Hi Tappers! Thanks for tuning in for our Games of the Year lists. Once again it seems like I’m the one to kick this series off here in January, so let’s ring in the new year and with a list of my favorite or most interesting games of 2014.
This is a special edition of Local Flavor. Instead of visiting a game studio, I went out to Washington, DC with my co-worker Shahed Chowdhuri, to visit Children’s National Health System and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.
So how is this relevant to games? In an amazing way. The Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation is using video game technology to drive innovation in pain detection and management in children. Or to put it even more simply: games for healing.
Shahed and I spoke with Christy Baxter and Dr. Julie Finkel at the organization to learn more about their use of gaming technology to help children. In the process, we learned a lot about how pain works, and a lot about what Children’s National is doing to fight it.
It’s been quite a while since I posted anything on Tap but my good friend Joel Goodwin over at Electron Dance has just launched our new 15 episode local multiplayer video series ‘Side by Side‘. I say our, it’s more his because Joel has done all the hard work, I just hosted the sessions, giggled a lot, spoke with him about our experiences and fed him cheese and ham sandwiches.
Anyway, I’m incredibly happy with the first episode which covers Jan Willem Nijman’s fantastic TENNNES and very much starts the series as it means to go on. Side by Side has its own YouTube channel so feel free to subscribe, like, share and all that other social media jazz. If you know anyone who enjoys a spot of local multiplayer then point them our way: we’ve got lots in store.
Hi everyone! Welcome back to Local Flavor!
I’m taking another broad interpretation of local and traveled to the opposite side of the state, to Pittsburgh, PA and the Schell Games studio. I have a history with this studio as I spent about six months working with the company last year. I was eager to check out their brand new space in Pittsburgh’s Station Square, and talk to the team behind one of their releases this year, Enemy Mind. Photos and interviews below!
This edition of Local Flavor takes me out to Boston. Quite by accident, really. I originally met Michael Silverman on a message board set up for Philadelphia game developers. I really enjoyed his game Don’t Shoot Yourself, which is currently on Steam Greenlight and playable on iOS. But before I could nail him down for an interview, I discovered he was moving to Boston, to work out of the Fire Hose Games incubator! Though I couldn’t check out his physical workspace, I still snagged him on Skype to ask some questions about Silverware Games, his design process, and his newest project. Check it out!
I’m continuing with my series of visiting local indie developers around Pennsylvania and the East Coast! This trip took me just outside of Philadelphia, to Woodbury, New Jersey, where I visited with indie development house Island Officials. Island Officials makes mobile experiences: from Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to the DS and 3DS. They also create analog games, working in the back rooms of the Tiki Tiki Board Games shop. In their business, they make new games, and sell old ones too.
While I was visiting, I checked out some of their newest mobile app store offerings, and asked CEO Ryan Morrison a few questions about the Island Officials brand of game development. More info after the jump:
In my current dayjob I cover a travel territory that reaches through Pennsylvania, out to Baltimore and outside of the DC area. I have met a lot of cool developers through Philly Dev Night who like to come out to Philadelphia every week to create, discuss, and play indie games. I’ve also met some students and researchers doing some fascinating things with game technology to make the world a better place for gamers and non-gamers alike. So, I’m starting a new series of articles. For the next few months, I, AJ, am going to be traveling around my neck of the world talking to indie developers about the work being done in the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh/East Coast gaming scene. I meet interesting people every day, and I want to share their work and words with you!
I’m kicking off the series by talking to Shawn Pierre, the sole proprietor of OriGaminc in Philadelphia, PA. He’s just coming off of a successful Kickstarter for his card game These French Fries are Terrible Hot Dogs and has presented his games at IndieCade East, the Boston Festival of Indie Games, and the Indie MEGABOOTH at Pax East. I asked Shawn a few questions about his current work and future plans. Check out our interview below the jump:
It’s been not two but three weeks since our last On Tap, because, like, sometimes Dix gets lazy. In that time, one of this console generation’s first anticipated releases has hit with Watch Dogs, and proved that we’ll likely have no shortage of sociopathic protagonists in case anyone was worried; LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow blew the lid off Kickstarter by getting all the money; and everyone’s been placing their obligatory E3 bets.
But since we have a little time to kill before Geordi can once again read us to sleep, we’ve had to turn to the comforting embrace of these games…
It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of another two weeks. So let’s drink to the last fortnight and have another for the next. Here’s what’s On Tap!
Where did the last two weeks go? What even happened? I totally wasn’t paying attention.
Well, I guess the Star Wars cast got announced. That was pretty big. But we here at Tap don’t have time for motion pictures based on older motion pictures. We only like games here. Games only!
Holidays are notorious for being bad times to be on the road, what with the higher volume of people traveling. Of course, based on what we’ve been up to this last week, apparently, it’s probably pretty unsafe to be on the road with anyone who writes for Tap, ever. There should be a registry or something.
Can you believe that just one week ago, we couldn’t catch Pokemon on Google Maps? And we didn’t know how badly we need a Blizzard tournament fighter? It was a world without Captain America: The Winter Soldier. A world where former Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig wasn’t yet attached to the next big Star Wars game. A world in which five-year-olds were widely believed (unjustly) to be unable to crack the security on an Xbox One. It was truly a time of darkness and ignorance.
Good thing we had these games to keep us warm at night.
Hey, we managed to get a regular feature two weeks in a row! That’s a new record.
With the acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook, I know that all of us – every reader, every staff member here at Tap, and really everyone – cannot wait to get our FarmVille fix through a headset. That’s all I’ve been thinking about this week! Being able to see my computer just really takes me out of the social game experience.
That said, Rome wasn’t built in a day (it took at least eight turns, I expect), so we have to find something to occupy ourselves until we can bug our friends incessantly from right in front of their faces. Here’s just a few things that the Tap staff have been using to pass the time.
It’s a little known fact that, behind the scenes at Tap, everyone is required to report every game they so much as look at. This is important so that we know who to ostracize for their gaming tastes in the secret staff forum. In this, the first installment of On Tap, our newest regular feature, we share some of our current gaming adventures: ones that don’t rate an article of their own – good, bad, or ugly – or ones still percolating in our tiny minds. This is important so that we know who to ostracize for not contributing to On Tap any given week.
Just…just assume everyone else’s contribution this time would have been Dark Souls 2. That’s probably where they are right now, in Drangleic. Except maybe Steerpike, who might be driving to Oklahoma as we speak with an axe and a shovel and fire in his eyes. But mostly Dark Souls 2.
Today, Dix and Steerpike take the tap.