This week, the gun violence debate continues as industry folks and enthusiasts alike wonder how and when to participate in national policy discussions. We’ve also got some Gabe Newell, a retrospective on a weird Star Trek episode about virtual reality gaming, and a Christian videogame blogger talks about how Anna Anthropy’s game DYS4IA expanded his understanding of the LGBTQ experience.
This week, Vice President Biden announced the creation of a gun violence task force that includes, among lawmakers and gun retailers, representatives from the videogame industry. The response among the videogame community was swift and varied; The IGDAwrote a letter pointing out that censoring comic books didn’t work, and neither would taking the same approach with a medium that is, in a lot of ways, the spiritual successor to comic books. (IGDA) Gamasutra‘s Kris Graft wrote that attending Biden’s task force would be tantamount to ceding that videogames are to blame for violence. (Gamasutra) But IGN‘s Casey Lynch disagrees, writing in a countering article that the industry has to take charge of its own defense. (IGN) At The Atlantic, Ian Bogost offers a good summary of both arguments, as well as weighing in on the videogame violence issue himself. (The Atlantic)
Gabe Newell sat down with The Verge this week to talk about the Steam Box, the company’s foray into gaming hardware, as well as about mobile platforms, Windows 8, the future of gaming–you know, the usual. The full exclusive interview is definitely worth a read. (The Verge)
Check out this awesome game HERadventure, a grant-funded project from Spelman College that tackles environmental and gender issues. (via DailyCaller)
Here’s a first look at upcoming game Cyberpunk 2077, from CD Projekt, the developers of The Witcher. (YouTube)
And there are updates on the THQ bankruptcy proceedings. (Joystiq)
In 2012, over 2 million people pledged over $300 million on Kickstarter. The crowdfunding website had a pretty good year, wouldn’t you say? They’ve compiled some pretty impressive statistics for their 2012, which you can check out here. (Kickstarter)
You can get 25% off some of the biggest upcoming videogames with online retailer Green Man Gaming, including Tomb Raider and Devil May Cry. (via Polygon)
The rumored Firefly MMO is apparently legit! Though probably a long way from becoming a reality, says studio DarkCryo. (via Kotaku)
The Japanese version of Far Cry 3 is much less graphic than the American version. Does that fundamentally change the game? (Kotaku)
MMO Terajoins Star Wars: The Old Republic and DC Universe Online as free-to-play. (Joystiq)
BioWare lead writer and generally cool dude David Gaider opened up on his blog about his relationship with (part of) the fandom and how he avoids BioWare’s “increasingly toxic” message boards. (The Bittersweetest Thing)
Remember that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, called “The Game,” in which the whole crew got addicted to this weird virtual reality game? Gameological Society’s John Teti wrote a pretty cool piece examining it, and what the episode says about addiction and obsession.
Intel’s latest study “Women and the Web” found that there are 25% fewer women than men with internet access in developing countries. Here’s the full report in PDF form and an overview at Putting People First.
Whew! I hope everyone’s had a good holiday. Now it’s time to get back to it, though. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) not much in terms of videogame news has happened over the holidays, so we haven’t missed too much.
There weren’t any big releases in the past two or so weeks, but here’s a handy partial calendar of 2013‘s big upcoming releases. (GameInformer)
Well, a game called The War Z (you have one guess as to what it’s about) was released on Steam and then quickly pulled because of controversies such as vague descriptions, suspicious microtransactions, and being very similar to the popular (and free) Arma II mod DayZ. Here’s a summary of the kerfuffle (Kotaku) and an open apology from creator Sergey Titov. (WarZ Forums)
Here’s a Minecraft mod that turns creepers into anime girls a la visual novels. (Minecraft Forums) Kotaku’s Patricia Hernandez has some interesting thoughts about it.
Sony has filed a patent application that could make it so its next home console doesn’t play used games. Such a move could decrease piracy, but would also be a severe blow to retailers like GameStop who trade mainly in used games. Sony’s stock shares have dropped in reaction to the announcement. (Gamasutra)
Microsoft says they’re going to make a big Xbox-related announcement at E3 2013. Who doesn’t think they’re finally going to unveil their next-gen console? (Gamerant)
Oh and here’s a trailer for the Devil May Cry reboot. What do you guys think? (GameInformer)
Gamasutra took a look at just what the hell “mid-core” means anyway. They also polled some designers and Twitterers and got some interesting results.
Kim Swift, creator of Portal, wrote a blog post this week in the wake of the #1ReasonWhy movement talking about how the best way to bring diversity into the games industry is to empower kids to make their own games. And, possibly, exploding lemons.
