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As Zynga struggles on mobile, it invests $10 million in tablet game studio

As the Facebook-centric Zynga continues its transition to mobile, the company has invested $ 10 million in TapZen, a tablet game company founded by former Zynga exec Mike Verdu. …

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Question Of The Month Reader Responses: Issue #241

In issue 239, we asked readers what game would make them buy a next-gen system. The results were surprising, with Kingdom Hearts 3 winning in a landslide. Here are some of the responses.

Keys To The Kingdom:

  • Kingdom Hearts definitely would make me buy a new system. It's the reason I got my PS2, Gameboy Advance, and my Nintendo DS in the first place. I only bought a PS3 because I assumed KH 3 would be out by now.

    David Bazile

  • Kingdom Hearts 3 would definitely make me buy a next gen console. I've already bought a Nintendo DS and two PSPs to play games of the Kingdom Hearts series. So a next-gen console would be in line with the gradual succession of how much I'm willing to pay to wield a key blade.

    Brian Kramer

  • The only game that I would specifically buy a console to play would be Kingdom Hearts 3.

    Dylan Richards

  • If any game would convince me to buy a next-generation system, it would have to be Kingdom Hearts 3. I've been waiting for that game for years, and it's about time Square Enix gave it to me.

    John Minard

  • The game that would make me blow all my savings on a PS4 would without a doubt be either Kingdom Hearts 3 or an HD Final Fantasy VII

    Galen Turoci

  • Without a doubt, Sony would have to remake Final Fantasy 7 or release Kingdom Hearts 3. Sony's niche was always having exclusive RPGs. Bringing back such a classic or forcing Square Enix to finally release a numbered sequel to KH would easily get next-gen sales.

    Oscar Mejia

  • I know that this doesn't just apply to me but I think that almost every gamer would buy the next PlayStation if a Final Fantasy VII remake or Kingdom Hearts 3 was released.

    Jesse Reyes

  • If Kingdom Hearts 3 came out on a new console, I would definitely buy it!

    Michelle Del’Homme

  • What game would make me buy a next-gen console? Kingdom Hearts 3. I'm tired of all these 1/2 Days, Final Mix, Triple R spinoffs!

    Kyle O’Brien

  • Kingdom Hearts 3 would definitely make me buy a next-gen PlayStation.

    Cameron Tolliver

A Smashing Good Time:

  • I'd buy a WiiU just for the new Super Smash Bros. game. I loved Brawl and Melee, so one naturally has to see if this new game lives up to the legacy.

    Laura Paul

  • I would buy a next-gen console for Smash Bros., Final Fantasy, or an RPG with no magic.

    Nate Lock

  • I would buy a Wii U just for the new Super Smash Bros. That game is so incredibly fun and timeless. My favorite character (who also rules all) is Kirby.

    Bobby Richardson

Keep The Dream Alive:

  • Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance III or Star Wars: Battlefront III. Lets revive some old, but good IPs and hurl them into the twenty-first century!

    Keith Reeves

  • I would buy a next-gen console if they released Star Wars Battlefront 3. Battlefront was my favorite series to play with my dad, but they died with the last generation of consoles. My dad and I both would love to see it brought back with a new installment, and it would provide a good incentive to buy a new system.

    Christian Courtney

  • If Valve had Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2: Episode 3 in the Steam Box's launch lineup, I would definitely buy one.

    Seth Lamoreaux

  • An all-new Crash Bandicoot that sticks true the warp room formula and is developed by Naughty Dog. I would pay so much money for that.

    Kira England

  • Call me a dreamer, but my choice is clear: Shenmue 3

    Jon Leza

Looking For Action:

  • If any single game has got me excited for the next generation, it's Destiny. Bungie did an otherworldly job on the Halo series, and I can't even begin to imagine what they'll do with their new game, but I do know this: It's gonna be pretty awesome.

    Henry Thomas

  • Definitely the game I would buy a new console for is Uncharted 4. Being a longtime fan of the series, I have grown to love these games. When Uncharted: Golden Abyss came out for the PS Vita, it made me deeply consider purchasing one just so I could play this game. I also think that with Uncharted's history of incredible graphics and gameplay, it could show off some cool features of the PlayStation 4.

