Posts made in November, 2010

Should Heavy Rain Be Marketed to Women?

Should Heavy Rain Be Marketed to Women?

Last year saw the release of Heavy Rain, an interactive drama game for the PlayStation 3. The games industry has boasted interactive drama games in the past–Cing’s excellent Hotel Dusk for the Nintendo DS, for example–but Sony’s game/story about the child-drowning “Origami Killer” was especially deep and dark. Heavy Rain‘s storytelling potential is not lost on Epic Games’ design director Cliff Bleszinski, who believes...

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Ubisoft Still Believes in the Wii. Do You?

Ubisoft Still Believes in the Wii. Do You?

Oh, the poor Nintendo Wii. Its sales numbers are way down this year, and thus the online gaming community has taken to kicking it around like a dog. The shine emanating from brand-spanking-new control schemes like Kinect and Move make the white box, which once looked so new and high-tech, seem primitive and tired-out. But Nintendo’s system still has its champions. Ubisoft is particularly vocal about the Wii’s status. Tony Key, senior vice president of...

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Does Wii Music 2 Have a Future?

Does Wii Music 2 Have a Future?

Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto is a man with endless vision. When he gardened in his backyard, he came up with Pikmin. When he recalled the caves he explored as a child, he conceived The Legend of Zelda. And when he stepped on a bathroom scale, he expanded on the idea with the phenomenally popular Wii Fit. But everybody has off days, and Miyamoto struck out pretty hard with Wii Music. The freeform music game, which was intended to get children and parents...

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Is it Too Late for Wii HD?

Is it Too Late for Wii HD?

Oh, to burrow into the minds of Nintendo’s key engineers and marketing staff. What would we find if we could ferret out their deepest feelings on a project like Dolphin, an open-source emulator that not only emulates the Wii, but surpasses it? Dolphin runs on the PC and supports GCM and ISO files that hold GameCube and Wii game data. Not surprisingly, there are a few hiccups–the emulator can’t support many of the Wii’s channels, for...

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Is Star Wars: The Old Republic Doomed?

Is Star Wars: The Old Republic Doomed?

Two things on this mad Earth are unvaryingly good: Video games, and pretending to be a Jedi. As kids, we played at being the galaxy’s most valiant protectors as naturally as we fell into playing at “cops and robbers,” or “house” or, more unfortunately, “doctor.” As we grow up, we lose our appetite for those childish sessions of make-believe (except “doctor,” of course), but we still admire the Jedi and make...

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Gaming’s Good Old Days Are Back

Gaming’s Good Old Days Are Back

With the recent advent of iPhone, iPad, free online browser games, WiiWare, DSiWare, Android and other platforms/operating systems, there has never been a better time in the last 15 years for a new developer to cut its teeth by doing full original development on a manageably small, yet relevant platform. This allows previously unheard of teams to have a great idea, execute it well and make their mark much as many of us smaller, independent developers did back in...

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ESRB AO Rating: Dead and Gone?

ESRB AO Rating: Dead and Gone?

Have you ever spotted an AO-rated video game in a major retail chain? You’re better off looking for unicorns and hobbits. The AO (“Adults Only”) rating is an Ace of Spades for developers, a kiss of death, a black spot, a scarlet letter–or two ebony letters, rather. However you want to word it, the AO rating is a mark that console game developers try to steer far, far away from. To have your game branded with an AO essentially means that you...

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Why Retail Banning Steam Games Won’t Work

Why Retail Banning Steam Games Won’t Work

In the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s, PC gaming and home console gaming were two entirely different experiences. PC’s running DOS provided intense 3D experiences with the likes of DOOM while the SNES chugged along with Star Fox (not that there’s anything wrong with Fox McCloud; we salute flying mammals of all species). The markets began merging around the mid- to- late ’90s, when CD-based consoles became the norm. And now that...

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How To Keep Arcade Classics Alive on iPhone

How To Keep Arcade Classics Alive on iPhone

Capcom is putting its arcade classics on the iPhone. Go ahead and cringe as you mourn for those buckets of quarters you fed into Street Fighter II instead of your college fund. Just recover quickly, because you deserve to re-experience the fruits of Capcom’s best years. Go on! The app is free! The games, however, are not. The way it works is, you purchase ten virtual tokens for 99 cents. Four games are available on the app so far: 1942, Street Fighter II,...

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Why Cam Nash Can’t Be Duke Nukem

Why Cam Nash Can’t Be Duke Nukem

George Orwell once compared the act of artistic creation to vomiting up a demon. He was too refined to say it exactly like that, but the implication is still clear: It just ain’t easy to bring something into being. That goes for books, paintings, movies, babies, and video games. One of the biggest creative stumbling blocks artists deal with today is the always-furious Sea of Copyright. If someone has a legal claim on what you’re trying to do or say,...

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