30 June 2012

Saturday Supplemental - The Industry's Out of Touch

Jim Sterling - The Escapist
Jimquisition: Rape vs. Murder
My advice for real life? Don't do either.

Chris Kohler - Wired Game|Life
7 Games You’ve Never Heard of That Changed Everything
There are some people in the comments who really want it to be known that they've heard of these games. I think they think they're making themselves look smart and cool, but it's not working so well.

Bill Harris - Dubious Quality
Futures [Part One] [Part Two]
Bill looks at the stock prices of America's biggest game publishers over the past sever years. The executives at these companies always seem so proud and confident, which is a baffling stance considering the evidence presented here. It's not like I know the solution, but if you are responsible for growing or maintaining the value of any of these businesses, congratulations! You're doing a terrible job.

Allistair Pinsof - Destructoid
Minecraft XBLA was a rushed deal before E3, says Spencer
Speaking of woefully out of touch publishing executives...

Jim Sterling - Destructoid
Have an obnoxious, petty SimCity Social trailer
There's so much to hate about this trailer, but the worst part was having that song stuck in my head for a whole day.

Jim Sterling - Destructoid
Tekken producer to fans: stop whining
I've never played a Tekken game, but after reading this rant from producer Katsuhiro Harada, I am an instant fan.

Chris Person - Kotaku
The Video Game Roger Ebert Loved
That game is The Cosmology of Kyoto, and it looks wildly unique.

Darren Wells - GamesRadar
An Interview with Warren Spector
I've never gotten into any of Spector's games, but he's been doing some great interviews lately. Maybe Epic Mickey 2 will be the one to turn me around.

Brandon Sheffield - Gamasutra
Opinion: Video games and Male Gaze - are we men or boys?
Presumably, many of the people who will read this article are neither. The article doesn't really have much to say about feminism and games that hasn't already been said, but it hits on most of the big bullet points of our time. This is a good place to start if you haven't kept up with modern controversies and debates.

The new millennium's tough.

28 June 2012


Daily updates? Psssssssh.

Here's the thing about being an upstart, amateur Web master with a full time job: You can make all the promises you want about daily updates, but sometimes you run out of deodorant in the middle of the week and have to spend an afternoon riding your bike to the grocery store.

I have after-work plans for tomorrow, as well - plans that fortunately have much less to do with armpit maintenance - but hopefully I'll have enough time to finish the thing I started today. No promises, of course, but I can at least give you a little taste:

27 June 2012


Sometimes I go after dangerous, demeaning foes like sexism. Other times I train my cross hairs on people who say stuff in a way that's different that the way I say stuff.

It's a good thing I don't have any readers to alienate.

26 June 2012

We Can Do It!

I expected today's article to be a real downer. Imagine my surprise when it ended up being the most feel-good piece I've written for this site.

Of course, the video game community has been kind enough to remind us recently that it can just as disgusting and misogynistic as ever, but at least the big authorial voices are getting better.

25 June 2012

Always Gets a Replay

New from your friends at Hot Lavy - it's original video content. Hoorah!

I know this video's not exactly short by Internet standards, but I could have easily made it two or three times longer. There were so many games to play, and so much to say about most of them, that I eventually had to force myself to stop talking and start cutting for length. I don't even mention, for instance, how I learned that Night Driver is the secret scariest video game in existence, nor do I tell the story of meeting Gary Stearn or Steve Weibe (who suggested that I buy my own Donkey Kong arcade cabinet in the same off-handed manner one might use when telling somebody to pick up a few rolls of toilet paper next time they're out). Subjects for another day, I suppose.

I paid $15 for one-day admission, and it was worth every penny. Seriously, it was the best time I've had in a long while, and it was clear that the people who aren't as video game-crazy as I am had a blast, as well. I give the NW Pinball and Arcade Show a big thumbs-up, and I highly recommend that you check if your own city offers an equivalent.

24 June 2012

Sunday Free Game - Fix-It Felix Jr.

Aw! Thanks, Disney! You didn't have to make a whole movie just for me! And you made a little game to go with it? Oh, you shouldn't have!

I've been aware of this movie for a few months now, but my faith in Disney has dipped over the years, and I was feeling tepid about the whole affair...until I saw the trailer. M. Bison sitting beside Dr. Robotnik? Kano and Bowser hanging out in the background? Q*bert being Q*bert? Talking Heads music? Oh, yeah - I am definitely on-board.

But aside from all the video game character cameos and New Wave, I was curious about the fictional game from whence Ralph was born. Check out the Donkey Kong-inspired marquee and phosphorous glow on that cabinet in the trailer. Someone obviously put some thought into an authentically '80s-looking aesthetic, and I wondered if they went as far as to design a believable game to go with it.

