Tag Archives: videogames

It’s Time for Videogames to Embrace the Power of Failure Again

This is another reason that I haven’t been as keen on the newest AAA titles as of late. It seems that the last few generations of games have become less about challenges and more about sales. This has driven me away from the newest, latest, greatest, and back to basics: smaller (usually “indie”) titles with a focus on gameplay, mechanics, and strategy rather than flashy, multi-million-dollar flagships that play as little more than rail shooters.

These new games, by and large, are the videogame equivalent of riding Pirates of the Carribbean on an extremely busy day at Disneyland: it’s entertaining and novel at first, and it brings a level of joy and wonder as you see all the interesting effects, but you then realize that you’re less an actor in the play than an observer within the play. By the time you get to the jail breakout scene, the whole thing logjams and you’re stuck experiencing the same repetitive action over and over again until you finally get through and wonder why you ever liked the thing to begin with!

The best old games (and, by and large, the new wave of “retro style” titles filling Steam) know what made games great to begin with: a simple and novel mechanic, intuitive level design, easy to learn controls, a steady ramp in difficulty, and a sense of genuine accomplishment upon passing a milestone.

As disappointing Destiny and Call of Duty tales are proving, stories without failure are no stories at all.

Source: It’s Time for Videogames to Embrace the Power of Failure Again | WIRED

Box Art Brut

A retrospective on the “golden age” of computer gaming, when software was often purchased by mailing a cheque to a P.O. Box, and the requisite artwork that accompanied it. Born of the era of prog rock, the box art was often more like what you would see on a Yes or Moody Blues album cover, and it never showed the graphics–ever (oftentimes because there were none!).

The no-rules design of early computer games

Source: Box Art Brut — World Writable

How To Run Games From Kodi

As we’ve seen from previous numbers, Kodi is a pretty powerful application that can be extended to power your entire media experience from local downloaded and physical media to a nearly infinite number of media streams, but we have not covered exactly how to run games from Kodi. For this, we’ll obviously need some games installed on our system, and we’ll need to download an add-on called Rom Collection Browser (if you followed my recommendation to use the Aeon series of skins, you will have RCB already installed on your system).

Rom Collection Browser is available through the stock Kodi repository under the programs menu and is installed like any other add-on.

Before we begin the setup, we must ensure that our files are sorted correctly on the computer. For emulators, each set of roms needs to be in its own folder, sorted by system (all NES roms need to be in an exclusive folder, all SNES roms need to be in an exclusive folder, etc.). For Windows games, make a new folder and place a shortcut to each game’s executable file within.

On first run, Rom Collection Browser will prompt you to create a configuration file, click OK and it will bring up the initial configuration file for a new rom collection. First, RCB will ask you to choose a location for the game information and artwork. Since this is a first run, you will most likely need to download all the pertinent artwork and information, so choose the online option.

Wizard - Online 2 - small

Next, you’ll need to choose a platform for your game collection. If you are adding roms for an emulator, choose the appropriate system for the emulation. If you are adding PC games installed locally, choose the appropriate option (Windows/OSX/Linux).

screen_configwizard_autoconfig2

Once you’ve set your platform, RCB will prompt you to browse to the emulator executable (unless you are adding Windows games, in which case, RCB will skip to the next section). Once you have selected the executable, you will be prompted to enter the particular emulator’s command-line parameters, if applicable. Most emulators worth their salt offer a CLI parameter set to add a measure of granular control over each game as it is executed, because who wants to dick around with settings on a game-by-game basis every time you want to play something different? RetroArch, by far, is the best of the bunch in this respect, and I highly recommend it for all your emulation needs.

RCB will now ask you to browse to the folder containing the roms you are adding. On the next screen, you will type in the file mask for the particular set of roms you are adding (for Windows games, the file mask is *.lnk).

Next, you’ll select a path to the artwork folder. I prefer to use the same folder that contains the roms. RCB will create folders for the basic types of artwork (boxfront, boxback, screenshot, fanart), so you needn’t specify a location for each…yet.

Finally, RCB will ask if you would like to add another rom collection. I recommend only adding one collection at a time as it tends to be easier to watch for mistakes, but you may prefer to do all your scraping at once, and that’s your mistake to make. If you choose to add another collection, you’ll be redirected to the platform choice dialog and start the process over again. If you choose not to, you will be directed to the scraping dialog.

screen_importoptions2

In the scraping dialog, you will be presented with several options. First, choose the particular system that you will be scraping information for. Next, choose the level of interactivity you wish to utilize. For large collections, I recommend starting with the fully-automated (“Automatic: Accurate”) option to do the heaviest lifting without needing to constantly monitor the progress. Once the majority of games have been successfully scraped, use the “Interactive: Select Matches” option to import the titles that may have oddly formatted or incorrect file names. On first fun, I recommend using the default trio of scrapers. Later edits may require changing scrapers, but these three should take care of the bulk. RCB will now query the specified scrapers for information and artwork regarding each game you’re importing (much like Kodi does for your video or music library). Once finished, you will be presented with a list of games ready to play. Simply select them from the list, hit “OK” on your remote, and get to playing!

 What Made F-Zero Great

You mean, besides everything? I still grin uncontrollably when I hear that SPC700-powered fanfare that opened the original game!

F-Zero GX was a critical hit that, 13 years later, stands as a racing game classic for Sega and Nintendo. It was the latest in a string of excellent F-Zero games. It was also the last one ever made for a console. Nintendo has largely neglected the series beyond the mid 2000s, and as such F-Zero sits on the margins of Nintendo’s portfolio of games.

Source:  What Made F-Zero Great

The demolition of Japan’s videogame history

On the merits of preserving the physical aspects of videogame history.

The discussion among those in the game preservation community, including the IGDA, concerns whether game companies should begin preserving their physical legacy in the form of museums and archives on company property.

Source: The demolition of Japan’s videogame history | Kill Screen

You Might Be Buying Another Console Sooner Than You Think

The industry is quickly headed toward another critical-mass crash like 1983 or 2001. Nintendo is already feeling the pinch from the folly of this line of thinking (with the Wii U being discontinued and the New 3DS not moving nearly as many units as forecasted), and the other two juggernauts are going to be feeling it soon from an over-saturation in the marketplace. Alienware and Steam are already building upgradeable “consoles” designed to upend the paradigm back toward PC gaming, blurring the lines even further. Let’s not forget to mention the software side, where independent developers are finding it easier than ever to reach their audiences through digital distribution and other low barriers to entry. Keep an eye in this sector, it’s all happened before….

Microsoft and Sony might try to squeeze more money out of core gamers by releasing PlayStation 4.5, or Xbox One and a Half.

Source: You Might Be Buying Another Console Sooner Than You Think | WIRED

Video Games on ESPN? It’s Time to Stop Pretending eSports Are ‘Real’ Sports.

I can’t agree that there is anything to like about “professional gaming”. It’s a game folks; I would rather participate against friends than sit back and watch strangers.

There’s a lot to like about pro gaming. But it has a serious identity problem.

Source: Video Games on ESPN? It’s Time to Stop Pretending eSports Are ‘Real’ Sports.