Last night, I had my first “wow” experience with Nintendo’s new Wii U console. It wasn’t with any of the late-to-the-party ports or even a first-party offering. It was with the demo for Ubisoft’s upcoming Rayman Legends, now available for download. It’s just three levels, but it’s one of the most exciting, refreshing, and innovative gaming experiences I’ve had all year. It’s heartfelt, beautiful, and genuinely whimsical in a way that no cheapjack indie clone coasting along on fake 8-bit chic or even Nintendo’s own nostalgic Super Mario Bros. Wii U is. It’s joyful, full of love for video gaming and without a trace of the kinds of commercial cynicism or insulting lowest-common-denominator condescension that have become endemic in the industry. Continue Reading…
Well hot damn. I didn’t expect this. Plaid Hat Games, the guys that do Summoner Wars and the upcoming Mice & Mystics, announced today that they’re doing a Bioshock: Infinite board game. CRAZY. As if I weren’t already excited about the video game.
I’ve been a big supporter of Colby Dauch and Plaid Hat Games from day one, I’m very excited to see them snag a big license like this and I’m very interested to see how this turns out. Sounds like it’s going to be a conflict game, not a character-driven on. That’s likely a smart move, and it could stand to expand the world of the game in an interesting way. Here’s an edited version of what Colby had to say about it:
Plaid Hat Games is making a board game based on the upcoming video game Bioshock Infinite. The board game is going to be called Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia. The game is going to come packed with 52 miniatures, featuring 11 different unique sculpts. One such sculpt has already been previewed in an article from Irrational Games, as they will be packing one in every collector’s edition of the video game.
Speaking of cool, this board game is going to be totally rad. It was designed by Isaac Vega. We’ll tell you more about it in the upcoming months. We don’t have a release date yet but we are shooting for around the same time as the video game. Continue Reading…
If you’re like anything like I am, with each passing year you think “it sure would be nice if someone would develop adventure-based FPS games again like they did in the late 1990s and early 2000s.” I’m thinking great games like Thief, System Shock 2, and No One Lives Forever- classic titles that were much more than just rote shooters despite the behind-the-eyes perspective. These were games that had a sense of focused narrative occurring in meticulous, handcrafted settings paired with a great deal of player agency, allowing for a specific story to be told with the detail filled in by core gameplay. Games like this are rare, but when we get a really great one it turns out to be a Bioshock. Or even a Metro 2033.
With this is in mind and with only a couple of hours of play to back up my claim, I’m already prepared to induct Dishonored into this esteemed fraternity of Really Great Narrative FPS Games. Continue Reading…
Some six or seven years ago, my good friend (and Christ look-a-like) Frank Branham showed me a prototype for a board game that he designed called Battle Beyond Space. It was inspired by The Last Starfighter and Starcrash, and it had bits salvaged from the old TSR Buck Rogers game as well as lava rock asteroids. The game was awesome, a fun space shoot ‘em up with a cool squadron movement mechanic and plenty of total mayhem. We’ve played it off and on over the years, and now it’s finally been released to the general public by none other than Z-Man Games. I tell ya, that Zev Shlasinger is a man of impeccable taste. Looks like the discounters are selling it for about $32.
It’s a great beer-and-pretzels style dogfight game and the production looks outstanding- the illustrations are right on the money in terms of capturing the tone and atmosphere of it. Also, my name is in the thanks section…printed in Comic Sans. It’s the only Comic Sans in the whole game. I really should demand a complementary copy as reparations.
Anyway, I am totally shilling for this game and for my pal. Don’t be like old Bill Abner, who failed to buy a copy at Gen Con. Right after meeting Frank. How rude!
You may know Curt Schilling primarily as the Winston Cup-winning rookie quarterback for the Cincinnati Cubs or as a wildly successful video game tycoon, but he also runs this company called Multiman Press. He’s kept Advanced Squad Leader in print for years. And up until recently, he sat lethargically on the rights to Avalon Hill’s classic Squad Leader card game Up Front doing nothing with it. At one point, they were saying it was “in development” to be re-released as…Up Front 2000.
Anyway, the rights have been sold and I guess Mr. Schilling flushed that money down the 38 Studios toilet. But the good news comes to us from Torben Sherwood at Valley Games:
“Valley Games is very excited to announce that we have been offered the opportunity to produce Up Front. In association with the original designer, Courtney Allen, we will reproduce this classic title with improved and enhanced rules, new artwork and new graphic design. We will use Kickstarter to fund the project with a planned launch date of December 2012. More information to come as we get closer to the launch date.”
Aw man, Kickstarter? Damn it. Maybe one of the “stretch goals” will be an improved rulebook, or a T-shirt with ol’ Nazi Hans up there on it. Keep your eye on this one, it’s one of the best and most innovative games ever published and it will be good to see it on shelves again.
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.
I know, I know, another E3 post? Look, I saw a lot of games at E3 and I played a lot of games at E3 and when you’re gone for a week to cover E3, the last thing that your family finds acceptable upon your return is you slaving away over a computer to write about E3. I tried to write all of this up last week, I really did, but you know, things got in the way. Job things. Family things. Gravity Rush things.
Besides, isn’t this better? I mean, all of the other sites are done with their E3 coverage, but not us! We’re still cranking it out, still delivering, still making it happen! It’s like when your parents are divorced and you have Christmas with your mom and then, like a week later, you have Christmas with your dad and then, a few days later, you have Christmas with the extended family on his side. You get presents spread out over days! So, don’t consider this coverage as being late, think of it as spread out. It’s like divorced kid Christmas, only without drunken weeping and complaining about whatever parent you’re not with at the moment.
So yeah, Square. They had games. I played most of them.
I like fighting games, but I’m terrible at them and the more technical they are, the more terrible I am. I can handle basic things, enough to get started, but once you start talking about canceling out of hyper-combos or picking characters based on how well they can pull off moves in between frames of animation, I’m out. I can certainly appreciate the technical skill needed to master such games, but that doesn’t mean I want said mastery for myself. Hell, even if I did, I’m not sure it’s even possible.
While at E3 I spent half an hour talking to 345 games, the game making arm of Viacom and developers behind Bellator: MMA Onslaught. They also appreciate the technical mastery needed to pull off a deep, fighting game, but they’re also happy giving you a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master with purple chest hair and within five minutes letting you whup up on your friends.
(This continues Jason’s E3 quick takes. I honestly don’t know how many more games he saw because he spent most of the show throwing up in West Hollywood at Tom CHick’s house.)
I’ve played a lot of Magic the Gathering. I started playing around the time of Unlimited and stopped around Ice Age. Some of you know what I’m talking about and some of you don’t. Here’s a quick translation: “Jason McMaster is a nerd of epic proportions.”
(Note: Jason McMaster was with us for our E3 excursion. He also was sick as a (sick) dog and missed most of the show. He did manage to see a few games and we’ll be posting his reports now that he’s back from the undead.)
I’m standing in line outside of an E3 theater booth. I’ve been pretty sick for the last couple of hours. I found myself throwing up outside the Wizards of the Coast meeting room (not because of Duels of the Planeswalkers) and doubting I could continue with my appointments. Great is the power of Planetside, because this is one demonstration I refused to miss.