Real Dr. Light capsule from the Mega Man X series. A part of Gauntlet Gallery's "Mega Man Boss Battle" exhibit, at which Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune contributes an in-person drawing. [more inside]
Bioshock Infinite (previously) has been hailed as brilliant by many but others, even while enjoying it, have questioned the way the game deploys violence and whether this limits the audience that may otherwise have enjoyed the fascinating narrative put forth by the game. While not directly implicating the game's violence others have suggested that Bioshock Infinite might be the last of a dying breed (the Triple A, big budget, narrative game) due to the lack luster returns of such fare in the face of cheap, accessible indie and mobile games.
"The next time someone tells me that men and women get paid equally for their talents in the game industry, I wanted something to link to them." [via]
The Power Button is the podcast from Press the Buttons, a site about gaming that's run by one man, Matthew Green, but has such extremely professional standards that you'd never know it apart from the tag line. Contained within are several interesting regular themes, like Beyond Beeps that covers early video game music which is actually quite good despite the beepy-ness, and Secret Origins relating personal and remarkably interesting stories concerning when and how he obtained various games, really. The latest entry is about him proposing to his girlfriend. There's a new weekly poll approximately every Monday, and articles like Open Up The Zelda Box about unique and interesting things that you don't see on a day to day news site. In the podcast, he talks with a couple co-hosts and occasionally has guests. Here are some of the more interesting episodes … [more inside]
German Truck Simulator. Bus Driver. U-Boat Simulator. Ski Region Simulator. London Underground Simulator. Street Cleaning Simulator. Who's buying all these niche simulation games, anyway? We found out
A couple of years ago developers of Johnathan Blow's upcoming video game "The Witness" tapped landscape architect David Fletcher (Fletcher Studio) and architect Deanna VanBuren (FORUM Design Studio) "to help synthesize what was, at the time, a remote, anonymous island setting without much context . . . Witness required the landscape architects to reverse engineer a site from ruins to birth." (Previously)
Women enjoy video games, to the astonishment of local TV newsreaders. Women enjoy science, to the astonishment of Facebook users.
All The Pretty Doritos:How Video Game Journalism Went Off The Rails Article from forbes.com detailing the pressures video game reviewers and publications come under from gaming companies. These range from the relatively subtle (gifts, gratuities, entertainments put on for visiting journos), to overtly pressuring/punishing publications for not playing ball (cancelling interviews and exclusives in response to less-than-flattering editorial, threatening to pull advertising in response to bad reviews). At the extreme end, the article mentions one journalist who was fired two weeks after publishing a 'bad' (6/10) review for Kane & Lynch.
Davis and Ma wrote up a long list of one-paragraph game pitches to prototype. They would be small, manageable games that two people could complete on their own. The game they chose to go with would have to be finished within a year, because that was all they had budgeted for. Among the pitches inspired by board games, roguelikes and all the genres that excited them was a 2D, top-down management game called FTL. The Opposite of Fail - The making of FTL (Previously)
Ever wanted to watch a video games award show from 1994 hosted by Leslie Neilson and Jonathan Taylor Thomas? Well, your extremely questionable prayers have been answered (single two hour youtube link, stick around for all the commercials and a very early appearance by Will Arnett)
The Castle Doctrine is the new "home invasion MMO" from cult game designer Jason Rohrer (previously: Sleep is Death, Passage, Chain World). It portrays a rather bleak world in which you must place traps to defend your home, family and life savings from an onslaught of burglars. At the same time, you must invade other players' homes to steal their life savings, in order to buy more expensive traps and tools. The more money you gain, the more attractive target your home is, so you better be clever in rigging up those traps. It's fiendish, brilliant, and currently open for public alpha at 50% of the full price. Rock Paper Shotgun has some early impressions: Part 1, Part 2.
"Propaganda shields ideas from danger, and I think I'd rather expose ideas to danger. I think that's what I like to make in these games, is to take ideas and say, well, let's see what happens when these aren't protected." With the much anticipated release of BioShock Infinite just two weeks away, EuroGamer sits down for a lengthy chat with creative Director Ken Levine about philosophy, politics and God. [more inside]
"My three year old daughter and I play a lot of old games together. Her favorite is Donkey Kong. Two days ago, she asked me if she could play as the girl and save Mario... So what else am I supposed to do? Now I'm up at midnight hacking the ROM, replacing Mario with Pauline." (SLYT)
Feminist Frequency has released the first video in the "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series: Damsel in Distress (part 1), hosted by Anita Sarkeesian (previously). It was funded by a kickstarter campaign that was notable for the level of backlash (previously).
Skip Cameron, a Mormon, writes for Kotaku on the respectful treatment of Mormons and Mormonism in Fallout: New Vegas.
SimCity, arguably the best known simulation game ever, is back after a decade with a new iteration of the franchise. Is it any good? We may have to wait for an answer until someone can actually log on to the game. [more inside]
A short French documentary (Part 1). (Part 2). on the making of the classic platformer, Another World (released in the US as Out Of This World).
"These two Nintendo store binders provide an interesting look into the retail side of the gaming industry." [more inside]
C.P.U. Bach was an interactive music program released by MicroProse in 1993 for the 3DO. Designed by Sid Meier and Jeff Briggs, it generated Baroque pieces in the style of Bach along with accompanying visuals.
Another Day, Another Press Conference. Yesterday's Playstation 4 announcement was perhaps most notable in what it didn't include: any female presenters. Also discussed by Kotaku and The Verge. (The Verge also notes similar trends in press events from Nintendo, EA, HTC, and Apple.)
