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Steam is a Toilet

On Tuesday I visited a local middle school to talk about my career in computer science and some of the cool experiences I’ve had as a result. This took the form of five one-hour talks in front of different 8th grade math classes. This got me thinking: why did my school bring in such terrible speakers? Why was there never a better message than “try not to share dirty needles under an overpass?” With John’s help, we went over some of the ridiculous talks we sat through and some of their unintended results. 

With the awkward assemblies of our youth pushed safely back down to our subconscious, we turned to the evening’s real topic for discussion: controversial games. We’ve been around longer than many industry journalists at this point, and I think we experienced some important developments in the weirder side of gaming’s history. Before the show, we each agreed to pick out a couple of sketchy games we played along the way, and reflect on whether or not their negative buzz was deserved. This turned out to be timely, as Epic was just revealing their plan for a store of their own, meant to compete with Steam, with whom almost every game developer and player alive has beef. Plenty of those players have taken issue with the content allowed in the store. 

As always, the best way to keep up with us is to subscribe to the show. Tell a friend about us and consider leaving a rating and review to help us get the word out. Also check out code.org if you think you might be able to help kids and teachers learn about basic code concepts and experience some of the magic of what we do. I can promise you a fun and very rewarding experience. 

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Game Industry Games Writing

Weekly Roundup

I’ve been a busy writer (and even a fairly busy editor). Busyness is no excuse for not posting a weekly roundup so here it is: last week’s content both here and around the web.

Plenty more great stuff on the way!

UFC/EA’s Fight for the Cover – This story was great fun to cover. Never before have two professional athletes fought in a cage to grace the cover of a video game — and, sure, to win the division championship as well. We know now that “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor will appear on the upcoming EA Sports UFC 2, but it was fascinating to know that two potential game boxes were waiting to be revealed after the fight.

UFC 2 Fight for the Cover

It’s hard to imagine other fighters on the cover but I can’t help but think Holly Holm got shortchanged, having beaten Rousey the day she was announced for the retail box.

Amazon’s Fire Tablet is Awesome for Mobile Gaming – I decided to write up the Fire tablet after my wife and I bought one for our son for Christmas. This thing is awesome. One of the biggest draws is the access it gains you to Amazon Underground, a program where players play popular commercial games totally free of charge and Amazon picks up the tab. It’s probably the best mobile gaming value for the cost.

Oriental Empires Headed for Steam Early Access – I love my strategy games. I could play Sid Meier’s Civilization V all day long and, more than a few times, I have. When I saw the press release about Oriental Empires I made it a point to follow the game’s development. It would be awesome to score a review copy at some point to cover for one of my sites.

Oriental Empires

Dawn of Steel Coming to New Platforms Next Year – Some of my closest friends spend a lot of their time in an iMessage group chat playing and talking about this game. While the news that it’s rolling out to new platforms wasn’t life-changing for us, we were celebrating when we heard word that players can now join alliances and work together on team objectives. For a free-to-play iOS game, Dawn of Steel is surprisingly well-designed. I’ll probably check it out on Windows when the time comes.