Mass Effect: Andromeda [YouTube] The journey to Andromeda begins now. Navigate the uncharted reaches of the Andromeda Galaxy to unravel its mysteries, discover vivid alien worlds, and lead the charge to find a new home among the stars. How far will you go to become humanity’s hero? [more inside]
An electric company, a college dropout, a DOG, a Bohemian musician, an up and coming artist, spies, robots, Aliens™ and "Erotic Space Adventures": The (Early) History of Squaresoft [more inside]
Diving Into One Dishonored 2 Player's Obsession With “Explosive Orgies” [PC Gamer] “Videogames aren't just for entertainment, they are also the foundation for scientific research. For years players have been asking questions like "How many tanks does it take to stop the train in GTA 5?" [YouTube] or "How many people can I lure into a pool of electrified water?" [YouTube] You know, the difficult inquiries that really further us as a species. But sometimes science goes too far, as might be the case with one player and their obsession with "explosive orgies." What started as a little joke has spiralled into a madness to test the limits of what Dishonored 2's physics engine can handle. His name is 'Fattydude66' and he originally posted a screenshot to Reddit entitled "Is this one of the orgies the Duke loves so much?" It was a morbid jab at Luca Abele, the Duke of Serkonos, an oppressive ruler who offhandedly mentions a certain affinity for orgies during Dishonored 2's story. Fattydude66 was so committed to his joke that he spent an hour piling up 80 unconscious bodies, four dead ones, and two wolfhound. But that's where things got a wee bit dark. [.gif]”
“If there’s a bathroom, there should be a toilet. And if there’s a toilet, it should flush. It’s these little pieces of seemingly pointless interactivity that maintain the illusion of being inside a functional other place, not just a place-shaped box.” - What virtual toilets can teach us about the art of game design
Doom Composer Mick Gordon: A Chat About Dissonance, Making Music Responsive, and How Doom 2016 Ended Up Getting a Metal Soundtrack. [PC Gamer] “Back when Bethesda and id Software were making announcements about the recently rebooted Doom [wiki], one of the hints that it might end up decent was confirmation that Mick Gordon was onboard to compose the soundtrack [YouTube]. His work on Wolfenstein: The New Order and Killer Instinct is cherished among those games’ playerbases, and the intensity of both owe a lot to his anarchic (but still impressively subtle, when it needs to be) approach to getting visuals and music swinging to the same beat. Based in Australia, Gordon’s been around for a while. He’s worked on two Need For Speed games, as well as Shift 2 Unleashed and ShootMania Storm, to name a few examples. Currently he’s working with Arkane Studios on its Prey reboot, which—as he relates below—will mark a departure from his recent, foot-to-the-floor audio rampages.” [Previously.]
Today I present to you time-lapses of background art from a Sierra On-Line classic The Colonel's Bequest. Until the VGA era Sierra stored background art for their games in a vector format, which allows for it to be displayed step by step to essentially see how it was created by the artists. Please enjoy this gorgeous, dark, and detailed art set to the beautiful MT-32 music from the game.
Overwatch and Dark Souls 3 win big at this year's Golden Joystick Awards. As does The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine. [PC Gamer] “The winners of the 2016 Golden Joystick Awards [YouTube] have been revealed, with the coveted Ultimate Game of the Year title going to the grossly incandescent Dark Souls 3. Elsewhere, Overwatch took home the most awards of the evening, including Best Original Game, Best Multiplayer Game, Competitive Game of the Year, Best Gaming Moment, and PC Game of the Year.” [more inside]
There's a fairly well-established pattern of events that surround MMOs transitioning to a free-to-play model. First, the existing players freak out and try desperately to convince the game studio not to do it. Then the articles about the death of that MMO begin appearing in the gaming press. Then the studio insists that "no, no, everything's fine." Then the layoffs and server shutdowns begin. So why is it that when EVE Online developer CCP announced that they were going F2P, it was met by near-universal enthusiasm from the player base? Well, EVE has always been a little different. [more inside]
To coincide with the release of the NES Classic, Nintendo has published a small trove of NES instruction manual scans. (Make sure to click "printed manual.") via
The most ridiculous patch notes from 10 years of Dwarf Fortress. Here's how DF plays these days with some addons.
