Hard Reset

Hard Reset has leap-frogged over the decades worth of design that has evolved the modern FPS. Its about relentless, single-minded gunplay not about varied mixture of combat styles. Flying Wild Hog’s first game is a passion project from a developer made up of former employees of People Can Fly and CDProjekt Red.

The story is a Cyberpunk adventure where the human streets of New Bezoar are built with cold steel and product advertisements assault consumers from the walls and shine down from the sky. The world is beautiful; its vibrant with signs of the life that existed days before. There are fully realized plaza’s and run down apartments. Look out any window and you’ll see an impressive skybox filled with dead buildings. Routinely will you look out and be stricken by how well the entire thing was rendered.

Continue reading “Hard Reset”

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

Nintendo has defined videogames. Since it first threw its glove into the ring of arcade games in the 80’s, the company has changed the way people view, build and play games and Jeff Ryan’s Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America chronicles their rise from card game manufacturer to ubiquitous icons of the industry.

This book offers 280 pages of well-organized content that profiles the games, tech and personalities that set the standard for the medium. Covering everything from Nintendo’s days as a card game manufacturer to their successes with the Wii, Ryan introduces us to Hiroshi Yamauchi, the savvy entrepreneur who took his business into game cabinets, to his son-in-law Minoru Arakawa who put those machines in American arcades to Shigeru Miyamoto, the legendary game designer and Mario, his creation that he made the face of fun and quality. Continue reading “Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America”

Ridin’ The Jet Set Funk

Hideki Naganuma is a producer who has earned an impressive amount of respect and professional accolades. Hit play below.

The above track is ‘Let Mom Sleep’, the opening of Jet Set Radio’s soundtrack. Many people who played the Dreamcast classic remember tearing up JSR’s streets to funky beats that added electricity to the gameplay and authenticity to it’s alt-lifestyle and urban youth rebellion stylings. It helped to make that game lively and fluid, colorful and fun. It’s simply amazing.

Combining hip-hop, soul and funk, every track from that game offered something different. Here’s ‘Sweet Soul Brother’, track eight. Continue reading “Ridin’ The Jet Set Funk”

Halo: The Essential Visual Guide

The Halo fiction can be a web information. Spanning six games, more than a dozen novels and comic books, an Animatrix-esque collection of short films and incorporating nods to other Bungie-developed franchises Marathon, Myth and Oni, keeping it all straight can be tough.

The Halo: The Essential Visual Reference Guide has organized the content found in the games into a companion piece to their earlier-released Halo Encyclopedia. Continue reading “Halo: The Essential Visual Guide”

The Songs of Bastion

Bastion’s Caelondia is destroyed minutes before the game’s opening. The Kid, waking from his bed, sets off through a dream that is beautiful and haunting as a nightmare. Supergiant Games crafted a fiction where every element adds to the cohesion of its story. Part of why it works is it’s great sense of place- a fiction that is mysterious and evocative.

Continue reading “The Songs of Bastion”

Story en Masse: Narrative Comparison of Mass Effect 1 vs 2

There seems to be this qualitative assertion that when it comes to narrative, more equates with better. This strange idea has become the primary dividing line in any debate between the first Mass Effect and the second.

Mass Effect 1 has an incredible burden on its shoulders. As the first chapter in what Bioware had early on promised to be a trilogy, the story needed to juggle introducing the fiction of the universe, the narrative for the events that would transpire in this game and justify the character that would be instrumental within it.

Continue reading “Story en Masse: Narrative Comparison of Mass Effect 1 vs 2”

The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings

NOTE- This review is for the release day version through patch 1.65. CD Projekt Red has announced version 2.0 with new content and refinements to several of the issues addressed below.

RPG designers should study what CD Projekt Red has accomplished with The Witcher 2. In the almost four years since they released the original Witcher, they have built a detective story wrapped in a mature fantasy where choices beget choices from the second you start a new game to the credits roll.

Continue reading “The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings”