January 31st, 2014
The Super Bowl, in which the machine bleeds to death:
Over the course of the season, I've discovered lots of different ways to hack Madden NFL 25 into a thing that no longer resembles football as we know it. I've played around with rules, injury settings, all manner of player ratings, player dimensions, and anything else the game's developers have made available to us.
This time is special, though, because I'm pulling out every single one of the stops at the same time. No other scenario I've built in Madden has been so abjectly cruel or unfair; no other scenario has even been close. […]
The GIFs, the GIFs…
January 4th, 2014
Paper Pong is a very strange, yet oddly appealing idea – a Choose Your Own Adventure-style implementation, on paper, of a very old video game. It almost seems like cheating to play a version of the book online…
As Sarah Werner observes in her musings on the alleged "death" of the "book":
I spent a lot of time as a kid playing Pong at home, so perhaps that's why I enjoy this book so much. But I love it, too, for its ridiculousness. It's a paper replication of a video game! Why would you do that? Why write lines of code to create a game of Pong that you then remediate in paper form? I don't know that there's a good reason to do that, other than you can. And, actually, that's a decent reason, one that drives more than a few novels.
January 21st, 2008
Could it be that eleven short months from now it'll be Jeremy Paxman starring in the Marks & Spencer Xmas ad?
November 23rd, 2007
Steven Poole has made a PDF copy of Trigger Happy, his book on "the inner life of video games" available as a free download under a Creative Commons license.
Trigger Happy is a book about the aesthetics of videogames â€” what they share with cinema, the history of painting, or literature; and what makes them different, in terms of form, psychology and semiotics.
I haven't read Trigger Happy yet, but I've enjoyed what I've read of Poole's work at Unspeak so I'm expecting an intelligent, nuanced look at the subject.
November 11th, 2007
Nintendo Wii Rejected Game Concepts.
(How exactly would you win at Hari-Kiri? Would you accumulate style points for the neatness of your work? Would you risk losing points the longer it took for your character bleed out after the killing stroke?)
October 3rd, 2007
Coming sooner than you'd think: The Halocaust.
September 7th, 2007
The author of this review of BioShock is pleasingly unimpressed at all the hype, and entertaining with it.
September 4th, 2007
Bioshock has been goatse.cxed. (Linked image is Safe For Work.)
June 12th, 2007
Japanese TV has come up with a brilliant idea: a gameshow based on Tetris. Trust me, it's a lot more fun than you'd imagine.
I look forward to seeing ITV schedule Celebrity TV Tetris with Ant and Dec against Doctor Who on Saturday nights next year…
[Via defective yeti]
April 30th, 2007
I'm no gamer – my only experience with the Final Fantasy brand is the 2001 computer-animated film – but I very much enjoyed this 8 minute abridged version of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
I'm going to take a wild guess that the creator of this little piece might have tinkered with the plot and the dialogue just a tad. Unless, that is, the game actually features the lines, "You don't need to fight flying rococo furniture to impress me, Cloud." and "Does this have something to do with your todger?"
(If, on the other hand, those lines do show up in the game proper then I just might have to invest in a games console to see what I've been missing.)
[Via Chocolate and Vodka]
April 22nd, 2007
If I fail to post for a few days, blame it on Plasma Pong.
PLASMA PONG is a variation of PONG that utilizes real-time fluid dynamics to drive the game environment.
Players have several new abilities that add fun twists to the classic game. In the game you can inject plasma fluid into the environment, create a vacuum from your paddle, and blast shockwaves into the playing area. All these abilities have fluid-based kinetic effects on the ball, making Plasma Pong a fast-paced and exciting game.
Not to mention "hypnotic" and "addictive."
(Coincidentally, the next item in the del.icio.us/popular list was a starscape that resembles a game of Plasma Pong being played on a much larger scale…)
March 4th, 2007
January 6th, 2007
Jet Set Willy:Online:
Well, look what we started…
I did this for a laugh, a bunch of images imagining a real world in which Jet Set Willy went on-line. In which Jet Set Willy went multiplayer. I though it was funny. But then I thought 'actually, no, it stupid and daft and crackers' and that's when I realised that it really ought to be real.
And guess what? It damn-well is – yep, we've made Jet Set Willy: Online. You can play it with mates. They can be in other rooms while you do that. In other houses in fact. Other continents if you're some sort of crazy internationalist.
I say again… it's real. You can play this, and we're chuffed to bits with it.
Oh … my … god! Do you have any idea how much time I could waste on this.
If I can't resist the temptation to download this, I may never blog again…
[Via Yoz Grahame]
December 29th, 2006
Buggy Saints Row: The Musical:
Saints Row (plot: shoot stuff) was a pretty average game by any measure — for starters, it was literally, down to almost every detail, an exact clone of Grand Theft Auto. [...]
