Why are Valve So Generous?

16 09 2011

First it was endless free Team Fortress 2 updates. Then it was Team Fortress 2 becoming free to play in the first place. Then there were the little things, like making the Portal 2 soundtrack available for nothing. People complain about Valve’s download platform, Steam, holding a massive share of the digital games market, but at least it’s made them so rich that they don’t even have to bother charging for what could be otherwise lucrative content.

So simple, but so clever.

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Review Supplement – Tropico 4

14 09 2011

Strange thing, this. When I was thinking about Tropico 4 for my review, the game I couldn’t help comparing it to was Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, because both of them go deep into to the heart of such important issues of liberty and freedom, exploring the deep questions with a scholarly eye. Or not. They’re actually both sequels that have been criticised for being too similar to their predecessors. In my view, however, ACB gets away with it, whereas Tropico 4 does not.


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Rawr! (That’s Draconic, By The Way)

12 09 2011

First things first: if you tried to access the link in my previous post and found it be broken, then be assured that it now works. Here it is again. You have no excuses! Right, someone mentioned a poxy little game called Skyrim today. What’s that about?


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I’m Not In, Go Here Instead!

9 09 2011

So here’s the epic I promised you on Wednesday. Well, not here as such: head on over to Bits n’ Bytes Gaming and give it a read (even if the link may be broken for now: BnB is going through a bit of an overhaul at the moment and is slightly tricky to get at.  It will work eventually, promise). For once I haven’t written a post about narrative, tone and all that nonsense, but instead have gone back about 10 years to remember some magic arcade Star Wars action with the subtly-named Jedi Power Battles. Go and take a glance. Go on.


Ahh...good times.

Battle of the Bats

7 09 2011

The award for ‘weirdest news story of the last 24 hours’ goes to this one: Batman: Arkham City is getting an album. Of the musical sort. And it’s not the game’s soundtrack. Instead, Warner Bros. have put together a bunch of random songs that bear no connection to the Dark Knight aside from the fact that they are, well, dark. You know, noisy, broody, guitary.

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5 09 2011

I’m sorry to do this to you all, but after spending the last twenty minutes or so playing a rather snazzy little minigolf game that, as ever, Rock Paper Shotgun sent me to, I’ve decided to ruin your days by telling you about my favourite internet timewasters. These are games of potent arcane power that tamper with the laws of physics; play one for what you think is five minutes and in fact you’ll lose half an hour, maybe a whole one if it’s a good’un.

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Pre-Order Ponderings

2 09 2011

This man speaks the truth. In ‘Pre-Order Penance’, published today over at Gamesindustry.biz, columnist Rob Fahey explains the reason why he’s being put off from pre-orders: the various bits of bonus content that can only be bought from certain retailers. The case in point is Batman: Arkham City. We already know that certain shops have been allotted exclusive skins for the game: buy from one and you get a bonus 1970’s Batman costume in-game, buy from another and you’ll get a version based on his look in the animated series. Then there’s big chunks of exclusive content like new levels and scenarios which are also being dished out. Whilst these promotions are meant to encourage pre-orders, Fahey rightly points out that it creates a strange situation where consumers are pushed into deciding which piece of extra content is worth more to them rather than shopping based on price, which can make the process seem ‘exploitative and unpleasant’.

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