There are no straight women in RimWorld, as in, there are no women only attracted to men. Instead, every single non-gay woman in the game has some chance of being attracted to another woman. As for the men, it works a little differently. - RockPaperShotgun takes a look at the code for RimWorld and how it defines gender roles.
SAG-AFTRA, an actors’ union, represents a number of voice actors in video games. And on October 21st, they went on strike against video game employers: Activision, Take 2, Electronic Arts, WB Games, and several talent agencies, including Blindlight, Disney, and VoiceWorks. They've been tweeting with #PerformanceMatters since before the strike started. [more inside]
You have been invited to visit a haunted mansion owned by a ghost named Spooky. Can you survive all 1,000 rooms of jump scares? Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion is a free (Steam and Indie DB) 2.5D FPS puzzle survival horror game. Despite its cute exterior, there's more to Spooky's house than meets the eye. [more inside]
Google researcher Elie Bursztein leads their anti-abuse research team. He sometimes posts articles of extreme interest to game players and computer security people. Such as using machine learning to predict Hearthstone decks: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3. His list of publications leads to a wealth of interesting information, for people of various technical inclinations! [more inside]
At the end of the process I ended up with a stack of 3.5” floppies, so I bought an external floppy drive to see if there was anything on them worth saving. Mostly they held back-ups of old manuscripts and story fragments from before I joined Valve, but on one disk I found several documents from the summer of 1998, late in Half-Life 1’s development, when I’d been working on the game for a year. - Novelist Marc Laidlaw unearths his notes from his time at the Lambda Complex, including an extensive piece on writing Half Life and afterthoughts on having shipped it.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of Konami's iconic horror series Castlevania, USGamer has put together a retrospective of the series' history and influence and the AV Club has picked it's favorite songs from the soundtrack (YouTube link). If you want a trip down memory lane, VG Junk has a loving review of the first game, Dracula X, and a collection of Symphony of the Night ephemera. Or refresh yourself on what made the series so mechanically great with Tim Rogers essay In Praise of Sticky Friction.
Duckfeed.tv is a frighteningly prolific videogame and pop culture podcast network founded by Gary Butterfield and Kole Ross. Though best known for the Dark Souls/Bloodborne podcast Bonefireside Chat and the 'video game bookclub' Watch Out For Fireballs, the network also includes shows about bad games, D&D monsters and 90s music videos. Duckfeed has so many ideas for podcasts they even have a podcast devoted to podcast ideas. The network also hosts sites like Hex Crank (Kole's survival horror blog) and the inevitable Youtube and Twitch channels.
Psygnosis Amiga Game Generator by Boing Boing's Rob Beschizza. Using an assortment of paintings by Roger Dean and a few exotic typefaces, now you can generate the cover of your own technical marvel for the Amiga 500. Hit generate, or tweak your own using the direct link. (via).
Video games, of course, are lousy with taverns, and in taverns you will invariably encounter bards. Some are kind of lousy, some are really quite good, some won't stop singing about you, and a few might even be trying to kill you. If there's no bard around, you can make some music yourself! Grab a guitar (or a lute I guess) and a few of your friends. Sure, a few murder ballads might be nice while you drain a pint, but don't forget you can also sing while you work!
Now is a great time to get into 2D fighting games, with major recent releases like Street Fighter V and The King of Fighters XIV. It's not immediately obvious that, at their heart, they're about controlling space, so it's easy for beginners to not even understand even the basic gameplan. This series of tutorial videos for Street Fighter will teach you the fundamentals of how the genre works. Feeling a little more ambitious? Want something a little faster, looser, and more exciting than Street Fighter? Why not check out DandyJ's Beginner's Incomplete Guide to KOF (and part 2) and learn the fundamentals of King of Fighters, a series that, by the video's own admission, you probably aren't familiar with if you're from an English-speaking country.
