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Weekly News Round Up 7-5-16

1 post in this topic

This week in the news; The "Valentine's Day Massacre" that decided the fate of the Xbox, YouTubers revealed as owners of controversial CS:GO gambling site, China's government must approve all mobile games, Battlefield 1 information leaked, the end of PlanetSide, System Shock remake, journal of games criticism, is Overwatch's Mercy "evil", Call of Duty Roman Warfare, turning NES games 3D, historical analysis of the new Battlefield 1 trailer, fatherhood themes at E3, Bioware creative director and writer discuss what makes a good character, and more.




Bill Gates Was "Insulted" By Xbox Pitch, Co-Creator Says


Xbox co-creator Ed Fries recently shared the story of the "Valentine's Day Massacre," which is the name for an ultra-important meeting where the fate of Xbox was decided years ago.

Xbox bosses drop hints that wheelchairs are coming to Xbox Live avatar update


The image is noteworthy not only for the wheelchair's inclusion but also for the polish that seems to have been applied to avatar models and their outfits. Xbox Live avatar models and clothing textures have appeared largely the same since their introduction in 2008.


VR experiences are best when they're brief, says Sony boss



"I tend to liken the VR experience more to something like a theme park ride, in that it's short, but it's very intense and it's very enjoyable," House said in response to a question about people potentially feeling nauseous after playing VR games for a prolonged period.


China's Government Must Now Approve Every Mobile Game



I’ve written all sorts of stories about censorship in the past, but sometimes we throw around the term a little too liberally. This is what censorship looks like.

You Gotta See China's Super Smash Bros. Rip-Off



It’s really quite something else. Slated for mobile, Pocket All-Stars Smash Bros. might sound like Smash Bros. How it plays, though, is totally different.


Massive Battlefield 1 Data Dump Reveals Weapons, Gadgets, Maps, Story Chapters, and More


There's a list of maps, melee weapons, game modes, camos, and you can hear exclusive sounds from the game.

How Battlefield 1's Air Combat Has Changed

Battlefield 1 Leaks Point to Capture-the-Pigeon Mode


Battlefield 1 recently suffered a massive leak, which revealed information about the game's campaign, weapons, multiplayer modes, and more. With this and everything else we've learned, a video from March has gotten almost everything correct, except for one thing that may not have been announced yet: a pigeon mode.


BioShock: The Collection Brings Remasteres Trio For Current-Gen Consoles And PC In September


The remaster generation trucks on with another bundle of lauded games making their way to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. 2K has confirmed the rumored BioShock: The Collection for release later this year.

Bioshock and Bioshock 2 will be updated for free if you own the PC versions (Infinite will have no update).


Mafia III Promises An Open World That You Can Actually Change, Ever So Slightly



Mafia III, due out later this year on consoles and PC, has a few interesting things going for it. It’s a crime story set in a fictionalized version of 1960s New Orleans. It has a black protagonist. Here’s a less obvious distinctive trait: its open world can be changed.


999 and Virtue's Last Reward Being Ported to New Platforms



Aksys Games has announced 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward are being ported to new platforms. The announcement was made at the company's Anime Expo 2016 panel, but platforms and release date were not revealed.


Tekken 7 Director Addresses Input Lag Controversy, Discusses Additional Characters



"People have never complained about input lag in Tekken before, have they? Tag 2 was highly regarded, wasn’t it? Do you think input lag frames is a certain number? Do you understand how it works? The actual mechanism is different depending on the game. If Tekken’s gameplay feels good, is there really a point in asking this question?


In Their Next Game, Life Is Strange Developers Are Tempting You To Make Evil Choices


People who play video games prefer to play as good guys. That’s what game designer Stéphane Beauverger’s research has shown, with some three quarters of players who are faced with in-game moral choices choosing to walk the path of angels. He wants to play with that. He wants to tempt players to play evil.


Pokémon Sun and Moon's latest trailer introduces a whole slew of new monsters


The Pokémon Company on YouTube released a new, Japanese-language trailer for its upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon, which you can watch above. In this video, fans get to see a whole slew of new monsters in action, facing off against some more familiar creatures.


Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack coming to North America on September 30





On June 3rd, 2016, a little over a week before E3 2016 began, Visiontrick Media quite boldly announced a new game. Called Mare, it’s to be the studio’s first virtual reality game, one that places an emphasis on exploration and the player’s senses. In the announcement post, Visiontrick noted that they’re still working on their other game, Pavilion—a fourth-person puzzle/adventure game we’ve been eager to get our hands on—but they felt it was time to let the world know about Mare too, especially as it was to appear at E3 as part of the IndieCade Showcase.


Gears of War 4 Dev Teases Easter Egg and "Super Secret" News


Many games have Easter Eggs, and The Coalition's upcoming shooter Gears of War 4 will be no different.


Watch_Dogs 2 New Details: AR Games Not Returning, Multiplayer Detailed



“AR games from Watch Dogs are not returning,” he said. “We are offering more city exploration. So as you’re walking around the city, you’ll open Nethack and you’ll discover operations and secrets that will unlock side quests if you want,” he said, also hinting at how progression in the new game might change from Ubisoft’s usual norm, given that their trademark ‘towers’ are not going to be in this game.


Aspireational: Dustforce Devs Show FPS’s Procgen



I’ve been keenly awaiting Spire [official site], the roguelikelike first-person shooty platformer from Dustforce developers Hitbox Team, for three years and I’ll happily keep waiting. Heck, I was sold when they referenced Quake trickjumping as an example of a slick movement system one can master. Hitbox still haven’t sent word of when we might get to play it but I’m quite happy reading a new progress report and looking at a wee GIF demonstrating how their level generation system shakes and jiggles rooms until they take an interesting, playable shape. Good GIFfing.


Chase: Cold Case Investigations coming to 3DS eShop in North America



Aksys Games is bringing Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories to 3DS via the Nintendo eShop this fall, the publisher announced during its Anime Expo 2016 panel.


XBlaze Lost: Memories and Aegis of Earth coming to PC via Steam



the publisher announced during its Anime Expo 2016 panel


Aksys might localize Hakuouki Sweet School Life



Skullgirls Goes Mobile With A Fighting RPG Spinoff


The new game, developed by Hidden Variable Studios using the PC and console fighting game’s assets and engine, sounds like many different ideas coming together into a sort of fighting game/collectible RPG stew. According to the official announcement, timed to coincide with the game’s reveal at Skullgirls developer Lab Zero Games’ Anime Expo panel, the game includes dozens of characters and special moves to collect and upgrade, with RPG progression, deck building elements and a Fight Assist feature that allows players to take on a more tactical role in combat.


Halo Wars 2 "campaign cutscene" trailer revealed


The Halo Wars 2 “campaign cutscene” video that made its debut over the weekend at RTX doesn't show off any new gameplay, but it does a nice job of setting the table for an all-new RTS throwdown between humanity and a gang of angry aliens.

Video quality is somewhat poor as it was taken from a stream.


Heavy Rain Dev's New PS4 Game Aims to "Push the Limits" With These Visual Features



"We wanted to push the limits with Detroit and have an engine that would offer us more features regarding cinematography in particular," Cage told the PlayStation Blog. "So we wanted to work on realistic lighting, especially. So we developed an entirely new engine from scratch pretty much."


Hands On: Shadow Warrior 2 Is Like First-Person Diablo



The ultraviolence is more over the top than in the game’s predecessor, but it’s nothing new. That’s just about the only place that the sequel takes the “more of the same” approach though. Almost everything has changed.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Flying Wild Hog’s Shadow Warrior reboot which reached into my chest and claimed my heart in 2013. I can’t remember having my expectations exceeded by a game quite so much since I started writing about the things on a daily basis. Maybe my crappy superpower is to expect the worst when it comes to remakes of nineties first-person shooters because the brilliance of DOOM shocked me as well, but Shadow Warrior is still the greatest surprise.

And now it’s as if the sequel wants to pull the rug out from beneath me all over again.




Ljubomir Peklar of developer Ebb Software admits the purposeful slowness of the trailer comes from “watching too much Tarkovsky.” For him, this unnerving crawl reflects the game’s own pace, “slowly pulling you into the world.” And what a world it is. Built from the decaying remains of H. R Giger’s signature biomechanical shapes and Zdzisław Beksiński’s dreamlike constructions of calcified bone, it feels like the fullest commitment to the visual design of those two master surrealists we have ever seen.


