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Consoleation: Learn from Adam Orth's mistake

Adam Orth Tweets Image

What a day Adam Orth had. What was thought to be a relatively benign conversation on Twitter has blown up to a worldwide fiasco leaving Orth's employer, Microsoft, with a damaged public image and leaving Orth under siege by press and message board posters. More than 50 websites have linked Orth's comments about "always being online" to the persistent rumor that Microsoft's next platform will indeed require a constant internet connection to work.

Sparky's Games of PAX East 2013

Guacamelee Screenshot

I typically go to a lot of panels at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East, but this year relatively few of the offerings interested me (and some of the interesting ones were on simultaneously). So, I spent a lot of time on the show floor. The only major publisher I really visited was Ubisoft, where I learned that Might & Magic X will be coming this year and has a huge, wasteful UI. I spent most of the rest of my time in the Indie Megabooth and environs, both because this is a more efficient use of time and you're more likely to actually see the games and talk to somebody interesting there.

His name is Buck…

Far Cry 3 Screenshot

Buck is a peculiar hitman in Far Cry 3. Apparently employed by the game's big bad, Hoyt, Buck has an interest in men, and in ancient Chinese artifacts. As it happens, he presently "owns" one of protagonist Jason Brody's male friends, and will exchange him if Jason retrieves a ceremonial knife originating from the treasure ships of Zheng He. Since Jason needs the knife for another purpose, it is obvious from the beginning of the adventure that he will come away from Buck's tasks with both friend and knife. That's how these games work, and Far Cry 3 is relentlessly conventional in that respect.

Extra Credits: Funding XCOM, Part 1 and 2

Why have we become to concerned with a zombie apocalypse? What about the much more likely—or at least more interesting—prospect of an alien invasion? But before we even talk about a defense system to fight back that alien attack, Extra Credits asks if there are even any aliens to worry about.

The flaw in the design

Far Cry 3 Screenshot

Several weeks ago Seb Wuepper posted a critique of Far Cry 3's design at Gameranx that I did not find compelling. Wuepper's argument reads less like criticism of Far Cry 3's design per se than a complaint about the fact that this game is not Far Cry 2. I am sympathetic to his point because I also prefer Far Cry 2. However, I don't feel that not being some game I like more is a fundamental argument against design quality.

Bastion's narrator speaks of next role in Transistor

Transistor (Supergiant Games) Screenshot

Few booths were as busy at PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) East 2013 as that of Supergiant Games. Over the last two years, the Bastion creators have become indie superstars. Despite the circus, I found a few minutes to speak with Logan Cunningham, the voice of old man Rucks from Bastion, on how it feels to reprise his narrative role trapped inside of the eponymous weapon in Bastion's next venture: Transistor.

Extra Credits: Global Games—Brazil

Extra Credits is trying a new feature where it introduces viewers to burgeoning video game markets. The first one tackled is Brazil and while I see the country's potential, this particular presentation doesn't do the best job of selling Brazil as a great new game market. Sure you can still buy a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive—brand new—and who doesn't want that? But video game piracy seems to still be pretty rampant there. It also looks like one of those territories that isn't the least bit interested in fixing things from a consumer, governmental and industry standpoint.

Extra Credits: The Beast Macabre

In this response piece, Extra Credits expands on the subject of horror in games. This time the crew talks about the three types of "monsters" available to developers shedding a little insight into why some fall flat.

Extra Credits: How To Start Your Game Narrative

The gist of this particular Extra Credits presentation is that developers should focus on the gameplay first and then wrap their story around that. It sounds like a no-brainer until you realize that a practice of de-emphasizing story at the onset is standard operating procedure in the video game development community. The result have been unoriginal and unsophisticated stories. Maybe we need more developers taking a stand and pushing through those barriers to focusing on story and come up with something that can really move the medium forward.

Extra Credits: Depth vs Complexity

This time, it's the ratio of depth vs complexity that Extra Credits seeks to explain.

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