November 2008

Imagine that you’ve got the best game idea in the history of game ideas. You don’t work at a major videogame publisher, but you do have a modicum of programming and artistic skill, so you set yourself to many long nights of work in order to get your vision out of your head and into an executable file. Finally, after months of toil, you’re ready to share your wholly original, accessible and eminently playable creation with the world. You upload your creation to some free Web space and … despair as a grand total of 10 people download it in your first month. Hey, at least your mom said she liked it.

Independent games — generally, games released without the support of a major publisher — can’t rely on major marketing campaigns or months of hype to generate interest. For these games, the challenge of convincing people to download a demo or buy a copy only comes after the challenge of simply making people aware of your game’s existence. This is where the videogame press can help, turning readers on to the best under-hyped indie gems. So, how well is the press performing this vital function? Well, it depends on whom you ask.

(full article)

In the new Virtual Player, Kyle Orland takes us through some lesser-known classics (and un-classics) recently unearthed on the Wii’s Virtual Console. Will you pop this time capsule?

Reviewed in this Column:

  • Super Dodge Ball
  • Vectorman
  • Super Turrican 2
  • Digital Champ: Battle Boxing
  • Gradius II: Gofer No Yabou
  • Space Harrier

(full article)

Reviewed in this month’s column:

  • War World
  • Beat’n Groovy
  • Age of Booty
  • Portal: Still Alive
  • Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode 2
  • Vigilante 8 Arcade

(full article)

Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the videogame news?

  • Wrath of the Lich King introduces new, in-game measures of missed life
  • Couriers upset with portrayal in Mirror’s Edge
  • Konami insists it’s not bitter about Rock Revolution reception
  • Recession means more unemployed losers on game servers than ever

(full article)

Tom Clancy's End War review for Xbox 360Think for a moment about all the standard, traditional handheld controllers you’ve ever handled. After the years you’ve spent using them, you probably thin k they’re a perfectly natural way to control a game. But that familiarity obscures the indirect, imprecise way these controllers convert our desires into on-screen actions. Just consider all the times you’ve missed a jump in a platformer, or been shot in a first-person shooter, because your fingers weren’t nimble enough.

Those explosions sure are pretty. Too bad they obscure the enemy unit you’d like to be looking at.

The ideal interface would skip this middleman entirely and directly convert our thoughts into deeds without delay or interference. While other companies work on that pipe dream, Ubisoft has been trying to spruce up the real-time strategy genre with something to bridge the gap — an interface for Tom Clancy’s EndWar based on simple voice commands. While the idea and its execution have some merit, EndWar‘s flaws as a game pretty much guarantee that most people will make little note of the developer’s achievement in voice-based controls.

(full article)

What do Barack Obama, E3 and conflicts of interest have in common? This month’s Press Pass Round-up column, that’s what!

In this issue:

  • Game The Vote
  • E3 2009 Gets Re-bigulated
  • Conflict-of-interest Watch
  • The TV Zone
  • News Bits
  • Quotes of the Moment

(full article)

While Crispy Gamer’s last-minute write-in campaign for eight different videogame characters didn’t result in any real-world votes (at least, we hope it didn’t), the results of our online poll give some key insights into the direction the Crispy Nation is heading.

(full article)

What if Nintendo had failed to conquer the world of gaming in the 1980s? Or Pong had never lived past its first round? In this new column, Kyle Orland looks at turning points in gaming history and imagines what might have been.

  • What if Atari never released the arcade version of Pong?
  • What if Atari had avoided the “crash” and faced Nintendo head-on?
  • What if Nintendo never released the Game Boy?

(full article)