Video Offers Tiny Peek At More ABZÛ Gameplay


Why Dishonored 2's Main Characters Are Voiced This Time



Dishonored 2 makes some pretty big changes to the formula. While the first game only included one playable character, Corvo, the sequel has two: Corvo and Emily. Additionally, Corvo and Emily are fully voiced, whereas Corvo did not speak in the first game.


Making Sense of No Man's Sky's Massive Universe



If you've been looking forward to the upcoming space exploration game No Man's Sky, chances are that you've heard about its absurdly big procedurally generated universe. But just like when talking about the actual universe, the size of the playable area of No Man's Sky dwarfs our normal conceptions of the world so completely that it's difficult to actually comprehend.


Shenmue 3 Creator Gives Small Update on Its Progress



It's been a year since Shenmue III's Kickstarter launched, and series creator Yu Suzuki has released a short video update on how development is going.


Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Release Date Confirmed, Features Steve Aoki



Bandai Namco has confirmed the release date for Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2. The multiplayer action game is set for an October 25 release on PS4 and Xbox One--it comes to PC on October 28. The publisher also announced that the upcoming game will feature Grammy-nominated DJ Steve Aoki as both a musical contributor and non-playable character.


Zombies, Trains, and the Struggle to Rescue Survivors in The Final Station



In The Final Station, a train conductor is forced to fight for survival in an apocalyptic wasteland. You guide this conductor through towns inhabited by shadowy, zombie-like creatures that will tear you apart. Ammo is scarce and the zombies are strong, so you must balance a desire to explore and find supplies with survival. Your train is your home base; as you move between depots on the train, it provides you with a minute of respite even as you work to keep it running correctly.


Dragon's Crown pulled from PlayStation Store in Europe



"The removal of Dragon's Crown from the European PSN was part of NIS America's and Atlus's mutual agreement on this title. We are happy to announce thatDragon's Crown will be available directly from Atlus in Europe through PSN.

"Please look forward to Dragon's Crown returning to the European PSN soon."


Total War: Warhammer update brings the Blood Knights to the fight



The first Total War: Warhammer update will be out on June 30—yes, that's tomorrow—and it is a big one. Highlights include the addition of five new multiplayer maps, unit rebalancing across all races, changes to enemy AI that will make sieges against it more difficult, and the coming of the Blood Knights.

A lot changed, fixed, and improved in this update.

Total War: Warhammer is getting Blood and Gore DLC

Looks too cartoony for me to want to get it. Other than making money I suppose selling the blood as seperate DLC keeps the game rating down and allows more people to buy it.


Surprise! XCOM 2's new DLC is out now

You can look at this video to see the abilities and customization options for the new class.


Gee Thanks, Dad: Layers Of Fear’s Inheritance DLC


Steel Yourself: Hearts Of Iron IV’s First Big Patch Out


Along with the usual bug fixes, crash fixes, and balance tweaks, update 1.1 gets stuck into improving the game’s AI.


Gul’Dan & Diablo’s Auriel Joining Heroes Of The Storm


Just Cause 3 Multiplayer Mod Coming Along Nicely


Jim Brown receives $600,000 judgment to dismiss lawsuit vs. EA



"I took a stand for all athletes and laid a framework for future plaintiffs with my great legal team," Brown said in the statement. "Hopefully, this is a step forward in getting companies like Electronic Arts to recognize the value that athletes have in selling their products."


Nintendo issues DMCA takedown against Kickstarter for NES photobook



Nintendo has filed a Digital Millenium Copyright Act complaint with Kickstarter, requesting the takedown of a Kickstarter campaign from publisher Bitmap Books.


One Guy's Steam Level Just Broke 1,000



Last time we checked in on renowned Steam demigod PalmDesert, he’d just pushed his Steam level to 600. At the time, he had the highest Steam level in the world. He still does, only now it’s broken 1,000.

A thread about this was created here.


Josh Mosqueira ends spell as Diablo III creative director


Wilson also recently ended his decade-long spell with the World of Warcraft and Overwatch developer, expressing a desire to step away from the games industry for good to pursue a career in writing. 


