The New Games Criticism - a response to Kieron Gillen's The New Games Journalism 10 years after the fact.
Riley MacLeod writes a moving meditation on masculinities.
Someone misses all the quick time events in a Heavy Rain chase sequence. Benny Hill ensues. (SLYT)
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.
Twenty years ago, on August 21, 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy in North America. The stilt-legged tabletop gaming console, which offered a unique red stereoscopic 3D display, attempted to ride a wave of popular interest in virtual reality. It was a risky, innovative gamble for Nintendo that didn't pay off, leaving many to wonder why it existed in the first place.Unraveling The Enigma Of Nintendo's Virtual Boy, 20 Years Later
We created a live action first-person zombie shooter in our garden - then invited unsuspecting people on chatroulette, omegle and skype to take control. [Behind the Scenes] [via]
I wanted to see if instead I could play a character whose interests were a bit less tedious than being some empty, unquestionable Nietzschean superman. I wanted to test the so-called freedom of what is clearly the most groundbreaking open world game of our generation, to see if I could reject the usual triple-A heroism and play a character who is sensitive, humble, committed to social justice rather than self-aggrandisement. I wanted to play a male character who could be an actual ally to the empowerment of his female co-stars, a-la the new Mad Max, rather than just the tough guy who saves them. I wanted to immerse myself in this world committed to freeing its inhabitants from their miserable feudal bondage, rather than just saving the day and making sure that the system can survive. I wanted to play a hero that Gamergate couldn’t wank over.
In 2013, 230 researchers signed an open letter condemning the American Psychological Association's public stance on video game violence, which they say ignores all the evidence against claims that video game violence causes real violence. (Via RPS) [more inside]
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.
"someone tweet @ me a very bad video game idea" - a series of pixel-art gifs from @bonerman_inc based on suggestions from the crowd
Mods and hacks for console games are becoming more common place as tools improve and resources for newcomers grow. However, the total conversion The Call of Cthulhu based on Super Mario World is in another class. The modder completely changes aspects of the engine, turning it into a twitch puzzler with mind bending graphical effects. You can watch the game speed-run here for a quicker glimpse of the game. Vinny, of VineSauce, as a commentated playthrough here. [more inside]
...why bother? That seems to be a prevailing sentiment when the topic of any sort of big-ticket retro investment is broached online. After all, all of these games can be played through emulation for free; matters of legality aside, why not just load up MAME or RetroArch and call it a day?The Quest for the Perfect Retro Game Experience
Sure, G.A.R.F.I.E.L.D. was funny. And who doesn't love "The Pebble"? But with the latest installment in the Monster Factory series, pushing character creation in videogames farther than ever intended, have Justin and Griffin McElroy gone too far? Behold: Truck Shepard, human(?) Spectre, nightmare fuel. [more inside]
Ernest Cline’s Armada is everything wrong with gaming culture wrapped up in one soon-to-be–best-selling novel
From Software left fantasy for horror, and the results are mind-blowing. More detailed analysis and spoilers below the jump. WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE GAME BLOODBORNE. IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THIS YET AND WOULD LIKE TO, IT SPOILS SOME COOL REVEALS LATER IN THE GAME! LIKE EVEN MOUSING OVER URLS COULD SPOIL STUFF - BE WARNED. [more inside]
Marsh Davies talks about how games distribute power to players and how power fantasies often fail to work as parables about bigotry through the window of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with side discussions of how violent combat became so common in video games, how stealthy paths can be less interesting than combat-heavy paths, the tension between player power and narrative, and how these narratives can encourage people who already have power to feel sorry for themselves. [more inside]
A prototype of the Nintendo Playstation/SNES-CD may have been located. Photos are here. The ongoing forum thread is here and there is a reddit discussion as well but it in a private group. But a question remains: Is this all a hoax?
As Bethesda is gearing up for the release of a new game in the Fallout franchise, Shamus Young of Twenty Sided considers the writing in Fallout 3. In a five part series, Shamus details the "blistering stupidity" of the concept, the world, the protagonists, the antagonists, and the conclusion. Young has been featured previously on the blue talking about both Skyrim and Star Trek.
23 Games from E3 2015 with Badass Playable Female Characters - Sam Maggs for The Mary Sue
"Allow us to raise your spirits with a story about the liberating and energizing effects of complete commercial failure." After 12 years, and following the release last month of their critically acclaimed game Sunset, videogame creators Tale of Tales are closing shop.
I am Geralt of Rivia, a lithe and muscled slayer of monsters and men alike, and I am scudding around the starting area bothering a goose. I have never been happier and I fear I never will be
BROFORCE is a multiplayer patriotism simulator. Defeat bad guys, devil-horned dudes, giant saw blades, and other... things... while paying homage to your favorite sweaty, bandana-wearing, minigun-totin', chaw-chewin, salty-talkin' action heroes and heroines from the 80's! [more inside]
Barbie Breast Feeding had you drag and drop the baby from the cot to Barbie’s chest where it drinks enough milk that it promptly develops a stomach ache and then requires a leg massage and a nappy change. I assume that might be closer to reality, except instead of wiping a flower which exists in place of your child’s genitals you’re actually dealing with human poop and children can get that EVERYWHERE.Philippa Warr on the Weird World Of Frozen Pregnancy Games. SLRPS
A fan takes a look at the downturn of Sonic the Hedgehog, and presents some ideas on how to breathe new life into the franchise. [SLYT]
Games have the opposite problem: an elitism defined by the absence of taste, or simply by bad taste [...] Stepping into games is like arriving at a cheese-tasting party where most of the crowd is angrily murmuring that cheddar and swiss are always and objectively the best cheeses on grounds of utility and pleasure, that assholes offering a plate of mold-laced bleu are an affront to any real cheese-lover, that brie may simply be too soft to be a real cheese.A Lack of Taste (via Offworld)
Castle Griffinsteed: What horrors lie beneath?
