All posts tagged: Gaming


Mobile or Console, the Name of the Game is the Same

Playing Oceanhorn on the new Apple TV, with a Bluetooth game controller like the SteelSeries Nimbus, feels distinctly like a traditional console gaming experience. It’s been compared to a modern Zelda title, and if you’re in the mood to explore, its large world lends itself to leaning back on the couch for a good hour or more. What’s interesting is that you can pick up your iPhone later and continue your savegame synced over iCloud, at which point its modified-for-touch controls and mini quest structure actually turn it into a modern mobile gaming experience. What might be undersold by a simple bullet point — “Cloud Saves” — is really significant: one game that can be played in very different contexts, made possible by having the same OS in your pocket and living room (and car, one day). It’s probably the future of gaming. Much like how we now commonly design for the web, going mobile-first in gaming makes sense for companies looking to the players to come. That means not making the mobile bit just …


Playing Yakuza 3, Six Years Late

I recently got a second-hand PS3 and have been buying up all the games I’d heard about for years but never had access to. Final Fantasy XIII, Heavy Rain, The Last of Us, MGS4, etc. Yakuza 3 & 4 weren’t on the list for some reason, but when used copies appeared at, I had a quick look and decided I needed them. It’s kind of a no-brainier, both being set in a virtual open world Tokyo and all. I had a pretty great time running around in the virtual Akihabara of Akiba’s Trip 2 on the PS Vita. So far, it’s an even more faithful recreation of the atmosphere, albeit without much in the way of atmospheric sounds. They’ve retained a lot of the real world brands and shopfronts, unlike most anime (see screenshot above), and every street feels like it was modeled on a real place. One opening bit takes place on a rooftop that reminded me of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, with a vast open view of the city by night …

➟ Turning Paper to Pixels with a New Game Design Tool

From Paper to iPad, Pixel Press Turns Drawings Into Videogames Bonnie Cha, I loved play­ing videogames as a kid, but I can’t say that I ever spent any time sketch­ing out ideas for my own games like my broth­er and his friends did. (My doo­dles usu­al­ly involved cute ani­mals or spelling out my crush’s name in bub­ble… The core concept is every kid’s dream: designing their own games for friends to play through, or just for the heck of it. But without some serious inspiration, what you can do in a short platformer level is very limited. I remember a D&D game maker tool for PCs in the 90s; that was infinitely better because you could create a STORY, and set up narrative funnels for your players. 20 years later, our idea of imaginative play can’t be restricted to letting kids carve out crude worlds in 3D chunks and 2D lines.

Shadow Cities: The moment a location-based game surprised me

Seth Schiesel’s effusive review for the New York Times: If you have an iPhone, you simply must try this game. Shadow Cities isn’t just the future of mobile gaming. It may actually be the most interesting, innovative, provocative and far-reaching video game in the world right now, on any system. I looked up at the sole approaching man, and he looked back at me. I couldn’t believe the first thought in my head: “Could he be one of them?” I was walking up the street to my home, and had just been playing Shadow Cities when that moment, an experience of virtual world crossover that no other game had ever produced before, hit me. There are few truly new sensations in gaming each year, and that was a whopper. Giving another person in real life a nervous glance, wondering if they’re a player too, sounds like the kind of crap you might put in an ad (sure enough, it’s in Shadow Cities’ trailer), but there it was, happening to me. Sure, the Nintendo 3DS has …