Magicka's explosive entrance to the multiplayer arena can only be explained by one phenomenon: wizards have been possessed by lemmings. Yes, it's finally happened; we all knew that those little green men would return -- but who knew that it would be in the form of wizards self-destructing on a wildly generic battlefield? Under the visage of Paradox, publisher of successful franchises like Majesty 2 and Warband, our wizard friends saw the top of the Steam sales list in no time.
We fell in love with Magicka's quirky artistic style and great sense of humor, and in the spirit of the game, I worked with Tim "Space_man" Martin to compose a list of the top seven coolest looking element combinations in Magicka (note: not necessarily the strongest spells, but the best looking). Check out the screenshots and spell combos below.
I'm not quite sure what was “nail'd” here, but it certainly wasn't game design.
When most people think about the first time they came across a racing game, they recall an arcade style racing game such as OutRun, Crazy Taxi, and Ridge Racer. Over the past couple of years this style of racer has taken a back seat to the much more realistic Gran Turismo, DiRT, or Forza Motorsport. These are all well and good for people that like to get down and dirty with the specifics of a car, look at the engine, and kick the tires before they head out on the track, but what about the people that don't really care? What about the people that just want to jump into the first thing with go-faster stripes and tear up the track with their friends? That's where nail'd comes in. Supposedly.
The magnetism of bustling crowds at a convention contains a charge strong enough to draw enthusiasts across the country; although smaller conventions are inherently less populated by big-name developers, they are easily accessible and offer benefits unobtainable from larger masses, namely: community. Small conventions are a perfect target for local development houses to recruit industry youth -- anyone serious about getting into the games industry should be on the lookout for nearby conferences similar to Carolina Games Summit (some well-known conferences are the Global Game Jam, PAX, and MLG). CGS and other small gaming events often dedicate themselves to recruitment (or education) and entertainment (like local tournaments).
Magicka is a symphony of memes; an orchestra of particle effects; a... who are we kidding? Magicka far-and-away exceeds gaming precedents of humor, mechanics, and squishy mages by imploring users to remove themselves from the fantasy world. The game gives an overused acronym a face, and for the first time in Internet history, "lol" is entirely genuine; yes, Magicka firmly stifles the desire of role-play immersion, and instead replaces it with hysterical, arguably insane wizards on a quest to not die. The adventure to save the world is rapidly overwhelmed by an irrational desire to explode oneself in a fiery, electro-static-y jumble of magic -- and that's just the singleplayer. From the same publisher that brought us Warband and its expansion, Magicka has a bright future ahead of it.
Thirty-some developers and a few emptied vending machines were the result of this past weekend's Global Game Jam in Durham, NC; aspiring game makers were given a time-limit of forty-eight hours to concept, program, and polish a game for a worldwide (over 6000 members total!) development bonanza. The result was an abundance of sleep-deprived, over-caffeinated, and dedicated coders and artists.
You had me at “destructible environments.”
First Person Shooters are like the Marmite of the video game world: there's no middle-ground, they're both loved and hated equally. Where de_dust sends shivers down the spines of some gamers, it creates an unrivaled feeling of nostalgia in others; the trouble is, the people that love them are, more often than not, the weird obsessive type that plays nothing but the core FPS genre, no doubt screaming inaudible, random words down the microphone. Sometimes they even form sentences. Then there's the other camp: the people that don't play First Person Shooters and, for the most part, they're just as bad -- shunning the mere thought of playing an FPS because they “have no story” or “are only played by people who are 12 years old.” I used to fall into the latter category. Not because I thought I was above anyone, but because I'd had bad experiences in the past, especially when it came down to the multiplayer aspect that comes with most modern FPS's. With that in mind. I was unsure about Breach when I first saw it. It was a multiplayer FPS and there was no other option, I couldn't play the single player and then maybe play a few matches of the multiplayer if I felt like it. I either had to grit my teeth and survive the Xbox LIVE crowd or just continue on my way and never play it. I'm glad I chose to play it.
Gary Gygax's name may unearth your well-founded fears of the omnipotent super-being, the creator of all RPGs as we know them, but he is not the only one who can do it. It is true, though - our favored designers are the exalted pinnacle of fluidity and quality control, and the fact that a single name can evoke emotions so humbling is baffling. Gygax indeed set the standard for us today, whether you're a tabletop gamer or not, and his work has inspired this article (but don't worry, I've written it to be game-neutral; it will work for video games and tabletop games). Despite our gaming subculture's undying worship of amazing designers and developers, we could never, ever imagine the level of fascination that our ancient ancestors must have felt when in the presence of their gods. Egyptian mythology chronicles the existence of more than two thousand gods (although around one hundred are commonly known), the Aztecs lived under the ever-watchful eye of almost one thousand gods, and dozens of nations world-wide have had similar ancestry. With millennia upon millennia of storytelling behind each of these civilizations, there's an endless amount of applications to modern gaming. Yes, even our beloved Gygax (may he rest in peace) came nowhere close to the amount of history imbued in ancient societies. It's common practice to borrow from the ancient ones, so let's take a look at how to pick and choose myths for your own adventure.
House, the TV show, was one of those things that totally blew my mind the first time I watched it. Firstly, British legend and TV icon Hugh Laurie was speaking in a fantastically convincing American accent, and secondly I understood most of the medical terminology that the characters were coming out with. Something that wasn't the case with most of the times I'd attempted to watch E.R. I fell in love with the TV show and the people that were involved. When I found out, probably about a year ago now, that there was a video game based on the show in development I was excited. If there was going to be a game linked in to the ethos of the show at all then it would have to be a point and click game, nothing else would have felt right, and with the game being developed for the Nintendo DS and PC it looked like that was what we were going to get.
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