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  ‘Silent Hill 5’:  Now With Jiggle-Physics  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-06 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
‘Silent Hill 5’:  Now With Jiggle-Physics
I've been a fan of survival horror game series Silent Hill since the first installment in the series, not so much due to the game play, but because of its inspirational creative elements. The visuals and soundscapes featured in the series are haunting, distinctive, and memorable.

One of the most recognizable monster-types in the game series is a sort of "zombie nurse," a faceless female creature dressed in medical garb which shivers and shimmies through darkened hospitals, looking for a handful of your flesh. When the Silent Hill movie came out last year, I was disappointed that the zombie nurses seemed to be re-imagined as slightly more sexualized monsters. Basically they became less "zombie" and more "sexy nurse." A pity, since the original creature designs seemed to be far more ghastly (and far more scary) than the ones shown in the film.

Sadly, the upcoming Silent Hill 5 seems to turned the zombie Sex-O-Meter up to eleven, turning an exquisite walking corpse into Nurse McBoobs, complete with a nipple-exposing wardrobe-malfunction. Jeux France has the full-sized pics. If the game features jiggle-physics, I'm going postal.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Links for 2007-12-05  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-05 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Not Playing The ‘Warcraft’ Blizzard Designed  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Not Playing The ‘Warcraft’ Blizzard Designed
A glimpse of a Poker-variant dubbed "Zwergenpoker."
Is World of Warcraft's unending grind causing players to seek alternate forms of in-game entertainment? Seems so. Mini-games created with Warcraft's extensible "add-on" system have been in play since at least 2006, but a game update earlier this year made it even easier for players to create their own fun.

The Guild Bank, introduced with patch 2.3, presents a 14 by 7 grid intended to be used for item-storage. One imaginative player got the idea to use the grid for a variant of Checkers (aka Draughts). Playing pieces can be any item in one's inventory. The "board" layout might not be suitable for Chess, but probably a Go- or Reversi-variant. It might be easier to play these games on the tabletop (as was the original intent), but that would defeat the whole cool-factor of bastardizing Warcraft.

 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Links for 2007-11-28  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-28 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Warcraft’ Ads Mainstream The MMO  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-21 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Blizzard has released a pair of comedic World of Warcraft commercials, destined for (presumably American) national TV, featuring William Shatner's alter ego as a Shaman and Mr. T's alter ego as a "Mohawk" Night Elf. The game is already no stranger to television, having been referenced in an episode of game show Jeopardy in 2005, featured in an episode of South Park last year and in a recent Toyota ad.

I see Blizzard's new ads as a confirmation of the mainstreaming of World of Warcraft specifically, and of MMOs in general: If pop culture icons are living in virtual worlds, anyone can. Granted, Shatner and Mr. T might not carry the cool-factor-style endorsement younger stars provide, but as more celebrity gamers come out of the closet (regardless of whether they're for real or paid poseurs), MMO lifestyles are going to gain increasing social acceptance.

In another few years, having an avatar alter ego is simply going to be a fact of life, facilitated in part by the future domination of the "free to play" MMO model. As a result, avatar support services will become more visible, from in-world makeovers; parents grinding for their kids; and the usual power-leveling / gold farming / gray-market virtual trading businesses.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Bitmappy Events In NYC And Montreal  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-19 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
A pair of pixelated events, unrelated in all ways but aesthetically, rasterize in Brooklyn and Montreal this month.

"B I T M A P: as good as new" runs as part of the 4-day Blip Festival. Matteo Bittanti reports for Videoludica that the group exhibition celebrates "the history of the digital image, the, aesthetics of early computing and early video-game consoles. Expect pixels, old monitors and 8 bit sounds!" A reception for the group show, which runs until February, 2008, will reportedly be held Saturday, November 24th 2007 from 7pm - 10pm at vertexList.

Meanwhile, in frosty Canada, the Kokoromi Collective launches its "Gamma 256" show, a game design event where submitting creators were constrained to game space comprised of 256 pixels square or smaller. Should be some really innovative stuff on display given the constraints (more info on the official site). The show launches Wednesday, November 28, 2007, at Société des arts technologiques. The event coincides with the 4th annual Montreal International Game Summit, so if you're in town for the conference, there's really no excuse not to go!
 
     
 
   
 
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  Poll: Kids and Parents Don’t [Ok, Maybe They Do] Game Together  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Associated Press (via CNN) reports results from a poll released this week, which found that parents don't play computer and video games with kids:
  • 81% of kids aged 4 - 17 play games "at least occasionally."
  • 38% of adults play games "at least occasionally."
  • 44% of adults play online.
  • 43% of kids who play games don't play them with their parents. [Update: Matt Mihaly says the other 57% must be playing with their parents, meaning kids and parents DO play together.]
  • 30% of parents who play with their kids spend under 1 hour weekly doing so.
  • 50% of adults and kids play more than 2 hours of games weekly. 50% of adults and kids play less. Roughly 30% [not clear if it's both kids and adults] play 5 hours or more weekly.
  • 59% of adults aged 18 - 29 play "at least sometimes," said to be "double the rate" for adults aged 50 - 64
  • 31% of adults prefer casual games
  • Roughly 16% of adults prefer action games, "the next most popular alternative [to casual games]."
  • "About half of women cited casual games as their favorites, triple the number of men who did so, while twice as many males than females preferred action games."
  • "26 percent said they spent nothing on the pastime last year, another 46 percent spent up to $200 and 12 percent spent $500 or more, with men usually the bigger spenders."
  • "Price is the chief factor for people purchasing a gaming console, followed by the availability of games."
The poll, conducted by AP and AOL Games, surveyed just over 2,000 adults last month. 770 of these said they play digital games.

I'm not terribly surprised by the results finding parents and kids don't enjoy screen time together--not only does each group enjoy its own type of games, most computer games in a single household are played solo (you don't often find dad and son crouched behind the same computer screen). Furthermore, and this is simply my opinion, parents seem to be taking a less active role in the media consumption habits of their kids as each year passes. More family-oriented games, please.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Habbo’ Heist Leads To Arrest  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Beeb reports that a 17 year-old Dutch teen stands accused of stealing 4,000 euros worth of Habbo Hotel virtual furniture, with 5 other teens allegedly moving the stolen virtual goods into their own Habbo rooms. I can't help but laugh at these witless kids, who would apparently rather steal furniture than give out virtual hand-jobs. Everyone knows furni-whores get theirs for free.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Links for 2007-11-14  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Punking Games  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-13 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Jeff Murray of Fuel Industries doesn't just ask "Whats wrong with the game industry?" He longs for a rebel movement in games:
"...just as punk said anyone with a guitar could make music, I want anyone with a keyboard to be able to make games. I want more radical speaking in the industry and more radical thought outside of academia. I want argument and discussion, then perhaps a fight in the car park afterward … in effect; I want some rock n roll attitude in games. I don’t care if someones game is un-original, just as long as it does to my senses what voiceover guy said it would on the trailer!
[...]
If you want to make games, don’t even bother about the rest of the industry and what they’re doing… just get out there and go for it. Punk style!"
Hey, as long as you're punk-rock enough to live off beans on toast and bargain beer, that's a great plan. Seriously: if you're young and on fire, why not go the risky route and churn out the games you always wanted to--screw what everyone else is doing! Speaking from a post-punk parent perspective, that's not the most practical route, but it sure is nice to dream about while I sniff the leather of my old biker jacket.

Incidentally, Murray's not the only one riffing on rock'n'roll and interactive entertainment these days.
 
     
 
   
 
  6 comments  
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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