January 26th, 2009
Not only am I back in the writer’s chair, I’m back home in Australia with the better half of my summer holidays layed out in front of me. In fact this whole year is shaping up to be significantly lighter on the workload which I am hoping will result in great things for the blog in 2009.
While my posting frequency has been on a downhill slump for the past few months, everyday away from home I’ve been thinking of new blog ideas and different ways to apply those ideas to my understanding of games. Now, with the time and energy to kill I want to start processing those ideas into what I hope to be a solid representation of what I have in mind for future writing. I feel that my experience abroad should prove to be a pivotal asset to the future of this blog too.
While I might have not been writing everyday, I’ve certainly been staying glued to my favourite publications and writers for the past stretch. So it’s time again to share my personal picks.
Indie games have the been the meat of my gaming diet over the past couple of months. Leaving most full production, paid for games sitting on the wayside. I’ve fallen in love with the fresh, passionate approach that drives the development of these games. You probably don’t know it, but about 4 years ago I co-developed a game with my twin brother, sold a few copies etc etc. Having done a little of this, I get great satisfaction out of seeing the work of others. If you’ve ever been interested in trying indie games for the first time, the 2009 list is an invaluable starting resource and where I started early last year (it goes back to 2006 too). No doubt I’ll be writing about these games as I continue to play them.
Woah, this one has been sitting on the back burner for a few months! Basically the article features a Photoshoped version of Faith, re-designed for the tastes of Asian consumers. Between the two versions the only differences are that the eyes and breasts which are both largened. I’m a little confused though, as far as my understanding goes, wider, open eyes are considered beautiful in Asian culture but breasts are fine no matter what size the bust. It couldn’t be the other way round either, since it is still a mix match between the two nuances. Maybe the breast thing is a Japanese quirk that got blanketed as Asian, I dunno, sorry for bringing it up. >_<
I hate the thought of plonking down $AUD100 (convert that into American dollars why don’t you?) for a shiny, new release title, especially when I can download an enjoyable indie rhomp for free. Still, back around the Christmas period, Valkyria Chronicles was the only new release that piqued my attention. In fact, I am dying to play this game, what seems to be a hybrid of my dearly lovely SRPG favourites (Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics) with it’s own adhering qualities as mentioned in this brilliant critique.
I haven’t read all of these articles yet, I’ll admit that (it’ll happen in due time) but this conglomerate of well written articles is easy to recommend. There’s a whole bunch of articles swimming around regarding the recent internal changes with the 1UP Network, but I feel this one is the only one that does them all justice.
A slightly different take on the game of the year awards, churned out by all publications come the end of the year. More like an open forum for the staff to discuss their experiences with each title. It’s pretty refreshing due to the actual discussion and contrast of opinions taking place, a lot of clever, non-snarky humour too.
An interesting rant of sorts by Jeremy Parish over anti-hollywoodisation of the games industry, our graphical ceiling and the opposing polarity of “casual” and “hardcore”, all referenced appropriately with the Dragon Quest series. Lots of interesting points made. Korey over at You Are Lose also ponders the significance of high end graphics for games built on far simpler ground.
Michael Abbott from the Brainy Gamer wrote a pleasing three part series covering the experiences of him and his family members playing Little Big Planet together. Unlike the dump of dismay that fell upon this title near a few months back, Michael’s experience is much more colourful and captures what I interpret the essence of the game to be very well.
This link was forwarded to me from the nice guys over at Video Games Blogger and good on them for doing that. While perhaps not as organized or interesting as it could have been, this video managed to make me chuckle a few times and is essential viewing for crazy MGS fans like me. There are obvious spoilers for the series here.