• "We've seen this all before… [but] these Smule globes seem strangely different and much more interesting, largely I think because you hold the phone in your hand instead of the laptop or monitor on your desk. It's a more personal, touched engagement with the screen that makes visualizing an earth-spanning army of phone lighters and flute blowers more physically personal."
  • "But succeed or fail, my awareness of game design is omnipresent, and I like it that way. It enriches my experience of playing. The in-world experience remains my first thought, but my second thought is nearly always focused on the system, especially when that system demonstrates originality or beautiful execution. I don't think I'm the only gamer who behaves this way." No, but it requires a certain degree of awareness of the medium to think about the second; the first is much more immediate, and the second is about an engagements with games, rather than a particular game.
  • "If I only have so many hours in the day to devote to genuinely insightful things, Gladwell’s track record screams at me to ignore Outliers. At least for now. At least until I’m stuck on a cross-country flight, liquored up, and ready for a good fight." Jack Shedd is bored of anecdotes.
  • "This is a lexicon of terms relating to John Horton Conway's Game of Life." Very comprehensive, with lots of examples.
  • Ignoring the background music and a lot of Trajan, I really like this series of pictures from Brooks Reynolds; particularly, his use of lighting and depth of field. I'm a big fan of concept-series; they tend to be more than a sum of their parts.
  • I don't care that it's not playing the game or anything, there is no way in the world that this is anything less than super-awesome.

“Seven years. That’s how long it’s been since Tony Hawk Pro Skater first rolled onto the PlayStation. Like it or not, Hawk is now a part of the gaming canon, committed to rolling out yearly updates. Indeed, Activision has exclusive rights to the Hawk brand until 2015 – we’re not even halfway through the series’ life.”

A new game review up over at Pixelsurgeon, this time of Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land on the Nintendo DS. Very impressed with this – an amazingly good online implementation, which, in terms of how it links up with the internet almost puts Mario Kart to shame; lovely cel-shaded visuals; none of the nonsense that the Underground games brought in. As the review says, it’s essentially Pro Skater 5.

Read the full review.

Clever boys…

29 November 2005

Awesome trailer for XBox 360. Unfortunately, it was pulled by Microsoft’s lawyers, presumably because it glorifies violence. Well, if pointing your fingers at people and saying “bang” is violence, I guess it does. It’s a lovely demonstration of what silly multiplayer FPSes are like. Also, it references a great moment in Spaced, and has a lovely punchline. Watch it!

And when you’ve done that, watch this Consolevania style ad for the new Prince of Persia. Whatever the game is like, the ad is delightful, and one of the best games ads I’ve seen in a while. Capturing the feel of gaming without in-game footage – and that’s exactly what I like about it.

Fantasy Health Minister

08 October 2005

Now that it’s been properly launched, I can finally take the lid off something we worked on over the summer: Fantasy Health Minister.

As part of a sponsored project on health, we built this; an online strategy game revolving around health policy. It was fun to work on, and certainly a change from our usual work. A real team effort, too; I only really contributed the design/layout, some help with refining it, the odd bit of copy, and lots of digital inking (translation: trying to make Photoshop work like felt-tip pens). The lovely artwork is by the very talented David Simonds, our editorial cartoonist over at the Statesman.

Anyhow, just a heads up. Do check it out!