...why bother? That seems to be a prevailing sentiment when the topic of any sort of big-ticket retro investment is broached online. After all, all of these games can be played through emulation for free; matters of legality aside, why not just load up MAME or RetroArch and call it a day?The Quest for the Perfect Retro Game Experience
Sure, G.A.R.F.I.E.L.D. was funny. And who doesn't love "The Pebble"? But with the latest installment in the Monster Factory series, pushing character creation in videogames farther than ever intended, have Justin and Griffin McElroy gone too far? Behold: Truck Shepard, human(?) Spectre, nightmare fuel. [more inside]
Ernest Cline’s Armada is everything wrong with gaming culture wrapped up in one soon-to-be–best-selling novel
From Software left fantasy for horror, and the results are mind-blowing. More detailed analysis and spoilers below the jump. WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE GAME BLOODBORNE. IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THIS YET AND WOULD LIKE TO, IT SPOILS SOME COOL REVEALS LATER IN THE GAME! LIKE EVEN MOUSING OVER URLS COULD SPOIL STUFF - BE WARNED. [more inside]
Marsh Davies talks about how games distribute power to players and how power fantasies often fail to work as parables about bigotry through the window of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with side discussions of how violent combat became so common in video games, how stealthy paths can be less interesting than combat-heavy paths, the tension between player power and narrative, and how these narratives can encourage people who already have power to feel sorry for themselves. [more inside]
A prototype of the Nintendo Playstation/SNES-CD may have been located. Photos are here. The ongoing forum thread is here and there is a reddit discussion as well but it in a private group. But a question remains: Is this all a hoax?
As Bethesda is gearing up for the release of a new game in the Fallout franchise, Shamus Young of Twenty Sided considers the writing in Fallout 3. In a five part series, Shamus details the "blistering stupidity" of the concept, the world, the protagonists, the antagonists, and the conclusion. Young has been featured previously on the blue talking about both Skyrim and Star Trek.
23 Games from E3 2015 with Badass Playable Female Characters - Sam Maggs for The Mary Sue
"Allow us to raise your spirits with a story about the liberating and energizing effects of complete commercial failure." After 12 years, and following the release last month of their critically acclaimed game Sunset, videogame creators Tale of Tales are closing shop.
I am Geralt of Rivia, a lithe and muscled slayer of monsters and men alike, and I am scudding around the starting area bothering a goose. I have never been happier and I fear I never will be
BROFORCE is a multiplayer patriotism simulator. Defeat bad guys, devil-horned dudes, giant saw blades, and other... things... while paying homage to your favorite sweaty, bandana-wearing, minigun-totin', chaw-chewin, salty-talkin' action heroes and heroines from the 80's! [more inside]
Barbie Breast Feeding had you drag and drop the baby from the cot to Barbie’s chest where it drinks enough milk that it promptly develops a stomach ache and then requires a leg massage and a nappy change. I assume that might be closer to reality, except instead of wiping a flower which exists in place of your child’s genitals you’re actually dealing with human poop and children can get that EVERYWHERE.Philippa Warr on the Weird World Of Frozen Pregnancy Games. SLRPS
A fan takes a look at the downturn of Sonic the Hedgehog, and presents some ideas on how to breathe new life into the franchise. [SLYT]
Games have the opposite problem: an elitism defined by the absence of taste, or simply by bad taste [...] Stepping into games is like arriving at a cheese-tasting party where most of the crowd is angrily murmuring that cheddar and swiss are always and objectively the best cheeses on grounds of utility and pleasure, that assholes offering a plate of mold-laced bleu are an affront to any real cheese-lover, that brie may simply be too soft to be a real cheese.A Lack of Taste (via Offworld)
Castle Griffinsteed: What horrors lie beneath?
Remember the surprising stealth thing-that's-great Frog Fractions (previously)? When creator Jim Crawford (also previously) and his team released its successfully Kickstarted sequel, they won't tell anyone, and will leave everyone to find it for themselves. Enter the unofficial Frog Fractions 2 twitter account, which bugs Jim about a different possible culprit every day. And for those who didn't back the Kickstarter and thus won't be automatically notified when The Jig Is Up (TM), there's always IsTheJigUpYet, which also attempts to guess at FF2's identity (albeit using a sliiiiiightly different method). [more inside]
"Big Indie" Kickstarters Are Killing Actual Indies. "The notion that 'consumers don't actually understand the real cost of game development' isn't a new one, but the true price tag is actually kind of scary, and the illusions put up by large Kickstarters are having a measurable negative effect on Kickstarter as a whole."
