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Open the dreamhouse doors, Closet.

"This is a game in which a sentient closet-based AI locks four girls in a room (with giant metal barriers) because one of them smudged her make-up, and forces them to repeatedly apply lipstick and eyeliner to freakishly giant doll heads until he is satisfied. That’s not my arch interpretation of events. That’s what actually happens."
posted by griphus on Nov 29, 2013 - 99 comments

You are Zelda's...

The Men Who Made Zelda — Staff Interview
The Development of A Link to the Past
Early Screenshots

posted by timshel on Nov 26, 2013 - 25 comments

An Illusionist in Skyrim

This is the diary of me attempting to play Skyrim using only Illusion magic: I'm not allowed any weapons, armour, or magical items, and I can't attack anyone directly.
The first entry is here, or you can see all entries to date here.
posted by cthuljew on Nov 25, 2013 - 81 comments

For a Follow Up, a Pirate Plays Daft Punk on 8 Rubber Chickens

The Monkey Island Theme, as performed by eight 3 1/2 inch floppy drives.
posted by Copronymus on Nov 25, 2013 - 18 comments

Please defeat Wart and return Subcon to its natural state

I write about Super Mario Bros. 2 a lot, I realize, especially considering that the game is now twenty-five years old. I suppose that results from the combination of it being especially surreal, even by Super Mario standards, and me having encountered it at the perfect age to be asking “Hey, why is that?” I actually still ask “Why is that?” fairly often. One of the things that had always bugged me about the game is its level structure. Super Mario Bros. makes sense: four sets of levels each composing a world, and eight world altogether. It’s all tidy and even. Super Mario Bros. 2 isn’t so easy: It has seven worlds, but an irregular number of stages.

“Hey, why is that?” [more inside]
posted by timshel on Nov 23, 2013 - 18 comments

id Software founder John Carmack resigns

John Carmack, co-founder and technical director at id Software, has left the company to focus his full-time attention on his role as chief technical officer at Oculus VR.

"I wanted to remain a technical adviser for Id, but it just didn't work out. Probably for the best, as the divided focus was challenging."

Carmack and Id are known for creating the Commander Keen, Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake video game franchises.
posted by bdz on Nov 22, 2013 - 60 comments

What is a castle? A miserable little pile of recurring rooms!

You might've noticed that the castles in the various Castlevania games, while different in every game, often feature similar areas and architectural ideas from game to game. You probably haven't gone to the trouble to catalogue these common components and their recurrences in the sprawling Castlevania series, but this is the internet, which means that somebody has.
posted by Pope Guilty on Nov 19, 2013 - 12 comments

Zuì Zhōng Huàn Xiǎng 7

RetroCollect reports: "...in 2005 ShenZhen Nanjing Technology released a run-down port of Final Fantasy VII for Nintendo's 8-bit system in China. Despite lacking a lot of story elements, gameplay aspects and finesse, ROM hacker Lugia2009 saw potential within the game's code and began using it as a basis to recreate the PlayStation 1 adventure in its entirety...
posted by griphus on Nov 14, 2013 - 39 comments

A weird, sexy, completely untrue version of a video game career

"There’s a dearth of rigorous coverage of the industry. The video game press, such as it is, remains mired in a culture of payola and ad revenue addiction, outside of a few outlets like Gamasutra. The one television station devoted to industry news, G4 (which has moved away from covering only video games), seemed committed to proving every gamer stereotype true, with an endless parade of uncritical corporate press releases punctuated only by sophomoric oral sex jokes. [...] All of which is a shame, because something in the industry is wrong. Here, as in few other places, we see the kind of exploitation normally associated with the industrial sector in creative work."
posted by postcommunism on Nov 12, 2013 - 43 comments

New York's homegrown e-sport

Inspired by a field game with foam swords, Killer Queen Arcade, a giant 10-player dual-sided arcade cabinet that premiered at NYU's No Quarter 2013 has been described as Half Joust, half StarCraft and one giant snail.
posted by guywithnoear on Nov 8, 2013 - 13 comments

Cutscenes:video games::intertitles:silent movies

Hitbox Team (creators of DustForce) (previously) explore designing game narrative.
posted by Jpfed on Nov 6, 2013 - 25 comments

It's a Halloween miracle!

The Typing of the Dead (previously), in which players blast their way through waves of the undead by passing typing challenges on a PC keyboard, has been hailed as one of the strangest games ever made. And today, the world's foremost typists-versus-zombies simulator shockingly rose from its grave, as Sega released The Typing of the Dead: Overkill to Steam without so much as a press release to spoil the surprise. [more inside]
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish on Oct 29, 2013 - 48 comments

Turned out alright in the end.

