Posts made in October, 2010

Online Anonymity and You

Online Anonymity and You

One frequent complaint that you’ll hear from adult gamers is the persistence of curse- and prejudice-filled banter on online gaming services. Many video game players believe that they can say and do whatever they like because they didn’t register using their real name and they can’t be held accountable for their actions when only a username is exposed. In the corporate world, you often hear IT administrators remind users that they shouldn’t email anything...

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Can Games Be an Effective Teaching Aid?

Can Games Be an Effective Teaching Aid?

You might have to dig back in your memory a ways before you realize it, but if you grew up with video games, it’s very likely they influenced your schooling and education. Sure, we can recall thinking about games through those long, boring hours in class, but those thoughts weren’t necessarily segregated from the “useful” stuff we learned from eight until three every weekday. Likewise, all of us tackled at least one creative writing...

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Character Redesigns: How Not to Ruin Them

Character Redesigns: How Not to Ruin Them

Last month, Deus Ex: Human Revolution art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête told CVG that he almost took the famous Prince of Persia franchise into a radical new direction. According to Jacques-Belletête, the Prince would still have traveled the burning sands–but he would have been slogging through the dust of the Apocalypse instead of the desert. “Think a bit ‘Day After Tomorrow,’ but replace the snow with sand and everything,”...

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Why User-Generated Content Hasn’t Boomed

Why User-Generated Content Hasn’t Boomed

Video games that are based on user-generated content (UGC) present an interesting departure from the norm. Basically, titles like LittleBigPlanet 2 for the PlayStation 3 and Spore for the PC allow you to make your own games as much as play them. UGC isn’t new: We’ve been enthralled with the idea since Excitebike for the NES let us craft tracks that bounced our poor biker pal over courses made entirely of ramps. Gamers with the know-how began programming...

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How Games Can Revolutionize History

How Games Can Revolutionize History

School sucks, and video games rule – ask any kid, they know how the world works. In fact, most attempts to mate entertainment with education have resulted in merit-free bastard mutants like Mario is Missing! and Basic Math for the Atari 2600. Sooner or later, kids wise up and realize that ticking in a number with a joystick isn’t necessarily any more fun than marking an answer with a pencil. There are exceptions, of course. MECC’s Oregon Trail for...

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How Many Spin-Offs Kills a Franchise?

How Many Spin-Offs Kills a Franchise?

Sequels and spin-offs are an inevitability in any entertainment industry. They’ve been present in video games almost since day one (hello, Donkey Kong Jr.), and instances of game remakes, retreads and revamps only continue to creep upwards in 2010 and 2011. Expect the trend to only continue as developers strive to seek out ways in which to make established franchises appeal both to the nostalgic crowd and younger newcomers in hopes of minimizing risks and...

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What Makes a Video Game Timeless?

What Makes a Video Game Timeless?

Blessed are the children – or at least, blessed are they until they make wisecracks about the games we loved at their age. The preferred sport of gamers in their late twenties and early thirties is to sit their children, nieces, and nephews in front of Super Mario Bros. and hear what comes out of their mouths. Often, it’s “This looks bad,” or, “This is kinda stupid,” or even the more offensive remake (hey, they don’t make...

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Why Retail Will Survive Digital Distribution

Why Retail Will Survive Digital Distribution

We live in an age where you technically don’t have to pick up your car keys and put on pants to purchase a great new video game. Between easy access, one-click online downloadable purchases, and more room for independent developers to bring their ideas to life, digital distribution has irrevocably altered gaming’s landscape. But 10 or 20 years from now, will tomorrow’s gaming fans even recognize the inside of a GameStop? EventHubs.com asked the...

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Is the Nintendo 3DS Grossly Overpriced?

Is the Nintendo 3DS Grossly Overpriced?

Love hurts. That’s the general sentiment with Nintendo fans right now, who learned that the Nintendo DS’s successor, the Nintendo 3DS, will cost ¥25,000. Given that both the US dollar and the Japanese yen are staggering around the market with the vigor of poisoned mice, that translates roughly into $300 USD. And $300 USD for any games system–especially a portable system–is a big “yikes.” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata...

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Do Artistic Games Always Have to Flop?

Do Artistic Games Always Have to Flop?

If you want to work a gaming fan into a lather, just suggest that video games aren’t art. You’re guaranteed to get an immediate rebuttal that references noted game developer Fumito Ueda’s Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. It’s no mystery why Ueda’s games are cited over and over in the debates that aim to categorize video games as art or a mere pastime. Hundreds of games are capable of holding fast through the Internet’s favorite...

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