Remember the surprising stealth thing-that's-great Frog Fractions (previously)? When creator Jim Crawford (also previously) and his team released its successfully Kickstarted sequel, they won't tell anyone, and will leave everyone to find it for themselves. Enter the unofficial Frog Fractions 2 twitter account, which bugs Jim about a different possible culprit every day. And for those who didn't back the Kickstarter and thus won't be automatically notified when The Jig Is Up (TM), there's always IsTheJigUpYet, which also attempts to guess at FF2's identity (albeit using a sliiiiiightly different method). [more inside]
"Big Indie" Kickstarters Are Killing Actual Indies. "The notion that 'consumers don't actually understand the real cost of game development' isn't a new one, but the true price tag is actually kind of scary, and the illusions put up by large Kickstarters are having a measurable negative effect on Kickstarter as a whole."
Dinofarm Games explain why the demand for higher definition graphics have led them to abandon pixel art... over the course of a wonderfully explained, beautifully illustrated, and clearly demonstrated love letter to pixel art.
Eve Online: how a virtual world went to the edge of apocalypse and back The video game Eve Online is one of Iceland’s biggest exports and has become the world’s largest living work of science fiction. While rival games have come and gone, it has survived – thanks to a unique experiment in democracy
In what would turn out to be a watershed event in the history of viral videos and online multiplayer gaming, footage of the Leeroy Jenkins incident was uploaded to the internet ten years ago today (previously).
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.)
Game developer Itay Keren talks 2D scrolling in this very visual and nostalgia-filled post and talk.
Renowned independent game designer (and landscaper-turned-amateur-lawyer) Jason Rohrer launches his twelfth game, an occult themed online strategy game played for real money, Cordial Minuet. (CM previously, Jason previously, Jason's games previously) [more inside]
You couldn’t control the camera, I mean. The Silent Hill video games were blunt and herky-jerky—you, backed into a corner, swinging a plywood board clumsily at two sets of mannequin hips bolted horrifically together, flailing at you. Clay-colored, faceless children grabbed at you in the dark as you tap-tap-jogged awkwardly in circles, desperate to regain some kind of control. The world fell silent for cutscenes, PlayStation glory-era wax-lipped women with empty eyes mouthing hollow dialogue at you from the mist and shadows.Why Silent Hill mattered.
It was all really bad and scary, and kind of broken, and everyone loved it, especially me.
In the late seventies and early eighties TV stations embraced the video game craze by granting lucky viewers the chance to play them on the air by shouting POW! into their phone. [more inside]
Why read lengthy articles on the history of Atari when you can hear stories first-hand? Hear Nolan Bushnell (and a few others) tell all about how a little company named Syzygy became Atari, in clips both new(ish) and old; tune in for four episodes of Once Upon Atari, featuring Atari staff reminiscing about the good times and bad; and visit Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of rocket sled land-speed records and the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space, with Zak Penn as he digs for the truth behind the legend of the buried E.T. cartridges in Atari: Game Over with fans and Howard Scott Warshaw, the man who made the Atari E.T. game in five weeks. [more inside]
Steam has released news that they will be adding a paid marketplace to one of their most popular workshops (meaning mod database): Skyrim. This GameSpot article has more details about the specifics of what the new mod monetization entails. VentureBeat rounds up the distressed reaction from fans. Here is the FAQ provided by Steam for payments through Workshop if you would like to draw your own conclusions. [more inside]
Kill Screen Daily has an interview with FM Towns Marty (NSFW), who posts images and gifs from otherwise inaccessible retro Japanese computer games. His images were controversially used in Jon Rafman's video for Oneohtrix Point Never's song Still Life (Betamale) (NSFW).
Retrogaming blog VGJunk has just turned 5, and celebrated with a post about the gonzo Capcom beat em up classic Captain Commando. Over the last half-decade, VG Junk has uncovered a hidden Treasure with McDonalds, helped NSync get to their show and imagined what Re-Animator would look like on the NES. He's also investigated the national stereotypes that hide in fighting games, with his probing look at the fighters of Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, and Spain. So put on some Queen, watch out for Jack the Ripper, and enjoy a stroll down memory lane.
A prototype of Sound Fantasy, a long-lost Super Nintendo music game by Electroplankton auteur Toshio Iwai, has surfaced online and is now available to download. Sound Fantasy later evolved into the PC program SimTunes.
As an archivist, my ethical duty is to maintain those objects of intrinsic value to future generations. I’ve often found that others assume my profession is focused on facts and figures, the hard data from which a census or otherwise lifeless historical record can be drawn. Such data will inform one on how a people survived. As important as this data is, it cannot tell you how a people dreamed. [more inside]