So many games, no time to play them. Is this our curse? Are we to forever wander around the internet and look at storefronts, dreaming about all these terrific video games that we don’t have time for? Look at all these great articles in this 22nd issue of VALUE’s Field Reports! I want to rob medieval houses, invade nearby kingdoms, shoot nazi’s in the face (both present day and WW2 versions), or back some great Kickstarter games. And I still have to replay Wolfenstein 3D and Doom! Oh woe is me.
Luckily, I can still read about them. And so can you. So read on, my friends, read on and enjoy!
First Review of The Interactive Past
Our book’s been reviewed for the very first time, and spoiler: they liked it! Not sure what book I’m talking about? SHAME ON YOU! Luckily, I’ve got you covered.
Read the review
Read the book, for free(!)
The Games for Change Festival
As you, hopefully, know by now, we at VALUE value undertakings that look at the role video games play in real life™. The Games for Change Festival is a huge gathering that focuses on the positive power of digital games and virtual technology. The festival, taking place between July 31st and August 2nd in New York City, has three tracks which each focuses on a different aspect, but they have one thing in common: great keynote speakers. There’s too many (great) presentations to list here, so I suggest you take a look at the festival’s programme!
Head over to Games For Change’s website
Archaeogaming, Now On Your Youtubes!
Archaeogaming has recently launched their Youtube channel, and you can expect it to have a new film uploaded each month! For now there’s only “This is Archaeogaming” which Andrew Reinhard made for our The Interactive Pasts Online conference, and we’re looking forward to more! Like, share, and subscribe, as those Youtubers say!
Read the announcement about, and a link to, the Youtube channel on Archaeogaming’s website
Guerilla Journalism: The Dangers of Game Journalism in Cuba
Despite the decennia long trade blockade the United States had imposed upon Cuba, the Cubans managed to slowly build up a semi-legal underground culture of gaming and game developing. But, because it’s technically not legal, coverage is a risky business: the government might confiscate gear or imprison everyone involved, and the police won’t help anyone when they’re targeted by criminals. Yes, we’re still talking about video games. Not dangerous drugs or smuggling. Video games. Polygon wrote a very interesting article on the game industry of Cuba, which is part of a 12-part series.
Definitely read this one!
Or the whole series
Wolfenstein: Stuff You Probably Didn’t Know
At some point in time, I was just a wee lad, unknown to much what the gaming world would have to offer for me. I had played (well, I pressed keys in) Prince of Persia and stomped some Goombas in Super Mario Bros. but I had never played a shooter. Cue Wolfenstein 3D, a wonderful world of swastikas, nazi soldiers, killer attack dogs, and lots and lots of violence. You know, the perfect game for an 8 year old. Me and my best friend played the game on her father’s pc together. I’d man the arrow keys, clumsily steering us through firefights and confusing mazes, while she’d select weapons, open doors, and pull the trigger. Together, we were unstoppable. I was unaware of the world behind video games: the impact they’d had, the challenges of development, and the controversy they could cause. But Did You Know Gaming’s new video contains a lot more that 8 year old Protosmoochy (and 30 year old Protosmoochy for that matter) didn’t know. So put on your Nazi-kicking boots, we’re revisiting one of the most classic FPS ever: Wolfenstein 3D!
A Hellish Invasion on Mars is Smaller Than This Website
Speaking of pioneering FPS games made by idSoftware, the average website is now about the same size as the shareware version of Doom. But are they as fun though? Yeah, I can access all the information in the world, I can look at pictures of cats, and order the latest games. But can I grab a shotgun and shoot some Imps in the face? Didn’t think so! Ergo, it’s not about the size, it’s what you do with it.
Read more about this technical wizardry
To Boldly Go Where No One has Gone Before – And Be Colonial All Over Again
Mass Effect: Andromeda’s been catching quite a lot of flak since it was released a few months ago. But where most people were amused and/or annoyed by glitches and a lack of polish, Gamasutra took note of a more problematic part of the game: the fact that a ship full of colonisers is sent to a distant planet to settle. Turns out, not all is peaceful, and there’s a full blown war going on. But how do you deal with the difficult subject of imperialism in space, when we currently on earth aren’t even near the final point of discussion and understanding?