"In its original form, Double Dragon is, if nothing else, a game in which Lynyrd Skynyrd fights to rescue America from The Ramones, The Village People, and Grandmaster Flash." - Dan Whitehead of the Gameological Society on Double Dragon and how gaming reflects a culture's changing relationship with the urban landscape.
Dan writes about games for a living. Dan's dad does not play games. Dan plays games with his dad. Much amused frustration is had by both parties. 2011, 2012, 2013. Individual Youtube videos after the jump. [more inside]
Pixelated Blood is a 2-hour, totally NSFW compilation of finishing moves from 23 fighting games (turn on annotations and click to select a particular game.) [more inside]
Is It That Hard to Make A Decent 'Aliens' Game? It is if the abysmal reviews for the new game Aliens: Colonial Marines are accurate. Rock Paper Shotgun's John Walker lists the worst moments, while Destructoid's Jim Sterling tears it apart and recommends better Alien games. [more inside]
NEW from VIDEO Magazine, arising out of its popular "Arcade Alley" column, it's ELECTRONIC GAMES Magazine!(page of PDF links) Brought to you by editors Frank Laney Jr. and Bill Kunkel, and filled with all the latest news on programmable home console games, computer games (with special coverage for the new ATARI 800 system), stand-alone electronic devices and arcade gaming. [more inside]
A contributor to the Gameological Society visits his local video game store in Nairobi to demonstrate the sort of games he found there, finding gems like "Guitar Hero: Beatles and Friends" (actually, mostly Bahasa pop music), "Robocop" (with extra rainbow), and what might just be the ne plus ultra of video game mods: Grand Theft Auto San Andreas: Kirk Douglas.
Tim Rogers reviews American Football for Kotaku.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the first major video game to be developed by the legendary animation house Studio Ghibli (previously). Reviews are mostly ecstatic, with praise for its music and graphics. And Brainy Gamer speculates that, like Zelda and The Elder Scrolls before it, the game will be remembered because of its connection to the "perilous realm" that J.R.R. Tolkien described.
SLYT: an octogenarian plays Black Ops and Halo: 4 with his grandson. And really, really gets into it.
"For the past few years, I have been trying to learn how to do all the various creative and technical things that go into making a video game - programming, graphics, interface, writing, gameplay design - in addition to music and sound, which I do for a living. The 2013 Global Game Jam was this past weekend, and over two sleep-deprived days I completed my first solo project: A game for OS X and Windows where you punch spaceships with your dick. (Probably safe for work, unless your boss considers it inappropriate to see a pink laser beam with a boxing glove on the tip which shoots out of a giant robot's groin.)"[via mefi projects]
Stephen Lavelle AKA Increpare (mentioned previously, previously, and previously) has recently released some new games recently, as mentioned by Liz Ryerson (also previously). Many of them create vibrant, emotional, affecting environments. The club like dream/nightmare that is Slave of God is written about by Cara Ellison of Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
Second Quest is a fully funded Kickstarter comic by David Hellman (the artist of Braid) and Tevis Thompson that attempts to put the criticisms of modern Zelda games in Tevis' essay Saving Zelda (previously) into comic book form. As Tim Rogers says, "People are willing to pay money to make a comic book about Zelda‘s pedantry exist. What a weird time."
Olan Rogers (previously) and Jake Sidwell's ode to gamers, The Lion's Blaze, release a sequel, The Lion's Blaze 2, a ballad for gamers. [more inside]
"I certainly believe that the White House would like nothing more than to see an end to mass gun murders in America's elementary schools. But the fact remains that gun violence takes place every day, all across this country, at a rate of dozens of deaths a day, and as the leading cause of death among African-American youth. But when the vice president establishes a task force on gun control and violence that includes the media industries that the NRA has once again chosen as their patsies after a particularly heinous and public example of gun violence, all it can do is shift attention away from guns." -- How the video game industry has lost out in the gun control debate.
Hunt For The Gay Planet is a game Anna Anthropy made in response to Bioware restricting all same-sex romances in Star Wars: The Old Republic to a single planet that's part of paid downloadable content.
But the golden age was destined to be a very short one. Walter Day told writer Tristan Donovan, author of the book Replay: The History of Video Games, that the industry was "off the rails by" 1981, opening more arcades and ordering more machines than its players could ever support. By early 1982, cracks were already starting to show in the newly flourishing industry: that $400 a day machine, Time Magazine reported, was often "sucker bait, dangled to obscure the dreary truths that markets are becoming saturated and that dud games... bring in no money at all."
Dead Island 2: Riptide Edition was going to ship with a statue of a bloody, bikini-clad female torso. The publisher has since apologized while Kotaku wonders what other games should come with severed torsos and Lindy West and John Walker point out the obvious misogyny.
It’s 20 or 30 years ago. You’re working on a videogame. You don’t get any credit for your work, blogs don’t exist, there’s no internet and no fanboys. It’s just you, a crusty old terminal, and got a few spare bytes left in the ROM. What now?
Remember playing Super Mario World on your Sega Genesis? Probably not, considering it's a rather rare bootleg. Well, thanks to the efforts of some determined gamers, you can now play it at home, although only on the Gens Plus GX emulator on the Wii (or through the Gens core via RetroArch.) [via]
The intention of making this film was for it to be a spec film, with the primary purpose being to show how a Sonic the Hedgehog film, in a live action environment, can be executed. [more inside]