"Akira Nishitani, who directed Final Fight and Street Fighter II at Capcom before forming his own company Arika has recently started a Twitter account. Since then he has been sharing lots of trivia and behind the scenes anecdotes, mostly related to the original Street Fighter II [...] I've decided to go about translating some of his Tweets." [via]
posted by griphus on Oct 28, 2013 - 13 comments

Cat Power: Super Mario 3D World preview

"Meow." He forms his hands into claws and performs a slow cat-scraping motion. To his left and to his right sit the esteemed producer and the director of Super Mario 3D World. "Meow," they both say, before also demonstrating the clawing feline action. Shigeru Miyamoto on Super Mario 3D World, arriving next month on Wii U. Copies are beginning to show up in reviewer's hands: Super Mario 3D World is shaping up beautifully. It's a visual stunner, with gorgeous effects and lighting that take Mario graphics to an entirely new level, certainly showing greater flair than the 2D New Super Mario Bros. U. There are some attractive textures at work, with the art style flourishing with powerful hardware, alongside a rock steady and terrifically fluid frame rate. Eurogamer offers a look at 5 levels [part one | two | three] • Previews from Nintendo: E3 2013 Developer Direct | October trailer | Gameplay trailer • Nintendo Minute: Multiplayer | New Power-Ups
posted by porn in the woods on Oct 26, 2013 - 55 comments

No thanks, I use video games to escape my reality

Are your "friends" pushing illegal marijuana cigarettes? Don't let drugs get in the way of your dream car! Keep sober with these snappy comebacks to narcotics. [SLYT Australian PSA]
posted by porn in the woods on Oct 21, 2013 - 39 comments

Humans of Los Santos

GTA V street photography
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? on Oct 20, 2013 - 31 comments

Billions and Billions of Path Traces

The Physics of Light and Rendering is a talk given at QuakeCon 2013 by John Carmack, co-creator of Doom, Quake, and many other games at id Software and beyond. It provides a detailed but surprisingly understandable history of 3D rendering techniques, their advantages and tradeoffs, and how they have been used in games and movies. (SLYT, 1:32:01, via)
posted by cthuljew on Oct 17, 2013 - 9 comments

Surveillance City State.

"Reality has caught us" Ubisoft game Watch Dogs, scheduled for release next year, models pervasive surveillance as a game. Polygon's Charlie Hall investigates Chicago's vast camera network and finds the fiction might be not so far away from reality. [more inside]
posted by Sebmojo on Oct 16, 2013 - 18 comments

Nostalgia, Brought To You By Web Technology

The original MacPaint brought back to life in HTML5. Plus: Mario Memories.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Oct 10, 2013 - 44 comments

Prêt-à-Jouer and Videogame Couture

What happens when we stop thinking about videogames as cinema and instead think of them through other media, like fashion, dance, or architecture?
posted by rollick on Oct 8, 2013 - 23 comments

"the most elaborate asshole simulation system ever devised..."

"Once upon a time, playing a GTA game was like sitting next to your offensive Republican uncle at Christmas dinner. He was definitely a dick but also smart and interesting, and his heart was fundamentally in the right place. These days Uncle GTA is a billionaire with an unchanged shtick, and he seems a hell of a lot more mean-spirited than before."
A letter to Niko Bellic about Grand Theft Auto V
posted by Atom Eyes on Sep 26, 2013 - 156 comments

Giant Bomb

PayPal locked down the developer’s account, and said it could only have 50% of the funds. The rest would be released as development continued, based on PayPal’s assessment of the situation. PayPal was, essentially, going to become a producer going forward. Crowdfunding's Secret Enemy is PayPal
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 20, 2013 - 73 comments

It's not weird for girls to play videogames!

Elizabeth Simins is an illustrator and a gamer. The latter wasn't always easy, though, which she illustrates in a four-part comic on growing up as a girl gamer.
posted by gilrain on Sep 16, 2013 - 77 comments

The cake may be a lie, but the box is truth.

Has there ever been a more ludicrous yet beloved video game device than Metal Gear Solid's infamous Cardboard Box. Fans have written detailed histories of the box. It has its own Facebook page. In the real world, it has even been known to actually work. But it's just so much more fun to laugh at it.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Aug 30, 2013 - 25 comments

"I like the look of this, kind of a turn based Fallout..."

inXile (previously) have released 18 minutes of gameplay footage from their upcoming game Wasteland 2. [via]
posted by griphus on Aug 29, 2013 - 37 comments

Would this be the Nintendo 4DS?

