Extra Credit now examines the Augmented Reality Game genre. This genre appears to be the furthest out of reach given the technological requirements and costs needed to create seamless experiences. Should someone get their head around those limitations—and I guess wearable technology becomes a thing—it has great potential to blur the line between gaming and the real world.
Bastion made a name for itself thanks to its beautiful aesthetic and the use of a narrator. But what other games could benefit from someone giving essentially a play-by-play of the action on the screen? Dorkly tries it with just a few popular franchises.
Alternate Reality Games and Augmented Reality Games both fall under the acronym of ARG, but are actually quite different. Extra Credit takes a quick look at the Alternate Reality Game half of that genre of games—and yes you can argue that they are games. Perhaps it is because they are unfamiliar to the public and save for a few great examples like Microsoft/Bungie's I Love Bees or Electronic Arts' Majestic, they have been largely untouched by many in the games industry.
This fan film is called Aperture: Lab Ratt and made by Synthetic PictureHaus. It is based on the Valve comic called Lab Rat. Lab Rat told the story of an Aperture scientist named Doug Rattman, who apparently was one of the only survivors after GLaDOS's take over. Rattman was responsible for placing Chell (heroine of Portal) at the top of the list of test subject candidates that GLaDOS was to use and he also provided clues and warnings "behind the walls" of the Test Chambers for Chell to follow. Truly an important man whose story had to be told.
Thanks to an Xbox 360 port, Minecraft has finally gotten into the eager hands of creative console gamers. But as creative as they may be, they have a ways to go to match what PC gamers have been creating (and posting) since Minecraft was in beta. A perfect example of this is this recreation of the steampunk city of Midgar from Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII. Minecraft forums user CJ_Campbell has unveiled his labor of love (along with some of his other non-Final Fantasy VII works) for our admiration and envy.
Extra Credit looks at the latest gaming trend: crowdfunding. It's not quite a household term but going by Twitter, press releases and gaming news coverage in general, it's getting there. Crowdfunding takes money from ordinary people in exchange for, say, a copy of the game or seeing a digital version of that person somewhere in the game. Right now Kickstarter is the company on everyone's lips but it isn't the only game in town. IndieGoGo, RocketHub, ulule and the newly formed Gambitious are all out there trying to help someone create that sequel to TIE Fighter or Star Tropics.
After a year of silence, Nintendo has its press conference where it was demonstrate to the world why it needed a Wii U and 3DS and why it should stay away from smartphones and tablets.
Judging by Twitter, the result was a wash. Nintendo did announce games for both the Wii U and 3DS. The Wii U got Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Bros. U, Wii U Fit, Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3 as well as support for video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube and Amazon Video announced. The 3DS got decent titles like New Super Mario Bros. 2, Paper Mario Sticker Star and Luigi's Mansion 2.
The thing is that show attendees, and those watching at home, were looking for more—especially from the Wii U. Why, after owning an Xbox 360 and/or PlayStation 3, should someone pick up a Wii U? That was the question that needed answering and it seemed Nintendo didn't do a very good job of doing so. All hope is not loss as E3 (as of this writing) is not over so there is time for more announcements. But after a year's wait, it looks like many are going home to be content with their 360s and PS3s until their successors show up.
Sony was up next. Despite a dearth of PlayStation Vita game announcements, there were some worthy announcements like Assassins Creed III on the Vita featuring the first female assassin. Other highlights from the show included David Cage's Beyond, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, WonderBooks and Naughty Dogs' The Last of Us. The Last of Us was worth the price of admission.
Microsoft's press conference began with a bang thanks to none other than Halo 4. Gears of War got a prequel called Gears of War: Judgment and Forza fans can look forward to Forza: Horizon, confirmed as an open-world racing title. Microsoft seemed to have most of the big AAA titles on display or mentioned in its press conference and it wasn't shy about announcing that it locked up with DLC as well.
What was also on display was the shift for Xbox 360. This E3, Microsoft was also all about entertainment. It introduced Xbox SmartGlass which allows control of the Xbox and Xbox content through other devices. And there was also lots of talk about Netflix, Hulu and the Xbox Music. It's debatable how much of this Xbox 360 owners actually but it is where Microsoft has always wanted to take the 360.
Nintendo wanted to get the jump on everyone and release its "concept presentation" ahead of the big E3 press conferences. Perhaps it also wanted to get it out of the way so as to not cause any confusion—at last year's E3 Nintendo took some heat for not being clear that it was just announcing the system, its name and showing off conceptual game ideas. At any rate, you see the Wii U Gamepad, Mii Universe and some more conceptual game ideas. Hopefully, the games and more specific talk about the hardware will be at Tuesday's press conference.
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