EA exec Karl Magnus Troedsson departs for Raw Fury’s indie game business



One of the driving forces behind the rise of Battlefield and its development studio is leaving the blockbuster video game business to join the raucous indie scene.


PlayStation's 'indie game champion' Nick Suttner departs after 7 years



PlayStation's self-proclaimed "indie game champion" Nick Suttner has left the company after seven years.


Ubisoft Takes New Steps to Defend Against Vivendi Takeover



Ubisoft has nominated two new independent directors to help prevent media conglomerate Vivendi from taking control of the company. Vivendi is believed by Ubisoft to be in the process of staging a hostile takeover, as it has increased its stake gradually since October 2015. Vivendi's current stake is 20.1 percent, putting it in a position to get on the board of directors.


Orion developer says it was forced off Steam by Activision DMCA claim



“Last night I received evidence directly from Activision regarding assets not even mentioned in public yet. Upon receiving this it became immediately apparent that blatant rips were made,” he wrote. “While the artist offered to remake any assets at no cost, he has now been fired immediately upon learning this. This will slightly affect production and I will get into that later.”


Sega announces acquisition of Endless Space developer Amplitude Studios



Sega Games announced today it has acquired Paris-based Amplitude Studios, saying the move will strengthen its roster of PC games and development in Europe.


The Final Moments Of PlanetSide


On May 20, 2003, Sony Online Entertainment launched PlanetSide, one of the earliest massively multiplayer first-person shooters. On July 1, 2016, Daybreak Games shut down PlanetSide for good. MMORPG.com’s Steven Messner was there to watch the sky come tumbling down.


Overwatch Honors Fan Who Passed Away One Day Before The Game Came Out



Hongyu Wu was a 20 year-old university student who passed away the day before Overwatch, a game he was eagerly anticipating, came out. He was reportedly trying to catch a thief who stole his friend’s motorbike. As part of a recent Overwatch patch, Blizzard paid him tribute.

Overwatch Competitive Mode Wrongly Punishes Players, Patch On the Way


Overwatch's Competitive Play mode rolled out last week, but it seems that some players are having a frustrating time with the way it hands out penalties for mid-game disconnection. Blizzard has responded, saying there should "hopefully" be a fix coming soon.

Blizzard is suing the creator of an Overwatch cheat program


Blizzard is suing the creator of an Overwatch cheat program which allows players to see where enemy players are situated at all times, among other advantages. The company has filed a lawsuit against Bossland, the Germany-based creator of the software, at a court in California.


League Of Legends "Hacker" Avoids Jail Sentence



A 23 year-old Australian man has avoided a prison term over his role in a series of hacks targeting League of Legends and its player database.


GameCube Emulation Is Now A Lot Better

Hands-on with the emulator that turns NES games 3D


In esports news


Evo 2016's Street Fighter 5 finals to be televised on ESPN2


The Evolution Championship Series, the long-running annual tournament for fighting games that's better known as Evo, is hitting the big time: The Street Fighter 5 World Championship from the Evo 2016 finals will be broadcast live on ESPN2, the network announced today.

Evo 2016 smashes records with more than 14K competitors


This year’s Evolution Championship Series fighting game tournament — more commonly known as Evo — will be the event’s largest by a wide margin. More than 14,000 registered fighters will compete across nine games at Evo 2016, with more than 5,000 of those competing just in Street Fighter 5.


British eSports Association formed to assist players and nurture talent



The UK has established a new eSports governing body to provide representation and support to players at all levels, and help build-out the region's eSports scene.


Fatal1ty, e-sports’ original star, goes corporate as sport enters new era



As the Bellagio fountain dances and the violinist bows pop songs along Las Vegas Boulevard, the pioneer of professional e-sports cuts into his steak dinner. “Best seat in town,” Johnathan Wendel says. Thirty-five years old with blonde hair, blue eyes and sunburn from the golf course, he moved to the Strip in Aug. 2008, freshly retired from competition. At first, living here helped Wendel loosen up after a decade of young adulthood spent traveling and training around the clock. As always, Vegas obliged. Today, however, he merely fits among the other desert to-doers, an owner of commercial real estate and operator of a company that sells gaming gear, like headphones and motherboards.


White House responds to 'Free Leffen' petition, won't make any changes to esports visa policies



While the official guidelines for P-1A visa qualification do not explicitly disqualify esports competitors, many of the rules for approval appear to written with traditional sports in mind.


