You could have been forgiven for missing it, but last week a little piece of this console generation died. That's a term often thrown about thoughtlessly, but here it fits, with several of Nintendo's Wii Channels having made their final bows before disappearing forever.
Dungelot's name probably seemed smart at the time, yet I can't help but feel it does this fizzingly clever roguelike no favours at all. That first syllable, 'Dunge' - urgh. Thankfully, Eurogamer knows better than to judge an app by its icon, because it turns out Dungelot is a cracker.
My fellow Terrans, sunny and glorious was the day that Eurogamer allowed me to write about the greatest race in strategy gaming history. Finally, I can tell it like it is. The release of Heart of the Swarm has put Starcraft 2 in a very happy place. In short, it's a hit with both players and pros, and also manages to be an even more exciting spectacle than Wings of Liberty. Blizzard's ever-evolving design for the game is fascinating to watch, and one of the key changes in HotS - from the perspective of the galaxy's greatest race, anyway - brought an end to the Reaper's long and lonely journey.
I'm taking a wild guess here, but this morning you won't be short of opinion pieces that are anti-Microsoft and pro-Sony. It is of course right that Sony's big announcements about used games, price and no region lock should garner all the praise in the world - though it does somewhat obscure the fact that, outside of this key battleground, both competitors offer much of the same when it comes to what really matters. The games.
Some games don't do themselves any favours, do they? Summoner Wars might as well be called Generic Nerd Game, and it's a real pity - all of the imagination and skill are in the product and not the presentation. I say this not for mockery, but because I'm always advocating games of this ilk - and in the pub, Summoner Wars is universally met with a lack of interest.
Curiosity was, its makers insist, an experiment. It ran from 6 November 2012 until May 26 2013 when Bryan Henderson, who'd downloaded the app around an hour before the close, tapped away the final cubelet and discovered what was inside the cube. A video, soon enough shared, outlining the plan for Henderson to be the presiding deity of 22Cans' next game Godus. "It is the ability to be a digital god," said Peter Molyneux. Or in other words, the prize is another promise.
This is a retrospective in the truest sense. I've switched on Final Fantasy 7 since its re-release on PSN a few years ago, but never played past the opening section of Midgar - an opening that, at the time of first playing, I thought was the game itself. The PS3 doesn't take PS1 memory cards, of course, so I can't resurrect my Avalanche crew, every single one at max level, while the treasured materia and weapon collection remains out of reach - nevermind my thoroughbred chocobos. Some games you can only play once.
The movements of a boat can never be entirely controlled. They are vehicles at the mercy of a greater master, one whose merest breath or motion invites peril. The waves have their own rules, and Leviathan: Warships' first lesson is simple: from a standing start, boats take bloody ages to hit a decent speed.
An early prototype for the Wii's controller was an accelerometer-equipped disc you gripped in both hands, with a huge star-shaped button in the middle surrounded by smaller buttons. It was made out of orange plastic, so Nintendo's hardware team nicknamed it the cheddar cheese. Surprisingly enough, no-one liked it. Cheddar cheese was simple enough to use, and accurate, but it looked weird - and Nintendo's developers thought it unsuited to the company's own software.
In the third of a short series of articles, Rich Stanton guides you round the world of Capcom's masterpiece. We've taken you through the pouch and the armour - and this week it's time to look at the weapons.
Some games seem bad because they are. With Metro: Last Light, it's more a question of expectations: what do you want from the Metro series? For me, it's a scary and dark post-nuclear Russian underground, a first-person survival horror-slash-shooter with scarce resources and terrifying scenarios. There's a bit of that, to be sure. But if you also want tits, QTEs and hand-holding companions, then congratulations - you're part of the wider audience this game is looking for.
In the second of a short series of articles, Rich Stanton guides you round the world of Capcom's masterpiece. Last week we spoke about the all-important pouch - and this week it's all about playing dress-up.
There's a great moment in an early Simpsons episode, 'Lisa the Vegetarian', when after watching an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon Lisa notes the violence carries a serious message. Bart counters that it's just about laughing at people getting hit, and as he moves to leave the room Homer slams open the door in his face. The twin poles of chin-stroking and gratuity, brought together by slapstick - and a perfectly timed punchline. Violence as entertainment, in a nutshell.
It's barely a month since the release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate in Europe, arguably the greatest game ever made. Say what? That's right ladies, and it's all about dat G-Rank; the license to hunt the very toughest monsters Capcom can devise, and the mark of a true hunter.
As games become ever more numerous, our old and trusted genre categories for them seem ever less useful - especially when they get in the way. Thomas Was Alone is a platformer built from the purest elements, but one that, in traditionally important aspects like challenge or length, wouldn't score highly. Does it matter?
A man may be entitled to the sweat of his brow, but what happens when he wants to chill out? Pixel Defenders Puzzle may well be the answer, an iOS title that's like an RPG Triple Town, and a recommendation from none other than Ken Levine - a sure sign, if one were needed, that this is much more than just another match-three puzzler.