    Walker Borba

  • I wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy a next-gen console if a new game in the Red Dead series was released for it.

    Damien Cowger

  • Call of Duty is the only game that will make me buy a next-gen system.  If Xbox is able to use Kinect more with it, that would be great

    James Bonner

  • Halo 5!

    Mike Larsen

  • If Rayman 4 (a true new entry in the Rayman series) was ever announced for one of the next-generation consoles, I would definitely go out and buy that system in a heartbeat.

    Elbin Cenisev

Playing The Role:

  • What game would make me buy a next-gen console? A new Mass Effect. We already know it's coming, now it's just a matter of time until the first teaser. I started this generation on PS3, and got a 360 right before Mass Effect 2 came out. I bought the first Mass Effect along with it, and ended up playing it twice in the week and a half leading up to ME2's release. I'd do anything to return to that universe.

    Dan Conlin

  • Beyond Good and Evil 2 or Jade Empire 2. Both are tremendously overdue.

    Stephanie Elliott

  • The next Fallout game will make me buy a next-gen console.

    Sidney Reese

Not Next-Gen:

  • The Last of Us. It looks amazing, and when GI and other media outlets started revealing details about TLOU, I decided that was worth buying a PS4 for! Most definitely! Wait, what? It's coming out on PS3? Well, I'll wait and get it in a PS4 bundle of some sort. Wait, PS4 is not backwards compatible? Can I change my answer?

    Steve Rush

  • I think the game without a doubt would be Grand Theft Auto V. Looking at the screens and trailers that have been released so far, it looks amazing and seeing that on next-gen hardware – just mouthwatering!

    Tim Joinson

  • A game that I am truly looking forward to is Watch Dogs. The demo last year at E3 introduced a gripping story that I’m itching to see and get my hands on. The main character Aiden Pearce, really reminded me of Finch on the TV show Person of Interest because of the ways he could hack things (such as the stoplight and other phones) with his cell phone. Plus the graphics just look too awesome to be on a PS3.

    James Hustead

What game would you buy a next-gen system to play? Share your pick in the comments below. – The Feed

Hackers claim to have developed Wii U mod chip, Nintendo aware and prepared

Hackers claim to have developed Wii U mod chip, Nintendo

A hacker group claims they have designed a modification chip that circumvents security measures on Nintendo’s Wii U. In a post on the group’s website – which Joystiq has decided against linking to – the modders say they have “completely reversed the Wii U drive authentication, disk encryption, file system, and everything else” needed for its most recent chip. The group had previously been known for developing a similar chip for the Nintendo Wii.

In the face of such claims, Nintendo has responded by maintaining the company is prepared to combat the most recent threat of piracy – a threat that plagues the video game industry. “Nintendo is aware that a hacking group claims to have compromised Wii U security; however, we have no reports of illegal Wii U games nor unauthorized applications playable on the system while in Wii U mode,” the hardware manufacturer told CVG in a statement.

Nintendo says it continues to monitor any threats to its business and will take “the necessary legal steps to prevent the facilitation of piracy.”

The development and distribution of mod chips is a murky legal issue, due to differences in international law. The website that houses the group behind the claim was registered in Australia, which previously ruled that the sale of mod chips are illegal.

Despite the claim, the group has released no evidence that a chip is functioning as described, nor that it actually exists.

JoystiqHackers claim to have developed Wii U mod chip, Nintendo aware and prepared originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 30 Apr 2013 18:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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City Car Driving: Commercial Simulator to Steam Greenlight – Interview

Let me start by saying I love interviews, and the following is probably one of my favorite ones I’ve ever conducted.

I was recently in touch with the people of Forward Development, the people behind the commercial and now publicly available driving simulator, City Car Driving.

I was in contact with a man named Eugene who manages Press Relations for Forward. He was eager to talk about their product, which is now part of Steam Greenlight in hopes of opening it to a wider gaming audience.

The interview gives some great insight into the game and the still relatively new Steam Greenlight process!


- How long have you guys been working on City Car Driving? 

