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.
It's been a great year for video games, kind of. Sure, the AAA release lineup has been a trainwreck and hacking has been a bigger problem than ever. But two things have happened involving the federal government that have made video games more legitimate in the United States than ever before. The Supreme Court ruling establishing that video games were the equivalent of movies and books, not porn, was the more significant decision. But in May, the National Endowment for the Arts made another si...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Minecraft was first released just a few years ago, but when a paradigm-shifting piece of media comes along the rest of the world is quick to take inspiration from it. The absolutely terrible XBLA knock-off FortressCraft was the first, and last month a much more interesting game called Terraria came out on Steam for $9.99. It is clearly inspired by Minecraft, and there is a long checklist of identical features. It is, nonetheless, a very different product, and just might be called the first in...
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...
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX:HR) was the biggest AAA release two weeks ago, which has drawn rave reviews and sold well across the entire world. But if you've actually played the game, then you've seen something annoying that it and many other games share. It happens at the beginning of the game—every time you turn it on.
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.
Big news from the world of game development engines. For several years, Unity3D has been the free 3D game development engine of choice for aspiring and indie game designers around the world. While it isn't as powerful as Unreal Engine 3 or CryEngine, it's free and much easier to use. Now, according to an announcement made by Unity yesterday, Unity 3D is about to unleash a huge weapon that neither of those other engines can claim: Flash compatibility.
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.
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.
Since Angry Birds is apparently an "indie game", here's an interesting tidbit. Changsa, China's Window of the World theme park recently added an especially zeitgeisty activity to their collection of diverse attractions: a real-life Angry Birds game, which allows participants to catapult Angry Bird "balls" at targets using an actual slingshot.
Four years ago Mind Candy was a pretty small game company. They were best known for their revolutionary but short lived ARG Perplex City, and had no other successful franchises to fall back on when that ended. Their plan to save it? Start a free online social game for children ages 7-12 called Moshi Monsters, where kids can create monster pets, raise them, and socialize with one another in a controlled, safe environment.
Every year at the big video game trade shows around the world, like E3 and gamescon, the big three console makers each do a hot-ticket exclusive press conference to let the media know what's coming for their system. Computer games have no such press conference. Who would give it if they did?
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).
Children under the age of 13 possess insight that can blow the minds of their elders, but not the wherewithal to make important life choices for themselves. This is exactly why there are strict rules against marketing cigarettes to them. In 2000, a law went into effect called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act that institutes similar consumer protections for our youth's online identities, prohibiting companies from soliciting personal information from children under 13 years of age ...
The Australian government has a dysfunctional history with video games. Any regular Yahtzee Croshaw follower can attest to that. The Parliament has established a series of unfortuante regulations that make games both highly taxed and overregulated in price. Bringing any goods all the way to an island in the bottom of the world is expensive to begin with, and new games in Australia can tip the scales at $80 or more.
After a decent amount of downtime, one of the best indie game sites on the internet has finally relaunched! PixelProspector is a one-man gaming blog and YouTube channel devoted to the weird and beautiful world of indie games. In the first half of 2010, it received a huge boost in popularity from its video 235 Free Indie Games in 10 Minutes, a hypnotic montage of the best indie games the site had to offer at that point. And to celebrate the relaunch of the blog, which now has an improved desig...
Hard drive space is one of the cheapest things you can add to your computer. But people take it for granted, thus game developers have given up any efforts in keeping games compact. With all of its expansion packs, World of Warcraft takes up more than 60 GB of hard drive space, and almost any AAA game consumes a gig or two.
The UK print media has been yellower than the middle traffic light for a long time now. The News of the World scandal has cast that into particularly sharp relief of late. The Sun, one of the biggest newspapers in the United Kingdom, demonstrated it again last week when they ran the front-page headline "DEATH BY XBOX".
Many gamers see the film industry as the premier model that video games should follow, and it's no surprise. Movies are seen as the most legitimate and profitable of all artistic visual mediums, which is certainly qualities practitioners of any new medium would desire. Big budget games like Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire strive for the same level as film by aping its techniques, focusing on storytelling in a cinematic fashion, rather than creating compelling gameplay experiences.
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?
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...
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?
A small group of students studying Game development at Stockholm University just released their first game.
If you go over to the Iphone store and download social haven rescue. You will see a cute little space app and the fish under the sea secret water world is adorable. Its a free good attempt. What games are there out there that also have fish like graphics?
I'll keep this short and sweet, as the game is online, loads quickly, it's free, and easy to play: it's quicker to play it than describe it: EnterTheStory.com
Hey everyone! These are a few screenshots from an indie game we announced today - Nyrthos. If you like it, definitely check us out at www.nyrthos.com and tell us what you think!
Dungeon Defenders is finally out on the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. We've previously featured the tower defense RPG, and if you haven't had a chance to check out the PAX interview with Trendy Entertainment, now would be a good time.
Dungeon Defenders is the most exciting craft game on the Fall 2011 release schedule. I got a chance to play it at PAX in August and interviewed developers Trendy Entertainment last month. After more than a year of publishing difficulty and delay, the game finally came out on PSN, XBLA and Steam. I put about 20 hours into the XBLA version over the past weekend, beating all the campaign maps and racking up a huge pile of in-game money. It is not a perfect game. But it is a huge, challenging, an...
This week's review roundup is a diverse lot. They really only have two things in common—their indie origins and puzzle elements. Otherwise, they come from France, Spain and the U.S., a few from unknown designers and one by the guy who inspired Minecraft.
Getting money to make a AAA game is hard. When anyone is lucky enough to get the funds they need, it usually comes from a giant game publishing company that wants the rights to the game, not to mention complete control. Those publishers have shareholders who demand a high return on their investment, so they avoid risk when choosing game projects to fund.
Nicholas Entertainment Group (NEG) is a Polish independent game publisher that recently got their hands dirty with development. Their first game (with Intoxicate Studios) is the forthcoming horror first-person shooter Afterfall: InSanity, which comes out next month—dangerously close to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3 and Assassin's Creed Revelations release dates. That's some stiff competition for small company, especially since it's a $35 debut game.