Video Games Archive


Dungeon Keeper stacks deck in EA’s favor when it comes to Android feedback

Chris Plante for Polygon:

It’s typical for an app to ask the player to submit a review after it’s been played for a few hours. A prompt appears, pointing to the app store, where the player can select 1 through 5 stars and leave a blurb of text.

In Dungeon Keeper, if the player selects the “1 – 4 Stars” option, they’re directed to a private feedback submission page. Only if the player selects the “5 Stars” option will they be taken to the Google Play page, where they can leave any rating they wish along with a blurb. The system is designed to make good feedback public and visible, and to allow EA to keep negative feeback hidden so it can be dealt with privately, or ignored entirely.

While people can still leave whatever feedback they want to on the actual Google Play page, I’d wager that most of the people giving the app lower than 5 stars won’t take the extra time to do that step. What EA is doing here smells awful fishy by any stretch, despite being a logical action for a company trying to maximize it’s public star-rating from a corporate marketing standpoint. It’s just a symptom of what affects a lot of companies who look at their customers as, well, customers rather than people.

via Dungeon Keeper stacks deck in EA’s favor when it comes to Android feedback | Polygon.


Metal Gear Solid 5 Trailer


And I thought “The Phantom Menace” was a silly title.


The New Frontier Of Realism In PC Gaming

Through painstaking collaboration between software developers at AMD and Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider proudly features the world’s first real-time hair rendering technology in a playable game: TressFX Hair.

Well, guys, it’s come to this.



The Only PlayStation 4 Piece You Need To Read

John Teti for The Gameological Society:

Creativity thrives under limitations. People who love games understand this implicitly, since the best players find the most creative ways to succeed within the confines of the rules. The Great Train Robbery is a masterpiece not in spite of its limitations but because of them. So if David Cage doesn’t think he can produce an emotional work of art with a PlayStation 3 and an eight-figure budget, maybe he shouldn’t be in the art-making business.

Expanding the technological capabilities of our game machines is not inherently bad, but treating new tech as a magic bullet is a self-destructive delusion (if a familiar one). The reason that so many games suck is not because the technology is too modest. The reason that so many games suck is because so many games suck. Making art is hard. No microchip changes that.

This is the most spot-on, insightful piece I’ve read about the PlayStation 4. It may be a little cynical, but the pretentiousness of these kinds of presentations is just too palpable to ignore.

via More, More, More—How Do You Like It? | Gameological At Large | The Gameological Society.


Bungie’s Destiny

Michael McWhertor interviewing Bungie’s Jason Jones:

Enjoyable by the tired, impatient and distracted. Bungie believes that players don’t play games to “work hard, read or go the internet to figure out our bullshit.” The core experience, Jones says, has to be delivered as simply and easily as possible. And that pillar led Bungie to “throw out a bunch of dearly-held ideas.”

I used to take it as a given that I would have to do a lot of reading on the internet before even playing some games in order to play it “right.” Now that time is a scarce resource for me, I’m thinking “Hell yeah, let’s get rid of the bullshit complexity of games!”

It’ll be interesting to see exactly what the gameplay of Destiny will entail. Bungie is saying a lot of things about the game that appear at odds on the surface. Essentially the company line is, “It’s an easy to play shooter for all skill levels in a persistent world with no subscription fees!” There’s a fine balance to be had with every part of that statement and if any component goes awry, it could seriously tank the whole experience. I will say, though, that if there’s a company that’s bought itself the benefit of the doubt, though, it’s the studio that created the Halo franchise.

In any case, the game’s art looks fantastic:

via Destiny: Bungies Brave New Worlds | Polygon.


When The Business Of Making Games Goes Wrong

Anonymous Gearbox Developer:

Somehow the schedules for Pecan and Borderlands 2 managed to line up and GBX realized that there was no fucking way they could cert and ship two titles at the same time. Additionally, campaign (which was being developed by TimeGate) was extremely far behind, even as Pecan’s Beta deadline got closer and closer. In April or May (can’t remember which), Pecan was supposed to hit beta, but GBX instead came to an agreement with SEGA that they would push the release date back one more time, buying GBX around 9 mos extension.

About 5 of those 9 months went to shipping BL2.

via reddit


JJ Abrams On Making Half-Life And Portal Movies

JJ Abrams:

“We’re not looking to make a movie in the gaming world, we’re not looking to impose what we do on that, we’re looking forward to taking some of our strengths and collaborating with some of these incredible minds that make some of my favorite games. Just as I think they’re looking forward to taking some of their stories and the universe for some of their games and applying it to movies. I think they need to both be approached very differently.”

As much as I’m a little fatigued from all the JJ Abrams headlines lately (Star Trek, Star Wars), this guy really gets storytelling and entertainment. If anyone can pull off a truly great film based on rich video game worlds, it’s him.

via Half-Life and Portal movies in early idea stages, J.J. Abrams says | Polygon.


The NY Times Profiles Valve Software

Nick Wingfield for The New York Times:

This year, Mr. Newell hired Yanis Varoufakis, a Greek economist, after being impressed with Mr. Varoufakis’s personal blog, which he fills with commentary on the European financial crisis. Mr. Varoufakis, who had never heard of Valve and is not a gamer, is studying the workings of the virtual economies of Valve games, in which players can barter and sell items like hats and armor. He said he was drawn to the job partly by Valve’s “completely anti-authoritarian” culture that, to his surprise, seemed to be working.

“What does Valve have to add to our perception of the evolution of corporate structures in the future?” he said in a Skype interview from the Greek island of Aegina. “Let’s face it, the current state of that culture leaves a lot to be desired.”

A fascinating glimpse into one of the most unique companies out there, gaming or otherwise.

Valve, a Video Game Maker With Few Rules –


This Guy Would Rather Hire A World Of Warcraft Raider Than A Harvard MBA

Ok, I know you’re probably already rolling your eyes at the title, but believe it or not, he’s got some valid points. I can speak from first hand World of Warcraft raiding experience that it takes some pretty legit cross-functional teamworking skills to be able to pull it off. We’re talking about 25 people all working in unison to execute a plan in a timed pressure situation with oftentimes little room for error. On top of that, if you can’t pull your own weight in productivity, you’re going to be fired for someone who can. The best raiders actually have friendly competitions with team members in similar roles to see who can do better.

That being said, playing a video game is, at the end of the day, playing a video game. The stakes aren’t as high in the real business world, and, let’s be honest, a Harvard MBA is probably a better indicator of a quality employee. We’re also talking about the top 5% or so of World of Warcraft players that exhibit these business-like teamworking skills. It’s a small, but not insignificant percentage of the total player population. Still, if I was a company looking for out-of-the box candidate qualities, I would definitely put some weight into having high end World of Warcraft raiding experience if the rest of his resume checks out.

via How World of Warcraft Could Save Your Business and The Economy | John Seely Brown.


Penelope Cruz And Her Sister Play Nintendo DS

Can you imagine the internet comments on this if Nintendo hadn’t disabled them?