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Travanix liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Star Citizen PU Alpha 3.x
I have pledged to around 10 games; PoE 1 and 2, Wasteland 2 and 3, D:OS 1 and 2, Elite: Dangerous, etc. All the games are way more simpler and nowhere near a size of Star Citizen (complexity, R&D, etc.)
CIG is not forcing anyone pledging more but people are doing it voluntarily. I don't find it a problem. As we can see there are lots of people who wanted Star Citizen be a huge project and that's what we got - I'm glad.
Kaz32 liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Hollow Knight review. New contender for best Metroidvania game ever.
After about 10 hours of playing, the game feels pretty good. I don't play these kind of game much but it is very freshening to find out good platformers like this. I could easily recommend people give this game a try.
I have found 2018 pretty strong already; Railway Empire, Out of the Park Baseball 19, Ostalgie: The Berlin Wall, Northgard, etc.
Doctor liked a post in a topic by Kaz32 in Hollow Knight review. New contender for best Metroidvania game ever.
Well, this early 2018 has been.... pretty dull. Unlike 2017 which has amazingly great games in its first 3 months, this 3 months has been quite minimal in great games. I mean only Dragonball FighterZ, Monster Hunter World, Ni No Kuni 2, The Fall 2, A Way Out and Hokuto Ga Gotoku are great standouts. I want to get Monster Hunter World and Ni No Kuni 2, but Monster Hunter World for PC isn't out yet and Ni No Kuni 2 is surprisingly expensive, so I'll have to wait before I finally play them. The great games aren't coming until many months after this, so this is the perfect time to look back at this elusive game from 2017 that I've been wanting to play but never had the chance to.
I've been waiting for Hollow Knight to get a discount for a while now, and I finally got the game cheap on Humble Bundle. And I'm damn glad that I finally got to play this game after hearing so many good things about it, because this game is FUCKING AWESOME!
This game has one of the most interesting setting for a game. The game takes place in a kingdom called Hallownest, which is a civilization populated with insects. So you got bees, worms, ladybugs, spiders, centipedes, beetles, mantises, all that gross things in the backyard that you usually kill with bugsprays living together to form a fully realized city, complete with trams, stag beetle taxi, even an entertainment district filled with high class socialites & a gladiatorial arena! So yeah, this is the Secret Of NIMH insect edition.
You are the titular Hollow Knight, a dude which I have no idea what insect he is even a part of even in the end of the game, but I don't think he's supposed to be in a particular insect group. You arrive at Hallownest for reasons that you will discover as you play through the game, and you find that something is wrong with this place. Only a few insect are npcs that you can interact with, while most of the other insects have yellow eyes and attack you on sight. What happened to this kingdom? What is the story behind it all? Well, you're gonna have to play the game and find out for yourself!
This is at its core a Metroidvania game, with all the usual Metroidvania gameplay of exploring every inch of the world for upgrades that will help you survive the game & navigate your path that's previously inaccessible. Your primary weapon is a sword, or a nail which you can upgrade, and also attack spells which you can get by exploring the world which are used by spending MPs that you get by attacking enemies and filling your MP bar. The rest is typical Metroidvania fare: see a platform that's too high? You have to get the double jump ability. Door is locked? Find the key. A boss is too tough? Upgrade your health & weapon to make things easier. Can't swim? Get the item that lets you swim. Standard stuff.
What's unique about this game that's not in usual Metroidvania games though are several things:
1) The Dream Nail. You get this sword made of light that you can use to read enemies/npcs minds, which makes for great lore expansion & interesting insight on what enemies are thinking about, while also restoring your MP to use spells. It also lets you collect spirits which are necessary to unlock upgrades for your dream nail in order to get the true ending. And most of these spirit collections are done by going into a spot in a map which has a spirit of a warrior which you can fight. When the dream nail is upgraded further, it allows you to put a custom teleport portal, so you can go back into that spot you made in an instant. Neat!
2) Healing in this game is done by holding down the spell button, in my case the B button for my controller. This makes for great tense moments in boss fights where you have to find the correct spot to heal yourself, otherwise the bosses will end you quick.
3) Fast traveling in this game is done by riding an old stag beetle taxi. You have to unlock each stations by finding them in new areas so the beetle can pick you up & get you to your destination. This is more like a subway system than a taxi but either way, it's very convenient!
4) The map system is not like usual Metroidvania. When you enter a new area, you can't even see where you are. You have to go into a particular spot where there's an NPC named Cornifer who is a map charter,
and buy the area map from him. But oh no, the area's map isn't 100% complete, so you have to explore every nook and cranny and then go to a bench for saving to then update the map. But you can't update the map unless you buy the item to do so from Cornifer's wife at the starting point of the game. Quite tricky, but you'll get the hang of it.
5) You can equip charms which gives you ability buffs. There's 40 of these things that you can find in the world or buy from shopkeepers, which grants you skills like "heal more health", "increase attack speed", "use your dream nail faster" and even "give you an attack companion". Each charms requires a certain amount of "notches", or as I like to call "ammo capacity" for you to be able to equip them. At first you start out with only 3 notches, but you can get more and more from a particular shopkeeper or just through exploring. Mixing them up together to fit your own need is the fun of these things as there's so many combination you can do.
6) The lore building in this game is similar to Dark Souls, in that everything is not told to you outright, you have to look for them and piece things together yourself. Which I freaking love for this game. Not only is it fun to piece together the story, the plot itself is also pretty damn cool! And the best part is that you as a character in this game is not just a cog or a pawn like what Dark Souls usually do, you're a very important part of the plot. Which I will not spoil because it's better to discover it yourself!
Every single thing in this game just....... fits like a glove. The controls are really nice and slick, the combat is fun, the graphics are great & areas these insect civilization built are surprisingly pretty and cool, well except Centipede + Spider town which are just as gross as they are in real life, URGHHHHH. The boss battles are also really fun, each with their own cool moves for you to figure out. Some harder than others of course, but once you take them down, you will feel like a BAWS! And the music..... they're fantastic.
There are 2 things in this game that I fucking hate though. The first is this NPC called Zote. You know those characters in games who are so full of themselves that they always mock you even though they are a completely useless prick that won't survive unless you help them, and when you help them they are still a piece of crap? That's this guy. Here's an advice from me: when you see him about to get killed, don't help him. There is no reward if you help him, he will keep on being a piece of shit until the end. You will wish that you let him die.
The second is this sidequest regarding this character called the Grey Mourner.
I...... I don't know what she's supposed to be. Is she an albino cockroach??
Her quest is easily the most hair rippingly frustrating thing in the entire game. She'll give you a flower, and you have to travel halfway through the map to a specific spot. There's only 1 problem: if you get damaged or you use the stag beetle taxi or even the dream nail portal ability, the flower will break and you have to get back to her ALL OVER AGAIN. I had to do this 10 FUCKING TIMES to finally beat it, and let me tell ya..... every failure took a bit of my sanity. Not only is the distance pretty damn far, but every single one of those attempts fail because JUST as I was about to get to my destination, these mantis shoots their projectile at me from out of nowhere, making me fail the quest over and over again.
FUCK YOU YOU PIECE OF SHIT BASTARDS!!!!
But aside from those 2, this game is amazing. By far this is one of the best Metroidvania games I have ever played, and it's right on top alongside Symphony Of The Night. I can't believe Cuphead won best debut Indie game instead of this. THIS should be the winner! If I played this last year, this is easily going to be my number 5 in my best game of 2017. I'm giving this game my rating of "so good that you will feel like a boss when you finally beat that final boss, and can't wait for the sequel. If there is any." With a badass seal of approval.
Get this game if you can, especially if you're a fan of Metroidvania games. It's so worth it. Unless of course you have insectophobia.
DoctorEvil liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Best Games Writing of 2017
Very interesting list to read just like weekly "this week in gaming" is. I'm done with gaming media and don't bother to follow it anymore, so posts like these are a great way to find actually valuable and interesting articles. Thank you for your hard work.
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Nintendo Labo....... da fuq???
There will be most likely a market for this but I'm not sure in what situations I would find this useful and fun myself. As long as these requires that I'm at present while my children are playing with these I rather would do something much more developing and fun with them. From six year old forward we are able to build our own toys with various of materials and do software for them ourselves. I can imagine they would find Labo very simple and boring quite fast.
