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Alarmism and Governing Game Development

A US state representative targets game publishers and developers, Todd and John take a look at the possible outcomes of government intervention in monetization strategies for games, and we try to make sense of the source of all political gaming strife: Twitter.

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Next-Gen Nerds: Episode 2 – Unofficial Show Notes

After a brief trial period and confirmation that I won’t be too easily fired, I’m happy to share my new podcast, Next-Gen Nerds! This show is the product of me and two close friends having kids, being nerds, and spending an hour a week together, under the tutelage of our friends at Lineup Media. The early feedback has been (too) positive.

Since the studio (perhaps rightly) hasn’t yet given me unrestricted access to the show’s website, I thought I could use this space to do some unofficial show notes for our latest episode: United Airlines and Video Games.

Games

GoldenEye – It needs no introduction, but if you’re interested in the specific mentions from the show, here’s Kotaku’s post about the deserted turret outpost. You can see my feature article profiling some of the legends of retro game development, including GoldenEye X lead Donald J. “Wreck” York at Zam.com. It was my first paid article!

MLB The Show Goes Full RPG – We talked about sports fans getting…surprisingly nerdy, and MLB The Show’s RPG mode serves as a prime example. Personally I don’t know how you could sit through this, but if it’s your thing, enjoy.

Xbox Live Games with Gold – You still have time to grab the month’s first set of games before they switch over around the 16th. These are great games, free with the subscription you may already be paying for!

Finally, if we could only manage to share one game each with our children, the three of us somehow managed to share all of the following:

  • Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Dragon Warrior
  • Sweet Home
  • Mega Man II
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Star Trek
  • M.U.L.E.
  • Gyromite

Music

A Dark Orbit – It’s John’s band. Go listen.

Ben Folds – Ben Folds doesn’t need my help, but you need Ben Folds’ music in your life.

The Impossibles – Jamie talks about The Impossibles like I talk about Ben Folds.

MC Frontalot – MC Frontalot’s career isn’t an easy one. He could use your support.

MC Lars – Jamie and I both enjoy MC Lars a lot. Give him a listen.

Mega Ran – Jamie’s a fan. Here’s the album he mentions, Black Materia.

RaRa’s album From One will change your life.

Shai Hulud – I listened to Dune on Audible, so I didn’t appreciate having to try to sound this out for Googling purposes. Jamie gave this kind of a half-hearted plug; he might loan you the disc.

They Might Be Giants – If you’ve never checked out TMBG, do so.

Weezer – Who doesn’t love Weezer? These guys have nerd credit for days, and Jamie/Producer Brian just did a great podcast profile of “the blue album” that may just take you on an emotional stroll down memory lane.

Other Things

You’ve either seen the United Airlines videos by now or you’ve gone out of your way to avoid them. Let’s agree to skip them in this post. We appreciate everyone’s spirited discussion about this topic, and the opportunity we’ve been given to discuss it as well. Any concerns about our viewpoints on this matter can be directed to New Jersey Pigeon (NJP).

Speaking of which, that is indeed the famed pigeon John discussed with us at length in the image at the top of this post.

Please do hit us up at NGNerds.com, check out the latest show and subscribe with your favorite button, connect with us on Twitter @NGNerds and on Facebook. Here’s to surviving to see Episode 3!

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St. Louis as Depicted in The Crew

The Crew is an open-world arcade racer that met mixed reception from critics and players alike after its late 2014 release. Though the concept of a fully open world United States map and the fast-paced overall busyness of the game was appealing to many players, the controls and physics are frustrating to some and others have complained that the online play is lacking. Where The Crew demands respect, however, is its lovingly crafted major cities.

The game’s story opens in Detroit, where you’ll likely spend a couple of hours getting acclimated and improving your first car while building enough of a reputation to head out into the rest of the world. St. Louis is the very next destination. As a lifelong native of the greater St. Louis area and an actual downtown resident at one time, this was a pleasant surprise. Though the Gateway Arch was thrown into a few games over the years (many also racers), I can’t think of one other game environment even close to this effort to recreate the region. I felt this deserved some attention.

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While I recognize this is largely a trick of recreating just the right number of local landmarks–Busch Stadium, the old courthouse, and the Met, among others–the feeling of approaching and exploring St. Louis was actually captured pretty well. The city’s skyline came into view while I approached from the Illinois side, the river can be crossed via the MLK bridge or a highway bearing some resemblance (especially in location) to I-64 West. Once downtown, I immediately found myself using the Arch to navigate when turned around, much the way I do when I’m really lost and wandering downtown.

There were a few things I would have loved to see while they were at it. Kiener Plaza would have been an easy addition and it would have been fun to show it to my wife. We reserved Kiener Plaza for our wedding and it was literally rained out by a hurricane. You read that right. I also didn’t see any sign of Union Station, though there was more than enough railway activity right where it should have been.

I spent some time last night recreating some of these iconic views of the city in-game using the fairly advanced camera mode. The similarities range from humorous to stunning. Please enjoy.

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Get Featured in the Inside Indie Dev series!

The Inside Indie Dev series has proven very popular with readers! You can check out the first installment on Garry Hamer’s upcoming game Push for Emor if you haven’t already. There is always room for more great indie projects to be written up, so if you have an exciting project to share please reach out!