Our simulator has a rather long story. First version has been released in 2007. In the very beginning only the Russian version has been available. The most first car driving simulator (parent of the “City Car Driving”) was released in 2007 and represented a three-dimensional simulation of a car with real streets of Moscow. It was a rather simple car game, but thanks to the efforts of developers and users feedback, several updates have been released within six months. Later an advanced version was released. It was a seriously improved modification of the first version – it has got realistic physics, the clutch pedal support and a new extended virtual city. For the two next years our car driving simulator was sold only in Russia and in the CIS – more than 500 thousand copies has been sold! Our driving simulator has repeatedly demonstrated at Russian exhibitions and shows, and it has received high ratings of foreign specialists and currently it is the absolute leader in software for car training simulators and of course in area of car driving education. Not without reason many drivingschools and manufacturers of car driving simulators hardware use the “City Car Driving” software in their products for novice car drivers training. In the end of 2010 an English version of the most popular and realistic carsimulator was released! And now the whole world can appreciate the high realism level and quality of the “City Car Driving” car training simulator! In summer of 2011 the latest modification of the simulator was released! It has contained many important new features – more virtual city locations, more cars, more road situations and opportunities! At present “City Car Driving” driving simulator is continuing its developing. New patches are being released periodically with bug fixes and adding new features. At now users can even add their own car models and sounds into the game.
- What were some initial struggles in development and what were some of your early successes with City Car Driving?

The most struggles were in performance optimization, because hundreds of traffic cars controlled by A.I consume a lot of resources. And against this struggles we’re fighting constantly. The engine of the game has been undergone a lot of changes made by our programmers. And during the last year of the development we’ve achieved serious success in this work – the performance increment summary raised till to 25-30% (according to game settings and PC performance). The second serious problem was connected with the A.I programming. It was very-very difficult to create such complex car’s intelligence, which is most similar to the behavior of realdrivers. As you can see in our simulator traffic cars are not just robots – they don’t follow the traffic rules strictly. We’ve tried to create them as real people with all their character qualities and behavior peculiarities. And we think we’ve succeed in this – traffic cars sometimes hurry and violate traffic rules, sometimes they “don’t see” the player car and just “cut” him off on the lane, traffic cars can drive around the obstacles and use the reverse movement, etc. So, when player drives the car in the “City Car Driving” simulator he feels himself just like he drives on a real road with real people around him. It’s very important for the simulation.

- Can you talk a little but about what Steam Greenlight is and explain why is a great opportunity for you as the developers?

Greenlight is a very serious step for Valve. As you probably know, earlier Valve made their own decisions about approving one or another game to sell in STEAM or not. No one knows what was on the minds of people, who made these decisions, and what factors they were due. And quite often this kind of censorship was not fair enough and very subjective. For example, 1,5 year ago we’ve already tried to submit our simulator in STEAM, but Valve has declined it without explaining the reason. But now the situation is cardinally different! Any developer can submit his project in Greenlight, and STEAM users will decide themselves by voting – they need this game in STEAM or not. We think it’s fair enough. When Valve decided to launch the Greenlight project, it was a really earthshattering step for them and for all their community, because some STEAM users consider that such method will lower the quality of games in STEAM, but we don’t agree with them. We’re sure that STEAM users have the right to decide themselves what games they need in STEAM.


- Can you talk about the Steam Greenlight process and your experience with it thus far?

