Archive for June 14th, 2012

, | Game diaries

Kick it. Kick it. Kick it.

There isn’t any character more associated with the Street Fighter franchise, and by extension Capcom, than Ryu. In a way, he provides the baseline for how the game is played and discussed. The quarter-circle forward is referred to as the “fireball” motion. The forward, down, down-forward motion is usually shorthanded to “Dragon Punch”. Ryu is the archetypical Capcom character. Above, you can see him engaged in the archetypical Marvel vs Capcom 3 activity.

Kicking. For all that Marvel vs Capcom 3 appears to be a game about fireballs, laser beams, and world ending explosions, at its core it’s a game about low kicks.

After the jump: guessing games Continue reading →

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, | Games

There are some important differences between those of us who play videogames and normal people. For instance, when a normal person browses this gallery of breathtakingly beautiful photographs from Timothy O’Sullivan’s 19th century survey of the American West, he probably thinks of Westerns. Movies like, I dunno, Stagecoach, The Searchers, and Young Guns. I don’t know a lot of Westerns.

But when I browse these pictures, the more immediate touchstone for me is Red Dead Redemption. I look at the picture of that settlement and think of a particular area in New Austin. I don’t think of watching a movie. I think of running down there among those buildings. I think of climbing to the top of that building in the background, to the left, and getting a commanding view of the little town. I think of playing a videogame.

I’d normally think that’s a little pathetic, but in this case, I think it’s a testament to the amazing work done by Rockstar’s San Diego studio, which created one of the most vivid virtual places you will ever visit. Go ahead, browse those survey pictures (here’s the link again) and tell me you don’t think of Red Dead Redemption.

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, | Games

Any self-respecting fan of action RPGs knows that you don’t have to play the AAA titles to get an immensely satisfying action RPG fix. In fact, the games made by Steven Peeler’s Soldak Entertainment offer things you can’t get in Diablo, Sacred, or Torchlight. Depths of Peril features a cool political system and Din’s Curse features dungeons that fight back. Soldak’s upcoming Drox Operative will bring these sorts of elements to a dynamic, open-world, sci-fi, space-based action RPG.

According to the game’s website, Drox Operative will be released either in the first quarter of 2012 or “when it’s done”. You can see how that turned out. But now you can check out Drox Operative for yourself by pre-ordering, which will let you play the beta.

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In a Gamesindusty.biz interview to talk about Epic Mickey 2, Warren Spector made a general observation about violence in games that will pretty much upstage everything he has to say about Epic Mickey 2. That’s why PR folks like to shepherd interviews. It keeps guys like me and Gamasutra from ignoring all the stuff Spector says about Epic Mickey 2 to instead focus on this comment:

The ultraviolence has to stop. We have to stop loving it. I just don’t believe in the effects argument at all, but I do believe that we are fetishizing violence, and now in some cases actually combining it with an adolescent approach to sexuality. I just think it’s in bad taste.

After the jump, how about that camera control in Epic Mickey 2? Continue reading →

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, | Games

One of the cool things about the replays in Dirt Showdown is that you can upload snippets to Youtube. That’s me banging up that black and red drag racer looking thing. It belches blue fire from the pipes when I hold down the boost button. Pretty nifty. But one of the coolest things about the replays in Dirt Showdown is that you don’t have to listen to the announcer.

“They just rammed them!” he bellows as I hit another car.

Let’s consider this for a moment. I can see into the cars. Each one has a driver inside. There’s no one in the passenger seats. Unless there’s someone under a blanket in the backseat, each car carries only a single person. Yet the announcer is using plural pronouns. They just rammed them. Dirt Showdown does this constantly. They crossed the finish line! They’re in first place! They’re in the lead! They’re catching up with them!

I know this is a widely accepted way to wuss out of having to commit to a gender specific pronoun. Saying “he just rammed him” would imply that the drivers of both cars are male. That might alienate the women who play Dirt Showdown. And based on the list of nicknames you can choose for your driver, Codemasters clearly wants women to play. Sweetie. Muffin. Honey. Kitten. Stuff like that is in there. Grammar Nazi or Uptight Writer aren’t in there. Codemasters’ priority is clear.

I’ve tried turning down the announcer’s voice. But whereas all the other volume sliders range from 0% to 100%, the voice slider only goes down to 50%. It’s like being in the backseat of a car with windows that only go halfway down so unruly children can’t leap from the car while it’s moving.

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