Rockstar’s Bully and the brilliance of casual interactions

Bully is a game most remembered for the controversy it generated before its release. From initial hysterics claiming that Rockstar was developing a "Columbine simulator" to cries that the game was promoting bullying behaviors (it wasn't) or trivializing them (which was maybe a more legitimate criticism), Bully may have received more attention in the media before its release than after. Once people had a chance to experience the game and evaluate it for what it was, they found a competent translation of the Grand Theft Auto formula in a different aesthetic that was maybe a little rough around the edges. In truth, there wasn't a whole lot about the game that was controversial once people had a chance to play it.

Do Japanese developers really need to westernize their games?

It feels like just yesterday that I was sat in my living room watching my brother play Sonic 3 and Knuckles on the Mega Drive as a wide-eyed child. The tropical colors of Angel Island and mood-lifting music were simply mesmerizing. What made Sega's console truly amazing to me, though, was that this machine had been created in a place that was literally on the other side of the world; it was mysterious. That sense of wonder obviously diminished as I got older — not just because the enigma of foreign technology had been lifted but also because in the 18 years since that day, the rest of the world has had time to catch up.

Revisiting the genius of Donkey Kong Country’s two-button gameplay

When looking at Donkey Kong Country, one might assume that such a rich-looking gameplay environment would require a large arsenal of moves to conquer. Legendary developers Rare, however, applied simplicity where it mattered the most: the controls. While many developers tried to make the most out of the Super Nintendo's six-button controller, Rare utilized only two — one button for rolling, running and picking up barrels and one for jumping. Sound familiar?

Pokémon, Earthbound, and Zelda meet to form The Denpa Men

Ignore the cumbersome title and all of the dudes in leotards. As offbeat as it seems, The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave is actually not that weird. This downloadable adventure for the 3DS handheld system is actually pretty traditional, sharing a lot in common with some classic Nintendo role-playing games (RPG). In fact, developer Genius Sonority appears to have played up this theme by filling its game with allusions to some popular RPGs such as The Legend of Zelda, Find Mii, Pokémon, and Earthbound.

The Walking Dead presents a compelling story, but is the gameplay still too complex?

I was having a leisurely pint of ale with my girlfriend when my mind began to wander away from our conversation. What ever we were talking about evidently paled in comparison to my thoughts on the Walking Dead game, the third episode of which I had played through a couple of nights before. When she ultimately realized that I was not giving her my full attention, I tried to explain why the game touched me so deeply. I found it almost impossible to justify my feelings without speaking about it in “gaming terms” and by comparing it to other games (two things I know she doesn't understand and finds difficult to relate to).