Posted by Leigh at 18:18

In an era of gaming where online multiplayer seems to be the focus of the industryís attention it shouldnít be unusual to even see Platinum games, usually creators of single-player action, get in on the multiplayer bandwagon to see what they can come up with. Past projects such as Bayonetta and Vanquish are finely tuned and surgical examples of the genre so can Platinum Games bring that design philosophy from their past games to the unsympathetic waters of online multiplayer with this game, Anarchy Reigns?

While they waters they sail are uncharted to them, as it is one of the few games of its kind, they do so in a ship that is familiar. Anyone who has played MadWorld will be familiar with how the gameís fighting system works, and the fact it shares many characters with that game makes it feel like something of a spiritual sequel. The big difference between Anarchy Reigns and MadWorld is the addition Ė and focus - of multiplayer.

In Anarchy Reigns, youíll find yourself wandering around post-apocalyptic environments which seem like they could be lifted from Borderlands or any number of other games that have a similar setting, and you swing your fists through swarms of enemies that donít put up much of a fight. This isnít like previous games from the studio where each enemy is a satisfying opponent, but instead we have sacks of meat that bust under the force of a quick one-two. Sometimes you come across larger mutants that offer up a challenge but the gameís ďSuper SaiyanĒ style ability where you can become powered up and invincible for a short time make these kind of engagements quite unsatisfying after a while. Once you get into the flow of fighting to survive long enough to fill your metre then unleashing it then you find you donít need to do anything else, and there also isnít much else.

As for the single-paler campaign you work your way through a number of identical fights that are interrupted by out of place cutscenes that tell a story that seems to have been cobbled together as an afterthought. The story mainly follows two characters and you choose which story you will follow at the start of the game: one is about Jack, the star of MadWorld, and the other tale follows Leo, a new character.

Essentially, a story of revenge and redemption in the most basic form, and one that doesnít do anything interesting; not only that the very aesthetic of the game is somewhat lacking. The fact that it stars so many characters from MadWord - a game known for its bold art direction if known for anything at all Ė it just highlights how visually muted Anarchy Reigns is. Seeing characters born from the black and white art design coloured in and placed in a brown world that doesnít add anything to the formula is sad to see. Even Bayonetta who is in the game as a bonus for anyone who purchased the game day one, even looks bland in the company of Anarchy Reignsí characters and environments. The life is sucked out of Bayonetta.

But Anarchy Reigns is primarily a multiplayer game so if Platinum gets this right then much can be forgiven. Unfortunately, that also isnít the case.

The multiplayer is just anarchy, but not in a good way. Up to 16 players can take part but all it consists of is someone sneaking up on two others who are battling out and performing damaging back attacks, and the camera is placed close to your right shoulder so these attacks cannot be seen or realistically avoided; that is all that happens in any given match-up. Itís not too hard to master the simple combat system, but you donít even have to as exploiting the mechanics is how you succeed. Even in one on one match ups fights arenít like a good fighting game where you can use mechanics to be unpredictable and creative, you merely exploit the systems. Learn them, and then exploit them.

Not a great deal of joy comes from these fights which is strange considering the pedigree. Anarchy Reigns is an experiment, and an experiment which doesnít seem to have a great deal of passion behind it. There is a place for a game like this but someone is going to have to really want to make it and not just be an obligation, which what Anarchy Reigns mostly comes across as.
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Posted by Leigh at 10:54
Back at the start of the month at the D.I.C.E Summit, where developers get on stage and talk about some subject or subjects about the games industry, there were two talks that had quite similar themes: one from Quantic Dreamís David Cage and the other from the creator of Deus Ex and Epic Mickey, Warren Spector. The connecting theme in these two talks was that of age. David Cage went on to explain how games as they are now donít appeal to many beyond young children, teenage boys and man-children, which I do agree with. Spectorís talk was more about being an older gamer and how a lot of games donít appeal to him now, which is also something I relate to despite having a little youth left in me. But the problem is in these talks is how condescending they are to games that do offer what these two men are looking for. If you really look you can already find them.

