After two years in existence, the newest PAX is still relatively small. There are few big-name publishers exhibiting on the show floor, with many of the biggest booths belonging to hardware companies like Intel, Alienware, and Astro. There aren’t as many prominent figures in gaming walking the halls of the Henry B. González Convention Center in downtown San Antonio, TX. And the expo floor certainly isn’t as big and sprawling as PAX’s counterparts in Boston and Seattle. PAX South is a low-key show, for sure, but that’s all part of its charm.
Morality is a gray matter, a deep entity, and a thing that doesn't stop at the surface. It's also a subject that video games have played with constantly. Whether it was the evil Dragonlord presenting the hero with a choice to join his side at the end of Dragon Warrior in 1986 or Geralt choosing to sacrifice or save a dear friend in the more recent Witcher 3, video games have been attempting to capture the complexity of moral dilemma as a flexible mechanic for decades. The degree to which a game will go to accomplish that widely varies, but even the highest caliber releases supposedly punctuated by a choice-driven environment face a problem. Have games made choices truly matter? Can games capture the full effect of emotional baggage without sacrificing what makes a game fun? I’m not so sure they have yet.
This wave of customized amiibos by fans from all over is a positive and beautiful symptom of Nintendo’s first stab at mainstream gaming relevance in what feels like forever.
The “game over” screen has long been an experience that every gamer is familiar with. This dreaded ending to a gaming session is the most widely used example of a failure state.
I had planned to collect the entire Super Smash Bros. line before backing away and being more selective about my amiibo purchases. I had successfully avoided the NFC figure initiative until now because I'm a longtime Smash player and these are too cool to pass up. Notice I said I had planned to collect the entire Smash Bros. line. That goal is now in jeopardy, and not through any fault of my own.
When I read the first rumors about Hideo Kojima leaving Konami, I, probably like many others, dismissed it as absurd. In my mind, Konami without Hideo Kojima was an impossibility. If Konami was a body, Kojima has undoubtedly been the face.
It’s a story anyone who follows the gaming industry has become familiar with: a corporate Twitter account posted something that may have shown poor judgment. Responses were angry, Tweets were deleted, and an apology was issued. Microsoft’s Lionhead Studios, or the social media manager behind the account, certainly isn’t the first to commit this kind of gaffe, and I have no doubt that it was meant to be a harmless joke. Sadly, when you’re constantly bombarded with imagery that conveys the message that you’re not wanted, it’s not hard to read more into it.
Last August, ESC Toys and Dennaton Games turned to Kickstarter in an attempt to bring the protagonist of Hotline Miami to life in action figure form. The hope was to turn Jacket into a sixth-scale collectible, with all manner of accessories and authentic clothing pulled from the game itself to accompany him. With a fairly modest $60,000 goal, the venture was funded in less than 24 hours, and went on to secure nearly two and a half times its target by the time all was said and done.
In October 2014, a little-known UK indie studio launched a Kickstarter campaign for Impact Winter, a survival RPG described as “Fallout meets Oregon Trail.” It was an ambitious project for the small development team, with the Kickstarter description touting “open-world gameplay with dynamic weather, haunting interiors and fearsome wildlife” on a relatively small budget of £95,000 (around $150,000). One month later, the campaign concluded with Mojo Bones reaching not even a quarter of its fund-raising goal, and that was the last we heard of Impact Winter… until last week, when the project reemerged on Steam Greenlight and was approved in under three days.
I’m old enough to remember some of the earliest days of the space flight sims, so when I saw the first advertisements for No Man’s Sky, I watched it with all the awe of a child watching ads for Star Trek or Star Wars for the very first time.