Dragonborn Sushians, hark! For Did You See This Wednesday, we’re pointing you to one of many hands-on previews that press outlets scooped this past week with Bethesda’s upcoming MMO of their popular RPG series, The Elder Scrolls.
Nothing is more fitting for this week’s “Did You See This” Wednesday than the reveal trailer for Supergiant’s (the creators of Bastion) next game, Transistor. Moving away from the fantasy setting of Bastion, Supergiant takes their isometric prowess to sci-fi. Don’t worry, they haven’t left the more verdant color pallets behind; Transistor is just as visually pleasing and varied in tone as Bastion. Whether or not Logan Cunningham makes an appearance as a narrator is unknown, but I bet Supergiant don’t want to cast themselves as a one-trick pony. Here’s the trailer.
So, what do you think? Are you eager to try Supergiant’s next game? What do you think of the art style? Bummed that it’s coming out in 2014 as opposed to right now? What do you think of Supergiant saying that they “haven’t chosen” which platforms to release it for?
In the midst of some of the crazy “controversies” (and I use that term loosely) that discuss the role of sexism in gaming culture and the industry at large — including the frothing attacks that were leveled against Anita Sarkeesian for daring to study the role of women in video games (the first video is fantastic, by the way), the bumbled PR about Tomb Raider, and the “Bros Before Hos” trophy in God of War — it’s nice to get a more touching story about why all of this stuff actually matters.
Mike Mika, a former video game designer for Atari, recently took up a “father of the year” level quest to please his 3 year old daughter when he realized how sad she was that she couldn’t play as Pauline, the princess in Donkey Kong, in order to save Mario. Mike, being a knowledgeable sort of dude, set to some pretty impressive work. Continue reading Pleasing the Princess: Hacking Donkey Kong
I promise I’m not trying to make weekly videos a theme, but it was hard to resist the idea of showing you guys these two music-themed videos. And seeing as how one is related to Bioshock Infinite, a game that many of you are pumped about, and the other is related to Journey, which I feel has one of the best gaming soundtracks of all time, I didn’t think you all would mind.
The first video is a brief clip of two of Bioshock Infinite’s actors, Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper, singing an old spiritual song that appears in the game, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. This is a classic song, and I love the time period that it establishes Columbia in. It’s a lovely duet, and it’s pretty cool that it appears in the game.
Today at Penny Arcade Report, Ben Kuchera interviews Rhianna Pratchett, writer of the Tomb Raider reboot (and daughter of British national treasure Terry Pratchett). In the first part of the interview, they discuss the controversy surrounding the game’s PR blunders as well as Pratchett’s personal history with the Tomb Raider franchise and her approach to rebooting the game.
I especially liked her response to a question about how the reveal that she was the head writer affected perception of the game’s content:
It’s not fine because I’m a woman. It’s fine because we approached it with the right creative sentiments. It was an honest scene for those characters and that moment. It wasn’t done for titillation. It wasn’t prolonged. It was uncomfortable because it should be uncomfortable.
I played through the first two hours of Tomb Raider last night, including the controversial moment that caused so much furor, and I can attest to the fact that in context the scene isn’t at all played for titillation. The game is definitely intense and occasionally brutal – the first time Lara died, I cringed – but it’s all done in service to some of the best game writing and pacing I’ve experienced in a very long time. My heart was pounding for most of those first two hours, and it wasn’t because I was trying to “protect a woman”.
How about you? Did anyone else pick up Tomb Raider? Have you played through the controversial part of the game?
Hola, Sushians. For Did You See This Wednesday, I bring great gaming gifts, like a spice trader who’s wandered across the internet’s vast desert on camelback.
OK actually, I just found some cool stuff I thought you guys might like to see. We’ve got two videos here. The first is an original piece by Tim Hijikema, who, if you’ll remember, made the excellent Video Game Planets piece almost a year ago.
In his new video, Video Game Locations, Tim re-creates classic video game locales, from Hyrule to Vice City. Set to excellent music, this thing is a crazy nostalgia tour. Can you name them all?
Never one to stray from a controversial comment, David Cage, creator of Heavy Rain and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls for the PS3, caused quite a stir at the DICE summit with some of his remarks regarding the direction he feels the game industry needs to go if it wants to evolve as an art form. Calling it a “Peter Pan-complex”, Cage pointed out that the vast majority of games are made for teens and children and the industry should strive to tackle more mature themes and not just a mature shooter, but expand mechanics beyond jumping, punching and shooting. Basically: maturity doesn’t equal violence.
Like many franchises before it, Dead Space 3 has been coming under fire for its sudden shift in tone. Where the first two games were heavily geared toward survival horror, Dead Space 3’s added co-op partner and upgraded arsenal supposedly give players more ways to take down armies of necromorphs than ever before. Even though our very own Mitch insists that the game still has its own share of scary, there are others who disagree.
Naturally, there are pockets of gamers that are extremely upset over this change in mechanics to a game that they love dearly. To some, it’s “selling out.” But Gears of War honcho and former Epic Design Director Cliff Bleszinski has some different ideas about what’s happened to the Dead Space franchise. In a recent Dead Space 3 blog post, Bleszinski calls the game an evolution of the franchise, and uses that term endearingly. And according to him, “You can either fight it or embrace it.” Continue reading Cliff Bleszinski on the Evolution of Franchises
For Did You See This Wednesday, we’re talking about a subject that I know is near and dear to many of your hearts: applying for a job in the gaming industry, as brought to you by Naughty Dog. I resisted the urge to make a doggy style joke in the title, in case any of you are wondering. Puns!