In David cageís talk there was something that struck me as odd. He described games as existing in a ĎWonderlandí that doesnít exist in the real world and the result of that is that many people canít connect with them. Maybe heís right, but I just know thatís itís the abstract and the symbolic that makes games interesting. Yes, broaden games to include less fantastical scenarios out to include more themes but the way he spoke seemed to suggest abandoning older styles. He seems to suggest they have no emotion value, which is bollocks.

One of the games that hit me pretty hard with those emotions he likes was a little Nintendo game called Chibi-Robo. In this game you are a little robot tasked with cleaning up after the family that bought you, and you spend the first half-hour or so doing just that but the longer you play the game the more you get to know the family and start having to deal with their deep-seeded problems. I suppose it has colours and comes across as childish to Cage as he does just write Nintendo games as kids games but there is a Pixar-esque quality to the game; itís about families and the problems they may have: the mother hates her husbands spending habits because he just likes buying things all the time and the daughter has issues because they argue all the time. Itís a very real game even though it looks the way it does.

Chibi-Robo is also a game thatís just fun to play and be in on top of that. Itís a wonderful game that should be played, especially by David Cage as he doesnít seem to understand the potential of games.

I remember back when Cageís Heavy Rain came out I played it off the back of a game that also had very similar themes, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Both games, at their core, are about the loss of a child and parenthood but thanks to more emergent gameplay Shattered Memories is the one that was a more meaningful game. Cage puts a lot of stock in that because games are interactive then player choice is enough to make a game engaging but that just isnít enough on its own. Shattered Memories doesnít even have particular deep mechanics itself but it has some and it does add to the experience. Being chased by demonic manifestations of your emotions puts you in a state of panic while you try to figure out what to do or where to go, exactly like what your mental state would be if you were to lose a child. It provokes an emotion through gameplay mechanics; itís pretty cool, David, you should try it in your games.

Iím not imposing he should design games like that but what I think Cage is doing is just the other side of the coin to dumb action games heís complaining about. Yes, these games say nothing but they have engaging mechanics, but your games while may be more meaningful have no engaging mechanics. A great game, a pioneering game, will have both. If he wants to make games that arenít engaging in an interesting way to appeal to a broader audience, thatís fine, but your games will never be pioneering; they will just be the direct opposite to existing games with equal though directly opposite flaws, though flawed never the less.

But get back here, Warren Spector, Iím not done with you.

A lot of what I said relates to him, too, but Spector did something that bothered me a lot. Now Iím quite a big fan of Suda51ís work so when Spector gestured towards an image of Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw and said ďsome games just shouldnít be madeĒ I was floored. This isnít due to fanboy rage; I genuinely believe Lollipop Chainsaw is exactly the type of game that should be made.

Iíll try and explain why.

Thereís no doubt that exploitational cinema is a big influence on Sudaís work so itís not surprising for his games to be brash and low-brow, but that doesnít mean these games have nothing to say, or have no cultural relevance and shouldnít be made. I think Lollipop Chainsaw is an excellent warped and twisted mirror reflecting game cultureís treatment of women. The game is sexist, but only because it is what the game is about. The zombies in the game literally treat Juliet as meat. You also have comments that the zombies make when you kill them; some shout things like ďmarry meĒ as you saw them in half which makes me think the zombies are these guys that get very emotionally invested over very superficial things, like when a bloke gets obsessed with a pop star or something. Like all great zombie films the zombies represent something and Lollipop Chainsaw is exactly that. Does Spector think Dawn of the Dead shouldnít exist, too?

And also on top of that you have civilians that you can save and theyíll say stuff like ďIíve never been saved by anyone with such nice titsĒ which just makes me feel bad, and what it must be like when youíre an attractive woman whoís just done something cool and thatís the kind of response you get. Thatís hammered home even more when you look at the promotional stuff Jessica Nigri did on the game and all some guy can say is ďwhen is she gonna do porn?Ē (yes, I saw a comment asking that) it all comes together as a great piece of social commentary and provokes an interesting discussion. No-one has had an interesting discussion inspired by Epic Mickey; accept for maybe Ďwhat was he thinking?í

How dare he say that game shouldnít be made. And this isnít me being over-analytical and finding stuff that isnít there. Lollipop Chainsaw is actually full of stuff about gender politics and itís a very interesting game when looked at from a certain angle, like all great exploitational films. I mean itís not quite Videodrome, Lollipop Chainsaw has problems, I can think of a list as long as my arm but itís on that track. Does Spector think Videodrome shouldnít exist?

