Itchy Thumbs

Completing games then reviewing them

Archive for the ‘Heads Up’ Category

Dress well in 2010

Posted by D on January 14, 2010

For those in need of sartorial advice, I give you this and this. Perhaps not together though.


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Posted by D on May 18, 2007

We are getting a Wii. I have mixed feelings, I am vexed.

On the one hand the controller is a genius idea and nintendo make a lot of great games. Nintendo are easily my favourite developer and I have a deep seated desire to play both Paper Mario and Super Mario Galaxy.

On the other hand few of the games I’ve played on it so far are not at all well realised and mature. Frankly, the boxing on Wii sports is fucking pathetic. Also I fear that whole novel control thing may end up as a gimmick that few developers have the patience or desire to develop for.

Watch this space.

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The best thing I ever read

Posted by D on February 3, 2007

No, really.

Far be it from me to suggest that ever single person who ever turned their hands towards game design has pirated some software. And yet the games industry and the entire IT industry remains massively, unbelievably succesful.  How does that work? Eh? Eh?

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Vorsprung durch technik

Posted by D on November 2, 2006

More than amply demonstrating that the games industry have in fact been busy making the same 11 games for the last 20 years.

Game Evolution

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Net Neutrality

Posted by D on May 23, 2006

As per always the American government is trying to fuck us all over. This time they're trying to break the internet. I advise you go and read up about it and be on your guard in case similar such legislation arises in the UK.

Save The Internet

My favourite videos summarising the whole issue are these;

Net Neutrality Summary

Ask A Ninja Special Delivery 4 "Net Neutrality"

Death Of The Internet short

TWIT Discuss Network Neutrality

Apologies for the lack of games reviews of late, normal service will be resumed shortly.

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Rubs Hands With Glee

Posted by D on May 6, 2006

When I started out I made a plan not to allow this to become some gaming news round-up. Indeed, I do not have enough time in my day to pay such close attention to the raw gaming coal face. Occasionally however, some things, things so momentous that even I can not contain myself, cross my path.

The first of these nebulous, as yet unspoken things are these wooden computer peripherals. Charles Babbage eat your heart out. Now I lust after sleek, shiny keyboards fashioned only of lustorous wood, which I might fawn over and polish until each part glistens radiantly so my fingers may glide over their slick surfaces.

The second of these wonderous motes of knowledge are these three wallpapers from Sin Episodes. Now I lust after sleek, shiny girls fashioned only of lustorous latex, which I might fawn over and polish until each part glistens radiantly so my fingers may glide over their slick surfaces.

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The Show

Posted by D on May 3, 2006

Nothing for ages and then two posts come along at once. Zefrank, creator of one of my favourite things on the internet, has recently become the creator of another of my favourite things on the internet. Quite where he gets all this boundless creativity is anyone's guess, suffice to say I AM VERY JEALOUS. Anyway go off and watch 'The Show' as though your life depends on it because one day it might.

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Tee hee

Posted by D on March 8, 2006

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Mutant Storm

Posted by D on March 2, 2006

Somewhere deep in the limbic portions of my brain resides an entity composed of little more than reactions and raw instinct. This is an entity whose deep thirst can be sated only by rapidly blinking, psychedelic colours and incremental adrenalin based rewards and to that end I can not recommend Mutant Storm enough. It’s basically Llamatron on steroids, were I Jeff Minter I’d be rather jealous. Buy it, buy it now or regret every living moment of your life. Oh and get a controller with 2 analogue sticks to play it with (although the keyboard/mouse combo works rather well).

I am aware that this is “old” news but some things bear reiteration.

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Getting up to speed

Posted by D on February 21, 2006

Before we continue it’s probably best if you read a few things about the state of games production. It would be useful if we were all on the same page, all singing from the same hymn sheet, all batting for the same team and all fusing our conciousness with the same indecipherable hive mind (so to speak). So to that end I would advise you read the following articles:

Death to the games industry: Long live games Part 1 by Greg Costikyan
Death to the games industry: Long live games Part 2 by Greg Costikyan
Nintendo’s genre innovation strategy by Dan C at Lost Garden
Greg Costikyan ranting
Greg Costikyan putting his money where his mouth is

So, you’re probably asking why you needed to read those and what is so important about all those articles? First off I think buried in their cores each article tacitly illustrates the one great immutable fact about games. A fact so shocking that many publishers don’t want you to know. A fact they keep hidden so that people and cultures across the globe are slowly begining to forget their history, nay birthright. And strangely enough it’s little more than: the only important feature is that games are fun and playable. The games industry is littered with pretty games that play like utter dogs (Shadow of the Beast anyone?), the games industry is also littered with games that are successful purely as a consequence of marketing and this is set to get worse. As budgets ramp up few publishers will have the balls to pull a game they’ve invested millions in and it’ll be cheaper to pay for the advertising budget to market a sub-standard game than it will to pull it.

And the other more overt thing that these articles illustrate is that the structure of games writing and publishing sucks, contrary to Greg Costikyan‘s admirable hardline stance, I’m not as convinced that it is the poor business model that produces poor games. There’s plenty of poor open source, freeware and shareware games out there. Poor playability is a consequence of not having a single, grand unifying vision for the central mechanics of the game. Design a game with a committee and you get a game that only a committee can love yet every individual will hate. It’s no mistake that Shigeru Miyamoto’s games are invariably good. As more games require more and more cash so to the list of vested interests quickly increases. More games will come to be designed by a committee to ensure as wide audience appeal (and greater financial returns) as possible. But appealing to the mass market often leads to a combination of mundane ideas and poor execution, designed to satisfy all tastes yet satisfying none. You need only look at the Hollywood film industry to see plenty of analagous examples trotted out every summer for Blockbuster season. I’m sure I should be attempting to shoehorn in that quote about “a camel is a horse designed by a committee” in here. So I suppose I’d like to see less camels and more horses, antelopes, gibbons, baboons, blue bottles, wasps, elephants, ocelots and so on.

So, now we’re all aware of the state of the games industry and what actually matters (having fun and playability that is, do keep up). At this rate I may even get round reviewing some games.

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