Doctor liked a post in a topic by Legolas_Katarn in Best Games Writing of 2017
2017 is now behind us and I've put together a list of some of the best writing I saw throughout the year. Created with the goal of highlighting the work of some of the best writers and journalists in the industry and to share topics that can enhance understanding of the game industry, events of the previous year, and of the games themselves. Many of these have been shared in my weekly This Week In Gaming articles.
These articles might focus on developer and game history, what working in the industry is like, what games make us think and feel, things that have effected the industry this year, the effects of games on people and culture, entertaining stories, lessons learned and connections established through games, and articles that can give you a greater understanding of game development. Links are included to author's social media account and it is worth following them and their work if you are interested in games and the industry.
Previous Best Games Writing Articles
History of the Industry, Developers, and Games
Articles and interview that examine the life and work of developers and studios and the games and franchises that they created or worked on.
"OK, so maybe I did kill Aerith. But if I hadn’t stopped you, in the second half of the game, you were planning to kill everyone off but the final three characters the player chooses!"
Final Fantasy 7 An Oral History (By Matt Leone)
"Bamberger stayed calm. Years of prep and planning, countless conversations with the marketing gurus at TBWA\Chiat\Day, packaging and posters and commercials and magazines branded with the game’s release date—everything he had worked for hinged on this moment. “How do you get a game to sell through a million units at the time we were trying to do it?” he asked me. “A lot of that is, you build your case slowly over time, like a drumbeat.”
How Final Fantasy 7 Revolutionized Videogame Marketing and Helped Sony Tackle Nintendo (By David L. Craddock)
Matt Leone gives us a look at the creation of Final Fantasy VII, told by those that worked on it, while David Craddock looks at how the game was marketed and the team behind it.
"So, the sun was shining, with the lens flare, and Steve sort of stopped the demo right there and said: “Yeah, but you know, at Pixar, we can render dozens of suns.” Jason’s immediate reply to him was: “Yeah, but can you do it in real time?” There was this pregnant pause and Steve’s says: “Okay, you’re in.” And he picked up his Fudgsicle and walked back into his office, and that was it. So that’s how we got in, a little bit of chutzpah and an OpenGL tech demo running on what was soon to be the Mac."
The Complete, Untold History of Halo (By Steve Haske and and edited by Mike Diver and Austin Walker)
Steve Haske gives us the history of the Halo franchise, as told by the people that created it.
"[What] I remember being a huge problem was [on] Episode One, like literally three days before we weren’t allowed to touch the project anymore, Pierre comes to me — I think Guardians of the Galaxy had just come out. There’s a moment in the first episode where your friend Loader Bot can explode, and it’s based on a player choice. Pierre comes to me and says, “I don’t think we should let Loader Bot die.” I’m just like, “Well, okay. We’re 36, 48 hours away from this thing going live, what are you talking about? That choice is there.” And he said, “I think we might be blowing up our Groot.”
Tales from the Borderlands: The Oral History (By Duncan Fyfe)
Duncan Fyfe tells the story of how Tales From the Borderlands came to be from his interviews with Telltale and Gearbox staff members.
"We would send renderings of Superman, and we would get images back from Warner Bros. with his crotch area circled, 'Make this part bigger; make this part smaller.' This went on for months."
Superman Returns: What went wrong (By Matt Paprocki)
Matt Paprocki learns what the development of a failed Superman Returns game was like.
"Mass Effect: Andromeda was in development for five years, but by most accounts, BioWare built the bulk of the game in less than 18 months. This is the story of what happened."
The Story Behind Mass Effect: Andromeda's Troubled Five-Year Development (By Jason Schreier)
Jason Schreier looks into the troubled development of Mass Effect Andromeda, the original ideas behind the game, cut elements, a team spread across the world, and how most of the game was made in 18 months despite the five year development.
"While there are dozens of perspectives on whether or not EA’s decision to axe the studio was justified, many who worked at the studio say they couldn’t see this ending any other way. “Honestly, it was a mercy killing,” said one former Visceral employee. “It had nothing to do with whether it was gonna be single player. I don’t think it had anything to do with that. That game never could’ve been good and come out.”
The Collapse Of Visceral's Ambitious Star Wars Game (By Jason Schreier)
Schreier looks into the closing of Visceral studio by talking to former Visceral developers and looking at studio responses, industry trends, issues with Star Wars being owned by another company, Amy Hennig’s role in the company, embracing poor decisions to impress fans and executives, problems with adapting the game engine for a new genre, problems with studio size and division, the immense scope of the project seeming more like a fever dream to some, the history of Visceral's recent projects, and how their Star Wars game partly began life as an open world pirate game. If you liked his articles looking into studio and game development, Jason also released an excellent book this year looking into the development of 10 different games Blood, Sweat, and Pixels.
"Infocom believed that what Meretzky had created was more than just a game – it was a piece of interactive literature. To stress the seriousness of its ambitions, they held a press conference for A Mind Forever Voyaging's release at the New York Public Library. Meretzky himself desperately wanted to see the game's pointed message spark some real controversy. "I was hoping I'd get dragged in front of a congressional committee," he says."
Flashback: How 'A Mind Forever Voyaging' Took Aim at Right-Wing Politics (By Chris Baker)
Chris Baker writes about the development of 80s text adventures, focusing on a classic 1985 game that offered social commentary at a time when games weren't thought to be capable of that, and on how the game inspired the writers of stories like Rogue One, Book of Eli, Telltale's The Walking Dead, and Her Story.
"Big Bang Bar's creation is a story of pinball's near death, of one man's attempt to become a piece of pinball history, of bankruptcy, of obsession, of short-lived redemption and personal disaster."
When pigs flew: The strange history of Capcom's Big Bang Bar (By Brian Crecente)
Brian Crecente writes about the history of Capcom with pinball machines and attempts to find a long lost table and the man behind its creation.
"So, when it came to games that weren’t Ultima Origin had had to content themselves with projects one notch down from the top tier — projects which, whether because they weren’t flashy enough or were just too nichey, weren’t of huge interest to the bigger publishers. Those brought in enough revenue to justify their existence but not much more, and thus Robert Garriott continued to bet the company every two years on his brother’s latest Ultima. It was a nerve-wracking way to live. And then, in 1990, all that changed practically overnight. This article and the one that follows will tell the story of how the house that Ultima built found itself with an even bigger franchise on its hands."
From Squadron to Wingleader and From Wingleader to Wing Commander (By Jimmy Maher)
Jimmy Maher looks at some of the history of Origin Systems, the hiring and early work of Chris Roberts, and the people and ideas behind the creation of the game that would rival Ultima, Wing Commander.
"At one point he said: 'I hope you appreciate that this is the last time any of you will be able to work on games in this way. The industry is changing.'"
Death or Glory: How 1997 Changed Video Games Forever (By Keith Stuart)
Keith Stuart looks at the way the game industry changed in 1997, the games that were released, the changes made by companies and developers, and losing old habits and freedoms in order to embrace the future.
"There was a lot of internal criticism about deducting so much life gauge with one attack. SNK management said this design had to be changed, but I thought it was very interesting to have players fight under the risk and fear of fighting with weapons and feel the destructive force of the sword, so I ignored them and kept it in the game."
The making of Samurai Shodown (By James Mielke)
James Mielke interviews three of the developers of Samurai Shodown and talks about how the game came to be and the ideas behind it.
"They didn't know it at the time, but the members of Naughty Dog in that room — Kurosaki, Rafei and co-founders Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin — were looking at the system that would host the team's next game: Crash Bandicoot. They were seeing the console their company would eventually create the unofficial mascot for — the console they would develop Naughty Dog's first smash hit for. It was Kurosaki and Rafei's second day with the company."
Crash Bandicoot: An oral history (By Blake Hester)
Blake Hester speaks to creators of Crash Bandicoot, a game that helped redefine platformers and that helped to turn Naughty Dog into the studio they are today.
"My mandate to re-envision and redesign The Oregon Trail was almost overwhelming at first—the possibilities were endless, yet I had to get it absolutely right on the first release. For 13 years, from 1971 to 1984, the OREGON game had remained essentially unchanged. A few small details had been tweaked along the way, but never had the product been completely re-imagined and redesigned. Never had the underlying models been changed—the structures, algorithms, and assumptions upon which the game is based. For the very first time, we were going to throw out everything—including all of the existing software programming, which dated back to 1971—and start completely from scratch."
