Video Game News Round-Up – 20/06/13
2013′s Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone. So who were the winners and losers this year? Short answer: Sony. Largely by default, but a win is a win.
Buoyed by such strong features as “you put the game in and it plays” and “You won’t need to repeatedly ‘authenticate’ anything,” Sony seems to be the clear winner in terms of new consoles this year. Of particular note is Sony’s instructional video for sharing games, helpfully included in the above link at the end of this sentence. (IGN)
Fortunately, games are a hell of a lot more interesting than consoles, and this year’s E3 showed some very promising prospects. A few big-name sequels, such as Arkham Origins and Dead Rising 3, were in evidence, as well as promising new properties like Dying Light–described as “Mirror’s Edge meets Dead Island“–and The Evil Within, a new (survival) horror game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami. (CNET) (Oh, and they’re making another Battlefront.)
To cleanse palate, Mike Fahey offers an insightful, if far from comprehensive, list of games that weren’t at E3. Appropriately, this list is almost entirely sequels, because it’s hard to know you want something you’ve never thought of. (Kotaku)
Elsewhere–the other end of the continental United States, specifically–Games for Change (the kids call it G4C) had its own conference, with much less fanfare, although it probably had a comparable level of contempt for Microsoft. Leigh Alexander recaps a couple of the highlights, helping me meet the quota of her content that each of these things needs to have, apparently. (Gamasutra and Gamasutra)
Finally, apropos of nothing, John Walker brings us another screed on the antipathy of games and stories. I’m sure I’ll want to write a proper response when I have time–when I’m not breaking my back bringing you this vitally important content, that is–but it’s a helpful reminder that it’s hard to have a discussion that’s either interesting or useful when none of the parties involved particularly understand the terminology they employ. (Rock Paper Shotgun)
As a bit of a bonus this week (biweek?), we’re taking a look at Shapetrix Entertainment, brainchild of friend-of-a-friend Brandon Humfleet and his wife Karissa. The company is named for their recently released first game, Shapetrix, for the Android platform.
The rise of mobile gaming, along with the availability of off-the-shelf game creation systems has been a boon to small developers; the ubiquity of the Android OS in smartphones and tablets provides a built-in userbase, as well as an easy mechanism for distribution and payment ideal for games that are inexpensive to purchase and (comparatively) inexpensive to develop. The change in audience demographics, as well as the simplified controls of a touchscreen, lend themselves well to what we now refer to self-consciously as “casual games”: Shapetrix is a puzzle game combining and remixing some of the genre’s more famous mechanics. Jesper Juul would perhaps identify it as a falling block / match three / stack pairs / drag columns game, along with a few other subgenre indentifiers with which I’m not familiar. Shapetrix was produced by a skeleton crew consisting of Brandon, Karissa, and a contract programmer, using readily available tools: the Unity IDE, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
Peter Rauch maintains a blog, badly, at undisciplinedtheory.blogspot.com.