The making of X-Com, Julian Gollop's squad based tactical game. Many subsequent games have taken the XCOM name, often of dubious qaulity, to the point when an XCOM FPS almost had Gollop crowdsourcing his own remake. Fortunately Firaxis did a "very very good" job with it's XCOM: Enemy Unknown" , though Gollop would have done a few things differently. A sequel, XCOM 2, is on the way, and will show "what happens when you lose Enemy Unknown.> [more inside]
After a long wait, PC developer/publisher/hivemind Valve have finally begun to roll out their big push for the living room space. [more inside]
Here is the new series of video articles started by the ultra-knowledgeable folks at Hardcore Gaming 101. The first two are up, the beginning of series on Pre-Super Mario platform games and on the early history of JRPGs. Related is the video adjunct to the Game Club 199X Podcast, with over 50 videos. (Previously.)
What's going on, and how to work around it. If you play some older PC games, you may have noticed that they don't work after a recent Windows update. They don't work because the update broke SafeDisc DRM. Another reason to hate SafeDisc DRM, as if we needed one.
It started with the Humble Indie Bundle. (Previously, and multiple times.) But there's now plenty of other places to get indie games bundled cheaply: IndieGala, Bundle Stars, Groupees, and, because you can't get cheaper than free, Freebie Bundle and Free Bundle. There's also Indie Game Stand, Buy-Some-Indie-Games, Fire Flower Games, Shiny Loot and GreenManGaming's Indie section.
Our hero, one of the few surviving, is someone like me. An individual who you’d think would be the first gone — not last surviving — due to physical disability. Here was a game presenting Max and saying "He survives." The subtle message, vital message that goes unsaid is the next part: "And so can you".Tauriq Moosa at Polygon writes about representation of physical disability in the new Mad Max video game.
The New Games Criticism - a response to Kieron Gillen's The New Games Journalism 10 years after the fact.
Here is Justin Alexander's "Jaquaying the Dungeon," a crash course in old-school D&D adventure complex design, for all you grognards out there.
- 1.Definition - Jennell Jaquays wrote many classic RPG adventures for a variety of systems and publishers, notable for their non-linearity.
- 2.Techniques - On non-linear dungeon construction.
- 3.Philosophy - Why do non-linear dungeons matter, how to make good use of it.
- 4. Applied to Keep on the Shadowfell - Jaquaying a typical linear dungeon module.
- 5. General application - Othter ways Shadowfell could have been improved, summation.
- 6.Ways to connect dungeon levels - An appendix of ways to connect dungeon levels to each other.
- 7.Tips and Tricks - Tricky ideas to delight/annoy players.
- Justin Alexander's Gamemastery 101 is further loaded with good GMing advice.
Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015: Do You Still Shower With Your Dad? was released on Steam today.
Here's a list of things not to do in your Mario levels, consider it advice for when Super Mario Maker comes out in a week and a half. Also, here's things not to do in your Mario overworld. They both come from the rom hacking community at SMWCentral.
The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. - Tropes vs Women: Women as Reward. Tropes versus Women creator Anita Sarkeesian on the backlash to the series (Warning: GamerGate), Previously, previously.
While more girls are (silently) enjoying games than you might think, many still feel cultural pressure to unlearn that love. Is this reinforced by an orthodoxy about who the "core" gamer is? Let's hope not.
Fenlason dubbed his clone Hack for two reasons: "One definition was 'a quick [computer] hack because I don't have access to Rogue'. The other was 'hack-n-slash', a reference to one of the styles of playing Dungeons and Dragons." - A chapter long excerpt from David Craddock's Dungeon Hacks, a new book on the history of the Roguelike RPG.
Nintendo's quirky squad shooter Splatoon, which sold 1.6 million worldwide copies in two months of release, is their first real new property since the Gamecube era. People are calling it the game that could save the Wii-U. [more inside]
You are first a wife and a mother. Go to the Doll House. Sexism was conceived in 1971 by Carolyn Houger, (interview at link) a resident of Seattle, Washington. With the creation of Sexism, Houger hoped to “bring out the humor in the Women’s Liberation movement.” The idea for the game came to Houger after her four-year-old daughter returned home after playing the card game “Old Maid” with her friends and made the statement, “wouldn’t it be terrible to be an old maid?” [more inside]
"I do like to believe that people will be inherently good if you offer friendship in the game. ... I communicate entirely through Jazz Hands." A player describes an attempt at a non-violent gameplay in Grand Theft Auto Online (via @TheQuinnspiracy).