I Designed The Oregon Trail, You Have Died of Dysentery (By R. Philip Bouchard)
R. Philip Bouchard on the history of The Oregon Trail, the original text 1971 version, and changes that were made and that weren't able to be included in the newer version that would be designed for a home market instead of a school market.
"Sadly, it's here the story takes a darker turn and we come to the crux of why Whittaker's achievements have gone unsung for so long. "There were issues with my name, because my christened name is Jane," he explains. "I was asked to use a male name on titles, because at the time if you were doing a macho shooting game it was thought that a female name would downgrade the brand. My dad came up with the idea of using Andrew - I think he got as far as A in a book of names and got bored. So most of my games went out as Andrew Whittaker to avoid advertising these gender issues to the outside world."
Threats, fake names and philanthropy: The untold story of Jane Whittaker (By James Batchelor)
James Batchelor tells the history of developer Jane Whittaker, who moved to America to work with Atari at 16, and why he was told to use a fake name for most of his career as he worked on a large number of popular and influential games.
"I remember when I left [the company, right before Underground was released], I sent [Joel an] email and was like, "Hey, Joel. Can we have a chat?" He said, "Yeah, come to the office." So I went to the office and I walked in. He had both feet on the table. He had a revolver in his hand and he spun the barrel, like flicked it in, pointed the gun at me and then said, "So you're quitting, huh?" …I had this speech worked out in my head, but how do you get over that?"
From Busted Teeth to Broken TVs: The Oral History of Tony Hawk's Underground (By Blake Hester)
Blake Hester talks to the development team behind Tony Hawk's Underground covering topics that include the ideas behind the game's creation, the culture of the studio, working with pro skateboarders, Activision forgoing their normal greenlight process, and how they did it in under a year.
Writing On Games
Articles on the games themselves, effects they had on the industry, the stories they tell, how gameplay is used, deeper meanings of titles, etc.
"The point is, the moment is scripted in such a way that you can’t get past the officer, and the only way to progress is to hit him. But players don’t spend time to figure out what to do next, they just do it. Because the level made players go past their breaking point just like the whole situation made Emile go past breaking point."
How Valiant Hearts drives you to the breaking point (By Stanislav Costiuc)
Stanislav Costiuc writes about one of the most memorable levels and moments in Valiant Hearts and how the mechanics put you in the mindset of the protagonist.
"The true evil in Night in the Woods is both rampant capitalism itself and the hate that is so easily fueled when people become disenfranchised as infrastructures collapse and jobs dry up. And Night in the Woods is so fiercely, justifiably angry at these things."
What Lies Beneath: On the Love and Anger of Night in the Woods (By Carolyn Petit)
"Infinite Fall’s Night in the Woods poignantly and sympathetically captures the human scale of the widening millennial vs baby boomer gap. Setting aside stats and diatribes, it explores the messy, awkward nature of a paradigm shift that lives under the same roof, shares the same blood, and harbors the same deep familial love and frustration for one another."
The Human Cost of the Millennial Generation Gap in Night in the Woods (By Jess Joho)
"Because its too soft to say I disagree with the notion that the last acts of NitW are out of place: the truth is I think the supernaturalism of the game is as crucial as any moment in the narrative. It cements the message of the game by prefacing the structurally crucial epilogue with this severe moment of politically charged unreality, a moment that ultimately leads the reader to conclude with Mae that as long as nothing is real or rational or fair, the best we can manage is to hang on to individual moments of social connectivity."
The Monster at the End of Capitalism (By Trevor Strunk)
I've probably read more articles on Night in the Woods than on any other game this year, some of the best pieces I've seen have been Carolyn Petit's on the fierce and justifiable anger of the game, Jess Joho's on the generational themes of Night in the Woods, and Trevor Strunk's on the supernatural elements that appeared in the late game and why they work.
"NieR, and its strange mom Drakengard, are series that accomplish this a lot: affect physical feeling in some way. Their mastermind is a masked man named Yoko Taro who loves beer and who wants Square-Enix to hire him. Mainly, he wants to surprise us players with our own feelings by reminding us they’re still in there, somewhere."
Yoko Taro: Weird feelings for weird people (By Ruben Ferdinand)
Ruben Ferdinand looks at the characters and themes of Yoko Taro's games and how the main thing we learn from them are the roles of violence and silence.
"As S.R. Holiwell explains in A Maze of Muderscapes, Metroid II is ultimately a game about genocide. It’s a singular minded push into the territory of an indigenous species to wipe out a lifeform that has been designated a threat to the galaxy, despite their inability to escape their native planet. Everything about the game contributes to that: the hostile, painful soundscapes, the restrictive corridors, and the counter that makes a permanent space on your HUD, counting down the number of Metroids left alive on the planet. AM2R retains none of that, replacing every aspect with elements that imitate the blueprint of Super Metroid."
Picture in a Frame (By Amr Al-Aaser)
Amr Al-Aaser on how we talk about games, how we frame and describe them in ways that can cause us to fail to understand what an individual game says and does on its own terms. Amr uses the recent fan remake of Metroid 2 as an example for how the game completely changed the tone and narrative of the original, if you are interested in the topic of tonal changes that AM2R and Metroid Returns made to Metroid 2, Mark Brown did a video looking at all three games.
"That’s where the extraordinary Nier: Automata comes in. This is a game that, in its own way, takes a long, hard look at the same forces of hatred, prejudice and fear that Geralt speaks about in The Witcher 3, and grimly acknowledges how tragically destructive they are. And then, in the end, when everything seems to be lost and it appears as if ignorance, fear, and hatred have all but devoured every last glimmer of hope and life and love, the game does something truly extraordinary."
Contained in Our Moments: Ignorance and Love in Nier: Automata and The Witcher 3 (By Carolyn Petit)
Carolyn Petit on the expressions of emotion in The Witcher 3 and Nier Automata and Nier's more hopeful tone compared to Geralt's world weary cynicism in combating violence and ignorance.
"Horizon is inspiring because it doesn’t boast about humanity being worth saving, it doesn’t put hope on a pedestal. Instead it deals with reality, it says mortality is coming and we’ve fucked up."
Horizon: Zero Dawn and the beauty of annihilation (By Tauriq Moosa)
Tauriq Moosa on how Horizon Zero Dawn was inspiring to him and how, in dealing with reality, it makes him want to be a better person.
"But she definitely helps, and I’m glad she’s here, because if Breath of the Wild fills me with hope and excitement for the worlds that action-adventure games may create in years to come, then Horizon Zero Dawn makes me a little more optimistic about who might populate those worlds, and the heroes who may rise to save them."
Children of the Earth: The Limits of Link and the Promise of Aloy (By Carolyn Petit)
Carolyn Petit looks at what games in the future can learn from the world of Breath of the Wild and the characters of Horizon Zero Dawn.
"Quadrilateral Cowboy is built on relationships that are recognizable, that can be mapped to real life, even though the setting is in many ways fantastical. It's based on an idea of closeness not as a sudden thing or as an object of extreme drama, but as a slowly germinating process in which people's lives and spaces blur into one another. And in portraying friendship so effectively, it highlights how rare those relationships are in game narratives."
'Quadrilateral Cowboy' Points to a Different Kind of Intimacy in Games (By Bruno Dias)
Bruno Dias writes about game's struggle with intimacy and how Quadrilateral Cowboy's story is built on recognizable relationships.
"While the situations are often overblown and bizarre, there's something at their core that still feels grounded in the era's reality: furors over hot new game releases and technology, youthful rebellion against boring corporate life, and the excitement that celebrities and media would create."
'Yakuza 0' is A Postcard from Another Time (By Heidi Kemps)
Heidi Kemps explores how Yakuza 0 acts as a postcard from 1980s Japan.
"That’s the thing with fictional violence—it’s never actually representative of real violence, but instead serves as a dramatic and thematic tool to convey a feeling or idea. This plays a large part into what makes the recent video game Yakuza 0 so compelling—it takes the traditional violence of crime fiction and repurposes that into this wider idea of constructive resistance."
