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
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
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
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
Local multiplayer games are inherently cooperative experiences. Even the competitive ones! I like saying that everything’s better with friends, but that just isn’t universally true. A lot of it depends on just who those friends are and how much they’re on board with having a good time over all else. I happen to have some particularly great ones, and I’m thankful. Now I’d like to tell you why.
Two new consoles are here. The crew talks about the hardware, UI, launch games and more. Also: Super Mario 3D World, Tearaway and Into the Nexus!
Check out the show here, check us out on iTunes or use the RSS feed in your favorite podcast aggregator. Let us know what you think! Email podcast[at]snackbar-games.com.
Hosts: Jeff deSolla, Andrew Passafiume, Graham Russell, Henry Skey.
Music: Podcast theme by Tom Casper.
I just started playing Tales of Xillia, the latest entry in one of Namco’s longest-running series. It instantly hooked me with the lavish colors, the grand aspirations, the overly enthusiastic dialogue and an overabundance of exposition in the first few hours. The mechanics feel natural by now; menu systems, experience points, leveling up. Battle strategy and traversing an overworld map have become second nature to me, as I’ve played hundreds of games in this genre. I also get the benefit of playing games that emphasize beautiful worlds and incredible soundtracks. They’re an acquired taste, but I can’t get enough.
That doesn’t mean I always enjoy them. READ MORE
Rastan isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s not dumb. Barbarians don’t just charge into battle, hoping their muscles can get them through a hundred enemies unscathed; they train to be better than their enemies, to attack at the right moment, to back down when needed.
Of course, being strong helps! READ MORE
Crafting original stories for games is probably not a simple task, especially if you’re working with established characters. It can be easy to fall back on something like, say, a prequel story. This might be significantly easier in the long run, yet also may expose an inherent flaw when it comes to creating prequel video games: you have to worry about it from both a story and gameplay perspective. Having to evolve the gameplay while containing the story to certain specifics makes for a difficult balance or a game that, at the end of the day, isn’t much of an improvement over its predecessors.