Test Chamber – The Free-To-Play Pokémon Shuffle

about X hours ago from
Test Chamber – The Free-To-Play Pokémon Shuffle

The Pokémon Company has embraced the free-to-play model with Pokémon Shuffle on 3DS, and we decided to take a look and see if the match-three puzzler is unnecessarily restrictive.

Jeff Cork, our resident match-three expert and genre super-fan, and I played the game for a few minutes. The gameplay is basically the same as Pokémon Battle Trozei, but there is a limit to how many rounds you can play consecutively. Similar to Candy Crush, if you run out of attempts you can either wait for more, or you can purchase jewels with real money to keep playing. Unlike Candy Crush however, every attempt – success or failure – costs you one of your lives. Even if you're successfully battling and catching Pokémon, you will hit the same wall as someone who is playing poorly.

You can check out some of the gameplay (and see how much the jewels cost) in the video below.

Opinion – Why Conventional Thinking About Mobile Game Design Isn’t Smart Thinking

about X hours ago from
Opinion – Why Conventional Thinking About Mobile Game Design Isn’t Smart Thinking

Some folk entertain the illusion that mobile and triple-A games are not the same industry. If you don't follow mobile games you might be unaware of how much mobile and digital stores like Steam changed the entrenched games industry. I don't mean in terms of diverting investment or grabbing mindshare, both of which has happened. I mean to the people involved in making games.

In our industry we talk about mobile opening gaming to the mass market, but the real accessibility revolution was in the game development community. Before digital stores, publishing a game required hilarious amounts of cash, causing terrified executives to busily sweep the field of any independent spirit. Thousands of sweating developers were warehoused in giant offices cranking out versions of whatever shooter/racer/RPG their bosses thought was big at the time. 

Then mobile came along and changed everything. You couldn't make full-fat games like on Steam, but its digital stores enabled any broke-ass developer to self-publish a game and for a minimal fee upload it direct to a mass audience. Together with cheap off-the-shelf game engines, mobile took a baseball bat to the balls of the entrenched industry and swept away the bureaucracy of retail, publishing, and bosses. Or so many triple-A employees thought as they packed their bags and left. 

Kirby Through The Years

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Kirby Through The Years

Kirby may just be a pink ball with oval arms and red shoes, but he's gone through a lot of changes over the years.

Whether it's small changes, or entire changes in the properties he's made of, Nintendo has done a lot with a character that is ostensibly a pinks circle. In this feature, we're taking a look at the sometimes large, sometimes minor changes Kirby has experienced over the years. Kirby has ventured into the world of pinball, racing, and Smash Brothering, but for the sake of this feature, we'll be sticking to Kirby's platforming adventures.

Kirby's Dream Land (1992)

Where’s My Sequel? – Binary Domain

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Where’s My Sequel? – Binary Domain

Binary Domain is – in my opinion – secretly one of the best third-person shooters from the last generation.

Unfortunately, the game was dragged through the mud thanks to its focus on voice commands, which was a contributing factor to Game Informer's review. When Binary Domain launched and the voice commands didn’t work, the failure of a relatively superficial system stole the thunder of its unique conversation mechanics, solid gameplay, and excellent story.

What It Is:

The Kickstarter Compendium

about X hours ago from
The Kickstarter Compendium

Our regularly revised feature keeps you up to date on the Kickstarter games worth watching, and helps you track projects both before and after they’re funded.

Welcome to the Kickstarter Compendium, a gathering of games and game-related projects that we’ve come across that deserve your attention. The crowd-funding model for video games has resulted in some fascinating new game ideas, and new projects are going up on a weekly basis that deserve your attention. 

The only problem is keeping track of it all – what’s worth watching, and what are these different projects about? As an ongoing feature, our Kickstarter Compendium is your guide to games seeking funding through Kickstarter. After funding projects are complete, this feature will also track what games (and game-related projects) got funded and which ones didn’t – and, where possible, offer links to the projects as they are developed. 

