2012 August

August 30, 2012

Gaming in Stereo: Halo 4 Special Edition

This week I am doing something a bit different, looking at a soundtrack for a game that is still months away. Thanks to Neil Davidge being an awesome guy, and also a great composer, we get a sneak peak at what Halo 4 will be sounding like. Now, if you have watched any of the developer videos from 343 they sometimes play clips of the music in the background of the videos, but here we have around 2 minutes of selected tracks with no gunfire, or chit chat, just the music. There is no doubt that this soundtrack will be one of the standouts of 2012, though very different from Martin O’ Donnell’s Halo soundtrack, it still feels at home. Sweeping orchestras mixing with tasteful piano work and electronic sampling makes this feel modern as well as more of the mature approach 343 was taking with the franchise. It sounds and feel like a Hollywood blockbuster score with out the typical sell out features as of late, i.e. the Inception lower brass blowout that is now in everything. Revival is my favorite so far. The chants over the desperate strings leading up to something sinister and mechanical is just spot on awesome. I hope everyone enjoys this preview look at Halo 4 incredible soundtrack. The soundtrack will be available for purchase October 23rd and Halo 4 will launch on November 6th.

 

August 29, 2012

Congratulations to Themrfraz!

Congratulations Themrfraz!  you are the winner of this weeks giveaway.  You have won yourself a free copy of Mafia II.  You will be contacted at the email address that you registered with.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest and we look forward to seeing you next time!  Good luck!

August 28, 2012

Weekly Giveaway: Alan Wake!

Hello everyone!  We are back for another edition of the weekly giveaway!  This week we are going to be giv­ing away a copy of Alan Wake.  This is a Steam copy of the game and you MUST have a Steam account to claim this prize.

I love watching good supernatural thrillers, X-Files, Grimm, Twin Peaks, even Super Natural. Now it’s time for you to tell us what your favorite supernatural thriller series is; just enter in the comments below. This con­test will be up from today 8/28/2012 — 9/3/2012. Won a prize from us before? No prob­lem! You can play and win as many times as you like! To qual­ify for the con­test do the following:

1. Reg­is­ter for an account (if you’ve already done so go to step 2)

2. Like us on Face­book (if you’ve already done so go to step 3)

3. Tell who your favorite supernatural series is and why!

That’s it!  You’re qualified!

Good luck and game on!

Check out the trailer below:

 

System Requirements:

Minimum:

OS: Windows XP SP2

Processor: Dual Core 2GHz Intel or 2.8GHz AMD

Memory: 2 GB RAM

Graphics: DirectX 10 compatible with 512MB RAM

DirectX®: 9.0c

Hard Drive: 8 GB HD space

Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible

Recommended:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Quad Core 2.66GHz Intel or 3.2GHz AMD

Memory: 4 GB RAM

Graphics: DirectX 10 compatible or later with 1GB RAM

DirectX®: 10

Hard Drive: 8 GB HD space

Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible

Source:  Steam

August 28, 2012

The Importanace of Video Games by Seth

Jane McGonigal, a speaker on TED, once said (paraphrased), “Avid gamers aren’t just wasting time, they’re practicing something…a lot. Whenever someone spends a lot of time doing the same thing, that constitutes practice, and practice makes perfect. So what are gamers getting so good at? I submit that they were practicing a special kind of optimism–the kind you feel just before a pivotal moment in the game begins, at which time you believe to your soul that this challenge, this game, is beatable. All you have to do is just…beat it. In that moment all things are possible, all problems are solvable, everything is going to be all right, and the risk of failure is no obstacle. Gamers, whether they know it or not, have enough practice in this area to be considered masters of this state of mind. They are the most experienced optimists the world has ever known. If the whole world viewed problems the way gamers view the next level, how would our global crises be dwarfed?”

In a video featured in a different TED speech, then college student Michael Highland said (paraphrased), “No medium is better suited than video games to make the human brain so susceptible to reprogramming. In my own mind, the lines between reality and virtuality continue to blur. I drive my real car at sunset and think, ‘This is almost as beautiful as the game,’ which is tragic, of course. But there is potential for good here as well. Imagine games that are designed to get us to confront real ideas in virtual spaces–games that aren’t just about spectacle, but about the practiced exploration of ourselves. Such games have the potential to foster our integration with society, rather than nurturing a confused, antisocial mind.”

