Sunset Riders

They certainly don’t make video game ads like they used to.

Sunset Riders

 

I’m pretty partial to this Sunset Riders ad. After all it has everything you would want in a 90′s video game ad:

  • an arcade accurate claim
  • 2-3 mandatory screenshots – just enough to tease the game and show off the SNES color palette
  • great, colorful box art
  • humor / jokes about tootin’
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“The Art and Design of Video Games”

I’m proud to announce that Eye for Games is working on something very exciting: an art and interviews book! “The Art and Design of Video Games” will go on pre-order starting today, until March 25th. While the final price is still being decided, the pre-order is being sold at a discount.

The book is a hardcover expansion of our 2013 Game Design & Development digital release, but with new developers added.

Gajin Entertainment (“War Thunder”), Larian Studios (“Dragon Commander”), Stoic (“The Banner Saga”), Sony Online Entertainment (“PlanetSide 2″), BeautiFun Games (“Nihilumbra”), and Gamistry (“Scrap Tank”) are our new developers are board, in addition to our previous developers that were interviewed in our previous digital edition.

For more information or to pre-order a copy, please visit efgmagazine.com.

 

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Eye for Games in 2013

Eye for Games had a big year this year. In addition to working on some behind the scenes stuff such as a new website design, we also attended GDC 2013, several events in Europe including Gamescom, continued to maintain the same quality and pace of articles on the site, and released some new digital editions.

Our latest is a unique special edition that is half art book and half interviews. Our Game Design & Development Edition is available now for free at http://www.efgmagazine.com/into-efg/0/game-design-development-release.html. It features developers from around the world. There’s everything from small indie devs to giant MMO companies. I’m definitely grateful to everyone who was able to help contribute to it. In addition to some very in depth interviews, there is some gorgeous art present in this edition.

Any way, I hope you get to check it out, and I hope you enjoy it. We’re working on some major things for 2014. I obviously can’t talk about those just yet, but suffice to say it’s something different than we’ve ever done before. Our plans are for EFG to do even bigger things in 2014 than we did in 2013. I know that’s pretty vague, but trust me, it’s going to be an exciting year.

 

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Happy Holidays

Happy holidays everyone  I know my blog was never the most active place in the world, but it was unintentionally put on hiatus the past few months as EFG, day job work, and then the holidays took over.

Regardless, I just wanted to drop everyone a quick note to wish you a happy holidays.

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Remembering Ryan Davis (1979-2013)

Like many people familiar with games press, I was shocked by the early passing of GiantBomb.com’s Ryan Davis. Davis was only 34 and a newly-wed. I loved hearing him on the podcasts and on quick looks. His enthusiasm for video games and life in general was inspiring. As Ryan’s friend and colleague Jeff Gerstmann said on the podcast, life seemed to be there to amuse Ryan.

In fact, many of the tributes of Ryan are also tributes to his humor. With that in mind, I’ve decided that I wanted to compile some of the best Ryan Davis tributes here.

GiantBomb’s Facebook album has a wonderful collection of Ryan Davis art.

A Youtube user has done a Star Wars tribute with Ryan.

GameSpot did a video tribute from his time there.

Of course GiantBomb did their own video tribute, full of outtakes. They’ve also been posting their favorite Ryan related content all week, including his reaction to the Buckner and Garcia song “Found Me the Bomb.”

Ryan’s friend Dave Snider did a short writeup on the website thanksryan.com.

Harmonix did a long tribute to Ryan on their livestream, which was later archived.

A local California paper, the Press Democrat, did a three page obituary on him. While the family did not release the cause of death, they did saw it was of natural causes, and was peaceful.

In addition you can also see tweets from Ryan’s dad on Twitter, @mauleace.

His wife Anna’s Twitter account is @EnemyNanner.

The GiantBomb community Twitter feed @GiantBombSquad has also been posting tributes.

Kotaku did a tribute.

Polygon did as well.

Ryan’s friend Casey Malone did a tribute as well.

One GiantBomb user has written a good blog on grieving in the digital world. As someone who never met or talked with Ryan (minus a singular, tiny Twitter interaction), I can relate. It’s hard to express the loss I’ve been feeling. The sole consolation was that Ryan passed away at a time in his life where I have no doubt he was extremely happy-just married to a woman he loved, doing a job that he loved, and overall excited for life.

R.I.P. Ryan Davis, you’ll be missed by your friends, family, and digital friends and viewers; but you will live on in video and podcast form.

Ryan Davis Wedding

Got a favorite Ryan Davis memory? Or a favorite tribute to him?

 

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New (for me anyway) music

I’m not a big chiptune fan, or even a big music buff, but recently I did find some new (for me anyway) music from a band called Br1ght Pr1mate. Br1ght Pr1mate is a duo based out of Boston, MA. The reason why I like them so much is that they do more than just instrumental bit music, they also have vocals on many of their tracks. The vocals are pretty good as well. While I haven’t heard any specific references to systems or games, it sounds like most if not all of their music is based on the Game Boy sound chip.

I specifically picked up their albums “Night Animals” and “The Reality Chipmusic Love Industry.” Most of their music is either priced pretty reasonably or is a “pay what you want” model. If you can only get one album though I would highly recommend “Night Animals.” Source Code is an especially great song.

