The Spike Video Game Awards are not the Antichrist

The Spike Video Game Awards have come and gone, and if you listen really hard you can hear the “Lawls” of a million gamers on the internet. To be honest, I’m somewhat disappointed in my fellow players. It’s one thing to be upset with the quality of the VGA’s, but I’m amazed at how many people want it completely abolished. Do they not want to have a nationally recognized awards show for the best and brightest in the industry?

I know that isn’t what Spike is offering us, but if we shoot down everything that doesn’t immediately line up with what we want, we’ll never reach that lofty goal. I’m at least optimistic that some day, these VGA’s will get better. This year, it seemed like they might. I guess they kind of did. →  Read the rest

A Luminous Experience

As of now, my job as a QA tester is becoming dreadfully boring. They don’t have any games for me to test anymore, gosh darn it! This has lead me to pull out the ol’ PSP and get some Lumines sessions going.

I bought this game when I first got my PSP over a year ago, and it’s still one of the system’s best games. Tetsuya Mizuguchi is a true pioneer in what I like to call “audio games.” He puts far more time and effort into the audio presentation than anything else in his games. Go back and play Rez and you’ll see what I mean.

The cool thing that I recently discovered with Lumines is the menu’s background techno music. If you’ve ever accessed a few of the menus, you’d see that each successive menu adds a new beat to the song. →  Read the rest

The Power of Music

Music is the one power that the majority of developers never seem to grasp and implement correctly. Music in a game can enhance every aspect, be it story, setting, mood, or even gameplay, but for some reason, it always takes a back seat to everything else in a game, especially the graphics.

Kondo: the Japanese French Stewart?

Let me give you an example of how music, implemented to its fullest, can be beneficial to a game’s overall feeling. Shadow of the Colossus. How epic and strong did you feel when that music kicked in, when you finally started climbing the back of one of those monstrous Colossi? You felt something, didn’t you? It wasn’t visual feedback that created that feeling, or the fact that you overcame a puzzle. It was the pounding musical score that drove adrenaline through you. →  Read the rest

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 5.26.06

Tose’s game Shrek: Reekin’ Havoc has been accused of lacking soul. How could a company that works as guns for hire and doesn’t like getting credit possibly make a game they don’t feel passionate about?

Development team that doesn’t take credit for their work
Tose say they are “development ninjas.” They have worked on over a thousand games and never take any credit for their work. The few games they have admitted to making seem to be average at best, so it may not be a big loss.

It does raise interesting ethical questions, though. While it may be legal, most people think it’s absurd to buy life stories from someone then write about them like thy happened to you (ala Seinfeld: see Kramer and Peterman). I’m not sure it’s any less deceitful to claim your company made a game when you secretly paid someone else to. →  Read the rest

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 5.19.06

Get it? It’s hacked? With an axe?

Xbox 360 hacked to play pirated games, err backups
That didn’t take too long, but it won’t work for everyone and if you get caught Bill Gates will devour your soul.

Analysts worry PS3 price will hurt the game industry
While somewhat obvious, it’s good to see analysts voicing thoughts that not everyone has had. The reasoning behind the suspicion Sony is hurting the industry is such a high price point for the PS3 will prevent growth. Installing new users each successive generation is very important if game development costs are going to continue to grow and a $500 price tag prevents this. When thought of in terms of accessibility versus cost and hardware versus software, the gap between Sony and Nintendo seems even larger. →  Read the rest

Yuji Naka to leave Sega?

Word on the street is Yuji Naka may leave Sega to start his own company. Naka is Sega’s most well known employee primarily because he was behind the success of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. His programming wizardry combined with Naoto Oshima edgy and xtreme character design and Hirokazu Yasuhara’s excellent level design (hold right to win) created a game that arguably made Sega what it is today. Naka also programmed Phantasy Star, a technical marvel for an 8-bit console and the first game to include an enemy who vomits on you.

body language tells all
Smug as smug can be.

Perhaps the most beloved game Naka produced is NiGHTS into Dreams, which was both one of the Saturn’s best game’s and an admission that the system could not pull off 3D like its competitors. →  Read the rest