Reputation, what is it good for…

Absolutely nothing. That is what Microsoft accomplished with the reputation system since the Xbox One released in November 2013. All players score is currently “Good Player” and not a single infraction has been logged in the five months since launch. This will, supposedly, change as Microsoft begins sending notices and prescribes “punishments” for players who fall into the “Avoid Me” category. Will any of this deter bad behavior?

Do trophies impact gamers?

Trophies or Achievements (and Nintendo’s sporadic Stamps) offer a reward system for completing in-game activities. These non-tangible prizes were introduced in full force during the Xbox 360/ PS3 generation. Today, they permeate every platform, from smartphones to Steam, and are an ingrained aspect of gaming culture. All releases are required to contain achievements and they are prominently displayed on profiles. The general consensus is that trophies are a good thing but did gaming habits improve with the satisfaction of defined goals or have players degraded into achievement addicts?

Interviewing Bob the PR Bot: Developer for Indie Game Survivalist

I had a chance to talk with Bob the PR Bot recently about his new game, Survivalist. He was a very nice and personable guy. At least I think he was a guy. He may have been a robot. I mean, “PR Bot” is part of his name. So for now, I’m going to assume he’s human. My sincere apologies to my robotic and artificial intelligence readers, just in case you actually exist.

An Interview With Phil Spencer: Highlights from the SXSW Gaming Expo 2014

Microsoft Game Studio’s Corporate Vice President sat down with Geoff Keighley of Spike TV for a one-on-one panel for the South by Southwest Gaming Expo, Sunday March 9th at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. During the session, Spencer gets candid about missteps in the pre-launch marketing of the Xbox One, unhealthy fan attitudes in the console wars, and possibly taking for granted some of the early Xbox titles gamers want to see revisited. In addition, he reflects on the early process of building the original Xbox library, the impact of the free-to-play games market, and is pressed by Keighley on the lack titles showing the power and value of Kinect.

(Over) analysing The Bureau: XCOM Declassified’s chest-high walls (to within an inch of their lives)

I’ve done a close reading of the chest-high walls in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified and I’m happy to report that I think they could be a meditation on the tangible benefits of improved graphics. Furthermore, I reckon their implementation also questions if our lust to achieve increased verisimilitude between real and digital worlds is misguided.

Do Volatile Gaming Communities Build Commendable Personalities?

Since the dawn of LAN play, MMOs, online feedback, live chat, ventrilo, and headsets, competitive gaming became a transformative role in the entertainment industry. The simple act of decapitating another player, cursing their brains out, and basking in bloodlust was – and still is, a type of ‘high’. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s addicting. Call up some friends, grab a good FPS, headsets, some cheap beer, and we’ve got ourselves a solid night.

The Last of Us being turned into a movie and the video game movie issue

Well this is odd. I had planned to make a post on video game movies and now The Last of Us has been announced as being turned into a movie. Perfect timing I guess. And my reaction to that is…well I’m kind of terrified. Don’t get me wrong; I totally want people to experience The Last of Us. Everyone should. It’s by far one of my favorite pieces of art ever, not just video games. I do wish that people would spend the time to learn video games and play them because The Last of Us is meant to be a video game and nothing else. And right there is the issue with video game movies. They were never meant to be movies especially considering how unique video games are to any other medium, that interaction with the controller is just as important as the writing, gameplay, acting, whatever. It’s as crucial especially for something like The Last of Us where the interaction makes you feel like Joel, it makes you feel the tension he feels and it makes you feel even more so for Ellie.

Planets³: Minecraft in space?

Planets³ came onto my radar a while back, before it was on Kickstarter. It was picked up by multiple websites as a game with great potential. That while it has the most impossible name a game has had so far. I mean it is very fitting, but no one is going to trouble themselves with figuring out how to get that ‘³’ in there every time.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Within moments I knew Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was different. The game offers a simple to describe, but complicated to learn control scheme: there are two brothers and one controller, with each brother getting a joystick for movement and a shoulder button for action. The elder brother is the left, and the younger is the right. At all times the elder is the left, and the younger is the right.

Fighters: A more in-depth clarification

The fighting genre is my favorite of them all, and it’s appropriate since the very first game I played is Street Fighter II Turbo on the SNES. Suitably, this is the same game that established the genre. I say established as opposed to created because it’s often argued that no-name titles on the Commodore 64 implemented the key aspects of what make a fighting game. In spite of that, the genre didn’t exist until Street Fighter II hit the market. This isn’t to say that in the industry today, every fighter needs to emulate the gargantuan franchise in every single aspect. The fundamentals need to be there however, and I’ve created a list of criteria to clear the confusion that’s prevalent among gamers.