The State of PC Piracy in 2016 [PC Gamer] “Piracy seems like it should be so simple, right? Stealing games is wrong. The end. But piracy is one of the most charged, complex, and divisive debates in gaming. Follow a piracy discussion long enough and it will spiral through issues as complicated as international economic policy, the concept of 'ownership' for digital property, game preservation, and the principle of the PC as an unrestricted technology platform. Piracy in 2016, the age of digital distribution, indie gaming, and Steam’s dominance, is a different animal from the PC piracy of 1990 or 2000 or 2010. Unlicensed software distribution is just as illegal as it was when Don’t Copy That Floppy was a meaningful anti-piracy strategy, but our own understanding of the crime and its motivations haven’t kept pace with technology.” [more inside]
Jimmy Maher of The Digital Antiquarian tells the story of Sierra Entertainment's gamble on the MS-DOS/IMB platform shaped PC gaming as we know it: from creating the first game with a cinematic score (and later helping to make the Sound Blaster a standard feature of home PCs); to pioneering the genre of adventure games with rich storytelling; to a female-friendly marketing and design strategy that was decades ahead of its time.
BeamNG.drive is "a dynamic soft-body physics vehicle simulator capable of doing just about anything." Nick Robinson and Griffin McElroy are two guys who looked at that description and thought "...anything?" Welcome to CAR BOYS! (Currently there are only four episodes of this, but I hope and dream that there will be dozens or hundreds more.)
Jason M. Yu analyzes music from Cave Story, Undertale (Part 1, Part 2), and Chrono Trigger at a friendly, hand-holding pace. (Major spoilers for Undertale!) [more inside]
On December 8, 2013, a tiny video game studio called Hello Games announced No Man’s Sky [previously], a first-person space adventure game of exploration, combat, trade, and survival, whose environments would be entirely procedurally generated and functionally infinite. The game was released today on PS4; it is promised to be available for Windows PC on Friday. [more inside]
Kirby Café [Japanese] Starting this August, several Kirby Cafes will open across the country [Only in Japan]. Here are some of the dishes that will be served. The Kirby Cafe opens August 5 at Lucua 1100 in Osaka’s Umeda and will run until September 4. Similar cafes are slated to open this August in Tokyo and Nagoya. [via: Kotaku]
Keeping classic games in print is a surprisingly risky and difficult business... [The] truth is that we've also done a pretty terrible job of maintaining our legacy. We've cheapened our games, to the point where anything older than a decade is assumed free. [...] If we can't keep our history alive, we risk forgetting our roots and losing a part of what made games great. But don't despair! If music can survive MP3s, games can survive this."It's Just Emulation!" - The Challenge of Selling Old Games (YouTube)
Nintendo has shocked the gaming community by announcing the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition, a "new" version of its legendary NES hardware which will cost $59.99 in the US. It connects to your TV via HDMI and comes with that classic NES pad, which can also be used with your Wii or Wii U. [more inside]
Even Doing Academic Research On Video Games Puts Me At Risk: On managing personal information in a risky field.
Users come in all shapes and sizes; some tall, some short, some seated. Since the user interacts in a room-scale VR space with a realistic approximation of their body, the physical dimensions of both the space and the user matter. Depending on the design of the space and the dimensions/limitations of that user, they may not be able to interact with the space in an ideal fashion, if at all.
Accessibility in VR: Head Height, first in a continuing series of articles.
Accessibility in VR: Head Height, first in a continuing series of articles.
