Making it on your own as an independent game designer is tough in any locale, let alone a place that can feel downright alien to a Westerner. But some independent game-makers have chosen to give it a go in the megalopolis that is Tokyo. Ryan Winterhalter speaks with three Western designers who dare to call the Japanese capital home.
Game designers are some of the industry's best customers and worst hardcore fans. They simply don't stick with most games long enough to appreciate them as gamers. But as Ian Schreiber illustrates, nearly every designer has one or two special games that keep him or her coming back.
Growing up amid the violence of Johannesburg in the early '90s meant that Christmas was a little bit different for John Szczepaniak. He remembers one holiday where all he wanted amongst the black-market imports and counterfeit games available was a Famicom clone.
Christmas can be a bittersweet time of year for a PC gamer. If your hardware is up to snuff, you have a feast of games to choose from. But what if your system clocks in just below the requirements for the hottest new game? Rob Zacny takes us back to 1997, when a new computer stood between him and Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.
For Mark Brown, Christmas always means two things: videogames and loads of stress on his parents. But last year, he found the perfect way to show his mom and dad he cared: a custom Christmas level of LittleBigPlanet.
Two years ago, Jim Rossignol found himself in a dream scenario for Christmas humbugging: Instead of visiting relatives, he'd stay at home and game to his heart's content. But a bizarre run-in with a group of Chinese currency farmers made him reconsider his merciless ganking ways. Rossignol recounts his Christmas spent in Eve Online.
The debate about the effects of gaming on developing minds has become pretty polarized lately. But both sides often miss an important point: Kids have different cognitive needs at different points in their development. Neils Clark adds some nuance to the conversation on games and child development.
Save functions triggered a paradigm shift in game design by allowing players to complete games across multiple sittings. But innovation often has a price, and in this case, it's the prospect of losing days of effort due to one costly mistake. Peter Parrish investigates what we put into save files, and what we lose when they're gone.
For some players, it's about the humor. For others, it's the nostalgia. But regardless of what keeps them coming back, most players agree that the game is pure torture. Richard Poskozim speaks with the creator of I Wanna Be The Guy, the hardest videogame of all time, ever.
Final Fantasy VII is a game that people keep playing years after its release. But while it's earned a place among the most beloved games of all time, its starting area is a bit of a slog. Brendan Main explains why, even while he looks forward to replaying FFVII, he dreads going back to Midgar.
It's an odd feeling, rediscovering a piece of once cutting-edge technology that is now woefully obsolete. But yesterday's game systems are quickly becoming today's museum pieces. Greg Tito speaks with Eric Wheeler, Associate Curator at the National Center for the History of Electronic Games.
In videogames, there are your wisecracking anthropomorphic critters, your angst-y androgynous teens and your adrenaline-fueled space marines - and then there's P.B. Winterbottom, a time-traveling pie thief stuck in a '20s-era silent film. Jordan Deam speaks with Matt Korba, President and Creative Director of Winterbottom developer The Odd Gentlemen.
Modern games often look to cinema when it comes to inspiration for their storytelling. But there's another medium that may apply more directly to the experience of play: musical performance. Ollie Barder examines how Guitar Hero and Strauss may have more in common than you think.
Whether they provide a little color to a game world or simply give the more obsessive among us something to collect and pore over, audiologs have become a staple of modern games. Graeme Virtue dissects the recordings' lasting appeal and adds a few messages of his own to the archives.
According to Zynga's figures, Mafia Wars now claims 26 million active players, many of them playing online games for the first time. But thanks to Zynga's shady business practices, the browser game may not be the best ambassador for the form. Allen Varney dives into the seedy underbelly of Mafia Wars and learns firsthand how hard it is to walk away.