Dinofarm Games explain why the demand for higher definition graphics have led them to abandon pixel art... over the course of a wonderfully explained, beautifully illustrated, and clearly demonstrated love letter to pixel art.
Eve Online: how a virtual world went to the edge of apocalypse and back The video game Eve Online is one of Iceland’s biggest exports and has become the world’s largest living work of science fiction. While rival games have come and gone, it has survived – thanks to a unique experiment in democracy
In what would turn out to be a watershed event in the history of viral videos and online multiplayer gaming, footage of the Leeroy Jenkins incident was uploaded to the internet ten years ago today (previously).
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.)
Game developer Itay Keren talks 2D scrolling in this very visual and nostalgia-filled post and talk.
Renowned independent game designer (and landscaper-turned-amateur-lawyer) Jason Rohrer launches his twelfth game, an occult themed online strategy game played for real money, Cordial Minuet. (CM previously, Jason previously, Jason's games previously) [more inside]
You couldn’t control the camera, I mean. The Silent Hill video games were blunt and herky-jerky—you, backed into a corner, swinging a plywood board clumsily at two sets of mannequin hips bolted horrifically together, flailing at you. Clay-colored, faceless children grabbed at you in the dark as you tap-tap-jogged awkwardly in circles, desperate to regain some kind of control. The world fell silent for cutscenes, PlayStation glory-era wax-lipped women with empty eyes mouthing hollow dialogue at you from the mist and shadows.Why Silent Hill mattered.
It was all really bad and scary, and kind of broken, and everyone loved it, especially me.
In the late seventies and early eighties TV stations embraced the video game craze by granting lucky viewers the chance to play them on the air by shouting POW! into their phone. [more inside]
Why read lengthy articles on the history of Atari when you can hear stories first-hand? Hear Nolan Bushnell (and a few others) tell all about how a little company named Syzygy became Atari, in clips both new(ish) and old; tune in for four episodes of Once Upon Atari, featuring Atari staff reminiscing about the good times and bad; and visit Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of rocket sled land-speed records and the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space, with Zak Penn as he digs for the truth behind the legend of the buried E.T. cartridges in Atari: Game Over with fans and Howard Scott Warshaw, the man who made the Atari E.T. game in five weeks. [more inside]
Steam has released news that they will be adding a paid marketplace to one of their most popular workshops (meaning mod database): Skyrim. This GameSpot article has more details about the specifics of what the new mod monetization entails. VentureBeat rounds up the distressed reaction from fans. Here is the FAQ provided by Steam for payments through Workshop if you would like to draw your own conclusions. [more inside]
Kill Screen Daily has an interview with FM Towns Marty (NSFW), who posts images and gifs from otherwise inaccessible retro Japanese computer games. His images were controversially used in Jon Rafman's video for Oneohtrix Point Never's song Still Life (Betamale) (NSFW).
Retrogaming blog VGJunk has just turned 5, and celebrated with a post about the gonzo Capcom beat em up classic Captain Commando. Over the last half-decade, VG Junk has uncovered a hidden Treasure with McDonalds, helped NSync get to their show and imagined what Re-Animator would look like on the NES. He's also investigated the national stereotypes that hide in fighting games, with his probing look at the fighters of Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, and Spain. So put on some Queen, watch out for Jack the Ripper, and enjoy a stroll down memory lane.
A prototype of Sound Fantasy, a long-lost Super Nintendo music game by Electroplankton auteur Toshio Iwai, has surfaced online and is now available to download. Sound Fantasy later evolved into the PC program SimTunes.
As an archivist, my ethical duty is to maintain those objects of intrinsic value to future generations. I’ve often found that others assume my profession is focused on facts and figures, the hard data from which a census or otherwise lifeless historical record can be drawn. Such data will inform one on how a people survived. As important as this data is, it cannot tell you how a people dreamed. [more inside]
It's clear that narrative is an important part of video games and something that the audience deeply relates to. However, the strengths of interactive media are player participation, the ability to experience content in different ways on different playthroughs and the fact that the content is not static. It's time for narrative to deeply embrace these elements.Ken Levine, of System Shock and BioShock fame, explores player driven replayable narrative gameplay.
