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Posts tagged videogames

From Game Boy to skyscraper: Playing the world’s largest game of Tetris

I don’t know how I missed this video from Ars Technica earlier this month but I did. And I’m sorry. And I’m making up for it right now.

Taking 5: Xbox One and Backwards Compatibility

Earlier this month Xbox partner development lead Frank Savage let it slip that there are some plans for the Xbox One to get some backwards compatability. From Joystiq:

"There are [plans], but we’re not done thinking them through yet, unfortunately," said Savage, as reported by Kotaku Australia. “It turns out to be hard to emulate the PowerPC stuff on the X86 stuff. So there’s nothing to announce, but I would love to see it myself.”

So here’s the thing. I don’t really want (or expect) 60 dollar retail Xbox 360 games playable on my Xbox One. As… fanboy(?)  as it sounds, I do have a perfectly good Xbox 360 sitting right next to my Xbox One, and if I really have the need to play Halo 4 or The Club I can very easily turn it on. Actually, I was playing the BioShock Infinite DLC over the weekend.

What I DO want, and what I think would be really important to people, is if XBLA games were backwards compatible. XBLA games are a great way to augment the library on new hardware. I (like many people I know) purchased a lot of XBLA games. Most of which are highly repayable, and really helped define the last console generation.

I’ve actually been putting some really solid time into Geometry Wars 2 (it’s basically a perfect game. The game modes, the music, and the visual aesthetic compliment each other so well, no other game I’ve played is this well put together). It’s a great way to wind down after a 14 hour day on set (as my day job I’m a commercial producer) or after a couple of really intense games of Titanfall.

I guess what I’m saying is even if it’s “hard to emulate the PowerPC stuff” and doing so uses a lot of computing power, it shouldn’t affect most XBLA titles. So I hope we see some backwards compatibility on Xbox One and I hope I can migrate some of those titles over.

-Creighton

I’m playing BioShock - Burial At Sea

Big Daddy’s are still terrifying. Even after all these years.

Introducing Steam Gauge: Ars reveals Steam’s most popular games 

Kyle Orland just dropped a bomb revealing two month look at Steam sales and games played. It’s incredible. Go read the whole thing. Here’s just a sample.

As you can see, just because a game is registered to a lot of Steam accounts doesn’t mean it’s popular. Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, for instance, is the third-most popular game on the service by ownership, registered to about 12.8 million Steam accounts by our count. But the tech demo, which shows off some deleted content from Half-Life 2, has only been actively loaded up by about 2.1 million of those owners, placing it behind 35 other Steam games by that metric.

Stand by for plot points: 'Titanfall' doesn't need a story 

To hear Microsoft user researcher Deborah Hendersen tell it, players genuinely do love game stories. We just can’t remember them, have trouble describing them, and usually never find out how they end. Hendersen spoke at GDC about user-testing game narratives: finding out whether early scripts are clear to and resonate with players. The answers, to anyone who hopes players pore over their stories, were probably disappointing. In an attempt to figure out what was important to players, Henderson interviewed hundreds of study participants about their favorite games. The participants took fewer words to describe the stories of games they liked than they did those of their favorite movies. Many could barely describe the plots at all, forgetting major beats and long middle sections. One participant, asked to talk about his favorite Call of Duty character, instead described the sort of person he liked to kill in multiplayer.
Well done, Adi.

20yearsof1994:

February 23rd 1994 - Super Street Fighter II Turbo

The fifth, and last, arcade installment of Street Fighter II was released in 1994. This version introduced several new play mechanics to the game system from the previous Street Fighter II installments, including the addition of powered-up Special Moves called Super Combos.

Street Fighter II has become the game that Capcom releases on every platform and they usually release a modified version of this specific Street Fighter II. In 2008 it was renamed Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for the HD release on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

GameStop, Tomb Raider, and how retail and online competition remains unfair 

Ben Kuchera throws some light on GameStop and the tension between the online retailers and actual physical retail stores:

The tension between digital game sales and retail is only going to get worse, and it’s likely to blame for some of the odd behavior you can see in the market. GameStop released Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition days before the announced street date, and many eager gamers rushed to their PlayStation 4s or Xbox Ones to try to buy the game online, only to find that the original street date of January 28th was being honored online.

Remember when Blockbuster would get movies before they were available on Netflix? It was a short window before Netflix had total domination and when the streaming service was in its infancy. Blockbuster signed contracts with the big studios to have movies 28 days before Netflix. It was a way for physical stores to have an edge over the online rental places. The studios agreed because blockbuster had been a cash cow for a long time, and they didn’t want to upset a player as dominating as Blockbuster.

This is what’s happening with video games. The good news is that we’ve seen this play out once before, and it doesn’t end well for brick and mortar stores.

