Tagged "games"

A Short List of Video Games

I just created a Gist to serve as a personal reminder of all the video games that I have played before as well as the ones that I would like to play some day. I chose to publish this list as a Gist so that you are free to fork it and even suggest new additions, if you’d like.

I admit that the phrase “short list” may seem like a bit of a misnomer—the list is long and will only get longer—but this still only scratches the surface of the vast universe of games out there. Say what you will, but I think that we are truly in a golden age of gaming.

Nintendo 2DS

I don’t know what to think of the Nintendo 2DS. First of all, it has a clever yet strange name: as an overlapping combination of “2D” and “DS” (“dual screen”), it pretty much describes a system in the original Nintendo DS series rather than one in the Nintendo 3DS family (as the Nintendo 2DS is officially being marketed). I wonder if this is a sign that Nintendo is preparing to replace their existing Nintendo DS lineup—the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL—with the Nintendo 2DS? That would seem to make more sense than simply releasing a new version of the Nintendo 3DS at a lower price point. After all, at $129.99 the Nintendo 2DS is only $40 cheaper than the Nintendo 3DS ($169.99).

Then again, if the Nintendo 2DS is indeed going to be the spiritual successor to the Nintendo DSi, why will the system be conspicuously absent in Japan? (As far as I can tell, the Nintendo 2DS has only been announced for sale in the Americas and Europe.) The reasons behind this decision are still mysterious to me, but if I were to hazard a guess it would be that the Nintendo 2DS appeals to the price-conscious sensibilities of Americans (and apparently Europeans) rather than the quality-conscious sensibilities of Japanese people. Furthermore, Nintendo’s brand awareness is very strong in Japan and thus the company may not need to constantly reduce prices in order to sell its products. Still, I wonder whether the $40 price difference between the Nintendo 2DS and the Nintendo 3DS is really significant enough to drive sales.

So all that being said, how does the Nintendo 2DS really stack up against its Nintendo 3DS brethren?

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We Built a Booth

Polygon does some excellent long-form journalism on the gaming industry, and this article is no exception. If you have any interest in indie games—as I do!—I hope that you will enjoy this report on the making of the Indie Megabooth at PAX East 2013.

Nintendo's indies guy tells you how to get your games approved

I love reading articles like this because they give me hope for the future of the games industry. The democratization of the game development process is good for everyone: it means more games, more choice, and thus more art. I think that Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins said it best in the following quote from his news post on June 1, 2012 (even though he was technically responding to the issue of offensive content in some games, I think that his point is much more widely applicable).

The answer is always more art; the corollary to that is the answer is never less art. If you start to think that less art is the answer, start over. That’s not the side you want to be on. The problem isn’t that people create or enjoy offensive work. The problem is that so many people believe that culture is something other people create, the sole domain of some anonymized other, so they never put their hat in the ring. That even with a computer in your pocket connected to an instantaneous global network, no-one can hear you. When you believe that, really believe it, the devil dances in hell.

With that said, I was really impressed to see that Nintendo is trying to become a much more viable platform for independent game developers. According to the Penny Arcade Report, I’m not the only one to be pleased with Nintendo’s new policies.

One developer I spoke with said this change in policy may have come a little late for Nintendo, but it’s still a step in the right direction. Being able to control your own pricing, pick your release date, and the affordability of dev kits (Nintendo described the cost as the same as a high-end PC) are all moves that make Nintendo consoles much more attractive to developers.

In fact, I’m going to list what I found to be the biggest takeaways from the Gamasutra interview for anyone who may be interested in developing games for a Nintendo platform (particularly the Wii U). Unless stated otherwise, emphasis in all quotes is mine.

By the way, don’t forget that you can follow Dan Adelman on Twitter if you enjoyed his interview and would like to continue getting the latest information on Wii U development.

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Wii U CoD

I love Gabe/Mike’s post on playing Call of Duty on the Wii U. As the Penny Arcade Report’s Ben Kuchera has noted before, there has been some confusion about exactly what the Wii U is. I myself have wondered why the Wii U GamePad would be superior to a computing tablet. Gabe/Mike gets right to the heart of the matter and makes a very strong case for why the Wii U matters (emphasis mine).

So what is it about the Wii U version that makes up for losing access to Xbox Live? For me it’s the gamepad functionality. At any time you can tap a button on the Wii U gamepad and shift the video from your TV down to the handheld screen. For a gaming dad this feature is a blessing. You people without kids might be surprised to learn that when you have children you need to alter your gaming routines. First of all the TV simply isn’t always available. Much of the time it’s showing the same Curious George episode for the millionth time or being used to re-watch the entire Lego Ninjago series from start to finnish [sic]. The ability to start up and play CoD on the gamepad without ever having to use the TV once is incredible. Normally I’d wait until the kids were in bed to play a game like CoD but now I can sit there on the couch with my kids and play an M rated game without them even noticing. More importantly I’m not playing some bullshit mobile version of CoD, I’m playing the real game and earning real XP! When they leave or go to bed I can tap a button and send the video back up to the TV and keep playing.

This sounds very similar to my own experience of using a smartphone for the first time. At first, I assumed that I was mainly going to use it for maps and web browsing. I was dead wrong. To my great astonishment, I have found that I mainly use my phone for reading. I can pull it out of my pocket whenever and wherever I have a few minutes free, read an article or blog entry, and then quickly put it back. I can shunt my reading from my computer to a portable device and thus free up my computer to do tasks for which it is more optimized (i.e. anything that involves a lot of typing). My smartphone has expanded my computer’s capabilities, not replaced them. In the same way, I see the Wii U GamePad expanding the capabilities of the next-generation gaming console. The Wii U GamePad is fundamentally different from a computing tablet because it doesn’t require you to buy or download mobile versions of every game; you can use the GamePad as your screen at any time while still playing the exact same game. That’s a very compelling feature for any household that shares a TV.

Is Moore's Law Finally Catching up to the Game of Go?

Apparently, a computer program has finally beaten a professional player with a nine-stone handicap. Although this is still nowhere near an even game, it is a remarkable achievement given the fact that the ancient game of Go has been the last bastion of clear human superiority in board games (contrast this with chess, where computers are arguably as formidable players as their human counterparts). The question now is: will Moore’s law apply to the game of Go, as well? That is to say, will a computer’s mastery over the game continue to double every year?