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Extra Credits: Digital Rentals and the Online Arcade

Coincidentally, I'm posting Extra Credits video the same week that it was leaked that Sony filed a patent for technology that would ban used or second hand games on its hardware. If true it is evidence of how tightly game companies are still holding onto the old ways of doing things oblivious to newer options. This Extra Credits presentation doesn't criticize such a practice, but it does talk about monetization of games and stress how the industry has moved beyond static price structures. Companies like a Sony (and by extension a Microsoft, a Nintendo and countless third party publishers) would best take notice and evolve with the times.

Extra Credits: Energy Systems

This is another interesting episode from the guys and gals at Extra Credits. This time they cover "limitation systems" or "energy systems," systems used to actually extend playtime or the life of a game. Things like this sadden me only because it makes me more aware of how games (and their creator's) these days are trying to manipulate you into spending more money without realizing it.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 84: Fifth Annual Holiday Awards Spectacular

Awards, contest winners, and Dan Weissenberger? This can only be our Fifth Annual Holiday Awards Spectacular! We dish on the best and worst of 2012, Brad's son drops in to share his best and worst of the year, and we give out some fabulous prizes based on a really cool random number generator. Featuring Dylan Collins, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Dan Weissenberger, Richard "It's not really a spoiler" Naik, and Tim "The Brett Farve thing is getting old" Spaeth.

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2012: The Year of the Games

Journey (PSN) Screenshot

2012 has been an amazing year for games. I had meant to put together a post extolling the virtues of the top candidates for game of the year, but the list kept getting longer and longer, with more and more games that would have been obvious choices for a top-five list in any other year. The task was clearly beyond me. So, I enlisted the talents of Michael Abbott, Brandon Bales, Mattie Brice, Kate Cox, Denis Farr, Brad Gallaway, Brendan Keogh, Justin Keverne, Cameron Kunzelman, Kris Ligman, Eric Swain, and Dan Weissenberger. With my superteam thus assembled, let's look at some of the year's super games.

Extra Credits: On Game Schools

One thing that the video game industry needs to be more proactive in is the education of the general public with regards to video game schools or game design programs. When people think of gaming schools, they might think of the ones that get the most coverage like a DigiPen Institute of Technology or Art Institute of Vancouver. However, not everyone gets to attend these shining examples. Some aspiring Shigeru Miyamoto's and Ken Levine's might wind up wasting four years and tens of thousands of dollars at a less than reputable institution. That's where Extra Credits comes in to give some advice for anyone thinking about attending a school to actually become a game creator.

The son, Tom Clancy and big freaking rabbits

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U) Screenshot

I'm quite happy to say that my oldest son, age 11, will be flying in this weekend to spend Christmas with us. We plan on chopping down a Christmas tree and catching a showing of The Hobbit, but other than that, I think we are going to lay low and just hang out as a family… we may play a few video games as well. Maybe.

Consoleation: VGA observations

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

Here are some things that I took away from what I saw of the VGAs...

My wife, my life... and games

Emergency Room Sign

If you follow me on Twitter, then you're probably aware that my wife became very ill Sunday and had to be taken to the ER. I know that it's difficult to follow any given story from beginning to end in tweet format, so I just wanted to give a quick update on the whole thing for anyone who was wondering.

Extra Credits: Mechanics as Metaphor, Parts 1 & 2

The guys at Extra Credits discuss mechanics as a metaphor or "mechanics with meaning" and for a visual aid, they use an interesting game or non-game called Loneliness. A description wouldn't really do the game justice, but it is well worth your time to try it for yourself considering the game is free.

One of the more interesting things brought up in this two-part series though is the lack of trust game creators show the player. Modern game creators simply do not trust the player to fail, experiment or uncover any meaning (assuming the creators intend for there to be any) while playing. After playing Loneliness you might understand why. It is a pretty gutsy thing to attempt in a free game, imagine how it would be received should you require payment for a similar experience.

Consoleation: When enthusiasm became exasperation

New Super Mario Bros. U Screenshot

If you knew me back in 2005, I was a lot different. I was genuinely excited about console gaming, as I had been for decades before. I was still a big Sony guy, as I had been since the original PlayStation launched and won me over. I was also getting into the original Xbox, though late. A new generation of consoles was coming, and I was looking forward to it while also enjoying what was currently available. I was alternating my time between the Internet and reading video game magazines to stay as current as I could.

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