Watch VICE’s New Film on Professional Gaming in Greece



In Greece, just like other countries around the world, high-profile video gamers, playing for money, have become superstars. But not all of them are doing so legitimately, with under-the-radar gambling and illegal sales of in-game assets putting cash into the pockets of those who set out to corrupt the system.


In crowdfunding news

Video games on Kickstarter raise just $8.2m in first half of 2016 - ICO



That's down from more than $20m in the previous period, but the ratio of successfully funded projects has increased


Fig still unable to collect unaccredited investment, including money for Psychonauts 2 (correction)



Fig’s chief executive officer Justin Bailey broke the news yesterday that his fledgling company will require an amendment be filed with the federal government’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before it can collect outstanding unaccredited investments.


System Shock


System Shock is a complete remake of the genre defining classic from 1994 built by a team of industry veterans. Remember Citadel.

Video is of Lotus Prince taking a look at the original game compared to the remake demo that is available to play.

A thread about this was created here.


The Z: The most advanced gaming mouse ever made



If you're a Gamer, Designer or a Power User, The Z will let you interact with your computer in a faster, more precise & intuitive way.


Xydonia - Action-packed Japanese-inspired retro SHMUP


A love letter to the Japanese arcade classics of the '90s. Customize your equipment and blast through multiple paths of destruction!


Other content I found interesting this week


Prominent YouTubers revealed as owners of controversial CS:GO gambling site


Two prominent YouTube stars, ProSyndicate and TmarTn, have been embroiled in an ongoing scandal regarding the rise of 'gambling' with weapon skins won in the Valve-operated online shooter CS:GO, having been revealed to be the owners of a gambling site which they've been promoting heavily via their YouTube channels.


YouTuber admits that his CS:GO skin betting videos were rigged


"The idea was brought to me by Steamloto, they proposes [sic] rigging in return for a Dragon Lore, [and] I just fell right into it," PsiSyndicate says, referring to an especially valuable CS:GO weapon skin.

A thread about this was created here.




No Man’s Sky feels like the game that keeps on giving. Before even reaching its long-awaited release date it has managed to capture imaginations with both its improbable construction and the mind-bending problem solving of its creators at Hello Games. Perhaps it has been because its talented team, in particular art director Grant Duncan and programmer Innes McKendrick, as well as figurehead Sean Murray, have been so eager to share their solutions with the world in a series of talks that all deal with the same issue: how do you maintain artistic control in a near-infinite game world?


Let's look at some of the history behind Battlefield 1


YouTube channel The Great War - typically a repository for expertly researched videos on WWI - has taken an extended look at the most recent trailer for Battlefield 1, noting down all the weapons, vehicles and settings and explaining how they fit into the war itself.





The more I’ve racked my brain trying to piece together a theory that can account for all of Inside’s disparate elements, the more it all seems to slip away.

Inside Recapitulates the Horrors of the Holocaust


Evoking the actual footage captured of concentration camps in Nazi Germany, Stephen Spielberg’s Schindler’s List was shot almost entirely in black and white, save for a single red garment worn by a small child, one doomed to endure the horrors of the holocaust but not survive such. Though not so monochromatic as either Schindler’s List or its predecessor Limbo, Playdead’s spiritual successor to the latter is so desaturated as to practically be shot in grayscale, save, of course, for a single red garment on a small, doomed child. The visual similarities to Spielberg’s classic do not appear to be accidental. Though the landscapes and architectural styles suggest an American setting, Inside is a thematic recapitulation of Hitler’s holocaust. Though grotesque, eerie, even eldritch imagery is scattered throughout the puzzle platformer, it is this juxtaposition of such a proximate setting with the very event which epitomizes evil in our cultural memory which imbibes in Inside such a haunting quality.


Street Fighter 5’s rejected characters include a fighting president, ‘literary master’ and more



Some of the earliest character concepts for Street Fighter 5 were some of the game’s most bizarre, including a fighting politician, a fighting "literary master" and a character who constantly shed clothing due to their "clumsiness."


