The future of fighting games

There has been a lot of discussion lately about making fighting games more accessible, and with good reason: The genre is in danger of becoming irrelevant to the mainstream market once again.

Amanita Design entrusted Botanicula’s sounds and music to a quirky, alternative band

It's not that uncommon to hear that a musician you enjoy created the soundtrack to an upcoming movie. Hollywood has plenty of examples like Nine Inch Nail's Trent Reznor crafting the music for David Fincher's The Social Network, or Jonsi, the lead singer of Icelandic-post-rock weirdos Sigur Ros, making the score to Matt Damon shoveling up monkey poo (or whatever it is that happened in We Bought A Zoo). In the video game world, though, this sort of thing doesn't normally happen.

An incredible Rube Goldberg machine, built inside Portal 2

Valve released tools to their community for Portal 2 map-making a couple of weeks ago, officially called the Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative. Since I do not have the capacity to build great things on my own (I'm much better at finding videos of them and then sharing them with you here), I have waited with great anticipation to see what masterpieces men and women much more creative than I would come up with.

Ghost Recon Commander offers headshots in a Facebook game (hands-on preview)

Brenda Garno Brathwaite and John Romero, two well-known game designers, never made a secret of their passion for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon games. They played for hundreds of hours and tweeted about their victories. Ubisoft’s Chris Early took notice and hired their company, Loot Drop, to make the Facebook game Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Commander. Some of its features, such as blood splotches and head shots, are not your usual fare on a social network where many of the titles are about matching gems or growing crops.

Game of Thrones Ascent aims to please fans with a Facebook game (exclusive)

Game startup Disruptor Beam has announced today the first Facebook game based on the award-winning novels by George R.R. Martin and the award-winning television show on HBO. Titled Game of Thrones Ascent, it is slated for an unspecified “future release” on Facebook. The developer plans to impress fans of the show and books alike with an authenticity and close-hewn relationship to the story-lines and characters of the popular series.

Fans come out swinging at the Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown pre-launch party

Game publisher Sega recently teamed up with the guys at production house/art exhibitor Iam8bit to host a little brawl in honor of the upcoming Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown (Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network). They had plenty of TVs, arcade sticks, and PlayStation 3s loaded with the game at the Iam8bit gallery in Los Angeles, Calif. for fisticuffs fans to do some sparring. A good number of folks showed up just to watch and cheer.

Nuggets of gaming lore, now in helpful infographic form

Did you know your PlayStation 2 visually represents your game library every time you flick on the console? Ever wondered why bananas were smugglers' go-to sale in Final Fantasy Legend II? Here's a good one: No one knows the exact date of Super Mario Bros. US release on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II has less meat than a vegetarian chili dog (review)

Sonic the Hedgehog revs up for a sidescrolling adventure in another attempt to recapture those wonderful days when his games didn’t suck. While last fall’s Sonic Generations took some good strides in helping the spiky rodent reclaim his place among gaming royalty, Episode II feels like a return to the Sonic we got to know during the last 15 years…
…the one that always disappoints us.

Video Blips: Gotham City Impostors, Sly Cooper, and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Ah, Video Blips, my old friend. It just wasn't the same scrutinizing loud noises and flashing colors without you.

Colorless in the industry: Lessons on race from a black video game pioneer

"Does the video game industry have a problem with diversity?" I asked myself this question when I had recently realized that everyone I saw or read who talked about video games were not minorities. The question had some personal weight to it, as I myself am black. Where are the black developers or the Latino developers? Do they exist? Out of curiosity, I Googled "black pioneers in video games" to see if someone of my race had influenced the industry in some way.