State of the Nexus, 2011

By Published January 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm

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:

Breach Review

in Games
Published January 25, 2011 at 11:45 pm

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.

Level Design: Imbue Your Map with Mythology

By Published January 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm

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 M.D. - The Game Review

in Games
Published January 21, 2011 at 8:37 pm

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 Announces Release, Publisher

By Published January 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm

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.

MineCraft Note Blocks - StarCraft's Terran Theme

By Published January 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Just a quick video showcasing the Minecraft note block functionality. Demonstrated through use of StarCraft's Terran 1 theme song. Enjoy.

No, You Can't Mark that on my Map

By Published January 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm

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.

Kind of.

Costume Quest - Grubbins on Ice Review

in Games
Published January 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm

A couple of months ago I reviewed Costume Quest, the latest game from Double Fine Productions. If you're reading this and you haven't read that review, then you should probably go back and read it because this is a review of the downloadable content (DLC) for that game. The new DLC has been named, rather fittingly, Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice. It's OK, I'll just wait here for you to come back …

You've done what I asked? You've been back and refreshed your memory about what I said? Good. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.

Tournament Gaming Revolution

By Published December 31, 2010 at 11:21 pm

The chiptune sounds that once emanated from within the walls of arcades have long faded into darkness; the affordable nature of modern console and PC gaming effortlessly decimated the away-from-home competition. It leaves something to be wanted, though - with virtually no reason to leave the house these days, especially with the explosion of powerhouses like Newegg and Amazon, gamers have to find a reason to converge at a common ground and compete. If our trip to this year's Raleigh MLG event taught us anything, it's that internalized competition is far more ferocious, and irrefutably more entertaining for even the spectators. This was proven yet again when I attended a small local tourney at Strafe for Halo: Reach. Although the prize money and attendance is far from anything like MLG or PAX Prime, the high-octane competition is the same; gamers want to give it all, and if lucky, walk home with a couple bucks more than they arrived with.

There comes a time in every gamer's life when walking from Leyawiin to Bruma is outright unacceptable; the journey is no longer the most fascinating, it's the most mind-numbing. Once you've seen the scenery the first time 'round, why bother walking through again? You're much higher level than any mobs you'll encounter in those zones, so experience isn't much of an incentive either. Our example gamer would much rather fast travel using some sort of boat, teleporter, silt strider, or The Nine forbid, a freakin' map that works from anywhere as long as the combat music isn't playing. Yes: walking in a video game becomes a tiring chore when infused with the "I want to get this quest done and go to sleep" curse. It's silly to think that the physical embodiment of the player character - the actual player - could reach a point of utter laziness such that holding down W is cumbersome. What's the matter -- is your index finger tired? You're sitting in a chair, not actually running. Don't be lazy.

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