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All the E3 News That Didn’t Fit

This the last time I mention E3, promise, unless to say “I played this at E3″.  There are a few things I didn’t mention because my work ethic has flagged since returning. Also, I’m not sure everything requires a mammoth post. I’m sure that the people making the game think it does, but that doesn’t make it so.

With that in mind, here’s all the stuff that didn’t fit in past posts, or that I didn’t get to.

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IGN: not a place to go for tabletop coverage

Carcassonne - nothing to do with France, and actually about River Valleys, apparently

Today, I saw that IGN had published a piece entitled “10 Of The Best iPad Board Games“. I expected an opinion piece. I expected to disagree with a lot of the picks. What I didn’t expect, from what I’d assumed was a professional and reliable source, was a lazily written article full of nonsense and factual inaccuracies.

Here’s a few:

  • Small World is not a game many people would place in the Ameritrash genre
  • Carcassonne is a game loosely themed around the French city of Carcassonne, not building a river valley. Nor is it co-operative.
  • Games are expensive in the UK, but premium Fantasy Flight titles retail at £60-70, not £100. And most of the iPad games on the list cost well under £10.
  • Neuroshima Hex does now have online multi-player, after a two-week old patch.
  • The interface on Ascension is generally acclaimed as being superbly smooth and well-designed, not “convoluted”.
  • Under no definition of the word “tough” does Puerto Rico qualify as ”the toughest German game to play”
I’m angry and upset that when a major games site decides to spend a bit of time covering board games, this is the best they can manage. Nascent gamers, attracted into my favourite hobby are going to read stuff like this and either be put off or, at best, learn a bunch of rubbish about popular modern board games.

Jumping the Shark Podcast #130

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After the tragic loss of the original Jumping the Shark #129 and the subsequent (and awesome) Cackowski-Schnell One-Man Jam that replaced it, the gang gets back on track this week by reminiscing about the week that was at E3. We talk games. We talk fashion. We talk fine dining. And we talk who would win in a battle royale between dinosaurs and plankton. (At least two of these things are true.) As this posts I’ll literally be on a plane bound for Vegas, so I leave you in the steady hands of the writers here who actually -you know- write stuff. Have a wonderful week everyone. Hopefully I make it home without being destitute and hooked on crack. No promises.

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Detonator is Augmented Reality Against Land Mines

Detonator is an augmented reality game for iOS devices that uses Vuforia to allow players to interact with installations spread throughout London. The purpose: to raise awareness about the Mine Ban Treaty and the handful of countries that have refused to sign.

Without playing Detonator, I obviously can’t say how much knowledge the game imparts, or even if those enthralled players are aware of the significance behind the numbers. Still, this is the sort of awareness that I would like to see more often in gaming.

You can see more projects and information at the blog of Sahar Fikouhi.

Gravity Rush Impressions – A Tragedy

I wasn’t planning on picking up Gravity Rush, the first retail game for the PS Vita that isn’t a port, an extension of a franchise, or otherwise forgettable. It’s a game- and brand- designed from the ground up for the floundering  platform. It leverages the handheld’s strengths while presenting a full “console” experience, as was promised by the Vita’s press copy. I tried the demo Monday night, I was at Gamestop Tuesday morning with a pile of trade-ins, and I left with a copy of the game.

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The Axeman Cometh – The Walking Dead Ep 2 at E3

The most disturbing thing about seeing Telltale’s next episode of The Walking Dead wasn’t the gore, or the tension or the fact that it took three swings of an axe to handle a particularly grisly deed. The worst part was the meat.

No, not human flesh, but the smell of smoked turkey legs sitting in two giant warmers on the other side of Telltale’s booth. When you’re walking around E3 and all you’ve had to eat was a Fiber One bar and a bottle of water, the smell of smoked meat is enough to get your stomach growling. Having that smell then associated with zombies and the consumption of human flesh is an extremely uncomfortable association, especially when you then attempt to take said turkey leg and eat it while not thinking of it being someone’s arm. Oh well, a man’s gotta eat.

Warning, Episode One spoilers to follow…

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E3 Summoner Wars Report

I had the pleasure of finally meeting George Rothrock, Playdek Director of Product and Business Development, at E3, and he brought along an iPad running a build of Summoner Wars. Truth be told, the opportunity to meet George face to face would have been enough for me to take time out of my schedule, but an opportunity to see Summoner Wars ahead of its late June release? Come on. I couldn’t pass that up.

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The Manifesto of Tom Francis

Tom Francis holds a relatively unique position in the world of video games. His words are read by thousands upon thousands of people through the pages of PC Gamer, but he has also spent two years working on Gunpoint – a game for which I am genuinely excited. He has the bright-eyed enthusiasm typical of new developers, while still bearing the keen awareness of mechanics (and sometimes jaded cynicism) that comes from analyzing games for a living.

Whether you are a critic, a developer, or just a player, I highly recommend reading the manifesto of Tom Francis. Some of the highlights include:

“A game that lets you be creative shifts the balance of power from the designer to you, and that’s when games explode into something more complex and fascinating than any other medium.”

“I’ll never intentionally restrict when you can save your progress, I’ll never require you to do something repetitive to earn a reward, and I’ll never make a task take longer for the sake of bolstering play time. All those are crutches to hold up bad design, and bad design should be left to collapse.”

Abner at E3 Part I

So it’s a brisk morning here in Los Angeles. We arrived yesterday afternoon, missing the press conferences because we are here to see and play games not watch staged presentations about games. So I have no idea what was discussed yesterday at the press conferences but I am sure it was thrilling stuff.

Just to keep everyone up to speed, today we will be seeing:

Dark Souls PC
XCOM Enemy Unknown
Borderlands2
Dishonored

…and whatever else Bethesda, 2K, Namco, Codemasters, Sony Online, Warner Bros., 5th Cell, D3, and Larian are showing. Brandon is also getting a look at Summoner Wars on the iPad as he has a meeting with Playdek. Should be a fun day and we will report back with anything worth discussing as soon as we can.

Also, there WILL be an E3 podcast every night with riotous laughter and making fun of Todd. You won’t want to miss it.

Jumping the Shark Podcast #126

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m running behind to make my flight to LA for E3, so I’m stealing Brandon’s show synopsis from the Libsyn page:

It’s the Pre-E3 show! Also, Bill is high on painkillers, so woohoo! First we get into Bill’s unfortunate end as E-i-C of GameShark.com, then we talk about what we’re most looking forward to at E3 (hint, it’s hugs) and then Brandon talks about Harley Quinn’s revenge and Dragon’s Dogma.

Enjoy!

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(The embedded feed is after the break.)
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