All the Dungeon Crawlers

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Dungeon Crawlers are those pseudo-3D maze games where you stomp around one square at a time, turning at 90 degree angles. The purpose of Dungeoncrawlers.org, then, should be obvious: to build "an online database for classic and modern first-person grid-based dungeon crawler games."

The design's great, too: nice and straightforward, but with a bit of period atmosphere! They've got everything from Alkalabeth to Grimrock. Read the rest

EA reveals the Xbox One sales total that Microsoft prefers not to

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Microsoft long ago stopped saying how many XBox Ones it had sold, but figures released by Electronic Arts expose numbers far short of rival Sony's Playstation 4.

On a financial call with reporters, CEO Blake Jorgensen said the combined install base of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was about 55 million units. With Sony boasting of 36 million PS4s shifted, that makes for 19 million Xbox Ones.

The numbers tally with rumors, but both machines are doing well given that we're still only 2 years into the current generation of hardware. The big loser this time around is Nintendo, thought to have sold only about 11m Wii Us. Read the rest

Strategic butt coverings in video games

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Feminist Frequency's excellent Tropes vs Women in Video Games has a new installment on the prevailing ways that characters' butts are presented in games: with female characters, they're emphasized, centered and revealed; with male characters, it's often literally impossible to see their butts.

Read the rest

Tracery - a JavaScript library to generate stories

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Tracery is a JavaScript library that automatically generates stories by assembling words from a glossary. Kate Compton, a PhD candidate in computer science wrote it. Learn more about Tracery in this interactive tutorial at the Crystal Code Palace.

Here's a one-button conversation game called Interruption Junction. It was created by Mx. Dietrich Squinkifer using Tracery. Instructions: "Click repeatedly or mash the spacebar to interrupt." Don't let your character fade away! Read the rest

Sony filed a trademark application for "Let's Play"

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"Let's play" videos are a hugely popular online genre in which gamers narrate their playthroughs of games that excite and challenge them. Read the rest

Design your own planet, Populous-style

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Oskar Stalberg's online game/toy "Polygonal Planet Project" runs in the browser and lets you design your own wee planet. You can raise and lower land, ice, forests and cities in a way similar to Amiga classic Populous, and watch the 3D globe rotate.

It's pretty hard on the old CPU—my little Macbook struggled with any world larger than the smallest option—but lights a strange little fire in the creative part of my mind. He also made one for 3D houses, which is just as much fun!

Update: "Or download a faster version for your desktop at: http://oskarstalberg.com/game/planet/planet.rar" Read the rest

Slideways: if Connect 4 was as sneaky as Go

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Slideways is a tic-tac-toe variant that lets players occupy squares, change their opponents' squares, or move where the squares are relative to one another. It's a strategy game with more sneaky ways to win -- and lose -- than seems possible, at first.

Watch what happens when you put 20,386 cars into Trackmania

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Trackmania is a highly-customizable car-racing game renowned for the insane videos players generate, showing off feats that would be impossible or absurdly dangerous in real life. Feats such as showing 20,000 cars racing simultaneously around the track.

Graham Smith explains at RPS:

The video is the culmination of half a year of work by organiser L4Bomb4, who collected the replays recorded in Trackmania United Forever and Trackmania Nations Forever, then converted and rendered 12,000 of them in the newer Trackmania 2: Stadium. “Unfortunately, the skins of the cars got lost in the process, but I could render with 12k cars at a pretty high quality without the game crashing,” writes L4Bomb4 on the video’s YouTube page. Another person, Danixks, edited the video and used a compositing technique to include 8000 further replays that would crash the game if rendered at the same time. The result is 20,000 cars on a single track.

It really must be seen to be believed: there are so many vehicles they merge into a bizarre fluid, spilling and splashing around the game's vast arenas. Read the rest

Menopoly: female lead missing from Star Wars Monopoly game

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Rey, the female lead of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is not among the character tokens one may play in the film's tie-in version of Monopoly. Featured are only male characters, including one not even present in the new movie.

It is the latest in a line of official merchandise that has drawn ire for prioritising less prominent male characters over Rey. … A Star Wars figurine pack released by Target also failed to include Rey or other new female Star Wars characters such as Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie. The six featured characters are Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Finn, Poe Dameron, a Stormtrooper and a TIE Fighter pilot.

Hasbro, the game's maker, claims that including Rey would have been a spoiler.

…Julie Duffy, the company's Global Communications vice president told the Daily News. "Rey was not included to avoid revealing a key plot line that she takes on Kylo Ren and joins the Rebel Alliance," she said.

Slightly less laughable is the excuse sometimes aired that, as there is an individual figurine for Rey available, people should stop complaining about the sets from which she is excluded.

After all, TIE Fighter pilot is a very important character.

Read the rest

Breaking the DRM on the 1982 Apple ][+ port of Burger Time

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4AM is a prolific computer historian whose practice involves cracking the copy protection on neglected Apple ][+ floppy disks, producing not just games, but voluminous logs that reveal the secret history of the cat-and-mouse between crackers and publishers. Read the rest

Science fiction: what if game companies could get rich on bots, instead of players?

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MVP -- Patrick Miller's "game dev short story" -- is a cleverly told piece of science fiction about a game dev team that hits on a weirdly compelling, unlikely and eerily plausible commercial strategy: optimizing their game for gold-farmers' bots. Read the rest

Evolution simulator runs in browser

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In Cary Huang's evolution simulator, one first generates 1000 random geometrical beasties. Then one watches them iterate until equilibrium prevails, commanding the most successful to reproduce and decimating the failures. The measure of the monster is how far they can flop and wobble along in a simple a 2D landscape: most fail rather fast and hard.

(The game window will start out too large for the website: scroll down and click the "full screen" icon at the bottom of the window.)

The wireframe life forms remind me of an early and massively-overhyped "evolution simulator" called Eco, released in the late 1980s for 16-bit computers. Read the rest

Howto: make a glowing bottle of Fallout 4's Nuka Cola Quantum

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Redditor MymlanOhlin shares their method for making a glowing bottle Nuka Cola Quantum from Fallout 4, a fiendishly difficult videogame whose brilliant storytelling and gorgeous, explorable landscapes have totally colonized our household. Read the rest

Sears Xmas Wishbook '77: synthetic fabrics, expensive video games, digital watches

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Greg Maletic scanned the 1977 Sears Christmas Wishbook, "Amazon, printed out." He presents a guided tour of its highlights, starting with the nascent console game and handheld electronic game industry's top offerings, which, when converted to 2015 dollars, are scorchingly expensive. Read the rest

Black women are already superheroes

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What can game developers do to better represent black women in games?

Uninsured driver plows through gamer's living-room wall and creams him mid-Fallout 4

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Ben Rose was in the middle of a game of Fallout 4 when an uninsured driver in the parking lot outside his Irving, TX apartment building hit the accelerator instead of the brakes and crashed straight through another apartment, then through his living room wall, straight into Rose, fracturing one of his vertebra and nearly severing one of his tendons. Read the rest

Networked gaming is the new social media, and it's a boys' club

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Earlier this fall, Pew released the results of a new survey documenting how digital networks are key to how teens connect with friends. What was most striking was the gender disparity. Girls socialize via text and social media, and boys tend to connect with friends through video games.

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