Yes, of course, but I’m afraid our answer will have rather negative attitude. Greenlight idea itself is brilliant! However, how it often happens – realization is not perfect. Greenlight rating system is not as transparent and clear as we (and many other developers) wish it to be. For example, we’ve submitted our simulator in Greenlight in November 2012, and till the last months the Greenlight hadn’t got even an appropriate and detailed statistics available for developers. We didn’t see any details about our progress besides the one foggy and confusing number, which shows how many votes we need to enter the TOP-100 game rating list in Greenlight, but the most confusing fact is that this number measures in percentage! Besides during our progress this parameter has jumps in both directions. For example, today we can have 85%, tomorrow 86%, but the day after tomorrow can easily shows us 80%. And in the beginning such strange jumps were very confusing for us. In further we’ve supposed that such issues can be connected with game rotation in Greenlight rating list – some games disappear from there after approving by Valve, some games gather votes faster than others and etc. So, such jumps in both directions are usual in Greenlight, and can be result of games rotation in Greenlight top list. But as I’ve already said – it’s just our assumption, and even after all our experience we can’t say exactly, why this parameter jumps in both directions. Several months ago a statistics screen appeared in Greenlight, and now we can see diagrams and more details about our progress (for example – total amount of votes gathered by the City Car Driving), but the main parameter is still the same percentage number until the TOP-100 list. And we even don’t know what will happen, when we achieve the 100%. Will it be the happy finish or will we have to wait even more, until Valve approves our project? It’s funny, but we don’t know that! And STEAM technical support doesn’t know too (or just doesn’t wish to answer). We’ve asked them to provide us the clear and detailed answer with description how exactly the whole process works, but received only the indistinct reply beside the point (something like: “Thank you! You’ve successfully submitted your game. Now just relax and communicate with your fans on your Greenlight page”). So, as you can see both our experiences of communicating with Valve administration regarding the STEAM submitting are rather negative. We very hope that STEAM will change their policy and become friendlier to the developers, because they really should understand that developers bring money to the STEAM and Valve, and they deserve much more careful treatment.
- What is your current Greenlight standing?
Several days ago we’ve jumped from 85% to 95% at once, but today we’ve rolled back to 93%. But as I’ve already said – such jumps in both directions are usual in Greenlight, and we suppose that it’s a result of games rotation in Greenlight rating list.


- How long did it take you guys to get into Greenlight? Is there a waiting list?
No, we haven’t waited at all. The submitting process is rather simple and fast. All the developer needs to do is to pay the game submitting fee (~$150). And after paying this tax your game becomes available in Greenlight for user’s voting immediately.


- What will be the biggest change for you guys if the Steam Greenlight process works out?

We believe it will greatly raise the popularity of our simulator! Support of the community will help us to continue the development, add new features, ideas, etc. As you may know some time ago we’ve added the multilingual support, and the number of supported languages will be broaden. We believe the potential of our driving simulator is limitless! Recently we’ve started to work on left-side driving version of the City CarDriving simulator. Player will have to drive the right-hand car on the left side of the road (for example, like in the UK or Australia). And we will not just adapt the existing locations to the movement on the other side of the road – a new version will contain new right-hand steering car models (both – in traffic and player controlled vehicles), as well as a modified traffic rules control system, new road markings, traffic lights and signs! Also just after the STEAM release we have a lot of work to do. We need include the support of STEAM Achievements system and STEAM Workshop (for mod creators), adapt the activation system and make the comfortable migration between the STEAM and no-STEAM versions (of course if STEAM allows such things).
- Do you think of your project as more of a game or educational simulation, or both? 
We always believed our simulator is educational. But our fans proved us the opposite. :) Our goal always was to create a serious and maximum realistic car driving simulator for education purposes, but absolute most of our fans use it like a game for entertainment purposes. And we can’t ignore them. That’s why we’ve added the modification support – so our fans can add new cars, change plates, sounds, weather, textures and many other things. However, we never forget about our educational goal. We’ve developed the special Enterprise version of the City Car Driving simulator for commercial purposes. Companies all over the world use it in theircar training simulation complexes. Every second driving school in Russia is equipped with our professional car driving simulators. We also have made simulators of very special vehicles (for example, cranes, bulldozers, combines, etc.). Special versions of our simulator are used by government organizations, military, emergency services, etc. We have serious partners in different countries all over the world (for example, in Italy, Australia, Mexico, etc.). So, returning to your question – as you can see we work seriously in both (educational and entertainment) directions.


- What is your favorite feature in City Car Driving? Any hidden features you would like to divulge? 

Our favorite feature is the opportunity to knock down the pedestrians of course! :) )) Relax, I’m just kidding! :) Yes, there’re some secrets. For example, not everyone knows that there’s a secret road with a tunnel thought the mountain – you can find it on a country highway (there’s a dirt road, which leads there). And also there’s another one Easter egg – many billboards in virtual city have a portrait of a man. This is a real man – his name is Anton and he was our lead level designer for a very long time.


- What is your preferred tool for racing/driving games? Steering wheel, controller, or keyboard?

Of course we recommend using a steering wheel. No one else controller will help you feel the realism of a car driving. The most realistic steering wheel, which has ever been produced, is the Logitech G25/G27. This steering wheel supports all the most modern features such as: 900 degrees wheel rotation, clutch pedal, manual H-type transmission shifter, etc. And all these features are also supported by the City Car Driving simulator. That’s why we recommend this wheel for the best driving simulation experience!

