Mario Tennis Open can trick casual players into becoming competitors

Mario Tennis Open is definitely a product of the current trends in gaming. At its core, the Nintendo 3DS title is a solid, light-hearted sports sim. Studying the flow of the experience, however, reveals how developer Camelot cleverly blended that base with mechanics from popular casual games. In this way, unassuming novices can easily find themselves tricked into becoming strong digital athletes.

More games need to make choices matter

Why do so few games allow players to influence the story? At its core, the medium entails interactive storytelling; it may not have started out that way, but that's what it's become. Creating branching paths is a lot of work…it takes a lot of resources to create so many outcomes to your decisions. But Heavy Rain followed that template and met with (mostly) great success. The foreknowledge that every action I took would have consequences was more than compelling enough to get me engrossed in the game.

Sony can’t get the experience right

If you’ve read my editorials for a while, you might’ve noticed a recurring theme around the topic of experience. Sure, framerates and features make nice bullet points, but seriously, don’t waste my time with that crap. What’s it like when you put it all together in one (hopefully) cohesive whole? How do I feel before, during, and after I play the game?

Diablo III servers down for “emergency maintenance” on launch day (updated)

The long-awaited Diablo III from Blizzard Entertainment has suffered severe technical issues upon its official launch at 12:01 a.m. earlier this morning. Thousands of angry fans took their favorite forums or social media networks to complain about the inability to connect, usually due to the now-infamous Error 37, which simply states that the game’s servers are too busy and to try again later. Now, the servers aren’t busy, they’re not even up anymore.

How smart people can make dumb games

As Taylor Clarke points out in this now-infamous Kotaku piece, you aren’t treated to a whole lot of depth in your average video game. You’re probably just running around shooting lasers at aliens, or navigating an environment while you punch people until they die. This is the story and nothing else matters.