Tuesday
Mar182014

GDC 14: Mixing it up at the IGN Indie Mixer

s Rob Rich and I slogged our way through the doors of IGN and wrestled with the possibility of being trapped within a malfunctioning elevator, our spirit was never the less indomitable as we excitedly approached the fourth floor with glee—for above us, lay dozens of games presented by their respective teams, ripe for the playing.

With a fist full of beer and poncy wine, I walked into the lion’s den, and left with anticipation for an incredible batch of games slated for release in 2014, these titles stood out particularly to me.

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Monday
Mar172014

GDC 14: Exposing who the Character is, instead of what they do

he art of weaving an engaging fiction for the most interactive media in existence pens out like one of the easiest tasks in game development. The reality, however, is far from it. As we’re entering into the eighth generation of video games, an age where the latest foundation of tech at hand can simulate the most realistic of atmospheres and imagery, games still struggle to escape the trappings of the self-derived conceit that is ludonarrative dissonance, among other shortcomings -- Why?

The journey to fix these flaws and expand storytelling into new, more refined territories is a challenge that several developers attempt to tackle during every Game Developers Conference. While last year’s efforts focused on what could improve the writing that composes these tales, this year tackles the art of direction and engagement, and factors that motivate the gamer to emotionally invest into the narrative.

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Monday
Mar172014

QCF: Peggle 2

he science of a sequel is a tricky one; delivering too much of the same results in recycled content that’s poised to lose the pop of its series signature assets—deviating too far from the set formula with new features or style though risks a game into becoming something that fans may not even recognize with the intended brand.

Finding the right balance when developing the follow-up to an established success are the necessary pains within their ass that the developers undergo to ensure that the next entry in the line is a worthy one to the name—Popcap approaches Peggle 2 with the right attitude, but the final effort barely nails the follow-through on the ideal. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t exactly an improvement either.

Banking on the infinite simplistic accessibility that’s fueled with instantaneous appeal , it would difficult (to say the least) to expand on Peggle, as one wrong change could easily endanger that crucial hook; Popcap played it safe, but almost a little too safe.

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Friday
Mar142014

QCF: South Park: The Stick of Truth

eventeen years and going, that’s nothing to sneeze at as far as commitment goes, and even more so when you factor all the consistency to be found in this ever mounting legacy—well, except for one; the shitty video games it’s spawned.

In what’s nearly amounted to almost two decades, I have continually found it strange that a solid property like South Park (one that has faithfully employed satire on the culture of video games on several occasions within its run) has failed to inspire developers to truly capture the spirit of the license in a video game five times.

That’s what makes The Stick of Truth so special; Obsidian and South Park Digital Studios didn’t aim to deliver one of the most ground breaking games to release in 2014—no, they instead have labored towards crafting the most satisfying vehicle of interaction for its property first, and above average game design to shoulder it secondly.

Ironically, this direction is makes The Stick of Truth one of the first must play games of 2014.

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Thursday
Mar062014

QCF: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

 question that’s been springing up a lot more than it ever has in the past, is why does Nintendo insist on being a proprietary entity within the industry? Why not go third party and bring that trademark “Nintendo magic” to the PS4 or Xbox One; the answer is simple—their games benefit more from them being their own boss than suffering from it.

For example, when the internal R&D departments aren’t developing themselves, they rely on second-party studios that are allowed explicit creative control over some of the company’s most prized properties; enter Retro studios and their sequel to the revived Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

Nintendo’s strategy may come off pandering, even to the most dedicated fanboy, but like Super Mario 3D World, impressions aren’t everything and, this cold jungle romp is another delightful gem to celebrate the ownership of a Wii U.

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Wednesday
Mar052014

QCF: Lococycle

This Review was Frelanced by Rob Rich; you can find his other work here.

 weapons manufacturer without morals, highly advanced and extremely dangerous artificially intelligent war machines, A lightning strike, and Self-awareness—adventure.  No, I’m not talking about Short Circuit (although I totally could be), I’m talking about Twisted Pixel’s latest…Thing. It’s more like what Short Circuit would be if Johnny 5 were a female motorcycle with a tenuous grip on reality and an auto mechanic stuck to his leg. Also there are tourist traps! I know that barely makes any sense and makes me seem like I may have a substance abuse problem. That’s LocoCycle.

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Friday
Feb282014

QCF: Jazzpunk

rom the very start Jazzpunk grabs your attention with its colorful visuals and jazzy electronic beats. As you settle in it becomes apparent that you're playing something truly unique. The game is a blend of familiar game elements, humor, and pure oddity. All taken in from the first person perspective.

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Friday
Feb282014

QCF: Trigger Happy Havoc: Danganronpa

he pressure of succeed in your adult life in today’s society gets stacked thicker by the year, and this generation—it’s palpable. So naturally, any opportunity to attend a private school that only accepts the best and the brightest in exchange for guaranteed success in life would be a stupid one to pass up right? Fifteen individuals thought that, and it’s a shame too, because unbeknownst them and the impression of the prospect of their enrollment, it will be the worst decision of their lives.

The Vita hasn’t pulled any punches lately, and with both, tenured third-parties advocating the hardware alongside Sony welcoming fresh and bold ideas from independent developers, the variety in its library has gotten pretty juicy. Giving the title a chance, Nis America brought to the portable underdog, the bizarrely Japanese murder mystery thriller Danganronpa under the card of Trigger Happy Havoc, and well, lets us just say...that the Ace Attorney series will have some serious competition after this series picks up the steam it’ll get from the direction it’s heading in.

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