YouTuber Meets Pope, Gives Him A Copy Of Undertale


“I gave the Pope this game because it speaks his language,” MatPat said. “This year is his self-proclaimed year of mercy for the Catholic church, a period celebrating forgiveness and compassion when one could otherwise choose to harm a person. And what’s the recurring theme throughout Undertale? Mercy.”

“Undertale represents an evolution for gamers, and what they expect from the games that they play, making it the single best representative of where we are as a community today,” MatPat said.


Asemblance Is A Mindfuck Of A Game That You Should Try


A little bit of P.T. mixed in with The Stanley Parable, Asemblance is a video game experience that totally messed with my head.

What Asemblance does really well is ambiguity: you will spend most of your time wondering if aspects that the game presents are actually real.


What Made System Shock So Special


Heather Alexandra takes a look at System Shock, the demo of the new remake, and Bioshock to talk about what made the series special and how it can recapture the magic of the original.


Overwatch's Competitive Mode Is At Odds With The Rest Of The Game



But I think the bigger problem might be that Overwatch is not, at heart, a game designed for this kind of high-stakes competition. It’s a game about teamwork and situational adaptability rather than MLG no-scope-to-indie-nosebone skills with a single hero. It’s a game of good-natured fun with a community that’s wary of the toxicity competitive modes in other games engender. It’s a game that’s about the ecstasy of victory rather than the agony of defeat.

Zarya From Overwatch Has Become A Gay Icon, Ironically


Lots of Overwatch fans read the game’s proud, pink-haired Russian lady soldier Zarya as gay. While perhaps not a huge deal on its own, that interpretation conflicts with homophobic views widely held in Russia and backed by the state, forcing Russian Overwatch players to reconcile two clashing interpretations of a widely admired character.

Is Mercy EVIL!?! | Lore & Speculation | Overwatch


Watch Mass Effect Devs Talk About Making Good Characters, While Awkwardly Playing Cards


Creative Director Mike Laidlaw and Lead Writer Patrick Weekes discuss the ingredients of a good character. Warning: Solas and Mordin feels ahead.


The incredible story of Roman Wars: The lost Call of Duty game


Eight years ago, you almost got to play a Call Of Duty set in ancient Rome. A game featuring battle elephants trampling soldiers, a playable Julius Caesar and first-person sword combat. Activision liked the idea, the Call of Duty: Roman Wars demo impressed, and it got as far as the desk of CEO Bobby Kotick before a mixture of studio stubbornness and fears of over-saturating the brand consigned this lost game, ironically, to history. 


The ethical decisions and factional politics of Stellaris


One of the most interesting things about Stellaris is watching a civilization develop within the boundaries of these systems (and poking your finger into the petri dish to try to guide that development). In the course of just one game of Stellaris, I watched my fanatically spiritual, individualist race of cat people become more and more fractured between a faction that craved simple freedoms and spiritual purity and others that longed to aggressively spread our culture to the unenlightened amongst our non-feline neighbors.  This internal tension pushed me to explore and expand at a rate faster than I might've had I been left to my own devices.  After a convoluted sequence of observation and diplomacy with a neighboring race of space birds, a botched attempt to infiltrate their government led to a catastrophic war of attrition that left both of our empires in ruins.


The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening's dungeon design | Boss Keys




The Journal of Games Criticism (JGC) is a non-profit, peer-reviewed, open-access journal which aims to respond to these cultural artifacts by extending the range of authors to include both traditional academics and popular bloggers. The journal strives to be a producer of feed-forward approaches to video games criticism with a focus on influencing gamer culture, the design and writing of video games, and the social understanding of video games and video games criticism.

The Journal of Games Criticism releases two standard issues a year: one in January and one in June.



The Extending Play conference at Rutgers University in 2015 underlined the importance of sequels and repetition to games and their study. Here the editors discuss these themes and introduce the interviews and articles that were adapted from the conference for this bonus issue.



This paper decenters play and the player in the arcade by exploring another subject I call hangers. It explores the genealogies of player control, engagement and the policing of play practices in the American video arcade in the 1980s.



Shaw and Boon examine the iterative and repeating forces of ideology that work within games as a culture industry and play as a cultural practice. They discuss the importance for scholars to take these visible and invisible forces of power into account within the study of games.



This paper first establishes the criteria necessary to construct a digital interactive narrative game that contains both narrative agency and ludic agency before considering those criteria against two interactive narrative games: Mass Effect 2 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.



