MMO that lets players run servers and change the rules

A group of developers who worked on Ultima Online, one of the earliest successful MMOs, are creating a game called Shards Online over which players will have enormous control. Players will be able to run their own servers, change the code that the game runs on, and add their own challenges. The internal logic of this is a game set in a multiverse, and players who hop from one server to the next are entering an alternate reality. Shades of World of Democracycraft. (via /.). Cory 18

Kickstarting board games adapted for blind people

Emily sez, "Working in the blindness field, my husband, Richard and I have many blind friends. We are gamers at heart and have always been dismayed that our friends couldn't play our favorite games. When Richard began pursuing game publishing our first inclination was to make all games blind accessible. However, this proved to be nigh on impossible. We discovered if we wanted our games to be accessible, we had to make accessible games ourselves."

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Minecraft videos: booming industry with millions of viewers

Glenn Fleishman writes, "Minecraft YouTube videos are fantastically popular, and a core group of producers of these videos have enjoyed a wild ride up the virtual charts. Diamond Minecart, a YouTube channel by 22-year-old Daniel Middleton of Northamptonshire, England, has almost 1.9 million subscribers, and people have watched his videos over 400 million times."

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Anti-video-game California politician indicted for gun-running

California Senator Leland Yee has been indicted, along with 25 others, in an organized crime bust that includes charges of wire fraud and firearms trafficking, as well as accepting bribes for legislative action. Yee is best known for sponsoring legislation to limit the sale of "violent" video-games to minors, which federal courts declared unconstitutional and struck down. (via /.) Cory 22

Duke Nukem goes to court

Two companies, actual registered companies with people working for them, people with dreams and aspirations and fragile human hopes, are going to court to fight for ownership of Duke Nukem. [Rock Paper Shotgun]

Kickstarting Lifeform: a fun, educational game about evolution

Michael writes, "I'm launching a Kickstarter campaign for a new game founded in the basics of genetics and physics. You're a cell in a 2d underwater universe, and you must reproduce to gain traits that dictate what you can do. Resources found around the map can be used to construct machines and tools to aide in your evolution. Not only is Lifeform the genetics game we've long been searching for, but it's going to be extremely powerful in classrooms all across the world. Science teachers can use it for genetics lessons, physics, studying the elements, and much more."

This looks really cool (and the prototype is great)! One caveat is that Michael's development projects are pretty thinly detailed, though it sounds like he's had some relevant experience, and the prototype bodes well for the project's future. As with all Kickstarters, you might get nothing for your money! A $15 minimum contribution gets you a copy of the game when and if.

Lifeform: A game of genetic and biomechanical evolution (Thanks, Michael!)

The coming "cyberpunk" entertainment war

William Gibson's books often feature big, sinister corporations co-opting near-future technological wonders to uncertain ends. Facebook buying Oculus fits right in there! John Brownlee heralds the coming "cyberpunk war" to be fought by giant multinational corporations, in the future entertainment dystopia you were always promised. [Fast Co]

Game Developers Conference '14: The Experimental Gameplay Workshop

Alice Taylor checks out the best experimental games on show at GDC.

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Game developers as brutalized industrial attention-farmers: a look back from tomorrow


Writing to us from the distant future, Ian "Cow Clicker" Bogost describes our modern games industry and the role it will play in the coming downfall of civilization: "Working long before sustenance powders, developers were easily seduced by appeals to their physical urges. Overseers plied them with sugars and salts during the day and forced them to engorge on extravagant meals at night. Shifts extended for days at a time."

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New Augustus Gladstone game: AWOL in P-Town

Can you find Augustus Gladstone in this gigapixel photo of Portland? I was the 10th person to find him! AWOL in P-Town

Crowdfunding a binaural, video-less videogame

Paul Bennun, who helped created the groundbreaking, video-less binaural sound videogame Papa Sangre sez, "We're making a 'video game without video' and we're turning to Kickstarter to fund it. Team Papa Sangre has been responsible for some fantastic 'work of art' games over the last few years; games with the unique quality of having no graphics whatsoever, based on some (dare we say it) kick-arse technology that helps us make entire worlds in sound. The one-before-last starred Benedict Cumberbatch; the last one starred Sean Bean and was the best-reviewed iOS game of 2013 according to Metacritic. The next one most certainly isn't art (well, actually it is but that's not so obvious). It's you versus the zombies and it's just batshit crazy. We want make something much more direct. The problem is the economics of audio games are tricky. If we don't get defined support it's going to be a lot more tricky to know when or how we can game the game out -- so we've turned to Kickstarter."

I know Paul personally and he gets stuff done. While all kickstarters carry the caveat that you may get nothing for your money, I have extremely high confidence that if this is funded, it will happen.

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Trailer for a fan-supported film based on Jack Chick's "Dark Dungeons" tract

Dark Dungeons is a notorious 1984 Jack Chick tract that warns the readers about the danger of being embroiled in soul-destroying Satanic cults through playing Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs. A group of fan-supported media creators obtained a free film license from Chick to make a film based on the comic, and they've released a trailer that hints at a very funny future for the project.

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Play the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure online


In honour of the 30th anniversary of the brilliant (and incredibly frustrating) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure game, BBC Radio 4 Extra have recreated the game in an online edition. I remember playing this for endless hours, with my Peril Sensitive Sunglasses perched on my forehead, repeatedly typing "look." The R4 version allows for saved games, so you can come back to it. You can also play the 20th anniversary edition.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Game - 30th Anniversary Edition (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Ghost Ship (free pirate-themed browser game)

Ghost Ship is a surprisingly fun pirate-themed loot-em-up, set on merchant frigates designed by drunken pirate architects. Basic as it is, this is the game I thought I was getting when I first loaded up the terrible Roland on the Ropes in 198℥, so you might say I've been waiting 2ℍ years to play it. It's just one title emerging from the Prodecural Death Jam, which ended this weekend after a week of frenetic indie game development. [via Indie Games]

Interview with Richard Garriott of Ultima fame

Richard Garriott, creator of the legendary Ultima series of computer RPGs, talks to Wired about his future plans, about being disowned by a fundamentalist relative, and ethics in games.