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The one-button power trip

Should the feelings of empowerment in videogames be earned through skill, or doled out free of charge?
posted by Cloud King on Nov 6, 2012 - 92 comments

Magic: The Gathering: Armageddon

Magic: The Gathering: Armageddon was a 1997 prototype arcade game by Acclaim, of which there are between 4 and 5 known extant copies (Ctrl/⌘+F "arcade"). It is not currently emulated, and no footage of the gameplay existed until Halalah on the ASSEMblergames forums obtained a copy of the board and posted a video.
posted by griphus on Nov 1, 2012 - 17 comments

"Some remarkable Books, Antiquities, Pictures and Rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen by any man now living."

Musæum Clausum is a catalog of invented books, pictures and antiquities written by 17th Century Englishman Sir Thomas Browne. It is a fantastical and witty meditation on the ravages of time on literature and other works of man. The Musæum Clausum is perhaps the finest example of the invented, or invisible, library, a genre which seems to have originated with Rabelais. The genre has been of special interest to Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog (older posts), where he has written about the invisible libraries of writers such as Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, H. P. Lovecraft and invisible libraries in video games. The natural medium for invisible libraries might be pictures, and Musæum Clausum inspired a suite of etchings by Erik Desmazieres.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 31, 2012 - 30 comments

Do you like hurting people?

"Level 4 is not the hardest level of ... Hotline Miami. Oh, not by a long shot. It’s just the one that, once I finally beat it, made me feel like a god. I had a plan. I made that plan work. Every single action I took, every single movement I made, was with surgical precision. A dozen men died, and their little dog too. I never knew their names. I never cared to know their names. I didn’t even know why they had to die. I just knew they had to die ..." Hotline Miami is the newest game from Swedish developer Dennaton (previously). It is fast paced, brutally difficult, dizzyingly violent, and (above all) very fun. All links probably NSFW due to extreme pixelated violence. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Oct 30, 2012 - 34 comments

Time Warp Master Class!

Released in 1999, The Rocky Interactive Horror Show was a point and click video game featuring clunky gameplay and graphics that looked dated even by the standards of the time. Reviews were middling, and the title soon fell into obscurity. But while nobody would ever call the game a classic, it did feature a few wonderfully weird treats guaranteed to drive any Rocky Horror fan in-say-yay-yay-yane... [more inside]
posted by Ursula Hitler on Oct 27, 2012 - 35 comments

The best free games from across the web

For about three years, the A.V. Club ran Sawbuck Gamer, a regular column reviewing the week's most notable free and cheap games across all platforms, from web games to handhelds to console downloadables. It's a treasure trove of content, especially since more literary sister site The Gameological Society took the helm, and it's publicized great desktop projects like the luscious platformer Frogatto (previously), feature-rich Super Mario Bros. X (previously), the evocative faux-web Digital: A Love Story (previously), interactive fiction gem Rover's Day Off, and the hyperkinetic RunMan: Race Around the World (previously). But if you're in the mood for something more immediate, why not start with a list of all the original column's free A-rated online titles? [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 24, 2012 - 20 comments

"Citing games like Day Z, FTL and XCOM, Jim’s argument made one small mistake: it was all wrong."

A point-counterpoint on the nature of fun in video games:
Games Are Best When Things Go Wrong
Games Aren't Best When Things Go Wrong
posted by griphus on Oct 24, 2012 - 72 comments

A Debilitating Case of Pac-Man Fever

"The original Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 was quite the disaster and though it did sell a few million copies many would argue it was the beginning of Atari's end. And rightly so. Dennis Debro's brand new and properly indie Pac-Man 4k, on the other hand, hopes to make things right by cramming a way more faithful post of the original pill-chomper arcade game to the very same and now very retro machine." (via IndieGames)
posted by Shadax on Oct 22, 2012 - 55 comments

Today, I'm going to tell you about the time my grandfather shot a man in the ass

Rockstar's open-world police procedural is set in 1947. Dad was born in 1943, and he spent his early years in Crenshaw, a district in the south-west of the city. (It's close to where the body of the Black Dahlia was found.) Best of all, his dad was a beat cop - a beat cop who, as we've already discovered, once shot a guilty man in the ass. The game world was the world of dad's childhood, then. Would he recognise it?
posted by liquidindian on Oct 17, 2012 - 43 comments

Rule 63 Ascendant

Photographer Senen Llanos likes profiles and costumes, so why not combine them both with The Faces Of New York Comic Con 2012 Part 2. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Oct 16, 2012 - 16 comments

League of Legends Season 2 Championship

With 32 million active players per month, League of Legends, the world's most played video game, just finished it's second World Championship with teams from the US, Russia, Korea, Taiwan and Europe competing for a $2 million dollar prize pool. The tournament was filled with stadium sized crowds, nonstop action, major upsets, even controversy. [more inside]
posted by roaring beast on Oct 15, 2012 - 44 comments

"...everything can go ‘Bonk!’"