Opinion – Funding Kickstarters Is A Gamble, So Stop Making Bad Bets

about X hours ago from
Opinion – Funding Kickstarters Is A Gamble, So Stop Making Bad Bets

Back in 2013, I wrote a brief set of best practices suggestions for project managers considering a run at Kickstarter funding. Since then, much has changed, and the advice I have to offer today is a bit more pointed.

We’ve seen a number of well-run campaigns, and it’s important to note that Kickstarter as a funding concept isn’t bad. It isn’t the wrong way to approach things, and it certainly shouldn’t be dismissed outright.

Unfortunately, Kickstarter has become a crutch for some and an idea factory for too many. Those that have working game prototypes, thorough contingency plans, and a realistic grasp of what stretch goals mean for inherent risk in a project are often buried in an avalanche of detritus.

You're Doing It Wrong – Blindfolded GoldenEye 007

about X hours ago from
You're Doing It Wrong – Blindfolded GoldenEye 007

In the first three episodes of Replay: Season 3, we've debuted a number of new segments, including a year-long competitive league called Versus. We also put a new twist on the classic segment You're Doing It Wrong. Tim Turi thought it would be fun to watch someone try to play GoldenEye 007 blindfolded. I ended up being that victim.

I don't blindly fumble my way through the game. Tim Turi's voice guides me through the guard-infested hallways, and after a few minutes, we end up getting into a nice rhythm. You can check out the segment below or over on our YouTube page. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think of the blindfolded experience.

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Eight Films That Helped Influence Rise Of The Tomb Raider

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Eight Films That Helped Influence Rise Of The Tomb Raider

Early in the production of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics put together something called a rippomatic to help set an emotional tone for the rest of development. A rippomatic is basically an faux trailer for the game, created before any assets or even a game’s story has been fully fleshed out. It’s a common practice in the development of video games, and is built out of a collection of scenes from movies that help set the mood of the game and give something the team (and those financing the game) can see early on to get an idea of the ultimate goal of the game.

“We look at media as a place to start and give us ideas and inspire us to make something better,” says the Rise of the Tomb Raider’s director Brian Horton. It’s not necessarily that the plot of these films will mirror that of Rise of the Tomb Raider, or in some cases are even particularly good films, they just all feature specific scenes of emotional resonance, or cool visuals that the team hopes to emulate for their own purposes. “It informs the gestalt of what ultimately becomes our own idea. It’s basically a sketch,” says Horton.

Masahiro Sakurai's Super Smash Bros. Diaries

about X hours ago from
Masahiro Sakurai's Super Smash Bros. Diaries

Late last year, Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai wrote several editorials about the development behind his Wii U and 3DS fighting game series for Game Informer Magazine and Digital. Rather than having to dig through the magazines to find each one of Sakurai's pieces, we've included all of them in this story. They are listed in chronological order, starting with his first piece that ran in Game Informer issue 256 and ending with an interview in which he answers our questions about the Smash Bros. series.

Each of Sakurai's editorials dive deep into the development of the games. He phrases his points in the form of questions that were frequently asked by fans of the games. Along with his insight, he provided images that show off some of the development techniques he used, such as using action figures to frame animations. He also snapped a photo of his desk.

Without further delay, here's Sakurai:

Test Chamber – The Multiplayer Insanity Of Paparazzi

about X hours ago from
Test Chamber – The Multiplayer Insanity Of Paparazzi

Paparazzi usually get up close and personal with celebrities, going as far to invade their privacy and rattle off flash photography when they clearly don't want their pictures taken. Do you have what it takes to chase celebrities and snap pictures of them? Alternatively, if you are the celebrity, can you outrun and evade the camera flash?

You can put your skills to the test in Pringo Dingo Games' Paparazzi, which released today on PlayStation 4, Wii U, and PC. Paparazzi offers a single player mode against bots, but is best experienced as a local multiplayer experience. One person plays the role of paparazzi equipped with nothing but a camera and the ability to snap it, and the other player plays the celeb who must dash behind cover and evade the camera at all costs.

Ben Hanson and Tim Turi join me for a look at this unique multiplayer title. More than that, they make me feel like an unwanted third wheel that should go home and play a single player game or drink scotch. You can check out the video below or on our YouTube channel. Enjoy the show and we'll see you in the next episode of Test Chamber.