Tilting In Our Favor: Pinball May Be The Most Inclusive Gaming Space For Women
Sustainable, supportive relationships are crucial to me as an intersectional feminist, and there's only so far picking up the check at a fancy restaurant can take you. So I left behind a decade of working in tech to keep kids off the glass at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, California.[more inside]
The brainchild of Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team at From Software, the Souls games have gained a rabid cult following over the past few years. The newest spiritual successor Bloodborne (trailer 1, 2) has been out for a couple weeks now, and it's received stellar reviews across the board. It might very well be the best in the series, reconfiguring the dense gameplay in surprising ways and offering up an intricately-realized Victorian gothic world. Tim Rogers has written a lengthy, articulate, spoiler-free (in a narrative sense) analysis of Bloodborne's design - You Are the Experience Points. [more inside]
Quintet were a Japanese game developer founded by Tomoyoshi Miyazaki and Masaya Hashimoto, the writer and director (respectively) of the first three games in Falcom's long-running Ys franchise. They are remembered primarily for a flurry of extraordinarily unique, creative and often surprisingly philosophical Super Famicom/Nintendo games such as ActRaiser, Robotrek and Terranigma, which share an emphasis on literal world-building, creation and invention. [more inside]
Tired of video games with soundtracks full of butt rock, gloomy dirges and electronic haze? You're in luck! Games also have a proud tradition of whimsical, charming, jazzy, funky, jaunty, zany, serene, uplifting, and even joyous tunes! [more inside]
Aurion looks to be a standard and mechanically unremarkable retro action RPG with heavy Japanese design influences. But its design and feel are unmistakably fresh, offering a bold color palette and interesting unit designs. Its fiction is rooted in stories of exploitation and division, and in a desire for harmony.This review of Cameroon's Kiro’o Games latest release is just one of the increasingly visible ways Africa's game developers are beginning to gain traction in their domestic and international markets. Last fall, Lagos hosted the inaugural West African Gaming Expo, bringing together startups, gamers, developers and investors for the first time. Games range from mobile only, extremely local - smash the mosquito or drive your matatu like a maniac - to educational - to full fledged RPG like Kiro'o's Aurion. Women are as much a part of this nascent industry, breaking barriers and encouraging others to join. Watch this space.
Although he's been out of the games industry for years, Keiji Yamagishi (known as the original composer for Ninja Gaiden[YT] and Tecmo Bowl[YT] among other soundtracks) has kept busy with work on ringtones and other music compositions. After contributing to a compilation put out by the game music label Brave Wave, he decided to put out a full album with label founder Mohammed Taher. You can listen to the first track on Soundcloud. (warning, may melt speakers/face) [more inside]
What's the scariest thing in the world? Ask your teenage daughter. Ninja Pizza Girl is a game from independent game studio Disparity Games.
I’m pitching my idea for "baddies" to the Disparity Games design think tank. It consists of me, my wife and however many of our daughters happen to be in the room at the time.… Raven looks up. "Robots aren’t scary Dad.… Zombies aren’t scary either."[more inside]
I’m getting a little tetchy with this unreceptive design group. I ask Raven, "So what are teenage girls scared of?"
Raven thinks for a moment. She looks sad. "Other teenagers," she says.
"Some games make an enormous impact on you when you play them, and time and technology do little to diminish that impact. I feel that way about quite a few games: Elite, Super Mario Bros, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are three that immediately come to mind. Secret of Mana is without question a fourth." [more inside]
Mozilla's Darrin Henein writes about his decision to release his side project, the iOS game Lastronaut, completely free - no ads, no in-app purchases. He describes the game as "a love-letter to an industry". His co-creator is Stephan Leroux.
"In Creatures Such as We, living on the moon is lonely, and stressful, and exhausting. Video games have always offered you an escape to a better life. The easy, happy life you wish you had. Which makes it so frustrating when the game you’ve been playing ends badly. But you have a chance to figure it out, because the next tourist group is the game’s designers. You can debate with them about art, inspire them with the beauty of outer space, get closer to any one specific designer in particular, and finally find out how to get the ending you always wanted.[more inside]
Swery65 is a game designer known for the cult class Deadly Premonition. Deadly Premonition was distinguished by its quirky Twin Peaks inspired storyline, lovingly rendered American small town gameworld, memorable characters, and unique gameplay. Swery's new series is an atmospheric mystery game, D4 (Dark Dreams Don't Die). D4 notably ditches the somewhat tacked on combat of Deadly Prem. in favor of a series of investigation mini-games more in line with old-school point and click adventures. Noted Let's Player SuperGreatFriend has been working his way through the game as it's released, and you can follow along to get a taste of Swery's latest unique creation.
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?
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.
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.