Video games have reached a sort of pinnacle in the entertainment industry. Games create more revenue than music. Games are produced by larger crews than movies. In short, the video game in some ways has become the new gold standard of entertainment. In just a few more years, I believe creative minds everywhere will view video games as the penultimate medium through which to convey their ideas and stories.

At this point, everything the gaming industry does tends to impact our culture. And the debate still rages between those who believe the influence games exert on us is bad, and those who think it is good. I want to take a moment to ponder the ways video games might be used to nudge us users in the right direction.

As a gamer, there are two series I’ll use to make my point, just because I’m more familiar with them. I’ll start with the Metal Gear Solid series–produced by Konami and distributed by Sony on its PlayStation consoles. In my opinion, this series is the first (and best) to ever attempt conveying a story arch that matters. For all the spectacle it does contain, the game’s true standout moments are in the story. And like any truly compelling story, the plot elements in this series explore the heaviness of all kinds of fuzzy concepts. Politics. Patriotism. Cloning. Justification by command. The “opiated masses”. And don’t forget federal corruption. In the Metal Gear Solid series, this hugely dramatic concoction of elements amounts to much more than some crappy Steven Segal flick. It’s a gripping narrative of what wrestling with such questions can do to a person. This series provides a virtual space where it’s safe for minds of any level of maturity to get a taste of existential chaos and psychological panic, all while dealing with military conflict and international hostility. Confront the unanswerable questions in this game series, and you will have experienced some serious growing pains by the time you turn off the console. It’s a masterpiece that is still under-recognized today.

Next, the Halo series, produced by Bungie (until recently) and distributed by Microsoft on its XBox consoles. Though hugely popular, Halo’s campaign mode as designed by Bungie has been the most straightforward of First Person Shooters. Not a lot of spectacle or imagination with how the game is played. But again, the strength is in the story elements. A united, secular human race against the hostile, religiously motivated alien federation known as The Covenant. And as if the conflict between science and religion wasn’t dramatic enough, add biological warfare. The social integration of artificial intelligence. The definition of consciousness and sentience. The conflicting priorities of reverence for history vs. the need for progress. The origin of species. And finally, the effect that a mutual apocalyptic threat has on those who disagree with each other. I’m talking about the question of what’s worth living for? Dying for? Killing for? These are the components that make playing the Halo campaigns memorable and praiseworthy.

Now consider all of this along with the point those TED speakers made – the part about gamers being seasoned optimists, rehearsing important decisions in virtual space. In a video game, the player doesn’t waste time wondering if the problem is solvable…only how to solve it. That attitude in a sentence reads something like, “I don’t care what it is. It’s in my way, and I’m gonna fix it.” That kind of approach has a profound effect on worldview and personal stress levels. Calling it a game makes the industry seem so trivial. But it’s not. It’s arguably the most significant revolution in the history of art, with the most intriguing consequences.

Of course, as with any entertainment industry, much of the output isn’t anywhere near this level of importance. Mortal Kombat comes to mind. As does Super Mario. Each represents its own extreme of entertainment for its own sake. Though these less meaningful games have become icons in their own right, and are very enjoyable in that context, they do not exemplify the medium’s potential to evolve the human mind.

As an artist, I’m extremely excited about what video games have become. As a gamer, I’m ecstatic about the experiences available to me in virtual space. And as a philosopher, I’m in awe at the implications of this medium’s potential. It is a zenith of human creativity, and frankly deserves many times the celebration it’s received to date.

August 27, 2012

The Lord Inquisitor

One of the best things about the gaming industry isn’t just the games themselves but the communities and creative minds behind them.  In fact, it could be argued, that the communities are what makes the games great.  Look at Half Life, it was a fantastic game, but it’s reign as the king of the PC wasn’t just because of the barriers it broke but because the community behind it developed some of the greatest user made expansions to ever hit the gaming industry such as Counter-Strike which is considered to be one of the most popular multi-player games ever developed.