The Transformative Violence of Yakuza 0 (By Patrick Larose)
Patrick Larose on the framing of violence in Yakuza 0 and how it can be channeled into a reconstructive force.
"This is how these games convey the purpose of taverns as interstitial spaces between the mundane and fantastic. In the Torment games, bars mean finding reflection and escapism amidst confusing worlds so vastly different than our own, yet with characters so strikingly resonant when given the chance to unwind. Speaking with characters, learning about their pasts and their cultures, what this place means to them, is valued alongside the protagonists’ player guided self-discovery."
Hold my Beer — Why the Torment Games Have the Best Video Game Bars (By Dakota Joyce)
Dakota Joyce on how simple taverns end up having some of the more interesting moments in two games with the most fantastical settings.
"Especially in these dark days, the warmth and humanity of Sareh’s depiction is a much needed point of light. As a protagonist-like figure, she neatly expresses a theme endemic to all of Tacoma: that even in a grim, dystopian future, there is always hope to be found in the way people manage to simply survive."
Opinion: In praise of Tacoma's character Sareh Hasmadi (By Katherine Cross)
Katherine Cross on the portrayal and humanity of Tacoma's character Sareh Hasmadi.
"If a game about Egypt's history, released in 2017, is to say anything about its setting, taking aim at the abuses of power that have oppressed its population for millennia seems more than appropriate."
How Assassin's Creed Origins Captures the Politics, Colonialism, and Betrayal of the Real Ancient Egypt (By Reid McCarter)
Reid McCarter on how, by diving into the past, Origin shows insight on the history of Egypt and the modern world.
"The men are forced to deal with the bodies that society would typically let them ignore, watching them break down around them."
Wolfenstein 2 and Mending Broken Things (By Brendan Keogh)
Brendan Keogh on how Wolfenstein is about the fragility of two types of bodies that underpin Western values, what it takes for them to fall apart, and giving form to emotions that capture the current atmosphere.
"Whatever we may spend our time doing, who doesn’t want to do that? And when it comes to a medium like video games, where developers are crafting interactive future visions that can sell to millions, which creators don’t have a touch of the obsessive about them?"
Gore as Art in The Evil Within 2 (By Richard Stanton)
Richard Stanton on The Evil Within 2 antagonists Stefano Valentini.
"It’s an odd, ill-fitting note in a game that filled me with a strange sort of grief, because it is the moment I could feel a culture’s connection to the recent past growing weaker and fainter. The grim, driven men of this story have a coldly distant, heroic quality to them that belongs more to myth than history. It reminded me that my grandfathers with all their flaws and frailties are both gone, and so is my grandmother with her shoebox full of small, fading Victory Mail letters, a War Department telegram, and photos of her one trip outside the United States, to a military cemetery in France."
Watching History Fade Away in 'Call of Duty: WWII' (By Rob Zacny)
Rob Zacny on the fading memory of WWII and the portrayal of the war in Call of Duty WWII and other media that have helped us replace the truth of the past with myth.
Articles that focus on game design and the ideas and process behind them
"Game designers work with and for the human mind; we have to consider human experience, perception and our mindset when we are at play. Whenever you choose to play, you likely want the game to feel internally consistent enough that you can buy into the experience. You're able to go along for the ride if the game feels like it makes sense."
Games aren’t always fair, the magic lies in making you think they are (By Jennifer Scheurle)
Jennifer Scheurle's article on her twitter thread where she asked developers to talk about game mechanics that are hidden from players, reading this can help you understand the kinds of things developers have to do and think about in order to create an enjoyable game.
"For Robert Yang, a game designer and professor at NYU Game Center, this prioritization is a natural outcome of the unchecked biases that lie behind the 3D technology that powers modern gaming. "When 3D artists test their new skin shaders, they often use a 3D head scan of a white guy named Lee Perry-Smith," he notes. "What does it mean if we're all judging the quality of our skin shader solutions by seeing who can make the best rendered white guy?"
Black Skin Is Still A Radical Concept in Video Games (By Yussef Cole and Tanya DePass)
Yussef Cole And Tanya DePass on how the technology behind film and games were never created with darker skin tones in mind.
"That’s where glitches come in. The competitive community has always had a strained relationship with them, preferring to rely on skill instead of exploit a mistake. But they’re often the best way to push a game to its limits. Sometimes, these discoveries even have the potential to make the game more balanced."
Finding Beauty in the Weirdest Fighting Game Glitches (By Ian Walker)
Ian Walker writes about fighting game glitches, how some ended up helping to balance games, how they lead to popular mechanics, and how they have impacted the course of the entire genre.
"If you work on [a] game that includes a little bit of yourself — in [the] form of an Easter egg — you treat it more personally, and you care more. It becomes your game, not only a game that you happen to be working on," says Katarzyna Tarnacka, a concept artist at Polish developer Techland. "And I think a similar thing applies to the players. When I find Easter eggs in other games, then those games become special. It's a real human touch that I can sense."
The costs of developing Easter eggs (By Blake Hester)
Blake Hester looks at the work that goes into adding easter eggs in games and the situations that can lead to their creation.
"I have a firmly-held belief that to honor a medium, and for it to grow, you have to do what it does that no other media can do. When I look at what games can do that other media can't, I instantly go right to the immersive sim. That sort of real-time you are there, nothing stands between you and belief that you're in an alternate world, that is something that I guess LARPing gets a little close to, and D&D gets pretty darn close to, but we're the first mainstream medium that can actually do that. And the immersive sim is the perfect way to do it."
Working In the Game Industry
Articles focused on what it is like to work in the game industry or in fields connected to the game industry.
"Along with my friend and photographer, Levi Ryman, I spent a month between February and March of this year in my Ford Escape traveling 9,000 miles across the United States and back, visiting families, communities and developers in an effort to create a scrapbook of sorts, full of stories and profiles showing what it's like for developers across the United States to create games. What I learned is that, just as no two people are the same, no two games are made the same way. Everyone we visited had a different story about how their location and the people around them has influenced the way they work and the games they put out."
A month on the road: My indie developer road trip (By Blake Hester)
Blake Hester spent a month traveling around the United States to learn the stories of developers and how their lives and games are influenced by where they live.
"I wrote one of the first stories about Blizzard Entertainment, when they were known as Chaos Studios. They sold their company for a very small amount of money these days, $7 million or something, to Davidson and Associates, but went on to be very successful. The president of Blizzard recently said to me, “Thank you for 25 years of good coverage.” It’s this guy, Mike Morhaime. I covered Brian Fargo of Interplay, and still cover him today. He’s about to retire. I’m not quite ready to do that."
A life in game journalism (By Dean Takahashi)
Dean Takahashi writes about his life and experiences as a game journalist and the events that got him to where he is today.
"There can be a conflict when talking about what it’s like to be a woman in the industry, and how to balance being honest with how bad it can be, but also wanting to be encouraging. Most of the women I spoke to had their eyes firmly forward, looking toward the future."
Women in Video Game Development in 2017: A Snapshot (By Lucy O'Brien)
Lucy O'Brien interviewed 55 developers about the moments that influenced their career paths, educational institutions and the way games are marketed turning people away from development or not informing them about the kind of careers available, social stigmas and workplace conduct that prevent people from joining the industry or that causes veterans to leave it, and communities that help support and offer new opportunists.
"A living legend was talking about what a great job that Soliani did, and in response, his eyes welled up with tears. He stood up, waved awkwardly, and tried not to completely break down in front of the theater of people."
This E3 Was All About Men Crying Onstage, And That Is Wonderful (By Cameron Kunzelman)
Cameron Kunzelman covers how game development can be an emotional experience and how that was shown at this year's E3.
"Jason Brassard, owner of Trade N Games in Fenton, Mo., gives the same five-to-10-year timeframe. "I don't think this industry, in retail, is left in 10 years," he says. "… No, not in the least bit. I mean, there will be some collectibles, but paying two employees who work full time and paying a few thousand in rent, nah. No way. Not a chance."
What it costs to run an independent video game store (By Matt Leone)
Matt Leone looks at the costs of running independent game stores by talking to people who have done it through the 80s to modern times and talks to them about adapting to changing times, store policies and how they did and do business, and the future of retail gaming stores.
