When the trailer for the Hobbit originally came out (you know, the one with all the baritone dwarves) I was as excited as any geek or nerd that has read the books. As the movie's release approached though I began to get a little worried. There was movie nerd controversy over the way the movie was shot, it was being filmed in 3D, and then it was announced that there would be not one, not two, but three whole movies based around a children's novel. I began to suspect and then know that we would be treated to an odd looking film where spears popped out at the screen to wow 3D fans and the story would be bloated and changed from the original form so Hollywood could make more money.
The Seven Markets back cover blurb sets up a very basic premise and leaves you to the discover the rest. Within those lines you will find the hint of things to come, the promise of a marvelous adventure and that matches the book perfectly. Mr. Hoffman has created a world that is at once detailed enough that the words dance off the page and through your imagination, yet vague enough that it leaves you with a sense of wonder through nearly the entire experience.
At 720 pages in length and weighing enough to use in case of zombie apocalypse as a bludgeoning tool, Playing at the World is an immense book. it is filled with the history that examines how Dungeons and Dragons came to be, the strategy games that came before, and the utter lasting effect that all of these play experiences have on our media today. The author goes into every facet in incredible depth with the most minute of details being brought to light. This is both the books greatest asset and it's weakest. To those seeking the origins of their favorite role playing game and want to know every little detail than this combination of knowledge will be an utter godsend. However, to those approaching from the outside in with an interest in the topic and the need to read a good book will be intimidated and put off by the sheer amount of content and it's delivery.
It's not often we find ourselves truly examining or appreciating the board books that we read our young children and babies. Usually they are either purely educational or entertainment with bright colorful pictures usually focusing on first words, colors or some zany story. In this sense Cozy Classics is a breath of fresh air and an idea that executes flawlessly.
Writing a review for Crafting with Nana has been at times, utterly difficult. I say this because I'm more than a skeptic in magic, I'm an utter non-believer, and nothing within the book changed my mind. Believing myself to be mostly open-minded I went into the book and decided to judge it from a purely anthropological view point and to do my best to judge the writing alone. What I did not expect to happen was to encounter real life characters written with such a deep sense of love and brought to life with the warmest of memories. So you see my dilemma in reviewing the book; straddling the line between not believing in witchcraft, yet being impressed by the deep emotion that went into writing the book and the power of the oft fond memories.
Even though it’s up there in massive capital letters in the title, I feel inclined to warn you again that we will be discussing massive spoilers that will include the ending of Assassin’s Creed 3 (and possibly other games within the series). If you haven’t finished the game yet I highly suggest you do so before reading any further.
There is so much negative nowadays about the game industry that is printed and shared. With unscrupulous game practices like on disc DLC and companies suing beloved gaming advertisement icons, sometimes it's easy to focus on all the bad and become cynical and jaded, forgetting why we love this great hobby in the first place. Hopefully this article is a small reminder for you as it is for me.
Diablo 3 may have been the talk of the town, but for me I had always looked forward to Torchlight 2. Does the follow-up stand toe to toe with its stiffest competition or does it crumple under the heavy weight of expectations?
There are many out there that have anticipated and heralded the doom of Nintendo on a seemingly endless number of occasions (you know who you are). Those individuals would say the venerable company has been on a continuous decline, and then completely abandoned the hardcore fanbase with Wii, and many believe that the Wii U will be Nintendo’s death rattle. Not only do I believe the doomsayers are wrong, but I believe that the Wii U will have good sales, and indeed given the right circumstances could be a smashing success.
I recently had a chance to interview the fine folks over at Spicy Horse. First up is a well known developer, American McGee, and the creative director: Benjamin Kerslake. In addition, I got a great chance to get some new information about Spicy Horse's newest game Akaneiro Demon Hunters.
When Microsoft released the original Xbox gaming console it was an uphill battle from day one against Sony’s prolific PlayStation brand. The console was releasing later than the PS2, and though it had more horsepower, third party developers were firmly in bed with Sony and their seemingly unbeatable black box. However, when the newest generation of gaming consoles were introduced, Microsoft hit stores earlier than everyone and released the Xbox 360 as the follow up to their original massive machine. Though the 360 wasn’t the highest selling game console of this generation (that honor goes specifically to Nintendo’s Wii), it is certainly many gamer’s favorite, and early in the generation sold like gangbusters. It was the newest and hottest machine out and it seemed everyone wanted one and all the third party developers wanted to have their games on it.
If you've ever known the thrill of choose your own adventure books that were popular back in the 80's and 90's, then you'll be familiar with the concept behind INFECTED. You are the main character and it's up to you to put all your pre-made zombie apocalypse survival plans you made with your friends to the test. As you make your way through the story you'll be asked to make choices at certain junctures that will change your overall plot within. The book is a more adult take on the idea though, your character will meet bloody and violent ends throughout the experience with a wrong decision. Most importantly and complimentary to the author, your choices never feel too forced with more sweeping impacts to the narrative than most choose your own adventure books.
Realms of Ancient War or RAW (not to be confused with the game with sweaty dudes grappling in tights), comes at a time when the market is pretty well saturated with loot-based hack’n’slash RPGs. Is RAW one of the ones worth your money?
