Posts made in September, 2010

Indie vs. Retail Publishing: Who Wins

Indie vs. Retail Publishing: Who Wins

The Worms series of turn-based arcade strategy games commands a large fan base, even if some might argue that the concept has become a little long in the tooth (although a sabre-toothed worm is a cool animal to imagine). If you’re a fan of these wriggling warlike invertebrates, though, you’ll have to get your fix online from now on. At the end of August, Worms developer, Team17, ditched the third parties that published their games at retail, and has...

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Can Anyone Dethrone World of Warcraft?

Can Anyone Dethrone World of Warcraft?

Playing any massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG) is a bit like living in a house that never stops building itself around you. The landscape is ever-shifting, and a little unsettling. When you pay for a game at retail, you usually pay a one-time fee for a relatively closed experience. But most MMORPGs require a monthly fee, and with that fee comes an understandable paranoia: “Am I getting my money’s worth, here? Hey, all my friends are ditching me...

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Building Transmedia Worlds

Building Transmedia Worlds

Transmedia storytelling, the art of telling related stories across different media platforms, has recently become the topic of much thought, discussion and implementation. This is not a new concept, but with technology now offering us more platforms, it is finally becoming a substantive and legitimate one. A story can originate in a video game, a book, a graphic novel, a movie, a television show or even a toy. Star Wars is an important modern example of transmedia...

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Do Celeb Endorsements Really Sell Games?

Do Celeb Endorsements Really Sell Games?

If you’ve ever watched Spike TV’s Video Game Awards show, you probably have a few things to say about the event, including “what’s with all these celebrities?” It can be jarring to see actors, singers, and rappers give the thumbs-up to whatever’s hot in the realm of video games. Their promotions are usually accompanied by desperate, squealing attempts to gain gamer cred. “I love Mario! Like, jumping on the axe and fighting...

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Breaking Into the Business – Pt. 1

Breaking Into the Business – Pt. 1

“How do you break into the video game business?” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that most oft asked question of game developers, let’s just say I’d be piloting a diamond-encrusted jetpack to the studio. It feels like ages ago when I sought the same answer. But it wasn’t until I bullied my way into my first paying gig that I realized there are countless ways to break in to the game industry. You just need to understand your options and...

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Will Nintendo 3DS Kill the 2D Game Market?

Will Nintendo 3DS Kill the 2D Game Market?

Nostalgia is serious business. In gaming, it’s also a profitable business. When the 16-bit era gave way to the PlayStation and Saturn, polygon-based 3D games turned our side-scrolling past into ancient history. But after a few months of struggling with unruly cameras and bland, textureless environments, we began to feel a bit lonely for sprite graphics and 2D platforming. Sony America reluctantly loosened its laws against 2D titles, and games like...

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Facebook vs. Console Games: Who Wins?

Facebook vs. Console Games: Who Wins?

Who plays Facebook games? As the kids say in the schoolyard, your mom. Also, maybe your uncle, your grandfather, your aunt and siblings too And truthfully, if you sneak in a sampling of FarmVille in between bites of your sandwich at lunch, what’s the harm? The popularity of Facebook games isn’t in question, and neither is the addictive nature of some of its most famous offerings. But the likes of FrontierVille, Texas Holdem Poker and Mafia Wars were...

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Win-Win: The New Way to Get Paid

Win-Win: The New Way to Get Paid

In July 2008, I released my game Trism at the launch of the App Store, charged five bucks a pop, and made a mint. Five bucks seemed like a relative bargain compared to the cost of the average Nintendo DS or Sony PSP game, but oh, how times have changed. After the App Store was open for a while, the gloves started to come off, and game developers tried seeing how far they could shave down their price points, with 2009 the year of the 99 cent app. Developers...

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How to Use Motion Controls Effectively

How to Use Motion Controls Effectively

“What’s the proper means for implementing motion controls in video games?” That’s the question developers and players alike have been asking since Nintendo first unveiled the Wii in 2005. Few have found a wholly satisfying answer to the question, but the release of PlayStation Move and Microsoft’s Kinect mean that nobody is going to stop asking just yet. Nintendo’s Wii has been magnificent in introducing gaming to a broad...

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Can Video Game Cutscenes Make a Movie?

Can Video Game Cutscenes Make a Movie?

In 2001, you were probably bright-eyed and optimistic about the upcoming release of a little computer-animated movie called Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. And then you actually saw the movie, and a little bit of your innocence dove heavily into the pit of your stomach and died. “That was awful,” you said once the credits started rolling (if you made it that far). “You know what Square needs to do? Square just needs to take the cutscenes from...

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