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Indie Ain't Just a Word

Jared Rosen offers a postmortem of GAME_JAM, a failed reality show about game development produced by Maker Studios and sponsored by Pepsi. Contestants Adriel Wallick, Robin Arnott, and Zoe Quinn also offer their perspectives.
posted by gilrain on Mar 31, 2014 - 46 comments

David A. Trampier, 1954-2014

Legendary old school tabletop RPG artist David Trampier (mentioned previously a few times on the blue) created some of the most striking iconic art which helped define the look of 1st edition Advanced D&D. He grew disillusioned with the business in the late eighties and cut off all contact with his former employers (ceasing cashing royalty checks), disappearing with such finality that Dragon Magazine assumed he was dead. By chance, some fifteen years later he appeared in a local news story in Carbondale, Illinois where he was working as a taxi driver. He politely but firmly rejected all invitations to step back into his previous career. This week he passed away at the age of 59. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit on Mar 28, 2014 - 64 comments

The History of Threes

The designers of the hit iOS game "Threes" reveal the complete design process behind it and their thoughts on clones.
posted by empath on Mar 27, 2014 - 118 comments

The proof is in the pudding

Derivative Clicker
posted by oceanjesse on Mar 20, 2014 - 123 comments

Valve Presents: Free To Play

FREE TO PLAY [1h15m] is a feature-length documentary that follows three professional gamers from around the world as they compete for a million dollar prize in the first Dota 2 International Tournament.
posted by hippybear on Mar 19, 2014 - 33 comments

Then the game gets interesting again as you will be back to trains.

Crates in video games. (previously) Trains in video games. Birds in video games. Wall art in video games. Luchadores in video games. Foliage in video games. (previously) Logic in video games. Easter eggs (secret content) in video games. Normal eggs (and other food) in video games. Toilets in video games. Improved women's armor in video games (slightly NSFW). (previously) Bears in video games. Mickey Mouse in video games. Love in video games.
posted by Evilspork on Mar 18, 2014 - 21 comments

Female portrayal in video games

QCF Design talks about making their game Desktop Dungeons more gender neutral. [more inside]
posted by arcolz on Mar 4, 2014 - 27 comments

You Never Move Your Settler!

Opening Strategy Splits Civ V Studio. Since the beginning of time, man has been bedeviled by the eternal question: "In Sid Meier's Civilization, is it better to found your first city on the opening move, or move around to find a more advantageous spot?"
posted by Cash4Lead on Mar 3, 2014 - 120 comments

Irrational Games, journalism, and airing dirty laundry

No one talks to the games press officially. I wish they did, but I get it. They want to keep their jobs. Let's just say multiple people within a studio were willing to risk their careers to confirm to me that yes, in fact, if their game didn't sell extremely well, like exponentially more than its predecessor or "well" according to a matrix of time and cost investment and desired profit, that their studio would be closed in a year.
[more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Feb 21, 2014 - 77 comments

The Wisdom of Crowds

For the past three days, the world of streaming gaming has been riveted by an unlikely phenomenon: Twitch Plays Pokemon. Consisting of a live Twitch.TV chatroom hooked up to a classic Game Boy emulation of Pokémon Red, the program is set to recognize a limited number of commands and execute them in real time, allowing an audience of tens of thousands to collectively control the action as they watch. An astonishing amount of progress has been made, including the dramatic last-second defeat of a third gym leader (GIF) and the solution of a notoriously tricky puzzle on the very first attempt. But all for naught, it seems, as Team Twitch finds itself hilariously stranded on the ledges of Route 19 where, as one viewer explained, "they basically have to walk a small path for about ten spaces without anyone pushing down and jumping Red off the ledge," a grim democratic reality the dedicated subreddit /r/twitchplayspokemon has had all kinds of fun with over the last dozen ludicrous hours.
posted by Rhaomi on Feb 15, 2014 - 101 comments

Steam Tags

This past week the digital game distribution service Steam unveiled a new beta feature: user contributed tags for games. Unsurprisingly, the feature was quickly abused, leading to Steam introducing means to moderate tag usage. The plus side to all of this is that you can now play a game where you match Steam tags to the games they describe! Steam Tags: The Game
posted by codacorolla on Feb 15, 2014 - 31 comments

