No, no, no, hold your horses, this isn’t saying games will never be as good as films, or that Citizen Kane is the almighty work of art or something, this is something a bit more important. This is about history, and understanding what a word like “Citizen Kane” means, and what a discussion about Orson Welles’ legendary film actually means for the gaming world.
In 20th/21st century art terms, “Citizen Kane” is shorthand for “greatest film of all time.” The shorthand implication is that a work created in 1941 is somehow the greatest cinematic work, embodying everything the form has to offer and unstoppable by any following work of art. Continue reading “There Can Never Be A Citizen Kane Of Video Games (Don’t Worry, That’s A Good Thing!)” »
Fair warning, this story is going to get complicated and messy. And due to the dark nature of the inciting incident, I’m putting a trigger warning at the top of the article for discussion of suicide and sexual harassment. There are a lot of tough issues at the heart of this tragedy, and to be honest, I’m not going to come out of this thing with an answer to any of the problems I’m about to show you.
But dammit internet. We’ve got to talk about this stuff. Continue reading “Stop Your Crusade, Internet — This Isn’t Justice, It’s an Inquisition” »
There’s an argument I’ve had with several people over the last few days, among them my compatriot Paul Nyhart, who wrote this article proclaiming Kickstarter is headed for the dead zone. The argument is that bigger institutions are joining the crowdfunding craze and this (somehow) damages the movement. Seriously? Continue reading “Everybody Calm Down, Kickstarter Is Fine” »
The concept of the live action trailer for video games is weirdly fascinating to me. Over the last two weeks, Bethesda, Activision and 2K all announced their new titles not with a demonstration of the actual game, but with live action trailers–content designed to replicate cinema instead of games, but usually marketing games which mimic closely cinema or other art forms to begin with. The fact that they blur the lines between game and cinema, sometimes knocking it out of the park with experiences that expand of the fiction of the game, make them a cool thing to study while talking about the experience of being a gamer. Continue reading “Why Live Action Video Game Trailers Work” »
A few days ago, we got tipped off to some possible scuttlebut on the recent launch of the new Star Trek video game. It seems in spite of the game’s multiple terrible reviews, a few gamers were still giving the game positive ratings on Metacritic. The conspiracy? That these reviews were planted by Namco Bandai or Digital Extremes.
It’s strange that this idea doesn’t really come as shocking to the game community, when publishers have in the past levied some shady tactics like getting a Gamespot reviewer fired for giving Kane and Lynch a bad review or tying developer’s bonuses to Metacritic scores as in the case of Fallout New Vegas. Even while publishers like Valve are laboring tirelessly to earn their customers’ support, developers and publishers can face an inordinate amount of distrust from the gaming community.
But the thing is, it’s rarely the developers or publishers who face the criticism ladled at them on forums or through Twitter. It’s often the moderators and community managers who have to face gamers’ ire. These are the people you probably see hovering around the World of Warcraft forums or answering your tickets in the game’s support section. They fulfill an important gap between the engineers and creatives who design the game and the players who want to get their feedback heard. Especially in online multiplayer games, where changes fly fast and updates arrive sometimes on a monthly basis, this interaction is incredibly important to the survival of certain games.
James got his start with Acclaim Game’s MMO 2 Moons, when he decided he wanted to help out with what was a really fun game. “I enjoyed the game and decided to help out! Just to see whatever I could do to help the game because that’s what I do. If I like something, I’ll do whatever I can to support the growth of it. Eventually I started volunteering with their in-game game master stuff, but very very quickly, I was put in charge of the community and all the volunteers that were working within the game.”
The first thing we talked about was why anyone would even want to get into this stressful job in the first place. It turns out Baldwin’s passion for supporting others was what made him pursue that moderating career as he went from game to game. I asked him what was really rewarding about working as a moderator and community manager for gamers.
“For me, it’s a two-part thing. First of all, it’s the learning experience. No matter how much time you spend in this industry, you’re always learning. Whether it’s more about things about the physical roles of the job or it’s just learning from the community, they have so much to teach you at all times and as much as your ears open (which they should be) you’ll continue to learn. The second part is the exact opposite, and that’s the teaching side and being able to relay a lot of information out. I’m consistently finding myself in a teaching role as a community manager. This could be teaching new players how to play a game, educating newer employees on tools & processes or even helping fellow community managers with problems, I’m always looking for ways to help pass on the information I’ve learned from someone else.
