The UK seems to have become an international hotbed of gamers going wild on society. Last week a British Navy sailor killed his superior officer, which parts of the tabloid media blamed on Grand Theft Auto. Today, a more concretely video game related tale of real life violence comes to us from The Daily Mail.
PayPal has, all in all, been great for allowing Web 2.0 economy to grow. For most entities, it's the best way to send money between two people on the internet.
Portal is game design milestone. Originally only available bundled in with larger cousins Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 in The Orange Box, its creators, Valve Software, changed what first person gameplay could be. It's been a stand alone product for much of the four years since its release, but never an expensive one, usually available for $5 on Steam (also created by Valve). If that barrier to entry was too high for you, or you just never got around to trying it, there are no more excuses....
Deepak Chopra is one of the last people you'd think to be associated with video games. He's a new age spiritual icon who's built an empire on self-help books and speaking tours, one of which my Marin County liberal parents deigned to drag me to in middle school. Recently, a new outlet for his teachings was announced—a video game project three years in the making, simply called Leela.
Video game controllers are our windows into the soul of the machine, our sole means of interacting with them. More often than not, consumers seem displeased by their controllers; it's comforting to blame sticky, poorly laid out buttons for messing up your game than your own lacking skills. The original "fatty" Xbox controller was so large it caused mass consternation and prompted Microsoft to replace it with a smaller version in a matter of months.
Blizzard Entertainment is considered one of the most successful game developers in the world. Ever since the release of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (their debut Warcraft game) in 1994, they've set sales records and created genre-defining games with remarkable consistency. But the company wasn't founded in 1994—it all started back in 1991 when they were called Silicon & Synapse.
George Plimpton may be one of the most interesting Americans ever. Foremost a sports journalist, he was also a novelist, Fireworks Commissioner for New York City and host of Mouseterpiece Theater. Some of you may also recognize him as one of the men who tackled Robert F. Kennedy's assassin, Sirhan Sirhan. But most of you probably remember him as the pitchman for products like Pop Secret Popcorn and the Intellivision video game console. Actually, his most appreciated work would probably be a s...
Most kids who play video games will never become professional gamers. Those that do are part of a very select group— it's like being a professional actor or athlete. It's nice work if you can get it. For everyone else, the sad realization usually arrives sooner or later that time spent playing games might not have the practical rewards that homework or working hard at your job might deliver.
Pressing the button on a video game controller quickly is like running the 100 meter dash. Both require dedication and a precise exercise regime. There is also an odd quality about both in which the range between the very best and complete neophyte is tiny. Sprinter Usain Bolt holds the record in the 100 meter run at 9.58 seconds, only three seconds faster than I ran in freshmen high school track. And yet there are thousands of sprinters from a hundred years of Olympic competition in between ...
Epic Games announced today that the free version of Unreal Engine 3, Unreal Development Kit or UDK, is now compatible with Mac OS X. Apple users will now have access to arguably the most powerful piece of free game development software available in almost exactly the same way as their PC counterparts, minus some small tweaks.
Advancements in technology usually lead to the miniaturization of old technologies, and video games are no exception. Since at least 1990, game hardware manufacturers and enterprising DIY electronics enthusiasts have poured their efforts into making full-size video game consoles smaller, even handheld. And for good reason—who would have ever played a black and white Game Boy if they could have had an actual NES in their pocket?
Minecraft has been out nearly two years now. Hard to believe, isn't it? Fans of the game have been spoiled with a lot of new content over that span from its creator Notch, as well as its modders. A couple months ago, Notch tortured the Minecraft community by tweeting some screens of a "Sky Kingdom" that he was working on.
Video game makers have never had great name recognition amongst the American public. Shigeru Miyamoto, Cliff Bleszinski, and Will Wright are names most Americans can't be bothered to remember, whatever their contribution to games have been. Most people are familiar with their work, but fail to recognize them by name or appearance.