Many of you know that I am a huge Warhammer40k fan, not so much of the board games  but for the Mythos and lore behind it.  It’s one of the most highly detailed and chronicled universes of the Sci-Fi world outside of Star-Trek, Star Wars and D&D.  Having said all that it’s on that has received very little attention from the media industry in the form of TV, Web or User Content.  Outside of the intro videos for Dawn of War I and II and the not so great Ultramarine’s movie there really hasn’t been anything outside of user art which is surprising considering how much content there is behind the Warhammer universe.

Erasmus Brasdau, a 3D artist from Germany, is attempting to change that by making a full length movie.  You can check out his Bio here(This is taken directly from his website:

“A one man army focusing to finish this tribute to Warhammer 40k within the next years. Having a huge traditional painting background, Erasmus entered the world of 3D at 19 and got his first job at 22 as a 3D generalist in Germany. After spending most of his life in front of a monitor, it quickly became clear that it is his passion to create serious, lifelike characters.

Although he never played the tabletop game, he enjoyed reading novels about the W40k universe and fell in love with the whole atmosphere.

Being completely obsessed with huge aims in visual qualitiy and projects, he started together with his friend Martin an impressive image showing Imperial Fists fighting against Chaos forces. After the completion, which took around 4 months, he decided to work again on a Warhammer 40K project in his free time.This time it will be a short animation about the inquisition. Starting in early 2010 with the development of the plot, he is working day by day to hopefully finish this project in mid 2013.”

So far the trailers look impressive, especially considering how much work is required and how many people are involved.  While the voice acting leaves a little to be desired the overall package looks amazing.  Check it out and let us know what you think!

The Trailer:

The Demo Trailer:

Making of Part 1:

Making of Part 2:

Pretty cool huh!  Let us know what you guys think!  I hope you are all as excited as we are.  Please check out their site here.

Source: All videos are property of TheLordInquisitor.com.

 

 

August 24, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Goes Live In 7 Hours

If you head over to the Guild Wars 2 website right now, you’re greeted with a very large set of numbers that seems to change every second or so, reducing its count by one, give or take. That’s because tonight at midnight Pacific time the game goes live for the 3-day early access event, something you can still get in to by pre-purchasing the game from ArenaNet themselves.

 

 

There’s an exceedingly slight chance that they’ll start letting small(er) numbers of players in when midnight starts hitting across all the timezones, but I personally wouldn’t hold my breath for that one. Regardless, here’s hoping for a smooth launch into an MMO that looks to change how MMOs are played. See you on Maguuma!

August 23, 2012

Dark Souls Hits the PC Today, Really, Really Hard

 

The long requested and awaited PC version of Dark Souls has finally released today after an incredibly rare show of a publisher listening to its fans. Earlier this year a petition for Dark Souls to be ported to the PC took off and quickly caught the attention of developer From Software and publisher Namco Bandai.

The result was a PC release with some of the DLC planned for console releases included from the start. The aptly named “Prepare to Die Edition” will test PC gamers’ will to triumph as it ships not only with legendary difficulty, but some odd resolution and framerate locks, as well as GFWL. It should also be expected that a controller is all but required to play the game, but that’s one of the more easily overlooked shortcomings of this version. Regardless, it’s available for purchase here on Steam, and assuming the technical limitations don’t put you off you’re in for one of the most rewarding and gratifying gaming experiences in recent years. The punishing difficulty is unrelenting, but it’s also extremely rare that it feels unfair, instead making you learn from your mistakes and earn every victory.

 

As a piece of advice from someone who absolutely loved Dark Souls as a console release and played it avidly, go into it absolutely blind. The sense of wonderment and exploration is absolutely fantastic in this game, unrivaled in any other game I’ve played in recent memory. The sheer fantastic sights that lie in wait around every corner are something to be experienced first-hand, unspoiled by a wiki or internet hearsay. There are some legitimately jaw dropping moments in the game, be it an unexpected ambush or just some wonderful view or area in the game, it’s something to be uncovered as you go along. Stop to take a breath and look around every once in a while. Maybe you’ll be fortunate to hear someone ring that great bell…

August 23, 2012

Multiplay Insomnia i46 Summer 2012

The Multiplay Insomnia i46 LAN (August 24th-27th) starts tomorrow here in the UK, or if you chose to use the Early Access Service you could have gotten into the venue this evening from 6pm onwards. Two of my friends are already at the venue setting up their rigs ready for when it all kicks off for real tomorrow. Even if you haven’t planned in advance it’s still possible for you to purchase a ‘turn up and play’ or ‘day pass’ ticket that will get you into the event.