Naughty Dog, creators of games such as Uncharted and the upcoming Last of Us, have released an amazingly helpful guide for game industry hopefuls. Resumes and Portfolios: The Naughty Dog Way breaks down what the developer expects to see from potential employees, including a list of what they like in a portfolio, and the kinds of qualities they’re looking for. In a beloved industry with a notably small pool hiring only the best talent, this kind of guide is more than welcome. Continue reading How to Apply for a Video Game Job, by Naughty Dog
Over the weekend, an argument/discussion broke out on Twitter between Anthony Burch, lead writer for Borderlands 2, and Mike Sacco, a (now former) game designer at Cryptozoic, about Borderlands 2’s Tiny Tina, a character that Sacco felt was “problematic”. Kotaku has the run-down, but, as always, don’t read the comments section unless you feel like bleaching out your brain afterwards. Sacco wasn’t fired for starting the discussion, but when Cryptozoic asked him to disassociate himself from the company online and stop talking about Tiny Tina, he didn’t think the second requirement was appropriate, so he quit.
Sacco’s main concern was that Tiny Tina is white but uses what he considers “urban” slang. When I heard that, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it, especially because Sacco insists that the character is “actively racist” for using slang terms like “crunk” and “badonkadonk” that have been common in pop culture for decades. Now, it’s obviously true that there are slang terms that are off-limits to white people; for example, one of my favorite songs by A Tribe Called Quest has a chorus I can’t sing along with. However, while it’s completely understandable why a loaded slur would be off-limits, it’s think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that goofy slang terms without negative connotations should also be off-limits.
Perhaps Nelson’s most famous essay about game design is known as the Craft of Adventure, in which he meticulously outlines what he titles the Players’ Bill of Rights. These rules are a set of standards that game creators must honor when dealing with players. And oddly enough, it’s still just as meaningful almost 3 decades later. Continue reading A Look at the Players’ Bill of Rights
Achievements have definitely had a huge impact on the way I play games. A few years ago I played Oblivion well past the point of enjoyment because I knew for a fact that if I just played long enough I could get all of the achievements. It’s still the only game I’ve ever managed to 100%, but there have been several other times I’ve come close. Achievement hunting appeals to the obsessive collector in me, and if I don’t burn out on a game, I’m usually more than willing to spend a few hours after the endgame running around trying to do the oftentimes arbitrary tasks required to make them unlock.
That said, it didn’t surprise me to read designer Keith Burgun’s article about how achievements negatively affect gameplay. Burgun argues that “at their best, [achievements] do nothing at all. At their worst, they influence player behavior.” Now, I’m sure we all have stories of achievement hunters ruining multiplayer games. After all, if there’s an achievement for getting X kills with a knife in multiplayer, the end result is that you’re going to have a bunch of dudes running around trying to stab each other whether or not it actually makes tactical sense. It’s easy to see how achievements could negatively influence player behaviors when it comes to playing with a group of people, but what’s the big deal when it comes to playing solo? Continue reading Achievements: Unlocking Negative Gameplay?
As goofy as it sounds, one of my favorite parts about any RPG is watching my damage number creep up as I progress through the game. Whether this number is ratcheting upward through new equipment or because I’ve hit a new level seems to matter little — what matters is that sweet, sweet damage total. I get kind of addicted to it. This is most evident in Borderlands 2 (which we’ll be streaming tonight), a game that bombards you with more numbers than a Mathletics competition, both in and out of combat. Continue reading Crunching the RPG Numbers
First off, I should admit that I missed the boat on the Devil May Cry series when it was first released. I wasn’t much of a gamer during the PS2 era, so I didn’t pick up the original trilogy until I rented the HD compilation a few months ago. I didn’t play them for too long, but my impression was that they hadn’t aged well. The controls were old-fashioned and the dialogue was cringeworthy. Accordingly, I don’t really have any built-in expectations when it comes to DmC, the franchise reboot released last week.
In the anonymous email, our trickster pretends to be a Microsoft employee on the Xbox team, when in reality he doesn’t work for the software giant. The email about the X-Surface contains just enough information about the Xbox 720 to appear legit, and several sites ran with it, including VG247, NowGamer and Venturebeat. While all the sites have updated their original posts acknowledging the hoax, it still points to the “post now fact check never” mentality that some sites have.
I understand that in an industry dominated by pageviews, being first with a hot piece of news, especially about the upcoming consoles, is a priority, but sometimes this can backfire. Gaming websites are so hungry for hits that they’ll gobble up fake news and spit it back out without a second thought. If you’re looking for a response from someone on the inside that isn’t all about shaming journalists, Ben Kuchera over at the Penny-Arcade Report has a thoughtful comment about this whole hubbub.
Welcome to Did You See This Wednesday! As part of the GamerSushi Schedule, it is my duty to bring you cool stuff that you might have missed while you were looking at pictures of Grumpy Cat. And if you have any new ones, send them to me.
Today, we aren’t bringing you an article, we are showcasing an entire website, one that I have spent way too many hours on: Hardcore Gaming 101. HG101, as we like to call it, is a site devoted to educating people about retro games and also maybe getting them interested in something they might not even know about. The site is exhaustively well-researched, with tons of screenshots, artwork and information. I have described it as “The Wikipedia of Retro Games” and I think that is an accurate description. On top of that, it’s pretty hilarious to read as well. Just take a look at this description of why Edward from Final Fantasy IV would never work in a modern FF game: Continue reading The Wikipedia of Retro Games: Hardcore Gaming 101
Polygon is a fairly recent addition to the world of gaming journalism, but they’re already doing an excellent job of posting thoughtful, well-written reporting. Since it’s “Did You See This” Wednesday, I thought I’d point you towards one of Brian Crecente’s recent posts on the subject of video game violence where he argues that video games reflect the violence in society and not the other way around.