Saints Row does, to its credit, have better graphics, a pretty good script, an amusing character creator, and better targeting (for better shooting people in the face).
It also has some bugs. The world's most awesome bugs.
So many bugs that I would keep my digital camera on hand while I played the game. And every time I came across a bug — and I came across a whole lot of them — I'd take a short video.
For a long time now, I've wanted to share these bug videos with you, but I wasn't convinced they were quite funny enough. They needed a hot comedy injection, a little something to tie it all together. And then it hit me: musical theatre. [...]
The mix of bizarre buggy behaviour and ballads works surprisingly well.
[Via Daring Fireball]
December 10th, 2006
Crazy Girl On Wii is far and away the most appealing Wii-related video I've seen so far.
[Via Viral Video Chart]
September 28th, 2006
This TV ad does a lovely job of depicting a real-world version of Katamari Damacy. Don't try this at home…
[Via Qwghlm del.icio.us feed]
September 3rd, 2006
The 1K Project II is a composite movie of 1,000 cars racing round a track at once. It's strangely hypnotic to see them swarm like a plague of locusts.
Watching the film prompted two other thoughts:
- If Formula 1 races consisted of 1,000 cars I might just find them less boring, even if there was still no overtaking.
- Apparently game designers have completely abandoned that whole 'real-world physics engine' idea that once seemed so seductive. I get that you have to make the game a little easier to play than real life, both to compensate for the lack of realistic feedback in game controllers and so that we don't all come to a fiery end at the first corner, but that fact is that cars just don't bounce like that, dammit! (And even if they did, the drivers wouldn't survive the experience.)
Still, it's a very nicely done movie.
[Via Yoz Grahame's del.icio.us feed]
August 8th, 2006
I saved the MP3 of a talk between Will Wright and Brian Eno at the Long Now Foundation some time ago, but I only got the chance to listen to it today.
The nominal subject for the talk was 'generative systems' – the use of simple rulesets to create unexpectedly complicated results – but this wasn't so much a focussed discussion of a single topic as it was an opportunity for two very clever people to meander around a topic and bounce ideas off one another. As I could listen to Eno talk about whatever engages his interest all day long that was fine by me.
The one drawback of these Long Now seminars is that although they provide downloadable audio recordings of the talks they don't supply images from the presentations the speakers give or provide video of the talks. In this instance, Will Wright spent fifteen or twenty minutes talking as he demonstrated Spore: if you've seen screencaps or videos of Spore elsewhere you could figure out more or less what he was up to, but it would be so much easier if we could see it alongside the audio of the talk. I don't expect the entire hour-plus chat to be available as a video, but surely the essential highlights (a few static images would do, if bandwidth was a problem) could be provided as an optional extra download?
[Edited to update link to video, due to impending closure of Google Video. JR 17 April 2011]
August 5th, 2006
I have no idea if Reservoir Dogs – The Game is any good, but I do know that these adverts for said game are quite marvellous.
(NB: links are to Quicktime movies. Language may be NSFW.)
July 23rd, 2006
Clive Thompson surveys the world of serious gaming:
"What everyone's realizing is that games are really good at illustrating complex situations," said Suzanne Seggerman, one of the organizers of [the third annual Games for Change conference in New York]. "And we have so many world conflicts that are at a standstill. Why not try something new? Especially where it concerns young people, you have to reach them on their own turf. You think you'll get their attention reading a newspaper or watching a newscast? No way."
Henry Jenkins, an M.I.T. professor who studies games and learning, said the medium has matured along with the young people who were raised on it. "The generation that grew up with Super Mario is entering the workplace, entering politics, so they see games as just another good tool to use to communicate," he added. "If games are going to be a mature medium, they're going to serve a variety of functions. It's like with film. We think first of using it for entertainment, but then also for education and advertising and politics and all that stuff."
Given away free, they have found astonishingly large audiences. The United Nations game, Food Force, has been downloaded by four million players, a number to rival chart-busting commercial hits like Halo or Grand Theft Auto. In May, MTV'S college channel released an online game called Darfur is Dying in which players escape the Janjaweed while foraging for water to support their village: despite its cartoonish graphics, a strangely powerful experience. In the first month alone 700,000 people played it. Of those, tens of thousands entered an "action" area of the game — political action, that is — where they can send e-mail messages to politicians and demand action on Darfur.
I was a little surprised that Thompson failed to mention Chris Crawford's Balance of Power, an obvious precursor of this type of game, right down to the practice of coding your assumptions about how the world works into your game then claiming it reflects 'reality' at some level.