Read Gamastura’s article, and decide for yourself if Andromeda has handled the subject in a respectful way
Relabeling: Preservation, or Destruction?
A retro game collector by the name of The 8-bit Guy has caused quite the discussion when he recorded a video in which he showed how to relabel old cartridges. Some cried foul, accusing him of destroying the historicity of the game, where others were glad he was able to restore the games back to what they used to look like. What say you, reader? Accept the wear and tear of time, or try to recreate the original?
Check out the discussion over on Kotaku
Samurai Warriors: Again, With More Feeling
If we’re to believe the Samurai Warriors game series, samurai used giants fans and fought of thousands of lowly soldiers singlehandedly. Historically accurate? Oh no. Fun? You betcha! Not straying far from its related Dynasty Warriors, you murder your way through battlefields while other samurai applaud your skills in battle. What has changed, however, is the story. Where it once was a flimsy excuse to have battles, now it has some decent writing and emotional plotlines. Feelings? In my meatgrinder simulation? I do declare!
Read the review and see why people are excited about this new installment
Battlefield 1 DLC Adds Female Soldiers
It’s about damned time! A shame that you need to pay money for the option, though. The Russian Scout class is represented by the “1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death” which has to be the most metal name for a battalion ever.
Kotaku has more info
The Legacy of Lego Island
GREAT. Now I have the soundtrack stuck in my head… “You can move a mountain, if you do it brick by brick.” That’s going to take WEEKS to get it out. Ugh… Anyway, Lego Island holds a special place in the heart of a lot of gamers: It was one of the first (kid-friendly) open “world” games. You were a little pizza delivery kid that, even though the giant signs told him not to, gave pizza to the Brickster. The Brickster was your classic burglar/criminal, with prison getup and everything. He breaks out, you build racecars and machinery to try and find him. I revisited it last year, and eh…. Just don’t. Don’t spoil the memories you might have. Apparently, someone recognised its greatness and wrote an article of the game in honor of its upcoming 20 year anniversary. God, I’m old…
You too can move a mountain, if you read this
Reloading The Past: Looking At Memory Cards
We’ve already mentioned this GameInformer feature before, but it’s just so fun that it’d be a shame not to talk about it again. The premise is simple: you buy an old Memory Card, load it up and try to find out what kind of player its original owner was. Metal Gear Solid’s Psycho Mantis, but without the psychic powers. Deduction, my dear Watson! Time played, win-ratio, favourite characters, it’s all in there.
Join GameInformer in their attempt
The History of eSports
eSports are growing bigger and bigger: winners are rewarded millions of dollars, over 150 million people watch tournaments online, and there’s no end in sight. Who knows, one day League of Legends might surpass the Soccer Worldcup. But how did it all begin to become the phenomenon it is today?
Have a look at this handy infographic
Rockstar Is Behaving Like a Real Rock Star
Like Axl Rose, to be exact. Just like the Guns ‘n Roses frontman, Rockstar is notorious for its delays. Sure, the games they push out are extremely well polished and great fun, but come on… Ever heard of a planner? Rockstar’s basically delayed every single game they’ve been working on, and Polygon’s been looking at Rockstar’s history of not releasing games on time.
Read (and weep)
Far Cry 5 is Set in Montana, USA
And boy are people angry. Apparently it’s okay for rich white men to kill scores of Africans (Far Cry 2), Micronesians (Far Cry 3), and Nepalese (Far Cry 4), but suddenly people start protesting when the antagonists are racist neo-nazi white supremacists in the good ol’ USA. And here I was thinking that basically everyone agrees that shooting Nazi’s in video games is always a good idea. Anyway, enjoy the cinematic trailer!