"Games offer a way to simulate and view complex systems from the outside, to pick them up and play with them as a child might play with a toy machine, to understand what they are able to do and where they are broken." Bea Malsky at The New Inquiry writes about casual time management gaming, Marxism, affective/emotional labor, worker alienation, and whether just maybe Diner Dash is doing subversive feminist work.
Innuendo Studios (tumblr | twitter) updates with a 6 part series discussing GamerGate, self-image, and innocence: Why Are You So Angry? [more inside]
Ernest Cline’s Armada is everything wrong with gaming culture wrapped up in one soon-to-be–best-selling novel
Diorama Club - a site where you can play interactive stories or use a simple tree syntax to create and share your own.
For PC gamers, the launch of a new AAA game is always occasion to wonder whether the port will be wonderful or agonizing. Some games have needed end-user modding to fix issues that developers ignored, with some games seeing truly heroic efforts from the community. But just as thing seemed to be getting a bit better, Warner Brothers and Rocksteady released Arkham Knight, a game with such serious technical issues (and harsh user reviews) that they have been forced to take the almost unprecedented step of suspending sales on Steam after launch.
23 Games from E3 2015 with Badass Playable Female Characters - Sam Maggs for The Mary Sue
Gaming Your Brain - How to top the leaderboard of Clash of Clans, and how Freemium games rake in billions of dollars from their players.
It's E3! As various tech companies demo, talk up and otherwise flog their entries in the great VR headset race, John Walker of RPS suggests they may be wasting their money.
AC Stuart illustrates your D&D stories. The artist AKA Noob the Loser (previously) is doing a series of comics based on YOUR ridiculous tabletop RPG stories. Warning: distinct lack of tastefulness. (I mean, it's really nothing compared to an actual gaming session, in my experience, but ... )
In the long history of pinball machines, a new golden age of pinball was started with the introduction of player-controlled electronic flippers, first seen in 1947 in D. Gottlieb & Co's Humpty Dumpty. Unfortunately, this was five years after the start of the War on Pinball, ushered in by New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and others who saw pinball machines simply as another form of coin-machine gambling (PDF) and source of moral decline. Following New York, pinball bans spread throughout the United States (PDF) and Canada, with fears escalating to the point that some in criminal law looked to alternative solutions to the Pinball Problem (PDF). Even though a bold "Babe Ruth" move by Roger Sharpe in New York City in May of 1976 overturned the local ban and other cities again followed suit, some local pinball bans have only recently recently been lifted, after people discovered such laws were still in place. See also: Pinball: From Illegal Gambling Game to American Obsession (VICE short documentary).
You know, sometimes life can be rough. We all got hard things to deal with, right? Sometimes we lose people. Sometimes people hurt us. And some days we're just not feeling it and we don't even know why. When I'm feeling down one thing I like to do is play a game. I feel like games can really bring us together. - Life got you down? Play a relaxing game of Dungeons & Dragons with action star Vin Diesel.
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.)
In Japan, people applying to work at Nintendo are given an amazing company guide (2015), bursting with color, that they remake every year. 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 ( via Simon Carless [Twitter], thnx)
"Every one of these sites is worthy of visiting." Sophia Dembling highlights U.S. women's museums and sites for The Toast. Related: Women in Game Developement, a recently opened exhibit at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in Oakland, California. This exhibit features the work of early developers like Roberta Williams, Carol Shaw, Amy Henning, and more — see MADE's webpage for full list and game screenshots.
