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A bunch of random stuff! Attack!

Although I haven't had a ton of game time lately, I took advantage of the extended weekend and spent some time with two download titles, Lit and Flower.

Lit is from Way Fordward (Shantae, Contra 4) and makes its home on the Wii. An intriguing mix of Puzzle and Horror genres, the game’s hook is that touching darkness or shadows is instantly fatal. Naturally, the player must make his way through twenty-five rooms (and five boss battles) by taking advantage of paths and safe zones created by lamps, televisions, broken windows, and so on. My review is in the can already and should be making an appearance soon, but in a nutshell I'd say buy it if the subject matter appeals to you, just be prepared for some frustration due to a few poor design choices.

Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage Review

Bringing the fight to a much colder, less radioactive wasteland

Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage Screenshot

HIGH It's more Fallout, for players like me who couldn't get enough.

LOW Getting warped out of an area before I was done searching.

WTF The battle near the end could have been a bit more epic.

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.

The Horror Geek presents: Saw videogame rises from the grave


Variety is reporting that the video game version of the Saw films isn’t as dead as we thought it was.

Brash Entertainment had been originally handling Jigsaw’s first foray into the digital universe when the company abruptly closed up shop a few months back. The game appeared all but dead at that point, with the rights winding up in Lionsgate’s hands. Things have now changed though, with Lionsgate teaming up with Konami to resurrect the title. The game is still slated for a fall release (keeping it in line to appear around the same time as the sixth film in the franchise).

I wasn’t particularly interested in a Saw game prior to this point (it seems like its ripe with the potential to suck balls), but Konami stepping in gives me a slightly more positive outlook. Konami has a decent track record with horror games (they’re the guys behind Silent Hill and Castlevania) and maybe they can bring some interesting elements to the project. My area of concern, though, remains the fact that the release date is still this fall–meaning they’re probably taking what Brash had already created and just finishing the project as opposed to building a game from the ground up.

I guess we’ll all find out if the game is worth playing before the end of 2009.

NEC Foundation awards grant for therapeutic video games

The NEC Foundation of America has awarded a $32,000 grant to the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) "to support the dissemination and use of therapeutic video games to serve children with severe sensory and motor disabilities," according to NJIT's press release.

The website for NJIT's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) says that:

The video game platform contains games with programmable graphics objects. Each game piece behaves in a preprogrammed fashion, following specified rules. These rules may alter movement pattern, changing shape, color or size and even disappearing altogether. Each game piece is capable of assessing its environment and calculating its distance from the nearest object in a specified direction.

Video: Mirror's Edge modded to play in third-person perspective

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Someone or someones decided he or she or they didn't like playing Mirror's Edge in the first-person and hacked the game (PC version) so that it could be played from an over-the-shoulder viewpoint. That's all well and good as long additional steps were taken to fix any side-effects of the switch. But none were. Instead, we see a character model that was never made to be seen during normal gameplay instances and as a result looks pretty laughable.

Are nonlinear, open world games a dead end?

Far Cry 2

I've been noticing lately that I've developed a fairly strong preference for short, linear games over the more open world "sandbox" style ones. Taking a look at some of the games I've played recently (e.g., Call of Duty 4, Gears of War 2, Portal, Mirror's Edge, Grand Theft Auto IV, Far Cry 2, and Fallout 3), I can see a clear pattern emerging in terms of what games I'm more likely to go back to, or in some cases which games I'm simply more likely to continue playing through to completion.

I'm also starting to believe that the whole idea of the nonlinear, free roaming game as some sort of holy grail for the medium is a bit bogus. We've already seen some pretty damn amazing open world games, but what I'm discovering is that there doesn't seem to be anything particularly earth shattering about these games that, for me, makes them feel that much more profound than the more scripted stuff.

Prince of Persia Second Opinion

"Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courageto move in the opposite direction." —Albert Einstein

Prince of Persia Screenshot

HIGH Effortlessly running, jumping, and climbing across the entire game world.

LOW Lightseed collection gets extremely monotonous.

WTF The final "battle" where your opponent is apparently a drunk Pokémon on steroids.

Prince of Persia Art Gallery

Prince of Persia Review

Beauty plunged into darkness

Prince of Persia

HIGH The beautiful art style and incredible palate of color.

LOW Simplistic gameplay that fails to provide a challenge.

WTF Why is Elika encumbering this game?

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