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All Work, A Little Play

Written By mista sense on Saturday, August 21, 2010 | 9:10 AM

At Gamasutra we've been so busy with coverage of GDC Europe and GamesCom that I've hardly had time to eat, let alone blog! But if you're at all interested in what game designers did in Europe all last week, we've got lots of coverage for you, so check out: my interview with Mattias Myllyrinne and Avni Yerli on the Euro scene, plus our Day 1, and Day 2-3 roundups for everything you need.

I've been doing a lot of interviews and things myself, lately. I just talked to Crystal Dynamics' GM Darrell Gallagher about Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, the new co-op game for downloadable platforms (there's a full, AI-less single-player mode, too). This game is extremely rad. Studio obviously knows what it's doing in that space -- and that's not really a facile observation to make in emerging markets, even for a studio with that pedigree. For their first outing of a major IP on downloadable, I think they knocked it out of the park.

Another thing we've published lately worth noticing is that a number of the prominent indies whose games you love would like you -- well, "us", really, the critics -- to stop weighing a game on how long it is or isn't, and instead to look at it as a holistic experience. It is understandable that consumers are concerned about "value per dollar", but why is value being measured in minutes? I've gotta say, I'm very much behind their sentiments, so you should read this editorial from Klei's Jamie Cheng and the numerous essays published simultaneously from other devs linked in the piece.

Terminal Reality seems to have come out of nowhere as a powerhouse on the game engine scene. It's the Ghostbusters engine, and it's only been publicly available for licensing since then -- but they already have some 25 games in development on the Infernal Engine. VP Joe Kreiner explains to me how they quietly ramped up, and tells me they have a Kinect project in house. I think I have a good idea what it is.

Despite the Madden series being one of my #videogameblindspots, I am weirdly fascinated with the annual development of the product. Maybe this interview I did with the EP will shed some light on how deceptively complex it is.

My goodness, how could I forget -- I was here at the New York City event when Irrational showed off the new BioShock game, BioShock Infinite. I heard a lot of "why call it BioShock if there's no Rapture" muttering from the internet, but hopefully my event coverage and interview with the art director will help answer that question. And maybe it'll even make you as psyched for the game as I am!

This is just a little bit of what's been keeping my colleagues and I running lately. With so much work going on, I've gotta play a little, right? Oftentimes, a lot of the ways I have fun look a lot like work, but hey.

Here's an LA Times article I just wrote about Babycastles, the fantastic indie arcade some friends of mine are setting up in the basement of a community space where I love to hang out. It's so cool seeing an indie game scene here merging with the music scene. I wish you could all check it out for yourselves, but until then, read the piece, willya?

Finally, I am weirding out the lovely literate community at Thought Catalog with a proud chronology of my gaming history; these are some personal memories of every game console I've ever owned -- part one of four (it's a long chronology!) Pass it 'round if you are into it. I'm really fond of Thought Catalog and read it for fun, and you should check it out too.

Oh, yeah. And still lots and lots of Persona 3 Portable. In general I think P3 is a much weaker game than P4; halfway through, it tends to take major shortcuts on narrative trajectories that it previously explored in-depth; whereas getting to know your housemates and discovering Fuuka early on were fairly fleshed plotlines, later on it just seems to start throwing party members at you. I loved the way that in P4, every character had their own individual story; P3's more like "okay, I said what you wanted, S. Link level up!" I guess preference for either installment depends more on whether it's atmosphere or individuals that motivate you as a player.


[Today's Good Song: 'Murder Dull Mind', Amen Dunes']

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