“I’m trying to design the game so you don’t have to know programming but you can share the code,” says Notch. “If you have a friend who’s made this really awesome docking algorithm, you can put that on a floppy disk within the game and put that into your computer.”
Mojang (of Minecraft fame) have released details and footage about their upcoming game 0x10c. [more inside]
posted by griphus on Oct 12, 2012 - 57 comments

Pokémon, Paradigmatically

Pokémon, Paradigmatically
posted by naju on Oct 11, 2012 - 27 comments

NOT FINAL SOFTWARE

Nine minutes of gameplay of the upcoming SimCity reboot. RPS has more.
posted by griphus on Oct 11, 2012 - 94 comments

A gallery of litigations that could have been

Imagine you're a game producer in the late 1980s, a week before the deadline and you still haven't got a cover for your game. Exhausted from crunchtime, you tell your illustrator to just rip off some Schwarzenegger action movie to get the job done. Careful, your subordinate might take the order all too literally!
Hardcore Gaming 101 present Tracing the Influence - Stolen Images in Games: Schwarzenegger and Stallone, Illustrators and Painters, Other Boxart and Ads, Ingame Graphics pt. I, Ingame Graphics pt. II.
posted by griphus on Oct 10, 2012 - 24 comments

Insert Quarter Here

The Ohio State University Marching Band, in its October 6 game against Nebraska, decided to pay tribute to video games. (SLYT)
posted by booksherpa on Oct 7, 2012 - 39 comments

These are the voyages of the starship Moggy, crewed by a brave band of humans and aliens named after cats that I have known.

FTL (trailer) is a new and lauded space-sim roguelike-like. Since its debut, RPS' Alec Meer has been keeping an imaginitive diary of a playthrough entitled The Fatal Frontier: Sector 1, Sector 2, Sector 3, Sector 4, Sector 5, Sector 6, Sector 7, The Last Stand.
posted by griphus on Oct 5, 2012 - 125 comments

But no one ever cared about the cloth map they got for a game that wasn’t any good.

Kickstarter success stories have so far been firmly rooted in nostalgia, not innnovation. We’re seeing some of the biggest talent in the industry openly abandoning the ambition of innovation, and we’re paying them to do it.
Kicking It Old School: The Peril Of Kickstarter Nostalgia
posted by griphus on Oct 4, 2012 - 54 comments

Be the chosen one, travel the ancient world and underworld to save your love.

The First Hero is a very short (~10 minutes) but wonderful point-and-click game set in the realm of the Greek gods, with lovely artwork and music.
posted by jbickers on Sep 26, 2012 - 5 comments

Revenge Killing in the City

Following on the heels of a bloody summer in Chicago, Vice Magazine has partnered with CeaseFire for a new documentary on violence interrupters. The purpose of this documentary? To help promote Bethseda software's new videogame, Eye for an Eye, based on revenge killing. Previous work on this subject includes The Interrupters, which did not have a videogame tie-in.
posted by dinty_moore on Sep 19, 2012 - 23 comments

Gambling For Kids: A How To Guide

Gambling For Kids: A How To Guide - a discussion of claw games, Panini sticker books, and in-app purchases in free-to-play games for kids.
posted by Artw on Sep 16, 2012 - 22 comments

Good morning, Mr. Freeman

Black Mesa, the fan-made total conversion of the original Half-Life game to the Source engine - complete with totally updated graphics - was released today. Launch trailer, wiki, and Reddit thread with updated torrent info (direct download is evidently proving very sluggish).
posted by jbickers on Sep 14, 2012 - 92 comments

The Advertising Council of Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas

All the parody ads from Grand Theft Auto games, on one web page. Rockstar Games has published (nearly) all the radio ads from Grand Theft Auto games on their website.
posted by floatboth on Sep 12, 2012 - 9 comments

It ain't easy getting Green

Steam Greenlight is Valve's initiative to expand their catalog by letting the community vote on the games they want to see distributed (sound familiar?) Developers are generally positive, but issues with discoverability and outright trolling have led Steam to institute $100 entry fee (with all proceeds going to charity) that runs the risk of "[limiting] Greenlight's appeal by crowding out hobbyist developers that ... lack the will or ability to risk $100." In response, Dejobaan Games announced their plan to loan the fee to one aspiring developers and is calling on others to do the same. Meanwhile, the first ten games have made to the coveted Greenlit section.
posted by griphus on Sep 12, 2012 - 28 comments

John Romero's "Daikatana"

Knee Deep in a Dream: The Story of Daikatana [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 11, 2012 - 27 comments

