I already said it in the past and I’m saying here again: on-line video games sicken me, maybe it’s the computing thing I hate the most after cloud, because playing on-line means being at the mercy of digital platforms that can fail miserably in reaching the popularity needed to start a game session. Otherwise, if you are unlucky enough, you download some “free” gaming crap but then you have to pay hard cash even to play a fucking solitaire card game without advertising. The fact that there are sympathetic and interesting communities like the Eve Online one as well doesn’t change much: playing on the Internet is a waste of time, and time is the only true resource that must never be wasted. Ever.
It’s 2014 and we are still here enduring a debate on DRM technologies. It’s mortally tiresome to have to listen to developers complaining about the money lost because of cracks and piracy (and yet not everyone is complaining), about the small indie studios with no future (yet not everyone is complaining), about the publishers that don’t make money anymore (except the ones collecting billions of dollars, of course), about the old glories without a market (except who collects millions or tens of millions with crowdfunding, of course). And it’s not like users want games without DRM, to be clear. Or maybe it’s the other way around, who knows.
Virtual reality helmets are quickly replacing stereoscopic 3D as the new trendy craze of gaming publishers and developers, so much that John Carmack decided to take the chief technology officer position at the start-up Oculus Rift. The well-known creator of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake graphic engines has been always interested in the potential of the VR experience coupled with video games, and it seems that Carmack will continue to work at id Software despite his new obligation. Maybe gaming technology has become too complex to be still of interest for the talented American coder? Capcom, Epic and Crytek - among the others - disagree on that.
Hello Blizzard, do you remember me? I am one of those who purchased an original copy of Diablo III a year ago, moreover spending an obscene amount of money (compared to my standards and my limited resources) on the game Collector’s Edition. After all this time and after its recent first anniversary, I’m writing you to show all my disappointment for the fact that Diablo III, as for me, still sucks big time.
The search for an image worthy of being the screen background every hour of day and night isn’t something to entrust chance or lucky with. The four works selected for this post are a relatively low-fi choice, an ideal wallpaper for messy, icon-ridden desktops able to merge aesthetics and functionality with not too many details turning the display into a surrealistic painting. Do yourself a favor: use a sober wallpaper and spare a visit at the oculist!
The gates of Hell have been opened wide, and the Diablo III Starter Edition is finally open for everyone. The previously published guide has been updated where due, what I wrote is still sound except for a difficulty level that in the first phases of the full game seemed higher compared to the demo. Maybe it’s because I’ve started anew after having installed the Collector’s Edition? Anyway, Diablo III continues to be updated but the numer of players remains constantly low. And who developed this “on-line gaming service” is a complete idiot.
UPDATE (09/14/2012): The guide has been updated after Blizzard decided to let everyone access the Diablo III Starter Edition. Furthermore, I have verified without doubt that the extreme and casual slowdowns I talk about in the post are ascribable to the software configuration used to test the game and not to the game itself (or to my hardware, luckily).
Yeah, I now, I’m late as usual: Diablo III was released two months ago, and I have already talked enough about the almost complete failure of the launch period. So why devoting a post to the demo version of the game when almost everyone has already read, seen and done what there was to read, see and do in the cursed lands of Sanctuary? For two reasons, the first of which is that after having extensively played the Starter Edition I have a weight on my chest that I need to let go.
The most important gaming event of the past month surely was the launch of Diablo III, a title that will be remembered as a turning point for the industry because of its permanent Internet connection needed to play - even in single player mode. RPS says that the problem isn’t Diablo III but the subsequent branch of “always-on” games and suggests to stay angry about the issue, conversely I am angry for Diablo III above all and I’m more and more persuaded of the fact that the measly compulsory multiplayer experience isn’t for me. Will I be forced to change hobby because of Activision-Blizzard?
As I wrote a few weeks ago, everything changes in the video gaming world. In the last months in particular a change occurred in the way independent developers and old lions decided to fund their projects, with a true Cambrian explosion of crowdfunding through the Kickstarter platform: Tim Schafer began with Double Fine Adventure (more than three million dollars donated on trust for an old-style adventure game!), then Al Lowe and Larry Laffer, Shadowrun Returns, novelist Jane Jensen and many others followed. Just a warning: one always has to watch over against the risk of a scam or EA’s morbid caresses - EA is evil, always.
