Remaking Final Fantasy VII in HD may be the most common sense decision that a gaming company has ever ignored. A revolutionary title in its day that has dug a comfortably nostalgic place in most gamers’ hearts, the relatively cheap process it would t...
I first heard of Ultimate Gay Fighter through a friend’s Facebook post rather than any gaming news outlet, because do you really think that mainstream gaming outlets are going to bother with anything like this? I gave the trailer a look-see, wr...
I’m coining the word “xbroglio” as of today. It means, “any incidents occurring as a result of Microsoft assuming players to be heterosexual dudebros”. It’s quite a flexible concept, too – in fact, I’d ...
The idea of a game designed with queer themes at its heart is not a new one. Titles like Mattie Brice’s Mainichi and Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia have already made waves in the indie scene, opening up dialogues about their creators’ exper...
When comes to groups that the most vile of gamers dislike, gay men are miles above common fodder like women and “the blacks.” The industry has spent so long catering strictly to the angry white kid demographic that its visual mythology and cultural p...
So, I know I promised a look at Fate Core for this edition of Tabletopping, but it’s Halloween! You need something scary. So instead we’re going to take a look at a game called Don’t Rest Your Head. DRYH is a game about madness and finding yourself. ...
As usual, New York Comic Con was full of tons of great cosplay. This year, Attack on Titan proved to be quite a favorite amongst attendees (I think because you can actually buy replicas of the uniform online, so there’s not a lot of home crafti...
Twentieth Century Fox is trademarking the name Alien: Isolation, according to a report from Siliconera. This follows months-old rumours that developer Creative Assembly has been working on a game set in the Alien universe, and teasing some connection to the first film. That the trademark claim references Alien, not Aliens(as many previous franchise games have), bolsters that possibility.
A Kotaku source claims that Alien: Isolation will star series heroine Ellen Ripley’s daughter Amanda Ripley, and that it is indeed “heavily inspired by” the original Alien film. The source reported that the game will be a first-person shooter with “stealth and horror elements” à la Bioshock and Dishonored, and that the developers and current franchise publisher Sega are taking seriously the disaster that was Aliens: Colonial Marines and the ill will it fostered. There has been, however, no official comment from Creative Assembly or Sega about the game.
That Alien: Isolation may star Ripley’s daughter might come as a bit of a curiosity to series fans: Amanda Ripley is only mentioned by name in the extended edition of Aliens, which had her dying on Earth in old age a few years before the events of that film. How Creative Assembly intends to have her follow in her mother’s footsteps could be interesting stuff. As long as they write it better than poor Hicks’ treatment in Colonial Marines…(or in Alien 3, for that matter).
Reportsout of China allege that student workers are being told to work on PS4 production lines at a Foxconn plant or put their graduation in jeopardy. The students were reportedly told to intern at the plant, where they were given jobs unrelated to their fields of study. Foxconn, a manufacturing giant contracted by Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Apple to produce their merchandise, has had a checkeredhistoryrecently, including mass strikes, suicides, and the use of underage workers to manufacture the Wii U.
Foxconn has responded to the newest reports by acknowledging that student interns from the Xi’an Institute of Information Engineering were given night- and overtime shifts in violation of company policy, while Sony has stated that “We understand Foxconn fully comprehend and comply with this ‘Sony Supplier Code of Conduct.’” Foxconn’s statement included a pledge to bring labour practices at the particular site where the violations took place up to code. The statement did not, however, address the allegations of interns being given positions unrelated to their fields of study, or the report that students would have six credits withheld if they did not take the internships, thus rendering them unable to graduate – though it did reiterate that the students were “free to terminate their participation in the program at any time.” How free one’s participation is when one’s graduation hangs in the balance – or how helpful an internship is when it is unrelated to your studies – are, perhaps, matters of opinion.
While trying to stay out of any debate on violence in video games per se, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC) is pushing for video game makers to include realistic consequences for players’ actions in video game battlefields. In an article and interview on the ICRC website, the organization argues that while “sanitizing” video games – removing violence or even the opportunity to commit what would, in the real world, be considered war crimes (such as killing civilians, targeting hospitals, or torturing prisoners) – is not in its mandate, or even realistic, neither is it desirable as video games could be a powerful teaching tool about war crimes and their consequences:
“Violations occur on real battlefields and can therefore be included in video games. The ICRC believes it is useful for players to learn from rewards and punishments incorporated into the game, about what is acceptable and what is prohibited in war.”
