Category Archives: video games

From $100k MIA Kickstarter to Legal Drama, The Status of ROAM

ROAM logo

From $100k MIA Kickstarter to Legal Drama, The Status of ROAM.

Just when ROAM seemed to enter the ranks of MIA video game Kickstarters, it pops back up. With new details revealed, we at Cliqist ponder ROAM’s situation. Here’s an excerpt of the full story:


Back in February 2013, an online co-op post-apocalyptic zombie game by the name of ROAM was funded to the tune of $102,518 by 3,526 backers on Kickstarter. After the campaign’s end, updates were released every month up until March 2014. It’s a small hiccup that the devs quickly apologize for, and following that, the updates resume on a monthly basis up until December 2014. After that, nothing. For over five months, backers suffered through a worrying silence from the dev team, until May 22nd, when they released this post and an additional backer only update. So what happened? Why did ROAM seem to go MIA, and is the project still in good shape?

According to Ryan Sharr, one half of the original team behind ROAM, co-creator Zach Barson is suing him for $100k. In this Reddit post, a user shared the contents of the backer only update, presumably because Sharr gave his backers leave to do so. His attempt at keeping the information behind a backer-only wall was likely to avoid more negative attention. The information in the post is detailed and complicated, but it summarizes an alleged inability by Barson to relocate to a suitable working environment and a refusal to agree on certain financial and contractual terms. On top of that, Sharr also claims that Barson failed to produce much original content for the project, as per his position on the team. Thus, given these events and the lack of trust between them, Ryan Sharr released Zach Barson from the game project about six months after the completion of the Kickstarter.


Want more? Head to Cliqist.com for the full details!

Tagged , , , ,

Game Review: Elegy for a Dead World (Cliqist Preview)

http://cliqist.com/2014/12/19/elegy-dead-world-reviewed/

Elegy for a Dead World is… strange, to say the least. Developed in collaboration by Dejobaan Games (AaAaAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, The Wonderful End of the World) and Popcannibal (Girls Like Robots), the basic concept is to write. That’s it. There are no easter eggs, puzzles, or action. Just you and whatever ideas you can come up with. Ordinarily I’d think this is awesome, as I like to write novels, but usually what people consider to be a “game” contains some element of direct or in-direct reward for tasks completed. This is greatly lacking in Elegy, and it’s important potential buyers are aware of this. It’s all about self-fulfillment, not measurable achievement.

To read the rest of this review, please click the link above to Cliqist, a game news site that covers crowdfunded games!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Game Review: The Banner Saga (Cliqist Preview)

http://cliqist.com/2014/12/19/banner-saga-reviewed/

With development for Banner Saga 2 officially announced, it’s the perfect time for a second look at the popular viking-themed tactical RPG game for the holidays. For those who have already beaten the game, there’s plenty of reasons to go back. Since its release there have been several patches that have fixed technical issues, improved performance, added new configurations (including profile saves and subtitles), a better balanced final boss fight on normal and easy mode. and modding capabilities, just to name a few. But if you haven’t played the game? You’re definitely missing out.

To read the rest of this review, please click the link above to Cliqist, a game news site that covers crowdfunding games!

Tagged , , , , ,

Dear Numantian Games: About Lords of Xulima on Mac, and Mac Gamer Treatment

http://cliqist.com/2014/12/04/letter-numantian-games-regarding-lords-xulima-mac/

In my review of Lords of Xulima, I left out a major part of my experience due to a lack of immediate relevance. Were the PC and Mac versions stable at the time of my review? Yes, and I stand by my positive verdict of the game. But at the game’s official release, I was horrified to discover that the Mac version was, in my opinion, borderline unplayable! Now I wouldn’t ordinarily think this an issue—many developers release Mac versions after their games’ PC release, but that wasn’t quite the case here. You presented Lords of Xulima as if it were a finished game to Mac players, only including a small note about persistent bugs in the update section of the game’s Steam store page. Personally? I don’t know anyone who makes a habit of expanding the update logs for a game that isn’t early access when they are considering buying it. The assumption is, of course, that if the game is finished, then it should just work.

Want to read the rest? Click the link above to read the article on Cliqist.com!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Game Review: Lords of Xulima (Cliqist Preview)

So many games try to bank on nostalgia these days, and so many have failed or misrepresented themselves, that it’s understandable to be wary of any new title that promises you the pixelated moon and stars with a healthy helping of hype and some impressive coattail acrobatics. The question is: are Numantian Games, the Madrid based studio, doing just that? Their latest game, Lords of Xulima (don’t worry, the name threw me off too) is billed as a 2D isometric turn-based RPG that tips its plumed hat to such titles as Ultima, and Might & Magic. It also promises challenging gameplay, over a hundred hours of content, and a broad range of customization for your party of six. After over nine hours into the game, I felt I had pretty good idea of what the answer was to my question.

At character creation, the player can choose to jump into things with a pre-generated set of heroes, but being the control freak that I am, I chose to generate my own team of adventurers. I found myself disappointed by the level of choice I had. Character creation consists of three simple steps: pick one of the ten classes (of which all stats and starting spells are predetermined and unchangeable), pick a deity (who provides a small bonus without there being any explanation what some of the stats even do in the game), and pick a portrait (all of which varied in quality from photo-realistic, to ugly deviantART level anatomy). When a game boasts 100 skills to choose from, I want to…you know…choose from them!