Crusader Kings 2: War Squared
What’s that? Your massive army is about to knock down the door of your neighbouring country, in order to add another piece of the map to your ever expanding domain, but some invisible force is stopping you? Oh what’s that, you don’t have a Casus Belli? Hah, guess your army will have to wait till you do! Luckily, the developers of Crusader Kings 2 have realised that sometimes, people just want to have a good old fashioned war. Every faction in the game can now start an Unjustified War, allowing you to, just like so many did before you in real life, start attacking other people because you felt like it.
Rejoice, for there will be blood!
Nice House, Shame If Someone Would Rob It
Thieves are pretty popular in video games, from RPG classes to Action game “heroes”. My personal favourite is Garett, the protagonist of the super-original title “Thief”. The Master Thief would make his way through a medieval low-fantasy world, stealing household items on his way to the main goal. In reality, most of the time, video game thieves don’t actually steal anything. However, in the recently released Killers and Thieves you are the head of a gang of thieves who have to (surprise, surprise) rob houses in a medieval city. Sneak, steal, and stab your way through silent nights and try to get rich fast.
Polygon wrote a review
We have a bunch of Kickstarter projects that we think you’ll find interesting! If we’d combine them all, we’d have an RPG game about Napoleon who runs a medieval airport in Ancient Egypt and he has to defend it against shapeshifting monsters. I’d buy that game in a heartbeat, actually.
IUNU: Dynasty of Ancient Egypt
Although it has a nigh-unpronounceable name, IUNU looks promising. Egyptian Hieroglyphs adorn the playing cards you use to attract support and defeat your enemies. The design is minimalistic, but fitting. They’ve reached their goal, but there’s still a month left to back it, if you want.
Check out their Kickstarter
Archive: Less Fantasy, More History
I see you thinking: “Dungeons and Dragons is fun and all, but I could really do with less Orcs and Magic. If only there was a way to add more historical accuracy to my campaigns!” Fret no more, totally-not-planted-member-of-the-audience! Because you can now back Archive on Kickstarter. Archive is an RPG-book, but with historical figures, settings, and events. Roll your D20 and see if you can manage to defeat a Sudanese dictator in the minefields of WW1.
You can read more on their page
Aviation Tycoon: Fly Others Like an Eagle
What if the distance you want to travel is too far for a train? You buy a ticket to fly! You are an investor, during the dawn of commercial flights, and you see opportunities! Play against competing players to become the most important airline company in the United States. Just don’t violently assault your passengers, mkay?
Aviation Tycoon has flown past its goal, and you have 50 days to pledge before it ends
I know Abba was (and still is) a hugely popular band, but I didn’t expect someone to make a complex strategic board game about one of their songs. I mean, it’s catchy and all, but you don’t see me making a board game about Black Sabbath. *muffled intercom voice* A what? Napoleon? France? Oh…. Well, apparently Abba didn’t come up with Waterloo, it was an actual battle. No one tells me anything around here. Next you’ll tell me the Dutch played a significant role in the battle, only two years after driving out the French dominion! Anyway, Napoleon Saga: Waterloo seems to be a pretty standard card-based strategic board game based on the famous battle of Waterloo. There’s two sides, the French (obviously) and the British (let’s just forget about the Dutch, Belgian, and Prussian troops that outnumbered the British soldiers). Your units are represented by cards, and action cards allow you to influence the course of battle.
Charge towards the Kickstarter page, and see if you want to fight for or against Napoleon
The End is Ni—errr, Nahual!
Yes, the end is very Nahual! This point and click adventure is set in Mesoamerican lore, with fearsome (and adorable) shapeshifting beasts, colonial issues, and lots of puns. The game is both humorous and interesting, with colourful characters and beautiful artwork.
Definitely check out their Kickstarter page for more info!
Medieval Shopkeeper Simulator
The most important NPC in many an RPG game isn’t your trusty sidekick, nor is it the wise sage that points you in the right direction. It’s the shopkeeper, the guy or gal that buys all your junk items and outdated weapons. 13 bone fragments? No problem! An ancient artifact of imaginable power? I can give you 40 gold for that. But how is life on the other side of the counter? If you want to set prices, buy old weapons, or “forget” to buy mana potions so that crummy wizard has to do without, then you might be interested in this Kickstarter!
Go forth and sell!