Posts made in October, 2010

Mr. Driller Miner Picture: Bad Taste, or…?

Mr. Driller Miner Picture: Bad Taste, or…?

On October 13, the world threw one big party when 33 Chilean miners had been hoisted to safety after spending 70 days entombed in a rock cavern. It was an uplifting event, so to speak, and the human race rarely gets such a chance to celebrate such favorable fruits of hope, effort, and compassion. Celebratory game-related imagery was not in short supply. One particularly popular piece that’s still making its rounds on the Internet is a screen capture of Mario...

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THQ’s New Studio: Trouble for UbiSoft?

THQ’s New Studio: Trouble for UbiSoft?

We already know that the video game development landscape has undergone massive changes over the past decade or so. A business that was once tucked far away in Japan is now worldwide, far closer to home, and bursting with young, yet familiar, talent. That makes THQ’s opening of a new studio in Montreal all the more exciting, especially since it’s coupled with the revelation that UbiSoft’s former creative director, Patrice Désilets, will be...

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What Game Students Should Know Already

What Game Students Should Know Already

It looks like all those game-related degrees are starting to gain some respect from the industry old farts – which is to say those of us who entered the game industry in the ‘80s and ‘90s, before such programs existed. We had to make do with traditional degrees like computer science, art, English, journalism, history and interpretive macramé… uphill… both ways… in the snow. Now students are graduating from some of these programs and making...

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Game Delays: A Good Sales Strategy?

Game Delays: A Good Sales Strategy?

Like any product that is planned, packaged, and shipped to consumers, video games are developed and produced on a careful timetable. More often than not, time flies far too quickly for a team that’s on a deadline, whereas the months seem to inch by for fans; developers work frantically on highly-anticipated titles, while we stare up at them with great wet eyes, like a dog watching a master prepare a steak. So when the inevitable delay is announced, it’s...

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Kids and Online Games: Can They Play Nicely?

Kids and Online Games: Can They Play Nicely?

Online multiplayer is simultaneously gaming’s best and worst achievement over the past decade. MMOs and online campaigns add untold depth to what was previously viewed as a solitary pastime. We can make friends around the world and game with them anytime, anywhere. On the flipside, we have what Penny Arcade artist Mike Krahulik once referred to as “The Greater Internet F***wad Theory:” If you take a normal person and put him or her behind the...

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Is Metacritic Hurting Developers?

Is Metacritic Hurting Developers?

Electronic Arts’ Afghanistan-centric Medal of Honor reboot ignited a spot of controversy when the mainstream press got wind that the game’s multiplayer mode gives the option of playing as a member of the Taliban. EA wiped the reference to the Taliban and the mainstream press crept away to busy itself elsewhere, but Medal of Honor is still an active catalyst for hot news. Specifically, the game’s mixed reviews have been hitting the headlines of...

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Video Game Crossovers: Necessary or Cheap Pandering?

Video Game Crossovers: Necessary or Cheap Pandering?

One of the most interesting things about the games industry is that its properties don’t exist in little boxes made of plexiglass. This fact was bolded and underlined when Sonic the Hedgehog visited Mario and challenged him to some friendly sport in Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Then they took to some friendly sparring in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. Given the mascots’ heated rivalry in the ’90s, a bloody cage match to the death...

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How Screwed Are 2010 Holiday Sales?

How Screwed Are 2010 Holiday Sales?

“Christmas creep” begins stealing up on the games industry in September. After shaking off the sleepy summer months, developers begin trotting out their holiday wares, and gamers peer over each others’ shoulders for a look. September 2010–the beginning of the year’s end–launched the 2010 holiday season with notable releases such as PlayStation Move, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, and Halo: Reach. And, if the NPD numbers are any...

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What Developers Can Learn from Minecraft

What Developers Can Learn from Minecraft

In an age of gaming where studios spend millions crafting a title and then have to fire half the staff because the resulting game didn’t sell a billion copies three seconds after its release, it’s refreshing to see a title like Minecraft garner so much praise and joy. Minecraft is a Java-based sandbox-adventure game that offers its players the joys of construction, creation, and monster-besting for a mere $13. It looks a little primitive with its blocky...

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Are Video Game Courses Screwing Students?

Are Video Game Courses Screwing Students?

Not all that long ago, if you wanted to learn how to develop video games, you had to find a way into a tiny college called DigiPen that was nestled away in Vancouver. DigiPen has since relocated to Redmond, Washington, and blossomed along with countless other “game schools” and degrees that have sprung to life over the past decade. Some of the leading figures in the games industry are displeased about the “generalist” nature of modern game...

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