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Angry Birds

How Rovio made Angry Birds a winner. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Mar 10, 2011 - 95 comments

I'll trade you three Creepers for a Herobrine card

Minecraft mastermind Markus "Notch" Persson has officially announced his company's next project: a hybrid online board game/trading card system called Scrolls. Spearheaded by Mojang co-founder Jakob Porser (interview) and with backstory penned by Penny Arcade wordsmith Jerry "Tycho" Holkins, the game will consist of turn-based battles between collectible "scrolls," illustrated character cards strategically deployed on an abstract gaming grid. In an interesting inversion of the Minecraft model, the game itself will be free, while updates in the form of additional scroll packs will cost a nominal fee -- a business model gaming analyst Sean Maelstrom decries as "snake oil." Mojang, for their part, is unafraid and even eager to target an untested slice of the gaming market, and is angling to get their playable prototype of Scrolls ready for a possible Alpha release this summer.
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 2, 2011 - 128 comments

Fatality!!!

Mortal Kombat has been banned in Australia. In the highest profile censorship incident since last year's butchering of Left 4 Dead 2, the new Mortal Kombat game has been "refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and will not release in Australia". This should galvanize efforts to implement an R18 rating for Australian games, though so far progress has been slow.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Feb 24, 2011 - 144 comments

I WILL kill you!

In 1979, gaming company Avalon Hill (since bought by Hasbro) released a board game based on the popular science fiction novel Dune. Regarded by many as a masterpiece of the form, it is an asymmetrical wargame designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge and Peter Olotka, the people who created Cosmic Encounter. Six different factions vie for control of the desert planet Arrakis. As WickerNipple notes in his Everything node on the game, “Instead of giving subtle differences to the various factions like most games, Dune gives huge differences and advantages, that don't over-balance things only because every faction receives them.” The thing is, each player has special rules that give them very different options and abilities compared to the other sides, and yet the game remains balanced (especially when played by a full six players). The game has been long out of print due to the Frank Herbert estate refusing to re-license. Fantasy Flight Games is rumored to be working on a release of the game without the Dune license. Importantly, all the necessary files are available on the game's BoardGameGeek page to construct a copy of the game. (Homebrew game board - Rules, cards, counters and extras - Windows freeware game client and server) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 23, 2011 - 58 comments

Why, that'ssss a nicccce everything you have there.

Yogscast is already well known for their gaming related podcasts and video blogging, but have really come into their own with their Minecraft story-telling saga of THE SHADOW OF ISRAPHEL... [more inside]
posted by loquacious on Feb 18, 2011 - 22 comments

Praise Notch, giver of porkchops.

The Last Minecart (SLYT, pixelated violence)
posted by loquacious on Feb 17, 2011 - 63 comments

Everything you do when you're not on the job or in school is essentially self-medicating.

Emily Short is an interactive fiction writer and general cool customer who has been featured numerous times before on the blue. She also writes the biweekly Homer in Silicon column at GameSetWatch, where she examines games as stories, looking at what they say as much as how they play. She is particularly fascinated by life simulation games and the often bizarre models of human experience that underly them. To date she has delved into the disturbing worlds of Kudos, Life Quest, and My Life Story.
posted by theodolite on Feb 16, 2011 - 15 comments

Can you make it through the month?

SPENT is a flash game (or an immersive online experience depending on who you ask) that challenges players to survive poverty and see first-hand that homelessness is just a shortfall away. Created in partnership with Urban Ministries of Durham and containing scenarios commonly faced (pdf) by the working poor, it may not tell people anything they don't already know, but is a creative use of gaming and social media to raise awareness and bring in donors.
posted by ND¢ on Feb 15, 2011 - 47 comments

"Sitting down and playing a board game with friends at a party is a way more social game."

PC Gamer: Do you still think social games are “evil” then?
Jonathan Blow: Yes. Absolutely. [T]he general definition of evil in the real world, where there isn’t like the villain in the mountain fortress, is selfishness to the detriment of others or to the detriment of the world. And that’s exactly what [most of these games are].
posted by Rory Marinich on Feb 15, 2011 - 133 comments

Wait Until Dark

Modern mainstream video games tend to be about framerates and millions of polygons per second. But it is possible to play games that have hardly any graphics at all: audio-only games like Papa Sangre, designed for iOS devices, being the most recent example of the genre (and with binaural audio, probably the most ambitious). There are others: In The Pit for Xbox 360 (or a PC with a 360 wired controller) [previously], the (sadly incomplete) Cadet 277 for PC and Mac, and SoundVoyager, released in 2006 for the Nintendo. More at the Experimental Gameplay Project.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Feb 12, 2011 - 14 comments