Archive.org Makes Microcomputer Software Lives Again, in Your Browser

Archive.org is known for archiving a great number of things, broadly classified in terms of the web, written and printed text, studio audio and live music, and video. The most recent addition comes in various realms of software, as outlined by Jason Scott (MeFi's own jscott). But the newest addition is notable because it brings old software back through online emulation - behold, the Historical Software collection, from productivity software like VisiCalc (1979), WordStar (1981 Osborne 1 version), and The Print Shop (1984, NYT review) to vintage games including Eastern Front 1941 (1981), The Hobbit (1982), and Karateka (1984). If you're interested in the way this all works, you can read more on the Archive.org blog.
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 13, 2014 - 45 comments

Cube

Cube: A Video About Video Game Graphics
posted by flatluigi on Feb 8, 2014 - 19 comments

One HTML5 game per week

"As a developer and a gamer I always wanted to make games, but I never actually did it. To change that I threw myself a public challenge: build a new game every week in html5." [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 6, 2014 - 28 comments

How in-app purchase is( not really)? destroying the games industry

Thomas Baekdal writes on How In-app Purchases Have Destroyed The [Game] Industry:
We have reached a point in which mobile games couldn't even be said to be a game anymore. Playing a game means that you have fun. It doesn't mean that you sit around and wait for the game to annoy you for so long that you decide to pay credits to speed it up. And for an old geezer like me who remember the glory days of gaming back in the 1990s, it's just unbearable to watch.
Drew Crawford answers:
See, in the in-app purchase model actually predates phones. It predates video game consoles. It goes all the way back to the arcade, where millions of consumers were happy to pay a whole quarter ... to pay for just a few minutes.

posted by frimble on Feb 4, 2014 - 147 comments

BUT I DIDN'T FREAKING TOUCH IT!!

Do not play this game. You will be dead in seconds. Did it get popular using sneaky tactics? Probably not. But do you want it to haunt your dreams? No, you don't. Stave off your existential despair in some other way. I repeat, do not play this game.
posted by cashman on Feb 3, 2014 - 116 comments

The ethics of Prison Architect

Is it possible to create a prison management game without trivializing or misrepresenting the issue of mass incarceration? So begins a critique by Paolo Pedercini, developer of "games addressing issues of social and environmental justice," of Introversion Software's upcoming game Prison Architect, currently in still in development but available as an early access beta. Prison Architect's producer, Mark Morris, and its designer, Chris Delay, respond in a lengthy youtube video. [more inside]
posted by whir on Jan 31, 2014 - 38 comments

Embedded with London

Embedded with London Cara Ellison writes about some of the game developers (like George Buckenham, Alice O'Connor, Ed Key) involved with the Wild Rumpus, an indie game nightime event. This is a part of her ongoing independent embedded videogame reporting.
posted by zabuni on Jan 29, 2014 - 2 comments

Click here to seize the means of production

Now you can make your own clicky-idle-incremental-game-thingy with a text file, some simple commands and syntax, and Pastebin. Brought you to by Orteil, of Cookie Clicker and Nested fame. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jan 29, 2014 - 20 comments

The Hardest Computer Game of All Time

Many programmers' careers were launched by playing an innovative computer game called Robot Odyssey. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 25, 2014 - 35 comments

Ridiculously comprehensive overview of the Nintendo GameCube's lifespan

A Dolphin's Tale: The Story of GameCube
The company discovered that many gamers became personally attached to their consoles. They would take their consoles over to a friend’s house to play, or they would move their console from one room to another. Nintendo decided to include a handle on the GameCube to give it portability and a more personal, friendly look.
posted by porn in the woods on Jan 24, 2014 - 35 comments

CivClicker

Friday Timewaster: CivClicker
posted by saladin on Jan 24, 2014 - 93 comments

(Re)building Worlds and reverse engineering a flight sim for VR

Reverse engineering Strike Commander. Fabien Sanglard realized he wanted to play ORIGIN Systems "Strike Commander" combat flight sim using an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset (Sanglard on Oculus Rift development). But, after he learned the source code went missing during the shutdown of Origin by EA, he decided he no choice but to reverse engineer the massive—for the early 90s—game (eleven 1.44MB floppy disks!).
posted by skynxnex on Jan 24, 2014 - 9 comments

The Slippery Slope of Video Game Sales

When Jason Rohrer's Castle Doctrine hits Steam later this month, it will be on release sale for 12 dollars. After that, it will be 16 dollars. Forever. Rohrer talks to Giant Bomb about why he thinks constant sales are bad for games. (previously)
posted by graventy on Jan 23, 2014 - 100 comments

