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The use and misuse of the term 'gameplay'

Mirror's Edge

Video games are still a relatively young medium, and as such the vocabulary that we've developed to describe them is similarly immature. Nowhere does this seem more apparent to me than in the way the term gameplay is used. Most people who play and read about games probably have the same general sense of what the term means. As I understand it, gameplay refers to the experience of playing or interacting with a game without reference to things like graphics and sound. This seems pretty straight forward. But the more I read and write about games, the more I find the use of this term problematic.

Tokyo Beat Down Preview

Tokyo Beat Down Preview Screenshot Tokyo Beat Down Preview Screenshot

Another peek into the inner workings of fan-pleasin' publisher, they were kind enough to send along some photos and information on their upcoming title Tokyo Beat Down for the Nintendo DS. Unless you're the type of player that regularly picks up golden oldies, I'm guessing that it's been a while since a side-scrolling beat'em-up has come your way.

Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop, one more game not meant for the Wii

Given enough time (and interest?) there is a developer out there that might be able to do something impressive with the Dead Rising franchise on the Wii. Apparently that developer wasn't contracted by Capcom to develop this "port".

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Pokemon Piplup

I'm cautiously pessimistic about the new Splatterhouse game

While I never read previews, it's rare that I make it through a week without checking on The Magic Box a few times. As a result, 99 percent of my information about upcoming games from a few isolated screenshots, often blurry scans from Japanese magazines.

Most of the time, I don't draw anything but the broadest conclusions about a game from these pictures, but today I came across shots so bewildering that I found myself compelled to share them with you, the person reading this blog post.

I present Splatterhouse 2009: The Screenshots, and the snarky comments that accompany them.

Monster!

Oh good, it's a generic monster with grey skin and tubes sticking out of his back. Because that went so famously well in The Suffering, Van Helsing, and Resistance.

Interview with Nathan Fouts of Mommy's Best Games

For those of you who've been paying attention, a great little game called Weapon of Choice hit the Xbox 360’s Community area, and it's been on fire ever since. After spending time with it and doing the research on where it came from, I was a little surprised to discover that this title was essentially the work of one man—Nathan Fouts, formerly of dev studios Running with Scissors and Insomniac. Having worked on games such as Postal, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, and Resistance: Fall of Man, I had to know more.

Weapon of Choice Screenshot

What's the story behind being a part of Running With Scissors and Insomniac, and then going solo with Mommy's Best Games?

Downloadable games seemed like they could sustain a small company. I started Mommy’s Best Games to make the weirdest, funnerest games that I could squeeze past the censors. The best part is that on Community Games, while they do have ratings, there is no overbearing, money-hoarding publisher trying to rain on your game design parade. Consequently, no one stopped me when I started adding udders to the Teat Walker or various strands of drool to Pitcher Mouth.

Game accessibility news roundup: 2/10/09

Since this past weekend was my birthday (I got several games, including one I'm ashamed to have taken so long to get to), this week's post is another trilogy of disability-related gaming news.

A woman with long dark hair stands in front of a factory wearing a white, backless, sleeveless dress. She is facing right, looking off into the distance.

Heather Kuzmich, a finalist on cycle nine of America's Next Top Model who won nine CoverGirl of the Week awards and has a form of autism called Asperger Syndrome, is studying video game-art design at the Illinois Institute of Art. In an interview with founder of Voodoo PC Rahul Snood, she said:

To be honest, I always wanted to do something that included art and creating stuff with my hands. At first I wanted to get into costume design, but that soon changed to game design, especially since I frigging love games and love doing weird designs for characters.

What do you think: God Hand

Please post your thoughts and impressions on God Hand here and we will discuss your comments in an upcoming episode of our podcast. Thanks!

God Hand

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 9

Do you like to shoot things? We do! This week the crew engages in vigorous debate over two new run-and-gun games: Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ and Weapon of Choice. Find out if 2D shooters still have a place in a 3D world.

Plus, the premiere of our new segment "What Do You Think?" (complete with swanky echo effect) where YOU tell US what you think of Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage, and that...unique...control scheme in the Resident Evil 5 demo.

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Please send mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

The Horror Geek Presents: New Splatterhouse trailer at New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con is in full swing, and I’m still bummed that I’m not there (a golden opportunity to meet Takashi Miike has now passed me by…)

Despite that, I’m still scouring the interweb for any interesting news that happens at the show. The first really cool thing I’ve found is this trailer for the new Splatterhouse game courtesy of GameTrailers.

The game looks pretty impressive—sort of like a horrific God of War. You can see some Prince of Persia-esque platforming sequences in the trailer, as well as a ton of gruesomely imagined brawler-styled melee combat.

I’m optimistic that this game might actually be, you know, good. We’ll know for sure come April 28th, when the game debuts on the PS3 and Xbox 360 and  hits retailers nationwide.

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