"It's not farfetched to suggest that the implementation of the ACA in 2010 played a large role in the 'boom' of independent game studios."
Game Developers Speak Up in the Face of Obamacare Repeal and More Stories of How Obamacare Has Affected Game Developers (By Joseph Knoop)
Joseph Knoop talks to developers about the negative effects the ACA repeal can have on the industry, getting stories from those that needed to be hospitalized, hearing about the ways the repeal can end the careers of women, and how developers can be prevented from leaving larger studios to pursue their own passion projects.
"As an independent video game developer, The Chinese Room lives by the seat of its pants. It is the same for so many across the video game world. If money's not coming in, you can't pay the bills. That's why developers often spend as much time pitching projects as they do building games. If there's nothing coming next, it could be hard to keep the lights on - possibly impossible."
The doors close on The Chinese Room - for now (By Wesley Yin-Poole)
Wesley Yin-Poole on the closure of the studio The Chinese Room and the struggles faced by independent developers.
"I did a public talk a couple weeks ago to a room full of all ages kids, and afterwards, a kid came up to me and was talking about stuff. And I shit you not, this kid (somewhere between 13-16 I'd guess) starts talking about how bad devs are because of a youtuber he watches. He nailed all the points, "bad engines", "being greedy", you name it. I was appalled. I did my best to tell him that all those things people freak out about are normal and have justifications. I hope I got through a bit. But I expect he went back to consuming toxic culture via youtube personalities, and one day he'll probably harass a dev over nonsense."
Game Designer Says Developers Would Be More Candid If Gamer Culture Wasn't So Toxic (Twitter thread by Charles Randall and write up by Jason Schreier)
Charles Randall writes a thread on Twitter about what keeps developers from being more candid about the way games are made.
"In that same vein, if I didn’t want to be banned from Steam, I shouldn’t have made You Must be 18 or Older to Enter. The logic follows. If the game had monsters, or violence, or death, or used other traditional horror aspects over childhood curiosity, it probably wouldn’t have been banned from Steam."
The Fun is Over, We Have to Get Serious about Games (By James Cox)
James Cox talks about the need to stop treating certain subjects in games as jokes, his game being wrongly classified as porn and removed from Steam, and the cycle created by distribution platforms, streamers, and Youtubers that influence gaming culture and makes developing or even having the language to talk about new and unique experiences difficult.
Life and Games
Articles on the meaning that games can have for people, connections they help create, and why they matter.
"I grinned, and halfway through my amusement I suddenly realised that while my mother could read up on the games news, there was another language that my mother did not speak: the language of games. For all her enthusiasm and knowledge of the medium, she had never once held a controller, or booted up a video game. We had been talking about games, the business, the people, and the stories and moments that impacted me for almost a decade, and my mother had nodded along understanding everything but the heart of it: the games themselves."
Mom, 'Final Fantasy' and the Language of Gaming (Rami Ismail)
Rami Ismail on teaching the language of gaming and a year spent gaming with his mom.
"With his beloved science fiction novels to the right of the desk and a view of the garden stretching from behind his computer screen, Stephen would become enveloped first in The Flame In The Flood and then in Firewatch. At the age of 63, Stephen, recently retired, rekindled a passion that had been with him since the early '80s."
The 63-Year-Old Retiree Who Broke A Game Looking for The End of the World (By Lewis Gordon)
Lewis Gordon writes about how The Flame In the Flood and Firewatch helped a man rekindle an old passion.
"It’s hard to say exactly how many women feel burdened by the responsibilities of motherhood, but from anecdotal experience I’d say it’s not uncommon. And yet we don’t feel comfortable expressing it, as if somehow, by admitting our infallibility, we’re no longer capable at all. Life is messy, yet nothing short of perfection is enough. To be a mother is to agonize over every decision, to accuse yourself of selfishness for having basic needs. Every second spent on anything other than your child comes with an extra side of shame. “If only I’d been more attentive” becomes the answer to every perceived failure. It always seems as though the second you look away, that’s when everything will go wrong. For Karen, it did."
How I Finally Found A Mom I Can Identify With—In A Videogame (By Holly Green)
Holly Green writes about motherhood and finding a mother she can identify with in the game Through the Woods.
"Everyone I talked to for this story had one thing in common: games. Sometimes video games, sometimes tabletop games. But what bound them together was a sense of being thrust into the shadows of society, forced to hide themselves, and finding solace, hope, and even careers in games. While they waited for the world to change, they embraced games."
Undocumented Immigrants Describe Life Under DACA, and How Games Helped Them (By Patrick Klepek)
Patrick Klepek talks to DACA immigrants about how games helped them and their desire to work in and their current contributions to the game industry.
"History has a habit of repeating itself when people forget, you see, but are videogames the right place to remind us? They’re bigger than any other entertainment medium, after all, but often the medium with the least to say."
Videogames’ portrayal of the Holocaust does a disservice to both players and victims (By Kirk McKeand)
Kirk McKeand talks to Jewish game industry veterans on the portrayal of Nazis and the holocaust in video games, covering topics such as how pop culture influences the appearance of Nazis in media, the way games ignore certain topics, and the portrayal of similar topics in indie and lesser known titles.
"The hero’s own voice may be crafting a narrative to be used against them, via events and recordings that they don’t remember or maybe never made in the first place. While trapped in this location, surrounded by infinite void on all sides, the main character must either reject the horrific mistakes of their past as outright lies or accept their sins, making amends or choosing to lean into the power and freedom of their new role as the villain. This is also how it feels to be bipolar. I know that now, because I was diagnosed while I was playing the game."
When the Void Stares Back: Prey, Post-Humanism and Mental Illness (By Brock Wilbur)
Brock Wilbur writes about playing as an unreliable narrator in Prey and the ability to be one in your own life.
"In part, Neo Japan Games has become a mini-power plant. A generator which Robles has been running daily since re-opening the store 14 days after the storm makes it an oasis of sorts."
In Post-Hurricane Puerto Rico, This Used Game Store Is A Welcome Escape (By Ethan Gach)
Ethan Gach on how a used game store serves as a refuge as the population attempts to rebuild.
Game Industry Abroad
Articles covering the game industry of different countries, mostly focused on the ones that we don't often associate with video games, or covering how the industry is growing and effecting people and places worldwide.
"Secret gaming networks entwine utility lines, broadcast from rooftops and piggy-back phone cables over highways. Speakeasy arcades can be found in many Havana neighborhoods, locked away behind closed doors. Blocked by two governments, U.S. video games — normally priced in the U.S. at more than a Cuban makes in a month — are as inexpensive as they are ubiquitous in Cuba’s thriving black market. And the people who play these games are just as passionate about making them, writing about them, competing in them. This is a new generation of Cubans; raised on illicit video gaming, born to love everything those games offer from the ability to create interactive, moving art, to gaming’s deep social roots and frenetic sense of play."
Cuba: Where underground arcades, secret networks and piracy are a way of life (By Brian Crecente)
Brian Crecente gives a detailed look at gaming culture in Cuba in a series of 12 articles covering piracy, esports, development, secret networks and arcades, and more.
"And yet, innovation within China is not dead. Thanks to the recent success of digital marketplaces like Steam and itch.io which sit outside the Chinese government’s scrutiny, in combination with the increasing accessibility of game-making tools like Unity and RPG Maker, local developers are pushing back against the stereotypical depictions of China in video games. By telling personal, human stories, these developers want to show the world that Chinese culture is so much more than Kung Fu and red dragons."
Why It's So Hard To Make Games In China (By Matt Sayer)
Matt Sayer on the game industry of China and difficulty of developing games there.
"Clearly, no one pays for content in Pakistan; everything is pirated," he says. "So I looked at the biggest spenders in the space, and one of the bigger spenders in Pakistani cricket is Pepsi. So I contacted the marketing company who handles their account."
What it’s like making games in Pakistan (By Basim Usmani)
Basim Usamani looks at the game industry of Pakistan and how a small team of developers turned there game into a financial success when most things are pirated.
"According to Overwatch lore, D.va is a pro gamer who serves and inspires her country. In real life, D.va’s role is starting to mirror her in-game persona, as she becomes a symbol of hope for women in South Korea."
D.va From Overwatch Has Become A Symbol of Hope In Real Life (By Nico Deyo)
Nico Deyo talks about how Overwatch's pro Korean gamer D.Va is used as a symbol for female gamers in Korea.
