Steam’s New Face: Pruning Through The Daily Que

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Since Steam’s discoverability update went live I’ve logged in at least once a day if for no other reason than to go through the daily queue of games it presents each logged-in user. I don’t know how much everybody else does this but after a few weeks I think it’s a neat system with a few quirks. Continue reading

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Retro Graphics And Modern Pixel Density

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Pier Solar came out on Steam not too long ago with a significant visual upgrade, and while playing the demo I saw it to be a really good example of a game that pulls off the retro visual style without looking like crap on modern displays. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

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Most 80’s retroist games feel like the games I played as a kid. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is kind of what I imagined action games would be like in the future as a kid. Playing it has made me realize how much difference a change in setting can make for a video game and what a difference graphics and technology can make for particular themes.

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QTE’s And Input-Output Balance

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It’s pretty easy to just say “I’m against Quick-Time Events.” I think it’s also not that much harder to say “I think QTEs are a sorry replacement for ‘real’ gameplay.” What I’m doing here is going into a somewhat detailed description of why, and how it also applies to modern interpretations of things like context-sensitive buttons and long automatic animations, as well as the quest to make games look “cinematic,” which I think is often at odds with the feel of gameplay. Continue reading

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3rd party N64 Games That Didn’t Suck Volume 1: Beetle Adventure Racing!

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Okay hold up…

I originally wrote this and published it on 1up in 2009. You may have seen a link to that post in the “N64TPEDS” section that’s gone now. 1up (or at least 1up’s original links) is starting to disappear, so I said I’d one day re-post this series (along with another one) here on WordPress.

I don’t think this is going to be a regularly scheduled thing though. I’m just putting this up now because I honestly couldn’t figure out anything I could write an interesting blog about today. You’ll see the other volumes show up on such days in the future and who knows, if I ever have time to play some more N64 games I could definitely add new entries to the series. Continue reading

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Indie Game Radar: Environmental Station Alpha

I think I’ve stumbled upon another indie game that’s of higher quality than its current level of visibility justifies. Only a handful of well-known gaming sites have mentioned it, it’s supposed to be out this year, and already has a demo available.

This time it’s Environmental Station Alpha. It’s a Metroidvania that’s been in development for a few years. I could best describe it by calling it “Super Metroid with Game Boy Color graphics.” The demo along with the most recent trailer make ESA seem like it’s shaping up to be one of the best designed Metroid homages in recent memory.

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You Done With PS3 and 360 Yet?

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I feel like this fall is about the right time to really start looking back on the last generation of console games. One thing that involves I think is taking inventory of any games in your PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, or PSP libraries you still haven’t played or finished yet. It’s time to ask if you’re really done playing those machines.

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Shifting Preferences in Games Criticism

Kotaku is doing something with its editorial that I’ve wanted to see happen in games journalism for a while, and it got me thinking. What Kotaku is doing seems like it will mostly concern the news and features they do in the future, but it made me realize something about how I regard reviews and previews.

Basically, Kotaku thinks it can unchain itself from the PR-gated preview-review cycle by focusing a lot more of its stories on already-released games and the people playing them.  I agree that it could help them write more human stories by focusing on the communities that spring up around games post-launch, and for years I’ve been concerned at how coverage tends to drop a game almost entirely after the review. Games can remain interesting for years after they come out, and gaming journalism should reflect that. One of the things that tends to garner interest is the conversation surrounding a game.

Kotaku is partly trying to escape the cycle that’s made a lot of people tired and increasingly mistrusting of the big publications (IGN, GameSpot, etc.). Being trapped in that PR-gated cycle has convinced many people that big publications are essentially in the big game publishers’ pockets, whether or not there’s actually any proof to support that notion. As a result, I increasingly see people rely on word of mouth in lieu of reviews, myself included. Continue reading

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The Slowly-Revealed Performance Of The New Consoles

I’m pretty sure I’ve already laid out my opinion on “resolutiongates” and the importance of framerate on this blog. Now people are worked up over Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Ubisoft’s PR. Despite how I feel about framerates and such, I actually think people are selling the game short. Continue reading

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The Near Future of PC System Requirements

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I guess I’m writing this for anyone thinking about stepping into PC gaming right about now. The recent revelation of PC system requirements for games like The Evil WIthin and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor has rung like an alarm bell for those trying to prepare their rigs for next-gen gaming, myself included. You’d think people would expect this kind of jump forward with developers tailoring their games around new consoles, but a shift in PC game development through the Xbox 360 years created a sense of complacency that’s starting to end.

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