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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 - 116 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 - 102 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

A Tale of Internet Spaceships

A Tale of Internet Spaceships - A crowd funded documentary on the video game, Eve Online. Filmed at the annual CCP FanFest, a look at the unique world of spaceships, spreadsheets, diplomacy, community, and inevitable betrayal.
posted by Argyle on Jul 12, 2014 - 4 comments

Gaming has its own Nikola Teslas

Five Genre-Defining Video Games Forgotten by History (SLYT, 53min.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker on Jul 11, 2014 - 35 comments

Yes, yes, hadouken, but why hadouken, and when?

"How to play Street Fighter: a fighting game primer for everyone" explains the dynamics of how 2D fighting games work and why.
posted by Pope Guilty on Jul 8, 2014 - 29 comments

Super Pixel Quest

Super Pixel Quest. (By Emmanuel Espinasse.)
posted by archagon on Jul 7, 2014 - 9 comments

"Iconography"

Back in March, the AV Club premiered a new feature called Iconography, which is an illustrated column by Nick Wanserski examining "pop culture's most fascinating objects". Though the updates have been very sporadic since then, here are the first three entries for your enjoyment: The golden idol from "Raiders of the Lost Ark", The spinning top from "Inception", and Link's floppy hat from "The Legend of Zelda".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 2, 2014 - 7 comments

Ken Sei Mogura

"The twist here is that this is not an actual fighting game, it’s a Whac-a-mole title, one of those games where little heads pop up and you have to use a hammer to hit them back into the ground. The whole machine is Street Fighter II themed, the moles are Bison (Vega) characters and the on-screen characters play out a fight based on your performance."
posted by griphus on Jun 25, 2014 - 4 comments

Yo ho ho and a bottle of stimpack reskinned as rum!

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]
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 23, 2014 - 10 comments

SERVER SMASH

Waterson and Mattherson, the only two US east coast servers for the MMOFPS Planetside 2, are merging this month. On hearing the news, players from each server began talking smack, smack that quickly escalated to a call for a Server Smash, a 240 vs 240 campaign lasting 2 hours on one of the Planetside continents, to decide the surviving server name. [more inside]
posted by Slackermagee on Jun 19, 2014 - 8 comments

The Kiss That Changed Video Games

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.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits on Jun 19, 2014 - 41 comments

Alderaan Gambit or Mothma Opening?

The complete animations for Star Wars Chess on Sega CD: Rebel Alliance and The Empire.
posted by griphus on Jun 19, 2014 - 25 comments

rising to the occasion

For fans of Team Fortress 2, Valve inside jokes, wacky skits about corpses, animated shorts and bread-based warfare, presenting: TF2 - Expiration Date.
posted by fight or flight on Jun 18, 2014 - 35 comments

How an Austronesian Concept Became a Video Game Mechanic

"The concept is a staple of the global culture of fantasy novels and video games, many of which feature a blue bar of magical energy called 'mana.' "But how did this happen? How did a concept from Pago Pago become part of global gaming culture? How did an Austronesian spiritual force come on board the Exodar, and become part of the life of my draenei shaman?" A lengthy look at the history of "mana," from Pacific Islanders to RPGs and trading card games.
posted by jbickers on Jun 17, 2014 - 66 comments

These women fulfill the same function as vending machine beverages

Anita Sarkeesian 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]
posted by Ouverture on Jun 16, 2014 - 208 comments

#womenaretoohardtoanimate

Ubisoft dropped plans to have playable female assassins in the multiplayer mode of the upcoming game Assassin's Creed: Unity.
The studio "had to" cut female assassins from the co-op mode, Amancio explained in response to a question from Polygon's Ben Kuchera, because keeping them in would have doubled the cost of pretty much everything: "it's double the animations, double the voices, all that stuff, double the visual assets—especially because we have customizable assassins."
Once again from Ubisoft, Far Cry 4 will not have playable female characters in multiplayer either:
"...I can guarantee you that in the future, moving forward, this sort of stuff will go away. As we get better technology and we plan for it in advance and we don't have a history on one rig and all this sort of stuff. We had very strong voices on the team pushing for that and I really wanted to do it, we just couldn't squeeze it in in time. But on the other hand we managed to get more of the other story characters to be women... We did our best. It's frustrating for us as it is for everybody else, so it's not a big switch that you can just pull and get it done."
Animator Jonathan Cooper, who is currently with Naughty Dog and has previously worked on the Mass Effect series (whose main character could be either male or female, and whose final installment with multiplayer also featured female playable characters for multiple species including human) has another perspective on how the extra work could be planned for and handled. Twitter, with the hashtag in the post title, has its own perspective. [more inside]
posted by seyirci on Jun 12, 2014 - 142 comments

VVVVVV: Make and Play Edition

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.
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 12, 2014 - 19 comments

There are those who said this day would never come...

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 (and data-mine) 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 (5min) - Sony (5min) - 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
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 10, 2014 - 176 comments

Pretty Sure I've Read Most Of These....

The terrible (awesome?) fan-fic crossover story idea generator.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 6, 2014 - 77 comments

Who could ask for more?

ShuffleComp 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!
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 4, 2014 - 1 comment

>RUN PROJECT 23

Bartek Hlawka & co. present "Another World", a short film based on Éric Chahi's cinematic platform game of the same title (also known as Out Of This World in North America and Outer World in Japan). [more inside]
posted by griphus on Jun 4, 2014 - 16 comments

It's like Christmas morning!

Team Service Announcements is a series of short skits demonstrating basic principles of Team Fortress 2 tactics and strategy.
posted by Pope Guilty on May 30, 2014 - 20 comments

“I thought I was in control of my own destiny,” he said dejectedly.

This is your brain while videogaming stoned.
posted by Sebmojo on May 25, 2014 - 23 comments

The problem is too many games

Indie gaming started out as games written with passion for people who embraced and loved them. Now too much of it is about churning out giant mounds of decent but undifferentiated product to be bought for pennies by people who don't give a crap either way.

It's not sustainable.
Veteran indie game developer Jeff Vogel says the indie game bubble is popping.
posted by MartinWisse on May 25, 2014 - 86 comments

Dismantling and rebuilding someone else's work

Starting up fan localization projects feels much like amassing the cast of your typical role-playing game: a group of random strangers rally around a common cause before embarking on their journey together. In was in this way that Mandelin and Erbrecht found each other — stumbling to create something beautiful and meaningful, and realizing they could make that beautiful and meaningful thing better by working together. — For Polygon, Alexa Ray Corriea dives into the underground world of fan-translated games.
posted by MartinWisse on May 21, 2014 - 7 comments

“Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock n' roll.”

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]
posted by Fizz on May 15, 2014 - 34 comments

Insert 25 Cents

Revisit the glory days of coin-op goodness with the Flickr pool Growing Up In Arcades: 1979-1989. (A nice companion to Horace Rumpole's previous post from last year.)
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on May 9, 2014 - 31 comments

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ GOOD GAME

Tabletop Simulator is a, well, simulator for tabletop gaming. The trailer shows a number of applications: classics like chess and chinese checkers, RPG campaigns, and games using a standard deck of playing cards. And if you're looking for something with less structure you can set up domino chains. The game supports net-play with friends (video has a bit of cursing), with the option of flipping the table if the game isn't going your way. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Apr 19, 2014 - 34 comments

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