"In Seoul, where corporate-sponsored teams live in gaming houses and play in front of packed arenas, the top players are all men. The scandal swirling around Geguri felt like a tipping point. She was a unicorn, and people didn't believe she was real."
Game: Interrupted (By Mina Kimes)
Mina Kimes writes about the culture and esports scene of Korea and interviews a player that became a reluctant icon for other female gamers after her talent got her accused of cheating.
“A huge chunk of the world gets disqualified over factors they can’t control, and this game company didn’t take the effort to think about how their supposed attempts at diversity actually backfired. If they’re already fucking up this way, how do you expect them to respond to the travel ban? Preemptively ban people from applying for jobs there? Closing down offices elsewhere? Only taking in super local people? Options that are actually legal and viable get thrown by the wayside.”
How Trump's Travel Ban Impacts the Games Industry (By Holly Green and Creatrix Tiara)
Holly Green writes about how immigration, passports, and travel bans have impacted the life of one developer.
"The first obstacle to PC gaming's growth is a simple one: very few people own PCs in Japan. But there's much more to it than that. There's the challenge of using Steam in Japanese. There's the frequent need for a champion—sometimes a single person in a huge company—to boldly fight for a PC port. There's the long history of 'doujin' fan games in Japan and a struggling indie scene finally beginning to find its footing. There's a genetic predisposition to motion sickness that turns Japanese gamers away from first-person games. And there's 7-Eleven."
How Japan learned to love PC gaming again (By Wes Fenlon)
Wes Fenlon on how PC gaming has started to make a comeback in Japan.
"July 2017 marked the first annual Tehran Game Convention. It felt like an event that had been refined over years. It was strikingly well organized, hosted 2300 attendees, and featured speakers from 14 countries covering a range of topics from scalable game servers (Ashkan Saeedi Mazdeh), to expanding existing universes (Rayna Anderson), to meaning and ethics in games (Wolfgang Walk), to applying game design techniques to understanding mental illness (David Baron). The games industry in Iran is well-established and sophisticated."
Making Games in Tehran: A massive market, disconnected (By Brie Code)
Brie Code attends the first game convention in Tehran and gives details about their growing game industry.
“If it’s preserved, and if it’s accessible to the public, I hope writers, researchers, and historians will find those little gems, talk about it, and rewrite history,” he said. The history of games that’s commonly spread around—in the beginning, there was Space Invaders, which begat Pac-Man, which begat Mario—might be the history of the most successful products, but it’s not the history of the most influential art. “When you’re talking about art, you forget that it sold one million copies,” he says. “The history of video games that I’m reading every day on the internet everywhere is not the history I know. And is not the history as it was back in time.”
Saving Japan's Games (By Chris Kohler)
Chris Kohler writes about the Game Preservation Society, which is dedicated to the research and preservation of Japanese games. Chris covers why games and their associated materials is important to preserve, the history of the man who started the organization, how preservation is handled, the history of older computers, and the culture and laws of Japan that can make preservation efforts difficult.
"Released that May in North America, Vagrant Story was a significant step forward for English localization. A taut, lean story of dark medieval intrigue and magic, it was a game with a depth of language still uncommonly used to this day. I recently had the opportunity to interview localization editor Richard Amtower and famous translator Alexander O. Smith over email on their breakthrough early work in the field and to reflect on the rise of localization as a craft that truly mattered."
"Make it Biblical:" How Vagrant Story Changed Game Localization (By John Learned)
"One day in the late 1990s, Myria walked into the Irvine High School computer room and spotted a boy playing Final Fantasy V. There were two unusual things about this. The first was that Final Fantasy V had not actually come out in the United States. To play the 1992 Japanese game in English, you’d have to download a ROM, then install the unofficial fan translation patch that had recently begun circulating the internet. Myria knew about this patch because of the other unusual thing: she helped make it."
How Three Kids With No Experience Beat Square And Translated Final Fantasy V Into English (By Jason Schreier)
Jason Schreier tells the story of the kids that translated Final Fantasy V before Square and did a better job of it. He looks at how they got started, the influence of the translation, and at how the work was done.
"Why do fans of JRPG giants assume Japanese writers can't write?"
Persona 5: Phantoms of Translation and Persona 5's translation is a black mark on a brilliant game (By Connor Krammer)
Connor Krammer created a website to explain some of the translations issues with Persona 5, give examples of a variety of problems, and to answer questions about localization and possible critiques of his observations. This was followed that up with a freelance article on Eurogamer where he talks about Persona 5 and localization. Krammer later wrote two threads on Twitter about some accusations and harassment that he had received after creating his site, which can be read here and here.
Stories From Games
Apart from the stories told by games there are the stories players create with them
“Samantha Myth has shown me the dangers of trust, but also the power of friendship,” Tikktokk writes in a Reddit post updating everyone on the situation. “Long term friends can stab you in the back at any moment without reason or consequences. At the same time, those who have the opportunity to, but choose not, have proven [themselves] to be true friends who I hope to keep in contact with long after EVE Online shuts down.”
How a scam in EVE Online turned into its greatest rescue mission
Meet the most honest man in EVE Online
How an EVE Online con artist tricked a ruthless pirate into giving him his priceless ship
How one mistake turned EVE Online's deadliest hunters into corpses (By Steven Messner)
Steven Messner has been keeping PCGamer readers updated with some of the stories from EVE Online over the last two years and these are some of the most entertaining ones from 2017.
"I was there, embedded within an armada of more than 1,000 ships known as the Premonition Allied Coalition, or the PAC. They were there to defend a fictional character named Salomé, the invention of a science fiction author. Arrayed against them were the most deadly player-controlled fleets in the entire Milky Way galaxy."
Elite: Dangerous' 3,000-player battle royale (By Charlie Hall)
Charlie Hall covers the story of how Harry Potter's betrayal would influence the future of Elite Dangerous.
"As Allison's corpse sank, so too did my chance at finding love."
I was drugged, forced to sing, and accused of murder in one night on an Ark roleplaying server (By Steven Messner)
Steven Messner sings, tries to find love, and causes a dinosaur stampede on an Ark roleplay server.
Doctor liked a post in a topic by Legolas_Katarn in Death Stranding
Definitely would help when the vast majority of the gaming community knows nothing about any aspect of game design or working in the industry and uses random nobodies on Reddit and Youtube just trying to get popular with whatever people are currently complaining about as reliable and knowledgeable sources of information. Usually we only end up hearing about development details months or years after release. Though because of gaming culture and the way things can often get reported (even more so with all the little sites that have sprung up recently that are often focused on spreading drama or slander or baseless rumors) trying to be more open can also lead to its own set of problems or you end up hyping up your game in a way that you end up not being able to deliver either from inexperience and overexcitement or pipe dreams like with Sean Murray and Peter Molyneux.
Legolas_Katarn liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Death Stranding
Ubisoft is actually interesting because they have many francises which could potentially share lots of tech while working a new game in series; for example Far Cry and Assassin's Creed. But they also have something (announced) big and new in development which had to do from scratch and which development has took for some time already - Beyond Good and Evil 2.
I think it is increasingly important that developers starts to talk about development process as well. The games gets more and more demanding so it would be beneficial if media and gamers would understand that the development can easily take over five years especially if the game is complicated and if the development company had to be built up first.
What comes to Death Stranding I can't say I'm interested before I see the game play first. I'm not a huge fan of Metal Gear games so I don't have much expectations at this point. Hopefully it something huge, ambitious, versatile/complex, beautiful and will be available as many platform as possible (I guess the rumors says it will be PS4 exclusive).
Legolas_Katarn liked a post in a topic by Doctor in The Making of Tex Murphy - Full Documentary
Big Finish Games made a documentary about Tex Murphy series. A great game series which hopefully will keep its style and have a long and bright future.
Unfortunately their last game never got a Linux-version because of middleware problems. That's the risk one has to take when they pledge crowdfunding project.
Legolas_Katarn liked a post in a topic by Doctor in The Making of Tex Murphy - Full Documentary
Big Finish Games made a documentary about Tex Murphy series. A great game series which hopefully will keep its style and have a long and bright future.
