The “indiepocalypse” is this looming threat over the welfare of indie developers and the viability of indie games in the marketplace. Under its imposing shadow, indie developers are facing a repeat of the famed 1980s video game crash that ended Atari’s dominance. The threat doesn’t impact AAA developers and publishers, only indie developers. Yet, there is no such threat to the viability of the indie market. Continue reading
Let’s talk about fun for a bit. When you think of “fun” you probably think of something that makes you feel positive, happy, makes you smile, and perhaps “twinkle” a bit. Fun is a good time. Perhaps we have fun with friends or family, usually when we play, joke around, or watch a movie. For the longest time, we have used “fun” as the base descriptor for how the player feels about a game they have played.
But is having “fun” the only way to play a game? Should it be? There are plenty of arguments in favor of making games fun, and generally those are the types of games that sell the most. However, there are plenty of experiences out there that games can provide, that one generally don’t describe as “fun”. So perhaps we should move past fun as the baseline expectation of games. Continue reading
While I wait for Zeboyd Games’ latest RPG Cosmic Star Heroine to be released, I finally got around to playing their first RPGs. I bought the double pack of Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves The World from the Steam Winter Sale and I am not disappointed.
Overall, the games are solid retro-styled JRPGs with great humor. If you are not a JRPG fan, these games won’t convert you, but if you like JRPGs, specifically those of the NES, SNES and Genesis days, these make a great nostalgia trip. All in all they are pretty by the books. However, there is one major feature that sets Zeboyd JRPGs apart from their peers. Something that makes these games so much better than every other JRPG I have played. Both of these games allow the player to skip random battles. Continue reading
Originally posted on Game Politics
It might not come to a big surprise for many of you, but gamers are less likely to be conservative than non-gamers and more likely to use products and services that many politicians want banned.
The two most recent Reason-Rupe polls show that gamers are more likely to consider themselves independent in their political views. The polls show that 55% of frequent gamers consider themselves independent while 30% consider themselves Democratic and 15% Republican.
The polls also show that gamers support a wide variety of activities and products including buying energy drinks (84%), online gambling (71%), legalizing marijuana (62%) and using Bitcoin (55%). Of all the listed activities on the poll, the only notable exception to this is with 3D printed guns. Only 42% of gamers support the printing of guns at home.
Gamers also have a less favorable view of the police actions than non-gamers. 72% of gamers feel that giving the police drones and military equipment goes too far. Additionally, 63% of gamers feel that the police are not properly held accountable for their actions.
Source – Reason.com
A new wave of home consoles is upon us. Last year, Nintendo’s successor to the Wii launched in the form of the Wii U. Tomorrow, the Playstation 4 is launching. Next week, the XBox One, this is the third console in the XBox lineup not to be confused with the original XBox, is launching. Yet, I find myself not at all excited about these new consoles.
Despite the best efforts of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to wow me with the new shiny, I simply can’t muster up any real excitement for these consoles. Yes, the Wii U is the first high definition console from Nintendo. Yes the PS4 and the XBox One are more powerful and can display bigger and brighter explosions on my TV set. Yet, there is something that they lack. Something that they just can’t compete with. Continue reading
Seriously people. They are just games. Why the crap are we resorting to death and rape threats over petty complaints? Don’t know what I am talking about? Then you have probably been living under a rock since the internet came about.
Polygon has a huge expose on the plague of harassment and bullying toward game developers and other public gaming figures. The whole thing is rather sickening. Polygon highlights a number of cases of bullying and outright psychopathic behavior from gamers upset over the most minor of things. Minor issues such as slight changes to a gun in Call of Duty or a sequel that didn’t quite live up to the hype of the first game.
Online bullying of game developers came to a head recently when Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler decided to leave the games industry after getting death threats targeted at her family. Another recent case was Fez creator Phil Fish abandoning development on Fez 2 and the industry over harassing behavior from fans and the media. Another case is that of Feminist Frequency host and Tropes vs Women in Games creator Anita Sarkeesian being subjected to death and rape threats all over creating videos which examine the roll of women in games. Continue reading
Say what you will about Anita’s arguments, her bias, or whatever. A lot of people have. In fact a lot of people have said some very despicable things about her person too. But despite all that commotion, one thing is for sure. These videos of her’s are sparking a much needed dialog in the games industry.
This latest video is the third and last video of her dissection of the “damsel in distress” trope as it is used in games (the first to are posted below). It is the third video in a much larger series of videos that her overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter promised to produce. Where the first video highlighted the use of the trope in early games like Mario, Zelda and Double Dragon and the second video showed its use in more modern games, this latest video shows that the trope is so pervasive in gaming culture that even indies tend to over use it.
The important thing to come from this, and frankly the whole point to the video series, is that it has sparked a much wider discussion of the portrayal of women in games. Everywhere on the internet, except the comment section of the videos as those are closed, people are talking about the problem of tropes in games. While some people are attacking Anita herself, others are focusing on the message. What does the overuse of the damsel in distress trope say about game designers and story tellers in games? Continue reading
Earlier this week, the Humble Bundle announced its latest offering, the Humble Deep Silver Bundle. This new bundle is the latest entry in the Humble Bundle’s recent history of abandoning its original ideals to sell higher profile games. When the Humble Bundle started, it had a few ideals it stood for, pay what you want, cross platform, DRM-free and helps charity. These ideals held true for a couple of years, but then they reached a point where two of those ideals didn’t matter as much.
At some point, the Humble Bundle guys decided that cross platform and DRM-free were simply optional. Some early bundles had some tech demos or games that weren’t available for Mac or Linux, but the majority of the games were. Then they started introducing entire bundles that were Windows only. Not only that, but many of those games were also tied to Steam. Meaning, you couldn’t play those games without Steam DRM on your computer.
Well, the folks over at Good Old Games took to Twitter to gently haze Humble Bundle for its abandonment of its DRM-free ideal. It wrote three tweets. The first tweet was written as to allude to the Humble Bundle but not name it specifically. Continue reading
The XBone has not had a very smooth ride at all since it was announced. At the time of its announcement, a lot of features and complications were announced and it left the masses with a huge “Huh?!” face. In the time between that original announcement and the E3 press event, the waters were muddied even more and people were even more confused. At E3, that confusion was topped with a $500 cherry. And all went to pieces for Microsoft.
After Sony blasted them and the press declared the XBone DOA, Microsoft quickly did an about face and returned to the status quo and all was fine in the world. At least that is what Microsoft hopes.
But what did Microsoft learn from all this? What lesson was there to be had from this massive PR disaster? According to Microsoft’s chief product officer Marc Whitten, the lesson is that they didn’t talk enough. Continue reading
I want to say that first off, this post is not about the new Humble eBook Bundle. While I am excited about a new eBook bundle, I loved the last one, I want to focus more on the no-DRM aspect of this and one other story that caught my attention today. DRM is a horrible practice akin to kicking your paying customers. I have complained about it many times before. I refuse to buy any product that is laced with it. The lack of DRM is one of the reasons why I love the Humble Bundle.
But this bundle also highlights another company we should all love. The book publishing company Tor made head lines last year when it decided to remove DRM from all of its ebooks. It made this move in spite of complaints from other publishing firms. This move makes Tor the only one of the “Big 5” publishing houses to ditch DRM. It also explains Tor’s partnership with the Humble eBook Bundle. Tor understands what readers and fans want. They want convenience. They want freedom to read how, when and where they wish. They don’t want a publisher treating them as criminals in disguise. So yes, buy this bundle and pay more than the average so that you can be sure to get the new goodies announced next week. Continue reading