Baldwin describes his role as being largely that of a translator; taking feedback from the community and packaging it into something useful for the developers, and taking responses from the developers and taking them back to the community. “The relationship between community teams and devs can be challenging at times since the two teams tend speak two different languages. Like with anything though, the more you understand and the more work with each other, the more you’ll learn what works best in terms of relaying information back and forth.” Maintaining that relationship isn’t always easy. From the developer end, not being able to explain certain information to the players can sometimes be a curse. “Because there are constantly things (patches, content, etc) that are working through the pipeline with the development team, there’s no way you can talk about those changes with people outside of the company until they’ve hit a certain point in the development process. There are too many examples of times when people have made statements such as ‘oh, this feature is coming in the next patch,’ and for whatever reason it doesn’t, (doesn’t matter if it’s cut, if it’s broken from QA, or whatnot) there’s a major backlash from the community.”
And at the player end, things can sometimes get pushed to incorrect extremes: “People will be unhappy with certain aspects. The ones who are more vocal are the ones who are going to say ‘you guys screwed up here,’ ‘you guys need to improve this,’ or they’ll actually look at a lead, whether it’s a lead designer or lead developer and say well this person screwed us over and they’ll try to pinpoint responsibilities on one particular person. Making a game–every small thing you want to change in a game has so many people, so many teams involved that it’s never one person’s responsibility or one person’s decision. That’s why you’ll see rules in many of these larger communities, (normally known as the code of conduct) that says you can’t call people out by name.”
That comment brought back some memories—back in my World of Warcraft days, I remembered how hard the communities would come down on devs like Furor or Kaplan back when Paladins weren’t really capable of any DPS. In retrospect, there was never any evidence for those conspiracy theories—Furor getting singled out was largely based on his hardcore raiding experience in Everquest that emphasized healers being locked in healer roles, and I can’t even remember why Kaplan was on the list. But as Baldwin pointed out, Blizzard was pretty kind to let any kind of discussion of the devs take place to begin with: “Most of the games I have seen, they generally don’t tolerate that sort of stuff, and if they do allow stuff like that it’s very heavily moderated. At the end of the day, a dev bashing session does no good for anyone. Get the constructive feedback, that’s fine, and we’ll pass that on, but just coming out and saying ‘this person does this’ or ‘that person did that’ doesn’t contribute anything or help anyone.”
So to sum it all up, why is this even worth it for Baldwin? “It’s part of the job. This is not a job you walk into off the street. This is something you prepare yourself for, this is something you know what you’re getting into most of the time. The way customer service works in almost any industry is that the majority of the people you’re going to hear from are the people unhappy with their experience. But when you go to a con like PAX, you see people with the biggest grins on their faces and they’re so happy to meet you. They’re so excited about your game, and seeing that face and their expressions and dealing with your fans face to face is just a surreal feeling. Everytime that happens it comes into my favorite moments in that line of work.”
Which is why it’s awesome that in spite of such behavior, Jenny Lorenzo and her friends at Aggressive Comix whipped up this awesome spoof of Psy’s latest hit Gentleman in a strike back against scumbags and haters of the world, all while showing off some awesome cosplay. Turns out Psy’s astonishingly addictive choreography works just as well for Rogue, Sailor Moon, and a Venom-suited Spider-Man suit as well as it does for the goofy Korean Raptor.
Bonus points for the impressive TARDIS replica while I’m at it.
If you’re still looking for another dose of geekery from Jenny and her team, you might want to check out their Secret of the Booze series, which walks you through how to make an assortment of themed alcoholic drinks based on everything from Doctor Who to Iron Man III.
The Fire Emblem series first waves in America after two of its iconic heroes, Roy and Marth, first appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee back in 2001, with a proper entry landing in North America in 2003. While the series is primarily known for its medieval fantasy strategy elements and story-based focus, Fire Emblem Awakening on the 3DS has one of the side mechanics of the series–its unit support system, to the foreground of both the gameplay and narrative elements of the story.