Thank you for granting us this interview, and we wish you the best of luck in the process!

You’re welcome! Thank you!



Thank you once again to Eugene who was a blast to work with, as well as and everyone at Forward Development and those behind City Car Driving. It is a blast to play, even casually, and we look forward to covering more stories about it soon!


Check out and vote for them on Steam Greenlight here:

Check out the newest episode of Loading-Screen featuring City Car Driving:

Gree’s looking into monetizing fun instead of friction

Charging players to circumvent the “grind” in free-to-play games is one way to make money. But now Gree’s wondering if it can make money without the grind, and focus on selling the fun instead. …

Gamasutra News

Stop Making Me Kick Puppies To Shoot Lightning

We’ve all been there: The game is paused, the choice menu stares you in the face. Do you return the lost pet to the grieving old lady, hold out for a better reward, or punt the puppy across the street for sociopathic kicks? If you want to build the most powerful antihero you can, you better warm up those size 12s. That digital dog is getting booted.

I grew up in an age where games didn’t hold back on the challenge, and scraping every advantage from the environment was a must. Rogue doesn’t care that you don’t like eating meat; you’re chowing down on that giant rat you just killed or dying of starvation and starting over. Those old games didn’t pretend to pose any moral problems – you eat raw rat or you die, simple as that – but they did imprint in me a deep-seated need to optimize my capabilities in a video game in any way I can.

Perfecting your build, creating the right mix of abilities to enable your ideal tactics, or recruiting just the right party members are activities intrinsic to many genres. Ever since the technology could support it, developers have experimented with every method they could think of to gate access to those gameplay options. Completing a side quest unlocks a hidden character. Finding a secret room offers unique loot. Choosing an advanced class grants specific powers. 

Kicking a puppy increases your dark-side points* and improves your lightning-shooting skills.

If you’re like me, the draw of increased power trumps any role-playing aspects of a decision. Call it a character flaw,** but I almost always find myself setting game mechanics above narrative when the two conflict. I could toss my power level to the wind to pursue a path based on role-playing, my personal morality, or any other criteria – but I don’t.

The problem is that I love games that give players some level of control over the narrative or the game world, no matter how illusory. But when I need to max out my do-gooder score because it makes my healing spells cheaper to cast, I might as well be playing a Boy Scout simulator for all the tough choices I have to make. 

This precise reason is why I was so excited when Mass Effect’s morality system was revealed forever ago. It’s not perfect in practice – I still found myself going full Paragon for whatever the stupid bonus is for getting to the final tier – but I adore the idea of a fuzzy system that demands players do whatever they can to get the job done. 

Dishonored is another step in a positive direction that doesn’t quite land. Your targets in that game are (spoilers!) terrible people. The rank-and-file enemies in your way are at best unwitting pawns of a brutal state and bloodthirsty thugs at worst. I love how the game doesn’t cast any judgment at the player, no matter how they resolve situations. Still, Arkane felt the need to include the asinine end-of-level score screen that assigns a high- or low-chaos score the level. At least you’re not directly rewarded or punished for your narrative decisions, though Dishonored does do some unfortunate behind-the-scenes enemy-spawning that makes things harder for more violent players.

I’d be much happier if the impact of narrative decisions was contained to the story. If you absolutely must tie different powers or other gameplay options to choosing whether to kill an NPC or help an out-of-luck farmer, at least make the optimization fuzzy enough that I can pretend that getting a healing spell is just as useful as shooting lightning out of my fingers. 

And for the love of all that is good and right in the world, don’t make me search out innocent puppies to kick so that I can be the best galaxy-conquering badass I can be.

*(Star Wars is its own side-discussion thanks to Lucas’ infantile black-and-white view of morality, but the larger point about tying gameplay to narrative decisions stands.)

** (I had to take something at creation to balance out my stunning good looks.) – The Feed

Metareview: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon welcomes you to the retro party

Turn your brain off and let Far Cry 3‘s standalone expansion Blood Dragon bathe you in neon and take you away to a decade long past. Are you thinking about it? No, wrong! What did we say? Brain = off. We called Blood Dragon a “hilarious, accessible dollop of nostalgia, coated in the mechanics that made Far Cry 3 great” in our review.

