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Invisible indies: David Cage is right

Beyond: Two Souls Screenshot

At the recent DICE conference which just took place in Las Vegas, David Cage gave a speech which outlined nine points supporting his message that "the industry needs to grow up." Predictably, his comments angered many people and I've been seeing comments across the gaming spectrum disagreeing with him or trying to prove him wrong in various ways.

Backloggery 2013

Fire Emblem: Awakening Screenshot

It's not a backlog title, but I managed to get a copy of Fire Emblem: Awakening for Nintendo 3DS, and I've been putting some time into it… it's not title I was eagerly anticipating, but I needed a portable title and word of mouth from people that I trust was almost universally positive.

Consoleation: Irreconcilable differences

Beyond: Two Souls Screenshot

I've learned a few things after reading about what's happened during the DICE Summit and Awards event that's taken place this past week. The industry seems to be crying out desperately for maturity. David Cage (Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls) says that games need to grow up. Warren Spector (Epic Mickey) says that games like Lollipop Chainsaw shouldn't be made. The industry wants more Journey and The Walking Dead experiences, as evidenced by these games winning 99.5% of the awards given out. The definition of "fun" is changing.

Skylanders: Giants Review

Pokéwhat?

Skylanders: Giants Screenshot

HIGH Getting another chance to use all the figures I spent a fortune on!

LOW Any section with jumping. In fact, every section with jumping.

WTF Why do fire-element creatures take damage from fire?

Denpa, Bayonetta, Riptide and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate merch!

Bayonetta Screenshot

I'm trying to make a serious effort towards trimming down my backlog this year, so I decided to give Bayonetta one more shot. I've started and quit the game twice before, but it comes up in conversation so often and in such positive terms that I'd feel like I wasn't doing my critical due diligence unless I gave it a least one more try.

F1 Race Stars Review

The Worst of Both Worlds

F1 Race Stars Screenshot

HIGH That first time Fernando Alonso enthusiastically shouted "Alonso!," like an F1 Mario.

LOW When Fernando Alonso kept enthusiastically shouting his name, like an F1 Mario.

WTF "Release and then hold RT to charge KERS!"

Extra Credits: Demo Daze

There is a surprising downside to video game demos. With fewer and fewer options available for those that might want to try a game before buying it, demos are the default option. But demos have the adverse effect of underselling a good game or demonstrating how bad a bad game really is. Understandably, many developers and publishers aren't willing to take that chance. Where does that leave us? The guys at Extra Credits take a look.

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.

Eric's Top 10 Games of 2012

Halo 4 Screenshot

2011 (not a typo) was an odd year. Its general theme seemed to be games that I considered good (such as Portal 2, L.A. Noire, and Batman: Arkham City) getting incredible amounts of praise, to the point that I would end up being the voice of dissent on games I actually liked. Hell, at one point somebody gave Batman: Arkham City a 6 stars out of 5. Now, people liking games more than I do is perfectly fine and not all that uncommon, but this happened constantly throughout 2011 for almost every AAA game, and it left me wondering what had happened to critical discussion.

You can't always CYOA

Fallout 3 Screenshot

Something interesting I noticed this year was a trend of push-back against "choice" games in which the player did not get to control every outcome. The two biggest examples which spring to mind are, of course, The Walking Dead and Mass Effect 3.

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