I donít disagree with everything either of these men said but there was a lack of respect of is being accomplished already, and I think they are both to eager to throw the baby out along with the bathwater. These men arenít pioneers anymore. Let the young people in.
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Posted by Leigh at 18:53
Iíve tried to write about Lone Survivor a number of times now and each time I tried to explain why I would nominate it as the best game of 2012 I would just come up with a bunch of paragraphs containing trivial observations of the gameís structure, mechanics, graphics and whatever arbitrary thingamabobs make up a great game worthy of a GotY. But then I had a problem. Iíd look at this collection of things I wrote and Iíd say ďwho the fuck cares?Ē I donít care; itís not why I like this game so much: the things, the components and the thingamabobs. There are other games out there released in 2012 which have much better thingamabobs so why am I talking about music, graphics and story? And if that stuff is unimportant then what do I say about Lone Survivor?

I have got to say something. I often get frustrated with people when the subject of the conversation moves to Ďthings we likeí and someone says they love the TV show 24, then you ask them why they like it and they just shrug and say ďI just do.Ē I donít know why I get frustrated. I guess everyone else has more important things to think about and itís only weirdos like me who have to try and process everything and understand the affect itís having.

So that means I have to approach what I think about Lone Survivor with total honesty. Thatís not to say I havenít been honest before but when I think of what I have written about games in the past itís done so with an almost objective honesty; opinion comes into it, obviously, but most game writing is done so in a relatively academic style that is also dressed as light entertainment. I just canít get my point across using that style of writing in regards to Lone Survivor. I sometimes see these incredibly personal blogs around the internet that tell stories about how games have aided them through bad times, such as helping an individual through grief since theyíd lost a loved one or just generally helped them through something shitty. You can stop wincing because Iím not going to go into anything like that with this collection of wordsÖ I have far too much shame and self-loathing to be so open, but what Iím getting at is if I played Lone Survivor two years, or even a year before I did, it may not be getting the most honourable of accolades. Itís getting this accolade because I played it when my life was in a certain state, which of course made it more affecting to me than the sum of its parts.

Maybe it is because of Lone Survivorís vagueness, itís non-commitment to explaining all the horror going on, the fact that there are so many bits that make it all open to interpretation that made it appealing to me and my over-thinking brain that just doesnít shut up at times. There is a lot to dive into and seeing what I could interoperate as my life twisted beyond recognition into a pixel horror game, then reflected back at me was sad, scary and at times, a little uplifting. It left and impression on me, thatís for sure. And thatís why it wins.

Thatís all I really have to say about Lone Survivor. Just self indulgence. The game itself is a decently put together adventure game. Combat is clunky but not so much you get frustrated and taken out of the experience and the sound and music is incredibly atmospheric. If youíre always two bottles of wine away from weeping in the dark in front of a flickering TV then give it a try yourself. Play it. Thatís entertainment, right?
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Posted by Leigh at 12:41
2012 was another great year for downloadable games. With every year they seem to become more and more relevant with even The Walking Dead beating off retail games in the larger outlets.

Anyway, these are my top runners-up.

First up: Journey. This is a game that doesnít have much traditional gameplay and is usually backed up by people telling you Ďitís an experience'. While I mock the Tumblr-esque use of the word Ďexperienceí I do struggle to think of a better shorthand. Itís not about beating a trial but just interacting with this wonderfully designed world. While sliding down a beautiful sandy slope and trying to weave in and out of the arcs while Austin Wintoryís fantastic soundtrack plays and expertly weaved into the pace of the game, I had to admit I was having a good time with the need of complex mechanics.

What Journey does as well as that is in its cooperative play which sets it apart. Journey takes to people and scraps all the usual information that most other games use. There are no ĎPSN IDsí, no links to their to profile to see who they are and what trophies they have. There is no voice chat so you canít be distracted by someone asking if youíve seen Gangnam style yet or anything.

What Journey does with co-op is limit it, and does so in a way that funnels the experience youíre having into something that honours the tone of the game.