The ICRC states it is already working with video game developers to implement systems that would reflect the laws of armed conflict, and is careful to state that it is only advocating for these changes in games that depict real-world military conflict, meaning space marines and black mages would be exempted. How excited gamers would be to have the Geneva Conventions apply to their FPSes, however remains to be seen – as does an indication of what kind of support the ICRC may get from major developers.
New research published online in Nature has shown that the inevitable cognitive decline associated with ageing can be greatly reduced by playing a challenging video game.
Backing up previous research(and the whole idea behind Brain Age) showing that video games could improve brain function in older adults, researchers from the University of California San Francisco have shown that memory, attention span, and the ability to multitask can all be improved among adults from 60 to 85 years old by playing a game called NeuroRacer custom-designed to continually increase the challenge and complexity of the game as players improve. The researchers first found that the ability to play the game decreased steadily among participants by age category, from those in their early twenties to those in old age, but then found that after playing twelve hours of the game over four weeks, participants between 60 and 85 improved to the point that they performed better than a control group of twenty-somethings. Moreover, this effect lasted for six months after the end of the study.
The experts are, of course, advising that this is only preliminary research – but I, for one, hope this means my Mario Kart skills will keep me out of Shady Pines for a few more years.
Thirty years ago, the Nintendo Famicom (better-known as the NES in other territories) was released in Japan. Hard to believe, but if it were a person it would be old enough to complain about mortgage payments, grey hair, and PTA meetings.
The Famicom/NES is often lauded for providing the platform for video games to rise from the flames of the industry crash in the early 1980s, and for the launch of many of the most iconic characters and franchises in the industry. Super Mario Bros., the Princess, Toad, Samus, Castlevania, Final Fantasy, Mega Man, and, of course, Link, Zelda, and Gannondorf.
While Nintendo has officially commemorated the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda with a concert series, collectables, and the Hyrule Historia, some dedicated fans at History of Hyrule have amassed an astonishing compendium of art from the entire lifespan of the Zelda series, from magazines, books, manga, and more. Apart from its relevance to Zelda fans, it’s incredible to observe the advance in the sophistication of video game art in general from the early days of the Famicom/NES and an industry searching to find its feet, to the high-definition era of billion-dollar corporations.
You can view the entire – and colossal – collection here.
The question of microtransactions has sounded (to me, anyway) a bit like this: A way for the video game industry to monetize everythingturn a profit and recoup loss due to piracy, or big fat middle finger to gamers everywhere?
Along with other types of downloadable content and various forms of DRM, microtransactions are something developers and publishers have been toying with increasingly over the past few years. In the mobile market, microtransactions are fairly ubiquitous, but in the console and PC markets they’re a bit more controversial. The idea is that you pay for extras. The reality some gamers (okay, this gamer, but I’m betting I’m not the only one) experience is much more annoying than that – an intrusive hounding for your credit card information even though you don’t have to pay if you don’t want more content.
Some companies, like Zynga, have practically been built around the idea of microtransactions. Others, like EA, have started toying with them on a broad scale. It introduced them into Dead Space 3 to the ire of many. Others companies are more wary of them.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a game that is ripe for integrating microtransactions. It’s full of collectibles, customizable items, and all manner of pointless (but delightful) dissipations. It’s a game about all kinds of things that are completely unnecessary, but fun to do just ’cause. I’ve been playing it since its release in North America and last week it struck me, as I was paying with fake game money for a new bridge in town, that I’ve only had to open my real wallet once for this game.
Funny that Nintendo, a company that lost money last year, would not jump all over microtransactions in a big title, isn’t it?
Except that Animal Crossing, which only asks you to pay for it once, quadrupled US sales of the 3DS in the week of its release, has sold over 4 million copies in Japan alone, and is the biggest seller on the Nintendo eShop thus far.