With the advent of a new generation comes the expectation of new gameplay experiences. With more traditional, commercial, triple-A games these usually take the form of a sharpening of the toolset, finer brush stokes if you will. On the one hand players would have you believe they are a fickle bunch, craving more of what they already know and enjoy. On the other they are lobbyists for change and reinvention. Originality is hard to find and often harder to appreciate and yet when something so original, so provocative comes along it can often be polarizing.
Two schools of thought seemed to of emerged in recent times as to the future of the interactive arts. One is that tailored and heavily defined experiences are antiquated and detrimental to the very nature of an interactive medium and only serve to narrow its potential impact on an audience.
The other is a vote for the opposite direction. To follow the mold of what came before and shape it’s art on heavily authored, heavily defined moment to moment play.
One thing both mind sets can agree on is the simple truth that the one thing you truly cannot control, anticipate or predict is the player. They are an unknown, a variable, each one reacting differently to the other. A game points you down a spilt route and tells you to go left and ignore the right, which way do you choose? Do you follow the adventure line and follow the unspoken rules into the experience or does your curiosity get the better of you? Do you follow the system or abuse it?
Choice. It’s a complicated matter and one that of all the art forms only video games can play with in a active manner. So what if a game built itself not on your choice to follow the defined journey or not but instead asked you to choose how you represent yourself and let your actions define the experience. Would you save the day or would you make sure it was everyone’s last?
A good focal point for this is the mod turned full game DayZ. DayZ is a game many are familiar with, it’s popularity only made more fearsome by it’s strongest facet, it’s ability to generate dynamic, exciting and most of all highly tense experiences. Stories are what make this game special, not the kind written and authored but the kind that just happen. Like life and it’s chaotic maelstrom DayZ just provides the tools, it’s yourself and your peers who shape the reality you experience. Who are you in this bizarre post-apocalyptic reality it asks without asking? After hundreds of hours of playing I couldn’t tell you who I am or what I represent. I’ve killed for nothing on bad days and gone out of my way to save a stranger on good days, both simply for the satisfaction.
One thing however is certain in that harsh and unforgiving reality, satisfaction is king. For most this takes the form of a competitive drive to best someone, to lay claim to their momentary triumph of ability. But is it worth it? Too often players are enraged, disillusioned or put off of existing and participating in that world because of the senseless violence and they too often become part of it just to keep up. The purpose is seemingly lost the wider experience gone, all that remains a smouldering pile of lost hope and failed ideals.
Arguments can be made for the necessity of chaos to balance the order but how far can the scale tip before it falls over. Without the bandits the experience would be empty, hollowed out and without jeopardy but if the drive to best is bigger than the drive to survive then has DayZ failed. Can it fail? In many ways it’s a simulation of the human condition. I can’t help but feel there needs to be a fundamental shift in the mindset of the player. Can’t we cooperate to create something better, can’t we work together to survive…oh wait what’s that…is that bleach your force feeding me…oh god why I just wanted us to get along…I just wanted us to…
[b]Super Crate Box Review: A Triumphant Success.[b]
The retro reloaded scene is a popular one on iOS. It’s a genre that developers can work within quickly and proliferate in even quicker. It’s a genre that sparks nostalgia of a simpler time in gaming where beating the first level was often an achievement in its own right.
Super Crate Box [$.99/£.69] is an inspired platformer that takes cues from games such as the classic Mario franchise but after that it’s in a world of its own.
Developed by Vlambeer, SCB is a game of patience, if you can keep it. The objective is simple, grab as many crates as possible. The implementation however is far from simple. All games follow the same basic formula; crate appears, you dash madly towards it, crazed enemies drop from the top and descend upon you, you try and survive as long as possible.
The most important part of this formula, and the one I sneakily left out is what happens when you get those coveted crates. Every one you pickup gives you a new weapon. Every weapon has its own unique strategy and set of pros and cons, the shotgun for example fires a spread of pellets, but is slow to reload, the disc gun is another (which comes with its own humorous apology) that fires rebounding discs that cut enemies in two with ease, and infuriatingly often, yourself as well.
It’s this varied selection of crazy weapons that really adds to the game a sense of depth and strategy, each Weapon you get dictating the pace and style of your play in realtime and it’s this constant dynamic shift that really grips you.
The retro Inspired 16bit art is gorgeous and truly shines on retina displays. Characters bust with personality and despite the speed of play things never get cluttered. Fans of Super Meat Boy will notice graphical similarities and even a surprise cameo if they work hard enough.
On the control side Of things the game utilises a simple 4 button layout, two for movement left/right and a A/B set for jumping and shooting. These are extremely tight and are vary rarely the reason behind your failure.
