“Even before Doom titillated PC gamers with droves of satanic space demons and the advent of graphic chainsaw dismemberment, the small band of renegade developers that created it seemed hell-bent on making waves in the gaming world. The original Wolfenstein 3D was highly controversial for its time and paved the way for much gaming depravity yet to come.Wolfenstein RPG is a much appreciated nod to the formative days of the first-person shooter genre.”
“Zubo definitely possesses a certain “what the hell” factor. It’s a game that’s been marketed to kids, but it’s not based on any pre-existing gaming franchise or movie tie-in schlock. It looks cutesy, but it’s actually one of the more creatively designed and visually impressive games on the system in some time. It smashes together rhythm game elements and a turn-based RPG battle system – two things traditionally reserved for titles geared toward more hardcore audiences – with cushy adventure exploration in a way that’s mostly clever and humorous. At the same time, you’ll find fluff mini-games, a monster-battling collection element and tiresome fetch quests scattered about. Zubo clearly suffers from a bit of an identify crisis, yet this quirky mish-mash of styles and ideas surprisingly works in its favor.
“Unlike PC gamers and the rest of the console gaming community, Wii purists have been starving for high-quality first-person shooters. They’ve suffered through Red Steel, a glut of tired WWII-themed shooters and a few other major disappointments in their quest for blissful headshot salvation. After years of roaming listlessly through the parched desert of FPS mediocrity, a game like The Conduit offers a certain measure of relief. Yes, if you’re thirsty enough, even stale, gritty canteen water can taste like Evian.”
“Landing a steady paying job as part of the development team at a major publisher is a dream come true for many budding young game designers. For Phil Fish, the unexpected and unpleasant reality of the situation he found himself in – working for a large studio as an anonymous drone amongst hundreds of others in an impersonal, sweatshop-like environment – made him momentarily question his choice of careers. However, far from crushing his spirit, the hellish personal experience actually fortified his resolve. Fish didn’t give up; he went indie. And much like the red hat-toting protagonist in Fez, he’s discovering there’s another whole other dimension to be found hidden within a seemingly two-dimensional world.”
“One can only imagine how the round-table brainstorming session played out for the folks in charge of coming up with the perfect title for a game where you dive off of mile-high buildings, head-butt poultry in mid-air, flip-off fans for extra points and collect human teeth as currency. After tossing around about 50 different names of varying quality, the team at Dejobaan Games finally settled on a winner for its upcoming extreme (and overtly peculiar) skydiving simulator: AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity. Yes, that’s spelled with 25 letter As and three exclamation points.”
“Even before MC Frontalot coined the term “nerdcore” almost a decade ago to describe his own distinct flavor of hip hop, geeky rappers have busted out rhymes about videogames, AD&D, hacking, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, computer culture and an array of other unabashedly nerdy subjects. As this singular hip hop scene continues to develop and gain momentum, it’s not surprising to find an increasing number of references to videogames and gamer culture woven throughout the lyrics and beats of many rappers who rally under the nerdcore banner.”
A fun feature exploring the connections between nerdcore hip hop and videogames. This piece will eventually be expanded into a chapter in the book I’m working on about the music of geek and gamer culture. Check out the full article at The Escapist here.
“A decade and a half after launching a highly successful career working as an animator and visual artist in the animation and film industry, Michel Gagné decided to quit his full-time work with the major studios and instead focus on independent projects. As a result, Gagné has spent the last year or so eating, breathing, and sleeping on an Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. Despite having little prior experience working on videogames, he’s found himself throwing the bulk of his creative time and energy into designing what will arguably be one of the strangest, most visually compelling, independently developed games around.”
“Making games is traditionally a time-consuming affair. Though independently produced projects can take significantly less time to turn around than games with million dollar budgets and huge teams, they still often require many months to several years of solid work to finish. For Swedish indie developer, Jonatan “Cactus” Söderström that’s simply too damn long. He’s the game development equivalent of a machine gun, firing off large volumes of small games as quickly as he can create them. Not all hit their mark, but their overall effect is surprisingly potent. Cactus enthusiasts can continue to expect a steady barrage of hyper-speed gaming oddities this year, but he also has some heavier ordinance in the pipeline that promises to deliver one hell of a payload when it drops.”
“You might recall the action-packed, explosive-heavy exploits of the hyper-masculine, videogame action hero Matt Hazard. No? He’s the franchise mega star of classic games of the 80s and 90s, like The Adventures of Matt in Hazard Land, A Fistful of Hazard, Conflict of the Deities (Featuring Matt Hazard), You Only Live 1,317 Times and Matt and Dexter. How about his atrocious spinoffs like Haz-Matt Carts and Choking Hazard: Candy Gram? If you’ve never heard of them, it’s because they don’t really exist. But playing Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard – an actual videogame cleverly developed by Vicious Cycle – makes me wish they did.”
“When a game starts you out with 1,000 lives, it raises some red flags. Such a high number brings the ominous expectation that you’ll die horribly and with great frequency over the course of the adventure. Why would a game need to give players so many opportunities to kick the bucket? There’s only one answer: Underneath the adorable, penguin-laden exterior of Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? is a heartless, bloodthirsty, unforgiving beast of a game that wants to grind your soul into itty bitty pieces and then vomit them back at you. Even worse, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy being brutally savaged by this charming and addictive action-platformer.”