Last week, GDC erupted all over the gaming world, raining molten news bits down on an unsuspecting populace. Tragically, despite a very high casualty count, most of Xbox Live managed to survive. The bottom line? A whole lot of stuff happened, and odds are, some of it managed to fly under your radar. Well, no more. Here's everything you need to know.
We're on the ground at the Game Developer's Conference, and – to put it as eloquently as possible – stuff is happening. New games, old games, release dates, bold proclamations about the state of the gaming industry – there's a little (or a lot of) something for everyone. Now imagine if there was a single place where you could find all of that information. How ecstatic would you be? Ecstatic enough to click a button? Ecstatic enough to read more? Well then, click that button to, you know, read more.
Gray. Dingy darkness as far as the eye can see. The sky is gray. The mountains are gray. Even the snow looks as though Mick Jagger tried painting it black and got bored half-way through. A gruff voice struggles to be heard through a radio, practically clawing its way out of the speakers. “I'm in position! I won't be able to hold it for long!” Helicopters swoop in as orchestral music swells in the background. This should be big. This should be epic. But it isn't, because you're a gamer, and you've been here a million times before. Oh, and here's the kicker: the thing I just described? It's the sequel to a colorful, over-the-top snowboarding game.
Announced during last weekend's Spike TV's Videogame Awards (a whole other can filled with equal parts worms and disgrace), SSX: Deadly Descents is pretty much everything that's wrong with big-name, triple-A game development these days. It's gray! It's edgy! It's realistic! It's... so damn boring that I'm going to stop describing it for fear of falling asleep mid-sentence. Most depressing, however, is the fact that it's certainly not alone. The grand majority of big-budget mega-games – almost regardless of genre – seem to be pandering exclusively to the testosterone-fueled manly man who thinks Michael Bay's filmography is the height of human achievement.
Creativity may not be dead, but it's whistling an all-too-merry tune while digging its own grave. Call of Duty: Black Ops, Medal of Honor, Killzone, Gears of War, Resistance, Halo: Reach -- what do they all have in common? They're the same stinkin' game! But their wide variety of three whole character stereotypes, two level patterns, and one color palette is where the money's at, and when budgets are this over-inflated, one wrong move will make the bubble burst. The bottom line? Caution. No unnecessary risks. Applying the same old formulas to new products over and over and over and over and, well, you get the point.
But hey, there's a silver lining here – and a big one at that. Find out what it is after the break!
Sometimes, gamers. Sometimes, we just don't know. After all, we're looking at some mental gymnastics worthy of an Olympic medal. Here, put these unflatteringly short shorts on your brain; let's try running the course: Someone makes an awesome, extremely innovative game that you love. And we mean someone. Precisely one guy did almost all the work here. So he lets you into his magical land of Grown Up Legos for a reasonable fee and then scrambles to keep his game from getting squashed flatter and less functional than a Macbook Air under your collective weight.
At this point, you have a few options. 1) You could politely thank Mr. Notch for his hard work and enjoy the already massive toolset he's provided for you. 2) You could go on Minecraft's forums and suggest what – in your opinion – would make the game even better. 3) You could slow the game's servers to a one-armed crawl with a massive DDOS attack and basically hold the entire game at gunpoint while throwing a temper tantrum because you want your new toys right now.
Did you pick number three? Well then, congratulations: we hate you.
“Minecraft is currently experiencing a stimulation provided by us,” read a post on uber-popular message board 4chan. “Its purpose is to send Notch a clear message of how the future of Minecraft will turn out unless he gets to work, namely by influencing the amount of sales taking place, due to the attacks. Start providing your customers with the updates that you promise them.”
Minecraft in its current form has been around since the tail end of June. Oh, and let's not forget that Notch and his small staff are currently hard-at-work on a massive update set to launch on Halloween.
Knowing these “protesters,” though, you probably ought to expect the server slowdowns to resume the day afterward at 12:01 AM on the dot.
Here at Maximum PC, we like to build PCs. One nice side effect of constructing said Godzillas among calculators is that we get to play games! But we're not quite as crazy as a player going by the name “theinternetftw,” who built a PC to play games and then built a PC inside one of those games.
And it works. Powered by virtual wood and fire, it's the most eco-friendly computer since Avatar's really stupid plot twist. Or, in Mr. FTW's words:
“This is the first part of a planned 16-bit computer that will run entirely in Minecraft. That computer will be 'Hack' compatible, which is to say that it'll run code meant for the Hack machine described in [the book] 'The Elements of Computer Systems.'”
We can't decide what we're more impressed by: Minecraft's sheer versatility or this guy's extremely dedicated application of nerdy elbow grease. Either way, we are in the presence of a geek deity. Watch the video below and bow to his supremacy.
Rome wasn't built in a day, but Minecraft creator Markus Persson's fortune was. And continues to be. The indie building sensation – which turns players loose in a world full of angry beasts that go bump in the night and challenges them to build if they want to survive – quickly found its way to roughly 4,000 copies sold per day. Impressive, huh? No, not really, as it turns out. At least, not when compared to September 22, when – if sales were already on fire – they finally up and exploded.
Prior to that, developer Mojang was forced to offer the game for free for couple days while it mended its busted servers, which finally snapped under the pressure of supporting such a rapidly growing game. The result of that unintentional appetizer? Everyone wanted to get their hands on the main course. And so, in one day, sales skyrocketed to 26,000 copies – a grand total of roughly $350,000. That – for those of you who still have one more “woah” hovering on the tip of your tongue and need somewhere to aim it – means roughly one copy sold every three seconds.
The best part? Persson's pretty much a one-man show. And even though 26,000 is still the record, sales have mostly hovered between 15,000 and 10,000 per day ever since. So, how's the surprise winner of the game development lottery taking his newfound mountain of money?
"It all feels unreal. I thought I could make a living from the game, but I did not expect to become rich,” Persson said in a recent interview.
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