Thursday, July 28, 2011

-REVIEW- Dawn of War II: Retribution
slightly more satisfying than foie gras gavage

Title: Warmhammer 40k Dawn of War II: Retribution
Developer: Relic Games
Publisher: THQ
Price: $29.99 on Steam

After all this yelling it’s a wonder anyone has any voice left at all

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Importance of Indie Games
By James "Caffeine Rage" McKinley

The gaming industry is facing a great change. With the advent of easy-to-use digital distribution on both consoles and PC, a generation of programmers who grew up playing video games, the rise of alternate advertising, and an explosion of niche gaming websites, the creative and innovative forces behind the advancement of the industry is slowly leaving the hands of the triple-A developers. Taking their place are many small, independent companies producing a great assortment of unique and ground breaking titles. This shift has made these small companies one of the most important facets of the industry.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

super.hype: The Last Summer of Your Natural Life

Things are moving along at a rather nice clip for me lately (after having had some real major exposure to the soft, gleaming underbelly of indie game development) and it's left me feeling rather sentimental for the old days when games weren't about horsepower or graphical fidelity, but pure imagination.

Luckily for me, the internet is so good at keeping the purity of those things separate from what I'm about to show you today: pure, unfiltered AAA hypenard.


What you lack in speed, skill, and stature,
you try to make up for in super.hype.
Tonight at the bar, an opportunity arises...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Indie Cred: Pour a little Konjak on that Fire, and Dance in the Light with a Fat Wizard in a Beret

I don't know what you've come to expect from me in this feature anymore, but I do know what I've come to expect of myself: quality games from quality people, at a quality price (most often free).

Time and again I've said that Independent development is some kind of anomaly in the gaming world. I'm now convinced it's not. It's the future of gaming. Just like fast food restaurants used to be anomalies and we never believed we'd ever outsource our homestyle cooking to various individuals on a large scale, so too will this industry, the interactive gaming industry, be redefined not by enormous companies and unwieldy multi-armed corporations, but by the tenacity and innovation of many small teams all fighting for a piece of the pie. But while this fierce competition often produces fear, hate, and exploitation, I think that the gaming version will play out far differently.

If you spend a bit of time on any of the following sites where Indie Devs like to poke about and present their half-finished ideas and undiluted madness, you'll see that by and large, most of them are simply passionate about making games (in a distant second: making money). But it's the games that really drive every single one of them on. What results is a commitment to the qualities of a good game: Fun, thoughtful, and easy to learn. It's no wonder that while few, if any, of these games turn a profit, their creators remain dedicated to the art of making games. They simply love them.

And this is what love makes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

-REVIEW-: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
still only good for buoyancy, and not much else

Title: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix/Eidos Interactive
Release/Price: $14.99 (via Steam)

If it ain’t broke, don’t throw any spears at it, it will break

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

super.hype: In Which I Attempt to Deny Ambiguity

I've been doing a lot of thinking to do ever since The Great Indie Games Jam Weekend ended. What direction is this blog going in? What can readers expect from me each time I post? What kind of material do I want to read about, write about, and talk about? WHAT KIND OF A PERSON AM I?

All these thoughtful, deep, existential crises arise whenever I feel like I have too much to do and too little time to do it. Also, I am rather prone to fits of philosophical paralysis. The greatest hurt of all is the impassioned, amorous guilt I have for not highlighting all the amazing work and ideas that have been coming out of the Indie Development scene, which is being fought back by the indefatigable hammer-arm of my appreciation for Traditional Big-Time Development.

Each of these industries has its strengths and weaknesses; each is valuable in its own right. So, in the interest of being unbiased and well-rounded, I will continue to use this feature as a way to infuse some well-meaning (if misguided and at times not well-meaning at all) AAA-ness into this blog and into my own gaming habits. Even if my gut of guts churns at the thought of enjoying a title built upon the detritus of crushed souls under the 20-tonne iron will of slavering publishers, my heart of hearts knows that I cannot be considered an honest man if I do not give these games a fair shake and an honest first impression.


Your girlfriend's cat was playing with a bag of Jelly Bellies™ and spilled some under your pleather couch.
You mutter cursed feline obscenities under your breath as you reach for that cumbersome grasping device called a super.hype...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Indie Cred:The Pegs and TIGs all Jammed together

If you haven't played this game yet, you are actually dead.
I'll be honest, this feature is quickly becoming my favorite. Everytime I wade out to the deep waters of the webternet, I come back with more and more awesomely ridiculous things that I want people to know about and experience. Things like this. And this. And this. And this!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Read a Good Book: This Gaming Life - Chapter 3: a Gamer’s World

Ever since I started played games (that would be starting in the 90s, on an NES, to a SNES, and finally to my sedentary state on the PC) I viewed them as a very isolated experience. Video games were not social. I am only speaking for myself here, but I don’t think I’m entirely alone. Even now video games are still a very isolating experience; whether in singleplayer or multiplayer games, the perspective and the experience of the person controlling a given avatar is highly insular. It’s less so in online multiplayer games, but I think that even then, I’ve found myself simply playing alone. And enjoying it.

