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Entries from July 2010

PSA: Starcraft II Can Melt Your Video Card

July 30th, 2010 No Comments

Apparently sales aren’t the only white-hot thing about Starcraft II. The game’s menus, graphical lightweights though they are, don’t have any maximum cap on their rendering cycles. That’s right, Starcraft 2 is presently set to render those static blue menus at your video card’s nearest neighbor to infinity frames per second. The glowing slag that [...]

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PopCap Abandons Zombie Michael

July 28th, 2010 No Comments

Score one more for jealous intellectual property hoarders. PopCap Games yesterday told MTV Multiplayer that they would be modifying the successful tower defense game, Plants vs. Zombies. Said PopCap, “The Estate of Michael Jackson objected to our use of the ‘dancing zombie’ in Plants vs. Zombies based on its view that the zombie too closely [...]

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Review: DeathSpank

July 26th, 2010 No Comments

In one word, DeathSpank is staid. Heck, it might as well be a platonic form: the action-RPG-est action-RPG out there. Whether this will appeal to you is largely a matter of genre allegiance, because it’s good for the polish and bad for the novelty. Either way, DeathSpank is a solid game if you’re in the market to hit things and level up.

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Alien Swarm Is Also A FPS

July 23rd, 2010 No Comments

You’ve probably already heard of Valve’s free top-down shooter, Alien Swarm. What you may not know is that it’s also a FPS. PCGamer broke the news from the steam forums. It just takes a few console commands to make a whole new game from the downloadable title: Go to Options > Keyboard > Enable developer [...]

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Nippon Ichi Looses Shirt

July 21st, 2010 No Comments

The recession has hit all of us pretty hard, but this is ridiculous. Siliconera is reporting that Nippon Ichi has posted a precipitous drop in operating profits. The developer reported a 97% decrease excluding investments, tax, and arcade and mobile sales. The Japan-based developer is responsible for Disgaea, a popular strategy RPG noted for anime [...]

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Review: LIMBO

July 19th, 2010 No Comments

Although it’s a 2D platformer, LIMBO is a horror game, so come prepared. Whether you’re fleeing a giant spider or succumbing to brain worms, the game is stark and disturbing. That makes it incredibly compelling. Add that to the black and white silhouette art, vivid animation, and precision platforming, and you have a great game. It’s just not for the faint of heart.

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Double Fine Quadruples Games

July 16th, 2010 No Comments

Double Fine, which previously developed Psychonauts and Brutal Legend has indirectly announced it is working on four new games. In a talk at the Develop conference, CEO and Monkey Island alum Tim Schafer mentioned that Brutal Legend 2 hadn’t been signed by any publishers. So, keeping with the same logic that got them a 2-headed [...]

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Slow News Day: Hedonic Adaptation

July 14th, 2010 No Comments

I normally prefer to post something topical from the news, but things are just dead this week. Fortunately, the hardworking folks at Gamasutra have wrangled some worthwhile reading. It’s a cursory examination of hedonic adaptation, which sounds terribly sciency.

In truth the term just means “diminishing fun,” and the phenomenon is equally simple. Think about your pants for a second and how you can feel them touching your leg. The fact that you couldn’t feel them thirty seconds ago (and won’t 30 seconds from now) is adaptation. Any consistent sensation becomes less acute over time. Your brain redefines it as normal, that is to say adapts, and stops paying any attention.

Sadly, the same principle applies to fun, which is where the hedonic part comes in. Psychologist Jamie Madigan argues that the embargo conditions for advance review copies have a negative impact on review scores. Lock yourself in a room for twenty hours to get a timely review, and hedonic adaptation sucks the fun out of the play and the value out of the score.

Madigan does miss the opportunity to examine the entirely testable hypothesis that longer games net lower average review scores than comparable shorter games. However the article is worth reading to see the argument unfold more completely.

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Blizzard should disentangle Real ID from its Good IDeas

July 13th, 2010 No Comments

With all the hubbub about Blizzard’s reversed stance on the use of real names in the forums (for now), it’s easy to forget that the Real ID system brings in a wide array of changes, most of which are staying in place. While much of the functionality is handy, the implementation of the system comes with significant drawbacks. After watching Facebook, Blizzard’s new partner, get torn apart in the media over privacy concerns, one might think that Blizzard would be a bit more careful in implementing features that involve a player’s real name. This week, we look at Blizzard’s Real ID, and the pros and cons of the various aspects of the system.

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Blizzard Backs Down From Real ID, Settles For ID

July 9th, 2010 No Comments

Blizzard has nixed their plan to attach a user’s real name to the Real ID service. The decision came after a not entirely positive response from battle.net users. Although the abandoned feature earned a lot of attention for its role as troll deterrent, as USAtoday noted, the more significant role for real names would be [...]

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