For those not familiar with the support system, it basically works like this–characters who stand near each other in battle can develop relationships, ranking from C to S. Depending on how high a unit’s relationship with another character is, it can influence that character’s outcome at the end of the game and make them stronger in battle. In older titles, characters could gain S rank support with 1 character of any gender, representing romance if it was between two characters of opposite genders, and long-lasting friendship if it was with a same-gendered character. In Awakening, S-ranked support is reserved strictly for marriage. Continue reading “I Loved Fire Emblem: Awakening, But I Still Couldn’t Overlook This Huge Problem” »
Hell, it’s about time: the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles announced yesterday that, in partnership with Women In Games International, they would be working to implement a new Video Game Design patch for Los Angeles-based Girl Scout troops. The move comes as part of an effort to implement a nationally implemented Game Design patch, designed to encourage troop members to pursue interests in fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through the lens of game design, as well as teaching them about potential careers in the game industry. Continue reading “Girls Scouts of Los Angeles Launching Game Design Patch” »
Get Water isn’t like a lot of other endless runners. It isn’t riding on the pop culture conventions of another genre, it doesn’t rely on the same controls, and it isn’t just an obsessive little runner that urges you to get more and more coins. Developed by Decode Global, Get Water is the product of an organization that isn’t necessarily trying to make products for Commercial Success. Its development began as part of a game design Fellowship Program that brought students from all over the world together to try and make an app that could impact social change. Continue reading “Sometimes All A Game Needs To Do Is Make You Ask Questions” »
While robots, power armor, hovercraft and spaceships are all classic tropes of science fiction, Blomkamp’s latest outing bears a strong visual resemblance to Mass Effect. The drones you see in the trailer bear a similar look to some of the robotic enemies used by Cerberus and other organizations, Elysium itself looks somewhat like the Citadel, and some of the gunfire is stylisticly similar to the special powers and ammo used in Mass Effect’s gunplay.
Though Blomkamp hasn’t directly commented one way or the other on if video games have influenced his production design, given his history with video game-based films, (he’d still like to direct that Halo movie, by the way), it’s not inconceivable that he and his team were inspired by elements of Mass Effect as they moved through production.
In fact, if you look at Blomkamp’s current work to date, you can see evidence that he might be the biggest working director who understands how to translate gaming elements to big screen narratives.
Obviously, film and video games are stylisticly different mediums and experiences–but if video games can borrow so much from film, it stands to reason that film can borrow just as much from video games, even while not acting as direct adaptation. Blomkamp’s demonstrated the potential for this through his work on the Halo 3: Landfall shorts, District 9, and some of the elements comprising the upcoming Elysium. He does this by embodying two concepts—the concept of rules, and the concept of aesthetics.
I’ll start with aesthetics since that’s a little more surface level. The process of borrowing from video game aesthetics can be simply defined as taking elements that are visuallyssociateda with video games and literally translating them into film or other non-immersive media. Classically, this can be as easy as putting “8 bit objects” into the world that the characters inhabit, (like Scott Pilgrim Versus The World), but as gaming’s aesthetics have evolved, so too have the techniques that filmmakers use. These aesthetics can now include camera placement, weapons, figures and other objects born of video game design, and nontraditional sound design.
Blomkamp’s District 9 focused on borrowing two of these aesthetics—the camerawork and “objects.” The film’s basic camera aesthetic was attached to the idea that the film was a documentary, meaning the camera was supposed to feel like it was physically located within the scene at all times. This isn’t necessarily a technique borrowed from games, but some of the film’s later camerawork felt eerily reminiscent of a first-person shooter, because of specifically where the cameras were placed during some of the action sequences: On the guns.
If you break down the raw elements of a first-person shooter, one of the most basic aspects is the in-game camera’s relationship with the gun. It’s rarely realistic to what holding a gun would actually feel like, but its positioning feels authentic to wielding a firearm, whether it’s on the bottom corner of the screen or dead center to aim down the reticule. So even though District 9 only has a few shots that draw on this aesthetic, gamers watching the film are still likely to have a neurological response that reminds them of video games due to the geographical locating of the camera.
In terms of objects, District 9 borrows the Gravity Gun, an object that doesn’t necessarily need to be in the world of District 9, and yet every time I’ve watched the film with other gamers, the second Wikus blasts some of the mercenaries with the dead pig he sucked up, at least one person shouts “Gravity Gun!” in recognition.
The Gravity Gun was originally borne of Half Life 2′s physics manipulation element of its gameplay, and was able to be integrated with the game due to the preexisting science fiction elements. District 9 comes from the other direction, using the Gravity Gun to help telegraph the Prawns’ antigravity technology that encompass the film’s climax. If either of these individual elements arbitrarily existed in District 9, I’d hestiate to label them as being borne of video games, but their combination signals an intent to communicate with those familiar with gaming language.
Then there’s the concept of “rules,” which a more intrinsic gaming element that District 9 and the upcoming Elysium use to justify their narratives. Films obviously have arbitrary stakes all the time–time limits, power upgrades and downgrades, and other techniques have been part of basic plot structure for years, but since “rules” are one of the core elements of gaming, their integration into two of Blomkamp’s films, in combination with the gaming Aesthetic, can’t be ignored.