The crazy part is that developers are essentially forced into playing ball with GameStop, who are actively trying to screw them. GameStop sells used games at a huge markup and lock people into their used ecosystem. It’s a toxic relationship and you’ll bet that devs will cut GameStop out of the equation as quickly as possible. 

At least Blockbuster wasn’t relying on studios for movies to rent, while also actively screwing them.

Nintendo Had An Investor Meeting Tonight

I feel obligated to say something about the Nintendo investor meeting that ended a short time ago since I did write quite a bit about Nintendo earlier today.

If you didn’t see the news it’s this: Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo, outlined a strategy for the company. They’re looking to the health market for new business. They’re not putting games on mobile devices but they do have a mobile strategy. They want to make more Wii U games that show off the GamePad Controller.

This was a meeting for investors so none of this is a surprise.

- Of course Iwata was going throw his weight behind the Wii U, their current console, and promise games that would take advantage of the one thing that distinguishes it. Because even if they were abandoning the hardware, it’s not going to happen over night, and they need to keep selling a console in the interim.

- Of course they’re not going to put their 40 dollar games on phones, where 99 cents is considered pricy. Nintendo doesn’t know how to make a freemium game, and I hope they never learn. But people are yelling their heads off that “all they need to do is release Mario Kart on the iPhone” so phones and tablets needed to be addressed. Companion apps that drive people to Nintendo hardware doesn’t sound appealing to me, but ok. 

- Of course they’re looking at new markets. Investors love hearing about new markets. I am intrigued by what they’re looking at in the health space. The Wii Balance Board was interesting, I guess. And the 3DS does count my steps when I bring it with me. I’m curious to see how this new thing fits in with the rest of their current hardware. Maybe it doesn’t.

Overall, not a lot was said. This sounds like they’re staying the course. Which is good, it’s what I think they should do. Hopefully they spend the money they have to stay the course better than they have been the past two years.

-Creighton

PlayStation 4 Reviews

It’s PlayStation 4 review day! I’ve done a little bit of the dirty work, reading reviews of the PS4. I read three to completion and pieces of two more. Here are the two I’d recommend reading right now:

  • PolygonJustin McElroy’s review is not only beautiful, but the most informed review I’ve read. There’s a also a very concise video that rounds out the whole thing. You should definitely read this review.

While Sony in 2006 was focused on driving adoption of the Blu-ray standard, envisioning another home media boom that never quite materialized, Sony in 2013 has no such distractions. The PS4 isn’t built to sell 3D TVs, or Blu-ray discs or any other corporate mandate. It’s a gaming console, a clear message that Sony has been quick to repeat.

  • Kotaku. Stephen Totilo’s review is very good. It’s the kind of thing he really likes diving into.

The PS4 is just starting, and as it is, it is hard to experience the PS4 without thinking about the machine that came before it. The PlayStation 3 made an incredible journey, from rotundResistance and Lair-playing machine to the console of The Last of UsPuppeteer and The Unfinished Swan. The console got skinnier. It got better. And it wound up playing some of my favorite games ever.

Both Kotaku and Polygon will be updating their reviews as time goes on. As the libraries change, as software is updated you’ll see the scores increase… well hopefully they’ll increase and not decrease. It’s a very interesting method to reviews, but one that I support 100%.

Bleep Bloop - Your Best Game

I’m a few weeks late posting this, partially because I’ve been busy, partially because it was hard for me to find the right words. The video above is the final episode of Bleep Bloop. 

This series means a lot to me, both as a nerd and professionally. Yes I worked on about 80 episodes of the show so I’m close to it. But even from the very start I thought of Bleep Bloop as important. Yes, the directive from Jeff was always “funny first” (after all the show aired on a comedy site), but I always felt like we were doing the community a kind of service. Even though were poking fun and prodding the industry and calling out bad games, we were also informing and speaking to a certain part of video game culture, and hopefully we expanded their horizons with our comedy video. You can see it in 8-bit Rock Band, Artsy Fartsy Games, Night Vision Goggles, Dante’s Infreno, Wii vs Kinect vs MoveiPad Games, and Uwe Boll.

As someone who follows tech and games journalism pretty closely there was really nothing else like it when I started working on the show at Episode 12 in January 2009.

Professionally, Bleep Bloop is what propelled me into a full time job at CollegeHumor. I early in my days freelancing for CollegeHumor I was brought in to shoot and edit this show. Shortly thereafter they hired me full time and I can thank CollegeHumor for seeing a producer in me and allowing me the opportunity to produce some of their highest profile content. Presently I’m a commercial / music video producer, but you can draw a straight line from freelance shooting and editing a few episodes of Bleep Bloop to where I am right now. 

So please watch the final episode of a series I have a lot of love for. Oh, and you can spot me in the last one at 10:40 choosing my favorite game of all time Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

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