The Rumble Reader Episode 10: MOH Is Me

The wait is over – episode 10 of The Rumble Reader is here! Join Nick and Justin as they tackle NY Times writer Chris Suellentrop’s “War Games,” and discuss the impact of the current best-selling genre, militaristic first-person shooters. Can EA’s Medal of Honor reboot deliver on the unpublished promises of Konami’s Six Days in Fallujah? And if fake battlefields weren’t enough, they also take a look at Gamasutra writer Chris Morris’ take on the latest round of the EA-Activision war of words. Strap on your body armor and get those grenades ready – the Reader is going to war!

Related Links:

Chris Suellentrop’s “War Games”

Chris Morris’ “Why Activision & EA’s Feud Embarrasses The Game Industry”

The Rumble Reader Episode 9: Scottaholics Anonymous

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“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” releases nationally in theaters today, potentially turning the underground graphic novel series into a money-making franchise. But while the flashy fights and spirited cast may put butts in seats, it’s the heart at the center of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work that will keep people talking. This week, Justin and Nick tackle the entire story, looking at it specifically through the gamer’s perspective. They discuss their favorite moments, the recent game tie-in and why Edgar Wright was the right man to direct the film adaptation. It’s time to level up and discover the power of love.

Relevant Links:

“Spaced” on Hulu

UGO’s SP Video Game References List

Boing Boing’s Yakuza 3 Review (from the Yakuza perspective)

Thank Heaven for El Shaddai – Why you should be excited.

Sometimes you have to dig to find gold.

I know I’m not the only one who found himself a bit dazed amidst the constant noise of gunfire, headshots and sword slicing present at this year’s E3. Perhaps I echo Justin Hemenway and Jeremy Parish’s thoughts when I walked away from the show slightly turned off at our not-so-magic-bullet theory of how to problem-solve and entertain in our medium – bigger guns, heightened realism and blood-splattered violence just aren’t doing it for me.

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Where are my games that use more than 15 shades of grey, green and brown? The games with thought-provoking ideas, that feature some genuinely interesting characters and don’t leave me feeling either cold-blooded or (sorry, Nintendo) somewhat childish? It was with a huge sensation of relief then, that I was able to see more of Ignition Entertainment’s El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. Although it wasn’t prominently featured in any one big press event, the more I learn about this surreal, pseudo-religious adventure, the more intrigued I become – it’s playing to almost every strength of the Japanese development scene, and doing so in a very unique way. Read more

The Rumble Reader Episode 5: God of Snore

Heroes like Kratos and Marcus Fenix have garnered a lot of attention in recent years, but this week, Justin and Nick chat with Christian Nutt, Gamasutra’s Features Director, about why he thinks these guys are just empty cranky-pants. Instead, the guys salute* games like Heavy Rain and Mother 3 that emphasize character depth and humanity. Nutt discusses how solid writing can go a long way towards creating a more believable, fleshed-out world. Perhaps we’ll see a shift at E3, just as long as the marketing muscle doesn’t get in the way.

*Also, their shorts, of course.

Relevant Links:

Christian Nutt’s “Characters. the Building Blocks of Your Reality”

The Rumble Reader Episode 4: Yippie Kai Yai What?

In an industry that often demands too much from its creators, we may need more than sheriff to keep everyone in line. As Justin and Nick explore the wilderness of Red Dead Redemption, an essay from above the 49th Parallel forces them to think about fair trade and that particular game’s stressful development. However, the crunch-time blues can work both ways, as they see in a blog entry from Raven’s Manveer Heir. In the second half of the show, Justin and Nick explore a 1up feature that asks why there aren’t more interactive Westerns. Should we heed the author’s Mad Dog decree?

Relevant Links:

Nels Anderson’s “Do We Need Fair Trade Games?”

Manveer Heir’s “Reflections of a Five Year Vet”

John Constantine’s “Manifest Destiny”

Your Next Reading Assignment: Nintendo Magic

The Rumble Reader Episode 3: The Wrong Place at the Wright Time

As gamers mature, so must the industry. That’s the general theme for this week’s Reader, which has Justin and Nick pondering how developers can cater to broader audiences without abandoning the core gamer. They first look at a recent opinion piece from GamePro’s John Davison, in which the industry veteran suggests that “more content” doesn’t necessarily mean “better game.” In the second half of the show, Justin and Nick talk about the challenges of localizing the Ace Attorney series. Who knew that such a ridiculous game could work as a sly satire, too? Not Americans, apparently.

Relevant Links:

John Davison’s’ “Too Big and Too Hard”

Fintan Monaghan’s “Phoenix Wright’s Objection”

The first details on Best Buy’s @Gamer

The Rumble Reader Episode 2: Shamitsu

In the second installment of the Reader, Nick and Justin tackle the “mystical” world of Japanese game journalism. The 40/40 Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker score in Weekly Famitsu recently stirred up controversy, but the guys delve into what that magazine used to stand for. They also shed light on Xbox Live Indie Games through a developer blog on 4 Color Rebellion. Lastly, GameFan is once again sitting in magazine racks across the country, but the guys are still trying to figure out why. (No copy editing makes Justin angry.)

Relevant Links:

Brian Sowers’ “Inside the Indie Game Development Cycle”

Kevin Gifford’s “The Way Cross Reviews Work”

Nintendo Magic – a future Reader selection

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