You expect downloadable content to add to the main game. But for the first hour or two of Jetstream Sam, Platinum's campaign prequel for the superlative Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, that new content feels hard to find. Every environment and enemy features in the main game and the songs are familiar. A few new cut-scenes seems like one hell of a way to use a 2.5GB download. There is a big addition, of course: Sam himself.
There's a theory that what makes something truly beautiful is a single, noticeable imperfection. Fire Emblem: Awakening bears this out. It is an inspired revision of a classic design, and one that is riven right through the middle with a problem the series can't solve. When your defining feature is permanent death, but when all that really means is a restart, should the game's structure change or turn a blind eye?
Reviewing Nadeo's multiplayer shooter ShootMania is an odd exercise; it is, in style if not in substance, rather like passing judgement on a box of paints. It is a matter of fact that some are red and some green, but what really matters is their eventual use. Do they sit in a drawer or become a constant companion - end up as a dilettante's plaything, or in the busy hands of a Picasso? The metaphor doesn't quite hold, of course, for one good reason; these days, everyone shares a canvas.
When I was a kid, I used to hang around the local arcades an awful lot, and pinball was what the men played. The machines were fascinating, but unapproachable for an eight-year-old: too big and constantly surrounded by chain-smoking malcontents. Every so often there would be the scary shunt noise, great big bangs snapping you out of a virtual reverie. Sometimes there'd be no-one around, though, and then I'd stare at the flashing lights and gaudy art, wondering if I should put one of my precious 20ps in. But Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles always won out.
When I first read The Walking Dead, it hit me like a freight train. The comic was then around 50 issues in (it's recently topped 100 and counting). Its unblinking black-and-white style was one thing, but its take on the zombie apocalypse was an original take on a genre that then, as now, feels like a setting deadened through repetition. Even today, its gritty melodrama feels fresh, one of those few creations that transcends an often trashy genre - the reason it ended up as primetime TV.
DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, but thankfully we can now consign this ugly initialism to the funeral pyre of justice. Burn! And rise, Death Ray Manta, a googly-eyed Elasmobranchii that shoots lasers, kills things, and would never dream of restricting your access.
I am not what you would call co-ordinated - the very idea of doing two things at once makes me cross-eyed. And yet with Finger Hoola I have discovered a love of confusing myself to soothing background music. It's an odd game that hits all sorts of familiar receptors, yet doesn't do a single familiar thing.
Fluxx is a game about rules - making, breaking and ultimately winning with them. It's a tricksy thing, a party game with a dash of the parlour that runs on luck but is decided by skill. Who plays what, and when, acquires a new importance when anyone can change the rules afterwards.
One of gaming's oddities is that enormous numbers of people enjoy puzzle games, yet there's far less interest in games that are puzzles. Starseed Pilgrim is an enigmatic game, one that could be easily spoiled by a few explanatory lines or a diagram - part platformer and part memory challenge, it hinges on the player's ingenuity and love of discovery. It's one of those that gives back what you put in.
Shawn Robertson, the animation director of BioShock Infinite, is trying to remember something. "I'll double-check but I believe we have the ability to turn off the floating buildings, and that's so that people don't get seasick." Sorry, what? "Yeah, we've had a couple of people in the company who have. Don't forget this is a really big aesthetic thing - making you feel like you are in the sky - and when things float they don't stay in lockstep with each other, there's always this slightly undulating movement." In other words, welcome to the heavens - and watch out below.
Monster Hunter has never enjoyed much western success - and we're the losers. Of all Capcom's modern series, this co-operative action-RPG is one of the deepest, funniest and most rewarding. It lacks the nostalgia and immediacy of Street Fighter 4 or the big-budget production values of Resident Evil, but has something at its core that I find more fulfilling. Call it camaraderie, the rush of a team sport played well - with a sideline in snazzy uniforms.
Every generalisation has its limits, but this one I'm going to risk: big-budget FPS games have terrible stories. One of the honourable exceptions is the work of Irrational Games, with a legacy that stretches back over a decade to 1999's System Shock 2. The twist in 2007's BioShock still, for my money, stands as the greatest 'wow' moment a shooter has pulled, and its combination (conspiracy?) of player mechanics as part of that narrative climax is - regardless of what comes afterwards - simply brilliant. So BioShock Infinite's story has a lot to live up to, even if it is in capable hands: Ken Levine, writer/creative director, alongside Irrational's in-house writer Drew Holmes.
I can remember when a new Sonic the Hedgehog game was the biggest story around. I remember live-action adverts, Sonic 2s-day, the disbelief at those first magazine photos of the Sonic & Knuckles cart. "Among Mario's clones," Shigeru Miyamoto told Edge magazine in the late 1990s, "Sonic is a good one." Originality was never the hedgehog's strong point. Even so, copying Temple Run seems a long way to fall from Super Mario.
There comes a point when you wonder just how many platform games are left to play. And how much have platformers got left to give in the genre's fourth decade of existence? Such thoughts occur to an habitual browser of the iOS store, with its cornucopia of buttons-on-screen banality. Then a game like Food Run comes along and such chin-stroking is instantly forgotten, replaced by a simple and timeless joy in motion. Remember that?