It was Team Andromeda — an internal R&D team at Sega of Japan — that first revealed the potential of the Sega Saturn. Its debut game was the on-rails shooter Panzer Dragoon. Part Space Harrier, part Dune, part Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Panzer Dragoon filled Sega Saturns around the globe with evocative 3D shooting action featuring a blue dragon and its rider. Over the course of three initial games — Panzer Dragoon (1995), Panzer Dragoon 2 Zwei (1996) and Panzer Dragoon Saga (1998) — Team Andromeda continued to mine this simple yet compelling premise: that of a rider and his dragon facing off against a mysterious empire. While 2002’s Panzer Dragoon Orta (developed by ex-Team Andromeda members who later joined another studio, Smilebit) kept the series going later, it was the role-playing game Panzer Dragoon Saga that ended up becoming the standout. Taken at face value, Panzer Dragoon and its much-improved successor, Panzer Dragoon 2 Zwei, … [Read more...] about Panzer Dragoon Saga: An oral history
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In the wake of renewed debate about violence and video games, I suppose I should put that sociology degree to work and explain, roughly, the academic state of play. It’s worth noting that there’s next to nothing that supports what I like to call the “monkey-see-monkey-do” model of media influence. That is: a piece of media shows a violent act, and viewers/players go out and commit the same act. The heart of the debate in the social sciences is, instead, about “aggression.” And, indeed, in the words of the American Psychological Association, “all existing quantitative reviews of the violent video game literature have found a direct association between violent video game use and aggressive outcomes.” But what, exactly, are “aggressive outcomes”? As I often tell students, the simplest words are the most devilish in science (consider how a sociologist might have to confront the idea of “love” and you’ll see … [Read more...] about Opinion: So what *does* the science say about games and violence?
I’m going to first state my personal opinion before we dive into this topic, which I will preface with “this does not reflect the views of my clients or my firm.” I consider any attempt to throw the First Amendment under the bus to make way for the Second reprehensible and a clear miscarriage of justice. Second, I’m going to summarize this entire article with the following: Video games are protected under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court made this abundantly clear in the same year it made the individual right to gun ownership applicable to the states, and the decision was even penned by the same judge who authored the decision that made gun ownership an individual right in the first place. I’m not sure this qualifies as “irony” to anyone but me, but it should give you an idea of how unlikely it is that this decision will be overturned. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Trump. Following the Stoneman Douglas … [Read more...] about Why video games are safe from Donald Trump
The New York Yankees weren’t the first sports team to don pinstripes, but the distinctive pattern is as closely associated with the baseball club as it is with boardroom suits. The Yankees’ home uniform, a simple design featuring thin navy stripes on a white background, is an enduring classic: It has barely changed in more than a century. Basic though it is, the pinstriped design presents some challenges for the makers of baseball video games. In the kind of discussion that happens all the time at studios working on sports titles, the developers of R.B.I. Baseball at Major League Baseball Advanced Media were debating last fall how best to bring the Yankees’ uniform to life in the game. Areas where the pinstripes met a seam didn’t look quite right, so the team fetched some nearby reference material. “We walked down the hall to Billy, who does all of our merchandise stuff — he manages the shop, he gets all the jerseys through,” recalls Peter … [Read more...] about Exclusive: Why MLB decided to develop R.B.I. Baseball 18 itself
The first time Taylor Kurosaki and Bob Rafei saw a running PlayStation, they were in a Las Vegas hotel room. It was the 1995 Consumer Electronics Show. They, along with the company they worked for, Naughty Dog, were being given a behind-closed-doors look at Sony's first foray into the game console industry. When they describe the event now, they use words like "inspiring" and "enthralled" and phrases like "blown away." They didn't know it at the time, but the members of Naughty Dog in that room — Kurosaki, Rafei and co-founders Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin — were looking at the system that would host the team's next game: Crash Bandicoot. They were seeing the console their company would eventually create the unofficial mascot for — the console they would develop Naughty Dog's first smash hit for. It was Kurosaki and Rafei's second day with the company. Naughty Dog released Crash Bandicoot for Sony's original PlayStation in September 1996. In it, the team took an old … [Read more...] about Crash Bandicoot: An oral history