  • Eurogamer (90/100): “I still don’t really know what Blood Dragon is, or how it relates to Far Cry 3, but more to the point: I don’t care. If only more blockbusters had this much fun with their legacy.”
  • Game Informer (85/100): “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has the potential to alienate people with its crass sense of humor and repetitive one-liners. But if you long for an era when smart-mouthed badasses were more concerned with making things go boom than catering to social sensitivities, Rex Power Colt is your man, and Blood Dragon is your game.
  • GameSpot (85/100): “You don’t have to love the decade of Rubik’s Cubes and Pac-Man Fever to get a kick out of Blood Dragon. But if you do, then all the better: this action-packed shooter will strike all the right synth-pop power chords.”
  • Edge (70/100): “This isn’t Far Cry 3 at its best mechanically, but it’s definitely the game at its most charismatic. Because as a bunch of well-worn VHS tapes at Ubisoft Montreal undoubtedly prove, the ’80s knew how to do personality.”
  • Destructoid (70/100): “I’d rather have Blood Dragon exist as it does than not exist at all. A game this delightfully stupid can only make the world a better place, and I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we see of Rex Colt.”

JoystiqMetareview: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 30 Apr 2013 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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With online gambling legal in Nevada, door opens for Zynga and others

Until recently internet poker has been deemed illegal within the United States. Three states have passed legislation to legalize it, with Nevada being the first to put it into practice. …

Gamasutra News

How Grand Theft Auto Revolutionized Game Soundtracks

The Grand Theft Auto series is responsible for making the
open-world genre one of the staples of the gaming world. However, Rockstar
Games' ambitious soundtracks and superb use of licensed music also changed game
soundtracks. With today's new GTA trailers, which feature tracks by Queen, L.A.
rapper Jay Rock, and country legend Waylon Jennings, it seems like a good time to
look back at the legacy of Grand Theft Auto's music.

As video games moved towards optical disc formats in the
1990s, many developers began to realize that – instead of the relatively
primitive MIDI and "chiptune" music of the 1980s – the CD-ROM format offered
the opportunity to use high-quality digital soundtracks featuring recorded
tracks by popular music artists. Some early examples include Road Rash for the
3DO, which included songs by then-hip alternative artists like Soundgarden,
Therapy?, and Swervedriver, and Naughty Dog's Way of the Warrior for 3DO, which
used tracks off of White Zombie's La
Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1
. Also notable were the less-than-stellar
interactive Sega CD games that allowed users to create music videos for INXS
and pre-teen hip-hop stars Kriss Kross.

Still, these early attempts felt more driven by the
publishers' respective marketing departments. Perhaps the first game to truly
present a licensed soundtrack that seemed tied to the game's aesthetic was
Neversoft's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, which featured skatepunk classics like
"Police Truck" by Dead Kennedys and, memorably, "Euro-Barge" by the Vandals.

However, with the release of Grand Theft Auto III, Rockstar
changed the very idea of what a game soundtrack could be. Because so much of
the game was spent in cars, Rockstar North hit upon the idea of creating
virtual "radio stations" that the player could switch between at will. Like a real-world
station, each GTA station was formatted for a certain musical style, and was
complete with DJ banter and satiric advertisements. This idea proved so popular
that the stations soon became one of the draws of the game for fans, rocketing
radio personality Lazlo (a real-life DJ) to cult stardom among gamers.

More importantly, the selection of music was a far cry from
the usual random assortment of current pop, rap, and rock artists placed
through partnerships with major label record companies. From classical station
Double Clef FM (which provided a surreal soundtrack to the game's violent
action) to Game Radio FM (which featured emerging underground rappers like JoJo
Pelligrino and Royce the 5-9), the GTA III soundtrack pointed to Rockstar's
deep knowledge of music. It's not a coincidence that the company's founders,
Sam Houser and Terry Donovan, had roots in the U.K. music business.