Warupichi

Did You Know Gaming? explores video game secrets, bugs, trivia and obscure ephemera.
posted by griphus on Sep 11, 2012 - 31 comments

Game Maker Without a Rule Book

"Behold the future of video games. Or at least the future as envisioned by a bunch of gamers, programmers, tinkers and dreamers at the Valve Corporation here. This is the uncorporate company that brought us the Half-Life series, the hugely influential first-person shooter game. The Valve guys aren’t done yet. Founded 16 years ago by a couple of refugees from Microsoft, Valve makes games that wild-eyed fans play until their thumbs hurt and dawn jabs through the curtains. But what really makes Valve stand out is its foresight on technology." [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix on Sep 9, 2012 - 51 comments

The Extraordinary Quest to Put All the Super Mario Games On One Timeline

Stephen Totilo of Kotaku tries to determine the correct chronology for all the games in the Super Mario canon.
posted by reenum on Sep 9, 2012 - 23 comments

"The O in OUYA stands for Open. The rest? We just liked how it sounded. "

The OUYA (OOH-yuh) is games industry veteran Julie Uhrman's (AMA, NY Post) dream of a $99 Android-based video game console. And the dream is coming true. The $950,000 Kickstarter was funded in a record eight hours and then nine times over. Some big names are expressing interest. But speculation abounds and Kickstarter talks about accountability. Meanwhile, Forbes asks if we're in a crowdfunding bubble due for a crash.
posted by griphus on Sep 7, 2012 - 91 comments

Next week: Watch Hulu on your toaster.

Until last week, the Nook Simple Touch e-reader lacked an indispensable feature: a functional PlayStation emulator.
posted by griphus on Sep 5, 2012 - 61 comments

Looking Back With Virtual Boy Tinted Glasses

Do Go On - A tumblr celebration of totally rad 90s video game magazines [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 4, 2012 - 42 comments

Crossing a line?

"Video games have for so long been like, 'Look, war is when you go in and kill people who deserve to die, because they are destroying the things that you love—and have fun.' It was such a strange disconnect for us going into this project that we had allowed war to become such a spectacle-based entertainment, and we wanted to make a game in our medium that spoke to the truth of war just like every other medium had done." Warning (,although all the linked articles state as much, all links include spoilers for the videogame Spec Ops: The line) [more inside]
posted by sendai sleep master on Sep 1, 2012 - 44 comments

Ukiyo-e Heroes

Illustrator Jed Henry and woodblock printmaker David Bull recently collaborated on a set of videogame-inspired woodblock prints in the ukiyo-e style. Just recently funded through Kickstarter, the prints are already underway. There are videos of the creative process here and at the bottom of the first link.
posted by gilrain on Aug 31, 2012 - 53 comments

They later attached strings.

Gamemaster Howard Philips (previously) found a ca. 1984 brochure for the Nintendo Advanced Video System, a pre-NES marketing prototype, and shared it on Facebook: The cover. Pages 2-3. Pages 3-4. Medium-res photo of the whole brochure. And a bit of oddity from the past. (Non-FB link)
posted by griphus on Aug 30, 2012 - 33 comments

Paradise by the console lights

OnLive Lost: As founder and CEO Steve Perlman departs, The Verge looks at how OnLive failed and what remains of the revolutionary, restructured cloud-based gaming company. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Aug 28, 2012 - 22 comments

Crowd and Funding on Internet

Ben Kuchera, a video games journalist who has written for Wired, Ars Technica, and now the Penny Arcade Report, discusses the seedy underbelly of Kickstarter promotion.
posted by gilrain on Aug 27, 2012 - 72 comments

We don't need your braaaaaaains

Fans of flora versus undead violence rejoice! Plants versus Zombies 2 has been announced for Spring 2013. However all is not well at PopCap games, with a recent layoff of 50 employees, or 10% of its staff, citing the increased popularity of Free-to-play, social and mobile games. Somewhat stickily amongst those reported laid off was Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan.
posted by Artw on Aug 23, 2012 - 27 comments

A Lot of Work Goes into Your Stompy-Stomp

Even if you don't have a fondness for building-sized, stomping war machines, you might find this detailed interview and pictorial about the process of designing, from concept to texturing, a mech interesting.
posted by gilrain on Aug 23, 2012 - 12 comments

Rap It Up!