Another mention goes out to Fez. After all the positive and negative exposure the creator of Fez got around the gameís release thanks to a pretty good documentary about its development and also Phil Fish, Fezís creator, going all idiotic during a panel and saying all the modern Japanese games suck, which of course resulted angry people making lists of good, modern Japanese games in the comments section. They always do that, despite the fact that no argument has ever been won with a list.

But putting the controversy aside I think Fez should be remembered for what it does. On its surface itís one of those indie platformers that get made a lot, now. Itís full of gorgeous pixel art and has a fantastic and lazy chip-tune inspired soundtrack by a young guy in thick-rimmed glasses.

What makes Fez truly special is in the unlocking of its puzzles outside of the game mechanics. Finding code and writing it down and hopefully making sense of it later. Fez is a game you really take with you into the real world, and it encourages you to experience that game like you would back before the internet where itís truly mysterious and youíre really discovering, like in the original Legend of Zelda and Metroid games.

Another game I want to mention, and one I reviewed here, is Hotline Miami. I first became aware of this game when some of the cool gamers on Twitter were talking about it and since Iím a sheep I stuck it on my Steam pre-order list.

Since I didnít really look into it much the game was always going to surprise me, but thankfully it was a nice surprise. Graphically, Iím not sure if I like it, still; and the gameplay is something I could have either loved or hated, but everything came together nicely. Itís just constant and brutal and kinetic and sleazy and exploitational and visceral and whatever buzzword you want. Itís all the buzzwords, as well as being one of the best action shooters Iíve played since Halo or Goldeneye multiplayer for the first time or something. Hotline Miami is a blood splattered face with a psychotic smile.

Now this next game is something I wasnít going to mention originally but when Ben went ahead and gave it a ten out of ten I thought Iíll have to turn this list of four into five. To the Moon is certainly worthy of a mention, but it has a few too many issues to me.

Since itís a kind of adventure game then at its worst you find yourself clicking on anything that may be interactive to progress with no clear goal of what you are meant to do and the puzzles that make up most of the gameplay are asinine as hell, but Iím not here to undermine Ben, but it does do a few things that are worryingly rare in video games and playing To the Moon is a sobering realisation.

To the Moon has what I can only describe as an actual story which follows actual characters. It has people who have layers of depth that peels slowly throughout the course of the game and is always intriguing. It also has a sentimentality to it which can be annoying in other media but in games itís a breath of fresh air. To the Moon is a wonderful story tied up with needless and boring game conventions, but it really is something to be witnessed. Itís worth it.

For my final shout Iím going to leave the indie scene (though this is just as indie as Journey in the literal sense) and put in an darn video game. My final pick is Double Dragon Neon.

This game was free for a month and I tried it because, Hell, I like a number of Wayforwardís games a lot, so despite me not really liking the look of it, thinking it looked a bit Ďquick knock-off-yí, like a market stall Tamagotchi, I thought the price was right so gave it some time.

Iím so happy I did! Double Dragon Neon is the best example of a beat 'em up since the 16bit era. Sure, Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World are both pretty good takes on the genre but DDN nails it. The feel of the punches to the awful but wonderfully fitting musicÖ actually, the music is pretty good in parts. Fighting in a grimy but still colourful backstreet to a song that sounds like a rearrangement of Michael Jacksonís Bad is pretty cool, especially when the street punks start cart-wheeling.

It also takes more modern gaming conventions and subtly uses them; like you have a duck button and when you time it correctly you can dodge an attack and then your attack power doubles and it brings thoughts of Gears of Warís reload system and how satisfying it can be coming back from safety but even tougher.

But not only that I firmly believe that Double Dragon Neon is a game where those that made it really had fun with it, and that fun just pours through the screen. Itís just a very good example of one of those darn video games.

None of these take the crown of the best game available through a pipe in the ground but that will be revealed soon enough.
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Posted by Leigh at 08:52
A trailer for Square Enix's next game in the Final Fantasy XIII series has found its way on the internet after being leaked then quickly pulled by GameTrailers, but they were not fast enough and now it's easy to find.

They concentrate on a single town in the trailer, showing off some Assassin's Creed-style platforming and jumping places where you shouldn't be as well as brief showings of some combat which points to the game being more of an action RPG than previous entries in the series.

As for a personal appraisal I think it looks strangely bare and low budget for a Final Fantasy game, plus I only played five hours or so of the original so I don't have any personal investment. But, for some reason, I'm intrigued by it, Square Enix. Consider me intrigued.

