You never forget a place like Morrowind. It’s like something out of a dream, only you’ve actually been there. Maybe you used a mouse and keyboard, or the Xbox “Duke” controller, to visit it. But that doesn’t make it any less real. While hardly the first open-world game of its kind, the third numbered entry in Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series cemented a formula and a set of expectations that are still alive and well today in games like Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3. It was an artistic and technical leap forward for mainstream role-playing games in the summer of 2002, and, for many, a beautiful and novel experience. A vast ashen landscape teeming with psychedelic flora and fauna — equal parts Jim Henson and George Lucas, with a dash of Tolkien — here was a game that resembled no other. For the people who made it, Morrowind was the product of tough crunch, a pressure-cooker basement environment, and constant uncertainty about the company they … [Read more...] about Morrowind: An oral history
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E3 2018 is right around the corner. We're expecting tons of big announcements during the big briefings from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and others. But before that, we're taking a look back at last year to go over what was announced and determining if each company lived up to their promises. We're starting today with Microsoft, but you can check back soon to see our recaps for Sony and Nintendo.Project Scorpio Becomes Xbox One XThe biggest news from Microsoft's E3 2017 briefing came at the top of the show. The company officially announced the name, price, and release date of its super-powerful console. So long, Project Scorpio; hello, Xbox One X. Microsoft also talked about how the console was its smallest and most powerful yet, while the company announced a list of games that would receive enhancements on Xbox One X. The list has grown substantially since then. Microsoft does not announce Xbox sales numbers, so we don't know how well the Xbox One X is doing. One thing is clear, though: … [Read more...] about Did Microsoft Live Up To Its E3 2017 Promises?
A conservative estimate puts the value of the entire Neo Geo library of games - all European, US and Japanese variants - at around a quarter of a million dollars. Some of the games are so scarce that they come up for sale only once a decade. In October 2009, for example, an anonymous buyer paid $55,045.64 for the European versions of the fighting game Kizuna Encounter and the football game Ultimate 11 (as if guided by a scriptwriter's pen, the buyer carried a custom-made briefcase to meet the seller, to ensure the games remained pristinely cosy on the flight home). There are, it is estimated, fewer than ten copies of each game in existence. Even for the wealthiest game fanatic, then, there is almost no opportunity to play these games anywhere outside of a PC emulator. All this changed last year when a group of Spanish game enthusiasts released the NeoSD, a cartridge manufactured to look exactly like one of the chunky Neo Geo originals. As the name implies, the device, whose insides … [Read more...] about The SD card and the vintage video game revolution
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
When Richard Marks was in 10th grade, his father opened a video game store that was ahead of its time. It was the early ’80s; used game sales weren’t common, and the store — Video Exchange — ran on the gimmick that customers could trade in their games. The store didn’t last long. But for the young Marks, who held the title of chief demo officer, working there was like living in an arcade. Surrounded by open boxes, he played everything and recommended the best games to customers. Atari 2600 games. Intellivision games. Anything on a console. "The most exciting thing [was] when we’d get new hardware," he says, citing the ColecoVision Super Action Controller as an example. "We’d get so excited. And a lot of times the hardware didn’t deliver up to the expectation. ... But it’s still exciting anyway. Your memory somehow forgets that the previous piece of hardware wasn’t quite what you wanted." Today, Marks is one of the public … [Read more...] about The making of PlayStation VR