Video games and books seldom have much impact on one another. Games based on movies based on books are fairly common, but games made directly from books are all but nonexistent. This is too bad, given that they're the two most interactive medias out there.
For this week's review round-up, we bring you two games from opposite sides of the indie world. One is a free online hybrid shooter/platformer combining elements of Team Fortress 2 and Minecraft. The other involves driving jeeps around and shooting things as fast as possible. Both are great.
BioShock is one of the best games of all time. It combines FPS gameplay with RPG storytelling and supports multiple systems better than any other game, that much is for sure. And the setting of its amazing story is a place called Rapture, a high-tech libertarian colony at the bottom of the Atlantic built by Andrew Ryan, a greying industrialist clearly inspired by John Galt and his creator Ayn Rand, the mother of Objectivism and modern American libertarianism in general. Ryan is a Soviet exile...
The last week has been a trying one for me. On Sunday, there were four computers in my office, three of which were broken. The fourth was not really a computer, but more of a collection of parts that were cobbled together for the purpose of constructing a PC that would sneer derisively at the mere mention of turning down any game's ambient occlusion settings.
Most indie game developers will never see a million dollars in their bank accounts, and I certainly doubt that Eul, the anonymous developer responsible for the original version of Defense of the Ancients (DotA), expected to. But now even the fans can earn a little green. Some lucky and talented DotA players are about to win $1,000,000 for playing the unreleased sequel to the free unsupported Warcraft III mod from 2003.
Minecraft might still be in development, but that doesn't mean a creative guy like Notch doesn't have time for other projects. A few months ago he and his company Mojang announced their second game, a digital collectible trading card affair called Scrolls. A simple title (perhaps too generic if anything), but it's not the name of an extant game, and it's appropriate given the visual style and card-based gameplay of the game itself.
University video game design programs have been spreading like wildfire around the world over the last ten years. They allow students, researchers and game developers to work on their craft in an academic environment away from the harsh realities of the market, and have led to some interesting products like Fl0w from USC and Ulitsa Dimitrova from Germany. Both games take on topics not often addressed in mainstream games and do so in simple, poignant ways that aim to influence the rest of the ...
Anyone who likes shooters is going to hate me for saying this: the best game of the 2000's for me was Psychonauts by Double Fine Studios. It came out in 2005 for the original Xbox, achieving critical acclaim, but never selling very well due to its sheer kookiness and poor marketing. Over the ensuing years it has become a cult classic, with downloadable re-releases on Xbox 360 (sadly no longer available). PC has allowed gamers who missed out on the original to bask in its ageless glory.
The noble board game has stalwartly staved off elimination in the face of more technologically advanced video games for four decades. Try as they might, video games just can't seem to surpass them as an easy-to-use diversion for large groups of seated indoor people.
Games have been getting shorter in length over the last decade. RPGs like The Elder Scrolls series are still tremendously long, but most single-player game experiences have gotten shorter as production values, costs, and manpower requirements to create them have gone up. It seems that elite Japanese developers Level-5 and Brownie Brown have decided to completely disregard that trend for their forthcoming collaborative effort Professor Layton and the Last Specter, which will feature what might...
The United Kingdom has long been known as an international hub of yellow tabloid journalism. The News Of The World, one of the nation's largest tabloids, is famously in court right now because of the deplorable methods it used to acquire salacious information about interesting people. It appears, given their recent string of video game related reportage, that daily newspaper Metro has also had its fair share of morally dubious reporters on staff.
For more than a decade, free-to-play games with microtransactions (also called In-App Purchase or IAP) by which players can pay real money for in-game content have been the industry standard for online success in Asia. Mainstream American gamers have long resisted these "freemium" games, with World of Warcraft and other subscription based online games reigning supreme, and being seen as more AAA than their free-ish counterparts. Casual games developers have encountered no such problems, and m...
Like a great acting performance, making a really good game is all about choices. While creating or playing a game, those involved have to constantly make small choices that will affect the outcome, either positively or negatively. And the only thing worse than choosing wrongly is not choosing at all. Too many games, especially today, stick to what they're supposed to do from the get-go and avoid making difficult, small, meaningful choices to differentiate themselves and make their performance...
