As you know, 1UP.com has breathed its last. Such are the vicissitudes of business. Happily, Jose Otero managed to pull together a startling number of former 1UP staff during Game Developers Conference this year for one final podcast. Not everyone was there due to the last-minute nature of this show (or because they had other duties that kept them away), but if you paid any attention at all to the site for the 10 years it lived you're bound to hear some voices you recognize in this three-hour tag-team adventure. Rather than spoil the surprise, though, we'd rather just let you hear the show for yourself.
Thanks for all the years of support. Your enthusiasm for our work fueled these shows, and we very literally couldn't have done it without you. Please enjoy this final gift to you all. *
Although the economy might not be in the thick of a recession as it once was, that doesn't mean things are going especially great for videogame publishers. Take Electronic Arts, for instance, which hasn't exactly set the world on fire with its performance as of late. The start of the next generation is an ideal opportunity to effect change that doesn't come along often, and it seems EA doesn't intend to miss it; just yesterday it revealed plans to proliferate microtransactions throughout each of its games. As EA and publishers in general attempt to do this (and try out other means for generating additional revenue), I hope they don't forget to treat gamers with respect.
This current generation of consoles has seen the onset of numerous new money-making tactics. While expansion packs had been offered in the past, downloadable content became the norm for nearly every game, delivering everything from horse armor to new characters, maps, and more. Online passes have attempted to fight used games sales, encouraging gamers to buy new copies of their games or, failing that, forcing them to pay money directly to the publisher for access to certain (often multiplayer) content. Always-online connections, allegedly intended to enable new features but with the obvious benefit of trying to ward off piracy, spread from games where its use was implicit to those where its use is a detriment more than anything else. Read More...
Excited as I was to finally see a next-generation console, much of the PlayStation 4 software we saw last week struck me as underwhelming. It was pretty, certainly, and I'm all for beautiful games; I paid a great deal to upgrade my PC in 2011 so that Battlefield 3 would look its finest, and it irks me that Far Cry 3 and Crysis 3 each stresses my computer to the point that I can't see every last bit of visual goodness they have to offer and maintain a decent framerate. Still, gorgeous graphics are not all I want out of new games, and yet it would seem as if the PS4's hardware is being extolled purely for its ability to accommodate even nicer-looking visuals.
That belief is representative of the majority of what Sony had on show last week. While the capabilities of the hardware to push more pixels was invariably going to be a major part of the event, with the way things went you could be left thinking the future of games entails little more than better-looking games that boot up faster than ever. That's all well and good -- I am legitimately excited for auto-downloads, suspend modes, and all manners of hurdles between player and game being removed -- but the hurdles Sony and Microsoft should be doing their damndest to remove lay between independent developers and next-generation consoles. Read More...
the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake,
working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed
-- no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic
centimeters inside your skull. -- George Orwell, 1984
Ever since George Orwell
published his dystopian masterpiece in 1949,
people have compared it to the current state of national or
international affairs. But in the always-connected, always-public world
of 2013, perhaps the novel's themes hit closer to home than ever. We're
living in a time of fierce debate over privacy concerns, an era where
government and law enforcement argue for the right to GPS-track
citizens without their knowledge. And like any form of art, video games
are influenced by life.
the PlayStation 4 event, Ubisoft and Sucker Punch gave the world a
glimpse of their upcoming titles. And while there are clear differences
Dogs and inFamous:
Second Son, it's hard to ignore
overriding sense of paranoia and fear over a totalitarian state.
Superheroes don't always wear a cape, and in the case of Aiden Pearce
and Delsin Rowe, the rise of the anti-hero is a consequence of an
oppressive regime. Read More...
Much like their disc-based counterparts, PlayStation 3 downloadable games won't be supported on PlayStation 4. What that means is your entire PlayStation Network library is going to have to stay put, and won't be carried over to the next generation as many people were hoping it would. That's no surprise considering the major changes to the system's architecture which, other than the issue of backwards compatibility, are excellent news. This leaves gamers who wanted the PS4 to fully replace the PS3 currently sitting on their entertainment centers in an unfortunate position, although it does present Sony with an opportunity.
Backwards compatibility has never been a guarantee going into a new generation. More often than not, it's been something we've had to do without: NES games didn't work on SNES, SNES games didn't work on N64, N64 games didn't work on GameCube, Genesis games didn't work on Saturn, and so on. More recently we've had exceptions to that as the media games were delivered on became more consistent across generations with CDs and DVDs. The current generation of consoles initially promised backwards compatibility to varying degrees, but eventually Sony stopped including the hardware necessary to play PS2 games on PS3, Microsoft stopped adding Xbox games to the list of those that could be played on 360, and Nintendo left GameCube support out of the most recent Wii hardware revision. Now, with not even PSN games being playable on PS4, you can see that there is more to backwards compatibility than having a way of getting the data onto the newer system -- particularly when the system games were originally on had complex hardware. Read More...
Kenji Eno, famed game designer and composer, passed away yesterday from heart failure at the age of 42. Eno was truly a unique individual, both in terms of the games he worked on over the course of his more than two-decade-long career and the bold way he operated.
One of Eno's first experiences with games was Space Invaders, which was quick to make an impression on him. "I liked how it made you feel kind of different. And the first time I experienced it, it's like the first time you meet a woman -- you feel something there; you feel some kind of chemistry," he told 1UP in an extensive 2008 interview. "So I felt something like that for Space Invaders. That was probably love at first at sight. The sound was also what attracted me to it. Back then, I was in elementary school, and some schools banned kids from playing Space Invaders because kids were playing it too much." Read More...