It’s an exciting time to be a video game enthusiast. Feelings of welcomed anxiety accompany insatiable fascination with the coming of new consoles. You want to read everything you can, while jumping up and down like a four-year-old discovering trampolines. Along with these feelings comes a tsunami of analysis, debate, competition, reviews and industry predictions. The “old” consoles and games will receive price drops, the new consoles will fuel the fire of internet flame wars and, here at Snackbar, we’ll talk and talk and talk about the Xbox One and PS4 until our throats are sore. New, new, new.
All major changes have consequences. Nothing exists in a bubble; new consoles are great for some, but what does it mean for the sector of the gaming industry that won’t immediately benefit? Will brick-and-mortar stores slowly fade away, as Blockbuster did? Will we see the death of the mid-range developer? READ MORE
The team behind Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! certainly had all the pieces in place to make a compelling title. WayForward has a long history of making good-to-great experiences using licensed properties, and the show (especially creator Pendleton Ward) certainly enjoys and reveres the medium. The first collaboration was a riff on Zelda II, an inspired choice that was nostalgic without being overdone. This second title’s inspirations are less clear. READ MORE
Grobda is a mash-up. It can be described as a hectic Berzerk clone, an evolved version of Atari’s Combat or a Xevious spin-off. There are hints and touches and small influences, yet by mixing them so seamlessly it manages to become its own game, free to be judged on its own merits. READ MORE
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is essentially a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, set in the same world and with many callbacks to one of the finest games ever made. Many of the mechanics, such as the constant switching between Hyrule and another world — in this case the kingdom of Lorule (a bit of wordplay also made by The Wonderful 101, oddly) — make a return in some form or another, but Link Between Worlds adds some modern twists to the classic Zelda gameplay. READ MORE
2012′s Dust: An Elysian Tail was a downloadable gem, and a labor of love for its creator, Dean Dodrill. We talked to him about his experiences making the game, thoughts on game design and what he’s working on now.
Snackbar Games: Everyone starts off somewhere. Which games influenced you the most when you first started playing? You have mentioned that Ys Book I & II for the TurboGrafx-CD in particular is your favorite game of all time. What drew you to it?
Dean Dodrill: I’ve been gaming for a long time, ever since we got our first standalone Pong machine. My earliest gaming experiences were on the TI-99 4a computer, but it wasn’t until the NES came along when a video game ignited my sense of wonder. I still remember watching a friend play Super Mario Bros. for the first time, and being blown away by the fact that you could climb into the clouds. READ MORE
When faced with following up Super Mario Galaxy as the flagship home 3D platformer, developer EAD Tokyo made a product out of cobbling together disparate smaller ideas. There’s the new (Cat Mario), the recent (local multiplayer), the classic (the overworld) and the callback (character abilities). This, meshed with the 3D Land aesthetic, sounds like it would be promising but uneven, a pile of good things that just can’t come together in a logical way.
But no, Super Mario 3D World is great both in parts and as a whole. READ MORE
Media Molecule, a developer known for putting its most creative tools into the hands of the players, is a factory of imaginative design. The LittleBigPlanet games have done well to demonstrate its talents, but are more a showcase for its fans and not of its own abilities as a studio. Tearaway is the first game from them that infuses their design philosophies and creative ambitions into a title that feels like a passion project. Most importantly of all, it’s probably the best demonstrations of the Vita as a system. READ MORE
Knack, from Sony’s Japan Studio, is the company’s attempt to bring a colorful, family-friendly action game to the PlayStation 4′s launch. Built around a character that can change size, its visual effects are made to show off the hardware’s ability to process lots of little parts at once. Whether it makes for a compelling game is, of course, another matter entirely. READ MORE
The next generation of video games is here! At least, that’s what I’ve been led to believe. Thanks to the increased relevance of PC gaming, we aren’t making a huge generational shift; this is more of a small leap with two more capable devices. With these new systems now out in the wild, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect back on the past eight years of PS3 and Xbox 360, my experiences with some memorable titles and what I’ve learned most from the games that, in my mind, defined the generation.
A couple of years ago I discussed a pair of Discworld-themed games that attempted to adapt Terry Pratchett’s hilarious fantasy satire universe to cardboard and wood. Of the two, I definitely felt that Martin Wallace’s Ankh-Morpork was the superior design, so I was thrilled to learn that he would be designing more games using the characters and world that I love so dearly. The second such offering, The Witches, has finally arrived. How does it stand up to its predecessor? READ MORE