Wed, 31 March 2010
For a medium designed to entertain and even calm, videogames can be surprisingly frustrating. Intense hostility can be elicited by games, be they single-player or multiplayer. This can result in high blood pressure, loud swearing, or even the destruction of property. Chris Lepine of The Artful Gamer inspires the podcast this week with his post on angry gamers and a shattered six-axis. Join us this week while we discuss breaking controllers, 8 bit anger, the calming affects of transparency, diverting hostility, and adversarial gaming.
Wed, 24 March 2010
It's easy for games to get lost in the crowded winter season, when huge games like Mass Effect and Call of Duty dominate dominate both sales charts and critical conversation. This week, we have an in-depth discussion about a game that has been quietly lurking in the shadows: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The most title recent in a long-running series, Shattered Memories re-imagines the first Silent Hill to provide both a unique gameplay and storytelling experience. In addition to upholding the sense of dread and horror from the previous games (seriously, try playing this with the lights off!), the Shattered Memories has some narrative twists that set it apart from most other games.
Jorge and I made sure to keep the first half of our talk spoiler-free before getting down to specific plot points. Despite (or perhaps because of) its rough edges, we both highly recommend the game. Just don't blame us when you're huddled beneath the covers at night, afraid to turn the lights off. Finally, the in-game psychologist told us its healthy to share your feelings with others, so feel free to jump in with your comments.
Some discussion starters:
- For those of you who played the game, what did you think? Had you played other Silent Hill games before? How did your puzzles and stories differ from ours?
- The game claims "to play you" just as much as you play it. For those of you who played it, was this accurate? What other games "play" their players, and how do they do so?
- Is there room on the market for "double-A" games like Shattered Memories? Is this a meaningful distinction? How should we evaluate games with experimental concepts but less polish than blockbuster titles?
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- Run time: 44 min 23 sec
- Music provided by Brad Sucks
Thu, 18 March 2010
This past weekend concluded the 2010 San Francisco Game Developers Conference, which brought together developers from around the world to discuss all aspects of the games industry. Numerous talks were held covering a wide range of subject. One particularly interesting talk, embedded above, was by Chris Hecker, who called on designers to "finish" their games. Fittingly, we called on game developer Krystian Majewski, creator of the IGF Award nominated Trauma, to offer his professional wisdom. Join us this week while we discuss missing deadlines, game depth, charismatic marketers, and the importance of wacky ideas.
Wed, 10 March 2010
As games evolve, more mainstream titles are incorporating elements of nudity. This raises the question of nudity's importance. In one sense, its value is derived from what it represents in terms of the story or the characters. Nudity is also useful for examining wider societal issues and cultural norms. But what if we had to assign nudity an actual economic worth? Does $3 sound about right?
Thu, 4 March 2010
It is hard to look away from the onslaught of newly released titles, which time to pique our interest with all these "fresh" ideas. But games have been around for a while now, and not every game is a glistening display of pure innovation. We have old roots that are worthy of exploration. Or, as Evan Stubbs suggests, those seeking to expand the medium have an obligation to reexamine older titles and put modern day gaming in its historical context.