Just yesterday, we saw this funny Slate article that re-imagined the current presidential elections as a Mortal Kombat-style fighting game.
But if the folks at Candax Productions have their way, we won't have to imagine it. Their game, Battle For Presidency, is currently doing pretty well on Steam Greenlight. You can see a trailer above, featuring some (okay, pretty rough-looking) gameplay.
In a recent Greenlight-oriented interview at Eurogamer, Valve's Chet Faliszek mentioned being a fan of the idea, though he didn't mention the game by name:
There's a fighting game where you're past presidents of the United States and you're fighting in the Oval Office. That's hilarious. That's like the most awesome game. I totally want Street Fighter with Abe Lincoln versus George Washington.
Between Battle For Presidency, the Slate gag, and Chair's recent iOS game VOTE!!!, it does seem clear that people want a game that lets them bypass all this annoying debate and posturing and get right to the face-punching. Does Battle For Presidency have the right stuff to become that game? Time will tell.
The "Soviet propaganda" art style has been trendy for fan art lately, and that's what artist Joseph Baranowski's Pac-Man themed design project seems to have started as. But I think the best part are the two above: posters for Ghost University!
I can imagine it now. A whole campus of ghosts, flitting and flirting through fluorescent-lit hallways, joking about the jobs that lie in store for them. And yet, so sad how many of them will be lost in the maze mines that await in their futures.
Remember that giant, expansive, awesome xkcd comic that was packed full of video game references?
A group of intrepid designers have turned it into an actual video game. You can stomp and fly around the huge comic panel, hovering atop trees and bouncing over cars to your heart's content.
You can even see who's playing where.
Press and Move (Thanks, Paulo!)
It's been three decades since Steven Spielberg enchanted the world with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, changing the way a generation thought about potential alien life and Reese's Pieces. Chillingo and Universal celebrate 30 years of friendly aliens next week with E.T.: The Green Planet, or as I like to call it, E.T. Farms Home.
At the end of the blockbuster 1982 film, E.T. stepped into a spaceship with a plant under his arm and flew off to his home planet. E.T.: The Green Planet for the iPhone tells the story of what happened once our sausage-y alien friend reached his final destination.
It's gardening / farming simulation, and given the context it fits the story perfectly. In the movie E.T. and his fellow aliens were alien botanists, gathering plant samples from Earth before being rudely interrupted by the U.S. government. The aliens needed those plants to save their dying planet, which is exactly what you'll be doing in The Green Planet — growing alien plants, cross-breeding seeds to create hybrids (go botany!), and visiting your friends to see how their gardens grow.
Don't worry; E.T. hasn't completely forgotten Elliott and incredibly young Drew Barrymore. As you cultivate the alien landscape you'll uncover film artifacts that can be used to create a device capable of communicating with the Earth.
Universal is launching an E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Anniversary Edition Blu-ray on Tuesday, October 9, the same day E.T.: The Green Planet shows up in the App Store, so you can watch the classic film and then pick up where it left off.
Until then, enjoy these exclusive screens of E.T. Farms Home.
Anyone old enough to remember the 1990s can probably remember the stuffed toys that became not only a craze, but a phenomenon. They were everywhere. Small children, old women, and a whole great swath of the American population in-between knew all about them. Collectors fought over rare ones on eBay. The little toys were in every store, and smaller versions were distributed in Happy Meals. There was even a special princess bear made after Diana died.
I also remember the moment I knew that Beanie Babies had well and truly jumped the shark: I was a teenager working my first job, as a clerk at CVS, and had to stock an aisle full of "poseable plush toy" knockoffs. $5.99 for a fake Beanie Baby? Clearly, the fad had run its course. Sure enough, within 18 months, Ty Inc., the original manufacturer, stopped making them. Though they did start again a year later, and continue making Beanie Babies to this day, the magic that allowed them to dominate culture for a time was gone.
Close to fifteen years later, I found myself thinking of the day I realized Beanie Babies were over thanks to a strange experience at Chili's. I found myself dining in one recently, for the first time in several years. And the times, they have changed: the focal point of our waitress's entire spiel, and the focus she kept coming back to on repeat visits to our table, was not mixed drinks or fried cheese. It was the touch screen sitting at the end of our table.
The device was a Ziosk, and I understood its purpose as a way to get a drink refresh or pay the bill. But its useful features weren't the ones that the server kept highlighting. No, she kept trying to convince us to read USA Today or play $0.99 "premium" apps on the screen.
