Articles tagged with: braid

Superhot Mixes Bullets and Time

18 Sep 2013 | Posted by | Comments Off

Even though I’m usually the last person to get excited about another shooter, Superhot looks like an awesome Steam Greenlight project that I could get behind. Not content to follow the Call of Duty formula, Superhot adds an element of time manipulation to all the shooty bits.

Much like some of the mechanics in games like Braid, the action in Superhot only moves forward when you move. Stopping freezes time instantly and allows you to plan your next action, like weaving in and out of frozen bullets.

While the game is clearly incomplete, it’s definitely got a cool look to it. Thoughts? Any other Steam Greenlight projects we should keep an eye out for?

Source – Superhot

Giving Slack to Indie Games

30 Apr 2012 | Posted by | 4 Comments

Botanicula

Over the last couple of years, the indie games scene has been given the spotlight in a major way. With shockingly good titles dropping on Steam, PSN and XBLA, more people have access to these off-the-beaten-path games than ever before. And with the recent influx of games like Journey, Fez, Trials Evolution, Super Meatboy and Botanicula, plus a slew of cheap downloadable mobile titles, it looks like this won’t be slowing down any time soon.

But are people giving these smaller titles too much slack, just because they’re indie? That’s the question that Game Front’s Jim Sterling poses in his new article, Are We too Generous to Indie Games. In it, he wonders if people give passes to indie games simply because they’re not made by Activision or EA — and as such, let indie games get away with a lot more grievances than most games.

This is definitely an interesting question, and one we sort of touched on in the as of yet unreleased podcast. There’s this idea going around that just because something is small and charming, it’s better — and if you don’t like an indie title, it’s because you love Call of Duty or Halo too much to appreciate a title like Fez’s nuances.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this viewpoint. While I recognize that some of the gaming community is indeed soaking up everything indie, I also think that some of these titles are totally worthy of the praise that they’re getting. I also think that yes, it is fair to cut some slack to a game that you paid only a few dollars for as opposed to one that requires a $60 entry fee. I absolutely don’t expect as much out of something that didn’t take much of an investment as I do out of something I have to spend an ample amount of money to play.

So what do you guys think? Are people too forgiving of the flaws in indie titles? Are they given too much slack? Sound off!

Source – Game Front

Why Do Video Games Suck at Stories?

11 May 2011 | Posted by | One Comment

game stories ocarina of time

The Achilles’s Heel of gaming, at least from the perspective of a serious contender as an artistic medium, has always been the lack of decent storytelling. While there are a few great examples here and there that highlight exactly what video games can accomplish if they have ample development time and a strong writer in the design team, gaming has sort of let this facet slip away.

In a recent article on The Escapist, Jonathan Davis digs a little deeper into this issue and points out a few games that have successful narrative structures, mostly through their adherence to Joseph Campbell’s concept of the “monomyth”, or Christopher Vogler’s famous “The Hero’s Journey”. Mr. Davis makes a strong argument that the reason games lack narrative punch is because most gaming protagonists don’t have an internal conflict that needs to be resolved, cutting out the all important step of “Resurrection” where the hero overcomes their personal demons and solves the external conflict.

Since most of the characters we control only confront external obstacles, there’s very little room for development, leaving even the coolest action scenes feeling hollow and uninvolved. Games like Ocarina of Time, BioShock and Braid are all singled out for having stories that actually matter to the player, mostly because they have a satisfying resolution to the hero’s issues.

The whole article is really well thought out and examines video games through the lens of a very tried and true structure that most developers ignore. While we’ve taken a look at the issues games face from a similar standpoint, this gives us a new way of thinking about things. If only game designers would consider this in the future, then we might get some titles with a better focus on what matters story wise. What do you guys think about this? What games do you enjoy that follow “The Hero’s Journey” and are stronger because of it? Go!

Source – The Escapist, Link picture by Justin Cherry

GamerSushi Asks: Photorealistic Graphics?

3 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 6 Comments

LimboOver the weekend, I’ve been dabbling a bit in a couple of newly release titles. One is, obviously, StarCraft 2, but the other is Limbo, newly up for purchase as part of X-Box LIVE’s Summer of Arcade. I didn’t really follow the story of Limbo that closely, but I knew it was a side-scrolling platformer with a unique look. I tried the demo and immediately bought the full game, mostly because of how much the art style appeal to me. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Limbo, check out the trailer. Among other cliched terms, I’d call it hauntingly beautiful and very atmospheric. In addition to looking as gorgeous as a game that dark can it also features some slick puzzles and grotesque punishments for failure (seriously, you get messed up).