An Observer's Guide To Pony Fanwork

How much My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan content is there out there? LET'S FIND OUT. A few highlights:
What I Learned Today, morals to episodes
Twilight adjusts to a Season 3 plot development
Apogee, random, catchy
Celestia and Luna play Resident Evil 4 (repurposed from Two Best Friends)
The best of Sweetie Bot, from Friendship is Witchcraft
Slice of Life, a very well done fan Tumblr
How much more could there be? Well.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jan 23, 2014 - 126 comments

Hard Type

InsaneDifficulty.com is a community site dedicated to modifications of classic games which make them more difficult and complex. There are many games hosted by the community: Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy VI and Dark Souls among others. Most mods are supported in dedicated forums (including installation instructions) on the site's message boards.
posted by codacorolla on Jan 16, 2014 - 53 comments

Making Your Own Fun

A tumblr collecting unusual ways to play videogames.
posted by zamboni on Jan 14, 2014 - 22 comments

Objects in your crosshairs are exactly the size that they appear to be

This tech demo video from Pillow Castle Games (of Carnegie Mellon) showcases an innovative first person puzzler using the optical illusion of forced perspective.
posted by codacorolla on Jan 9, 2014 - 17 comments

Mountains of Post-Mortem-ness

"Last April, I began working on a game. In October, I released it. This is the story of Eldritch." David Pitman tells the story of developing and selling the roguelike/FPS Eldritch, described as equal parts Lovecraft and Minecraft. Includes lots of lovely sales figures.
posted by Artw on Jan 7, 2014 - 22 comments

Designing a Legacy Game

Risk: Legacy, released in 2011, adds an interesting twist to the classic boardgame: it introduces permanent, game-changing modifications to the board and game pieces every time it is played. Last year, the designer of the game, Rob Daviau, gave a fascinating talk on the design challenges inherent in such a game. The video of that talk is now freely available to watch. [more inside]
posted by tocts on Jan 7, 2014 - 58 comments

Broforce is a co-operative patriotism simulation.

You play as 80's and 90's action heroes waging war against terror in almost entirely destructible nostalgic settings. [more inside]
posted by Sebmojo on Jan 3, 2014 - 13 comments

The Hodge-Podge Transformer

They told me this was the Transformer. The Hodge-Podge Transformer, en route to the Ossuary. I don't understand what any of that means. I wish I could go to the Ossuary. The place of bones. That sounds simple and quiet, unlike this terrible place. [more inside]
posted by smcg on Jan 2, 2014 - 5 comments

Enough games to keep you occupied until 2015

freeindiegam.es has posted a bunch of "Best of 2013" lists for your enjoyment. Some of the games can be played in your browser (HTML5/Flash/Unity); others require a download—but they're all free! (And indie!) [more inside]
posted by escape from the potato planet on Jan 1, 2014 - 22 comments

Game developers you should know

Twenty game developers you don't know, but should
posted by mediareport on Dec 27, 2013 - 29 comments

Puzzle Nerd Nirvana

griddlers.net (Java required) is a terrific site for puzzle players. [more inside]
posted by Ipsifendus on Dec 26, 2013 - 6 comments

Video Game Foliage

Video Game Foliage. "Making spaces for games is a strange and interesting art. Not being bound by physical limitations makes it possible to create impossible structures, but being bound by the technical limitations of modern computer graphics makes it difficult to create accurate simulacra of even simple objects. So video games cheat, using approximations to create the desired aesthetic result. Plant approximations are especially hard, since organic structures tend to be difficult to describe in terms that graphics cards understand. This creates an interesting design constraint. How do you create representations of plants given the limitations of realtime rendering? I plan to use this blog to show a bunch of games that choose different answers to this question. I hope you’ll join me in looking into the weird world of video game foliage." [more inside]
posted by kmz on Dec 19, 2013 - 31 comments

A Lost World

In the 90s there was a niche Japanese game development house called Human Entertainment, which was perhaps most famous for its Clock Tower series, and was also the launchpad for the career of Suda51. Before they folded in 1999, they released one final title: the massive open world detective game known as Mizzurna Falls. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Dec 15, 2013 - 10 comments

YouTube's aggressive robot approach to copyright

A furious 18-minute rant posted Wednesday has drawn attention to YouTube's new automatic content ID system, implemented in earnest this week.

