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Posts tagged video games

Grim Fandango brings back one of gaming’s greatest stories
May 12, 2015 | 10:25 am

hallway  I realize that Teleread isn't a gaming site, but this once, it's worth making an exception for one of the greatest stories in computer gaming history. Set in the world of Mexican funerary traditions, Grim Fandango tells of Manny Calavera, travel agent at the Department of Death, who embarks on a noir-flavored adventure through the Land of the Dead for the sake of the lovely and virtuous Mercedes Colomar. And courtesy of Double Fine Productions, the whole tale has now been remastered for desktop and mobile OSs, resurrecting the story for a new generation, and is now available for both iOS...

Is It More Expensive to Play Video Games as a Girl?
March 11, 2015 | 12:25 pm

video gamesHere's a fun digital media story from The Washington Post: a 12-year-old girl reports on her study of gendered characters in mobile video games. I recently did a technology unit with my own third-graders, and found that all but one of them had access to such games. Madeline Messer, the girl in the story, had her parents obtain access for her to the top 50 'endless runner' games on the app store, so that she could test as assertion a friend made that all the girl avatars cost money. Her findings? Alas, this is true. Most of the games she looked at,...

UK childrens’ storytelling app Story Box seeks Kickstarter support
September 9, 2014 | 12:25 pm

UK game designer Simon Keating, "a designer in the games industry for 20 years" and creator of "the characters and stories for Croc : Legend Of The Gobbos" as well as "a multitude of other titles" is seeking Kickstarter support for his new project Story Box, "a fully interactive 3D experience engine for kids and their grown ups," as the introduction explains. "Users can read, play and create fun 3D interactive stories and learning experiences" in the app, built for iOS and Android, "for children (ages 3+) and grown ups." The outline continues: "Children have the space to play, create and discover using...

My Summer of Ergonomics: Post-Mortem
September 3, 2013 | 1:12 pm

ergonomics Back to school today! We have two days of staff meetings, first aid training and general prep time before classes begin on Thursday. So how did my Summer of Ergonomics go? Pretty well, actually. As I wrote back in June, I'd done some damage last year that never quite corrected itself. I'm generally fine, but when I overdo it, I start waking up in the middle of the night with tingling fingers. I actually learned a lot this summer about what works for me, what doesn't, and what I can do to keep my wrists healthy. 1. Protective Gear Works I have been amazed...

Why computer games aren’t like novels — but should interest novelists anyway
July 15, 2013 | 9:10 am

computer gamesFollowing on from my recent response to Damien Walter's critique of interactive principles applied to traditional writing, here's a fascinating—and arguably much better written—manifesto from former games journalist and now game developer Tom Francis, on what he is trying to do in building a game, and why and how. As David Gaughran, whose tweet tipped me off to it, said, it has "some good advice for storytellers in general." See if you agree. Firstly, Francis rejects the cinematic approach: "You can make a movie where people have to press the right buttons to see the next scene, but it’s hard, expensive, and spectacularly missing the point. These things count as...

Guardian interactive e-book video game writing critique misfires
July 13, 2013 | 4:38 pm

Britain's The Guardian has just run another generic anti-tech critique of modern technophilia and the push for interactive storytelling, this time from columnist Damien Walter. He takes issue with the predictions that "traditional fiction will be superannuated by new technology," proclaiming: "Novels remain the best interactive media." Walter feels that some generic "we" has been led sadly astray by tech hype to desert "those fusty old book things and their tiresome words" in favor of "interactive multimedia experiences." This slightly skips over the fact that the quintessential tech product which really transformed publishing, writing, and the world of books, was not...

Why We Need Off-Line Media
July 8, 2013 | 11:17 am

mediaGigaOM's Lauren Hockenson has a great response to the recent gaming headlines about SimCity, Xbox One and the concept of the always-on console. Reading her arguments about why gamers need to sometimes be off-line, it struck me—as it often does with gaming-themed articles—how true these points are for all media. I know Amazon probably sees a future where all your media is in the cloud (and preferably a cloud you access through them), but it doesn't always work that way. People don't always have a perfect Internet connection. Companies don't always stay around forever to provide the cloud they promise. It's...

Xbox One Update: Microsoft Backs Down!
June 20, 2013 | 5:17 pm

Xbox OneI wrote earlier this month about the upcoming Xbox One from Microsoft, the successor to the company's popular Xbox console. Its release was controversial because it was to come built-in with some of the most onerous DRM features I'd ever seen: an 'always on' connection that required you to 'phone home' to Microsoft every 24 hours in order to keep playing your games, and restrictions on loaning or borrowing games. The Toronto Star, however, is reporting that after two weeks of complaints by online gamers, Microsoft has cavedand removed the most onerous of the restrictions: "An internet connection will not be required to play offline...

Why Big Publishing Should Care About Video Games
June 7, 2013 | 3:37 pm

video gamesHave you been following the story of Xbox LIVE, the latest-generation video game console from Microsoft? If you have any interest in media, content creation, and the new digital economy, you should be. Here's why: it allegedly comes with some of the most onerous DRM I've ever heard of. This article from GigaOM explains some of the restrictions Microsoft has built in: • It automatically makes a cloud copy of every game you play—allegedly for your convenience so you can play without the disk, but additionally because the 'always on' Xbox will phone home to Microsoft every day to verify that you...

We Goofed! Nintendo story accidentally appeared as ours
May 15, 2013 | 11:38 am

We Goofed!Yesterday evening, we posted as our final story of the day a fascinating article about a new Nintendo video game titled Tomodachi Collection: New Life, which has been described as not unlike a Japanese version of The Sims. The crux of the article was that Nintendo had unintentionally made it possible for the male characters in the game to have homosexual relationships. According to the article we posted, for example, "gamers playing Nintendo's Tomodachi Collection: New Life noticed that this latest iteration of the game ... had the option for the first time to have their male characters marry other male characters and raise children together." Nintendo, however,...

Weekend Roundup: How I overcame snobbery to self-publish an e-book
May 5, 2013 | 9:00 am

Weekend RoundupStoryBundle Launches Video Game-Themed E-Book Campaign (Good e-Reader) Is Nigeria Ready for the E-Book Revolution? (This Day Live) How I overcame snobbery to self-publish an e-book (The Telegraph) Samsung filed for e-book page-turning patent (Slash Gear) The Progressive Opens E-Book Line (GalleyCat) E-Book Deal: Self-Improvement E-Book Bundle...

The SimCity Debacle: Another lesson in why DRM is a bad idea
March 15, 2013 | 11:00 am

Sim City For anyone who is still not convinced that DRM, as a concept, is a terrible idea, the recent Sim City debacle illustrates why. The short version is, software publisher EA so feared ‘piracy’ of the latest Sim City incarnation that they crippled the game to require a live Internet connection (to its authentication servers) at all times—not just on startup, but during play too. They dressed up the requirement in a sort of social play feature, which, to be fair, did add some cool features to the game. But there was no solo player mode. You had to play in the ‘social’...

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