Halo: Fandom Evolved

Contrary to a lot of idle criticism, Bungie's Halo series of video games has a surprisingly rich backstory -- a universe complex enough to support seven bestselling novels, a wiki with over 7,000 articles, and one of the most successful ARGs in history (including a full-fledged radio drama). The series has also turned out sweeping audiovisual work, from the games' cinematic cutscenes and epic music (lots of free previews) to top-shelf anime and the Hollywood-quality short films -- ODST, Believe, Deliver Hope, Landfall -- that were made to promote the games (the latter of which, produced by Neil Blomkamp, inspired District 9). And that's apart from all the material produced by Bungie's dedicated fan base: genuinely hilarious machinima from Red vs. Blue, professional-level graphic novels (table of contents at the top), gorgeous artwork, hours of recorded dialogue, complete transcripts of hidden apocrypha, and more factual analysis, story speculation, and casual discussion than you can shake an energy sword at. But most of these pale in comparison to the latest and greatest exercise in Halo beanplating: the Svmma Canonica, a 40-page, 17,000-word formal treatise on the nature of canon in the world that Bungie built, and how it will fare once Bungie moves on and the franchise is managed by 343 Industries. Discussion over at Bungie's official site, or at decade-old fan forum Halo.Bungie.Org.
posted by Rhaomi on Jan 31, 2011 - 71 comments

His name is a +2 Killing Word

The Dune RPG that never was.
posted by Artw on Jan 11, 2011 - 70 comments

sf0

SF0 is a game played in the real world, where you play your character. However, it's not a LARP, and it's not quite an ARG (alternate reality game), either. Think of it more as an interface for the cities of the real world. [more inside]
posted by LSK on Jan 2, 2011 - 26 comments

What if you could live your life over again?

You are in a warm, dark, comfortable place. This has been your place since you became aware that you are alive. It's almost time to enter a different world now. In 1986, Activision published a roleplaying computer game called Alter Ego. Unlike the action and fantasy titles that ruled the day, this game simulated the course of a single ordinary life. Beginning at birth, players navigated a series of vignettes: learning to crawl, reacting to strangers, getting a first haircut. The outcome of each scenario subtly influenced one's path, and with every choice players slowly progressed through infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Graphically minimalist -- one's lifestream is represented by simple icons, and the scenarios are all text -- the game was nevertheless engaging, describing the world in a playful, good-natured tone tinged by darkness and melancholy. And it had quite a pedigree; developer and psychology PhD Peter Favaro interviewed hundreds of people on their most memorable life experiences to generate the game's 1,200 pages of material. Unfortunately for Dr. Favaro, the game didn't sell very well. But it lives on through the web -- PlayAlterEgo.com offers a full copy of the game free to play in your browser, and the same port is available as a $5 app for iPhone and Android. More: Port discussion group - Wishlist - Vintage review - Original game manual (text or scans)
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 31, 2010 - 46 comments

It's Chinatown

Videogames reach the uncanny valley with the facial animations (yt video) in Rockstar's L.A. Noir, their 1940s Los Angeles set detective game.
posted by Artw on Dec 18, 2010 - 77 comments

The Decline and Fall of an Ultra Rich Online Gaming Empire

After starring in First Kid with the immortal Sinbad, Brock Pierce was left wondering what to do with the rest of his life. He decided to set out and make his fortune accumulating and selling items in EverQuest and World of Warcraft.
posted by reenum on Dec 10, 2010 - 54 comments

Words of Warcraft

This week the BBC broadcast a Panorama special (UK only link, YouTube links here and here) on what it presented as the alarming rise of game addiction. Thoughtful responses from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EDGE, both of whom point out a number of problems with it.
posted by Artw on Dec 8, 2010 - 20 comments

The Warlocks of Firetop Mountain

An Illustrated History of Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy - Jackson and Livingstone - audio, sans illustrations. The story of how Steve Jackson (not that Steve Jackson) and Ian Livingstone kickstarted tabletop roleplaying in the UK and founded a gaming behemoth that is very different today.
posted by Artw on Nov 25, 2010 - 42 comments

Unreal Estate

Man sells virtual space station for $635,000 in Entropia. Previously, same man buys virtual spacestation for $100.000.
posted by meech on Nov 18, 2010 - 49 comments

So what are you complaining for? "The Forza scoreboard's been reset!" Shut up and improve your Gamerscore before you get the dreaded Red Ring of Death.

Dan Bull waxes poetic on 20 odd years of gaming.
posted by juv3nal on Nov 8, 2010 - 15 comments

Please Reject Me!

Rejection Therapy is the real life game with one rule: YOU MUST BE REJECTED BY ANOTHER PERSON AT LEAST ONCE, EVERY SINGLE DAY. [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri on Nov 3, 2010 - 63 comments

Your new corporate home and personal hell

Synergon is a fully-playable ruleset for BLARPing (Business Live-Action Role-Playing).
posted by BitterOldPunk on Nov 3, 2010 - 21 comments

Space Funeral

Space Funeral is a short surrealist freeware RPG.
posted by LSK on Nov 2, 2010 - 24 comments

Welcome to Silicon Valley

"I’ve never been so frustrated by something that I wanted to be excited about, and where I wanted to see the light bulbs go off, and just hearing (to my ears) empty, meaningless, self-referential chatter."
This year's buzz word in the Valley is "gamificaton." [more inside]
posted by victors on Oct 19, 2010 - 51 comments

A Cthuluvian perspective on lolcats

The biggest literary influence on my approach to game design, however, was one of the writers I worshipped as a teenager: Alice Sheldon, aka James Tiptree, Jr. Tiptree had one particular recommendation for starting a story: “Start from the end and preferably 5,000 feet underground on a dark day and then don’t tell them.” This is precisely how we begin Half-Life. It was a deliberate antidote to the many game openings that involved pages and pages of backstory presented in scrolling text. - An interview with Marc Laidlaw, writer for the Half Life series.
posted by Artw on Oct 13, 2010 - 65 comments

But this addiction doesn't kill you

A long moment passes. "Watch yourself," he adds finally. "Our family's got a gene in them, that addict's gene. I'm just happy you never seemed to get it." Thoughts on gaming and addiction.
posted by BurN_ on Oct 8, 2010 - 29 comments

One side to every story.

EA bows to pressure, removes Taliban from Medal of Honor multiplayer game [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Oct 1, 2010 - 40 comments

Rock Paper Spear

Kieron Gillen on being a games journalist. Advice from the man who, after fifteen years, has called time on his involvement with the same profession - and a good read for writers in general.
posted by mippy on Sep 30, 2010 - 15 comments

The owl of Minerva takes its flight only when the shades of night are gathering

Gamecontrollers: A History [more inside]
posted by johnny novak on Sep 26, 2010 - 15 comments

I hate sewers.

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]
posted by kbanas on Sep 22, 2010 - 15 comments

Build it and they will come

PC Gamer: Do you have a good sense of piracy rates with Steam games?
Gabe Newell: They’re low enough that we don’t really spend any time on it.

Gabe Newell on Steam, piracy and DRM, part of PC Gamer's Valve Week.
posted by Artw on Sep 15, 2010 - 153 comments

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start

Retro video games have come back into the public consciousness. (See previously) [more inside]
posted by reenum on Sep 10, 2010 - 18 comments

The best FPPs are the ones that eat up 12 hours of your life

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]
posted by Rory Marinich on Sep 6, 2010 - 43 comments

The Story of Oilfurnace

A second illustrated tale of Dwarf Fortress has appeared, the saga of Oilfurnace. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 6, 2010 - 65 comments

Charity game "Chime" launched for PC, featuring guest vocals by GLaDOS

While controversy erupts again over the corrupting influence of video games, some developers are working on projects it is very hard to get angry about. Chime, an XBox game to be released for PC tomorrow, is one such project. [more inside]
posted by DNye on Sep 5, 2010 - 18 comments

Medal of Honor video game sales banned by US military

EA's new Medal of Honor video game allows players to take the role of Taliban insurgents killing American troops. In response, the US military has banned sales of the game on all military bases, including in privately run businesses (such as GameStop) present on bases. Military members (who game) don't seem too happy about the decision here. (More military member comments, some pro, some against, can be found here.) You can watch someone playing as a Taliban insurgent here. (Warning: MoH gameplay is rated 'M' for mature.)
posted by GnomeChompsky on Sep 4, 2010 - 90 comments

These tunnels go down forever

One of the better online random dungeon generators out there. Scroll down a bit to see it. You can change the size and learn more about it from the home page. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 5, 2010 - 80 comments

How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

Graphic Adventures is a 500 page book about the classic adventure games. It's available through Amazon and Lulu, but is also free to download and read. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Aug 3, 2010 - 32 comments

A Whole World of Mine Crafts

Minecraft (previously discussed here) is a building game being developed by Notch. The developer (singular - it's mostly a one man show) has been busy since the last time the game was posted. Before, the focus was mainly creative, cooperative building. The recent direction the game has taken is a sprawling, single player survival game, where the player must harvest resources to build defenses against a hostile world. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Jul 10, 2010 - 12 comments

