A deceptively simple all consuming iPhone game in which you guide a four-legged creature called the Doodler up an unending series of platforms without falling. Players tilt the device from side to side to move Doodler in the desired direction.

If you don’t already own this you must download it right now.

Posted in Video Games at April 16th, 2010.

If you were to combine my love for anime, video games and dressing up you would end up with a blog post exploring the crazy, silly and awesome world of cosplay.

What is Cosplay?
Short for “costume play”, it’s a type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character from manga, anime, tokusatsu, comic books, graphic novels, video games, hentai and fantasy movies.

Here are some of my favorites

What are some of your favorites?

Posted in Art, Fashion, Video Games at April 15th, 2010.

Posted in Video Games at April 14th, 2010.

Posted in Art, Video Games at April 8th, 2010.

Add Some XBOX to Your UX
Tricks and techniques from the game design world can be applied to non-games — social apps, creative tools, etc. — to improve user experience, user enjoyment, and results. We’ll look at traditional UX in a new light: from the perspective of games and gamers.

I’m Interested Tell me More
http://auscillate.com/writing/xbox_ux

Takeaways
The Sixty One: The site allows users to “heart” favorite tracks and gain reputation points for certain activities. For example, if I favorite a track that’s playing that I really like, I will gain reputation points down the line for each time someone else favorites that track. The idea being, if I’m consistently ahead-of-the-curve in pointing out the best tracks on the site, then I deserve a good reputation for my good taste in music. Reputation points help quantify that. Users are also given only a handful of hearts to favorite things with when first joining the site. If you want to favorite more tracks, you have to earn more hearts. TheSixtyOne also offers “quests” as ways to get more reputation and hearts. These are both introductory and achievement-oriented. For example, one quest for me is simply to listen to seven songs from my personal stream that the site creates for me based on my tastes. Clearly, TheSixtyOne is hoping that adding these elements of game design to the music listening experience will make the activity much more interesting and enticing to their users. We shall see!
http://www.thesixtyone.com/

Presenter: Josh Knowles

Posted in Technology, Travel, Video Games at March 13th, 2010.

I should probably start out by saying Quantic Dream, developers of Heavy Rain, should be commended for trying something new and innovative. Sadly their efforts comes up short. I wanted to like this game but I couldn’t ignore it’s flawed control scheme and game design.

Problems
1) The voice acting is rubbish.
2) The fixed camera is a fucking annoyance. It’s 2010 for pete’s sake.
3) The controls are rubbish.
A) I understand Quantic Dream was trying something different but for all the “innovation” it’s still employing a quick time event-driven control scheme.

B) Forcing me to hold the controller in odd ways to create a sense of urgency, panic or difficulty isn’t innovation it is poor game design. When 99% of the games on a system use a certain control scheme forcing users to use a different and unnatural control scheme is ridiculous. It’s like asking a person to drive a car only using his feet. Sure it can be done but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

Imagine playing DDR or Guitar Hero with a controller? Sure you could but instead developers opted for a controller that felt natural and more importantly complemented / heightened the game experience. Now I’m not suggesting Quantic Dream bundle a new controller but maybe they should have opted for a different control scheme or perhaps a different platform. Cough cough, Wii?

4) The dialog system is silly.
For over twenty years games have employed a dialog tree and the simple act of making them spin around the screen on a 3D plane to simulate thoughts flying around a characters mind is a novelty. All you accomplish is frustrating the user.

The Critics
I know this game has gotten a ton of critical acclaim but this is an example of game critics failing to be objective. I think it is safe to say we all want the medium to experiment and try new things but rewarding / praising broken games doesn’t foster that so much as encourage bad game design.

Conclusion
Heavy Rain isn’t entirely bad. It has some fun moments but so did Dragons Lair. The many quarters lost at the arcade serve as proof that quick time events are fun and addictive.

Posted in Video Games at February 27th, 2010.

Posted in Video Games at February 24th, 2010.

A few days ago Sony decided to make flOw available for FREE on PSN. My initial reaction was to hate the control scheme but after a few minutes of getting acclimated I found it deceptively simple and beautiful.

What is flOw?
Created by Jenova Chen and Nicholas Clark. The game involves the player guiding an aquatic microorganism through various depths of the ocean to consume other organisms and to evolve their organism as the player advances.

Posted in Video Games at February 18th, 2010.

A collection of seven short animated films set int he HALO universe

Origins
A great recap of the Halo Universe for noobs. Stylistically though the animation felt a bit weak and not at the level of quality I am accustomed to seeing from Studio 4°C

The Duel
I applaud the attempt at creating an original look and feel but it just doesn’t work. It looks awful. Skip it.

Homecoming
A look at the tragedies involving SPARTAN-II recruitment in 2517, and the SPARTANs coming to terms with their origins. Cool stuff.

Odd One Out
It is so Dragon Ball Z (which is a series that SUCKZ, don’t argue) it hurts. A total waste of time. Skip It.

Prototype
I’ve read some people comment that this episode “simply didn’t sit well with me.” To those people I reply, this isn’t a fucking burrito. Prototype is serious subject matter and the only tale that takes the viewpoint of a normal Marine. A definite standout.

The Babysitter
“The big reveal at the end fell flat, perhaps due to a certain Nintendo franchise making any quiet person in full body armor suspect.” That was a quote pulled directly from Mike Fahey’s review on Kotaku. Comments like this from gaming snobs annoy me. This short had nothing to do with the reveal. It’s about the animosity between ODST and Spartans. Not to mention the bonds formed between soldiers through sacrifice.

The Package
FUCKING SICK. This disc is worth renting just for this short alone.

After writing this I’ve realized I am one BIG NERD.

Posted in Movies, Video Games at February 16th, 2010.

Released two years ago by renowned game developer BioWare I put off picking up a copy. Turned off by comparisons to Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic (an amazing game) and the “been there done that mentality” I’ve finally cracked. The funny part is I didn’t wake up one morning with a deep desire to play a sci-fi RPG. It was the commercial blitz promoting the release of Mass Effect 2.

Posted in Video Games at February 3rd, 2010.