The rules of District 9 are that Wikus has been infected with a Prawn pathogen that will slowly turn him into one of the aliens, which sets a time limit on his life if he ever wants to be a human again. This also empowers him with the ability to use Prawn technology. In Elysium, Matt Damon’s character is afflicted with a fatal cancer, and he gets the super-suit so he can break in and get the cure. These both can be viewed as rule-based narratives, where the characters face extremely literal obstacles that directly enhance and hamper their efforts.
Even the most basic video game tends to have a rule based narrative, from Super Mario right up to role playing games. The concept of arbitrary limits and specific agency is a fundamental language to video games, but isn’t necessarily required from films. So when films like District 9 borrow both Intrisic and Extrinsic elements of gaming, we can begin to see how their creators, like Blomkamp, transition that language from one screen to another.
I loved Batman: Arkham Asylum. Rocksteady’s first entry in the now-franchised Arkham games was a masterclass in game design and mythology adaptation that wove combat, stealth, and the general sense of “being Batman” into a high-class game that hadn’t felt like anything I’d played before. By bringing back Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy and Arleen Sorkin to voice their characters from Batman: The Animated Series, they were able to create a cartoony-yet familiar aesthetic that updated the noir-influenced style of the 90′s animated show, and to top it off, by slinging players through a rogue’s gallery, created a game that really felt quintessentially “Batman.”
So why does the news about Batman: Arkham Origins worry me? Mostly because I played Arkham City. Which despite containing many of the same ingredients as Arkham Asylum, felt as nowhere near a satisfying experience.
There were a lot of reasons Arkham Asylum worked, and I’ll admit one of them was novelty. Even though the core combat wasn’t that dissimilar from other combo-based brawlers of the time period, the game’s integration of stealth and puzzle solving contributed to a unique sense of flow that catered to Batman fans of all generations. Continue reading “Why My Time With Arkham City Makes Me Nervous About Batman: Arkham Origins” »
Supergiant Games’ newly announced Transistor easily looks like one of the most compelling games to come out of this year’s PAX. In a medium where narrative often has to take a back seat to mechanics from a design perspective, Supergiant famously delivered on both storytelling and gameplay with 2011′s Bastion, and has set out to do so again with their second game.
Transistor focuses on the story of Red, a singer in the city of Cloudbank who survives an attempt on her life and acquires a weapon called the Transistor to take on a force known as “The Process,” choosing to fight back against the enemy that stole her voice.
Continue reading “First Bastion, Now Transistor, Creative Director Greg Kasavin Tells Us How to Make Great Storylines Come to Life” »
There’s a myth in the game industry sometimes that video games are all about empowerment. That they’re about being champions we can’t be in the real world. That a good video game is one that puts you, the player in the heat of the action with ultimate control over everything. It’s a nice sentiment. And it sometimes gives us some great games.
But if there’s one thing that blasting through Bioshock Infinite taught me, it’s how wrong that sentiment can be, and how being manipulated can be one of the best experiences a game can deliver on.
(Warning, LOTS of Bioshock Infinite Spoilers ahead.)
My experience playing through the first Bioshock was believing that the “twist” that my brother kept talking about was when Andrew Ryan kills Atlas’ family early in the game. Since I was still a little newer to first-person shooters at that point, that was the only kind of plot twist I thought they could deliver on. I still remember the sensation of walking into Ryan’s office, seeing the threads tied together on the wall, and beginning to have the sneaking realization that something–different was about to happen. I’d noticed the broken Vita-Chamber, the strange comments Atlas began making, and the sudden lack of enemies, and I thought I was heading for a strange boss fight. Instead, I was heading for one of the most jaw-dropping moments in gaming history.
So when Bioshock Infinite topped that? When after I finished watching Songbird drowning, I heard that familiar tune “Beyond The Sea” playing on the radio as I stood in an underwater city? That’s when I began to realize—the experience of Bioshock isn’t about choice, or about superpowers or about crazy gunplay. It isn’t even about Rapture or Columbia. It’s about an experience that combines all those elements into something more intense and powerful.
It’s about being manipulated. And despite how much we might talk about not enjoying being manipulated or “having our heartstrings pulled,” there’s still a human need within us to feel a little played, to feel just out of control while having agency over a situation.
