May 132015

Note by me after beating the game: There IS a game behind the bugs. And it’s not even that great!

“Almost every story can be gently nudged in a new direction, too, and it’s endlessly fascinating to see the ramifications of your words and actions ripple out across the land. What’s especially interesting is the subtlety at play. The choices you make aren’t often the heavy-handed, telegraphed conundrums of, say, Fable; sometimes a simple turn of phrase in a conversation tree can unwittingly send the dominoes falling.

You might make a new friend or a life-long enemy – and, sometimes, it’s not readily apparent that you’ve had any effect at all. Even the more obvious choices you’re presented with – would you care to rescue this man from a burning building, sir, or free this dark spirit trapped beneath the earth? – can splinter the game’s quest structure into strange new pieces that snap back to reveal unexpectedly ambiguous conclusions.

Ambiguity and the messiness of human life. Games have already proven that they can build and populate open worlds, even worlds as majestic and romantic and wild as this one. But this stuff is a reminder that the Witcher 3 is trying to do something different. It is trying to make an open world feel convincingly inhabited, to give it the warp and weft of narrative history. That’s a pretty interesting quest, and CD Projekt is a pretty interesting adventurer, beating a path into strange and bewitching new places. The result is that this Polish studio’s first open world is one of the greatest we’ve ever seen.”

Read the complete article by Matt Wales at…

Sep 232014

“I love this. I love how unapologetic and un-fun and fucking horrible it is. Again, it’s anti-videogame. It belies the idea of an answer, a solution, a victory. Things just sort of happen in P.T. And truly, it’s the closest I’ve seen anything come to faithfully depicting what it’s like to have a nightmare. That’s a trite compliment, often chucked at things like Inland Empire or Eraserhead, but it’s really, really true here. In P.T. you’re just lost. You’re fucking lost. You have no idea how anything works, what to do, where you are. It’s not an abstracted, black hole kind of world, it’s something from your waking life, and that’s what makes it powerful. That’s what makes it like a nightmare. You’re in this corridor, this formally laid out couple of hallways, but it’s gone wrong. It doesn’t work the way it should. Nothing works the way it should.”

Read the full article by Edward Smith in his blog “Words That Don’t Sell”…

And don’t forget to use the link in the article to a crazily interesting documentary on spatial design in Stanley Kubriks’ “Shining”…

Sep 142014

“Last Saturday, in central Brighton, I met a robot who showed me the future.
My daughter was with me, so he showed her the future, too. It was a future of pluck and ingenuity and optimism. You could get open-source cola there (alongside a tea towel printed with instructions so that you could make your own open-source cola at home), and the whole place smelled of glue guns. Even though the robot needed two friends to help move his cardboard pincer arms about, he was thoroughly convincing when he explained that he knew where the world was heading. And the destination, much like the sun reflecting off his tinfoil and chicken wire body, seemed very bright indeed: a paradise of recycled cardboard, repurposed technology and gleeful open-source cola self-sufficiency.
Most hearteningly, I suspect that in some small way this is the future that video games – and video game culture – are helping to build.”

Read the article by Christian Donlan of Eurogamer here…

Sep 012014

“Computer games could be the key to treating elderly people who have been diagnosed with depression, but who aren’t responding to conventional treatment. A new study has shown that playing a certain type of computer games was more effective at reducing symptoms of depression than the “gold standard” – the antidepressant drug escitalopram.”

Read the article with links to other interesting studies…

Also check our post on “Depression Quest” by Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey and Isaac Schankler…

Sep 012014

“”FAQ” used to mean “frequently asked questions” but in online gaming communities like it has come to mean walkthroughs, guides, item lists – anything that keeps you from hurling your controller at the wall in disgust. FAQ means salvation. And a mostly anonymous guild of dedicated authors specialise in providing it.
They don’t ask for anything in return. That must piss off the people who print the glossy strategy guides your local game store props up by the register. The publisher types are just trying to turn an honest profit. Meanwhile, the FAQ authors are writing more detailed, more flavourful guides, and giving them away for free.”

Read the complete article on game guides by John Teti at Eurogamer…

Jul 072014

“So what’s the problem? “What concerns me about the avalanche of shooters we see at E3 every year is the way they’re showcased as the very best the industry can do,” Abbott tells Gamasutra. “We’re told these are important groundbreaking games, but we can see for ourselves they aren’t. This year the endless stream of violence felt more like pandering than ever, and I felt bored and alienated. And old. Every E3 is pitched to the same 14-year-old adolescent male as the one before. And every year I have less in common with that boy.””

“Hunicke agrees that there can be a falloff in joyful media as consumers age. Perhaps in their quest for “adult realism,” games can forget that surprise, joy and ease are things people want at all ages — perhaps especially adults, as reality can be devilish enough, and mature audiences may want more pleasurable escapes than further simulation of the horrors of the “real”.
“Children’s books and films are often quite joyful, and their software and games are too,” she says.”Somehow, we get to a place where we step away from having that feeling on a regular basis. That’s definitely something we should work on — don’t you think?””

Read the full article by Leigh Alexander…

Her website (on the art, culture & business of interactive entertainment, social media and stuff)

Apr 212014

“Goat Simulator was one of the most crazy ideas — quirky enough to fit for a game jam — and we believed we could get some really nice results in little time. The goal with the game jam was not necessarily to get a real game, but to blow that steam off, experiment with the Unreal Engine 3 and also educate some of our new programmers.
During the jam we also played around with our ways of working and broke down all the traditional roles in the team. People were free to work with whatever they liked. We also had no real planning or structure for how things were added to the game, nor limitations, except the time frame.
After about two weeks of jamming we had this goat roaming around a map and wrecking stuff, and we all thought it looked pretty hilarious so we uploaded a video to YouTube and it just caught fire.”

Read the complete Q&A with Coffee Stain Studios CEO Anton Westbergh here…