Insomnia is held 3 times a year at The International Centre in Telford and attracts over 3000 gamers. As well as gamers Insomnia also attracts industry leaders from the world of gaming and computers to show off the latest games and technologies. In fact EA Sports FIFA Core Community Manager Rob Hodson will be attending i46 this time around, if you are not satisfied with playing in the FIFA12 tournaments he’s brought along a playable copy of FIFA13.

Tournaments are a big part of the Insomnia LAN event and include Call of Duty 4, StarCraft 2, League of Legends, and Counter Strike: Source among many others. But it’s not all about the UK, Insomnia attracts gamers from all over Europe and the United States, at i46 the North American teams and the European teams will be going head-to-head in the Team Fortress 2 tournament.

I love a good LAN party but this year it conflicts with me being out of the country, however, I have people on the ground at the event and I’m sure they will keep me informed of any interesting developments, if so, you will be the first to know.

Why not watch live coverage of the event over at Vanilla TV. Insomnia i46 really does have something for everyone.

August 23, 2012

Gaming in Stereo: Transformers Thursday

Being the resident Transformers nut this week is very exciting as seeing the release of Fall of Cybertron, the sequel to High Moon Studios hit War for Cybertron. To celebrate this occasion, I thought it was only right to give the spotlight to the infamous Stan Bush. To the average person, the name Stan Bush means nothing. To anyone that grew up in the 80’s and loved the first Transformers animated movie the man is an arena rock legend. The two songs today are what Stan Bush is most notably known for, rocking out to these songs is great fun and to know they are inspired by something I hold dear and warms the heart.

 

The Touch – Stan Bush – Transformers: The Movie Soundtrack

This was the main theme to the 1986 animated film and just to keep this game related it was used during a GameStop commercial for Preorder DLC for War for Cybertron. The song is just epic area rock that screams back to the 80’s and all the hair. There isn’t much more to say about this track other than grab a Transformer figure and rock out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Til all are one – Stan Bush – In This Life

This was a pleasant surprise at the credit sequence for War of Cybertron. The credit sequence was very well done, including the introduction by the resident boom box, Soundwave. The title of the track was “theme” for Fall of Cybertron. Like the previous track, after you get past the one minute intro there is nothing else to do but rock out. TRANSFORMERS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

All songs were bought from the Zune Marketplace.

August 21, 2012

Weekly Giveaway: Mafia II

Hello everyone!  We are back for another edition of the weekly giveaway!  This week we are going to be giv­ing away a copy of Mafia II.  This is a Steam copy of the game and you MUST have a Steam account to claim this prize.

I love a good gangster story and I’m sure you will too.  Mafia was one of my favorite games and Mafia II is just as good.  This con­test will be up from today 8/20/2012 — 8/27/2012. Won a prize from us before? No prob­lem! You can play and win as many times as you like! To qual­ify for the con­test do the following:

1. Reg­is­ter for an account (if you’ve already done so go to step 2)

2. Like us on Face­book (if you’ve already done so go to step 3)

3. Tell who your favorite gangster is, favorite gangster movie or tell us what era you would live in if you had a choice (i.e the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, etc) and why!

That’s it!  You’re qualified!

Good luck and game on!

Check out the trailer below:

System Requirements:

Minimum:

OS: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later) / Windows Vista / Windows 7
Processor: Pentium D 3Ghz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ (Dual core) or higher
RAM: 1.5 GB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 8GB
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8600 / ATI HD2600 Pro or better
Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
Peripherals: Keyboard and mouse or Windows compatible gamepad

Recommended:

OS: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later) / Windows Vista / Windows 7
Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core processor
RAM: 2GB
Hard Disk Space: 10GB
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 9800 GTX / ATI Radeon HD 3870 or better
Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
Peripherals: Keyboard and mouse or Windows compatible gamepad

Source:  Steam

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