Playing Bioshock and then going to Infinite means that the player likely is expecting and anticipating another infamous, genre-defining twist that upends the story. But Infinite toys with that expectation by both delivering the big twist at the bitter end and delivering a plot twist that doesn’t just affect “who your main character is,” but by explaining the entire world the player’s been exploring.
Infinite relies on several tools to keep the player in a state of suspense that push the metatextual nature of the game’s ending, and further the notion that playing Bioshock is about “Being manipulated.” First, there’s the false choices the game throws at you. The first Bioshock hinged its endings on whether you harvested or saved The Little Sisters, but Booker’s choices in Infinite don’t really affect the story in the long run. Throw the ball at the condemned couple or Fink, save or murder Cornelius Slate, pick the bird or the cage, it doesn’t matter. As the game reveals to you at the end, all the decisions that drive the ending happened way earlier then you think. You’re manipulated into thinking these plot points have a long-term impact, meanwhile Booker and Elizabeth’s conversations and interactions with the world around them wind up revealing more clues about the reality of Columbia then anything else.
Second, there’s the choice of music–a technique that actually ties back to the first Bioshock. The anachronistic song choices like “God Only Knows” and “Tainted Love” act not just as part of the environment, but as a means of making the player stop and listen. This is an escalation of the radios in Bioshock that would play 40′s standards like “Beyond The Sea” and “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window,” whose charming, upbeat melodies flew in contrast to the crazed, insane gunfights that the you would find yourself embroiled in.
Here, they rarely appear along with combat, but their more subtle incarnation has the effect of making the player stop and listen. You realize you recognize the song and try to piece the melody together, wondering why songs from the 1960′s and 1980′s are appearing in 1912. And for that moment, instead of pushing through Columbia, shooting at everything in sight or hunting for every secret you can, the game has successfully disempowered you and put you in a state of unknowing, unease, and has made you hold still just to try and piece together what you’re listening to.
Third, there’s the notion of “the truth,” and what the player expects. Since a lot of Bioshock Infinite’s fans had played the first Bioshock, as I said before, “the twist” was expected. With all of Comstock’s warnings, Elizabeth’s mysteries and the Lucete’s cryptic appearances throughout the game, players knew something was coming, and you could have even guessed it had to do with Booker’s true identity–but the notion that Booker and Comstock were the same person? That the whole dimensional rift thing went back before the beginning of the plot? That Bioshock really is “Infinite” because of the infinite number of lighthouses?! It’s not just that that’s a twist, it’s a twist that subverted our expecations of what a “twist” could be. Our expectations going in was still that there could only be one Columbia, one Jack, one Elizabeth that we encountered—but the game labors to make sure we understand alternate universes enough that by the time comes, the conclusion becomes surprising–yet really inevitable.
It’s interesting that by Bioshock Infinite’s success in hindsight actually manages to highlight the failures of Bioshock 2. Though Infinite borrows a few of its concepts, (The traps, the expanded moral choice system), it also highlights how Bioshock 2 went the wrong way in trying to give us “more Bioshock.” The game’s focus on a major choice-based ending system and a character who was gaining his independence rather than being manipulated along a path ultimately didn’t resonate as strongly, despite some worthy game design and an interesting examination of how one’s choices can affect those closest to them.
When we’re playing Bioshock, we don’t want to have ultimate choice. We want to be manipulated. We’re waiting to be told we’re actually a slave, or that Booker is really trapped in a multidimensional time paradox. The experience of exploring Rapture or Columbia isn’t about storming the gates of an enemy fortress, it’s about being surrounded on all sides by an unknown enemy that has its claws buried deep in you.
Sometimes that force is the battle between Fontaine and Andrew Ryan, sometimes that force is the universe itself, twisted in knots by an evil act that damned Booker DeWitt.
Either way? The player has no control. The player came into the story predetermined to be manipulated. And that’s what Bioshock is. There’s always a lighthouse, always a city, and always a player, waiting to be manipulated by what lies within.
In case you weren’t paying attention this week, Army of Two the Devil’s Cartel hit gaming stands on the 26th–and to celebrate, gaming channel Node took on the task of trying to fill out the game’s story by collaborating with EA to shoot a short film set in the Army of Two Universe. “Close To Home” features Pike and Bradley, two members of the corporation “T.W.O” prepping to join Alpha and Bravo in Mexico before getting ambushed in the United States.
The film’s got everything you expect out of the Army of Two franchise: masks, guns, and an overemphasis on the buddy system that fuels a variety of action-film worthy one liners, but there is really something awesome about seeing gaming-style language brought to life like this. If you’re a fan of the Army of Two games, you’ll definitely feel a resemblance to your time spent with Rios and Salem.
