Although I haven't had a ton of game time lately, I took advantage of the extended weekend and spent some time with two download titles, Lit and Flower.
Lit is from Way Fordward (Shantae, Contra 4) and makes its home on the Wii. An intriguing mix of Puzzle and Horror genres, the game’s hook is that touching darkness or shadows is instantly fatal. Naturally, the player must make his way through twenty-five rooms (and five boss battles) by taking advantage of paths and safe zones created by lamps, televisions, broken windows, and so on. My review is in the can already and should be making an appearance soon, but in a nutshell I'd say buy it if the subject matter appeals to you, just be prepared for some frustration due to a few poor design choices.
West Virginia was the first school system in the United States to incorporate a video game (Konami's Dance Dance Revolution) into its physical education curriculum. Now, West Virginia University, ResCare Home Care and the Special Olympics are conducting a study to see if the series has benefits for people with disabilities. According to the very small blurb I was able to find, "Participants will play the game three days a week, for eight weeks. If it is successful, the Special Olympics may consider making 'DDR' a competitive event during its annual games."
In preparation for this week's podcast (just wrapped up recording a few hours ago) we asked readers on the forums what title they'd like us to talk about, and they selected God Hand, from now-defunct Clover Studios. In all honesty, I never saw that one coming.
I picked up a copy back in '06 when it was brand-spanking new, and I think I logged somewhere around an hour or an hour and a half with it before I tossed it aside. I seriously hated the game at the time, my patience for its cumbersome controls and infuriating camera to be basically nil. It also didn't help that the game has an absolutely terrible first level, and does the bare minimum to introduce players to what it's all about.
Whenever I see hot American girls playing or promoting video games on the 'net, I invariably assume it’s some sort of scam. Hot American girls just don’t play video games. Sure, they might know what a video game is (in the same way they know that lesser female creatures actually have to pay for their own drinks), but it’s not from any actual experience. If through some miracle they manage to actually appear holding a controller correctly or answer a "favorite game" question with something other than Pac-Man or a Mario game, you can rest assured it’s because their handlers were on the ball.
Japan, though, that’s a whole different ballgame. When a girl like Battle Royale/Kill Bill’s Chiaki Kuriyama turns up promoting a game, I totally believe she plays games. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I don't think so. I like to think it’s just one more example in the ever-expanding list of reasons why Japanese women are so much cooler than their American counterparts. I mean, aside from Megan Fox, can you think of one other hot American woman who’d spend a night gaming? I could think of dozens of famous Japanese women who would.
Video games are still a relatively young medium, and as such the vocabulary that we've developed to describe them is similarly immature. Nowhere does this seem more apparent to me than in the way the term gameplay is used. Most people who play and read about games probably have the same general sense of what the term means. As I understand it, gameplay refers to the experience of playing or interacting with a game without reference to things like graphics and sound. This seems pretty straight forward. But the more I read and write about games, the more I find the use of this term problematic.
Another peek into the inner workings of fan-pleasin' publisher, they were kind enough to send along some photos and information on their upcoming title Tokyo Beat Down for the Nintendo DS. Unless you're the type of player that regularly picks up golden oldies, I'm guessing that it's been a while since a side-scrolling beat'em-up has come your way.
Given enough time (and interest?) there is a developer out there that might be able to do something impressive with the Dead Rising franchise on the Wii. Apparently that developer wasn't contracted by Capcom to develop this "port".
While I never read previews, it's rare that I make it through a week without checking on The Magic Box a few times. As a result, 99 percent of my information about upcoming games from a few isolated screenshots, often blurry scans from Japanese magazines.
Most of the time, I don't draw anything but the broadest conclusions about a game from these pictures, but today I came across shots so bewildering that I found myself compelled to share them with you, the person reading this blog post.
I present Splatterhouse 2009: The Screenshots, and the snarky comments that accompany them.
Oh good, it's a generic monster with grey skin and tubes sticking out of his back. Because that went so famously well in The Suffering, Van Helsing, and Resistance.
For those of you who've been paying attention, a great little game called Weapon of Choice hit the Xbox 360’s Community area, and it's been on fire ever since. After spending time with it and doing the research on where it came from, I was a little surprised to discover that this title was essentially the work of one man—Nathan Fouts, formerly of dev studios Running with Scissors and Insomniac. Having worked on games such as Postal, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, and Resistance: Fall of Man, I had to know more.
What's the story behind being a part of Running With Scissors and Insomniac, and then going solo with Mommy's Best Games?
Downloadable games seemed like they could sustain a small company. I started Mommy’s Best Games to make the weirdest, funnerest games that I could squeeze past the censors. The best part is that on Community Games, while they do have ratings, there is no overbearing, money-hoarding publisher trying to rain on your game design parade. Consequently, no one stopped me when I started adding udders to the Teat Walker or various strands of drool to Pitcher Mouth.
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