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Month: June 2013

Vlambeer May Like Competing With Clones After All

Ridiculous Fishing

It was only a couple of months ago that I wrote about a Twitter exchange I had with Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail over its gripes about game cloning. The story at that time was that Vlambeer’s latest game Luftrausers was being cloned by some other developer. This event followed a previous one in which its game Radical Fishing was cloned and released to the iPhone App store. In that exchange, Rami came across as preferring to somehow block clones from the market rather than compete with them. That opinion may have changed though.

A Digital Spy report shows that despite the inability to be first to market with Ridiculous Fishing on the iOS, that game went on to be a phenomenal success despite the clone, Ninja Fishing, having had a months long head start. What was it that allowed this late comer to the iOS market to beat out the competition? Exactly what I said was the key. Making a better game.

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Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix Highlights The Challenges Of Game Preservation

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts is a great game series, one that I have enjoyed from the beginning. While I have not been able to play every game in the series, it still remains one of my favorites overall. I feel that it is a series that exemplifies the games industry at its best. It has a compelling story, accessible game mechanics, beautiful art direction, and the game is a whole lot of fun to play. This is definitely the type of game that should be preserved for future generations. However, its preservation is not so easy.

IGN reports that in making the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, SquareEnix had to recreate all the assets from scratch. Why? Because they lost all the master files for the original game. Title Director Tetsuya Nomura stated in a recent video:

Kingdom Hearts 1 was created a long, long time ago, so actually the original data was missing already. It was lost, so we had to research, and we had to dig out from the actual game what was available and recreate everything for HD. We had to recreate all the graphics and it was actually not that easy.

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Two Years After Brown vs EMA; Where Are We Now?

Seal of The Supreme Court of The United States of AmericaTwo years ago, the Supreme Court ruled on Brown vs EMA. This case sprung from California’s attempt to treat violent video games in a similar fashion to alcohol, tobacco and pornography. That law was passed in 2005 and went from court to court till the Supreme Court took it up in 2010. California wasn’t alone either, over 10 other states had attempted similar legislation all with the same result, being struck down as unconstitutional when challenged by the games industry.

The California case was different than the rest, as California was willing to go beyond Federal District Court all the way to the Supreme Court. Something no other state was willing to do. But its bluff was not sufficient. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the games industry’s free speech rights(PDF) and said California’s attempt was unconstitutional.

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Ouya Controller Review: Very Nice Controller And Greatly Improved For Retail

Ouya Controller

I would like to introduce you to the Ouya’s controller. When you get an Ouya, this is what you will spend much of your time holding in your hands as you play the increasing variety of great games available on the console. While I find this controller to be rather nice, it has some interesting characteristics that some might not be familiar with.

Ouya TouchpadWhile the layout of the buttons, directional pad and analog sticks is familiar to users of the XBox 360 and the Wii U’s Classic Controller, the introduction of the touch pad in the center is not something seen prior to its announcement. This feature is something that was touted by the Ouya team as another input game developers can take advantage of to bring better and more unique experiences to the gamer. Based on my experience, it seems to be rather responsive and not too sensitive. It works as it should. Unfortunately, not a lot of developers have taken advantage of its presence. Only one game I have played, Saturday Morning RPG, has tried to use it as part of the gameplay experience. I would certainly like to see more use of this in the future.

The next feature is one that has become quite common in the last generation of consoles, the home button. Located below the touch pad and between the directional pad and right analog stick, this button doubles as a game input and your direct path back to the Ouya menu. While Ouya does allow developers to use this button as an in-game input, it still functions as the path back to the home menu. Tapping it twice in quick succession is how you get back home. This button is also how you will sync and turn on your controllers. Holding it down on an unsynced controller will light up the four LED lights near the top of the touch pad. When the two center lights are the only ones left flashing, the sync process has begun. Once synced, the LEDs will light up to indicate which player controller you have.

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Ouya Review: Deep Dungeons of Doom

Deep Dungeons of Doom

Crazy brutal. That is what I have to say about Deep Dungeons of Doom by Bossa Studios. DDD is unlike any RPG I have played before. In a good way. It has a real simple concept of play that is easy to jump into and brutal to master. That is something that is often the goal of game designers and Bossa does pretty well at it.

DDD puts you in the armored shoes of a Crusader as he frees dungeons across the kingdom from evil monsters. The game opens up with you crawling through a castle sewer to rid it of a monster that has eaten too many of the king’s people. The game then plays in a variety of other locales such as an abbey.

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Ouya Review: BombSquad

Bombsquad

BombSquad by Eric Froemling is one of those games that is touted by Ouya as one of its best apps. In some ways it is, but in many ways I have to disagree. But let’s tell it like it is. BombSquad is a pure multiplayer game. That may not be accurate but is the only way I was able to enjoy it.

Let me explain. When I first downloaded it, I was looking for a few multiplayer games to try out. However, I was not going to just hand a controller off to one of my kids before trying it out. When I downloaded the game, I was under the impression that there was going to be an AI component that would allow me to play by myself. I could not find anything of the sort. The game just dumps your single character into the arena by yourself. No enemies just you and some bombs. Not really fun. Additionally, if you as the only player in the match decide to drop out, the game just sits there in the arena until someone new pops in.

It wasn’t until I actually handed a controller off to someone else that I really found out what made the game fun. The game is a simple concept. You have 5 minutes to blow up your opponents with a variety of bombs. There are land mines, taser bombs and even sticky bombs. But that is not the only way to kill. You can also beat your opponent with your fists or knock them off the cliff. There are also several game play modes, death match, ¬†capture the flag, king of the hill and even racing. However, none of these modes are really explained all that well and it is up to the players to figure it out.

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Today Is The Official Release Of The Ouya

Ouya at Retail

All those Ouyas that people have been playing and reviewing lately have been the Kickstarter Backer consoles. Everyone else will now be able to buy an Ouya at participating retailers starting today. The Ouya has had a rough time as of late, but they finally made it. They are bringing their dream to the masses.

But like I said, it hasn’t been easy. The backers have been having a number of issues as the Ouya has gone through its growing pains. Complaints of bad controller lag and buttons sticking have been rampant. While that seems to be a bigger issue with earlier shipments than later ones, it was ¬†and still is a big issue. Fortunately, the Ouya team have been able to address those concerns and have fixed the design flaws for the retail model.

Another issue is one that Ouya has acknowledged just yesterday as well. Some backers have yet to get their console. In a backer only update on the Kickstarter page, Julie Urhman expresses her frustration that it is taking so long to get into the hands of backers.

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