And after much waiting and trepidation (especially for myself), even the videogames highlights return on these pages with a maxi-update covering the last 7 months of 2011. While thinning the huge amount of links and games collected during the aforementioned period I’ve tried (as usual) to partly follow my personal tastes and partly listen to the industry ballyhooing horns, which have been able to stun the world anyway with events like E3 and related press conferences by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, Tokyo Game Show and the introduction of the PlayStation Vita console. There is so much stuff to digest, so now I close the intro and start discussing the single games pronto.
With this new May installment, Sir Arthur’s Den video games highlights should finally return to their traditional monthly serialization. And even though it’s really just accidental, the choice my twisted mind made for the past month’s games pleases my hardcore PCist gamer’s nature: all things considered PC as a gaming platform always performs WAY BETTER than the industry windbags and the specialized “journalists” state, the DRM issue can be resolved with a bit of good will and the classics never go out of fashion. On the contrary.
A Video games highlights installment covering video gaming stuff (trailers, in particular) released during a seven-month timeframe? Why not… Besides letting me be on par with the news, the ride wiil be useful to clear the backlog while waiting for the E3. Furthermore I will divert my attention from horrors like the stratospheric evaluation of Zynga - a company developing “casual” shit with the aim of milking the idiots wasting their useless life on Facebook - compared to developers worth of the name. The installment has been conveniently split in two parts to be more manageable and smooth for reading - a solution I intend to use again in the future.
I could continue to speak ill of the never too much abused downloadable contents (DLC) and video games digital delivery with my own words, but this time I will leave to Sony management official statements the task to chill the continuous, boring, stupid and annoying hype about an exclusively downloadable gaming future and other crap of this kind: 1) “I want it on the disc, that way when they buy it, they get it” - Rob Dyer, SCEA vice-president while commenting on the state of the DLC market; 2) The gloomy and failing UMD-free PSPGo “was introduced in a mature lifecycle to learn more about what the consumer wanted and we’ve definitely learnt a lot. Is that measured by success in sales? I don’t think it is” - words of Andrew House, SCEE president.
No doubt here, I want to go work for Blizzard. I’m pleased with everything, even cleaning the toilets
A year after the official presentation during Penny Arcade Expo, Canadian developer Hothead Games and Monkey Island designer Ron Gilbert have took the occasion of the new PAX edition to show the work done on their new title: DeathSpank, the legitimate but grumpy child of adventure and action RPG genres, leaves behind the mere shadows of the first trailers to put his face and his deeds in front of gamers.
As it always did in the past few years, on August 21 and 22 developer Blizzard gathered players and reporters around BlizzCon, the event held at the Anaheim Convention Center during which the lucky attenders have had the opportunity to see in action (and try with their hands) the novelties from the three major franchises of the company. Regarding Diablo III, the new and long awaited chapter of the hack’n slash saga par excellence, Blizzard showed the forth of the five character classes available to the player, the Monk.
Ok I admit it, I’m a certified liar because if my personal review of old classics goes on tirelessly the amount of time required for a post of the series Videogames highlights is always the same, nay it’s getting worse. That’s the reason why I’ll change formula here, and instead of a monstrous and rebellious blob (at least for me writing it) containing any sort of thing I return to a less rich but more selected collection of videogaming stuff of the past month. Hoping that the June post won’t be on-line on September :-/
In an industry inclined to release an even excessive amount of contents on the upcoming videogames, the next, awaited creation of mythological game designer Ron Gilbert continues to be a mystery as for gameplay, visual style, interface and everything. Despite this chronic lack of material to admire (or to criticize to death), the information currently available on DeathSpank are at least more than those followed to the official game presentation during 2008 edition of Penny Arcade Expo.
Are videogames art? Personally I’m not convinced at all, and after 20 years of this hobby now become mainstream I think that the medium need different categories, and that in any case it is too much young to be defined with standards layered through the centuries. Besides this, what is sure is that the amount of promotional videogame contents released by software houses hasn’t lacked even in March, so I end the introduction right now and get on to dealing with the aforementioned contents.
If it’s true that the publishers’ preferred period to launch videogame blockbusters is the month of December, the last remnants of this winter are no less for triple-A releases and delivery of interesting stuff taken from games in development. Be it viral videos, screenshots, trailers or making-of, the nice thing of a videogaming industry that surpassed Hollywood in size is that there is always something to talk about and the hype machine works at full blast without any halt.