Friday, January 18, 2013
Until recently, popular storytelling was an essentially top-down art: Novelists told readers how characters thought and felt, playwrights determined what they said, and movie directors subjected captive viewers to their own individual visions. The story you saw was the story someone else imagined, and audience interaction was limited to throwing tomatoes at the stage, or scribbling in the margins of a book. Even popular sports were basically passive: Fans might follow along in great detail, but the plays and their outcomes were determined by the actions of an elite few on the field.
But for the last 40 years, video games have begun to change all that. Games were built around interactivity: Players got what they wanted, not what someone else gave them. And as the technological firepower that makes video games possible has grown cheaper and more abundant, those games have increasingly focused on complex choice architectures designed to let players make their own stories. Game designers still build the playing fields, and some are more constrictive than others. But the arc of game design has bent toward expanding player choice. You are at the center of the experience, and you make it your own. The star of the show isn’t some writer or actor or player on the screen. The star is you.
It’s probably too much to argue that video games offer players freedom from the iron grip of the author—after all, games still have designers, and the old stories weren’t exactly forced upon their readers. But the rise of video games as a popular art form is surely a sign of the way that the broad universalized stories of yesterday have fractured into an array of niche narratives, each designed to serve an individualized interest.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
The week of Thanksgiving marks one of the most important retail milestones for sellers of things. We’ve got a ballpark figure for how many people brought the new Wii U. (Around 400,000.) And Microsoft bragged about all the Xbox 360 units they shifted into people homes, too. (750,000 for those guys.) So, what about Sony? They’re right in the middle.
The consumer electronics giant divulged that they sold more than half a million units of their home console, owed largely to the attractively priced bundles on offer.
As for the Vita, the gaming handheld sold 160,000 units. That’s a lot less than the 275,000 DS units Nintendo said that consumers bought last week. When another company’s least-shiny, most outdated portable outdoes your shiny new one, you might have a problem on your hands, Sony.
Friday, November 30, 2012
After almost three years without an update, and with Windows 8 sales flailing, Microsoft will release a new Xbox just in time for Christmas next year, sources told Bloomberg’s Dina Bass and Ian King. Last year Microsoft had said that it wouldn’t release a new version of the gaming system “anytime soon,” with other sources talking up a date sometime in 2013 “at the earliest.” This new Christmas launch makes perfect sense for the video-game nerd anticipated “Xbox 720,” as the rumorers refer to it. An Xbox is one of those it toys that gets people lining up at 3 a.m. during holiday shopping craziness. Even the aging 360 console has managed to double the sales of the new Nintendo Wii so far this holiday season, according to numbers from the NDP Group. Microsoft hasn’t put out an entirely new console since 2005, which led to riots during Black Friday of that year.
As for what exactly the gadget will look like, the rumorers say it will be cheaper and smaller than the 360, which retails starting at $300. In addition, it will have an udpated Kinect controller, a quad core processor, 8GB Ram, Blu-Ray, and augmented reality glasses, according to “leaked reports.”
Friday, April 13, 2012
For Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), 76, the 2012 Republican primaries are probably his last tango with presidential politics. But the aging libertarian will still achieve his life-long dream of crushing the nation’s Federal Reserve banking system… If a Houston-based video game developer is successful, that is.
Daniel Williams, 27, recently published a fundraising appeal for a forthcoming video game based on the candidate’s exploits. With the help of crowd-funding website Kickstarter, he hit the goal of $5,000 within a matter of days, based upon the commitments of just 40 backers as of this story’s publication.
Speaking to Raw Story on Wednesday, Williams said his main inspiration for the game was the 1992 8-bit classic “Krusty’s Fun House,” where Krusty the Clown from “The Simpsons” has to set traps for mice and capture them.
For the Ron Paul game, instead of mice it’s delegates. And he collects gold coins — lots and lots of gold coins — naturally. And who could forget the most epic political video game cover art of all time, featuring candidate Paul and his wife Carol in a “Star Wars”-like pose in front of a giant screeching eagle, the Statue of Liberty and exploding red fireworks?
The game also includes some elements from Sega’s 1991 hit “Sonic the Hedgehog,” along with the boss battles from Konami’s vampire-hunting title “Castlevania.” Williams said the encounters will play into each branch of the Federal Reserve bank, and that there would “definitely” be an “epic” encounter between Paul and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
And some say the world is a cold, passionless place. Thanks to a hip angel investor, the visionary behind Prince of Persia, Jordan Mechner, is getting a shot at remaking and re-imagining Karateka for release across multiple downloadable platforms.
In a blog post, Mechner says that he’s been working on the new Karateka with a “small team” for over a year. It’s a passionate write-up for the most part, and the reason is plain: this was his first published game, and it’s a legendary one to boot. The side-scrolling action might have been simple, but the title caught fire and has been purchased and subsequently ported roughly sixteen billion times.
Firm details are impossible to find at this point, but we do know that this is a re-make that will blur the standard lines:
It’s closer than the 2003 Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was to the original, side-scrolling Prince of Persia. But it’s a more radical reinvention than, say, the 2007 XBLA Prince of Persia Classic. The new Karateka is much more than a port; it’s both a remake and a re-imagining of the original game for today’s consoles.
Full article: http://toucharcade.c … a-possible-platform/
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The chipset for a next generation Xbox console has been in production since last month, and will go into full production by the end of the year, according to technology news reports.
Tech site Fudzilla states, “Recent speculation that the new main System on a Chip (SoC) for the Next Xbox began production is apparently accurate; the SoC did indeed start production in late December of 2011. Sources tell us that the code name for the chip is Oban, and it is being produced by both IBM and Global Foundries for Microsoft.”
The report goes on to claim that, “the power behind the next Xbox will be a PowerPC CPU that is married to an ATI Southern Islands GPU, or modified 7000 series.” It adds that the console is unlikely to ship at the end of 2012, with full production gearing in December of this year.
“This first run of these 32nm Oban chips will be destined for developer consoles, so any hope for a holiday console release in 2012 seems unrealistic, according to our sources, but an announcement perhaps before the end of the year might be possible. It would seem Microsoft’s strategy of getting it in 2013 is all but assured. We do think that the chips will be in production by the end of the year for consoles destined to be sold in 2013, which seems to agree with what others are saying.”
Full article: http://xbox360.ign.c … s/121/1217112p1.html