From “meh” to “ooh!”, in part deux of our 2010 retrospective series, RKD dons its pseudo game designer cap in an attempt to quantify and qualify the freshmakers of last year: the games that didn’t feel like “more of the same”.
Warning: It’s only natural if, after reading through our not-at-all biased diatribe below, you feel that VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy are the only noteworthy things to have come out of 2010. Because it’s totally, totally true.
Harry: 2010 was definitely one of those gaming years dominated by sequels: it’s hard to argue differently, with the top guns in most “Best of” lists being Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption and Super Mario Galaxy 2, among others. Of course, then we have to ask: has any videogame year not been dominated by sequels?
This reliance on yearly iteration can understandably be a frustrating thing… but it can also inspire the independent and rebellious. Continue reading →
If annual videogame retrospectives were a party, RKD would be that fashionably late arrival who everyone pays attention to because they’ve already exhausted the conversation (and alcohol) for the night. Probably.
Fortunately, this is The Internet. For every day of the upcoming week, the whole RKD crew will be sharing bits of its sweeping generalisations and opinions stated as fact regarding the year that was 2010, along with its bold predictions for the 11.3 months to come. Let’s get this party started… again!
Fraser: I don’t really know where to start, as 2010 seemed like an oddly uneventful year in retrospect.
When Irrational Studios head Ken Levine wrote about The Future of PC Gaming on Kotaku last month, he mentioned a little-known iPhone game called 100 Rogues. It seems an odd thing to bring up in an article about PC gaming, but this is the kind of game that gets stuck in your head.
100 Rogues is described as a roguelike, but really it sits somewhere between a roguelike and an action RPG. It’s a solo turn-based hack and slash adventure through randomly generated levels of a monster-infested dungeon, where progress is irreversible, death is permanent and loot is everything. The world it presents is cheerfully erratic, with traditional fantasy creatures like rats and skeletons existing alongside invisible babies, anthropomorphised bags of flour and cowboy-hatted robot bandits that shoot homing missiles. Usable objects range from swords and healing potions to butter knives (for softening up your enemies), dodgeballs (which make you taunt your opponent as you throw them) and a Griffin Slayer (in a game that features no griffins). Continue reading →
Cut-scenes are routinely treated with the disdain that might otherwise be reserved for something moist and sticky that gets stuck to the bottom of your shoe on a particularly hot day. Cut-scenes are a relic from the cultural imperialism of cinema, hangers-on from the narrative infancy of videogames. They are imported goods from a third-rate manufacturer. Those who create them are wannabes, trying too hard at a has-been medium.
Take the latest salvo fired in this ongoing war, by Jonathan McCalmont at Futurismic. “One of the most disastrous things to ever happen to videogames was the emergence of the belief that being a game designer is a bit like being a film director,” he opines. McCalmont then goes on to advocate the powers of the emergent narrative, suggesting that this is a preferable form of narrative than the limiting and contrived imposed narrative. “Video games,” he concludes, “are supposed to be an interactive medium, and their narratives should reflect this.” Continue reading →
We have met the enemy, and he is an angry game nerd. So says NBA Jam developer Trey Smith on the MTV Multiplayer blog:
MTV: What do you think is the biggest problem current games suffer from?
Smith: I think there are a number of problems we have with the way games are being developed today, but honestly, I think one of the biggest problems right now is the actions and attitude of some of the gamers out there. You know who they are. If they spent less time spewing ignorant hate on the boards and in online games, and more time rallying behind the great games they love and helping to build a thriving community that welcomes everyone that shows up to play with them – everybody wins.
There is truth in this. I doubt anyone who has visited a videogames forum – any videogames forum – would disagree. And the comments threads on even the most genteel game websites are rarely free of venom. But is it really fair to call it “one of the biggest problems right now” with games? Continue reading →
As strange as it may sound, getting my kids to play games is important to me. My daughter’s turning three early next year, my son’s newly born, and I’m already working out what we can play together. Does that make me a bad parent?
"Great games know what they are, and don’t try to do more. To illustrate my point, a thought exercise: what would Canabalt be like if it let you stop and shoot the deathbots? (Hint: the answer is not “totally sweet”.)"