Friday, October 20, 2017

Video Game Round-Up: October 20, 2017

Humble Bundle has been acquired by media giant IGN. [Gamasutra] “Media giant IGN announced today that it has acquired Humble Bundle, the company best known for selling packs of indie games at pay-what-you-want prices. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. This is potentially a big deal for game developers, since Humble has expanded beyond its bundling business to publish games, pay devs to make games for its subscription-based monthly game club, maintain a subscription-based online game trove, and operate an online game storefront. However, a press release confirming the deal also noted that Humble will continue to operate independently in the wake of the acquisition, with no significant business or staffing changes.”

If you're stymied by the limited number of games on the NES Classic and Super NES Classic (both prior posts), the hacker community has your back. For the original NES Classic, it’s not as simple as drag-and-drop, but no screwdriver or hardware mods needed to load ROMs of almost any of the official NES catalog, and Super NES Classic hack is similar, plus you can load custom backgrounds and tweak the "scanline" feature via telnet operations. But because of more custom chips and other irregularities, to play all your SNES backups, you will have to increase the versatility of the SNES model by loading a different emulator, like RetroArch. And yes, these run on Linux builds that you can download for free, and as such, you can load your own (custom) distro. This all requires that you can get your hands on either the discontinued NES Classic or the hard-to-get Super NES Classic. If that's not realistic, or you're upset that you're paying for Linux in a pretty case, or you're not as interested in hacking an existing system when you could build your own, here's an extensive write-up on how to build a Raspberry Pi 3-based emulator with RetroPie. If you want to see inside a NES Classic without having to track one down, JerryRigEverything has a teardown video for you, and he has a new teardown of the Super NES Classic. Spoiler: on the inside, the two systems are exactly the same, at least in regards to the core hardware.

In Gaming Beyond the Iron Curtain: East Germany, Super Bunnyhop discusses the parallel development of technology and video games in East Germany during the cold war.

Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War can’t decide if it thinks orcs are people too "There’s a horrible reality underneath all the blood and bombast of Shadow Of War: When you “dominate” an orc, you are erasing its agency and enslaving it. There’s really no two ways around it."  Critics are praising the game's graphics and AI, but many agree that  Shadow of War’s Treatment of Orcs is the Worst Part of the GameOrc Slavery Made Me Quit Middle-earth: Shadow of War, complains Motherboard's Matthew Gault, "Science fiction has been warning us for years that our treatment of robots and artificial intelligence can and will backfire on us. I think about that every time an orc I've wounded or humiliated crests a hill, stares me down, and threatens my life."  The Verge's Shadow of Mordor is morally repulsive, but admits that he can't stop playing it. Pursue your dream of making a video game with the newest Humble Bundle. Included in this month’s deal is RPG Maker VX Ace, software used by many aspiring game developers that want to see what game design is like before getting into the nitty gritty of programming.  Best of all, proceeds for this Bundle go to Extra Life, an organization that promotes the act of playing games (whether tabletop or video) to raise money for Children’s Hospitals across the United State

The Quest To Make A Better Video Game Controller "Next time you play a video game, look down at the controller in your hand. Is it comfortable? Does it work well with the game you're playing? Are your fingers all being used efficiently? If you could change one thing, what would it be?"  Related:
A scientific test of keyboard latency. "Gaming" keyboards are middle-of-the-road, while the lowest-latency keyboard tested is about the last thing you'd think of for computer gaming.

Universal Paperclips is an incremental browser game (like Cookie Clicker etc.) by Frank Lantz, Director of the NYU Game Center, perhaps based loosely on the paperclip maximizer thought experiment. It has additional programming by Bennet Foddy of QWOP/GIRP fame (though to be clear, it is nothing like his games, so don't go in expecting that).


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