Unwinnable’s Steve Haske writes about experimenting with the world of Dishonored in an article entitled “Abuses of Power.”
From the comic book world: Gail Simone is back on Batgirl! The super-swell Tumblr blog DCWomenKickingAss has lists of the best and worst of DC Women for 2012.
Extra: Cheats and Hacks
Every gaming blog worth its salt (except this one, natch) has loads of “Best/Worst of 2012″ compilations. I’m kind of over the “Best Game” sort of lists–but some of the other lists are interesting or thought-provoking. Here are some of our favorites:
The best games of 2012: A far cry from 2011′s heights (Metacritic)
This week in Bad Ideas: to promote Hitman: Absolution, the developers created Hire Hitman, a Facebook app that lets you take “hits” on your friends for reasons such as “her small tits” or “his big gut.” I would say that you just can’t make this up, but apparently, some people can. Square Enix, the game’s publisher, has apologized, and taken the site down. (RockPaperShotgun)
What’s the next big thing on Xbox? We don’t know, but apparently Black Tusk Studio—formerly Microsoft Vancouver—does, and they’re not telling. (Joystiq)
In other future news, there’s going to be a thing called “All the Bravest.” Square Enix just filed for trademark and domain registrations on it. (GameInformer)
Remember Ouya? Developers’ consoles for those wishing to design for this Kickstarter darling will ship Dec. 28. (Joystiq)
The Humble THQ Bundle is doing good by THQ. With nine days left to go in the pay-what-you-want sale, the company’s stock as jumped by 40%. The success of Humble Bundle’s monetization system with games from big studios could have wider implications for the videogame market. (Joystiq) EDIT: The games in the THQ Bundle are NOT DRM-free, which was previously a key point of Humble Bundle’s mission. (Ars Technica)
Guys! Boyfriend Maker is still a thing! The controversial app was pulled from the iOS store but is still available via Android, though now with a filter of moderate functionality. (DigitalTrends)
BioWare is throwing all the writers at the next DLC for Mass Effect 3, responding to criticism of their last DLC, Omega, and, of course, the game’s controversial ending. (DigitalTrends)
BioWare also wants you to know that they’re still working on Star Wars: The Old Republic, so don’t go! (Eurogamer)
Kotaku has a feature on Thomas Deer, a cultural liaison officer at the Kahnawake Language and Cultural Centre who worked with the Assassin’s Creed III developers. Among his input was the recommendation to take out the ‘scalping’ feature that the developers had planned for the game.
At Gameranx, Daniel Starkey talks about how he based Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard after his mother, the person who first got him into science fiction.
TGIF, Border House folks! This is the second installment of our new feature where we summarize the week in gaming and link to our favorite articles of the week. Be sure to add your own news and links in the comments section too, especially as I probably missed a lot what with Sandy and all. Okay, here we go:
This Week in Game News
The big releases this week were the two Assassin’s Creed titles, ACIII and Liberation…It was a great week for boobs in advertising, too; first of all Grand Theft Auto V was announced with this pretty bla bla advertisement poster that prompted many critics to wax nostalgic about when GTA was like, edgy; and a new French ad for the PS Vita equates its dual screens to a hot lady with four breasts. More on this later, guys, because we’re still trying to figure out where to start with this one….for game devs, Unity 4.0 is out in a free open beta…In better news, as we reported yesterday, two awesome women from 343 Industries announced that sexism on Halo 4 multiplayer would not be tolerated (Daily Dot)…also ICYMI from our news roundup yesterday, the developers of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare were caught with their sexism showing…and in best news, Red Thread Studios’ Ragnar Tørnquist announced a sequel to beloved game Dreamfall, entitled Dreamfall Chapters. You can check out Tørnquist’s other games in this Steam bundle for $24.99.
And although this isn’t video games per se I have to include it because it concerns us all: Star Wars Episode 7 is going to be a thing. Yes. George Lucas has sold LucasArts to Disney for $4.05 billion dollars, with the agreement that a seventh installment of the wildly successful science fiction franchise (presumably titled Star Wars VII: Really?) will be released in 2015. And the internet has responded (Buzzfeed).
We’re introducing a new feature, starting this week: a Friday news roundup, with a summary of releases, events and happenings in the games world; and the best of the week’s articles concerning intersectionality, social critique, and women in videogames. (Cuppycake: This one is being published today, on a Monday, because I completely messed up and didn’t publish it last Friday! Oops!) Tell us what you think, and post links to what you were reading this week in the comments below!