Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gaming Links

Tons of good gaming links have piled up, so here you go.

First off, Bill Abner has an excellent article in last wee's issue of The Escapist titled "The Stagnant State," and with that title, it's easy to guess that he's writing about sports games.

And boy, does he nail the entire state of sports gaming right on the head.

Annual release cycles. Exclusive licenses. The abandonment of the PC. Suck-ass "journalists" who entirely lack the faculty of critical thinking.

Okay, he didn't exactly say "entirely lack the faculty of critical thinking," but that's what he's talking about. I must have seen 30+ glowing previews of Madden, and where are all those ass-kissers now that the game's been out for over TWO MONTHS and there are serious issues (fumbling frequency and the free agent pool in franchise, just to name two of many) that have gone entirely unpatched. Why doesn't anyone ever ask EA about this? Do they only write about the game when they get handed a Powerpoint presentation?

Read Bill's article here.

In the same issue, Kieron Gillen has a piece titled Sensible Soccer: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Ball. It's an ode to both Sensible Soccer and the Amiga (more advanced compared to its peers than any console/computer in history), and it's here.

Next, from Steven Pubols, comes a link to The Activision Patch Gallery, a full set of images of the Atari 2600 achievement patches. And they look great! I'm still baffled as to why Microsoft (or Sony or Nintendo) isn't doing something like this. See them all here.

"Turgid Bolk" sent me a link to board game website called Vying Games, and it's pretty cool. The selection of playable games is interesting (Checkers, Connect6, Pente, Keryo-Pente, Phutball, Breakthrough, Othello, Kalah, Oware, and Footsteps so far), and you can play against bots or against a human opponent. This is a relatively new sight, but it looks like it has a good future, and you can see it here.

I've saved links to Level Up for last, because N'Gai Croal writes so damn much that I can't even keep up with him. What I like about him, though (and I may have said this before), is that he uses his high degree of access to prominent gaming figures to ask relevant and useful questions. That's unique, because there are plenty of journalists who, once they have a high degree of access, spend all their time preserving that access instead of being a journalist.

First off is an article titled "The Problem (and the Danger) of the Continued Infantilization of Videogames," including an appearance on CNN's American Morning program. He makes the point that we would never assume an "R" rated film was created for children, but many people assume that all games (including "M" rated) ARE made for children. This leads those people to make assumptions about games and gaming that are simply incorrect.

I think this problem will go away as the percentage of people who don't play games continues to fall, but this single misperception is probably responsible for 90% of the videogame legislation out there, and 100% of that legislation is created by people who don't play games themselves.

The full article is here.

Next is an article about the Great Satan purchasing Bioware and Pandemic last week, which you can read here.

Finally, you can read an excellent article on the recent defections from Microsoft Game Studios what it it means here. I think it's ironic and unfortunate that while MGS has delivered some outstanding, top-tier games, the Entertainment division is still hemorrhaging cash because the damn hardware was a complete POS for the first eighteen months.

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