The Troublesome Portrayal of Women in Video Games

Video games are notorious for catering to teenage boys. Puzzlingly, it’s an increasingly outdated focus, persisting mostly in the creative direction and subsequent marketing of games, reflected in big budget titles moreso than in general-appeal casual games. The recent controversy over Assassin Creed’s exclusion of female avatars is just the latest of a long-running series […]

Games as a Service

MMORPGs introduced the concept of games as a service almost two decades ago. It was and remains a straight-forward idea: pay $x/month, and we’ll run the servers that enable the online game to function as well as put some programmers and artists and designers to keep the game fresh by updating content in the game […]

Peak Mobile Gaming

It’s been a couple of eventful weeks for mobile gaming, with some notable releases and twists and turns. In order of completely subjective industry importance: Threes! was released in the App Store. A well-polished, simple but addictive puzzler that everybody likes, which reminds me a bit of the fervor around Dots. Square got around to […]

Exemplary Touch Gaming

Gaming on phones and tablets have certainly come a long way from that poker game that Apple released with the first App Store. There is, if not a particularly healthy ecosystem of games, at least a flood of them of all types and stripes: ports from handheld gaming devices; ports from old consoles; Flash-based games; […]

A Book on a Video Game

There aren’t that many books on video games; I’ve probably read most of them. For a medium and industry that pulls in almost $100 billion, it’s still seen as little more than a casual diversion, with the stereotypical acne-ridden, foul-mouthed teenager as the target audience. It makes Killing is Harmless – a book which tries […]

Game Consoles and their Bet on Software

It’s only a matter of days till the 8th generation of video game consoles launch in the US. Sony and Microsoft are still making the wager that, six years after the modern smartphone has been introduced, a dedicated gaming machine can still set the foundation for a profitable business and that owning the living room […]

What Happened to Final Fantasy?!

This generation of consoles has not been kind to Japanese game developers. The quality of games from “western” game developers has leaped ahead in terms of innovative systems, advanced technology and worldwide appeal; while Japanese quirkiness has proven endearing and fun the past two decades, even the Marios of the industry are ringing in second […]

Used Games and the Modern Gaming Economy

As disgusting as it felt, I went out today and sold a bunch of my PS3 games to Gamespot. Then turned around and used that credit to buy a few other games, thus enabling the second-hand gaming market to live for a bit longer. The big news in gaming this month was the unveiling of […]

The Free-to-Play Gaming Evolution

Games have come a long way since when they cost $80 and came in cardboard boxes with terrible cover art. The mechanism of funding (Kickstarter), the development process (ranging from tiny one-person indie shops to global studios), the medium (disc to download to app to web), and their business models all have evolved rapidly over […]

The Future of Games as a Service

Now that the crying from Simcity’s server issues have mostly died down[1], it gives a bit of space to reflect on what happened. Maxis’s always-online design decisions aside, the controversy would not have been as loud or as pronounced if EA had provisioned enough servers to handle the load of the initial onslaught of players. […]

Reaction to the Playstation 4 Reactions

As expected, Sony announced their next-gen console today. The keynote filled in some of the juicy details, including apparently some sort of social network and video sharing, game streaming, the usual cacophony of motion + touch + button controls, and of course top-of-the-line hardware specs (at this point in time) and pretty games. The Verge […]

Social Gaming is About Business

It’s now cliché to claim that gamification permeate all aspects of life; the talk of 2010 and 2011 was that everything seemed to be heading towards cheap, immediate-reward schemes with the subtlety of slot machines. If it can drive the multi-billion dollar click-based engine behind the biggest tech IPO in history, it’s good enough for everything else. […]