The wait is over! You can now, at long last, refresh the Side by Side tab you’ve had open since the end of season 1 to see that season 2 is upon us! Bigger, better, harder, faster… uh, stronger? Actually, while season 2 won’t necessarily be bigger, we hope it’ll be better. Harder? No. Faster? No. Snappier? I didn’t say that, but yes. Sexier? Now now, don’t push it.
Time is running out to avoid a general strike among video game voice actors represented by SAG-AFTRA. The union has been in negotiations with major publishers for several months now, but so far neither side seems willing to give on its expectations. Eighty percent of game voice talent isn’t union, which makes their side a difficult one. Strike may be the only way to be heard.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata died on 11 July at the age of 55, of complications caused by cancer from which he had been thought to be recovering. Any time someone dies young it’s a blow, all the more when the individual lost is such a significant and well-liked figure – an avalanche of tributes, many quite moving, appeared in the days following his death. Satoru Iwata became president of Nintendo in 2002, having risen through the ranks on various projects since the 1980s. Iwata-san’s personality was unusual for a titan of industry, and the way in which his personality fit into Nintendo’s character was also unique.
In 2005, he made a remark that sums himself up quite well.
I apologize for the long silences around the Tap-Repeatedly bonfire of late. We were never a multiple-article-a-day type of place, but over the past year or so it’s really slowed down, partly because we’ve had fewer contributors shouldering more of the workload, and partly because I haven’t been pulling my own weight. But despite how it may seem, I have no plans to call it a day.
Some of you may remember Celebrity Guest Editor Zeke Iddon visiting us here on Tap. His hilarious review of Bientôt l’été is still among my top favorite guest posts. Now he’s back, sharing wisdoms and intelligences and Yoda-like prognostications. Believe me, you’re going to want to click that Read More link.
You may recall that Microsoft bought out Mojang Specifications almost a year ago, spending a cool $2.5 billion on the Minecraft developer. So far the Redmond giant has done very little with its new toy, and Minecraft has gone on more or less like it always has. Now it looks like the Redmond giant has some plans to extend the sandbox game into the classroom. This won’t be the first time Minecraft is treated as an educational tool, but I’m eager to see the results when Microsoft puts its muscle behind the project.
Community, Dan Harmon’s ensemble comedy set at a wacko community college, is one of the most truly geek-friendly TV shows of the past decade. The first time I ever watched Community was the Dungeons & Dragons episode: among the most accurate representations of tabletop roleplay ever put to network television. There was also an entire episode of Community that took place inside a pixel art video game.
It occurred to me just last week as I was watching this episode: the internet is full of wonderful things. Could that video game be a real thing now?
Should I have even doubted?
Geralt of Rivia is a sullen man, unlikable even, but I like him because he’s cooler than me and because he always remembers my birthday. Which is today. I am forty.
So far it doesn’t seem much different than when I was thirty-nine, but the real test is whether I survive the next few days. I’m currently participating in a weekend-long birthday extravaganza thrown by my friends to celebrate the many late-May birthdays in our group. When I was younger, this sort of multi-day celebration was par for the course. Now that I’m forty it’ll probably kill me. In fact, I might already be dead. This post could be from beyond the grave!
While the graphics take advantage of modern processing power despite Axiom Verge otherwise resembling a 16-bit game, Axiom Verge doesn’t make many modern design concessions. In other words, it’s hard in an NES way. This is a commitment to purity you may appreciate, or may find controller-snappingly frustrating. I would describe my experience with Axiom Verge as an ebb-and-flow of joy and frustration.
A new documentary film, GameLoading: Rise of the Indies was released this year after a successful Kickstarter. The film, which is available for digital download through Steam or from the GameLoading web site, was created to showcase the diversity in the indie game development community and celebrate the works of indie game devs. How successful is it? Let’s talk about it! But first, let’s watch a trailer, after the jump!
Our topic today is dungeons, and the keeping thereof, from creature management to the ongoing nuisance of “heroic” dungeoneers. Evil is good — we learned that in 1997, with Bullfrog’s seminal Dungeon Keeper; again in 1999 with Dungeon Keeper 2. Recreating that wicked goofballery has proven an elusive brass ring. Subterranean Games is grasping for it with War for the Overworld, which promised to be Dungeon Keeper 3 in all but name. Did they succeed? Or is evil thwarted again? Gregg and Steerpike cackle their way to the answers you need.
I met Connor Hart at Philly Dev Night, where he was showing off his game PUSH, a PC-targeted Sokoban-style puzzle game. Now that PUSH is released, I checked back in with Connor to ask some questions about his process, the game, and the trials and tribulations of being a part-time game developer! Hit the jump for another edition of Local Flavor!
Let’s talk about a little thing called Homestuck.
You’ve heard of it, maybe? If not, a little background: Homestuck is the fourth and longest chapter of an online comic series titled MS Paint Adventures. Homestuck began as a riff on adventure games, starring a basic character in an adventure game world… but slowly morphed into an internet epic, spawning its own fanworks, full animations, music albums, cosplay, and more.
Among the “more” was an extremely successful Kickstarter, to bring everything full circle and fund an adventure game based on this comic based on adventure games. The Kickstarter for the game gathered almost 2.5 million dollars, just one example of how extremely motivated the Homestuck fandom is.
At GDC, I got a chance to talk to Jess Haskins from What Pumpkin Studios, the game development team that is working on the Homestuck Adventure Game project. Later I followed up with her on Skype to ask some questions about the New York-based What Pumpkin, and what we can expect from this game, called Hiveswap.
Sometimes you go all the way to the other side of the country, then get a chance to chat with developers who work right in your backyard. That’s what happened to me when I met up with the development team PHL Collective while they were at the ID@Xbox booth at GDC. They were there showing off their game, ClusterPuck 99, available now on PC, and coming soon to XBox One.
GDC was busy times, so sorry for the relative radio silence during the conference proper. If you are interested to know how my own talk at the Narrative Summit went, Polygon has a really nice writeup! Thank you to Colin Campbell and everyone else who was there, and I hope that you enjoyed it! From my experience, it seemed to go well and it was a lot of fun to be part of the summit.
In addition to my own speech, and meeting up with some great developers at GDC, I also attended a few panels when time permitted. Here, I’d like to talk about the GDC Microtalks, and the 1ReasonToBe panel.