Want to read the full review? Visit Cliqist.com and get the final verdict for this indie crowdfunded game!

Tagged , , , ,

I Need Diverse Games – Because seriously, I just do.

If you’re not on Twitter, then you are missing out on a growing movement called #INeedDiverseGames. You can search for the hashtag on Twitter, or see my Storify tweet highlights here.

Writing about this topic feels tiring for me. It’s tiring because I feel so weary of the insensitivity that those who oppose the call for diversity in games exhibit. I can’t deny that our side has some holier-than-thou members who get a tad unfair in their quest for equal representation. But the arguments against are just willfully ignorant much of the time. When close-minded jerks like Youtuber TheInternetAristocrat snidely tell me that I should quit whining and make my own games…well, first of all, many of us (including myself) already TRY to make our own content across all kinds of media, including games. We just get rejected by executives and publishers because they’re too afraid to support us. And when we go indie? We struggle to be seen at all, and even get accused by fundamentalist gamers as not “producing real games” like Gone Home was so unfairly told.

We aren’t trying to hijack the gaming industry. Do you want your cishet white guy protagonist, and your tired misogynist plot-lines? Sure! Go ahead! But many of us want games we can relate to as well, and we shouldn’t be mocked or threatened by individuals who refuse to see things from our perspective. And by “our”, I mean women, people of color, LGBT, people of various faiths, and so so much more. I don’t hate white people. I don’t hate video games. I love video games. That’s why I want to see them excel. Video games have shown that they can and are an art form, and studies have shown a growing diversity among its consumers. Game developers should be encouraging that growth, not ignoring it.

As a hispanic bisexual woman, I would like to see more games produced that show positive examples of women in central roles, LGBT characters who aren’t vilified or caricatured, and PoCs that achieve more than speaking like stereotypes and engaging in acts of crime.

As I said on Twitter, I want the video game industry to be something that broadens my son’s view of the world, not narrows it.

If you feel the same way, please check out this hashtag stream on Twitter. Talk about it on your blogs. Hell, reblog this post. Because we need a change. And soon.

Tagged , , , , ,

Dreams Quantified

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NEup8y0g-Q&w=640&h=360%5D
So while all of you are wondering where the HELL I am in terms of writing, here I am, fantasizing about someday working for Quantic Dream. I think I may have mentioned how much a fan I am of Heavy Rain, and if I haven’t, then I am now. Heavy Rain was a formative experience for me. It showed me that not only could a game be engaging, like Super Mario World, or have a great sense of story, like The Longest Journey, but it was an epic marriage between the cinematic and video games.

One thing I have learned so far in my Creative Writing course at Full Sail is that video games is like the new frontier for storytelling. Its interactive format creates a new experience where a person is not passively experiencing a media source by themselves, but actively experiencing a form of media with someone else. Think about it. When watching a movie, do you really engage with the person next to you? (apart from when you’re talking through it—which doesn’t really count) So, in effect, I really, really, really want to write for video games…at least for some time in my (hopefully) professional writing career. And if I could choose a developer to work for?

QUANTIC DREAM.

Their newest game, BEYOND: Two Souls, slated for release in 2013, stars Ellen Page. And oh my gosh you guys…every time I watch the trailer (which is fairly often) I cum a little in my pants. I’m beyond excited for its release. That’s really all I had to say in this post…

But I also recognize my absolute lack of updates, so I’m posting a chapter preview for Eikasia. I’m not posting all 735 words I have (big whoop) but hopefully you guys will believe me when I say I’m trying. Work and school has been taking turns kicking my ass.

Tagged , ,

Instant Message from I.M. #8

After visiting a video game collectible store, my husband and I were pretty quick to throw down at least $166 some dollars for: Deadrising 2 Collector’s Edition, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Silent Hill 2, Sonic: Mega Collection, Mega Man X Collection, Street Fighter Alpha anthology, Silverload, and Spectral Load. We still didn’t come close to getting half of all the things we wanted ha ha!

I want to add that these games are in near mint condition, except for Silverload, which was somewhat scratched with a banged up case….but that game is so rare that it still cost me $19. Take this into account: currently? A MINT CONDITION Silverload goes for $500 minimum. Did I snag a deal? You bet’cher ass I did!

Posted from WordPress for Android

Tagged , , , ,

#4: Video Game Music – Rocked and Remixed

If you’re really REALLY into games, chances are you’ve sat down and listened to game soundtracks—both old and new.  Something about these tracks tend to soothe or invigorate.  Maybe it’s just the memory of excitement or contentment that makes those silly little midi tracks so likeable. 

Maybe it’s just that we have bad taste. 

Whatever the reason—gamers like video game music—and there’s nothing wrong with that!  So here’s my post on VG music, because more people should realize the skill of some of these composers and the ones who remix their songs.

