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Video preview: Nobody expects the Dragon Age: Inquisition

EA and BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition would like to go big and go home when it launches this November – which is to say it’s getting ready to show off environments much larger than those seen in previous Dragon Age games, and it would very much…
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Blog: Re-imagining the distinctive soundtrack of a classic video game

John Broomhall has come a long way since composing music for the X-COM series and Transport Tycoon. With more recent work under his belt, he looks back at some of his classic compositions. …


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Video: 17 lessons for game developers, from Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail

In a recent talk at the Gamelab conference in Barcelona, Ismail outlined (around) 17 lessons for game developers, with key takeaways like “Take business seriously” and “Don’t take business seriously.” …


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Media Moleceule embraces the glitch in new PS4 video

A warning straight away: there are a lot of flashing lights and colors in the above video, so if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, be careful. That should give you an idea of just how mad this latest Media Molecule madness is.

What you’re…
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Stiq Figures, July 7 – 13: Video games IN SPACE edition

Welcome to Stiq Figures, where the sales data is after the break and the posts don’t matter.

It seems like this week’s conversation was dominated by Destiny beta talk, which makes sense given expectations circling Bungie’s shooter and the general…
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Sneaky Zebra Teams With The Witcher For The Sorceress Of Vengerberg Video

Sneaky Zebra, a YouTube channel devoted to the showcase of cosplay, has teamed up with The Witcher developer CD Projekt RED for its latest video, The Sorceress of Vengerberg.

The video also serves to announce a Witcher costume contest taking place on July 24, presumably at Comic-Con. The website for the cosplay contest, thewitcher.com/cosplay, actually offers very few details on what the contest is, how to enter, or what is in store for the winner. CD Projekt RED's community manager Marcin Momot confirmed the contest's existence linking to the video you see below on a thread discussing it on the developer's message boards, but offered no additional details.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

For more on The Witcher III, which releases February 24, click the banner below.

[Source: Sneaky Zebra on YouTube, Contest]

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First Image From Adam Sandler Video Game Comedy PIxels Is Online

Pixels, an upcoming comedy starring Adam Sandler about classic video games attacking Earth, has its first cast image.

The image, which shows most of the films major cast including Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage (with an impressive mullet), and Michelle Monaghan, can be found on Entertainment Weekly's website. Kevin James also stars in the film as the president of the United States. Unfortunately, the aspect of the film we're most interested in seeing – the special effects of classic video games attacking a city – do not feature.

The film, which is based on the short seen below (the image above is pulled from that short) is also inspired by science fiction comedy films like Ghostbusters, according to director Chris Colombus. Columbus is known for directing Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the first two Harry Potter films. He also helped write and produce films like The Goonies and Gremlins.

The film is expected to release May 15, 2015.

[Source: Entertainment Weekly]

 

Our Take
I like Chris Columbus, and I also really like the short that inspired the film. I'm definitely curious to get a better look at the movie, because it sounds like a bizarre, but very interesting premise.


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Video: Rebuilding Crimewatch, EVE Online’s player policing system

In this GDC 2014 talk, CCP Games’ Matt Woodward explores how “Crimewatch,” EVE Online’s policing and aggression management system, got into such a bad state — and how his team went about redesigning it. …


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Video: Understanding the successful relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn director Naoki Yoshida speaks candidly at GDC 2014 about how Square Enix stumbled when launching their second big MMORPG — and how it found its footing. …


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Video Games: The Movie Review

As the title suggests, Video
Games: The Movie
aims to tell the entire history of the industry in a
little over an hour and a half. Whether it's due to having too wide a focus or
just poor craftsmanship, the film is unsatisfying, shallow, and oddly
structured.

As a longtime game journalist, I'm glad to see that
documentarians are turning their eye toward video games; the industry is full
of stories that deserve to be told. Unlike recent films like
Indie Game: The Movie or Free To Play, which were structured
around a handful of individual people,
Video
Games: The Movie
aims higher. It's intended to be a comprehensive history
of video games, from its humble mid-century beginnings to the commercial
dominance of today.

It is a noble idea. Director Jeremy Snead reached out to fans
on Kickstarter in 2013 and raised $ 107,235 – well over his goal of $ 60,000. I
assume much more was contributed by executive producers actor Zach Braff (
Garden State), game designer Cliff
Bleszinski (Gears of War), and Sony executive David Perry (PlayStation Now).
The film has top-notch production values, including a plethora of animated
infographics and an effective opening-credits sequence that details the
evolution of games over time.

Sadly, production values mean little when the film itself is
so muddled. It's one of the most strangely structure documentaries I've ever
seen. Instead of progressing in chronological order, Video Games: The Movie
speeds through its entire timeline in the first half hour, then bounces back in
time spotlighting aspects of the industry's history seemingly at random. One
minute someone is extolling the popularity of League of Legends competitions,
the next we're back in the mid-'90s discussing the controversy over video game
violence.

The film clearly struggles to cover the breadth of history
that would have easily filled a multi-part, Ken Burns-style documentary series.
It also violates a fundamental rule of storytelling: show, don't tell. Video
Games: The Movie
is larded with soundbites from talking heads, as important as
Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell and superfluous as ex-
Scrubs actor Donald Faison. The insights provided can be
insightful, but are too often glib and come at the expense of the film
relaying the events at hand to the viewer. For example, you could come away
from the section on game violence with no knowledge that the fight made it all
the way to the U.S. Supreme Court a few years ago, in favor of outspoken game
composer Tommy Tallarico saying "Hitler didn't play Crash Bandicoot."


The director also leans too heavily on montages set to various
strains of chipper indie music - to the point where the entire early
history of PC games is reduced to a minute or so of footage ending with
EverQuest. Much of the film also seems to be reduced to mere cheerleading for
the industry. In an opening set of infographics, narrator Sean Astin spends the
viewer's valuable time extolling the virtues and effectiveness of the
industry's ESRB ratings. Executive producer David Perry of Sony and Phil
Spencer of Microsoft are allowed to drone on about the (highly debatable at the
time of this writing) achievements of "cloud gaming." This overly credulous
tone, coupled with the musical montages, makes the movie feel more like a
promotional video to be shown at an E3 press conference than a proper film. If
you are a fan of Wil Wheaton, this is the history of video games for you. The
former Star Trek actor's thoughts and opinions are widely featured in the
movie, much more so than legendary developers like Peter Molyneux and Hideo
Kojima.

As the film flailed around, I wondered who the intended
audience is. Most gamers with a cursory knowledge of the game industry won't
learn much of substance. At the same time, it's not well organized or
compelling enough to sustain the interest of a general moviegoer.

Some interesting footage surfaces of the industry's early
"Wild West" days during the reign of Atari and some priceless video of old
game commercials. The director also does a great job of conveying the passion
of the fans and game designers he interviewed. For many games are much more
than just a hobby, and that love and enthusiasm shows through.

Enthusiasm is one thing; craftsmanship is another. Video
Games: The Movie
has the former in abundance, but its lack of the latter prevents it from telling a compelling tale. As a gamer, I'm glad I watched it,
if only for the segments with some of my favorite creators and the wealth of
vintage footage and photos. As a fan of film, I'm still waiting for the
comprehensive documentary that video games deserve.

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