Last week Valve unrolled a feature that would allow people to sell Skyrim mods on the Steam workshop. It wasn’t a mandatory requirement all mods be paid or listed on the marketplace, but there was now a legal infrastructure to allow modders to be paid for their work. A few hours ago Valve announced they would be removing this feature and issuing refunds to anyone who had purchased a mod. Continue reading Valve Removing Paid Mods Is Everything Wrong With Gamer Entitlement
As I’m writing this GamerGate is entering its 8th month of ongoing terror and intimidation across social media. It’s been a horrendous period in games, destroying people’s lives, driving people out and away from the games industry, permanently scarring the reputation of games in the public eye, causing universities to cut funding for games programs, and showing no signs of stopping anytime soon as its advocates continue to find new, even more horrific methods to try to drive out their adversaries. Continue reading I’m Not A Gamer
Close your eyes and think of what the word “game” first brings to mind. For myself and I imagine a lot of people born before 1995, that image was something 8 or 16-bit. Maybe Mario, of MegaMan, or one of the early Final Fantasy games. In my eyes, pixel art is the defacto aesthetic of games. It’s where they began and an art style they created, yet beginning around the release of the Playstation, there’s been a trend in games to abandon the style in favor of attempting as high a level of realism as possible with a game’s graphics. Only in recent years has the style been revisited, mostly by indie developers, and yet the response I so often see toward it is not one of appreciation but accusations of developers being “lazy”, “incompetent”, or “unimaginative”. Continue reading An Ode to Pixel Art
I’m not exactly sure where the mindset originated (though if I had to guess I’d say with young people without a large income), but for a large segment of the gaming community a game’s length is often viewed as one of the deciding factors in whether they decide to purchase/play it. It seems absurd to me, as after all nobody says they only read books that are over 1000 pages or albums with more than 20 tracks, but for whatever reason games are uniquely singled out as being required to provide dozens and dozens of hours of content, or else be written off as a poor value or even somehow degrading games as a whole with their meager offering. Continue reading Are long games hurting the medium?
Steam, Desura, Humble DRM-Free, GMG Capsule; there are so many different digital platforms for games at this point that anytime I hear of the creation of yet another, I shake my head and wonder “what is the point?”
itch.io is the latest of these, or at least the one I’ve been hearing about the most. It’s a site dedicated to independent games with a focus on developers and flexible monetization. It doesn’t sound too radical when you put it that way, but as I dug deeper into the site, I began to see how itch.io drastically differs from other distribution platforms; in ways that significantly alter the message the site seems to driven by, and the impression I got of how it chose to present it. Though in some ways the site still feels as if it’s in its infancy, these differences are exciting and noteworthy enough to warrant discussing. Continue reading How itch.io is different and why they’re important
Stealth games have had something of a rebirth as of late, starting most notably with Mark of the Ninja to move the genre away from trial and error into more organic, creative gameplay loops.
Turbogun’s Master Spy isn’t interested in that kind of stealth though. In fact calling Master Spy a stealth game almost doesn’t seem appropriate. It’s far more in line with an arcade twitch platformer, giving you small rooms to navigate with absolute precision, only instead of evading enemies you need to keep out of sight of guards and security cameras (among the other assorted traps you’d expect a spy to encounter, ie. lasers everywhere). Continue reading Indie Impressions: Master Spy (Alpha Demo)
I’ll be the first to admit that I cringe a bit anytime someone tells me about a free-to-play game. It’s a reaction I’ve seen among a lot of people lately, and it’s frustrating because I don’t think F2P as a monetization system is inherently bad. In fact, I feel it’s the inevitable and ideal future of a lot of games, allowing for greater financial success and longevity for developers, and the ability for players to try a game before spending a dime in a way demos can’t provide. Continue reading The problems with F2P and how Hearthstone solved them
If you’re an economically conscious gamer you’ve likely noticed as of late that we seem to have fallen down a rabbit hole of continual discounts, bundles, and money saving subscription services to the point it’s becoming difficult to even keep track of them all.
“Well that’s great” I can hear you say. “I love games and I love saving money, how can this be anything but amazing?!” Continue reading Are too many sales hurting the games industry?
It took a long time to get here, folks, but we seem to finally be entering a stage of video games being taken seriously as a medium for storytelling.
That isn’t to say games haven’t been telling great stories for years (they have), but it no longer feels like an exception to the rule for a game to have a story worth experiencing, nor is it still considered taboo to criticize a game for a garbage narrative on the basis of games being somehow incapable of decent writing. After so many years of clichéd plots and shallow characters, we’re seeing games with important things to say, capable of inciting emotion and empathy from players; of being more than a conduit to deliver us from one gameplay scenario to the next. We still see a lot of the same stories we’ve been rolling our eyes at for decades, but they’re becoming less and less common as we raise our collective standards and demand better, because we know our games are capable of it. Continue reading Games vs narrative and why it shouldn’t have to be that way