Posts Tagged ‘retrospective’

A World Gone Sane: Strategy and Story In Hostile Waters

I'm not taking the minutes again, Oliver. I didn't declare war on the world to take bloody minutes.

Strategy games seldom come with a premise more creative than “what if aliens?”, or “what if robots?”, or perhaps “what if alien robots?”, and while this often works – their appeal tends to come from systems and details instead – it does leave a gap for more imaginative fair. Take, for example, Hostile Waters, Rage Games’ 2001 release inspired by the 1988 naval/aerial action strategy hybrid Carrier Command.

The central premise of Hostile Waters’ setting is essentially this: What if the Occupy movement had won?

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1942: The Pacific Air War Is The Game Most Worth Saving From 1994

Every game released before 2005 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games.

1942: The Pacific Air War is a game about jinking the Zeroes from your tail and also wondering where the Japanese fleet has gone since you last sighted it. It’s a game about being the best goddam tailgunner in the Pacific Theater and also about worrying that the Americans have shot down too many of your spotter planes. And it’s a game about holding steady and hoping your last torpedo will destroy the carrier that will send out planes to bomb your airfield.

It’s the game I think is worth saving from 1994, because of its incredible scope and scale. It interweaves a complex naval strategy game with a full-featured flight sim, and it’s a perfect example of the ambition of its age, ambition that was realised on 486 processors and yet is so rarely lived up to today.

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How Players Revived Star Wars Galaxies And EverQuest

I am standing in a place that shouldn’t exist. It shouldn’t exist because back in 2011 it was decided that this place and the countless others connected to it were no longer financially viable enough to warrant their own existence. Four years ago, almost to this date, thousands of players gathered where I am standing right now to witness the final moments of Star Wars Galaxies.

“When I was very little, I used to create trial accounts of the game for hours and hours just to continue exploring,” John tells me. “Even though I never made it off of Tatooine or past level 12, I fell in love.” That love is what inspired John, better known by his peers as Aconite, to get involved with the community dedicated to preserving and restoring Galaxies to what it used to be. He’s part of a growing trend of MMOs that find a second life through the reverse engineering, emulation, and sometimes theft of their biggest fans.

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How A Mod Team Helped Age Of Empires 2 Thrive

Scant few games stand the test of time and retain a large active player base sixteen years after release. But not only has Age of Empires II endured, it has thrived. It’s gained new steam thanks in part to an official high-definition re-release but mostly due to the ragtag group of modders-turned-developers who made that release possible. Forgotten Empires filled the game with new stuff and rebalanced the multiplayer in one enormous mod and then two HD expansions: The Forgotten and the recently-released African Kingdoms. I spoke to the team to find out about the challenges of transitioning from mod team to professional development studio, and of continuing to expand a game within its ancient limits.

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Mercenary III: The Dion Crisis Is The Game Most Worth Saving From 1992

Every game released before 2005 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games.

Mercenary III: The Dion Crisis is a first-person open world game with vast environments in which you can travel between multiple planets. That made it remarkable upon release in 1992. What makes it still remarkable today is that your goal is to stop a politican from being elected to office and your methods extend from bribing the press to building prisons.

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Meet The Community Still Playing Action Quake 2

In 1998, mod team Akimbo Team Productions released Action Quake 2, a Quake II multiplayer mod created in their spare time. The landscape of first-person shooters has changed vastly since then, but one group of dedicated fans have never moved on.

Seventeen years later, the game’s Finnish community are still dedicated to the lightning-paced, bullet-showering, Hong Kong movie-style spectacle. I spoke to some of the most dedicated players about why they still play, meet and reminisce regularly about a game where you’re as likely to perish courtesy of an airborne throwing dagger as you are to be tossed from a rooftop, plunging three stories to your doom.

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Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed Is The Game Most Worth Saving From 2000

Every game released before 2005 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games.

I remember when the Porsche 911 arrived on the scene in 1963.

Which is strange because I wouldn’t even be born for a couple more decades, but nevertheless I have a strong memory of what it was like when the very first edition of what became the single most successful line of sports cars ever produced first appeared. The reason I remember this moment is because I felt like I lived it in 2000’s Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed.

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Kohan Is The Game Most Worth Saving From 2001

Every game released before 2005 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games.

It’s not just that I want to save Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns from whatever gaming apocalypse is about to wipe all our hard drives clean, it’s that I want to save it from outright obscurity. I don’t know what happened to Kohan. I don’t know why more of us aren’t still talking about it, any of us. I suppose it’s ridiculous to expect any of us to actually still be playing it. But I am.

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The RPG Scrollbars: A Visit To Old Albion

Albion really should be better known. It’s one of the more obscure beloved 90s RPGs, rarely brought up in conversation like the Ultimas or the Gold Box games or for the true aficionados, games like Darklands. Since release though it’s had a decent nostalgic following, and its recent re-launch on GOG produced what can only be described as a small yet dignified whoop from many a corner. So what is it about this obscure offering from the publisher of The Settlers that’s managed to stay in players’ minds for so long? Let’s take a look, shall we? Seems a good time.

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CD Projekt Red On The Making Of The Witcher 1:
“We thought we could accomplish anything.”

The Witcher 3 [official site] brings to a close one of the strangest trilogies in games. Unlike a series like Mass Effect, where the first game’s design laid a foundation for each subsequent instalment, The Witcher series completely reinvented itself at every turn. Yet despite the way CD Projekt Red lurched from one design to another, the series also retained an undeniably unique and consistent identity.

How much of The Witcher series’ evolution was by design, and how much was improvised? It’s hard to say, even for the CDP veterans who oversaw Geralt’s video game odyssey from beginning to end. I know because I asked.

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