influence of the film Alien on the game Metroid and looks at how subsequent imitators have failed to live up to the promise of Metroid's original design. 'Troid Rage: Why Game Devs Should Watch Alien—and Play Metroid—Again
posted by codacorolla on Aug 11, 2014 - 14 comments

A Fish is Playing Pokemon

His name is Grayson and he's not very good at it.
posted by Legomancer on Aug 8, 2014 - 48 comments

DO YOU CUT OFF YOUR ARM OR EAT A BABY?

"When I saw Snowpiercer, I thought, they’re working. I’ve never seen a movie be more like a video game and work. Everyone I knew called it "BioShock on a train", which is good shorthand, because it means you know you can expect an apocalyptic dystopia, with class struggles drawn grotesque, confined to a failing industrial space. Boom! Video games' language is useful!" [more inside]
posted by postcommunism on Aug 5, 2014 - 134 comments

"a story about how Steam, Twitter and the App Store came to exist"

Consider the Holy Bible as a product in a marketplace. It has several attractive qualities, foremost among them the tantalizing possibility that it contains the true word of a being who created the universe. But it has several worrisome drawbacks as well. Like most written anthologies it has poor replay value when compared to something like Spelunky; after you read it once you know more or less how it goes. It features a relatively weak Physical Rights Management scheme; for example, you don't need to purchase one for your household if you can simply borrow it from a friend or read it in a local church. Even its branding as a 'perfect document' becomes something of a double-edged sword; the first, purportedly perfect edition might seem very desirable indeed, but who is going to buy Holy Bible: Religious Text Of The Year Edition when the original is supposed to be immaculate? How are you going to make corrections, utilize analytics data or market additional 'content'? Where will your fine sponsors place all their full-page advertisements: After the crucifixion or before?
Form and its Usurpers is a long essay by Brendan Vance [previously] about videogames, Hegel, form, content, what "free" means, how capitalism ruins everything and what to do about it.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 4, 2014 - 26 comments

The Not So United States of Infographics

One of the more ubiquitous formats for "infographics" these days is the U.S.A. Map Comparing Individual States and promoting interstate rivalries. After all, wherever you live in the U.S. of A., you need bragging rights for something, right?

Recently, Business Insider featured "27 Maps That Explain America" including ones that compared each state's percentage of residents with passports, most overrepresented job in every state, percentage of each state's population with a 4-year degree, number of billionaires in each state, number of Starbucks locations in each state, states' stances on climate change (judged by Think Progress), fast food consumption and exercise frequency (detail in a weird format here and here), and cavities per capita.

But Business Insider is certainly not the only site 'mapping the states'... [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Aug 1, 2014 - 29 comments

No Skin Thick Enough

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."
posted by Librarypt on Jul 22, 2014 - 16 comments

5 Retro Consoles, 1 HDMI Cable

Hyperkin's Retron 5 hardware plays real cartridges using original controllers from a variety of 8-bit and 16-bit consoles (including the NES, SNES, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, and Game Boy Advance), converts the output to HDMI for moderns TVs, and includes all the advanced options you usually only find in software emulators. It's winning over even the most skeptical retro gamers.
posted by 256 on Jul 21, 2014 - 47 comments

Mario Kart 8: The Wii U's ultimate power-up?

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]
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 20, 2014 - 75 comments

You Died. Again: A Review of Dark Souls by Someone Who Didn’t Play It

To be fair, I did watch someone play most of the game. Many of those moments repeatedly. And if I wasn’t in the room, the plaintive “Nooooo” that would echo from the living area told me that I’d be able to see whatever it was in another ten minutes. And probably again another twenty after that. And another twenty after that.
Kristin Bezio reviews Dark Souls through her husband's gameplay
posted by MartinWisse on Jul 19, 2014 - 114 comments

TRIBES. TRIBES. TRIBES.

Before the release of Tribes 2, IGN interviewed the band Motley Crue about the theme song that they'd been contracted to do: "Then this new game came up, Tribes 2, and it was very up Motley Crue's alley. It was high-energy, very intense. We actually wrote music specifically for the game, as well as taking a few tracks off of the new album, and we're extremely excited about it. Now they're actually going to digitize us and put us in the game." The deal appeared to fall through, and the song was lost to time. However copies still exist on the Internet.
posted by codacorolla on Jul 17, 2014 - 10 comments

Tower of Power

"Brandon Sheffield, Gamasutra editor and director of Necrosoft Games, took to Vine last night to show the world what exactly happens when 13 Sonic & Knuckles cartridges are plugged into one another in a Human Centipede-esque disaster." (Warning: 30 Vine videos playing in one browser window.)
posted by griphus on Jul 16, 2014 - 24 comments

I rode my mountain bike over the continental divide and it was so Galaga

"Galaga" is an excerpt from Michael Kimball's book of the same name about the classic arcade game of the same name. Kimball is also the author of the heartbreaking novel Us and the experimental non-fiction Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard), his selected favorites from which are 45, 46, 51, 52, 54, 66, 70, 75, 86, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 112, 114, 118, 128, 129, 131, 133, 160, 165, 167, 171, 192, 195, 199, 209, 216, 221, 225 and 240. Postcards 54, 75, 98, 114, and 225 feature non-human subjects. 131 is Tao Lin, and 128 is Kimball himself. [Via.]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 12, 2014 - 21 comments

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