VentureBeat: YouTube suddenly begins flagging hundreds of game-related videos for copyright violations
Ars Technica: YouTube goes nuts flagging game-related content as violating copyright

Any copyright claim against a video immediately results in the removal of ad revenue at the moment the claim is made, even if 1) that content is clearly fair use, 2) the game companies who own the content say they're not making a claim (like Deep Silver, which posted a statement assuring reviewers they "will not be alone in this"), or 3) the claim comes from an odd third party who doesn't appear to have a clear ownership interest. Kotaku has good quotes from gamers who strongly disagree with YouTube's claim that "channel owners can easily dispute Content ID claims if they believe those claims are invalid." Earlier today, Angry Joe posted a calmer, more detailed 31-minute video: Whats Broken & How to Fix it.
posted by mediareport on Dec 13, 2013 - 74 comments

Twenty Years of Ultra-Violence

Twenty years ago tonight, id Software uploaded Doom to an FTP server at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completely changed the video gaming industry. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Dec 9, 2013 - 92 comments

Games people (can) play (by themselves)

Lonely? Bored? Well, the 2013 Solitaire Print and Play Contest is here to help you stave off boredom this weekend (and burn through all of your printer ink). This year's winner is Maquis, a "solitaire worker-placement game with variable goals and a play time of approximately twenty minutes. The player places his resistance agents on spaces around town to achieve his goals - blowing up trains, publishing underground newspapers - but at the same time Milice collaborators and Wehrmacht soldiers patrol the area." [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Dec 6, 2013 - 5 comments

"This is a military base! A military base needs explosive barrels!"

Fire Point is a free downloadable puzzle-platformer (Windows only, sorry) with retro graphics and a cheerful chiptune soundtrack. Use your fire hose and ladder, along with portable fire extinguishers, to fight fires and rescue people from the blazing infernos! A trailer is available here.
posted by Pope Guilty on Dec 4, 2013 - 4 comments

Play and playability

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a MMO to play Mr Darcy in. Ever Jane, the massive multiplayer Jane Austen game has been funded and the prototype game can now be downloaded from the Kickstarter page.
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 4, 2013 - 46 comments

An Illusionist in Skyrim

This is the diary of me attempting to play Skyrim using only Illusion magic: I'm not allowed any weapons, armour, or magical items, and I can't attack anyone directly.
The first entry is here, or you can see all entries to date here.
posted by cthuljew on Nov 25, 2013 - 81 comments

What is a castle? A miserable little pile of recurring rooms!

You might've noticed that the castles in the various Castlevania games, while different in every game, often feature similar areas and architectural ideas from game to game. You probably haven't gone to the trouble to catalogue these common components and their recurrences in the sprawling Castlevania series, but this is the internet, which means that somebody has.
posted by Pope Guilty on Nov 19, 2013 - 12 comments

Whoomp

Slate's Ben Blatt "sat in a Barnes & Noble for three hours flipping through all seven Where’s Waldo books with a tape measure" and emerged with a method for finding Waldo with speed more than 50% of the time. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Nov 19, 2013 - 43 comments

Glitch is Dead, Long Live Glitch!

"The collaborative, web-based, massively multiplayer game Glitch began its initial private testing in 2009, opened to the public in 2010, and was shut down in 2012. It was played by more than 150,000 people and was widely hailed for its original and highly creative visual style. The entire library of art assets from the game, has been made freely available, dedicated to the public domain. Code from the game client is included to help developers work with the assets. All of it can be downloaded and used by anyone, for any purpose. (But: use it for good.)" [more inside]
posted by jenkinsEar on Nov 18, 2013 - 43 comments

"They love Steam, but they also... like their families"

Wired takes a look at the Steam box.
posted by Sebmojo on Nov 6, 2013 - 173 comments

The Fateful Games of Victor Gijsbers

Stalin's Story, by Victor Gijsbers, is a game combining Vladimir Propp's folktale archetypes with totalitarian manipulation. One player assumes the role of Stalin, and with it the power to dictate the rules and order executions; other players are either actors trying to beguile him with a traditional rustic tale or courtiers trying to twist the tale's elements to their rivals' discredit. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Nov 6, 2013 - 13 comments

Chess 2: The Chessening.

Chess 2 - How a street fightin' man fixed the world's most famous game. The rules are available here for free.
posted by empath on Nov 3, 2013 - 108 comments

Prison Architect flash mob

Everyone's favorite prison simulator Prison Architect wins Halloween with an awesome Easter egg.
posted by Artw on Oct 31, 2013 - 44 comments

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