I spent a bit of time playing the demo from Black Market Games and really enjoyed it – you should try it out. Black Market Games are Northern Ireland based company working in Derry and are one of several small local games companies taking large strides into the games industry.
InvestNI have been supportive of this community and this year are providing financial support for companies to attend GDC. I would love to go to this myself this year but I will need to work out other commitments first.
Report on Eurogamer that Onlive will be built into upcoming Google TVs. This seems to be a major coup for the company. I’ve just received one of the OnLive microconsoles and a gamepad and I’m on a three month trial – so far I’m impressed by the service and the quality of streaming gameplay. The only thing that worries me about the service is the cost of new games – priced at high street values – because I would rather have a boxed game if its exactly the same price.
I also read recently that Apple’s Airplay may come built into next gen TVs also. Soon I won’t need to buy expensive computers and game consoles if I choose not to – I guess this won’t be a bad thing if the quality of service is good and pricing is reasonable/competitive.
The lists of games of the year have gone up everywhere. I normally look out for the Eurogamer.net and Edge magazine’s games of the year. There are no real surprises around this year with the games that I have highlighted in my last post featuring prominently, plus a few others that I didn’t mention like Dirt 3 and Forza 4.
Eurogamer’s staff chose Portal 2 as the game of the year, which was very close to being my favouite of the year. Their shortlist was:
- Dark Souls
- Portal 2
- Xenoblade Chronicles
- From Dust
- DeusEx: Human Revolution
- Quarrel DX
- Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
- Super Mario 3D Land
- Saints Row: The Third
- StreetPass Quest
- Might & Magic Clash of Heroes HD
I look forward to these lists at the end of the year because it often helps me discover an interesting game that I have missed during the year and its fun to look out for them in the sales. In this case Xenoblade Chronicles is the game that I had overlooked – unfortunately it is still quite expensive.
The Eurogamer developer games of the year are quite similar, though I don’t agree with the choice of Witcher 2. I felt that the control system and intial difficulty level spoiled the game.
Eurogamer reader’s games of the year seem to provide a good coverage of the best games of the year but the only new game that I have discovered off this list is “The Binding of Isaac (PC)”, which I’ve downloaded from STEAM (on sale at the moment) and I look forward to trying out.
Edge magazine’s games of the year were:
- Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (mainstream game of the year)
- SpaceChem (indie game of the year)
- Mario Kart 7 (portable game of the year)
- Dark Souls (best online experience)
- Uncharted 3 (best visual design)
- Portal 2 (best audio design)
Makes me want to go back to Dark Souls and persist with it, despite all the dying!
I’m also very interested in awards for the best game development software as I have to keep my eye on the ball in terms of my teaching, research, and commercial activities. Software winners that caught my eye from the Game Developer Magazine’s Front line awards were for Lua (I’ve been looking at this scripting language in several contexts) especially LuaJIT, Unreal Engine, Havok Physics, Pro Tools, 3DS Max, Gamespy, and XNA Game Studio. Other interesting mentions for me were Blender, FlashDevelop (which I really like), OpenFeint, and the C4 Engine (which I hadn’t heard much about before).