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Video: Realistic Fighting Game

This is why the fighting game genre will never go away. The real thing just winds up making you look like a useless wimp.

Caution: Crude language

Extra Credits: Aesthetics of Play

Extra Credits comes with another interesting game design breakdown. It is, as they readily admit, a bit heavy in game theory, but being aware of this aspect of game creation can go a long way toward a gamer understanding how limiting our current genres actually are. We might also see how limited our game creators are and why some titles simply miss being that breakout hit.

Extra Credits: Beyond Fun

The guys at Extra Credits ask if the video game industry can move beyond games that are simply "fun." Where are the tragic gaming experiences that don't provide a happy ending? Where are the deep, thoughtful experiences that can't be summed up in a catchy subtitle on the box or communicated clearly via box art? We've seen this question pop up frequently during the last few years and we've even seen the creation of a category of games called "serious games" come out of that discussion. As the name implies, it includes games that provide gamers with something other than entertainment. We've also seen the indie games industry pick up the mantle and releasing promising experimental games across the various platforms.

But efforts like that do not reach the mainstream and Extra Credits argues that it is well past time for the industry as a whole to head in that direction. Without true breadth of content, games will never escape the children's plaything or disposable diversion stigma. An entertainment medium seen as having little to no value cannot fight censorship attacks as we are now seeing in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre. The Obama Administration and Congress might not be so quick to act if there were anything more than grey military shooters and primary-colored wish fulfillment populating store shelves.

Extra Credits: Starting Off Right

Extra Credits talks about hooking the player within the first five minutes. Honestly, this sounds like something all developers would understand to be necessary in capturing the attention of the average person. Television, movies, music, texting, the Internet and other games are all waiting to steal a consumer's attention (and dollars) should a game fail to immediately hook a gamer. But it's hard to argue that this isn't the case. Why else would we still hold up older games like God of War, BioShock and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as examples of doing it right? Why else would so many great games languish on "To be Played Later" shelf and sit there long after the hardware they were made for has been discontinued?

Extra Credits: Mailbag #5

A rare mailbag episode has appeared. This brief video has Extra Credits answering fan questions like what they think of Nintendo's Wii U, the Ouya, the Oculus Rift and Electronic Arts advertising guns to Medal of Honor players.

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.

Holiday Leftovers: The listener comments

The Walking Dead: Episode One—A New Day Screenshot

This year we asked our readers and listeners for their top three favorite games of 2012. We also asked them for the single worst. Our intention was to tally the results and have a "popular vote" alongside that of our staff critics, but we got so many well-written rationales that it seemed like a shame to let them go to waste. As such, we've assembled these write-ups as a companion piece to our year-end podcast.

However, since we did not originally plan to publish these, we've removed the names from each piece to protect the privacy of the authors. We've also rearranged the order of the comments to make them a little more readable. (We may have done a little spell-checking as well, but we won't talk about that right now.)

In any event, we here at Gamecritics think that there's always value in hearing someone else's opinion. To that end, here are some of the reader and listener testimonials for The Best of 2012.

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.

Gamecritics After Dark Episode 4: The Borderlands Show

At long last, the in-depth Borderlands/Borderlands 2 discussion that has for too long been stricken from our main show. For a grueling six hours we tear into every possible facet of the Borderlands franchise, from secret relationships of the NPCs to Randy Pitchford's favorite breakfast cereal. Featuring Richard "Sniper" Naik and Tim "Going in Guns Blazing is Always an Appropriate Course of Action" Spaeth.

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