Fix-It Felix Jr. seemed like it would answer my question. Sadly this is not the Fix-It Felix you'll see in Wreck-It Ralph, but it is a competent little arcade facsimile in its own right. Felix scales the side of a building, repairing shattered windows by smashing them with a hammer, as any good video game man would do. Meanwhile, Ralph attempts to drop bricks on our hero while roving birds provide further impede Felix's progress.

It ends up feeling like an extremely tame version of Crazy Climber. Maybe they should just call this game "Climber". The pixelated sprites and "everything wants to kill you" logic certainly recall a bygone era, and some of the sound effects are ripped straight out of Mega Man, but there's no mistaking this for anything but a modern Flash game. Arcade games were built to take all your quarters. The challenge was always stiff, and death came swiftly for those who lost their concentration. Fix-It Felix Jr., on the other hand, exists solely to promote a movie. It's cute and toothless for the first ten or fifteen stages. The pace quickens a bit after that, but the difficulty ramps up so gradually that I'd lost interest by the time I got that far.

I recommend playing it, but manage your expectations. This isn't the neo-arcade-classic I was hoping it would be, but it is an above-average Flash game, and that's good, too.

23 June 2012

Saturday Supplemental - Girl Power!

Jonathan Holmes - Destructoid
Talking to Women about Videogames: On icons & minorities
Some people think Lara Croft is cool and empowering. I do not. In fact, while I eventually learned to appreciate the games, I passed over the Tomb Raider series for years because I was embarrassed by the pandering character design, so the idea of retooling ol' Pyramid-Chest sounds fine with me, but replacing her with a dirty, moaning, sexual assault victim is so much worse.

Jim Sterling - Destructoid
Objectification and Lollipop Chainsaw
I've been a diehard Grasshopper Manufacture fan since the moment I first played Killer7, but very little about the marketing for Lollipop Chainsaw, the company's latest release, has done much to grab me. There's nothing especially enticing about the "hilarious" premise of a sexy lady who cuts up zombies, and even if there were, I've played more than enough OneChanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers (i.e., more than thirty seconds) to slake that thirst for life. Still, I trust that Grasshopper wouldn't lean so heavily on male gaze and cliché without some subversive purpose, and Jim Sterling has a compelling theory about what that purpose is.

Lucy O'Brien - IGN
Shigeru Miyamoto Talks Competition at E3
This is the correct attitude: "People come to E3 and they want to talk about competition and who won the show, and all these companies combating one another. But what we’re meant to be doing is bringing fun to the world. So rather than focusing on competition, I feel it’s my job to go up on stage and show how I can bring fun to the world by having fun myself.”

Simon Parkin - Chewing Pixels
The Rise and Collapse of Yoshinori Ono
Capcom's is the wrong attitude, which is probably why so many of their most creative and talented people are leaving the company. I really hope they turn things around before they lose anyone else.

The DOs and DON'Ts of Gaming Gender Relations
This video purports that anyone can be not-awful, but the comments section provides a convincing counterargument.

Christian Nutt - Gamasutra
Serving 'damn good sushi' is the Japanese developer's path, says Team Ninja
As opposed to "hamburgers." It's refreshing to see Yosuke Hayashi soberly admit that Ninja Gaiden III was misguided, especially at a time when I'm sure his bosses would prefer that he hype the upcoming Wii U port.

John - tikisaurus
Ken Sugimori’s original Pokemon Red/Green Concept Art is Awesome
Those "Capsule Monsters" sure looked like dinosaurs back in 1990.

Jean Pierre Kellams - 1UP
OP-ED: Mainstream Gaming and the Male Gaze
Like Lara Croft, Bayonetta is either an icon of female empowerment or an embarrassing sexual caricature, which goes to show that applied feminism is full of complications. Fittingly, this essay by a Platinum Games employee raises more questions than answers.

Jessica Citizen - Player Attack
Australian R18+ game rating gets the go-ahead
I thought I'd reported this before, but I guess it's really real this time. For real.

Mark Brown - Wired UK
Judge Declares iOS Tetris Clone ‘Infringing’
Good! It should be illegal to copy existing games and sell them as your own.

Julia Lepetit - Dorkly
How Games Are Meant To Be Played vs. How You Play Them
A funny comic.

Maki - Sci-ence
On Playing Well With Others
A serious comic.

Like a Cheep-Cheep without an Excitebike.

21 June 2012

New Non-Update!

After an unfortunate incident where Google claimed I was in violation of their terms of service and took my site down, I have managed to resuscitate Hot Lavy. Status quo has been maintained!

Actually, it's been Cold Lavy around these parts for the past (eek!) month-and-a-half. Wow, that hiatus went much to long. Okay, let's get the Lavy flowing again - regular updates begin again this weekend.