I normally don’t post breathless and shocking announcements, but it’s just been brought to my attention that there’s been a huge upset in the world of gaming. Specifically, SWERY65, director of Deadly Premonition, has had his blog taken over by an alternate-dimension doppelganger with a terrifying mustache. And I gotta say, the game that development genius ZVVORY666 is working on now looks incredible.
What better way to spend a sunny weekend than playing games indoors. If I had a portable generator I would have likely taken my desk outside, but then I’d have only had sun glare on my monitor. Instead, I packed off my family for three days and decided to stay indoors away from the sun’s rays, playing Guild Wars 2 for more than 42 hours (curse the need to sleep!)…
For all that it’s short, and its tail is shorter; for all that it is what it is and what it is may not resonate with you the way it did with me, Journey is revelatory. As a responsible journalist I feel I ought to shy back from saying what I want to say, and what I want to say is this: if you have a PS3, buy Journey. If you don’t have a PS3, go get a PS3, then buy Journey.
Alliance of Awesome fellow Harbour Master, at his own haunt of Electron Dance, has posted a thoughtful piece on games that “leak:” that is, games that are uber-stimulative, not just profound or impactful, but that make you look at life differently. Check it out, he promises more to come.
Vessel is unique, as mesmerising to look at as it is to hear, brimming with smart mechanics and puzzles, and just a joy from start to finish. And after a two year wait since that first trailer, I couldn’t be more relieved to say all that. For $15 (less than £10), it gets my heartiest recommendation. If you’re still on the fence, there’s also a demo available on Steam which will hopefully push you off the right side of it.
While I’m stuck in my room because the Queen is outside and they won’t let me out (still sore about that whole revolution thing, I guess), I’ll get you up to date on what the Kermdinger chaps have been up to.
Here is another cool thing I did at GDC: play a lot of the games in the IGF. Some of the games have been released already, while others are still works in-progress. The first game I played there fell in to the latter category: Gunpoint. Gunpoint is a work-in-progress being designed and programmed by Tom Francis, with help from indie artists and sound designers. He keeps an extensive development blog, and I’d been following the project for a while, so I chatted with Tom at the event. Somehow from there I managed to get him to send me a test build to play with at home, for the full Gunpoint experience.
I completed Dark Souls a couple weekends ago – something I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to do. However, just because I’m done doesn’t mean that each and every one of you aren’t hanging on breathlessly for the next installment of my Diary! Far be it from me to deny you.
Today the adventure continues with all new topics: oral hygeine for snakes, the world’s worst library, dragons in the buff, and more crystal than you can shake a hippie at! Let’s go!
Now that I’ve finally fought off jet-lag and the post-con blahs, I thought I’d spend a few days talking about stuff I saw at GDC that caught my interest. Hopefully it will interest Tap’s community, too.
First up, a quick one: a video from software called Earthsim. Not a game exactly, but an engine and visualization project. Jump below the fold for more.
As many of you know, Ethan Sicotte – known around here by his nom de plume Finkbug – died by his own hand last Friday. I put it that way because I greatly prefer the notice in his local paper: Ethan Sicotte died after a tumultuous battle that he fought valiantly for many years. His death came on his own terms on March 9.
Finkbug was more than a regular at Tap-Repeatedly, he was a fixture, and a friend. His presence extends years before Tap even became Tap, when it was still Four Fat Chicks. He’d been a part of the community for nearly a decade. Everyone who knew him recognized his singular brilliance, his singular wit, his singular nature that made him such an important part of the community.
Finkbug chose to leave us in a way that’s left a lot of people reeling, but no one can be suffering more than his family and close friends. Our thoughts are with those people in their grief. Since Finkbug had been among us for so long, and come to mean so much to so many, it seemed only right to put together a small tribute for him. Here are just a few of the thoughts and memories some Tap members have, decorated with Ethan’s own artwork. In lieu of having Finkbug around, we must take some comfort in his memory, which will be treasured by many here.
I want to talk to you about a very dangerous individual whose word is, even now, spreading to your very living rooms. This individual has formed a small cadre of loyal followers and true believers on little more than force of personality. This cult is threatens to draw all of you into it if you aren’t careful.
Tappers, I want to talk to you about Commander Shepard.
This week at GDC, I attended many talks. Many of them included lessons I’m still trying to unpack and digest, especially where it comes to my development work. One of the talks happened to be on the topic of Women in Games initiatives. It was given by Mare Sheppard, who was a supervisor for the Difference Engine Initiative, a games incubator focused on female-only development. During her talk, she explained her misgivings about the initiative, discussing problems she felt existed with woman-only game development projects.
The Wipeout series has always been dripping with cool. Studio Liverpool’s clinical vision of the future has consistently been supported by industry leading electronic soundtracks and audio design, with it’s original logo’s and and aesthetic created by The Designers Republic setting the tone of the series from 1995 to the present day. It’s the videogame equivalent of a chic underground nightclub, and it’s a vibe that has always resonated with me. This is one of my favourite gaming franchises of all time and is probably the closest thing Sony have to a “system seller” to me. Hence my purchase of a Vita along with Wipeout 2048 last month.
Foreword by Steerpike
It was 2008 – around this time of year, actually – that I sent an email to Jen, and asked in oh-so-casual a tone what it cost to maintain Four Fat Chicks, the beloved gaming site she had run tirelessly for nine years before announcing her retirement.
She told me. “Are you thinking about taking it over?” (absolutely not, I thought, I wouldn’t have the first idea how. I’m just curious).
And then: “You should talk to Brad. That’s MrLipid. He asked me the same thing.”
Well heavens, I thought. Maybe we could do it in partnership. That would make it a lot easier. He’d do the work, I’d take the credit, everyone would win. So I got Brad’s phone number from Jen and gave him a call.
Hello, readers! I’m writing to you from sunny San Fransisco, California, where I’m about to hit the Expo floor for GDC 2012! Lots of game conferences are about show and spectacle: loud trailers and huge press announcements. But although there are always a few pieces of news, the annual Game Developers Conference is really a bit different. It’s more of a time for learning and reflection. It’s where developers talk about how games are made, what games …