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
Chesscademy is a chess teaching website modelled on Codecademy. As such, it gives a sequence of short puzzles and exercises which help you build up knowledge of everything from how the pieces move to the intricacies of positional play. Sections of each 'course' are introduced by a short video. It's like a well-written chess book with interactive diagrams!
Ring Around the Rosie: Metafolklore, Rhyme and Reason "After all, the story [of Ring Around the Rosie's plague origins] is itself folklore: a tale that was passed on by word of mouth first, then in writing and online media. And because it is also about folklore, folklorists classify it as 'metafolklore': folklore about folklore."
"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]
As a single woman, I received a lot of attention. ... It felt that I was either pissing people off with my bubbly attitude or breaking hearts. All that said, the most difficult part of all was having everyone think I was bad at Magic simply by looking at me—and them being right. This was by far what drove me the most.There and Back Again: A Wizard's Tale — Feminist gamer/producer Tifa Robles writes candidly about her journey in, out, and around the world of competitive gaming. [more inside]
In Lexicopolis, buildings are constructed from the letters that make them up. Construct buildings by typing words like "HOUSE," "OFFICE," or "PARK."
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."
You Were Made for Loneliness is a Twine text adventure by Tsukareta that explores the idea of love in different situations. Since it's release back in June reviews have been overall positive. [more inside]
Gamasutra describes one indie game developer's experience of creating a game (Redshirt) that satirizes social networking, and includes a playable race of 'sexy alien babes' who can suffer sexist comments from NPCs. When a player complained that this was unwanted and triggering, and the developer apologized and added a trigger warning tothe game, the developer received criticism as if she'd compromised her creative vision. [more inside]
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.
Big Game Theory! Board games that tell stories. The Bored Gaymer. A girl likes games. HiveGod's Yell Matrix. QWERTYUIOP. 365 Days of Gaming. Those are a few of the most favorited current blogs on BoardGameGeek, and these are a few of their most favorited posts. [more inside]
"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.]
"I discovered Cookie Monster and the Cheat interface bookmarklets. What harm could it do? They're just local bits of java. No harm, no foul. So I got greedy... I couldn't have enough cookies. Let the cookies run, I thought. Nobody uses my desk when I'm not here..." From Reddit user LivingDeadSquirrel.
"How to play Street Fighter: a fighting game primer for everyone" explains the dynamics of how 2D fighting games work and why.
"But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let me tell you a story: a story about a board game. The Murder, She Wrote board game. You didn't know such a thing existed? Neither did I, before my friend Sarah brought it one summer to camp. (For the sake of clarity: I mean camp in the upstate New York sense, i.e., a small un-insulated cottage on a freshwater lake that has a preponderance of mismatched glasses and forks with wonky tines and maybe exposed studs but is the greatest place to family-vacation on earth.) Sarah and I met in day care, and had been friends for years—but this year, when she came to visit, she unknowingly brought the one thing that would enflame my jealousy." [more inside]
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]
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]
Competitive board gamers are a serious lot. Perhaps none are more serious than the players of the most ruthless and harrowing board game of all: Diplomacy.
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.
Tired of grinding your way through overly-complicated RPGs? Looking for a game where user input is kept to an absolute minimum? If so, One Tap Quest is the game for you.
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]
Never Alone is an upcoming puzzle adventure game featuring a young Iñupiaq protagonist and her arctic fox companion, whose breathtaking trailer has been causing some buzz. It is the debut production of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council's Upper One Games, the first Native American owned games company. The game draws on Alaskan folklore and was developed in collaboration with elders, storytellers, and E-Line Media, a Seattle-based publisher of educational games.
Introducing a perfect Metafilter storm: Ponyroguelike 0.9.4.
"Work is a large component of many types of game. The professional chess player competing in a tournament game does not have the carefree, leisurely attitude sometimes implied by the term “playing”: she is performing massive amounts of cognitive work. Similarly with poker players or tennis players: they are not merely fooling around but labouring mightily. [...] But videogames seem more and more to resemble work in a different sense: working for the Man ." [Previously]
So you can get 4096 in 2048, and you're an old hand at Flappy Bird, but can you beat... Flappy48? (requires unity)
Digger is a classic IBM PC game from 1983 made by Windmill Software. You can play it online via HTML5, online via Java or download a version for platforms both common and obscure. More ports are on the Links page. [more inside]
"Naturally, the record for the largest and most costly single engagement in EVE history was expected to stand for some time. It didn’t."
The Red Road flats have been a feature of the Glasgow skyline for 50 years and inspired an award winning film. They will make their final contribution to posterity on 23 July when they will be blown-up as part of the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
London to Amsterdam, Saint Petersburg and Tokyo to New York, well known historical paintings of city scenes around the world superimposed on to Google Street View by Halley Docherty (whose username is shystone on Reddit) | Google Street View Paintings by Raul Moyado Sandoval that he calls Metapanoramas | Also Paintings as Google Street View Maps via Lileks' wonderful Lint. [more inside]
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.
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]
The designers of the hit iOS game "Threes" reveal the complete design process behind it and their thoughts on clones.
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.
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.
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?"
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]
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.
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
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.
"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]
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.
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.
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]