PAX is one of the best -- if not the best -- gaming conventions out there. It's focused on bringing consumers from around the world together for a full weekend of experience sharing, nerdcore concerts, Wil Wheaton, and of course, gaming. This year, the PAX East show (which we'll be attending, definitely try to go!) has promised to save the world. Sort of. OK, not exactly; but they're trying. Jack Thompson's kryptonite, Jane McGonigal, has been chosen as the keynote speaker. Jane is known for her work in promoting a positive, supportive gaming environment without removing all the elements we've grown to love; her topic at GDC in 2008 was slanted toward proving to non-believers that gaming is fundamentally good - it's not out to get us. Read the full press release below, and we'll see you at PAX East! Be sure to check out our cosplayer gallery from PAX Prime, too.
The echo of hooves pounding through the desolate valleys of 17th century Europe coursed through press inboxes across the world this morning. Yes, our favorite hack-n-slash multiplayer (and singleplayer) game has returned, and this time, with fire. The teaser trailer released for Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword revealed unique landscapes and structures, each crafted individually for their respective realms, accompanied by primitive firearms and the best mounted combat of all time; it's beautiful. The only thing absent in the press release was superfluous amounts of blood stains and splats.
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.
As if I needed any further inspiration to implement improvements to the site's editorials and programmed features, Obama's State of the Union asked for small business to re-invent themselves. Now, I'm not saying that Gamers Nexus is anywhere near the type of business he was addressing; however, it did get me thinking about the improvements I'm hopeful for this year. We're eager to upgrade to a better server with increased response time, customization, and other perks, along with other, more aesthetic changes. A list of forthcoming updates is below in short format:
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.
Dawn of Fantasy has been in the sights of Gamers Nexus staff for a while now, and after a brief period of silence, the development team has returned triumphantly with a major announcement: they've found a publisher, picked a release date, and have re-committed to posting scheduled "Fantasy Friday" screenshots and updates.
It seems like everyone wants to get their dirty, stinkin' hands on our maps these days. A product whose real world counterpart is threatened by the GPS, video game maps are going the same direction: "Hey, you're doing that quest with the rats for me, right? Let me just put a dynamic, clickable, fast-travelable button here for you. There you go, right there. Yes, you haven't been in that region before -- just click the button, no need to wander."
So it might be a little exaggerated (or not, as revealed here), but you get the picture: NPCs are out to kill us.
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