Capcom Looks Hurt This Year

Friday, June 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm
capcom (250 x 154).jpg
For the course of my cognizant life, Capcom has been a bright link in my relationship to video games. They've led with heart, and set many of the industry standards we rely on today, spanning genres and franchises. The entire Resident Evil series, Mega Man, and the Street Fighter franchise have long been notable, shaping the formative years of gamers from nearly every generation. From Bionic Commando to DuckTails, their 8-bit work is legendary, and yet they easily transitioned to the more mature marketplace of today as their consumers aged. They've published high quality, edgy, variable titles like Viewtiful Joe and Okami. Their resume of great games is lengthy and varied.

Sitting in their booth today, watching a series of teaser-trailers in their VIP theater, a small part of my heart broke for them. They look lost -- years behind the competition and unready to stake their claim in the market which they've helped mold for decades. And the future looks just as dim.

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E3 2011 - The Big Event in Photos

Friday, June 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

E3 1.JPG
Welcome to the big show
E3 officially wrapped up yesterday afternoon and I think I speak for the entire Joystick Division staff when I say it was one wild ride.  Fun, but exhausting.

We took in a lot of games, digested hundreds of announcements and mingled with gamers of all sorts. Look for the coverage to continue next week with even more analysis, news and hands-on previews.


For now, though, enjoy this scattershot of photos highlighting just a fraction of everything the yearly games show had to offer.

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Electronic Arts Press Conference Recap - The Sports Titles

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm
EA boasts some of the most popular sports games available, and at their E3 2011 press conference they showcased two new entries of their largest franchises for the viewing community. With celebrity guest appearances, the Electronic Arts presenters showcased how much time and hype they pour into promoting these flagship titles. They are, of course, Madden and FIFA.

But it was the unveiling of a new game -- rather, a franchise reboot -- that made the press conference intriguing. SSX will be dropping within the next year. Snowboarding titles are all but dead, but SSX might be able to capitalize on the genre silence. Let's take a look at the sports aspect of EA's press conference, starting with that new one there.

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Six Comic Artists Whose Styles Would Look Great In Video Games

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 11:00 am
atari force.jpg
unfortunately Ross Andru doesn't make our list
I've been playing a lot of video pinball lately. Maybe too much video pinball, if that's possible. My primary jam of choice is The Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection, which compiles thirteen classic tables from the master pinball artisans at Williams Electronics. It is a tour de force of turning something into another thing that it maybe shouldn't be turned into. Like all good video pinball it is simultaneously awkward and amazingly fun.

Firepower, a 1980 table included in The Williams Collection, immediately seized my eyeballs. The artwork bears a heavy Jack Kirby influence, to the point where I wondered if the King himself was maybe responsible. The timing makes sense, as Kirby spent most of 1979 and 1980 working on projects outside comics, including design work for films and cartoons like Thundarr the Barbarian and Turbo Teen. It's not hard to imagine him getting pulled into the high stakes world of pinball backdrop design.

A bit of Googling makes it look like Kirby had nothing to do with Firepower, but it got me wondering why video game designers haven't tapped into comic artists more often. There's a sizable overlap between video games and superhero comics, both in terms of audience and the overriding focus on wish fulfillment. Technology has advanced to the point where it shouldn't be impossible to create controllable 3D character models that resemble the artistic style of famous comic book artists. 

The two industries have slowly drifted closer over the last few years, with dozens of bad comic adaptations of prominent video games, and occasional crossover in talent. Joe Madureira and Jim Lee were credited as creative directors on Darksiders and DC Universe Online, respectively, and some of their artistic sensibilities are evident in the visual design of those games. There are many exciting opportunities out there to bring comics and games together, though, if the right deals can be struck. Here are six artists whose distinctive styles would work well in the world of video games. There's no guarantee the games would be any good, but at least they'd look amazing.

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Walter Day and Patrick Scott Patterson [Interview]

Monday, June 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm
While at the Northwest Pinball and Gameroom show, I managed to briefly talk with Mr. Walter Day, the video game referee at Twin Galaxies, and the official keeper of gaming world records. With him was Patrick Scott Patterson. He was at the show working to beat a few high scores while spectators watched the man play Mr. Do's Castle and Lock 'n Chase

The two of them gave me the time of day to talk about gaming for world records, what games they play, and what they are up to besides records. So, sit down, take a brief break from E3 coverage, and enjoy gamers talking about games.

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10 E3 Announcements We'd Like to Hear, but Probably Won't

Friday, June 3, 2011 at 11:00 am
last guardian.jpg
Cat-dragons inbound?
E3 kicks off next week and Joystick Division will be there to bring you all the latest news on the games, consoles and random announcements.


But what about all those announcements we'd like to hear but probably won't?


Check out our top 10 most unlikely E3 shockers for 2011.

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PlayStation's Welcome Back Package: A Look at the Games

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 11:00 am
Sackboy wants to welcome you back
The PlayStation Store is supposed to be up and running any day now, which means we can't be too far from having those titles included in the "Welcome Back Package" ready for download.


Sony is making a list of five PlayStation 3 and four PlayStation Portable titles available, with users able to download two games from each list free of charge.


In case you need help deciding which ones to pick up, we've included information on each of the games below.

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PSN Outage- Gamers Talk Back

Friday, May 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm
PSN outage: Your thoughts?
Unless you've been absent from the world of gaming for the past two weeks, you've likely heard a thing or two about the PlayStation server hack, resulting in PlayStation Network going offline.


We here at Joystick Division, along with pretty much every gaming news source out there, have bombarded readers with all of the known details; including the apparent extent of the damage, Sony's plans to apologize with free digital goods and services, as well as the ongoing legal fallout.


As the drama continues, I thought it might be a refreshing change of pace to take a gander at what those who are most affected by the recent cyberattack--the customers--have to say about this whole mess.

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My Perfect Attendance at School 26

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 11:00 am
School is in session.
By Dennis C. Scimeca

Not too long ago, freelancer Dennis Scimeca interviewed the CEO of Silicon Sisters, a developer that aims to make games for females, by females. The company's first game,
School 26, is out now for iOS devices. Dennis has spent some time with the game and circled back to Silicon Sisters to discuss the final product. Enjoy.

Silicon Sisters is a Canadian development house founded for the explicit purpose of creating video games for women, by women. This begs questions such as how the studio will decide what "a game for women" looks like, what the basis for those decisions is, and whether the goal is accomplished with the titles they produce.

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Whatever Happened To My Rock'n'Roll Video Games

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm
rock band 3 screenshot.jpg
that's me on the left

​It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. That's especially true for adults who love video games, or at least for this adult who loves video games. Do I need to get ready to say goodbye to music games?

Yesterday news broke that the price of last fall's excellently reviewed Rock Band 3 was slashed to $20 at retailers across the country after only five months on the market. Earlier this year Activision announced they were putting Guitar Hero on hiatus. Pity the poor 1970s rocker without a flush retirement fund. 

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