Unfortunately their last game never got a Linux-version because of middleware problems. That's the risk one has to take when they pledge crowdfunding project.
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by Doctor in New game coming from Forza Horizon dev team. Interesting!
You have many good points although I'm still not convinced about need of exclusive games just to keep some platforms alive.
It is not just PC (Linux, Windows, etc.) I would like to see all games be ported to but I think similar way with devices I don't own or be interested in like for example Nintendo's consoles. I would like to see all possible games ported for their consoles too. Mobile devices are not an exception either - it was great to see Baldur's Gates ported for mobile devices.
I don't think hardware just in performance point of view but controllers as well. For example I wouldn't expect game developed for Nintendo 2DS would be ported to devices with only one screen. Same with the Kinect and other special HW requirements. It has been good to see some developers are developing different UIs depending of controller a player is using. Another aspect is that I think it is important that developers are able to publish patches without validation. If they are not able to I don't expect the game be ported to those platforms.
I'm a huge fan on open platforms and huge amount of "bad games" is small price to pay for that since there is huge amount of good games coming steadily as well and users has control over their gaming devices. Gaming sites like indiedb.com, crowdfunding projects, etc. are very important to me and has changes my way and view of gaming for better.
Doctor liked a post in a topic by Crazycrab in New game coming from Forza Horizon dev team. Interesting!
I know exclusives wined many gamer's (PC players in particular) up but the fact is they are necessary to keep a balanced and competitive market. When every game is made available for every piece of hardware what you end up with is this........
A flooded market full of the same copy and paste garbage that offers little to no incentive to innovate, deliver quality products and egregious practices are free to run completely out of control. Open markets can be a blessing at times but they are also a curse and even Stream shares many of these same problems with asset flippers and scammers being able to use it as well as some just terrible unfinished games.
I'm not saying that closed markets are fully impenetrable to this sort of thing (look at Life of Black Tiger on PSN) but it is way more difficult for them to slip trough the cracks and not be called out. The disadvantage of course is that publishing in a closed market is more difficult and usually more expensive. Consumers will likely choose buy their products on the open market because they have more choice and publishers would naturally follow them there unless they have some incentive to go for the closed one with the main with incentive being of course..... exclusive products and services!
"PC Master Race" types like to believe that all games should be published on PC merely because it's technicality possible due to the better hardware, but that is a completely ignorant and one sided analysis. You yourself Doctor seemed to be backing this up by saying technical limitations are the only valid excuse for exclusivity, but this is simply not the case and you should know better. You might say exclusives are evil but they are a necessary evil because the truth is a fully open market would destroy this industry like it almost did in 1983 when we where in a situation where anybody and their dog could make and sell a game on the Atari 2600.
So if these developers made the decision to continue their prevoius and for the most part successful business relationship with Microsoft making this game exclusive to XBox and Windows 10 platforms, I wouldn't mind. From a selfish standpoint I would of course prefer to have the option to buy the game on Steam or PSN as well but I'm not going to be hypocritical if they chose an exclusivity deal because I get why it is necessary.
Doctor liked a post in a topic by Kaz32 in Hand of Fate 2 impression. Bigger and better! Again!
I think 2017 has the obvious theme of "let's release the second game in a game's series, and make them better than ever before." Because wow. There's so many of them, and I am so happy to see it going strong.
So the story of the game is that it takes place after the first game. The main character from the first game won against the Dealer, and he is now the ruler of an Empire that's not nice at all, but rather like the one from Star Wars. The Dealer is back out of hell, and he's pissed after being defeated. So he recruits a new hero, aka us, to prepare for the journey ahead and beat the first game's character so he can take back his position. I sense that he'll betray me in the end...... but we'll see.
I actually got this game very early in PAX Australia back in October where I actually talk with the dev team of the game and got the game for only $20 AUD/ $15 USD, which comes packed with the first game.
I didn't have a chance to play the game back then, BUT now I have played it. And it is beautiful.
At its core it's just like the first game. You progress through different short stories which culminates in an end boss fight, but now it's a lot cooler. In the first game it's just a simple level progression where you have to beat each bosses at the end, but in this game it's shown in a world map which corresponds to different tarot cards.
At first you have to complete the first challenge, but afterwards you'll unlock more challenges which you can do in any order that you like. And the best part about these challenges: they have different completion requirements. So it's not just a "beat the bosses at the end to progress" thing. Each ones are different, so in one challenge you have to "reach 20 fame before reaching the end to progress", or "get 6 blessings before reaching the end", or even a "get different clues and then identify an assassin before they kill someone", making each challenges unique. You CAN just ignore the completion requirements and beat the challenges straight away, but doing that will not grant you a gold token which has beneficial cards you can add to your starting deck.
You still have to assign different cards before the start of a challenge like the first game
But now you have companions to bring along with you!
When they're in the battlefield, you can press a button to activate their abilities which will help you in combat. For example: The Magician gives a magic shield which guards you against enemy attacks once, while the Wanderer stuns enemies. Each of the companions have their own personal sidequests you can complete, just like Mass Effect 2. And once you completed them, the companions will receive a new buff in their stats. Like shown above with the Magician. I completed his personal questline, and his card becomes white ish to signify that his quest is complete and he's now stronger than before. Neat!
While navigating through the different cards is mostly like the first game, the difference here is that unlike the first where you consume food every time you step into a card regardless if you have opened that card or not, here once you opened a card, you can step on it and you won't consume food. You only consume food if you step into a new card or if you decide to eat in a camp, which you can go to anytime.
Combat is just like the first game, aka Arkham series ish, but now you don't have to do the "beat up enemies when they're lying down" attacks. Instead you have finishing moves that heavily damages enemies when they're in a dazed state. And you have new weapon types to use compared to the first which only have 1. Now you got 3: the one handed weapon and shield from the first game, a heavy two handed weapon which is slow but damaging, and the dual weapon which is fast and awesome. I personally like the dual weapon. The only downside to the combat is you can't run like in the first game. Annoying but I can deal with it.
Oh yes, the "choose one out of 4 cards to determine failure or success" mechanic from the first game is back again. But now you have 4 variations! So it's not only picking cards, but also "roll a dice and get the required points", "stop a wheel at the card that you want", and "stop a pendulum needle at the right spot".
I only just completed 6 challenges out of the 20+ that this game has, and I can't wait to find out what different challenges the dealer will throw at me this time! I highly recommend this game, especially if you're a fan of the first Hand of Fate.
Nymphonomicon liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Should video games be accessible to everyone?
That's pretty interesting question. I personally (also) like games that are hard to learn and hard to master (Dwarf Fortress, Distant Worlds: Universe, etc.) and trying to make them "accessible to everyone" sounds quite impossible task to me. As long as we do have indie games and crowdfunding projects I think there will be made games for wide variety of people.
Crazycrab liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Star Citizen news and weekly shows
Thanks for the feedback. I can start to post less frequently although I still think the information CIG is sharing about upcoming updated ship page/matrix and gameplay possibilities are interesting and important information to all who are already backers and those who are interested to give a game a try during free weekends. AtVs gives lots of information about how they are progressing on Evocati builds and the other half includes information about upcoming gameplay features - again, important information to share.
Maybe a weekly post (or less) with my current opinion and experiences about the projects could be easier to tolerate.
Doctor liked a post in a topic by ACEPILOT666 in EF: Total War: Warhammer II event
Greetings AJSA! As we look to invade and claim a realm of our own in the Old World, the Great Maelstrom has been weakened and the time is right for us to lay claim to it! There will be many perils and death ahead, but we must crush our enemies under our boots in order to succeed. Join me as we spill BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!
Depending on the turnout and popular demand, we may either do a series of matches of varying size or a co-op campaign.
Event will be hosted on Discord and start on Oct. 21st 2017 at 4pm EDT/ 9pm BST.
Doctor liked a post in a topic by Legolas_Katarn in Should video games be accessible to everyone?