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Posted by Leigh at 10:57

Apples and oranges; thatís a term I know I hear a lot when comparing and discussing games and itís frustrating to have a valid comparison written off with such a phrase. Just because the two things in question are fundamentally different it doesnít mean comparisons canít be drawn, and a base level of enjoyment can be judged against each other. For example, If I think a right-out-of-the-oven Greggs Stake Bake is more enjoyable than a weekend in Lanzarote then I should be able to say, as long as I have the context to back it up, and thatís what Iíll be doing with Motorstorm Apocalypse.

Itís hard not to have to draw comparisons to games that may not be like each other these days as so many games cross the traditional boundaries and melt into one another; just look at all the Action RPGs we have that take mechanics from Brawlers and FPSs. Also what we have today is a game that is one of the biggest franchises in entertainment that casts its influence across the entire games industry, and even in genres it has no direct competition with in a hope to capture just some of a popular gameís audience. What Iím saying is that itís fair to say that an echo of Call of Duty rings in more then a few places within Motorstorm Apocalypse, for better and worse.

Apocalypse is the fourth game in the Motorstorm series and its gimmick that separates it slightly from other racing games is its wide open tracks with multiple routes and its decision to let you drive or ride a number of different vehicles, such as motorbikes, buggies, rally cars, racing trucks and monster trucks, as well as others. What makes the Motorstorm that little bit more compelling is that the tracks are formed in such a way where certain vehicles have more advantage than others over certain terrain; a monster tuck can plough through deeper bodies of water than a buggy, and a motorbike can access tighter areas than a pickup. Utilising your vehicles advantages and knowing its disadvantages is a key part of the game.

Also returning is the seriesí boost mechanic. Holding down the X button will increase your speed until your engine overheats, and if you continue to boost beyond the warning your vehicle will explode. The key to maintaining a high speed is to either drive through water to cool the engine, release the accelerator during the time youíre airborne or just letting it eventually cool down on its own. Managing speed, obviously as itís a racing game, is important to the best performance and being mindful of these mechanics as well as the rather heavy handling model; you really feel like youíre wresting these lumps of rubber and steel around unpredictable scenery and it certainly feels satisfyingly exhausting to complete a race.

Now playing Apocalypse, which adds taking place during a variety of natural disasters and man-made catastrophes to the usual mix, is full of the kind of set-pieces that have become a staple edition in the shootymaybearmytypethinggame genre that is hugely popular now. I imagine we all know the bit, the bit when your man falls on his bum and you hear his ears ringing and itís a bit blurry and he puts his nicely rendered gloved hand up, blocking something out and a big thing in the background blows up then falls down. You know the bit thatís in pretty much every shootymaybearmytypethinggame since 2008.

But I digress. The reason I bring this up is because in Apocalypse itís one of those rare moments it makes sense in terms of aiding the moment to moment gameplay. What it does in the context of a racing game, or at least this racing game, is change the geometry of the tracks. It usually happens at random intervals, too, so when one of these set-pieces happens itís more of a surprise and also has consequences to the game. Ití not a marine falling on his bottom and watching something happen that has no gameplay relevance to you as you probably will have nothing to do with it much directly, but an impressive spectacle that has to be dealt with by finding a line through the falling buildings to stop you from being crushed like a Coke can, and also make you re-evaluate your route on the next lap. This unpredictability and having to deal with the results of these set-pieces makes Motorstorm Apocalypse as good as an action game as it is a racer.

What this means, as a whole, is Motorstorm Apocalypse is a constant fight. As well as the morphing tracks the opposition is also something that constantly pushes you forward as the heavy Ďrubber bandingí keeps opponents close despite how well you are doing. Theyíre very hard to lose, and a crash towards the end after a race where you have efficiently and swiftly navigated the course still has a good chance of costing you the race, which is frustrating. There is fun to be had in this scrappy style of racing but it does lack the purity of other arcade racing games like the Burnout games or Outrun 2 which are clear and are really satisfying to perfect your run. Apocalypse has an unpredictability to it in the physics which also works against it. You can be speeding along and hit one of the many pieces of debris in a specific way and it can send you into a spin or tumble even when youíve done the exact same line a number of times previously with no problem. Restarts after a crash are quick, and you donít lose that much time, but it still can be a frustrating problem on Time Trial type challenges.

