The Roundup: the Circle & Beyond

by Lucy Ungaro

Hi again, game journalists, makers, and lovers! We’ve got a good show for you today with some quirky new indie games, discussions on morality and VR musings. Let’s get right down to it. 

Have you ever dreamed of playing Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein in a fighting game? Probably not, but now that you’ve entertained the idea, doesn’t it sound amazing? Luckily, it’s being made right now. Michelle Ehrhardt has all the details on this educational fighting game that aims to teach people about scientists through their in-game powers. I’m just upset I didn’t think of it first.

A lot of people have been wondering what No Man’s Sky will actually offer. I’ve heard many write off the game as having “nothing to do” except fly around the many, many procedurally generated worlds. Samit Sarkar provides some evidence to the contrary: apparently, interacting with alien NPCs and even learning their language is a major part of the game. And no, I don’t mean the player character learning the language–I mean the player. Now that’s a challenge I want to take on.

Matt Gerardi’s “Keyboard Geniuses” is back with an in-depth discussion on the morality of Assassin’s Creed. The discussion focuses mainly on the morality of the historical inaccuracy of the games. Readers argue back and forth over whether including historical figures only to twist the “truth” of their stories is an issue. But what is the truth!? My head hurts. Read the article for yourself and form your own opinion!

Here’s an update from Jeremy Voss on the good games he should be playing, and the OK games he is playing. I know I always get caught between what I “should” be playing–which is groundbreaking indie games–and what I want to be playing–which is, shamelessly, MMOs. Read to relate.

House of Cards is back! And if you’re thinking, “Wait, that’s not a videogame,” you’re right, but I promise it’s relevant. Frank Underwood is a proud gamer, as we’ve seen throughout the show, and his videogame tastes seem to constantly be evolving. In the newest season, which came out this past Friday, he is shown playing a particular mobile game which may or may not serve as a plug. Check out this article by Chelsea Stark for more spoiler-free details.

As promised: VR. In this article by Scott Stein, modern VR is compared to the last failed VR attempt in 1993. As you might expect (and fear), there are many similarities, from the high price to the high expectations. This is maybe a sobering thought for VR lovers, but let’s be optimistic and see it as a sign of our unwillingness to give up on a great idea! Read the article to see all of the similarities.

Ebenezer Samuel writes about the recently released Street Fighter V, a game that he says is aspiring literally to change the fighting game playing field. It doesn’t quite make it yet because of its “barebones” release and cash grab plan of filling up the game over time with updates. His article gives a detailed look at the pros and cons of the new game.

And now for news outside of the Circle…

Last week, Game Designer and Professor Naomi Clark gave a talk on how we develop our tastes for specific videogames. What are our influences in society, culture and our brains that make us prefer some games over others? If you missed the talk, check out this article from Kotaku on it.

Here’s a story from the Verge on how much videogames have evolved over the past 10 years to become almost unrecognizable from what they were before. It’s a really interesting read, so check it out here.

GDC, the world’s largest “professionals-only” videogame convention happens in one week! If you can’t make it to the event and are really sad, me too. But it’s alright because we have the Internet, and the Internet will host videos of the best GDC talks. To know more about the event, the speakers, and the studios attending, check out the website here.

That’s it for this week! See you back here soon. 



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