I guess I should start at the basics.  Back in the day, when video games were just getting their start, developers began to use computer chips to create their music.  The computer code would be changed into analog soundwaves and out came the sound from the speakers.  The sounds would generally be looped and used sparsely between levels, like Pacman.  It eventually came to pass that, if any music was to be added to a video game, a programmer would have to be the one to code it in.  This was unusual—mostly due to the fact that most programmers didn’t have any sort of musical talent.

This went on into the 80’s, when technology became more advanced and new methods came about.  With the introduction of the Motorola 68000 CPU and Yamaha YM chips, the 8-bit sound was born.  More tones of sound could be used, of up to 8 or more thanks to the new chips.  By the mid-80’s, game composition saw a noticeable improvement as well, as more composers came on board with musical experience.  Some of the first (and most notable) of these composers were:  Koji Kondo (Super Mario Bros., and The Legend of Zelda), Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), Koichi Sugiyama (Dragon Quest), and Hirokazu Tanaka (Metroid and Kid Icarus).

kid icarus!kid icarus!

These composers created long-lasting musical peices with limited resources, and still today you see the strength of their music in popular culture.  As game systems evolved, so did the music, and really the rest is history.  Some of the best VG music spawned from such consoles as the SNES and Sega Genesis.  F-Zero, Chrono Trigger, Castlevania IV, and Street Fighter II each have their memorable themes thanks to the SNES digitalized sound.  And of course, one cannot forget the masterful music of Sonic the Hedehog 2 (though just about each game from this series was beautifully done.)

And just how big has VG music become?  Well, aside from the various concerts game music has spawned (Video Games Live, Play!  A Video Game Symphony) and the various bands and performers dedicated to doing only VG covers, and the countless VG remixers both by renowned and unknown artists…well, yeah.  I think it just speaks for itself.  For a nice live performance, check out this Koji Kondo concert.

But touching onto the subject of VG bands—there really are rock bands dedicated only to performing VG covers.  How many of you know the NESkimos?  What about the MinibossesThe AdvantagePowergloveGame Over?  Well each of these rock bands have done songs from all manner of games, and they all kick ass in MANY directions.  The Advantage does a rather groovy rendition of the second level of the NES Gremlin’s game, and the NESkimos do a terrific job of the Phatt Island theme from The Curse of Monkey Island: LeChuck’s Revenge.  Powerglove has a next to godly rendition of the Tetris theme, and the Minibosses do an awesome job tearing up the songs from Super Mario Bros. 2.  My favorite from Game Over has to be Cataclysmic Clash, featuring themes from Mega Man 3 with an awesome set of lyrics.  Though everyone of these bands have songs that people can download on their sites, they’ve all got their own CD’s for fans to buy.  I’d say they’re definetly worth it.

Martin Leung AKA the Video Game Pianist

On the more orchestral side we have the Video Game Pianist, known the world over for his piano compositions and medley’s.  His real name is Martin Leung and he’s been featured on MTV, Nintendo Power magazine, and various newspapers, networks, and radiostations in several different countries.  He was first launched into stardom when a video was posted over the internet of him performing the legendary Super Mario Bros. theme blindfolded (along with a Mario medley.)  His site (linked above) features some of his music, and if you’re into piano like I am, you’ll like it. 

There’s also a new game music site mentioned in Leung’s news, where actual VG composers and gamers come together as a community.  They’ve got a decent looking CD on sale called “Best of the Best: A Tribute To Game Music”, and features various celebrity composers doing songs from Silent Hill, Final Fantasy X, Duke Nukem, God of War, World of Warcraft, and Kingdom Hearts. 

Jumping into the next venue of VG music, we have remixes—where hopeful VG composers hope to show their prowess with song whilst simultaneously paying tribute to the games they grew to love. 

Overclocked Remix

The biggest video game remix site on the net (that I know of) is OverClockedRemix.Org.  It is essentially one giant community of gamers who love video game music—the population divided amongst those who actually play music and remix VG songs, and the ones who simply listen.  Music from both old and new games are given a makeover as various artists set out to prove that VG music (in its own right) is an artistic art form (and it is).  Submissions are open for any one who would like to contribute—but to filter out lower quality works, all submissions are first reviewed by a panel of judges (of course, all musicians.)  Remixes do not necessarily mean only techno and its various subgenres, but rather, any rearrangement and change done to an original theme.  Rock and orchestral remixes are popular, but of course, you’ve got your rave and trance remixes as well. 

OCRemix also have their own podcast—where in one episode they managed to interview the game composer for the Halo series, Marty O’Donnel—and an online radio station too, where they play remixes from the site 24/7.  As far as projects go, they’ve done a number of special musical tributes for games like Kirby, Chrono Trigger, and Donkey Kong. (the last two of which I downloaded myself)

Perhaps the greatest thing I love about video game music is how much nostalgia it strikes up.  I realize that nostalgia can be a bit annoying and sappy at times, but it always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to remember the fun I had playing these games and hearing their music.  It inspires you to be brave and injects a bit of youthful energy into your brain, y’see.  Atleast, that’s my experience with VG music.  Perhaps I’m just a silly romantic nerd.

But I’m sure these video game mascots can appreciate what I’m talking about:

Youtube!

Go Nights!  Show Lara what you’re working with!