This paper focuses on two highly popular first-person shooter games, Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3, and examines how elements of their game worlds and mechanics reinforce (and disrupt) imperialist narratives.

Nice to see one of my old Gamespot friends get his work in there.



Anthropy and Sicart discuss the centrality of games within the discipline of game studies and consider how lessons learned from play studies might curb stagnation in the field.



Using the art historical term spolia as a launching point, McNeil explores the reuse of gaming mechanics and visuals from Sid Meier’s Civilization V in Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth. She argues that this reuse was both practical and perhaps unintentionally subversive.



Looking at diversity and inclusion through a proceduralist lens allows us to more deeply analyze current games, as well as prompt new questions and avenues for technical and design research.


Fallout 4 proved bigger isn't always better



Given the enormous creative scope of Bethesda's games, their focus on time management makes sense. It's a linear relationship: The bigger the game is, the less time developers will have to work on each part. Budgets, not to mention the sizes of these teams, can only grow so much. And as the GDC talk illustrates, it would be immensely difficult to use the Creation Kit if they made fresh objects and environments for every location in their games. The sheer number of files would quickly become overwhelming, even for experienced teams.

At some point it may be worth moving the slider back a bit towards smaller games that allow for more environments that don't feel like they were cranked out of a production line. When open-world games become so vast that time management pushes productivity over individuality to the point that the end result feels generic, it's time we ask: Are games becoming too big?


Fatherhood isn't the shortcut to emotional complexity games wish it was



This year's E3 was a river of dads, and I am unhappy about it.


Let It Die Composer On Creative Process, Silent Hill, And Suda51. Oh, And Persona, Too


At E3 a couple of weeks ago, Nach and I had a chance to sit down with Akira Yamaoka (along with his translator), the famed composer of the Silent Hill franchise and musical credits to other games, including but not limited to, Shadows of the Damned, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle and Lollipop Chainsaw. We talked a little bit about everything—from his creative process to insight into some of his favorite video game franchises—but we started with the upcoming free-to-play multiplayer survival action game, Let It Die.


History Respawned: Call of Duty: Black Ops 1 and 2


Bob talks with Christopher Dietrich and Joseph Parrot about Call of Duty Black Ops 1 and 2. Topics include the history of the CIA, the global Cold War, the Angolan Civil War, Jonas Savimbi, Manuel Noriega, historical representation, Black Ops lawsuits, and the fictionalization of secret operations.


Everything I Need to Know About Writing Video Games I Learned From Pro Wrestling


As a child of the ‘80s, I grew up with a vague awareness of pro wrestling, mostly by way of occasional appearances in video game magazines. Wrestling became unavoidable during WWE’s “Attitude Era” in the late ‘90s, and I could identify all the big stars despite never watching a single minute of it. I didn’t understand the appeal at the time—it’s fake, why watch a match where the outcome is predetermined?—and it wasn’t until I finally dug into it last year that I realized what everyone else already knew: it isn’t about the matches per se, it’s about the performances and the storylines. It’s theater.


Eight Years As A World Of Warcraft Guild Leader, Remembered



A lot of people have played World of Warcraft over the years, but not many have kept a diary of their entire experience with the game like reader Shawn Holmes has. He’s compiled over eight years of experience as a guild leader into a journal series that has just wound up.


Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to video games


LA hotel can't tell the difference between GTA 5 screenshot and actual LA



Three years after release, the fidelity of GTA 5's Los Santos is still wowing people: a hotel in LA has been caught using a screenshot of the game as a photo of downtown LA.


World's Fastest Mario 3 Player Versus Stephen Colbert Eating A Hot Pocket



Super Mario Bros. 3 speedrunner Mitch Fowler can finish the game in just over three minutes. Is that faster than Stephen Colbert can cook and eat a Hot Pocket? Well no, though it’s still pretty impressive.


Live speedrun attempt interrupted by fake Windows 10 update


The installation was later revealed, however, to be a prank, with the cutscene edited to look like an unexpected update was taking place, before the run continued on as normal, finishing with a time of 51:54. Well played!


How To Setup A Video Game Gambling Website

Related to the Youtubers that own the CSGO gambling site, check the link for the video as it won't embed here properly.

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