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Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014
If the player of a building game like Clockwork Empires is intended to help build a world in the game itself, shouldn't that player be able to take part in the process of building Clockwork Empires itself?

For the low, low price of 30 bucks, you can play test Clockwork Empires for Gaslamp Games. Or, at least, that’s what it feels like to me when an individual plunks down his or her money for most games labeled “Early Access” on Steam.


My perspective may be a bit retrograde in the post-Minecraft gaming landscape. I’m informed by the old school idea that playtesting is a paid position in a game development company, given that it isn’t necessarily a pleasure to play buggy and unfinished products. Playtesting is a part of the creation of a game, necessary to a video game as copyediting is to a novel. And while I have playtested in an unpaid capacity before, as a beta tester, still I never paid anything for the privilege. After all, it seems a bit like a job.


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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014
This week we discuss the quieter and more subdued penultimate chapter of The Wolf Among Us.

In truth, there is very little that is happy in the neon noir fairy tale world of The Wolf Among Us. However, the penultimate chapter of Telltale’s adaptation of the Fables comic book series to video game form is a quieter and more subdued one.


This week we discuss the possible success or failure of that quiet as the drama of the game moves towards its final act.


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Monday, Aug 18, 2014
by Brian Crecente
That technology is being used to examine and perhaps shape Ulysses’ understanding, isn’t that surprising. After all, there was a time when books were considered technology.

An award-winning Irish filmmaker and animator just received crowd-sourced funding to kickstart his work turning James Joyce’s Ulysses into a virtual reality video game.


The concept is to immerse players in Joyce’s stream of consciousness by dropping them into the shoes of the work’s two protagonists Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom.


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Friday, Aug 15, 2014
To fall off-screen is to cease to exist. Off-screen is death, and an auto-scrolling screen is Death on a mission.

Nihilumbra is an interesting puzzle platformer about a little piece of nothingness that tries to become something more. You’re a piece of The Void that suddenly finds itself born into the living world. As you explore, you gain new abilities and learn what it means to be alive. However, The Void chases you wherever you go, consuming everything in its path in a single-minded quest to become whole again.


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Thursday, Aug 14, 2014
Balance is a design concept that sits upon the shifting sands of player perception and behavior.

In a recent conversation between Gamasutra’s Leigh Alexander and Ubisoft Blue Byte’s Teut Weidmann, the games industry consultant warned away other designers from mimicking Riot’s monetization strategies for League of Legends. His point about the company’s monetization through reach is a valid one, albeit not one I want to discuss—at least not yet. Rather, I want to focus on this particular quote:


They release a champion that is always, always overpowered. So the people who pay for the game buy the champion immediately… and then Riot will go in and slowly devalue the price of the previous champion they released.



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