Overall Super Crate Box is an incredible addition to the iOS lineup that offers addictive pickup and play action and will have you coming back for more. And as if that wasn’t enough, Vladbeer has committed to continual content updates, the first of which was out days after release.
Amazing New Crysis 2 “Invaders Must Die” Multiplayer Video.
Earlier this week Crytek rolled out the latest multiplayer trailer for their upcoming shooter Crysis 2.
Xbox Live Gold subscribers can download the demo next week, Tuesday 24th.
Crysis 2 is due out March 2011.
Hotly Anticipated Fan Short “Beyond Black Mesa” Finally Goes Live.
Generally, fan made game adaptation films are cringe worthy at the best of times, however every now and again one comes along that actually does the source material its justice.
Enter Beyond Black Mesa a film directed by Brian Curtain, shot over two years made on a budget of $1200, and shot on a Canon HV20.
The film follows Half Life: Opposing Forces character Adrian Sheppard and a small group of resistence fighters in Ravensholm fighting to alert the world to the combine invasion.
Expect over the top action, reasonably good camera work, half decent acting and a fairly good story.
"It’s been said that a bunch of nerdy white guys are creating these games. The problem with a bunch of white guys creating the games is that the story isn’t being created with balance.”
Mario Armstrong on racial stereotypes in games
Urban Video Game Institute
Sony To Implement Serial System To Halt Piracy And Trade In’s.
Earlier this week dutch website ps3sense.nl heard from “a very reliable source” that Sony is about to implement a new serial based system into retail games, PSN downloads and blu-rays that will require the user to input said serial and tie the product to their console.
If these reports are true then it is also to be believed that these serials can only be used a total of 5 times (already the case with PSN downloads) before being rendered unusable.
Last year console piracy on the PS3 began running rampant as hackers discovered how to access the root keys and “backup management” on Sony’s black box, ushering tides of players to use “homebrews” on their system to pirate games.
Apart from halting piracy, if implemented, this serial system would have a serious effect on the trade in business model in place by thousands of retailers. Some see this as good while others bad. Whatever your view this is just another step in the efforts to halt piracy and second hand sales.
Crysis 2 Demo out Next Week, Only For Xbox Though.
This Tuesday the xbox marketplace See’s the arrival of a slew of different demos, one of which is the multiplayer based demo for Crytek’s new benchmark shooter Crysis 2.
The demo will feature the multiplayer map named “The Skyline”, seen in the extensive multiplayer videos, and will have two different modes to play on it.
The first, “Team Instant Action” is a team vs team ranked game variant resembling standard Team Deathmatch. The second dubbed “Crash Site” is a attack and defense variant where players defend alien drop pods against the opposing team seeking to destroy or capture them. The final game is set to feature 12 maps and additional modes.
Gold members can grab the game on tuesday 25th.
Metal Gear Solid Trilogy On The Cards For PS3 HD Remakes.
If its Metal Gear Solid then you can expect rumors to run rife. However one interesting snippet of info has surfaced from UK Official Playstation Magazine.
If they are to be believed then Snake and the gang are next in line for a HD re-release similar to that of Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia and the Team Ico games Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus. Included in the bundle would be the first three titles in the series.
With the imminent release of MGS: Snake Eater 3D, Metal Gear Rising and the all but announcement of next in the numbered series Metal Gear Solid 5 fans of the series have much to look forward too in 2011.
Mortal Kombat Punches Its Way Into April Release Window.
Publishers Warner Interactive have let slip that highly anticipated title Mortal Kombat is set to release April 18 (dubbed “Mortal Day”) on UK soil. So far no specific north American release has been given.
The latest iteration in the series, Mortal Kombat is a reboot of the classic 2D beat em up. Anticipation is high as fans expect the best offering of content and gameplay for the series in years.
Pick it up on April 17th on either Xbox or PS3 (limited edition ps3 content).
Duke Nukem Forever Finally Given REAL Release Date.
There’s Vaporware, there’s VAPORWARE and then there’s Duke Nukem Forever. After an astounding 13 years in development hell Gearbox Software of Borderlands fame acquired the rights from Texas based 3D Realms in 2010.
Randy Pitchford CEO of Gearbox today confirmed that Duke is set to launch May 3rd in North America and May 6th in other territories.
“The moment fans all over the world have been waiting for is almost here,” Said Chris Hartmann, president of 2K games. “May 3, 2011 marks Duke’s return as he unleashes his brash and brutally honest wit on the world. His return is going to be epic and one that will make video gaming history!”
Source: gametrailers.com / gamasutra.com