What if we let go of the Space Marines and just be… ourselves?
In most games (disregarding for the moment the ones where we stack blocks on top of one another) we are compelled to inhabit the role of a character other than ourselves. We consider this fun, because very few of us are in fact real life knights, space marines or Panzer commanders. Through video games, we have an excuse to do the exact same thing we did playing outside when we were children, but today through the slightly less confronting means of a machine with a screen.
An increasing number of developers is creating games with a focus on empathy. Is this the birth of a new genre?
A new generation of games is confronting players with real human issues. Things like depression, alcoholism, bullying, terminal illness or suicide. Often very personal stories that have touched and shaped the life of the designer. Some have labeled these games -or experiences- ‘empathy games’. Maybe for lack of a better classification, or maybe because that’s exactly what they are.
Earlier this year, Jonatan van Hove contacted the organization of GDC Europe to ask them if they had considered hosting an Experimental Gameplay Workshop, his favorite part of every GDC in San Francisco. They told Jonatan to organize it himself. A few weeks later, he had over 150 submissions in his mailbox, and became the host of what would be 9 short talks by creators of innovative games. Continue reading
The hardware has caught up with the ideal, but the design tenets have yet to do so. Should we look at theatre for inspiration?
After decades of not-so-stellar films and special Star Trek episodes, we appear to be catching up with our science fiction aspirations. The not-too distant release of the consumer Oculus Rift, together with the Morpheus, GameFace and various other Head Mounted Displays, means that we could well be enjoying a new paradigm of gaming within the year. However, there are as of yet very few dedicated games in development, and it won’t be a simple case of adding Rift integration to existing types of games.
New rules concerning in-app purchases take all responsibility out of consumers hands and place it firmly with developers of free-to-play games. Rightly so?
Following a ‘large number’ of complaints in EU countries concerning in-app purchases, the European Commission joined forces with national authorities and studied the free-to-play business. On July 18, they released a statement with their findings, including a number of new rules. EU Commissioner for Consumer Policy Neven Mimica calls the outcome of the study “significant for consumers”.
Like our own world, believable virtual worlds consist of millions of seemingly insignificant details. Get it right and players will call it home.
Many of us spend our free time inhabiting other worlds. We escape to outer space or fantasy realms and marvel at these constructed realities and their combat-capable natives suspiciously willing to sleep with our digital selves. We immerse ourselves in these seductive landscapes and compelling vistas and only rarely stop and appreciate the fact that these worlds were purposely built for our enjoyment by people with pencils and machines.
In a time of self-publishing and crowdfunding, a few young publishers discovered how to be relevant.
Sure, they’re still around. The old massive publishing houses that used to rule the games industry. They are still big and still a force to be reckoned with, but more and more they become a relic of days gone by. Because in an industry that is constantly changing, big isn’t necessarily a good thing. It means that it’s harder to cater to the little guy. And there are more little guys every day.
The debate on free-to-play games is the fiercest ever in the gamesindustry. Is that a problem? And why is it so hard to find common ground?
Heated debates are nothing new for the gamesindustry. For starters, there’s the ongoing discussion on whether or not games lead to real life violence, closely followed by the debate on game addiction. Participants are typically divided along the lines of industry versus non-industry. Put simpler: the gamesindustry versus the rest of the world.
Lately, a number of discussions arose within the gamesindustry. These range from a friendly professional conversation on games as a storytelling mechanism, to a much more fierce debate on inclusion and gender.
All over the world indie developers join forces to raise a fist against triple A studios and their big budget marketing campaigns.
Suppose you have a development budget worth of six months rent and a cupboard full of Cup Noodles. Once the game is done you might find it difficult, if not impossible, to actively market and promote it. All your money is invested in the game and you need cold hard cash for everything these days, right? Well… no. That’s not necessarily true.
Now that we know all the technical details of the next generation consoles, it’s time to talk about a more important issue: gameplay.
I died. Again.
It was my own fault – I chose to ignore the obvious signs. Just before I had entered the cavern, there was this red glowing message on the floor in front of me. “Beware of the trap ahead”, it read. I didn’t see one. What I did see however, was a ghost. A milky white, translucent warrior. Walking away from me before, suddenly, his body was jerked violently to the side, crumbling to the ground.