How Six Predictable Series Can Surprise Us Again

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How Six Predictable Series Can Surprise Us Again

Mario Party. Assassin’s Creed. Telltale’s The Walking Dead. When we hear these names, mental images of zany minigames, open worlds, and difficult decisions instantly spring to mind. In this way, many long-running game series tend to create a gameplay formula and stick to it to give fans more of what they like, simply changing the characters and setting to keep things new. Unfortunately, this pattern can become all-too familiar, causing games to feel repetitive and series to grow stale.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard are both recent entries in well-established franchises that broke from the conventions of their predecessors, bringing new life to the gameplay. This list picks other series that we think could use a fresh take on what makes them great by breaking the mold and trying something different. 

The Sports Desk – Getting The Most From Your Franchise Mode

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The Sports Desk – Getting The Most From Your Franchise Mode

Sports games' franchise modes are often seen as a grind, with one season blurring into the next. But it doesn't have to be that way. Have you finished the season with your beloved franchise and wondering what to do next? Here are some fun ways you can change things up, introduce some challenge, and get excited about next season.

Financial Fair PlayIn sports or situations where money is not an issue for your team, you can add a wrinkle to your new season by imposing limitations on the players you sign in free agency. I'm a Manchester City fan, so in FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, money isn't a barrier to signing virtually anybody in the world to my team. But when I restrict myself to younger/little-known prospects, English players, those from the youth academy, or my own imaginary salary cap, suddenly I have to be more careful and thoughtful about my squad for the upcoming season. That feeling of satisfaction is much greater when a young player I've given an opportunity to legitimately earns a spot on the squad versus just buying Messi for the lineup. You could even institute a signing freeze every other year to challenge you to make the most of what you have.

Five Terrible Games Based On TV Shows… And Five That Don’t Totally Suck

about X hours ago from
Five Terrible Games Based On TV Shows… And Five That Don’t Totally Suck

This article was originally published on April 21.

Licensed games have a well-deserved reputation for being awful– cheap cash-grabs that trick fans of the source material into playing sub-par games with little to no redeeming value on their own. Sure, the occasional outlier like GoldenEye 007 or Arkham Asylum comes around and shows potential in great licenses, but by and large, most gamers can have more fun by throwing their money into a raging grease fire than playing, say, Kinect Star Wars.

Games based on TV shows often lure us in with the promise of some sort of “untold tale,” with additional story content, voice actors from the original, or a script written (or vaguely “overseen”) by the show’s creative staff. All too frequently, however, these games fail to provide any kind of remotely interesting gameplay or production values to back up their ambition to honor the source material.

The Virtual Life – The Unsettling Humanity Of Nina Freeman's Kimmy

about X hours ago from
The Virtual Life – The Unsettling Humanity Of Nina Freeman's Kimmy

This column was originally published April 20, 2017.

Kimmy is a different kind of game from the rest of developer Nina Freeman’s works. Freeman, who now works at Fullbright as a designer on Tacoma, has released a number of personal vignette-like games throughout her career. Her early projects are notable for being games that explore sexuality in interesting, thought-provoking ways. How Do You Do It?, for example, humorously focuses on a small girl mashing her toys together in a vaguely sexual way as much as she can before her mother gets home, while Cibele is a narrative-driven experience that focuses on a relationship that blooms over an MMO.

Freeman, who was an English undergrad, says she owes a lot of her development and games-writing to her interest in poetry. “I wrote a lot of personal work when I was writing poetry, and I tended to write about stuff like sex and sexuality. In games, sex and sexuality are usually presentational, while in poetry you’ll have a lot of famous work about it,” she says, before listing examples like Allen Ginsberg and Elizabeth Bishop.

Replay – Headhunter Redemption

about X hours ago from
Replay – Headhunter Redemption

This week on Replay we take a look at an obscure PlayStation 2 game that somehow has both too much, and not nearly enough world-building.

The game follows the exploits of the titular Headhunter, Jack, and his new partner, Leeza X, as they shoot lots of bad guys and try to stay out the Below, which just sounds like bad news all around. We gave Headhunter Redemption a 6.75 when it released in 2004. For part two, we play a game based on a popular children's toy, but make some important soundtrack changes. And that's it! Nothing extra happens and there is no post-credits sequence. The episode just ends like a perfectly average episode of Replay. Thanks for watching!

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Watch Us Play The First 45 Minutes Of The Surprsing FMV Game Late Shift

about X hours ago from
Watch Us Play The First 45 Minutes Of The Surprsing FMV Game Late Shift

After their heyday in the early-to-mid 90s, FMV games became relatively scarce, though they've started popping back up in recent years. The latest of these is Late Shift, a choice-driven FMV game where the choices... well, they don't seem to matter much.

Still, we couldn't resist the chance to talk over some mediocre acting and faster-than-light character development, so Javy Gwaltney, Manon Hume, and myself (with studio help from Ben Hanson) sat down with the game for your enjoyment. It's... something, that's for sure.

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Five Terrible Games Based On TV Shows… And Five That Don’t Totally Suck

about X hours ago from
Five Terrible Games Based On TV Shows… And Five That Don’t Totally Suck

Licensed games have a well-deserved reputation for being awful– cheap cash-grabs that trick fans of the source material into playing sub-par games with little to no redeeming value on their own. Sure, the occasional outlier like GoldenEye 007 or Arkham Asylum comes around and shows potential in great licenses, but by and large, most gamers can have more fun by throwing their money into a raging grease fire than playing, say, Kinect Star Wars.

Games based on TV shows often lure us in with the promise of some sort of “untold tale,” with additional story content, voice actors from the original, or a script written (or vaguely “overseen”) by the show’s creative staff. All too frequently, however, these games fail to provide any kind of remotely interesting gameplay or production values to back up their ambition to honor the source material.

Every once in a while, though, a TV-to-game adaptation pops up that, while it might not be a revolutionary reinvention of the genre, at least serves as a fine addendum to its source material and a passable gaming experience.

Funny To A Point – Dear Nintendo: You're Blowing It

about X hours ago from
Funny To A Point – Dear Nintendo: You're Blowing It

Look, here's the thing: I don't want to write about Nintendo again. I've already recounted my lifelong frustration with Nintendo being Nintendo, and just a few weeks ago I roasted the entire 1-2-Switch "game" library because as far as first impressions for a new system go, it's the equivalent of wearing a tuxedo shirt to a funeral. I simply don't want to devote the mental energy to another what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-Nintendo rant, and while such a column would certainly be right at home on the Internet, that's not what Funny To A Point is supposed to be.

If you've ever made it all the way through one of these long-winded columns (or just scrolled to the bottom to leave an angry comment), you may have noticed that the banner at the end states Funny To A Point "celebrates the random, humorous, and downright stupid things that make gaming so much fun." Believe it or not, I really try to achieve that tone; a lighthearted read to wrap up your week on Friday afternoon, whether that's when your office shuts down, or just your brain. Sure, I may compare a developer to Satan every now and then, but it's all in good fun, and I hope even fans of the topic can laugh along with the rest of us.