Check them out-even if you don’t normally listen to chiptune music-and let me know what you think.

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Catching Up

I’ve been spending the past few weeks catching up on my huge games backlog. I finished “Tropico 3″ for the 360. I was stuck on a couple missions in the campaign, but I managed to finish them up and get all 1,000 achievement points. I also played through all five episodes of Telltale Games’ “The Walking Dead.” I can see why so many people awarded it Game of the Year. Outside of those two games I still have a massive backlog to catch up on, including several RPGs.

In addition to catching up on my backlog, my duties over at EFG have been keeping me busy. We will be at both PAX East and GDC San Francisco this year. I personally will be at GDC all week long to meet people and possibly conduct a few interviews. If you’re interested in meeting, contact me via Eye for Games or on Twitter. It’s my first time at GDC, so I’m pretty excited to meet new people and check out some games.

I also finished two books on games lately: Scott Rogers’ “Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design” and “Masters of Doom” by David Kushner. “Level Up” does an excellent job of covering all aspects of game design. “Masters of Doom” is more a historical piece, covering John Carmack and John Romero’s time at id Software. It’s a fascinating read, and doesn’t play favorites. Since video games are such a comparably young medium, I’m always interested in books that deal with the history of the medium. “Masters” reads more like a work of fiction instead of a dry history book, but the author did conduct a ton of interviews, and it seems accurate.

So between GDC, my backlog, and reading, it’s been a pretty busy past few months. Now that the holidays are over I’ve somehow managed to stayed busy.

 

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What I’ve Been Up To

The holidays have been keeping me pretty busy, along with the regular responsibilities of adult life. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to update this blog, but finding the time has been harder than ever.

That’s partially because of my new responsibilities. I started a new gig at Eye for Games: Copy Editor. This role will result in me taking on a bigger role in editing the work of others’ work. Of course I’ll still be working with the rest of the team to write articles, and I will continue to help update the Facebook page a few times a week. I’m pretty excited for it, since it’s been a great learning experience so far. I’ll be taking up even more responsibilities in 2013. I can’t go into too much detail yet, but I’m excited for what we have planned for the months ahead. In addition to trying to grow our body of work, we’re hoping to improve upon the quality of work as well. Rai is working hard on a member’s edition for the beginning of the year, which will function as a digital magazine with interactive elements. The plan is to showcase some of the work of the members on the site. Kind of a “best of” showpiece.

On a personal level I plan on growing in my knowledge of game development, and improving my writing as well. Time management is something that is going to be very important in 2013, especially in my new role. I have more to say on EFG and my personal experience with it in 2012, but I’ll save it for the upcoming articles on the EFG website. I know that’s pretty vague, but 2013 looks to be a pretty exciting time for EFG.

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What I’ve Been Playing

It’s been a while since I talked about what I’ve been playing, so I decided to do a quick update of what I’ve been playing over the past few months:

Sleeping Dogs – Xbox 360
I did a review of Sleeping Dogs for AltDotGames, and talked about it in detail there. It’s a fun, but flawed game. Most of those flaws are technical ones, such as brief drops in frame rate.

Retro City Rampage – PC
Retro City Rampage is great at pulling on nostalic heart strings. Unfortunately it has the same uneven and sometimes cheap difficulty that NES era games are known for. I’ve been enjoying it, but the difficulty of certain missions is frustrating. I wish that the game was better balanced, or had multiple difficulties to choose from.

Beyond Good and Evil HD - Xbox 360
I never played BG&E in its original iteration, so the HD release on the XBLA is my first experience with it. I try not to buy into excessive hype for games. I find that this is especially useful when it comes to classic games, as they sometimes don’t stand the test of time very well. Fortunately for me, BG&E is still pretty amazing. The camera control is pretty goofy at times, and I found it inexplicably shifting on me periodically. It’s pretty annoying, and makes stealth sections more frustrating than necessary.

Civilization V – PC
I just got Civ V recently, along with the Gods and Kings expansion. Civ V is a super addicting, lengthy strategy game. There’s a ton of content and nations to play as. I’ve done the tutorial and a main game, and it took me about 12 hours in total. I’m really looking forward to diving into the multiplayer, since I haven’t tried it out yet.

Theme Hospital – PC
Theme Hospital is a fun classic sim  game from 1997. You have to diagnose and treat patients in your own hospital while keeping the budget balanced and expanding your hospital grounds. It’s pretty easy to jump into. There’s a good bit of humor here too, and Theme Hospital never takes itself too seriously.

Civilization Revolution - Xbox 360
Civ Rev was a great game on the DS, and the 360 version is no exception. Civ Rev has taken the Civilization formula and simplified it, and even made it more cartoony. Take a look at the character designs for Cleopatra and others from this game, and compare them to others from previous Civ games and Civ V, and you’ll see what I mean. While it’s certainly not as in depth as the other entries in the series, it’s an interesting side note, and I hope to see it continue some day.

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Sleeping Dogs Review

I did a quick review of Sleeping Dogs for the 360, which you can find here at AltDotGames. I won’t go into detail here, but it’s a pretty awesome game overall. I had a lot of fun with the open world environment of Hong Kong. Aside from technical difficulties and some exaggeration in the end story, it’s a pretty powerful game. It’s something I wanted to come back to again and again. Check it out if you get the chance.

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