Category Archives: Features

How Madden ’96 Changed Sports Games Forever

 

“Visual Concepts’ original plans for Madden ’96 included full TV-like production, using the added CD space to bolster Madden’s audiovisual components. Many of the video sequences starred John Madden and co-anchor Pat Summerall, performing pre- and postgame routines. According to Rubinelli, Madden remained deeply involved with the franchise, dissecting rule changes and pointing out mistakes in both offense and defense as the team went on. Madden and Summerall’s professionalism continued into the video interstitial scenes, directed and scripted by Rubinelli.

“I wrote scripts for them by watching probably 100 hours of them broadcasting. … John took one look at the scripts that I wrote and said, ‘This is terrible. I would never say these things. Who wrote this shit?’ … He said, ‘You give me an unlimited number of scenarios, and Pat and I will just freestyle. We’ll ad lib.’ I gave them every possible scenario and they didn’t miss a beat. It was color as only Madden can do.”

Read my full feature on Madden ’96 at Polygon

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Steam & SHMUPs

“Discovery comes easy when wandering a hall of video games, each churning attract screens. Without arcades, those random hubs found by curious Google hunters such as Thacker were it for the shmup’s exposure, outside of certain studios aiming at the die-hard audience. The genre, and with it the shmup’s myriad of sci-fi, fantasy, and military fetishism, fell into disrepair. The mainstream gaming public chewed on ever increasing polygon counts; the dedicated shmup fan sifted through what amounted to back alley digital dumpsters seeking anything of merit still made with scrappy 2D sprites, subwoofer crushing explosions, and mountainous end level bosses.”

Read my full feature on PC SHMUPs at PC Gamer

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On Xbox Live Indies

“In its later years, Microsoft stopped promoting the service as much. XBLIG became a wild west, home to crude zombie shooters, strange MMOs, Minecraft knock-offs, and lurid anime adventures. This became possible via the peer review process. With both Community Games and XBLIG, eager developers uploaded their games, and waited for other developers to go looking for functionality, glitches, or other problems. Those peers either accepted or denied the entry. All 3,300+ games on the service went through this procedure, both a hobbyist projects and serious attempts at making use of this emergent indie service.”

Read my full feature on Xbox Live Indies at Zam

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On Superman Returns: The Video Game’s Development

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“Scripting problems were first in a number of communication and approval problems with Warner. Problems arose with, of all things, Superman’s groin size. “We sent them the box art for the game and [they came back and said], ‘you need to make Superman’s package smaller. That’s a little too big. Superman wouldn’t look like that,'” says Nystrom.”

Read my full story on Superman Returns at Polygon

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Xbox Fitness and the Digital Future

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Xbox Fitness is not an isolated case, but unlike an aging service being taken offline—the DSiWare shop opened in mid-2009—Microsoft has an active, relatively new product. And, when the servers turn off next year, Xbox Fitness won’t work whether the file remains on a user’s hard drive or not.

“If we were talking about DVDs, a retailer would never try a stunt like this. But Microsoft, armed with a license agreement that denies consumers any meaningful legal rights, is training consumers to not only suffer, but to expect this sort of treatment,” said Perzanowski.”

Read my full feature on Xbox Fitness at Playboy

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On Ghostbusters: The Video Game

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“Bill Murray’s attorney called within two days. He agreed to reprise his role. “I can tell you, there was a dogpile of producers in the hallway when we got that call. It was almost like when a pitcher charges the mound after winning the World Series, like, it’s the only time I’ve ever hugged another man like that,” Melchior quipped. “Little did we know how difficult it was going to be from there.”

Read the full inside story of Ghostbusters: The Video Game via Playboy

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Video Game Rentals Skirt Legality

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“Upon booting many contemporary video games, the screen floods with text which states your rights as a consumer. Buried in the wording is the language stripping ownership. In Bethesda’s Doom, the text reads, “You agree not to: Distribute, lease, license, sell, rent… without the express prior written consent of the Licensor.” In 2K’s Battleborn, the language is the same, adding additional restrictions for “Virtual Goods or Virtual Currency.”

Because the rental industry relies on rights granted by the First Sale Doctrine and Video Rental Amendments Act of 1990—rights being eroded by Vernor v Autodesk and the legalese agreed upon when booting a new game—are game rentals now illegal in certain circumstances? “Yes,” stated Rosenblatt. “Unless [the video store] obtained separate permission from the game company they are probably violating copyright or a contract. And if they do that, they’re taking a calculated risk.”

Read my full story on Playboy

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