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Knee-Deep in Winter, Videogames Set in the Snow

15 Jan

By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Snow and ice in video games is often considered to be a nuisance. Controlling your character gets harder as you loose traction. You might have to halt your adventure to find shelter and stay warm. Perhaps you’re lost in a blizzard and have to carefully navigate your way clear. But some games want to play in the snow. They’re offering pristine worlds of snow and ice to frolic in. Here are five examples of winter gaming that you might enjoy checking out!

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Silent Hill 

The original PlayStation horror classic is bursting with many things, though holiday cheer is not one of them.

The town of Silent Hill is shrouded in perpetual fog and snow falling out of season. This seemingly empty mountain town is where you have to search for your daughter who went missing after a car accident. Just hope nothing else finds her, or you, first.

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In Conversation with MCM, Redefining Storytelling with the multi-narrative “Dirt”

19 Dec

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

201699_10150171129933450_3208833_oMCM (Michael Milligan) is a prolific and progressive-thinking author, screenwriter, computer programmer making waves with his mobile app, Get Dirt. It redefines how a story can be told. Instead of reading a book, the tale is told through a different kind of “found footage.” Unlike the cinema approach which locks viewers to a sequentially edited product, all the information is at the user’s disposal and he or she has to shift through it to discover the tale. There’s also a comparison to a Victorian-age book, but more on that later.

Part of his approach comes from a condition he has. Aphantasia is a rare problem where folks are unable to mentally visualize images. “I can’t see things in my mind’s eye,” said MCM, “It’s actually a brilliant thing, I think, for script writing especially because a scene or any event is built out of key components that you need to focus on for its execution to make sense, and everything else is extraneous because I don’t know what it looks like.”

When writing for animation, especially at the preschool level, the formula is simple: educate the viewer. Often, the piece involves teaching a lesson the youth can take to apply in everyday life as they grow up. As with many programs developed in this television entertainment medium, they are done in a boardroom in a roundtable discussion. Ideas are pitched and in what’s developed, it’s made into a 23-minute show. This writer’s task is to develop a focused script that gets to the point. Continue reading

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Wild Arms 20th Anniversary Approaches & One Wild Hope (A Personal Retrospective)

16 Dec

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Although the Wild ARMS video game franchise was never hugely popular in North America as it were in Japan, the dedicated fan-base will be celebrating on Dec 20, 2016. Twenty years ago, it was released in the Land of the Rising Sun. Recent news reports reveal Sony (the intellectual property owner) and former staff from Media.Vision (original developer) are involved in bringing the property back to life. It will be based on the original game and Sony’s mobile publishing division ForwardWorks is helming this latest entry. Past cell-phone games used the name to dress up what was basically Tetris and a simple shooter. The hope here is that the new product will be a full-on J-RPG, and most reports hint at this direction.

If this speculation is correct, the audience will be limited to Japan at first. In the time being, I will be hooking up my PlayStation2 to the big screen to enjoy all the games all over again. The love I have for this game inspired by the American Old West and Steampunk will be re-ignited. I will attempt to finish all these original games by the time Wild Arms North American Platinum Anniversary takes place in March 2017. While this later date will not feel the same, lots of people don’t recognize that Star Trek had its pilot shown to NBC February 1965 whereas the broadcast was Sept 1966 — the question asked is which date should be better recognized?

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The original game that started it all, featuring Rudy, Jack, and Cecilia.

Creator Akifumi Kaneko left Media.Vision back in 2009 and some fans feared no more Wild Arms will be coming. Fortunately, that was put to rest when Pixel Dynamo reported early in 2016 about Kaneko’s Twitter post. He met with executives to plan the 20th anniversary. Since then, not many continuing reports emerged in the months afterwards about what is happening. In the coming days, I like to see the complete library of the past games be offered on via Sony’s PlayStation Network.

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Ed’s Pokémon GO Journals: Crack Me an Egg, Where’s the Bacon?

14 Dec

holiday-pikachuBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

If Pokémon GO is going to keep its hold as a popular game, perhaps Niantic Inc. needs to stop making baby steps when adding new features to the program. The news from Monday is hardly exciting. I was hoping to hear of a feature that will get me stepping to the frigid outside. I have caught all that I can in North America (by evolving after doing a lot of buddy walking) and until there are other methods to earn coin/candy, I’m not constantly duking it out for control of a gym.

Not a lot of people north of the 45th parallel and perhaps a few States down, will be venturing out much — if at all — during the Winter season. I could be taking advantage of this fact to find really out of the way gyms nobody wants to venture out to because of the weather, but I’m sure those hardcore players are doing the same. I’m not prepared to deal with those die-hards.

The company is thinking small if they assume everyone around the world are still playing. The USA only promotions, namely tie-ins with Sprint and Starbucks, will only have a percentage of the declining player base and only a specific portion of the user base interested. The Santa hat Pikachu variation will definitely have the Collector type trainers seeking him out, and thankfully players worldwide have access to it. The decoration remains after evolving. For the most part, this sugar coat deal is nothing big to be excited over.

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