If you have a small kid they have probably spent countless hours with characters such as Barbie, Dora the Explorer and Frozen's Elsa. Now you can scar them for life and instill some valuable life lessons about personal hygiene and healthcare in general with gross and weird video games such as Dora dentist day, Dora hair care, Elsa Arm Surgery, Barbie Sore Throat, Nail Surgery And Foot Spa 2, Sole Surgery, Jimmy At The Doctor, Barbie Shave, Cinderella Pumpkin Accident, Hello Kitty Care, Justin Bieber At The Doctor, Pregnant Ariel Injured, Dentist Fear, Ladybug Skin Doctor, Elsa Brain Doctor.
Skyrim Remastered [The Verge] Nearly five years after it first came out, Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim continues to have a very impressive fan base that keeps the game pretty through HD mods. Now it's Bethesda's turn: at its E3 press conference, the company has announced a remastered version of Skyrim coming to PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. [more inside]
Lingerie is not Armor - in the latest installment of Women vs Tropes in Video Games Anita Sarkeesian focuses on the sartorial choices made for female characters in video games. Link not safe for work as it contains virtual partial nudity.
Nova Alea is a small real-estate speculation game loosely modeled on the rent-gap theory. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. [more inside]
Last year saw the release of Raven's Cry, an action-adventure pirate game that promised an immersive open world and historical accuracy. What people got was an incredibly buggy game with poor voice acting and glitches aplenty that would eventually earn a 1/10 "Abysmal" review on Gamespot. The creators addressed the concerns by attempting to fix all the bugs and re-releasing it in November of 2015 under the title Vendetta: Curse of Raven's Cry. Alas, it was eventually removed from Steam two months later after it received some very suspicious positive reviews. If you'd like to see what all the fuss is about, video game aficionado and YouTuber Jerma985 has some great examples of gameplay from both the original and the re-release. (Both NSFW audio)
(Content warning for pretty much the whole post: Body horror, bright flashes, and disturbing imagery abound.) Kitty Horrorshow (Itch, Twitter) is an independent game developer making fascinating, horrifying things. Minimalist horror games that go bold directions and are deeply uncomfortable experiences. Her biggest game by far, though, is ANATOMY, a game in which you explore a dark house, seeking out cassette tapes and studying the "physiology of domestic architecture". [more inside]
While a technical analysis can show you why it looks so good, its storytelling ambitions are also innovative. It was strongly influenced by film, yet some feel that AAA games are already better than blockbuster films. Some find them so immersive, they don't want to finish. [more inside]
It's 1996 and you've been hired as a game tester by Sega's Test Department. How will you get acquainted with the corporate culture? Lucky for you, Sega has commissioned a "trainumentary": This is SEGA TEST
If you can't make it to the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines (previously, previouslier), don't fret, you can experience it in the comfort of your own browser! [more inside]
There are plenty of cover acts, but it's a rare talent that carries a crowd-pleasing repertoire, yet can still make each song their own. K.K. Slider pulls it off with simple acoustic stylings and howling vocals. He's covered them all: Adele. DJ Snake and Lil Jon. Lady Gaga. Outkast. Michael Jackson. Survivor. Bobby McFerrin. Celine Dion. Darude (yes, that song, and a vocal mix, natch). [more inside]
"Although it will seem remedial to mention this, all Breakout-style games have at least three things in common – each contains paddles, balls, and target objects for the balls to hit." -- Lego Bricktopia level designer, Mark Nelson, shares his vast of knowledge of Breakout-style games (previously 1, 2) in Breaking Down Breakout: System And Level Design For Breakout-style Games. [more inside]
One of the most infamously bad NES licensed games ever released, Friday the 13th is known for its obtuseness and difficulty. Still, there's many who see an interesting design buried beneath Pack-In Software's incompetence, even inspiring an action figure based on its odd Jason Voorhees sprite, and it's for those people that YouTube filmmakers TripleZeroFilms created a 50-page, full-color, illustrated strategy guide (with its own trailer video!) for this unpolished gem in the extremely rough. [more inside]