Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy. Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations. It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time -- an eccentric, richly produced, and incredibly catchy blend of funk, salsa, bossa nova, experimental electronica, J-Pop, swing, lounge, bamboo flute, hair metal, buoyant parade music, soaring children's choirs, Macintalk fanfares, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros. Called a consumerist critique by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi (who after one sequel moved on to Glitch, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy, and playground design), the series has inspired much celebration and thought [2, 3] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
Arcade Story - the co-founder of innovative OS X and iOS software outfit Panic reminisces about learning how to beat Dragon's Lair in the pre-Internet age, but that's not the fun part...
"Noclip" is a fake trailer, for a movie that, for now, is not going to be made, about the incredible power of its characters to defy the physics of the world they live in, almost as if they were cheating a videogame.
Robot Vacuum Simulator 2013 is a groundbreaking simulator taking place in the incredible world of Robot Vacuum cleaners, with additional 2-player duel mode [more inside]
"Like nailing jelly to kittens." - Unloved, hugely delayed and plagued by bugs, GTA almost didn't see the light of day. This is the story of how a small team of developers at DMA Design saw their vision through and kickstarted a gaming revolution.
Old School FRP is a tumblr blog with a ton of illustrations and art from the golden age of Dungeons and Dragons and games that were totally not Dungeons and Dragons.
Chris Pace (some images NSFW) creates 8-bit portraits of people on New York City's subways.
"Peter Molyneux has had a long and storied career. As the creator of Populous, Black & White, Fable, and the recent iPhone experiment Curiosity, he's been no stranger to ambitious concepts throughout his 30-year history in the industry. I had a chance to sit down with Peter at E3 this year, and picked his brain about three of the top fart apps on the app store."
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King is at the top of the box office. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg. Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting, pulse-pounding, joyful tracks alongside the original video (part 2, 3, 4), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action. In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary on scenes like this; his work was later expanded into a full album, the Broadway stage show, and projects closer to his heart. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle (download guide), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups. Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
Meatcraft - Real World Minecraft
All your art are belong to us. Previously, Rogert Ebert said that video games can never be art. And previously, some disagreed. In a recent opinion piece, game developer Brian Moriarty discusses the debate, and fires a fresh salvo. The piece is long winded, examining art, medium, games, and industry. He seems to conclude that games are not Art, but lengthily addresses what may be the more important question: Could they be?
The Sacrifice! Valve Software releases a 4-part comic that chronicles what happens to Francis, Louis, Zoey, and Bill at the end of the original Left 4 Dead. [more inside]
Ice Pick Lodge is a game design studio renowned for its experimental narratives and its championing of loftier ideals in gaming. Its second game, The Void (link goes to Steam), was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. Quintin Smith writes about it in two articles at RockPaperShotgun, first with a review of the game, and then with a piece defending Ice Pick's use of nudity as artistic. (It's worth mentioning that Smith introduced Ice Pick Lodge to a larger audience with his brilliant three part article defending Pathologic.) Don't have the time or patience for The Void? CannibalK9 of SomethingAwful has you covered with a thorough Let's Play that covers the entire game in twenty-two lengthy videos (not counting the hour-and-forty-minutes two-video finale), expertly narrated, thoroughly examining every aspect of the game, including Easter eggs. [more inside]
The Joydick (NSFW) is a wearable haptic device for controlling video gameplay based on realtime male masturbation. Construction photographs.
The Play-Generated Map and Document Archive: finally providing a place to put all those odd doodles, detailed maps, and character sketches that come out of your weekly gaming sessions. [more inside]
Interview with Jon Schindehette, senior art director at Wizards of the Coast for Dungeons and Dragons. See more fantasy art at his blog, ArtOrder.
A video game "based on Bob Ross' creative, unique and easy to learn painting techniques and TV show properties" is coming to the next-generation Nintendo system.
If you've ever wanted your first-person shooter to feel a little less real, NPRQuake may be just what you need. The blueprint and brushstroke versions are nice, but for my money you can't beat sketchy Quake. Unfortunately, the NPR in the name stands for Non-Photorealistic Rendering, not that other NPR, so don't expect Robert Siegel or Linda Wertheimer skins any time soon. (via haddock.org)