April 2008


Another Nintendo system, another Mario Kart game. This one — the appropriately if obviously titled Mario Kart Wii — is being pushed by Nintendo as a “bridge game” to move casual Wii owners past Wii Sports and into the hardcore gaming scene, so to speak. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s ever played a Mario Kart game. The series has always acted as a sort of neutral ground for gamers — a pick-up-and-play racer with hidden depth; a competitive game that lets even newcomers stay competitive; a sometimes punishing game with a bright, friendly exterior. Mario Kart Wii fits so squarely into this mold that it skirts by some potentially game-crushing pitfalls with relative panache.

(full article)


This technical guide for non-technical people was released in September 2008.


Play Magazine has always been a rather unique voice in the game journalism landscape, covering games with an unmatched passion and a focus on hardcore niche games. Since its launch in 2001, that unique voice has largely been driven by editor-in-chief Dave Halverson. Since Halverson’s promotion to publisher/editorial director at Fusion Publishing earlier this year, the day-to-day responsibilities surrounding Play have fallen to former senior editor Brady Fiechter (pictured), its new EIC.

Fiechter is already shaking things up, announcing in the May issue that readers “may not be seeing [review] scores any longer” starting next month. PressSpotting talked to Fiechter about that state of gaming and game journalism, the future of Play, and, of course, his controversial review score decision.

(full article)


Since licensed gaming seems bigger than ever these days, Gamasutra’s editors felt – somewhat flippantly – that publishers might need some help picking through the pop culture landscape for un-optioned properties that have the potential to become great games (as well as a few existing game franchises in desperate need of a comeback).

Our criteria for putting together this article – with input from all Gamasutra staffers – was a mixture of gut feeling and impassioned argument; unscientific, to be sure, but rather than functioning as a guide to the 20 and only 20 licenses that could or should be explored, it’s much more of a thought experiment into avenues many might not have considered.

Sure, judging by the history of licensed games, many of these ideas would probably be awful if they were actually made. On the other hand, there’s nothing that suggests that given the right amount of time and budget that these games couldn’t sing: just think about it.

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Our columnist tackles a few smaller game journalism issues that have popped up recently.

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I wasn’t even alive when Computer Gaming World launched in 1981. However, I was around this week when the print version of the magazine, renamed Games for Windows in 2006, has been repurposed for inclusion in Ziff Davis’ 1UP gaming portal. I talked with 1UP Vice President for Content Simon Cox about GFW’s move online, the state of print gaming journalism in general, and the difficulties facing Ziff Davis.

(full article)


Game journalists could be forgiven for having a love/hate relationship with April Fools’ Day. On the one hand, the day lets them get away from straight, factual reporting and stretch their creative muscles in crafting fictional stories. On the other hand, they have to be extremely careful all day of reporting on stories that could turn out to be elaborate falsehoods created by others.

On the whole, the results of all this tomfoolery are decidedly mixed. Some writers grow to the task and create well-crafted, thought-provoking jokes that highlight industry hypocrisy. Others just play to readers’ worst demons and wishful thinking by making up obviously fake “news.” There are some of each category in this year’s Just Foolin’ Awards, which highlights the year’s most notable game-journalism-related April Fools jokes.

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I list the best re-interpretations of the iconic level, from other games to artistic cakes.

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The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) may be the go-to event for event for upcoming games, but some of us oldsters prefer the simple bleeps and bloops of the past. So we decided to make the ultimate list of old-school gaming hot spots — here’s a sampling of the best retro roadside attractions and classic gaming conventions going on ’round the country.

(See Electronic Gaming Monthly #227 for full article)