The used video game market represents a huge portion of retail game sales. It's the only avenue in which most people can afford to buy AAA games. But game publishers aren't exactly big fans of used game sales, since they only benefit from gamers buying new ones. GameStop and Best Buy are huge corporate interests, so EA and the rest of the big publishers out there have not been able to push them around on the issue of used game sales... so far.
Studio Ghibli is the most well known anime feature film studio in the world. For over 26 years, their films have represented the peak of mainstream anime, and since Disney began distributing their films in America back in 1997, they've become a household name here in the States—not just in Japan. In 2001, they even bested Disney and Pixar, taking home a Best Animated Feature Film Academy Award for Spirited Away. Eight years later, Ghibli and Fukuoka-based developer Level-5 announced that they...
News: Until Project Rainfall Succeeds, We Must Hack the Wii for Xenoblade Chronicles in North America
For as much money as they've made from North American video game audiences over the years, Japanese game developers don't seem to have very much faith in them. Dozens of great titles from their 40 years in the industry have appeared in Japan and across Europe, oftentimes even in English. But they never make it over to America, like Mother 3, Last Window: Midnight Promise, Dragon Force 2, and Tobal No. 2 (that one didn't even hit Europe).
This week's roundup features three games that I've either never bothered to play, was unable to play due to PC technical limitations, or haven't played because they've just been released. None of these three games cost more than $15.
It's a hell of a lot easier to make money selling an indie game now than it was four years ago. But it's still a rough game.
Making a video game requires an incredible amount of work. It requires people skilled in many disciplines to work together for thousands of hours merging visual art, computer programming, game design, sound design, and music composition into a fun game. The Indie Stone is a Scottish indie development studio started, like so many others, by industry vets who were tired of corporate restrictions and wanted to make the crazy games they had always imagined.
World of Warcraft has been on top of the world for seven years. No other MMO has come close to challenging its dominance of the genre, and it has generated billions of dollars for Blizzard. They have spent a lot of money adding more and more content, to the extent where the full game with all the expansion packs takes up 65 GB of hard drive space. It is a beautiful game; well balanced, and a milestone in the history of the medium.
Video games are the newest major expressive media. As such, their role in society is still being defined continuously. A monumentally important example of this took place yesterday at the US Supreme Court. After a long deliberation, the highest court in the land handed down a decision invalidating a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors on the grounds that video games are protected speech under the First Amendment, like movies and books.
Video games and movies have a history of interaction dogged by failure. Video game movies and movie video games both tend to be terrible. There has never been a good feature film based on a video game franchise. Even documentaries about games, which should be rife given the rapid rise of games on the cultural stage over the last thirty years, have been few and far between. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is by far the best, and for several years now has been the only really stirring f...
Most of the indie and vintage games discussed in Indie Games Ichiban are pretty cheap to purchase. They rarely top twenty bucks, which is one of the major advantages independent games have against their sixty-buck, major league counterparts. But if you think $60 for a game and $300 for a PS3 or Xbox 360 seems like a lot, then you haven't played Steel Battalion or seen the TurboExpress. They go above and beyond what normal gamers are willing to spend for questionably entertaining products. Her...
Yesterday's installment of a Gamer's Guide to Video Game Software featured Unity 3D; today we'll be covering one of the oldest consumer game making engines, RPG Maker.
Angry Birds might be the most visible video game franchise in the world today. It has sold 100 million units, as many as all the Sims games put together. It has been incorporated into board games, birthday cakes, and Israeli sketch comedy shows. And yet, this piece of seeming mass-media whoredom is an indie game. Wha?
Here is the giant version of my header image and longtime desktlop background: Sprite Explosion. It was created by Deviantart user Supersonyk, who does all sorts of awesome pixel art and pixel-art-inspired work. Buy his shirts!