By Chi Kong Lui on October 10, 2008 - 8:00am.
Ars Technica closely examines some recent games that raise controversial themes and issues.
On Super Columbine Massacre RPG!:
Essentially, SCMRPG! is a psychological examination of Harris and Klebold. It attempts to put the player into their mindset, exploring how and why they came to do what they did. The subject matter itself questions what a game is meant to be. Though people normally play video games for sheer enjoyment, there is none to be found in SCMRPG! Instead, I found myself actively dreading entering the game world, unwilling to perform the actions necessary to progress.
On Metal Gear Solid 4:
In the world of MGS4, war has become a business, and PMCs are in the center of it. The new war economy means that the world is in a constant state of battle, locked in perpetual proxy wars fought for business purposes. But while this is an interesting concept to contemplate, unfortunately it is not covered with real depth.
As a Kojima game, MGS4 spends much more time tackling strange philosophical debates than it does real world issues like PMCs. And given the fact that the existence of these corporations only came to light recently, it's a topic that is at the forefront of many people's minds. The game is wonderful, but the opportunity for a serious look at the subject was squandered.
By Tera Kirk on October 8, 2008 - 8:45pm.
Life as a Disabled Gamer is a guest editorial at Game|Life by Andrew Monkelban, a gamer with cerebral palsy who plays one-handed. His piece covers a lot of important issues, but what most interested me was the kinds of games he likes and doesn't like to play, and why:
Up until recently, I've played predominately roleplaying games, with some focus on fighters. However, with the inclusion of online multi-player and other networking features in games and consoles, I've been able to try different titles and genres (i.e. Devil May Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 4, and Mass Effect).
One example of a genre I can't play is shooters. Mass Effect is in this genre, and I had trouble playing it, due to the controls being too complicated for one-handed gaming. When you need to hold the controller a certain way, it causes problems when needing to reach some buttons.
Gamers are an incredibly diverse group of people, and I don't think most game developers or publishers (or indeed, most gamers, myself included) fully realize just how diverse we are. Can controllers with sensitive analog sticks and lots of little buttons be adapted for someone who needs a larger, simpler setup? Are there certain games and genres that gamers with certain impairments can't play because of the barriers involved? If so, are these barriers truly "just the way things are" or can we fix them? For instance, can we make audio cue-intensive survival horror games and first-person-shooters accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing gamers? (See the Doom 3 closed-captioning/transcription mod).
By blogging about gaming and disability, I hope to examine these and other questions. And, of course, alert readers to some really cool technology and people.
By Mike Doolittle on October 5, 2008 - 10:51pm.
Crysis Warhead is finally upon us, and that can only mean one thing—more tweaking! Before reading this guide, it is imperative that you read my original Crysis optimization guide, as I'm not going to re-explain how to alter configuration files or access console commands. The engine is largely the same, and all of the information from the previous guide is still valid. Fortunately though it is far less necessary to use "tweaks" to get great performance from Crysis Warhead due to heavy optimization of the game engine.
By Daniel Weissenberger on August 29, 2008 - 10:32pm.
I’ll admit that I’m not especially familiar with the history of the Need for Speed
franchise. My first experience with the series was with 2006’s NFS Most Wanted,
an average arcade-inspired racing game with a single standout feature: Amazing police chases. The follow-up, NFS Carbon,
added a couple of new modes: the mildly diverting "drift" and the frustrating "canyon chase". The police chases were back, but hamstrung by the fact that the city map was so labyrinthine in its construction that it was nearly impossible to get a good chase going.
Game Description: Need for Speed: Pro Street is a racing experience like no other. For the first time, you're designing and building a car, competing in iconic locations from around the globe and battling in four distinct racing styles- grip, drag, drift and the all-new speed challenge. The atmosphere is electric—complete with energetic crowds, photo-realistic vehicles and billowing smoke—all designed to embody the pressure and intensity of the gladiatorial challenge known as Show Down. Need for Speed ProStreet is the realization of the power, aggression and rivalry that embodies street racing culture.
By Brad Gallaway on August 26, 2008 - 8:14am.
It's as sure as death or taxes that anyone who takes up videogaming will find themselves rooting through a bargain bin or scouring pre-owned shelves sooner or later. For those that do, few things feel as satisfying as saving hard-earned cash and getting a gem of a game at the same time.
By Daniel Weissenberger on August 19, 2008 - 7:33pm.
When the reviewer wasn't being unfairly disinterested, he was flat-out wrong. So I decided to make my review a little different, and take the reader, point-by-point through why its author was not just wrong, but unprofessional. How unprofessional? I suspect he played very little of the actual game.
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