New divorcee Leslie Bradford and her son Cody needed to start a new life somewhere, and they could think of no better than the idyllic small town Millford Springs. Moving into the house of their dreams they quickly settle into and become a part of the community. As with any horror novel their bliss soon turns to absolute horror as a violent crime rocks the town shortly after Cody begans to see dark shapes in his home. As the details of a terrible crime commited in the little town's past come to the surface, so something else surface. Something dark and very, very angry.
When one amateur video game article writer has a chance to interview one of his favorite developers he does not say no. We sat down with Jay Stuckwisch, Marketing Director and 2D Artist for Twisted Pixel to find out who that guy is on the spokes of I.R.I.S spokes, the protagonist from the newly shown game LocoCycle, and questions about the mighty beard of Frank Wilson. If you have no idea who Twisted Pixel is shame on you; luckily you can brush up on their awesomeness here at my developer spotlight.
Join me as we take a look at one of the best developers for XBLA (or 360 for that matter), and with good reason. Their blend of quarky humor and rock solid gameplay is a complete win in every regard and their purchase is probably the best move Microsoft has made in a long time.
Dust An Elysian Tail started as a Dream Build Play winner and now is a full-fledged Summer of Arcade title with big Microsoft backing. Has it improved or collapsed under hefty expectations by eager fans?
Hironobu Sakaguchi; if you're a fan of RPG's chances are you'll know this name. The creator of a series that was to be his last foray into video games if it didn't succeed which also shared the gambits name: Final Fantasy. Arguably some of the greatest RPG's of a span of console generations sprung from this man's creative mind as he worked at the venerable Square Enix.
Fanboys, by definition in the video game industry, are the raving and rampant champions of their preferred system. Usually fanboys take up allegiance to a certain console and will not only buy pretty much anything that comes out for the system, but champion it across the battlefield of every major forum on the video game website front. They are the first line of defense against any game exclusively coming to one system or the other, and will usually show up in news posts to deride or defend the game; most of the time one that the world hasn’t even played yet. Logic is usually their worst enemy and they will attack you simply for owning a different system, not only insulting your system, but indeed your very way of life. Fanboys are a mean and nasty virus of contempt for anything they don’t own that are holding back the gaming community.
Recently I did a spotlight on one of my favorite bands. Shortly after I had a chance to sit down with Brian Mazzaferri of I Fight Dragons. As a huge fan of the band I had a hard time not doing a little dance and nerd squee, but I managed to ask him a few questions.
Awesomenauts almost didn’t see the light of day at the last minute due to some financial problems with its publisher DTP Entertainment. Thank goodness that didn’t happen, or we would be missing out on one of the most unique multiplayer games available on XBLA or PSN.
I Fight Dragons is a rock band from good old Chicago IL, but they are so much more than that. The band infuses itself with rock alongside original electric sounds, some pulled directly from old video games. Coming together in 2008, the band has since released 2 EP’s and not too long ago released KABOOM!, their first full length album. What is a cd product spotlight doing on a video game website you might ask? Watch this and you might not have that question anymore.
While video games are my chosen hobby there are times when I somehow (between being a dad, a gamer, full time employee, and a writer) find a way to sit down with a good book. Unlike video games, reading is one of the greatest escapes and the graphics are powered by imagination where the budget is limitless and the possibilities boundless. Recently I got a chance to read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and I was pleasantly surprised. Usually I read nothing outside of fantasy or a good Star Wars book (which is fantasy in space), but I received Ready Player One as a gift and am pleased to say the book is a genre busting success that delves deeply into nostalgia while also being witty and original.
As a hardcore gamer that primarily plays Xbox, it's easy for myself and others to be dismissive of Nintendo's little white box that could. Motion controlling is usually annoying, the graphics are behind the times, and awesome game series like Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect don't come to the system due to it being so far outside the others experience that porting wouldn't work. However, if you've never tried the Wii out because you considered it too kiddy or you were just too busy with your other system you might give it a shot. It could just surprise you.
As a father who is also a gamer I know that sometimes gaming with your younger children can be painful. A lot of parents who aren't gamers don't know what games are quality experiences and even a lot of parents who do game know that many times children titles can equal a pretty bad game. On top of that when your youngsters game they won't have the skills you have (at first) and lets face it dying a hundred times a level can be painful. However there is a bright and shiny middle ground I've found in a few games so I'd like to share those here.
Double Fine's attempt to finance an old school adventure game through Kickstarter met with massive success. At the time of this article the project has raised $1,635,090. No I didn't misplace a comma, the project is well on it's way to almost 2 million dollars! Considering that $400,000 was the original goal I'd say they slaughtered their original goal. While I'm extremely excited about a new adventure game being made by Double Fine I can't help but wonder what impact Kickstarter could have on the industry.
With all the terrible missteps of the most recent generation of gaming it's sometimes hard to remember the awesome stuff that the 360, PS3 and Wii have brought us. My favorite of the bunch has to be, hands down, Achievements. While the updated graphics, the addition of Netflix and Hulu, and the great push for downloadable games are all great stuff; it's trophies and achievements that really first captured my attention.