LET'S-A GO! Super Mario Parkour (slyt) : Exactly what you think it is, plus cool augmented-reality effects.
posted by Strange Interlude on Aug 28, 2013 - 18 comments

1DS, 2DS, 3DS, 4...

Nintendo, already no stranger to customer confusion over its consoles' names, "will be launching a new portable gaming system in October. It's called the Nintendo 2DS. It's a 3DS without the 3D, and it's shaped like a thin piece of cake." [more inside]
posted by ArmyOfKittens on Aug 28, 2013 - 108 comments

Hyper Fighting

Street Fighter II has been ported to the Virtual Boy. [more inside]
posted by griphus on Aug 27, 2013 - 9 comments

"The player's the boss; it's your duty to entertain him or her."

Lead programmer John Carmack is clearly the main reason behind the technical superiority of Id's games.... When the contractor Id hired to do the network drivers for Doom didn't come through, Carmack matter-of-factly wrote a network driver and had it up and running the next day.

[Project] specialist John Romero ... plays the latest beta making his own sound effects with his mouth to compensate for the game sound effects that haven't been added in yet.
Monsters from the Id: The Making of Doom (reprinted from Game Developer magazine issue #1, January, 1994.)
posted by griphus on Aug 23, 2013 - 18 comments

"I fucking hate this industry"

"Developers, both named and those who wish to remain anonymous, tell Polygon that harassment by gamers is becoming an alarmingly regular expected element of game development." (Previously)
posted by griphus on Aug 16, 2013 - 105 comments

"The Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator is not a toy, Alyx!"

‪The Gravity Gun‬. Behold the birth of the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator. [SLV, Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 9, 2013 - 29 comments

What kind of a person do I want to be when I die?

In anticipation of the Wii U Virtual Console release of EarthBound (Mother 2), Nintendo asked series creator Shiegato Itoi (official homepage) to say a few words about the game. What he wrote is nostalgic, heartfelt and perhaps even a little bit wise. [more inside]
posted by byanyothername on Aug 8, 2013 - 49 comments

Back to the Saltymine

Saltybet.com is a ridiculous unending tournament of pirate Mugen (previously) characters from across a wide spectrum of games (and fan-made creations as well) duking it out while thousands of onlookers bet fake money. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Aug 6, 2013 - 94 comments

The goal of the player is always to go forward

"What it all really boils down to are neat ways to justify a lot of violence." Frictional Games lead designer talks about acclaimed PS3 game The Last of Us: "The game has a lot in common with the recent Spec Ops: The Line. Both feature a dog-eat-dog world, takes place in the destroyed remains of a city, and have you play as violent and deranged characters with no qualms about butchering countless people. Both of these games have also been praised for their mature and intelligent storytelling. And sure, they both feature deep and nicely portrayed characters, but ... if this represents the future of videogame storytelling, then we are doomed to play as broken, murderous protagonists living in worlds populated by antagonists." [more inside]
posted by Sebmojo on Aug 5, 2013 - 105 comments

300 Game Mechanics (give or take)

This is my attempt to document three hundred different gameplay concepts of my own creation. Sean Howard, creator of the webcomic A Modest Destiny, started publishing ideas and examinations of game mechanics once a day in 2007. After fifty days he quit the daily schedule, but he's up to 168 ideas and also has a small collection of prototypes and free-to-use pixel art. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Aug 4, 2013 - 40 comments

Female Experience Simulator

Good morning! Isn't it a beautiful day to be a woman?
posted by Foci for Analysis on Aug 3, 2013 - 370 comments

Peach can change her emotions at will

Anita Sarkeesian has released the 3rd video in her Tropes vs Women in Games series, focusing on gender-reversals on the Damsel in Distress formula.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Aug 1, 2013 - 120 comments

Chasing the Whale: Examining the ethics of free-to-play games

Via Gamasutra: "I used to work at [company], and it paid well and advanced my career," the person told me. "But I recognize that [company]'s games cause great harm to people's lives. They are designed for addiction. [company] chooses what to add to their games based on metrics that maximize players' investments of time and money. [company]'s games find and exploit the right people, and then suck everything they can out of them, without giving much in return. It's not hard to see the parallels to the tobacco industry."
posted by tarpin on Jul 24, 2013 - 106 comments

Fuck the Super Gameboy

"Fuck the Super Gameboy": Why the Super Gameboy was awesome and why it crashed and burned. By Christine Love, creator of Digital: a Love Story and Analogue: a Hate Story. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Jul 21, 2013 - 54 comments

The camera never falls over during a scene. Actors are always in frame.