As well as the single-player mode where you just go through a series of different types of races there is also an online multiplayer mode which is more interesting in some ways than the single-player mode. In that, you are assigned a car for that race but itís in multiplayer where you can choose from either a selection of vehicles or even the entire roster. Itís here where you can find a play style that suits you, whether you prefer lighter vehicles such as bikes and buggies or prefer ploughing through with trucks. Itís a shame you canít do that in single-player in Apocalypse as previous games in the series did allow you to do that and Iím unsure of the reasoning in limiting choice like that.

Itís in multiplayer that the influence of Call of Duty rears its head once again. The progressive unlock system popularised by CoD is also here in Motorstorm Apocalypse and locks customisable accessories behind challenges you accomplish persistently through a race, such as gaining a certain amount of air time during a race. Itís a nice addition but not one that alters the experience of the game too much. Another similarity to CoD is there are loadouts. Though here, they obviously arenít guns and tools but abilities that do nothing but make the game slightly easier. One reduces the amount of time it takes to respawn after a crash and another makes it so you donít have to lift off the accelerator to cool your engine down during air time.

I think this only creates a lazy play style and there arenít any that alter the game in any interesting way Itís like this addition was nothing but to tick off a checklist to fit the current online multiplayer uniform.

But at its core Motorstorm Apocalypse is a fun racing action game that isnít for the one who likes to shave seconds off their time but provides action game type thrills using the racing template. Oh, and it looks great, too.
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Posted by Leigh at 16:54
I always get anxious at times like this. It is times like this I have to get ready for a fight because games culture is still consumed by sexism and of course it needs to be fought. As a man, Iím pretty contempt with games and everything surrounding them. Gaming is comfortable. Gaming is catering to your male fancies. Gaming is boring. Itís a cock-fest.

This time the hash-tagged phrase #1reasonwhy is circulating around Twitter coupled with irate comments displaying frustration at the male dominated games industry and explaining why there are so few women working within it. Going through the tweets is a disappointing read, it paints a picture of women who give a large portion of their time and effort in making or writing about games; people who really care about gaming, and they are treated like they donít belong or are something to be sceptical of. Men say they obviously donít know as much as men, they aren't as capable. They probably aren't into games at all and they just want attention.

Of course, that is all idiotic crap as having a penis doesn't make you know more about how make or write about games. A penis isn't a magnificent storage device where key information is kept like where all the Warp Whistles are in Super Mario Bros. 3 or neither is it some useful appendage that you whip out to leech onto an analogue stick on your controller to give you a free thumb for something else, increasing your gaming dexterity. Physically it's not a thing that matters at all. We all have thumbs and brains that can do amazing things.

Though, in reality, that isn't the problem. The problem is a social and cultural one to do with a womanís role in society that has a long, long history and I donít have the intelligence, insight and knowledge to really get to the bottom of it and offer a solution. Iíll leave that to the people much smarter than me. But what I do want to point out is just how worse off gaming is because of how much it alienates many people, not just women.

The fact is games now are made by people who played games five, ten, fifteen even twenty years ago. They are made by nerdy men for nerdy men and that still continues to this day. The inspirations nerdy men have are poured into games from reading power fantasy comics to leering over Princess Leia in her slave outfit. Because of the type of people making games are regurgitating the stuff they're into constantly, for over twenty years now, weíre getting tired games.

This is why games need women to come into games and show us something we've not seen before. Let women come into the industry and show us how living a different kind of life to a nerdy guy affects the type of game they would make: how would they use their inspirations, would it change the tone of the games, how would the mechanics change to compliment the tone, what kind of story will that game tell? I imagine it would be a game that will be pretty unique stacked up against what we already have.

I know it sounds like Iím generalising as there are women out there that like games as they are and are into the types of work that games are often inspired by, but weíre doing gaming a disservice by adopting this like it or lump it mentality. Games NEED to broaden or they will mostly be the same stagnating games for years to come. Iím currently playing Darksiders 2 and while itís technically not a bad game at all itís tired and predictable. Itís a game that draws influence from so many places such as The Legend of Zelda, God of War, World of Warcraft and many others, so every experience that should be new is a facsimile of something else. Darksiders 2 is a result of nerdy men making games for nerdy men, and it isn't by any means the only offender. Gaming is littered with it, and more women would make games a lot less familiar than they are, now.