After she left the table, my husband remarked that one doesn't usually go out with others just to play Solitaire anti-socially on a single-player touch screen. I pulled my Droid out of my purse and added that if I did place a priority on gaming apps, I had my own with me.
That, I realized, was the moment for me where gaming apps became like so many dollar-store Beanie Baby knockoffs. The idea, and the execution, has reached full cultural saturation. From gas station pump to restaurant table, the apps are everywhere. But, like Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi, Pogs, and every other questionable fad I can remember in my lifetime, even a child can spot the difference between the real deal and the cheap knock-off.
We may not be able to hold Angry Birds in our hand to feel its workmanship, but we know that the game Chili's wants us to buy is no Angry Birds. We may know in our hearts that Words With Friends is essentially a Scrabble mod, but what makes it tick is the large pool of asynchronous "friends," something that no grubby clone can bring to the (literal) table.
The app has become the cultural artifact of our era. It is everywhere, it is oversaturated, and it is unsustainable. Not every surface needs a game on it, and just because mobile and social gaming are successful markets doesn't mean that trying to turn everything into a game will, in turn, make those other things successful.
Personal touch screens—phones and tablets—are immensely useful, as are the programs we run on them. The juggernaut of thoughtless lookalike casual games, though, must soon run into its point of diminishing returns, and begin, as a scene, to contract again. From where we stand now, it's just getting silly.
In the meantime, Chili's: please stop trying to sell me your terrible games. If I pay $0.99 for something on my phone, at least I can take it with me everywhere I go. Focus on getting the food to the tables while it's still hot, and the rest will follow. And if it can't, well, Solitaire won't save you.
There are plenty of LEGO video games out there, but most of them focus on the appearance of the popular building toys rather than the most important element — construction. Rather than assembling the LEGO memories of a pretty awesome guy via button presses, Life of George has you build them out of physical bricks.
Life of George is a gaming app that involves using LEGO bricks to fill a book of memories. Each photo in the book is 2D pixel art made up of bricks. Touching a picture in the book starts a countdown timer, and the player must recreate the object with the bricks provided before the time runs out. It's an innovative way to spend the afternoon with LEGO.
It's also rather expensive. The Life of George and Build Your Brain challenge apps are free for anyone to download on iTunes or Google Play. The physical set runs $29.99 and contains two bags of bricks, the play mat and a George sticker (going on my car windshield). Is it too much? Again, I am not your accountant.
Life of George — $29.99 [LEGO]
Around every corner is yet another danger. Around every corner is another hard decision. Another mystery, and more paranoia.
Around Every Corner is the next episode in the fantastic episodic series of Telltale's The Walking Dead series. We find our group of survivors in a new area (episode 3 spoilers)—Savannah, GA—fighting against both zombies and human threats alike.
How long can you keep Clementine alive for? Things seem to spiral more and more out of control...
Episode 4 will release at an undeclared date this October (Xbox 360, PS3, PC/Mac), followed shortly thereafter by the 5th and final episode of the season. Check the new trailer above and the new screenshots below.
Rocket Surgeon's For the People: Fantasy Politics officially launches on Facebook on the early January swearing in day for new members of Congress. If you consider that a holiday, then you might want to be sworn into the open beta. Congressman Fahey reporting for duty!
For the People: Fantasy Politics casts players in the role of the fictional 436th member of the U.S. House of Representatives. They'll use cards to debate and negotiate bills and amendments, take meetings with special interest groups, and bug their friends to co-sponsor their legislation, just like real congressmen!
"While an extremely fun game that will appeal to a wide audience from political junky to casual Facebook user, For the People: Fantasy Politics has the potential to change the relationship between elected official and constituent," says Shel Mann, CEO and Founder of Rocket Surgeon. "We named the game ‘For the People' because we want it to be a platform through which people can express their views and help us shape future game design. This unique development model ensures that this game is truly representative of the will of the people."
What's nifty to me is that Rocket Surgeon uses the Unity 3D engine for character and background animations for a game that could have worked just as well as a mostly text-based affair. That's going the extra mile. Congressman Fahey of Georgia will take that into account before selling them out to Big Tobacco.
Fantasy Politics [Facebook]
This is a question I asked the good people on Twitter.
The good people replied, sometimes usefully. Sometimes not.
So, yeah, there have been some good sixes, after all!