The Game Comics: Kane and Lynch

Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 10:00 am
[Note: We're trying out some new features by guest writers who may go on to become regular contributors here at Joystick Division. Here's the first, a video game comic analysis by Dan Coyle. If you like what you've read, let us know!]

Kane and Lynch
Writer: Ian Edginton
Penciler: Christopher Mitten
Inkers:  Mitten and Ramon Perez
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Colors: Tony Avina
Assistant Editor: Kristy Queen
Editor: Ben Abernathy 
Cover: Ben Templesmith
Publisher: DC Comics
Collecting issues #1-6 of the 2010-11 miniseries 

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Money Is A Dead Muse

Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:00 am
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Cash is corporate blood. It keeps parts moving and workers working. It pays for talent to run efficient operations, minds to design brilliance, and suit-and-tie guerrillas to puncture the market to reach consumers. There can never be too much, so long as social contracts remain intact, and it tends to perpetuate vertical and horizontal growth of itself. There can be too little. Without enough, visions get blurry and production limps until it collapses. It's necessary to grease the joints of the machine, and to propel the expansion of an entity.

Like every other industry in the world, the video game industry is dictated by cash. It has quickly become the entertainment industry most dictated by cash. This year, we've seen two $100 million marketing campaigns from two of gaming's weightiest publishing companies, and each year we see history's record for "largest entertainment launch" get a rewrite. Video games represent the largest and most efficient entertainment medium in the world. 

But their fiscal success has morphed video games into something I'm beginning to hate. It seems like many video game releases are too clouded by projected revenues, market-share, and mass production. Their young hearts are no longer driven by expression. For as much lip-service the "video games as art" argument gets, I think we've never been so far away. And I think we're moving further.

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"Big Tuesdays" Are A Double-Edged Sword

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 11:00 am
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To kick off this week, we have a guest column by Divisionary legend, Benjamin Wallen (aka Ben-Jamin). He's been a guest columnist and featured commenter here before, and his post will signify the start of what we hope to be a great many guest features by our fabulous readership.

Tuesday Afternoon -

It's this day that I dread the most. The day a big, life-changing, epic new game comes out. Most hardcore gamers run to their stores-of-choice to grab their pre-orders, or eagerly await the UPS guy to show up with their launch day game -- wrapped in glorious yellow packaging and bubble wrap. I find myself right along with them. Until I get home.

I came back to my desk to find those yellow envelopes sitting on my desk. Batman: Arkham City and Battlefield 3 sitting, ready to be pop'd open and grind'd on all night. I toss them in my bag so I don't leave them here and count the hours as they get closer and closer to 5, wondering what will be played first. Considering where I used to be as a gamer, I am no where near as bad now as I once was.

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Fighting with Physics - An Interview with Rochard's "Hulu" Virtanen

Friday, October 28, 2011 at 11:00 am
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Rochard's ready to roll
In the future, outer space is basically going to be a giant coal mine. It's been confirmed by Hollywood films like Total Recall and Avatar, as well as video games like Dead Space and the recently released PSN-exclusive, Rochard.

Mines can be dangerous places, a fact that gets amplified by about a kabillion when the infinite unknowns of space, zero gravity and giant, dragon-riding Smurfs get thrown into the mix. But when the proverbial space poop hits the fan (also worse in zero G), some hero always rises to the occasion, ready to clean up the mess and kick evil square in the junk, sending it spiraling into an ocean of stars.

In Rochard, that hero is the titular John Rochard, a loyal, heavy-set meteor miner who can bend gravity with the best of them. When the bad guys come knocking in this physics-based puzzle shooter, Rochard's the dude who answers the door.

Developed by Recoil Games, Rochard has players solving puzzles, toying with gravity and shooting bullets at an army of invading goons. Lead Designer Juhana "Hulu" Virtanen took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with Joystick Division about the recent release, revealing some extra back story tidbits, the complexities of designing physics-based puzzles, and the future of the series.