So I suppose Iím not really talking about women, but about people who donít come from the type of background 95% of developers comes from. Essentially, Iím talking about anyone who isnít a white, middle class male who still sheds a secret tear about Firefly being cancelled. We need much more people making games who arenít like that. There is nothing wrong with being that, but we canít let it solely govern where games come from.

There are very few schools of thought in games culture, generally. What games are good and what games are bad is decided by a collection of gamers (read: white, nerdy men) who mostly think the same and anyone who disagrees with that is shot down. You just need to look at some reviews of games or opinion pieces that donít quite fit in this template and gamers will accuse you of trolling, taking a bribe or whatever ridiculous conspiracy they can come up with if your school of thought doesn't align with the gaming consensus. Gaming needs women and men with different values and tastes breaking guard and opening some minds with a different perspective. Games culture wonít be ready for it but itís long overdue.

Thatís why women find so much hostility in games culture. Gamers donít want their little fort torn down but it desperately needs to be torn down; they are holding games hostage and not letting them reach their full potential. None of us should be letting these people win who try to alienate anyone from gaming; theyíre pathetic and holding gaming back.

So I hope these women aren't put off by these pathetic men as they are too important to gamingís growth right now and I really hope they know it. It has been kind of fun, guys, but we need to change the record now.
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Posted by Leigh at 07:57
Casey Hudson, executive producer of the Mass Effect series has put a call out to Mass Effect fans via Twitter, asking if they want the next game in the series to be a sequel or a prequel to their last game, Mass Effect 3.

Mass Effect 3 came under a lot of scrutiny in regards to the game's ending earlier in the year and was changed after a huge, negative backlash, so it's unsurprising and slightly disappointing that they are bowing down to fans so early in the development process.

I know it can be exciting to get your ideas into a game but when a game goes through this kind of process it becomes harder to surprise the audience when you have tailored something to suite them.

The next game in the Mass Effect series has had its development moved to BioWare Montreal where they will be building the game using DICE's Frostbite 2.0 engine.
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Posted by Leigh at 10:39
Jasper Byrne, creator of PC only indie survival horror game Lone Survivor that has confirmed on his Blog that Lone Survivor is coming to the PS3 and Vita.

Byrne isn't making the port himself as it has to be built from the ground up for consoles and that responsibility has been handed to Curve Studios who have experience in PS3 development since they have previously made the PSN game Explodemon.

he himself is happy about the news as he says:

"Anyone who follows my twitter will know that I donít tend to play games on PC, I really am a couch gamer, most happy on my PS3! Lone Survivor was designed as a console game (in my head, anyway.) In fact, all the games I work on I really imagine being on console, or fantasise about, anyway!"

This is great news as it's a type of slow paced horror game many long for since the genre has become more action orientated and hopefully being on PSN will give it even more exposure.
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Posted by Leigh at 08:17
Jeremiah Slaczka from 5th Cell, developers of the up and coming Wii U game Scribblenauts Unlimited announced on NeoGAF that the Wii U won't support an achievement system like those found on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

This isn't surprising news, as Nintendo have never said they would support this model, but I do believe Nintendo will alienate 3rd party developers, again.

Love Achievements and Trophies or hate them they have become and important addition to many people's gaming experience and not supporting an equivalent will have consequences. I'm mostly indifferent to them, myself, but Nintendo systems tend to be owned along with either a Playstation or Xbox and it's safe to say multi-format games aren't going to chosen for the Wii U, unless it does something really impressive with the Wii U GamePad. It's not an unfair to assume the Wii U will be third place when it comes to multi-format games.

Developers do have the option to incorporate their own achievements such as 5th Cell are doing with Scribblenauts Unlimited with its "Global Starite Shards" which works like a giant checklist.

This kind of game specific system has also been used on Nintendo Wii games such as Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Wario Land: The Shake Dimension so Nintendo aren't totally adverse to it themselves and may still appear later down the Wii U's life-cycle. It's still all speculation at the moment
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