ROM with a view

By combining speedruns with the large-scale world maps from the VGMaps, these "zoomed out" videos of classic NES games provide a unique perspective on the game world (best viewed in 1080p). Metroid - Mega Man 2 - Contra - Super Mario Bros 3 - Zelda
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jul 9, 2010 - 32 comments

London, Seoul, Reykjavik

Nevertheless, many of the gamers I encounter report the same experience of feeling as if they have engaged in some kind of transgression. There’s often a sense of guilt that comes with tales of gaming exploits, as if games were a vice or a character flaw, a symptom of one kind or another. [...] So my cards are on the table: I’m going to offer some alternative, positive descriptions. This analysis will show how video games have inspired artists, transformed rags into riches, given purpose to empty lives, and entertained bored people on a Sunday afternoon. We’ll see how games turned young people into heroes and how gaming has enabled the realization of previously unimaginable ambitions. We’ll see how games can make us better people, how they dissolve the horrors of boredom—and how they can function as propaganda for a wide range of worthy and unworthy causes.
This Gaming Life by Jim Rossignol (of Rock, Paper, Shotgun) is a book about gaming, gamers, and how they affect each other - available in full and for free under a Creative Commons licence.
posted by Electric Dragon on Jul 6, 2010 - 121 comments

Metafilter has killed the red dragon and become a hero!

(E)nter the realm of the Dragon
(I)nstructions
(L)ist Warriors
(Q)uit back to BBS

Your choice, warrior? [E]:_ [more inside]
posted by 256 on Jul 2, 2010 - 72 comments

A Guide To Some Early FPS Games, Mods, and Source Ports

"Do you find yourself pining for the days of gaming yore? ...for simple sprites and chiptuney soundtracks? Is your computer a bit crap and does 11,000 frames per second sound like something you might enjoy?" A Guide To Some Early FPS Games, Mods, and Source Ports. [via mefi projects]
posted by killdevil on Jun 24, 2010 - 50 comments

After the revolution, life goes on... and so do the bugs.

The Exterminator’s Want-Ad, a short story by Bruce Sterling, is a twisted first-person missive by a former K-Street lobbyist making his way in a post-collapse socialist regime of sharing. It's part of the Shareable Futures series of short stories and speculative essays at Shareable.net. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jun 24, 2010 - 41 comments

Not the bees!

People make maps in Team Fortress 2 specifically for grinding achievements. Bleak, joyless rooms of endlessly spawning bots and resupply crates, where people don’t play the game, they game it. But in one of these, achievement_all_v4, the author’s added a surprise. A violent, horrific, hilarious surprise of biblical proportions.
posted by Artw on Jun 24, 2010 - 79 comments

Jesus Christ, Denton!

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Deus Ex, a revolutionary blend of first-person shooter and roleplaying game which debuted to universal critical acclaim and which has inspired much devotion among gamers. Its intro video has been reworked for the sake of comedy, it's been modded not only to "take the suck out" (and to improve the biomods) and for the plain sake of weirdness, but also to create entirely new games. Walkthroughs exist, from the helpful to the amusing to the simply insane, and even its music (such as its theme song) has inspired tributes and covers. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 22, 2010 - 74 comments

Wheeeeeeeee!

It's well-known at this point that Valve Software hired the team of Digipen students who made Narbacular Drop to turn their student project into Portal. But even people who drooled over the new mechanics in the Portal 2 E3 videos may not be aware that Valve has hired another team out of Digipen for that. If you're looking for a preview, you should probably download and play Tag, the game the new mechanics are based on, in which you explore a grey, cell-shaded world by spraying paint on it.
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 17, 2010 - 28 comments

"Those games up there are what they are depending on to save the industry."

The Day the Gaming Industry Died: David Wong, editor of Cracked, attends E3 2010 and finds it wanting: "For whatever reason gamers won't keep playing games unless given a completely new format every half decade."
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 15, 2010 - 167 comments

Using a tweet as a nine iron

Twirdie allows you to play golf via twitter. Type a word and swing: the strength of your shot is proportional to the number of times the word has been tweeted in the last 20 seconds. A project of Twitter game outfit Local No. 12, whose SXSW presentation "Playing with 140 characters" is available here. (Via the just-concluded 2010 Games, Learning and Society conference here in Madison.)
posted by escabeche on Jun 11, 2010 - 20 comments

I hope they didn't remove the perfect gem.

How Battle.Net 2.0 is killing Starcraft 2. Alternative link, with kittens.
posted by furiousxgeorge on Jun 9, 2010 - 101 comments

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