Gaming Roundup 8/14/08: People Can Fly

Nathan Grayson

Recently, I was flipping through the latest Electronic Gaming Monthly when I came across an ad for Too Human. The ad itself was nicely produced, essentially screaming "This game is about killing robots," with hero Baldur standing confidently before a heap of his slain foes. The plethora of robo corpses that cluttered the page wasn't what interested me, though. Instead, it was a small quote by Friedrich Nietzsche that drew my focus. After that, my first thought was, "Well, now I need to read up on Nietzsche to fully understand the point that Dyack and co. are trying to make with their game. Cool!"

But, by that same token, I've met and spoken with plenty of people who, after a long, exhausting day at the office, want nothing more than a little catharsis. With their brain already floating in a hazy cloud of near-unconsciousness, they don't want to think. Games as art? Who needs 'em? Some people just want to have fun.

So, which side of the line do you call home? Do you F5 Brainy Gamer all day long while extolling the virtues of story in games? Or did you think Metal Gear Solid 4 was a pretentious pile of crap -- treading on territory reserved for literature and film? Thought-provoking or mindless fun? Which do you prefer?

Today's Roundup has a little something for everyone. With a story about one of the artsiest designers out there packing up shop and heading for the PC, some big news concerning the most cathartic series in all of gaming, and a use for games that's neither art nor entertainment, no one will walk out of this theater with a dissatisfied frown. Jump past the break for the full thing.

EA Partners Inks Publishing Deal With Epic, Grasshopper

"Here's buckets of money," Epic's Mike Capps actually told Painkiller creator People Can Fly. "Make a new IP, make something as cool as Painkiller."

It can only be assumed that People Can Fly said, "Humunah-humunah-humanuh...ok!" and a deal was born. As the title states, EA's publishing. But I'm quivering in excitement over the second part of EA's Thursday twofer.

Grasshopper, for those unfamiliar, has gone out of its way to craft a "punk" persona. "My studio creates games in a punk style... this is our tenth year and look where I am today... I'm very happy with EAP's support," said the enigmatic Goichi "Suda51" Suda.

Even better, Shinji "Resident Evil1&4" Mikami is producing the project. With any luck, Mikami's brilliance and Suda's borderline-insanity will balance each other out. Keep an eye on this project, folks. It could be something really special.

On the Job Gaming

Our own sirphunkee pointed me in the direction of this article, which takes an in-depth look at how gaming could, in an ironic twist, train the workforce to work more proficiently. And as a graduate from the Typing of the Dead school of reallyreallyfastquicktyping, I can personally vouch for this method of learning.

However, don't expect TF2uesdays around the office any time soon. As the article points out:

"Companies also run the risk of employees taking the training less seriously because they view it as fun, says Michael Cai, director of gaming research at Park Associates. It is also important to make the game fit the work environment. Games also shouldn't take up too much work time or be replacements for certain types of traditional training, Cai notes."

Still though, if a colleague pulls the ol' "Those vidja games are fer the kiddies" argument on you, tell them about this article. You could even snag a raise.

Burnout Paradise hitting PSN this autumn

Yeah, the PC has been doing this since the Xbox 360 and PS3 were barely even a twinkle in some factory robot's constantly-blinking, red eye-like apparatus. But for consoles, this is the next step in a big movement. With retail games hopping into digital distribution, it's only a matter of time before digital takes over altogether. For now, though, it offers tired titles a second chance at glory.

July NPD - official figures released

You can stop holding your breath and crossing your fingers; Nintendo topped the charts again. Whew, that was a close one.

Blizzard to Issue an Extra 3,000 Tickets for BlizzCon 2008

Cool move on Blizzard's part. After an initial sale that was plagued by technical issues, Blizzard is opening up Blizzcon to another 3,000 people. The tickets will, due to time constraints, not be given away in select bars of chocolate, but will instead be sold via lottery. Unfortunately, if you created a Blizzard account after the first ticket sellout, you're out of luck.

Report: PC, Xbox 360 Dominate Game Development

PC gaming. Not dying. Better than ever. Etc.

Sidenote: If you'd like to send me a news tip, I've added my email address to my Max PC profile. Thanks in advance!

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