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Consoleation: Difficult decision

Rodin's The Thinker Image

As we turn the calendar to 2013, I'm faced with a rather significant decision to think on over the next couple of weeks.

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.

TouchTalk, Volume Five

Nano Ninjas Screenshot

Welcome back to a semi-regular feature here at GameCritics.com: TouchTalk. While this series was inspired by one of my old features, the Bargain Basement, I've got an all-new focus for an all-new phase in gaming. Rather than highlighting discounted gems in the used section of a retail shop, I'll be reviewing downloadable mobile games and apps that you might want to check out… and maybe some that you'll want to avoid.

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.

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.

Consoleation: VGA observations

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

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

Extra Credits: Spec Ops: The Line, Parts 1 & 2

We're still playing catch-up on the latest videos from our friends at Extra Credits, but thanks to their fondness for two-parters we'll be caught up in no time. This two-part presentation is about the often maligned and often underappreciated Spec Ops: The Line. It's an interesting listen given how much the Extra Credits crew seems to have really bought in to what Yager was selling.

[Contains spoilers for the game]

Source: Extra Credits on Blip

Consoleation: Signposts—The Nintendo 64

F-Zero X Screenshot

I don't think I gave the Nintendo 64 enough credit as a video game platform. I got the Nintendo 64 on launch day back in 1996. I was visiting a Lechmere store in Springfield, MA and saw that there was one unit left. I bought it—along with Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64—and brought it home. I'd played the import version of Super Mario 64 at Fantasy Realms, a local independent video game store, and wasn't particularly impressed… but it was a Nintendo system and I knew that I wanted to own it.

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.

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