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If Video Game Design School Was Really Like A Video Game

Friday, October 14, 2011 at 10:00 am
Guest article by Greg Voakes

Video game design is a dream for a lot of people, mainly because they love video games and don't understand what "design" is. Luckily that's not a problem. People not understanding things is why we have schools in the first place! We wondered what the world would be like if schools really resembled their subjects: history courses would be taught by zombies, modern film schools would be constantly exploding and rotating in slow motion, while students arriving at med school would be immediately sued by people whose lives they'd saved.  

But what would video game design school be like? 
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Eternal Darkness: Lessons Learned From a Decade-old Game

Friday, September 30, 2011 at 11:00 am
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We've come a long way
Halloween is pretty much my favorite holiday. As a result, I like to prepare for the year's spookiest night by overloading my senses with an abundance of horror-themed entertainment.

During the month of October, if I'm not watching some campy gore-fest, I'm likely diving into a video game geared at scaring poop into my pants. As a result, I decided to finally dive headlong into one of my tragically overlooked Gamecube titles, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.

(Pauses to let the boos die down)

Eternal Darkness launched back in 2002. While I certainly enjoyed my time with the game, it also brought to light several changes in the gaming landscape that, until now, I've taken for granted.

Following are my lessons learned from battling madness to save the world in a game that's a decade old.

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Blood on the Walls - BloodRayne Art Director Discusses how Betrayal Got its Distinctive Look

Friday, September 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm
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Looking bloody good
For those of you already brutalizing the undead hordes in WayForward's BloodRayne: Betrayal (PSN/XBLA), it's likely you've become pretty accustomed to an overabundance of deep blacks and gushing reds at this point.

Everyone's favorite wrist blade-wielding assassin has been in hiding since 2004's BloodRayne 2 and, along with pretty much everything else in the game, the developers decided to give the series' protagonist a fresh new look with its 2011 revamp.

According to WayForward's Creative Director and Betrayal Art Director Matt Bozon, the team had a distinct goal when setting out to design Rayne and her Gothic world of vampires and grotesque monstrosities. The look evolved a bit through development, but it ultimately stayed true to its dark, gritty roots.

The end result is something like a stylized moving comic book, making for one of the most eye-catching titles on the digital market to date.

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How to Make a Serious Game

Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm
Serious games attempt to explain and explore real life matters with game mechanics. They also attempt to serve an inherent therapeutic purpose to help the users, such as how some games are used to help soldiers overcome post traumatic stress disorder. But what exactly are the limits of serious games? The Serious Play Conference and its director, Clark Aldrich, look for explore some answers later this month.

"Serious games have introduced a new lexicon," writes Aldrich. "They can be used, for instance, to develop conviction and competence, through the increased use of engagement, practice, emotion and richer content."More >>

Five Books Improved With Pokemon

Monday, August 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm
We read a lot here at Joystick Division. It helps keep us aware of the literary brilliance around the world, and makes us better people all around. However, it's still easy to involve our gaming love into the world of letters.

Some fine people around the internet did the same thing with Pokemon, and they've managed to come up with some clever book titles with Pokemon added. And we appreciate these random internet people, so we post their work on the internet, despite the fact that we have no idea how to credit these people.

Thank you creators, whoever you are.
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Tags: Pokemon

E3 2011: A Press Conferences Report Card for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 11:00 am
One final look at the E3 press conferences
It's been over a week since The Big Three took their respective stages at E3 2011, giving everyone a chance to fully digest what we heard and saw from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo this year.


While a lack of surprise game announcements left me feeling a bit underwhelmed, it's hard to complain about a year highlighted by two new platforms and a boatload of ways to waste my time through the next 365 days.


Looking back over the three main press events, it's easy to see that some shined more brightly than others. No matter how you look at it, though, there's no denying that all three companies have a lot to offer gamers in the months ahead, even if what's on offer doesn't align with your own tastes.


Here's what I took away from each of the three main events.

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