However, it was the breakout success of GTA III that allowed
the company to open the coffers and create something truly astounding with the
soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Inspired by Michael Mann's
groundbreaking TV show Miami Vice,
itself an innovator in the use of licensed music on television, Rockstar sought
to sum up the diverse music of the 1980s with a soundtrack of unprecedented
size and scope. The game's seven radio stations ranged from Latin music to '80s
metal, and proved so popular that Rockstar actually released the radio station
as a box set of CDs, a first in games. Simply put, it was a triumph. Lazlo, with
a little help from the game's fictional band Love Fist, spread the metal gospel
on V-Rock, and New York hip-hop legend Mr. Magic pumped out beats on Wildstyle
Pirate Radio. The juxtaposition of sounds was amazing; I'll never forget
gunning down drug dealers to the ethereal sounds of Kate Bush.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Much like the game itself, Rockstar managed to top Vice City
in both size, scale, and quality with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Once
again, the soundtrack sought to encapsulate an entire era of music – in this
case the early 1990s – while digging deep into music history.

San Andreas featured 10 radio stations, each providing an
insightful, well-selected overview of a genre. This time around, both East
Coast and West Coast hip-hop got their own stations, filled with genre classics
(and Playback FM was even DJed by Public Enemy frontman Chuck D). Radio X paid
tribute to the alternative rock revolution of the era, with tracks from Jane's
Addiction, Stone Roses, and Helmet. Contemporary Soul Radio pumped out the New
Jack Swing and R&B jams of the '90s, featuring the likes of Boyz II Men,
Bell Biv Devoe, and Guy.

However, Rockstar also provided fans with a musical
education of sorts in San Andreas. K-Jah was a great primer to classic reggae
and dancehall, hipping gamers to such cult classics as Dillinger's "Cocaine in
My Brain" and Toots & the Maytalls' "Funky Kingston." K-Rose was packed with
classic country songs by Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and others. Perhaps mostimpressive was Master Sounds 89.3, which was a compilation of classic "break
beat" records by artists like James Brown, The Watts 103rd Street
Rhythm Band, and Bob James – the very records that were sampled by the rap
producers of the late '80s and early '90s.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

As the GTA series has continued, Rockstar's soundtracks have
grown in both size and sophistication. Grand Theft Auto IV's more mature tone
was cemented by an early trailer that used a piece by minimalist modern
classical composer Philip Glass, a name more associated with the New York art
music world than video games. GTA IV also added representation of more niche
genres like hardcore punk, jazz, jazz fusion, and trance techno.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

As for what's in store for Grand Theft Auto V, we can only
imagine. So far, all signs point towards yet another awe-inspiring soundtrack.
Instead of a familiar pop hit, the first trailer for the game features a
typically canny, evocative music choice by Rockstar – the title track to the
Small Faces' '60s psychedelic classic Ogdens'
Nut Gone Flake
. A subsequent trailer was featured Stevie Wonder's '80s hit
"Skeletons," followed by the use of Queen's "Radio Ga Ga," Jay Rock's "Hood
Gone Love It," and Waylon Jennings' "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?"

Given everything we've learned about Grand Theft Auto V, we
expect the soundtrack to be bigger and better than anything we've seen in a
game to date.

To relive some of your favorite songs from GTA history, check out the iTunes and Spotify playlists that Rockstar recently created for every past game. – The Feed

George Broussard goes minimalist in Ludum Dare entry ‘The Road’

George Broussard goes minimalist in Ludum Dare entry 'The Road'

Industry veteran and outspoken Duke Nukem co-creator George Broussard sets his sights on the indie-focused Ludum Dare competition with The Road, a side-scrolling browser game that reflects on the futility of existence.

Ludum Dare is an online game jam held every four months in which indie creators are given 48 hours to create a game based on an assigned prompt. Designed around the theme “minimalism,” The Road challenges players to survive endless waves of falling objects and ground hazards in the hopes of living a long, fulfilling life.

In an interesting twist, the player’s squarish avatar grows into a tall rectangle as it ages, making it more difficult to survive as the game progresses. After each death, players are given a brief (and often morbid) summary of how they made their fate. Broussard challenges players to survive past the age of 20; be warned that you’ll likely suffer many deaths before you reach your teenage years.

Personally, I made it to age 19 before I died of explosive diarrhea. Harsh.

JoystiqGeorge Broussard goes minimalist in Ludum Dare entry ‘The Road’ originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 30 Apr 2013 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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