Review – Dead Space

In April of 2007 a man by the name of John Riccitiello began work as the new Chief Operating Officer of Electronic Arts, one of the two largest video game conglomerates on earth. EA had fallen victim to its own massiveness in the years prior. In order to grow it had purchased and then cannibalized smaller, more imaginative game developers, absorbed the talent into their own offices, and centrally ran all operations.

As a result, the people and projects they assimilated became infected with the shortcomings of the company entire: there was too much bureaucracy and too many levels of hierarchy. This took decision making and creativity away from the game development teams. As a result EA earned a rather poor reputation for making nothing but thin sequels, movie tie-ins, and sports games that did little to differentiate themselves from year to year. →  Disaster Readport

Review – Army of Two

Army of Two is an attempt at many things, one of which is to capitalize on the recent enthusiasm for cooperative games. Co-op is arguably the number one most important bullet point a game can have in its press release. Even if it is hardly suitable for the game at hand, excluding it will cause many people not to buy your product.

In order to distinguish itself from the deluge of co-op titles, Army of Two attempts to integrate cooperative measures into every aspect of the game. It also tries to deliver some social commentary like so many hotshot developers and players crave in their desire to legitimize their hobby. Ultimately, the game shares the same major fault of so many of its competitors: it was rushed. The interesting ideas and promise shown in early previews are all missing, and the end product is the usual kind of worthless. →  Michigan: Article from Hell

Gaming Industry Advice from a Non Gaming Industry Member

Hey, that title looks like our slogan! This started as a comment to Derek’s post, but I decided I would kick it up a notch and give you all some Golden Jew advice on the gaming industry, if you actually want in. Matt is probably a better source than I, since he’s active in the industry and it’s been a decade since I was, but being Jewish, I know a little something about business (and about dodging Nazis).

Although the matriculation rate of QA peon to game designer is low in an institutional setting (EA, Maxis, Bioware, etc…shit… those are all the same company now!), it’s comparable to most other popular industries. Examples of “popular industries” include sports teams (going from bitch peon to normal peon), video games (QA peon to developer peon), and the movie industry (production assistant peon to producer peon). →  Uncharted Waters: New Horeadin’s

Review – Real Soccer 2008

When I first spotted “Real Soccer” in my local game shop, I was initially under the impression that the game’s name was an indication of a metaphysical breakthrough at Ubisoft labs. Sick of titles stuck with the “virtual” nomenclature, Ubisoft had determined – Matrix-like – that they could decide what is and is not real. I mean, what is “reality,” anyway, right? Yeah.

Sadly, however, the title instead betrays the pathetic lack of sports titles for the DS. Not “this is real soccer,” but “omigosh! Honest-to-goodness real soccer on the DS!!” It makes more sense when one appreciates that the title’s name is Real Football in the UK, and there are probably plenty of British dudes who are sick of us calling our decidedly un-foot-centric game by the name of football, but whatever. →  Fear the old posts.

EA: Level 10 alchemists, Level 1 Tech Support

So unfortunately, like many Rock Band players, our guitar broke about a month ago. No problem, we have Guitar Hero 3 backups, so we’ll send it off for repair. Additionally, rumor is that you get a free EA game, so sure, we’ll take free stuff. So my roommate packaged up the guitar in a box (opting to not pay for immediate gratification, which was an option), and sent it off. We waited a few weeks, nothing happened, although the repair status on the website changed, so we anticipated that some sort of witchcraft was occurring deep in the EA support labs.

And boy were we right, at least about the witchcraft. Yesterday, a small box shows up for my roommate. He wasn’t expecting any porn (or so he claimed), so he was mystified what it could be. →  NiGHTS into REaDS

Is E3 Dead?

The gaming community received a harsh slap in the face last year when ESA, the organization that is behind the megaton-laden E3, decided to completely change the way the yearly venue is run. They drastically reduced the number of reporters that were allowed to attend to around 20,000 (from last year’s 60,000), and turned it into a more intimate affair for the actual publishers/developers to showcase their games without having to scream over loud, thumping techno music.

In unison, developers around the world bowed down and gave thanks to the merciful Gamer Gods. Now they wouldn’t have to break their asses to create a (hopefully) bug-free demo that would probably get swept up in all the hustle and bustle anyway. The gamers themselves, on the other hand, found it hard to believe that the mecca of all things gaming was being changed into something that they would never have the opportunity to experience. →  You think about everything.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 12.1.06

Analyst predicts Sony will leave the hardware business
This may be completely stupid and absurd, but then it just may make sense. The recent management shuffle at Sony, some believe, is an indication of things to come. Kutaragi, the Sony hardware guy, has been promoted out of the way and now Kaz Hirai, a software guy, is in charge of Sony’s game division. The theory goes Kutaragi has fucked things up too much and the PS3 may cost Sony money, so by removing their hardware guy and putting in a software guy, they can transition out of hardware and focus on developing software only.

This is slightly hard to believe if only because I was completely unaware that Sony has a significant software division. Ueda and Jaffe aside, what does Sony have to offer gamers? →  I only ask one thing. Don’t read in my way.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 8.25.06

Game testing company founded by ex-Lionhead guy
The outsourcing of game testing has the potential to prevent computer games (and some console games) from shipping despite being riddled with bugs. I doubt this new company will have a facility like I described in this article — a huge building with a thousand computers each with varying graphics cards, processors, operating systems and viruses caught from downloading porn. Even so, Testology is a good step forward.

It is slightly depressing on at least one level, though. Think of your favorite tiny developer. Now, imagine a world where all testing is outsourced. Realize you can never get a job at this tiny developer you love oh so much. Now weep.

You are not individual enough for the light blue DSL.

Pink and black DSLites coming to America
Says the press release,

“…the new colors just add another element of fun, allowing people to ‘personalize’ who they are by the color, or colors they pick.” →  Guitar Hero III: Legends of Read

Weekly News We care About Wrap Up – 4.7.06

Bloated cash cow, I choose you!

Nintendo engineers talk about the process of designing the DSLite
I personally find this article to be fascinating. More interviews with hardware designer’s would be a welcome thing.

Nintendo has great year financially
Despite having a dead console, Nintendo made a lot of yen this past year, thanks to the “favorable” performance of the DS. Maybe one day they’ll stop living off of handhelds and Pokemon and be a real player in the console wars again.

First Amendment bitch slaps anti-game lobbyists
Said the judge, “Video games are a form of creative expression that are constitutionally protected under the First Amendment. They contain original artwork, graphics, music, story lines and characters similar to movies and television shows, both of which are considered protected free speech.” →  Read Read Revolution: Disney Channel Edition