After almost 4 years of development, Kerbal Space Program hit version 1.0. Today, Kerbal Space Program reached a major milestone, declaring the release of version 1.0 and the removal of the "Early Access" label. [more inside]
Want to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle? Not possesed of a Scrroge McDuck style moneypit or willing to sell organs in order to buy figures? Kieron Gillen and Matthew Sheret are here to help with Hipsterhammer. Jump in with guides to building Dwarf, Empire or Vampire Count armies on the cheap! Doubles as a bit of a guide to the weirdo world of Warhammer Fantasy, as distinct from your more generic Tolkienesque efforts. They even have a manifesto!
Anyone else could have saved her: Life is Strange gave my personal tragedy a score
What I do want to suggest, however, is that far more than any other form of media, creators of video games need to be aware that this medium not only increases engagement but also increases the emotional burden on affected players in a unique way. I have watched films and read comics in the past that dealt with themes of unprevented suicide and, while difficult for me to get through, passive forms of media have never left me this distraught. By giving me control of the situation in Life is Strange, developer Dontnod Entertainment suddenly forced me to inspect my own agency in my life. That has an emotional price attached. This is the power and beauty of games; what feels like an echo of pain in other art forms feels like a punch in the gut when the same topic is explored in a well-made game. (emphasis added)[more inside]
The Women I Pretend to Be, by novelist and game writer Naomi Alderman (previously):
No one in tech has ever been as sexist toward me as teachers and rabbis before I was 12 years old. But I've come to notice more and more how working within the particular masculine sexism of the tech industry has nudged the way I present myself, just a little. I've noticed how, very slowly, I've started to acquiesce into playing roles that get assigned to me. I've noticed how I disappear behind these masks.
What follows is not a horror story. It's a series of moments.
Running your own high-end cloud gaming service on EC2 Playing games this way is actually quite economical – especially when comparing to purchasing a full-on gaming rig. Here are the costs you’ll need to consider: GPU Instance runs about $0.11/hr (on a Spot instance, regularly around $0.70/hr) Data transfer will around $0.09/GB, and at a sustained ~10mbit, itll cost you $0.41/hr (4.5GB/hr) This comes out to around $0.52/hr, not bad, for the cost of a $1000 gaming pc, you get ~1900 hours on much higher-end hardware!
"Things Left Unspoken: Erasure in Online Discussion of Domestic Violence" - Trigger Warning: Domestic violence, mentions of violent actions, physical abuse, sexual assault. By Catherine [Kiran/Rin] Oliver at Model View Culture. [more inside]
Katanas & Trenchcoats! Do you yearn to portray the passionate and harrowing drama of awesome Immortals in a secret supernatural world? Does your heart sing the ancient aphotic melody of ’90s storytelling? Does endless fire burn within you to make an everlasting mark on this Darkest Cosmos? If you meet another Immortal in on a windswept street, do you fight with swords as your way of saying hello? [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.
"This blog is dedicated to discussing games where you play as a frog, but it might also talk about games which just have heavy frog presence in them. The borders are unclear and the road ahead is hazy. Come with me on the journey to be a frog."
"Following 9 months of computation and 4 petabyte of disk IO on a Dell PowerEdge R820 server, generously provided by Piet Hut, and administered by Lee Colbert, at the IAS School of Natural Sciences in Princeton, we determined..." (the number of legal moves on an 18x18 Go board). [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.
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.
Monster Pamphlets. Monsters for all your tabletop RPG needs. [slTumblr]
Reaching for inspiration, Haskel based his first program on the prevailing trend in the video game market: sporty, ping-pong type games popularized by the [Magnavox] Odyssey and Atari's Pong arcade machine. The games made a big impact on Haskel, who vividly recalls the first time he saw the Odyssey in action during a visit to a department store. "I was going to see the furniture department, and there was a little kid playing Odyssey," recalls Haskel. "I sat down and played with him for probably an hour. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. I couldn't get that out of my mind."—The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge by Benj Edwards of Vintage Computing and Gaming, who started researching the subject after interviewing one of the people involved, Jerry Lawson, in 2009.
Face-Stabbing and Cop-Killing: Inside 2015's Most Controversial Video Game [VICE]
"Destructive Creations' Hatred has drawn plenty of criticism for the fact that its main character, a big hairy man, seems intent on killing innocent civilians for no particular reason."[more inside]