Ars Technica broke the news and Nintendo confirmed it. The 24-year run of propaganda rag and childhood staple Nintendo Power will end in December 2012. Kotaku has a eulogy from published Super Mario Bros. high-score holder Cliff Bleszinski. Here's another high scorer you may have heard of. And remember when a 15-year-old J. Scott Cambpell was featured in its pages? Meanwhile, the Penny Arcade Report credits Nintendo Power with introducing the JRPG to the West, Slate picks their favorite letters, and Tiny Cartridge reprints a bittersweet note from a 76-year-old gamer. Over on YouTube, Patrick Scott Patterson compiled a tribute video featuring an interview with beloved Nintendo employee, Game Master and president of the Nintendo Fun Club, Howard Philips. You might remember him from his starring role in Nintendo Power's comic Howard & Nester. Are you getting all nostalgic but your parents threw out your back issues ten years ago? Community scanning project Retromags has the hookup.
posted by griphus on Aug 23, 2012 - 47 comments

Dragons, huh?

From The Nerdist - COPS: Skyrim
posted by yellowbinder on Aug 22, 2012 - 50 comments

Shadow of the Bust

Sony is closing its Liverpool Studio, previously known as Psygnosis, developer of the WipeEout and Lemmings games (DHTML version, previously). The studio created games for 28 years, first gaining attention in the Amiga era for it's high production values and stunning box art (more, more ).
posted by Artw on Aug 22, 2012 - 55 comments

Super VCS Bros.

Over at the AtariAge forums, user Sprybug has been coding an Atari 2600 Super Mario Bros. clone to run on the Harmony Cartridge. Some screenshots. The game running on the cartridge. The game running in an emulator. And some previous discussion on the difficulty of programming for the Atari 2600.
posted by griphus on Aug 22, 2012 - 18 comments

Nasty, Brutish, and Blocky

Minecraft by itself may represent a post-scarcity world, but one poster at the official Minecraft forums conducted a test of what would happen if you took 30 players and constrained their available resources. The Closed Map Experiment. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Aug 21, 2012 - 34 comments

And miles to go before I sleep.

Leading a struggling Kickstarter campaign is not a fate I would wish upon my worst enemy. The project consumes your every waking moment (and dreams) with a constant whine of stress. [...] There's nothing worse than when your Kickstarter dries up like that. People avoid making eye contact with you. [...] It's a time of quiet reflection and common questions: "Are you guys going to be okay?" "Think you'll try again?" and "I hear Zynga is hiring."
How Camouflaj saved République's Kickstarter
posted by griphus on Aug 20, 2012 - 37 comments

No longer in the game?

Electronic Arts allegedly in talks to sell to private equity; would "do a deal for $20 a share". [NYP] [Int. Business Times]. The markets appear to think there's at least some substance to the rumour, as EA shares jumped more than 7% to $14 in early trades on Thursday morning and have remained at around $13.75. [Google Finance chart]
posted by jaduncan on Aug 18, 2012 - 40 comments

hulk go hole

"Now that the Hulk has closed his eyes, shoved wax down his ears and is holding his nose, he is immune to the attacks of the space-ants. No, really. Just picture that scene for a moment and be glad that it didn't find its way into any of the Hulk movies." VGJunk takes a look at the baffling Incredible Hulk text adventure game. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Aug 18, 2012 - 22 comments

Classic Video Game Ads

This great Flickr album of classic video game advertisements is a nostalgia overdose for those of us who read video-game magazines in the 80s and 90s. From classic ads like the "Genesis Does What Nintendon't" ad to ads for Pac Man, The Simpsons, Super Mario Brothers 2 and ye olde Atari Lynx, this helps you relive the glory days of the medium, when even the ads were entertaining. And for those of you who never got to experience gaming magazines in their heyday, check out this entire copy of the first issue on Nintendo Power (PDF) from way back in 1988. And then get off my lawn.
posted by Effigy2000 on Aug 16, 2012 - 26 comments

Yo, I’m going to deconstruct the hell out of this.”

Released in 2004, Obsidian's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords ("KOTOR 2") was said to be a good game, crippled by the push to get it out in time for the 2004 holiday season. Beside the frequent bugs, a huge amount of story content was cut from the game, but remained on the discs. Now, three years after its inception, The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod has been completed. The goal? To get "the best possible chance to get the full experience Obsidian tried for when making the game." Rock Paper Shotgun has high hopes: "If you missed it the first time, you really should check it out. It’s ... Chris Avellone (who?) and co really going to town on Star Wars." [more inside]
posted by griphus on Aug 13, 2012 - 59 comments

Legends of Localization: The Legend of Zelda

Legends of Localization: The Legend of Zelda is a comparison of the Japanese and American versions of The Legend of Zelda. It highlights differences in music and SFX, why the intro story is in English in both versions and why Pols Voice supposedly hated loud noises, what some of those cryptic hints originally said and how Testitart became Manhandla. [more inside]
posted by shirobara on Aug 11, 2012 - 10 comments

Zeppelin Vs Pterodactyl

100 Wonderful and Terrible Movies that never Existed
posted by Artw on Aug 10, 2012 - 66 comments

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