Through a locked gate, down a winding path and by a still pond a few miles outside of the leafy village of Twycross, England, a bonsai tree stands. It was a gift given to Rare by Shigeru Miyamoto, the most famous game designer in the world, as a thank-you for the game developer's critical and commercial success in creating games for Nintendo, the most famous game maker in the world. For Rare's staff arriving to work at 8:30 sharp each morning, it has served as a reminder of the company's heritage, of who they are, of how lucky they are to be a part of something so admired, so rare. An unassuming trophy of past glories, it's also an inspiration for future goals, a symbol carefully cultivated to weather trends, transcend fashions; rooted, a gnarly resolution. On 20th of September 2002, Microsoft paid $375 million for this bonsai tree and all that it symbolised: creative excellence, technical mastery, innovation, originality, soul and the precious fingerprints of Nintendo. The … [Read more...] about Who Killed Rare?
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It was the turn of the century, and real-time strategy was dying. Sure, seminal franchises like Command & Conquer were sputtering on but, like an asthmatic in an airless room, they were gasping for air and fading fast. Like World War 2 shooters, fighting games, and space simulations, their heyday had come and gone, and a bone deep fatigue had set in, even amongst the stalwarts. It was a genre that had achieved phenomenal success and enjoyed immense popularity, put studios like Blizzard and EA Tiburon on the map, and largely defined an era of PC gaming. But it was also a genre that attracted a huge number of imitators and hangers-on. For every Warcraft or Total Annihilation, there were a thousand Lego Rock Raiders or Colobots. By the end of the 20th century, real time strategy was on the brink of collapsing under the weight of its own success.Enter an ambitious and hungry young studio, a developer that had spent the first 13 years of its existence porting other people’s … [Read more...] about How Total War saved strategy games… by killing them
An essential sandbox for anyone with an interest in space, rocketry, or explosions. Eventually, Kerbal Space Program becomes a game about triumph. Getting into space. Landing on the moon. Mastering physics to leave the ground behind and blasting into the history books on a rocket of your own creation. When it finally happens, it's one of the most satisfying moments in the history of gaming. What makes Kerbal a classic, though, is what happens before that point. As a great Kerbal once probably said, we do not choose to go to the Mun because it is easy, but because... well, why not? Look at it, hanging up there in the sky like a great big smug thing. Don't you just want to wipe the smile off its poxy moon face?Achieving this, just one of many goals, is literally rocket science. Take a command module, slap on an engine, some fuel, perhaps a parachute if you're feeling generous, and if you're lucky, the whole thing won't explode on the launchpad or go spinning into an … [Read more...] about Kerbal Space Program review