If Films Were Reviewed Like Video Games
posted by cthuljew on Jul 10, 2013 - 63 comments

Back on the streets

The first official gameplay video for Grand Theft Auto V has been released. The highly anticipated open-world game, which lets you control 3 different characters, will be released in September for the PS3 and XBox 360.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Jul 9, 2013 - 111 comments

"Games are a special medium, completely separate from our wider culture"

There's no sexism in gaming: "Furthermore, reasonable people would see that asking to put male soldiers in the Call of Duty series is simply not do-able. Since the age of the Amazon, women have waged wars, because they have a higher pain threshold than males and have more stamina in every area of war. Who would take a male Battlefield seriously? Including men would simply cloud the matter; when crawling through tunnels, as is often necessary in war, our eyes would fall on the male backside - from then on women would be irreparably compromised."
posted by Phire on Jul 9, 2013 - 148 comments

Helping to put to rest the "Are Video Games Art?" debate

Animation artist Dan the Ad Man created this very cool visualization of video game characters as moving paths of abstract art in his piece Street Fighter Motion Sculptures. [via]
posted by quin on Jul 8, 2013 - 20 comments

Citizen McDuck

Robert Rath examines the profound anti-imperialist subtext of Capcom's DuckTales. [more inside]
posted by figurant on Jul 4, 2013 - 24 comments

And they say Blizzard games don't have bugs

Why StarCraft crashed frequently during development, How we could have fixed the most common causes, The Starcraft Path-finding Hack The making of Warcraft - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 . Game development articles thanks to Patrick Wyatt (about) who led the development efforts on Starcraft, programmed extensively on Diablo and Diablo II and later left Blizzard to help run ArenaNet and release Guild Wars.
posted by meta87 on Jul 1, 2013 - 12 comments

Don't Fuck With The Saints!

The upcoming game Saints Row 4, an over-the-top open world action game that features weapons like a Dubstep Gun, has been refused classification (banned) in Australia. The new R18 classification for games was supposed to make this less common, but Saints Row 4's (trigger warning) 'alien anal probe' weapon and 'alien narcotics' have caused it to fall afoul of the new guidlines. Developer Deep Silver said they'll resubmit Saint's Row 4 to the reclassification board, while The Guardian sees this as evidence of Australia's conservative culture. Saints Row previously.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Jun 25, 2013 - 94 comments

"How about you just decide how not to *repel* the women?"

David Gaider, senior writer at Bioware, delivers a talk on sex, sexuality, and sexism in video games and the gaming industry at the 2013 Game Developers Conference. (single-link 49-minute video)
posted by escape from the potato planet on Jun 20, 2013 - 87 comments

Video Game's Citizen Kane

With this new video game coming out, we must finally ask: is this the Citizen Kane of video games? [more inside]
posted by Greg Nog on Jun 19, 2013 - 160 comments

For years I played as white characters.

Because New Leaf’s tanning doesn’t seem to happen in real time, and because it seems to take days instead of hours now, trying to get a particular mid-level skin tone is more precarious than maintaining a pale complexion. Not only is the outcome hard to predict, but someone who wants the default skin to stay only has to bring a parasol around with them in the summer sun. They literally have access to tools and methods I don’t. It is very hard not to just write “DO YOU GET IT?” over and over again. I don’t have a tanning booth, or tanning lotion. I certainly don’t have a way to lock in my current tan level.

The other implication is that it might be the case that tanning is a disincentive to overplaying. I hadn’t realized it until my friend with the cobblestone roads pointed it out. Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’ve kept your game running for five straight hours for some odd reason. You might notice that your town’s other villagers will greet you with an admonishment. You look tired they say, you should take a rest. You should stop playing. There is a strange, formal parallel between this directive and tanning. Both come only after hours of uninterrupted play. The same activity results in both outcomes. Coupled with the fact that players are outfitted with ways to prevent, but not cause tanning, it’s hard not to draw some connections.

My argument isn’t that Nintendo has gone out of its way to be racist, it’s that the question of race seems to have never been brought up to begin with, and that has its own problems.


Me, On The Screen: Race in Animal Crossing: New Leaf
posted by timshel on Jun 18, 2013 - 55 comments

The Games History E-zine

Memory Insufficient is a free webzine edited by Zoya Street dedicated to articles about computer games and history. The first issue is called Women's Histories in Games [pdf], with a feature on female pirates. Asian Histories in Games [pdf] is the second issue, the feature being about ken, the Japanese game known as rock, paper, scissors in English. The upcoming issue will be devoted histories of gender and sexual diversity in games. [via Flash of Steel]
posted by Kattullus on Jun 5, 2013 - 2 comments

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