This isn’t the first time Army of Two has become a viral sensation on Youtube—the Devil’s Cartel was announced with a short collaboration with Freddie Wong, which chose to downplay the game’s explosive action in favor of a team-based plot that tapped into the co-operative experience of the game.
But what kind of work goes into bringing these film projects to life? I got to take a look when the production crew for Army of Two “Close To Home” invited me to the set for a first look into the short.
Shooting took place at Fantasy II Effects in Los Angeles California–the effects house normally specializes in creating special effects for films like Terminator 2 or Moonrise Kingdom, but today they were using the junkyard property to set up the shootout between the new characters. Chatting with members of the crew, it was clear that most of them were excited about the return of Army of Two, and the chance to bring the series’ cooperative gameplay to life.
Director Casey MacBeath summed up his excitement for the game while talking with him in between shots. “I think one of my favorite parts of the Army Of Two franchise is I know it as as social game. It’s not so much people are playing it by themselves, friends are playing together. They’re sitting down, they’re enjoying the story, enjoying the action, they’re yelling at each other, screaming, fist-bumping, that’s something happening in their own homes.”
The film, which got the blessing of EA leading up to production, is also part of an effort by Youtube Gaming channel “Node” to amp up their gaming-based content. The team produced the Skyrim short “Broken Shield,” and as producer Matty Kirsch explained to me, is working on multiple gaming-based projects like “Army of Two.”
“It’s interesting. We’re coming into a day and age where the IP holders were always ‘this is ours,’ now there’s this trust coming out because you have really good filmmakers making really good stuff, and they can elevate their IP into a different way.”
As to why filmmakers like MacBeath have been able to get these gaming-based films off the ground, Kirsch had this to offer: “10 years ago people weren’t as involved in video games. Now we don’t have to do that anymore because that overexplanation of who these characters are and why they count is gone, because people are already identifying with these characters.”
Looking ahead, it’s easy to see why games like Army of Two inspire these kind of films–since they’re already so filled with moments ripped from movies and television, it’s easy for MacBeath and his team to bring them to life. All they need is a few cameras, the right stunt guys, and someone making sure that they get the mask “just right” for the shoot.
If you’re familiar at all with the Half the Sky Movement, then you know that it’s designed to raise activism and awareness of women’s rights and women in poverty around the globe. What you may not know is that with the launch of the Half the Sky Game today on Facebook, the game is poised to do what few games have before–catapult gamers into the world of international activism. Continue reading “Half the Sky: The Game Launches Into Your Facebook, Helps You Save The World” »
Most of the conversation around the PS4 has revolved around some of the same subjects: backwards compatibility, raw processing power and social interaction engagement. But amidst all the discussion, one game—the very first game Sony announced–seems to be somehow missing from the conversation. And that might be a mistake.
There’s the old saying “don’t count out the little guy,” and in the world of modern gaming, Knack is definitely the little guy. It appears to be an action-adventure title reminiscent of Sony’s old mascots like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon.
But in a world where most of last year’s top-sellers were either first-person shooters or 3rd person action games, titles like Knack haven’t exactly been at the forefront of gaming for a few years now. Continue reading “Why Knack May Be The Most Important Game Shown at the PS4 Conference” »
When Halo 4 was released last October, gamers were faced with a unique experience within the first few minutes of the game’s campaign: After the Chief wakes up from cryosleep, he climbs up a broken elevator shaft and comes face to face with an enemy he hasn’t fought since midway through Halo 2 — an Elite.
It’s a moment that’s supposed to be a return to form for Halo, the monstrous snake-head shoved in the player’s face, almost a grotesque “Welcome back!” to a universe filled with giant spectral rings, glassed planets, and monsters shouting “wort wort wort.” Continue reading “Will The War Ever End? Why “Never Ending Game Franchises” Are Getting A Little Old” »
Remember those intense boss battles in Mega Man and Metroid? How your eyes would be constantly flicking back and forth from their rapid-fire attacks to their health bar, your brain calculating all the odds you needed to survive and land that winning blow? Now imagine playing through those fights again, but with no health bar, and you and your friends are reacting to a living, breathing enemy that’s changing up its tactics based on where you’re attacking it from. And you’re using weapons that you designed yourself. Continue reading “Adam Nash Explains How Co-Op Gameplay and Creativity Collide in Artizens” »