This year’s Eurogamer Expo took place over the weekend and I, along with Mat C, Joel ‘Harbour Master’ Goodwin and a couple of other friends, had the fortune of being able to attend again and spend a few days bumbling about sampling whatever we could. And there was a lot more to sample this year.
I first started watching Red vs Blue in the DVD format, rather than on-line. It was at a party held by a friend. If I recall right – and it’s been years – alcohol and actual sessions of Halo were also involved in these festivities, because geek parties are awesome. I don’t think Red Vs. Blue itself needs much of an introduction: you’re probably at least passingly familiar with the series, a Halo-based mostly-comedy series done by Rooster Teeth Productions. What you may not realize is there’s already been ten seasons of it (with the newest season coming to DVD November 6).
With all the polished games I’ve managed to snag lately, last night I lost an evening to an unfinished alpha. Prison Architect, by Introversion Software, was released to early testers this week. Introversion is selling access to the alpha under a tiered “pay what you like” system (as long as what you like is at least $30). And thusfar, it seems to be doing quite well for an unfinished game.
The Art of Video Games is located, for just one more week, in Washington D.C., in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. It is a few blocks away from the bulk of the museums proper, a bit of a jog from the central area surrounding the National Mall. It shares a building with the National Portrait Gallery. To actually see the exhibit, one must climb up to the third floor, sneak around past a coffee lounge, and enter a dimmed area that looks less like an art museum exhibit than it does a night club.
As gamers, boss battles are practically in our blood. They go back at least as far as 1975. They’ve long been the go-to climax for a game adventure, the final goal for players of all ages. Sometimes they are epic set pieces. Sometimes…not.
Recent years have seen several titles get criticized for weak boss battles, even become notorious for them. Has gaming outgrown bosses? Has the march of progress left boss battles as vestigial as so many instruction booklets? Dix and Steerpike clash in the bottommost dungeon to find out.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental
After a brief detour to a strange planet populated by sentient, shape-changing robots, I return to my original mission. Will I find what I seek in the star systems controlled by the entity called “Activision”?
My biggest game-writing project to date wrapped a while back, and I thank you who chose to explore even part of it. Like all things, the story grows in the telling. I never planned to publish the Dark Souls Diaries. It started as nothing more than an email series to disinterested friends. The first several installments were just heavily edited versions of those emails.
When I elected to put them on Tap, it stopped being a goofy thing and became a matter requiring a degree of journalistic integrity. As the Diaries grew in popularity, so also grew my responsibility to be accurate. As such, the evolution of the Diaries took place alongside the evolution of my knowledge regarding the game. This epilogue is the story of that journey, plus the final moments of the game upon which the Diaries are based, and a short look at the recent Prepare to Die PC port. It may not be the last thing I’ll ever write about Dark Souls. But it is the end of this particular (and for most of you, unendurably tedious) chronicle.
Chalk up another record-breaking Kickstarter… yesterday, Obsidian studios (makers of favorites such as Planescape: Torment, Fallout: New Vegas, and Alpha Protocol) started a kick for a new, original RPG, codenamed Project Eternity. This is perhaps the “spiritual successor to Planescape” project that’s been considered a theoretical possibility for some time in studio interviews.
Given the studio’s pedigree, even with a fairly vague pitch, it’s already gone on to make a million dollars in 24 hours.
Officially speaking, my job with Culture Clash, the column I’ve written for the International Game Developers Association for nine years now, is to talk about how gaming culture relates to, is perceived by, and can influence the “rest” of culture. Beyond that I have a pretty free hand it terms of selecting topics. Of course, back in 2003 when I started, there were a lot more differences between “gamer culture” and just “culture.”
Still, the culture of gaming does exist, and as terms and phrases come to define aspects of it, I occasionally like to pause and consider what some of the constructs of gaming mean to me. Here we’re doing “social gaming” – or, rather, what “social gaming” would mean if they’d asked me to define it.
Which they did not.
… I’m giving The Walking Dead a high recommendation. I’m doing this for the story alone, and, if I said any more than I have, I’d be spoiling the experience. I admire a game with the guts to force me to make bad decisions. … If you want to take actions in a game that will really make you hate yourself, believe the buzz and try out The Walking Dead.