Category Archives: Games

Late to the Party: Resident Evil 3

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With the remake of Resident Evil 2 coming up (the demo to which just came out as I’m typing this), I decided to go ahead and play through the 1999 PS1 game Resident Evil 3 for the first time. I’d grabbed it on a PlayStation Network sale for like a buck a while back and it was the last mainline Resident Evil game I hadn’t played.

We like to think of the older games in this series as more focused on survival horror because of their fixed camera angles and “tank” controls, as opposed to the dynamic cameras and completely action-focused gameplay of the more recent entries following Resident Evil 4. The truth is that trend started with the original 1998 version of RE2, and seems to have continued with RE3. I just don’t know if that was a wise decision with that old control scheme. Continue reading

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Gaming Anniversaries That Will Occur In 2019

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As usual, I’m starting the year on this blog by looking back at previous years through gaming anniversaries. Maybe it’s not as big in that regard as last year, which was the 20th anniversary of all the stuff that came out in 1998, but there were still some surprises looking back on years like 1999 or 1994. 1999 in particular kind of gets overshadowed by 1998, which is still one of the most influential years for video games. Continue reading

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The 2018 Games I Want To Talk About The Most

This isn’t a top 10, and it isn’t even a top games of 2018, the main reason being that, to be honest, I didn’t play anything this year I easily recognized as my game of the year. I played some fantastic games in 2018, but instead of ranking them I’d rather just weave them into a post about what I think happened this year in terms of quality and design traits.

In previous end-of-year posts I said I felt big-budget games had gotten interesting again in 2015 and 2016 after, in my experience, they’d been in sort of a slump between 2012 and 2014 as the big publishers and developers were still getting used to the current consoles. From 2012 to 2014 I felt like I had to subsist almost entirely on indie games to find anything really new and interesting (maybe I’m ignoring some multiplayer games but you know how I am with those), but not so much the last few years. Looking back on 2017 and 2018, I think the biggest games got formulaic again, but there has been enough interesting stuff for me to play in-between them that I could ignore the blockbusters, which is mostly what I did this year. Continue reading

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Is There Still A Software Gap Between iOS And Android?

Almost as soon as the iOS-Android rivalry began there were guides, think pieces, and other talk about users switching between one and the other. I think Samsung’s entire smartphone advertising strategy has been about people switching to their phones from iPhones — how their phones get new features before Apple copies them. I’ve always had a problem with these messages, and it’s with how they almost always focus on hardware and operating systems to the exclusion of the software that runs on them.

Basically, I never really thought about switching because of how much iOS software I’ve paid for over the years that wouldn’t come with me if I left that ecosystem. Recently though I sat down and took stock of all those apps and what such a transition might actually cost me. I found that the difficulty is really dependent on what you’re using your device for and what kind of apps that entails. Continue reading

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Paratopic And The Low-Poly Adventure Game Trend

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Before the year was over with, one game I wanted to wrap up was Paratopic — from what I can see part of a trend of adventure games (or walking simulators if you wanna call them that) which evoke the style of late 90’s 3D video games. This one in particular does some subtle yet special things I think show a good understanding of what people actually want out of this new “wave” of interactive art.

Continue reading

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What Epic Brings To The PC Game Client Battle

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The trailers during 2018’s Game Awards show were basically a coming out party for Epic Games’ new PC game store. Announcing that store with its bigger revenue cut to developers also seemed perfectly timed with Steam’s changes to its revenue cut favoring more successful games. Epic is ready to hit the ground running with some big names on its store, but I’m wondering what it’s gonna bring to this competition based on the kind of company Epic is.

At first glance Epic is just the latest in a line of the industry’s biggest PC game publishers separating from Steam because their games are popular enough to survive without the exposure of Steam’s front page, and names like Supergiant games,  Journey, and Satisfactory along with the free games every two weeks are just content to get the ball rolling. I really do think Epic, as a development tool company, really might approach this differently. Continue reading

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20 Years After Dreamcast’s Japanese Launch, Where Are the Its Best Games?

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I wanted to wait until next year — the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s North American launch, to say anything. I know the 20th anniversary of the Japanese launch this week is technically the “true” anniversary, but I think it’s pretty widely accepted the North American launch is the one everybody really remembers. It’s still one of the highest-quality launch lineups ever, partly because SEGA waited a whole additional year for the games to be ready. In any case, I already did my personal “story” about my experience with the Dreamcast a long time ago — 10 years ago in fact. Just read that if you want a general “my feelings about this anniversary” story.

What I am writing about though is how I auspiciously started the Shenmue remaster this week and how we’ve reached a significant point when it comes to the availability of the best Dreamcast games and the console’s viability today. Continue reading

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Zelda Ocarina of Time At 20: A Legacy of Open-World Games

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Like I said in my January post about gaming anniversaries for 2018, 1998 was 20 years ago, and it bore witness to an unusual number of landmark releases. Probably the most critically acclaimed one of all turns 20 this week — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. By many accounts it’s still the best-reviewed video game ever, and a lot of what’s in modern 3D action adventure games owes something to it.

One game from this year I can’t help but compare Ocarina to is actually Red Dead Redemption II. I see a lot in common between them in terms of both the public perception and the actual characteristics of each game. Continue reading

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Homogeneity In UI

Maybe you’ve noticed the proliferation of certain gameplay features in blockbuster games over the last few years: map screens full of icons, experience points, skill trees, crafting, you name it. Maybe I’ve already complained here before about how this trend is making open-world games too homogeneous, but I never noticed a main factor in that homogeneity — the user interface it’s all wrapped in.

A good example is this tweet from September comparing skill trees in the recent games Shadow of the Tomb RaiderHorizon: Zero Dawn, and Assassin’s Creed Origins. It goes further than that, but what surprised me are the games where I don’t mind these features — where I don’t mind gathering experience points, collecting icons on a map, or managing my gear. The main difference seems to be that they simply make the whole user experience look different. Continue reading

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Diablo Immortal: Where, And To Whom To Announce Mobile Games

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Last week I did a post about mobile gaming and now there’s the anger surrounding Blizzard’s announcement of a mobile Diablo game. Let me just say I’m down for a mobile Diablo, and in fact have been waiting for such a game for quite a while. Continue reading

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