I don’t write too many “response” pieces, because normally I get too bent out of shape about the ego-driven prattle and misinformation so often passed as fact. Yet here we are! ...
Please note, the images used for the article are safe for most environments, but the linked images are NSFW. For a long, long, time I’ve been extremely curious about the entire ...
Everyone loves a surprise. Risk of Rain didn’t completely sneak up on me, but it came dangerously close. I knew of the game’s Kickstarter campaign earlier in the year, but we’re ...
How Loud is Too Loud?A Not-Review of Bulletstorm
It’s a basic fact of how we work that we evaluate things based on previous experience. It’s not that we’re prejudiced, we just need some way to effectively parse new input that we receive. This is why, when Bulletstorm reared its thick-necked head, a game published by and ostensibly sprung from the id-rampant psyche of Epic Games and Cliffy “Cliffy B” B, a real first-person shooter’s first-person shooter, a game that for the love of Christ was called frigging Bulletstorm, my initial reaction fell somewhere between apathy and horror.
Somehow, though upon reflection I can’t possibly fathom, the game’s aesthetic mashup of Borderlands and Gears of War—one of which I’ve never played and one of which is, in almost every way, abhorrently bland—combined with a shitload of on-screen feedback and numbers and comically gamified hoopla ended up getting the better of my curiosity.
What I was able to determine from Bulletstorm is that it may or may not be an excellent first person shooter. That is to say, it may be an excellent first person shooter, or it may be the epitome of background noise. (more…)
Keep the Children Safe!Kaiju Blues: A Review of Attack of the Friday Monsters
As a writer, I have one set of writing rules on the wall: Kurt Vonnegut’s. They’re eight things that I try to always stay mindful of. Of course, underneath, there’s a ninth: that the great writers break these rules. Rules don’t make a good story. A good story makes a good story.
I feel like videogames could present a similar set of rules. Make sure your mechanics are crunchy. Always have some roguelike elements. Be pretty. So on, so forth. But they’d come with an addendum, too: some great games break all the rules. They don’t have time for rules. The developers have a vision, and they have to follow it.
That’s the case with Level-5′s Attack of the Friday Monsters, released as a downloadable title for the 3DS. It’s a game with one boring mechanic. It’s impossible to fail. You don’t make choices. It has a little ugly PSX era charm, but not really. And it is absolutely captivating: a game about childhood games, about being a child. (more…)
Gamer GuiltMy Quarter Life Crisis
My adolescent self would be disappointed in me.
I remember the days when I would fake sick to spend an entire day with Final Fantasy VII. I’d be wrapped up in a shelter of quilts and fleece blankets, a fortress of comfort. The day when Halo 3 was released, and I skipped an entire day of school with my brother, relishing in the glow of our TV set. Most vividly, though, I remember my view of adulthood: I’d graduate, go to University, have my own place, and above all, I’d have more cash for the games I craved.
The ideal future for my electronic habits was something that seemed feasible back then, because, really, I would just be me but older, right? Of course, we all know that life isn’t a stress free, video game filled oasis of free time.
"No games coming out," huh!? Bite me.Horn O' Plenty--Tons Of Upcoming Releases
I don’t write too many “response” pieces, because normally I get too bent out of shape about the ego-driven prattle and misinformation so often passed as fact.
Yet here we are! I’ve just endured a third instance this week where someone bemoans the fact that “there are no games coming out until Titanfall.” That’s four freaking months away! There are variations on a theme, but for people to say that while others pipe up in agreement is a disrespectful punch in the face to all of the developers who are working hard to release games in the interim.
So instead of issuing threats, I’m going to take the high road—I’m simply going to recognize that naivete, and tell you all about a few of the amazing games you can look forward to!
Do we have to see Liara Naked? Some Say Yes..."Why!?" -- An Interview About Game-Inspired Pornography
Please note, the images used for the article are safe for most environments, but the linked images are NSFW.