In something like Cuphead, a side scrolling shooter, it might as well have easier modes, for a variety of reasons but even just to allow younger people, older people with worse reflexes, or people with disabilities to play the game. Probably even more so because of the game's art style likely being something that can attract kids or older gamers and being something that some people might just want to observe and enjoy without having to do it while trying to survive. The only time it would feel right to not do an easier mode is if the games atmosphere or feelings it's trying to create are heavily reliant on challenge and when it wouldn't be a simple matter to add an easier mode because there are so many different reasons for why people might find a game to be difficult. Difficulty itself can mean a lot of different things and accessibility issues are usually adding obvious things like subtitles and larger text options or options to help people with certain disabilities (like not requiring mashing a button quickly for QTEs, having the ability to rebind controls or use third party controllers, or adding a colorblind mode), in those cases they should always be accessible but developers need to start the design process with that in mind because it can become costly, time consuming, and difficult to implement later.
This developer's thread on difficulty and accessibility partly explains designing around them.
Doctor liked a post in a topic by Kaz32 in Middle-earth: Shadow of War review. More of the first game. Like it or not, depends on you.
Now then. Before I go through how the gameplay of this game is, I'm going to address 2 things that I heard so much about regarding this game:
1) The loot boxes. Are they required, or are they just there?
Don't worry about this thing. These loot + war chests are not important at all. All of the chests just give you random items + followers, who for most of the time are less powerful than the ones you get in the game and for most of the time in the case of followers, can be converted into gears, and for the items you can just convert them into silver coins, which are actually the currency you use to unlock gem slots for your weapons, upgrade your followers and upgrade your strongholds in the main game. Just by playing the game and fucking around, you can get a lot of silvers and gears.
You don't need to pay real money to get the gold currency required to buy them. You can actually get gold by doing challenges which change each day, like "kill captains using execution moves" or "kill a vendetta target" that sort of thing.
As for the stories that people say about how the final Act 4 requires you to buy the loot crate? Not true at all. You know what the last act of the game is? It's a 10 stage "defend your fort" missions that consists of 20+ fort defense missions. If you actually have a strong defense and a lot of high leveled orcs guarding the fort, there is no need to actually buy any of the crate. You can just play the missions normally. Well.... except when you got killed by an orc with a "no chance" perk on them, which means if you get attacked by these guys, you'll automatically lose the mission and you have to take over the fort back. But luckily taking over the fort is easy since there's only 1 orcs guarding each defense posts, and you can sabotage the defense by completing a mission before the takeover.
2) What of the game's ending? Is it going to turn people away?
I did say this back when the gameplay trailer was announced
If you are familiar with the Lord of the Rings lore, you pretty much will know that as long as the One Ring exists, Sauron will always return in the end. Plus having a Ring of Power with you will fuck you up in many form and corrupt you. As demonstrated by the many2 people that got consumed by the ring
Not to mention, it's officially confirmed that this game is a prequel to the original Lord of the Rings trilogy films, so you know what that means. I heard that people hated the ending. And since I completed the game, I have one thing to say:
Why?? The ending is perfect! It's very lore accurate and it's not a cliffhanger ending like the previous game. Hell, by the end of the game I actually felt satisfied with how everything ends and ties up to the LOTR trilogy films. I even watched the Return of the King again after playing the game and it flows perfectly. This is bold for me to say I know, but this game is a much better prequel than MGSV Phantom Pain, because that game tries to have a twist that may look cool, but just leaves a lot of questions afterward. This game on the other hand is a good prequel that ties to the film really well. And I am dead. Fucking. Serious.
Now that those 2 things are out of the way, let's get straight to what this game is about. It's a straight sequel to the first game and begins after Talion + Celebrimbor created a new ring of power to counter Sauron's own ring (BAD IDEA). Basically they both met Shelob, you know, this spider in the film
For some reason she can turn herself into a hot chick here. She took the new ring to herself, and then after 8+ hours of gameplay, you finally get the ring back and you're able to create your own personal orc army.
Like I said, this game has more of what's in the first game. Which if you're not familiar with the first game, it's a game that's quite like a mixture of Assassin's Creed with the Batman Arkham games. You can parkour around the environment to do stealth kills, you can fight many orcs at once with your close combat prowess, and best of all, you can mind control enemy captains to work with you and you can order them to do many things, like infiltrate the enemy ranks and backstab high ranked orcs, pick a fight with other orcs, or just straight up blow their brains out. It's all up to you!
In this game there's more combat moves to unlock, more areas to conquer, more collectibles to collect, more enemy types and more orc varieties to destroy or mind control, each with their own delicious characterizations. One time, I even fought an orc named Dûsh, and true to his name, he trash talks a lot, and when I am close to finishing him off, he ran away like a chicken. What a prick!
And I found Kumail Nanjiani in the game.
And I even made him commander of a fort. He has a couple of funny lines in the game, but a lot of the other orcs also have funny ass lines that makes me chuckle. You'll never know what sort of orcs you will encounter in the game.
The gear system has been changed compared to the first. It uses Diablo/ Nioh loot system where you get gears that has different rarities, purple is the best since it gives a lot of buffs, and increases in levels each time you progress through the game. Each gear outside of the common ones have different challenges to them, so if you complete that particular challenge, you can level the gear up further. It also has a gem system which lets you insert 3 gem types to each gear to give them different benefits. Red is all about attack power, green is about health and white is XP related. You can put different gems to each gears and see which combination you like best.
A couple of the collectibles in the game have neat minigames. There's a "cleanse a Sauron Tower" which lets you do a "spot these hidden objects in the world map" minigame, a "collect Shelob's past memories" minigame which lets you do an optical illusion puzzle, and there's ones that requires you to do this.... weird poem minigames. You have to collect 6 words scattered around the map. Once you collect them all, you're able to go into a door, and you have to assemble those 6 words into the poems.
It's a neat brain teaser, and once you solve it, you're given a legendary gear for yourself. Of course the gears themselves will most likely be under leveled compared to the gear that you have after playing the game for hours already, but it's a nice collectible nonetheless.
Oh yes, about the army creator + stronghold attack section. Is it like the trailer?
Of course not! You can't just press a button to execute an enemy that easily.
But for the other cool shit that happens? Yes. Most of them at least. You take over forts by going to different capture points and stay there until it's taken over. That gate thing at the start is not in the game, though maybe that's because the forts I took over isn't the one in the trailer. I took over forts that has ballista graugs instead. Enemies that you killed will come back from the dead. That drake thing is awesome when you use it for yourself. And thankfully that fire drake machine death can be avoided if you play espionage and cripple the enemy defenses by eliminating the warlords.
All things considered, the game does get repetitive once you put 30+ hours into the game. It's the same thing as the first game in that you will be repeating a lot of missions and replace a lot of orc officers to get a better army. If you're fine with that, then that's cool. You'll enjoy this game a lot. Until the last act of the game since it's just a string of 20+ fort defense missions. They should just reduce it to only 10 so it doesn't overstay its welcome. Luckily like I said, it ends satisfyingly in that it directly ties to the LOTR trilogy film in the end,
and it ends happily. With a pretty sweet end credits song to top it all off.
And a pretty sweet remembrance to that Michael David Forgey guy who unfortunately passed away but got remembered through an in game character based on him.
Do I recommend this game? Oh yes. If you love the first game and want more of it that is. But the end game will get repetitive, so beware of that. It's like eating at a 5 star buffet. You'll have so many to eat and it'll make you full if you eat too much. If you hate or don't like the first game, unfortunately this game isn't for you. Better skip this game if that's the case.
I give this game the rating of "take over Mordor with your army and conquer everything again and again, but beware that it'll get annoying during the last act of the game. Though in the end, you'll leave the game satisfied."
Shagger liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Star citizen 3.0 Hype !!
1. You can take dev diaries as you like of course. I enjoy read and watch developer's dev diaries and I don't take as PR although they could work in that purpose as well. Dev diaries gives people topics to discuss about and give them a change to give developers feedback. So far they have worked very nicely in that way so I can't complain.
2. Well, I don't personally feel they own any explanation where the money has gone other than it is used to create a game. I have never got any more detailed information from any crowdfunded projects I have supported. To me it enough to know these teams are able to work on a game although it is never certain they are able to finish them - that's the risk of crowdfunding.
Kaz32 liked a post in a topic by Doctor in Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice review: the Drive of video games.
A great review, good work.
I still need to give it a try, but I'm most likely one of them. I normally dislike straightforward story heavy games like this and therefore $30 feels way too expensive to me. I will consider buying it with discounted price (sub $10) at some point later.
Still, I'm glad the game seems to do pretty well and it has many fans already.