Traditional Gaming is what this is all about. It’s very self-interested. Much of the time, games are focused around providing tight, content-based experiences: moments where the player interacts with dynamic inanimate objects and set pieces that are designed to elicit specific emotions.  But this type of design philosophy (and expectation) is a reflection of the culture, and subsequently the culture’s perspective of games and the industry. But there is a powerful antithesis to this predominant industry philosophy: the Korean Gaming Scene.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Indie Bonus: Incubattle

Good news everyone!

Paul Veer (Vlambeer) and Infinite Ammo teamed up to pump out a promotional game for rock band Incubus' next album. I'm not privy to the details of the album, nor do I care much for their music (the last song I listened to intently from them was "Pardon Me" because I was enthralled by a particular music video), but the game itself is pretty sweet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Forum Trawl: MCV interviews 2K

UK-based Industry webmag MCV (The Market for Computer & Video Games) recently had an interview with "2K Boss" Christoph Hartmann about a few upcoming projects. While not entirely bland and market-speaky, a few choice words were elicited from the dev. I quote:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

super.hype: the day PopCap stood still

Things are getting seriously shaken up amongst gamesjournos today. EA made the announcement of their acquisition of the Pachinko-cloning, Columns-riffing, Tetris-copying, puzzle-game-peddling PopCap Games public today. Price: 750 million notes of US gold claimancy. Impressive.

Let's hope the charm isn't eaten like a delicious, cold brain platter.

In other news, nothing. This single news item has apparently trumped all other games industry news. Either that or I am a complete liar and I feel that this move may be so monumental that I will lie to you just to impress upon you the importance of an event like this. I would never do that.

Knowing full well of your intentions
to ask the amply-endowed Dolly
to prom, your best friend decides to cock-block
you by asking her to a surprise romantic dinner date. 
You grab the keys to your turbocharged
V8 super.hype to intercept them... 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Indie Cred: Momodora 2

Title: Momodora 2
Developer: Rdein
Release: get it here

 Brown-haired maiden, slice
 and leaves do cradle your jump
 maple leaf, so sharp


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Soma Drop: Settlers 2

Title: Settlers II: Veni, Vidi, Vici
Developer: Blue Byte
Publisher: Blue Byte
Release: August 1996 (get it here!)

The greatest screensaver ever created!


Friday, July 8, 2011

-REVIEW- Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale:
a pure crystal of wasted potential

Title: Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale
Developer: Bedlam games
Publisher: Atari
Price: $14.99 (via Steam and other digital distribution)

Don’t doubt the daring doublets deprecating this dastardly derision of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s decidedly dumb, dubiously diverting, and dangerously dull. Don’t. Just don’t.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

state of the industry, part v: Piracy

This will be the last entry in the long ongoing series about the issues that I believe have been detrimental to the media and industry of video games at large. It’s been a rough road, full of potholes and pitfalls, at times feeling aimless and disjointed, while at the same time proving to be accurate and insightful. I hope this last one is more of the latter and less of the former.

To ensure that that happens, I’ve kindly deferred to a good man far better and more capable than I at deciphering and researching the kind of material required to make any kind of sense of this particular issue. It’s been a decidedly divisive, deeply personal, and morally-charged topic for a long time now, and has its roots far beyond the video game industry. However, its prevalence here combined with what I believe is the pervasive passion of those who enjoy video games has caused it to explode into an epic conflagration of distractive arguments, hearsay, half-truths, and rampant speculation. Of course, amidst all the madness lies some truth, and that’s exactly what we’re going to try to find in this post.

Piracy. You may have done it. You may have had friends (or have friends) who have done it. You may still do it. I’ll admit that I’ve done it. But what exactly “it” is that we are doing when we engage in piracy is constantly thrown into question by those who do it, and more or less regarded as cut-and-dry by those who don’t. So for the sake of sanity and fairness, we’re going to try to figure this whole mess out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

super.hype: jumping through hoops for little to no reward

It's another super.hype! On a more serious note, this particular feature is getting rather tedious. I hate the format and it's a really unnatural way of talking about upcoming releases. So I'm scrapping it for some other way that I feel more comfortable with which is basically posting about whatever happens to catch my eye and writing about it rather whimsically while interspersing it with glorious pictures. Yay!

I like the name, though, so I'm keeping that. Also, I like being able to anthropormophize and/or objectivize it and use it in punny ways. I love puns!

The neighbor's weimaraner  left another
huge steaming pile on your impeccably kept lawn.
You calmly rifle through your storage crate
and retrieve your trusty super.hype...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Indie Cred: Celestial Mechanica (Also, Happy Independence Day!)

The rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air…it must be time for another Indie Cred!
Woo! Is this too much? NO. It's missing burgers.
 Okay so, before that I gotta say that this past weekend has been ridiculously hectic. I haven’t even looked at my blog (much less posted anything) and apparently everyone who reads it is aware of that (hits are down 70%! Which is like 50. 50 is 70% of what exactly? I don’t know. Well, I mean I could know but I don’t care to know. It’s too early in the week for maths.) I was busy playing music and listening to people preach about God and the Devil and Post-Modernism vs. Classicalism and the existence of supernatural phenomena or the speculation about the visible universe being some sort of a surface dimension resting upon a deeper 4th dimension of ultradepth and the universal gravitational constants causing bending in light. And speaking in tongues. These are all super interesting things. Almost as interesting as video games (at times even MORE interesting! Blasphemy. Well, saying video games is more interesting than these things may be actual Blasphemy. Fine then. Inverse Blasphemy! INVERSPHEMY!)