For a long, long, time I’ve been extremely curious about the entire subculture of game-inspired pornography. Illustrations showing not only nudity but also the sloppy, logistical horrors of penetration and orgies aren’t uncommon. At first, it’s jarring. Then, it starts to become interesting. It starts to feel more like you’re watching a car wreck and can’t turn away.
Artists who choose to draw game characters in compromising positions in turn tends to draw the ire of the internet at large. But is it all well-deserved? Are they all just a bunch of perverts and misanthropes, furiously mastrubating alone in front of their masterpieces?
Not in the least. There’s serious talent at work, and even more serious passion. I reached out to one of the artists to get some insight, and it turns out that in most instances, you’ll find people who care about these characters more than you and I ever will.
An absolute must-buy out of nowhere!Risk Aversion: A Review Of Risk Of Rain
Everyone loves a surprise.
Risk of Rain didn’t completely sneak up on me, but it came dangerously close. I knew of the game’s Kickstarter campaign earlier in the year, but we’re almost trained to assume we won’t see those games for at least a year, right?! Lo, a mere seven months after the close of their Kickstarter, developer Hopoo Games has released Risk of Rain, and I couldn’t be happier.
My personal history with roguelikes can be summed up with a single word: Yawn. While the sales pitch of “never play the same dungeon twice” used to excite some, the idea always bored me to tears. To my wee brain in the 1980s, it was an impressive technical achievement, but once I realized it was only the layout that was changing, it quickly felt uninspired.
Recently, designers have been stepping outside of the tradtional comfort zone and using randomly created elements in new and exciting ways. As these kinds of games enjoy more time in the limelight, players are finding they’re no longer just dungeons with different layouts—whole new worlds are being created.
Pixar's Take On Hotline MiamiKnackered: A Review of Knack
Knack is an interesting game.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a good game. It’s loose in all the wrong places, about four hours too long, and incredibly punishing for its intended audience. Mainstream reviewers have already torn it to pieces for all these faults.
None of this stopped me from playing it and, almost in spite of myself, mostly enjoying it. I didn’t always like it–it never managed the casual ease of something like Ratchet and Clank–but something about it kept me going, even as my RSS feed filled with 5/10 reviews.
On Bad PCs And The Illusion Of ChoiceRPG Club Plays Baldur's Gate II: Week 1
We all knew this was going to happen eventually, right? I mean, how could any self-respecting RPG Club not have a Baldur’s Gate game on the syllabus? With the Enhanced Edition fresh out of the gate, we simply couldn’t resist this opportunity to sink our hooks into this canonical RPG while it’s still considered “vintage”; here at Pixels or Death we never pass up an opportunity to further cement our videogame hipster cred.
This week the gang plows steadfastly forward, contemplating questions on choices in videogames: how we make them, what motivates us, and whether it’s actually possible for anybody anywhere to say no to Minsc. (more…)
Let's just make games and leave definitions to the criticsConcept Games and Genre Definitions
Definitions are problematic.
I thought I understood this popular notion before but I hadn’t fully grasped how problematic they are before I began designing games. As a proponent of concept games, where the purpose of playing extends beyond mere entertainment and is meant to drive home a specific emotion or message, I grew increasingly aware of how restrictive our use of definitions was. Words meant to facilitate our grasp on the basic meaning behind concepts had evolved into a mask protecting the status quo behind it. In an industry where business already survives off the status quo, smaller indie developers like myself who have lesser strings binding them don’t need the creative side of game development to be restricted by the boundaries of words and their definitions. (more…)
So A Rabbi Walks Into A Bar...Thought-Provoking: A Review Of The Shivah: Kosher Edition
So a rabbi walks into a loft overlooking New York, and asks some big questions I’ve never considered before. Thus ends The Shivah: Kosher Edition, a point-and-click adventure game about a rabbi trying to solve a murder. I normally complain about adventure games, but this is a smooth play with a clever story. As gameplay goes, it’s solid, but that is far from the game’s most interesting offering. When many games have a message they want the player to get, they beat you over the head with it. The Shivah had a message to get across and they did so subtly – so at the end of the game, I was left with conflicting feelings and thoughts looping through my head.