L.A. Noire embraces the frustrating trend of shipping with retailer exclusive pre-order bonuses. Depending on where you order the game from, you’ll get one of four exclusive cases. There’s one unique to Best Buy, Wallmart, GameStop, and one for the PS3. The most annoying thing about these “deals” is that the content is digital and could easily be made available to everyone, but business politics dictate that they remain exclusive for a set amount of time. The upside to this situation is that L.A. Noire has also embraced a different kind of pre-order bonus, a physical product that allows us to experience the game in a new setting: the real world. GameStop’s exclusive Badge Pursuit Challenge is more alternate reality game than video game and that makes it far more entertaining than any extra in-game case.
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Beginning June 10th, impromptu teams of game designers, programmers, artists, humanitarian aid experts, philanthropists, and anyone with a passion for changing the world will participate in GameSave, a “hack-a-thon” like competition to develop disaster response games. Over five weeks, small collections of thinkers and do-gooders will brainstorm, design, and produce games that might save lives. With a 48-hour jam session in Seattle, Washington, a final public reception in San Francisco, and potential GameSave events in the future, creators Annie Wright and Willow Brugh aim to make entertainment and humanitarian aid long-term partners. The two GameSave founders graciously took some time with me to discuss the event and the role that games can play in mitigating the impact of disaster,
PopMatters: Can you explain how the idea for GameSave came about?
Annie Wright: Well, basically it was a comment thread on a Gamer Melodico article. I shared it via Google Reader. I believe it was actually about PAX East coverage.
Willow Brugh: It turned into this fantastic conversation, and going back to face to face time, Annie and I wanted to sit down to talk about it.
It may be safely said that most people with even a passing interest in the video-gaming hobby have at one point or another heard of Metal Gear Solid. It is one of the iconic games released for the PSX—a game so well-liked that it was given a complete overhaul and update with the release of Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for the Gamecube. Now I will freely admit—cheerfully admit, even—that the visual style of the old Metal Gear Solid left a bit to be desired.
From campy exploitation to the exploitation of addiction, the Moving Pixels podcast discusses a few of this year’s flash game releases.
You can find free-to-play versions of the three titles that we discuss in this episode below:
Dragon Age II is about prejudice, against refugees, foreigners, and those among us who are simply different. The citizens of Kirkwall hate the refugees from the Blight, they hate and fear the stranded Qunari, and like everyone else in the world of Dragon Age, they fear mages. Oh, and mages fear the Templars. The conflicts are well presented; neither side is very sympathetic as the victims often lash out with violence at their oppressors, justifying further oppression. Dragon Age II seeks to explore this vicious cycle of hate, and for the most part, it succeeds. Prejudice against mages isn’t just a major theme, it’s an important plot point with ramifications that will change the world of Ferelden. However, this delicate balance falls apart whenever the player is put in the role of victim because the player is never truly victimized or oppressed.