The game’s visual presentation got me thinking, though. The farther into the future we get with game consoles, the closer to life everyone seems to want their graphics. While some big-budget titles stretch the limit of what is acceptable by our real-life standards (Gears of War’s improbably bulky protagonists come to mind), video games are getting closer and closer to emulating what we perceive through our own two eyes. Games like Limbo, Braid and many similar titles show us that we don’t have to constrain everything to an Earth-bound package. Perhaps one of the barriers to the “games as art” argument is that this visual medium doesn’t add anything that movies have already done in this respect. That’s probably why Braid got tossed around a lot when this issue got brought up the first time; it looks like a painting come to life, much like Limbo. So I ask you guys this: do you want more games to stretch the graphical barrier and start using different ways to interpret what we see? Or do you think that sort of experimentation is confined to downloadable titles? Fire away!

Are Video Games Really Art?

2 Dec 2009 | Posted by | 12 Comments

braid01Are video games art? This is a question that sends some people into a tizzy, as gamers plot revenge against Roger Ebert for answering in the negative. I personally have always been of the opinion that games are art. They have writing, music and visuals, therefore, since all of those elements by themselves are art, when they are combined, that must be art, too. But lately I have been wavering in my conviction.

The problem I have is that art should mean something. It should express an idea or explore something about the world or our humanity. And some games do this, such as Braid or Bioshock. But for every one of those, you get 50 of Left 4 Dead or Borderlands, great games, but not really stretching the limits of the medium’s potential. These games do away with story in order to focus on gameplay, which can be an art itself. Not every game has to move the medium forward, but the gems are few and far between. Where is the video game equivalent of Casablanca or The Godfather? We have one of the most amazing media platforms in history and we waste it on zombies and ninjas?

The medium most copied by games is film. It seems ever since the dawn of games that there has been a concerted effort to make games more cinematic. This is not the ideal direction for games to take. Games are unique in that it is an interactive experience and even communal at times. Why should games try to be something it is not? A movie tells a story. You sit back and watch it unfold, passive in your viewing, knowing that nothing you do will change the events on the screen.

Games are radically different. A game still tells a story, but you are an active participant. You are still being driven along a pre-set path, though some have more freedom than others, but you decide if the plot moves forward. In some games, there are choices that take the story along a different path, although this aspect of games is still in it’s relative infancy and much more can be done with it. But games are not movies and I really believe that developers should stop trying to force a square peg in a round hold. Games have the luxury of defining themselves and what kind of methods they can use to being a story to gamers. Even games like Uncharted 2, while amazing, are trying to be like movies. There is a freedom in games that is being squandered and it would not be beneficial to the industry if games became stagnant so earlier in it’s still young life.

The main issue that I have been dwelling on is that most art starts with an emotion or an idea that the artist, writer, singer or director wants to express. Maybe someone had their heart broken and they write a book about a similar person that allows the writer to have a cathartic experience. A director reads the screenplay and is moved by it and makes a film out of it, adding their personal touch to the tale, but still maintaining the original vision. The same thing happens with music. Someone is compelled write a song from an experience they had. This is not to say that all movies and music originate from this point. Indeed, many movies and songs are written simply to make money, but the best movies and songs come from something personal.

With video games, this is not so. I have no figures, but I would estimate that 90% of all games originate from a business plan. Very few games start off with someone trying to capture an emotion or some essence of humanity. It seems that many games start off with an idea for a gameplay mechanic and then a story is woven around that concept. Now, this is not always the case, but I don’t see people writing original game scripts and shopping them around, hoping that some studio will take a chance and make a game based on it. Games are largely a team effort and so are movies, but the key difference seems to be that the original impetus for a movie usually comes from one person, or perhaps a small group of people writing together. Games seem to be formed in meetings and committees. This does not make them lesser stories or ideas, but it does seem to focus on the business side of things and not the artistic side. This seems just be the nature of the beast.

But it is this aspect of games that is making me doubt whether all games are art. I guess what I can say for sure is that some games art art, but all games have art inherent in them: the music, the design, the writing (Except for Resident Evil games) and everything that goes into making a game all come from people who are artists in their own way. But what a game means, what it is about, are the factors that determine if a game is art. It’s a difficult object to judge, but I don’t need all games to be Picassos. But it would be nice to see a drive to move video games forward. Games like Bioshock have shown that this can be done without sacrificing success. I only hope it happens before video games hit the wall that comic books did.

What do you guys think? Are all games art? Only some? None? Am I dwelling too much on the origins of a game’s idea or am I on the right track?

Castle Crashers and Braid Bring Joy

6 Sep 2008 | Posted by | 5 Comments

So this weekend my goal was to get through a couple of new XBLA games, Castle Crashers and Braid. I’ve been hearing a lot of great stuff about both of these games, and I wanted to check them out, with hopes of reviewing them sometime in the next week or so.

As of right now, I’m completely thrilled with and loving both of these titles. It’s funny, because they’re the exact opposite of one another in terms of their playing styles. Braid is a puzzle game and Castle Crashers is an old school arcade beat-em-up a la The Simpsons or Streets of Rage.

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