Saxxy 2013 Winners

Games and Gaming, Gaming Culture, News

The winners of the Source Filmmaker competition — aka The Saxxy Awards — have been announced. Enjoy the fine Valveriffic goodtimes, below. All the nominees are here, and you can watch Valve’s honorable mentions here.

Best Short: The Mann Co. Symphony

Best Action: Chinatown Getaway

Best Comedy: Disruption

Best Drama: Till Death Do Us Part Two

Overall Winner: Lil’ Pyro Guardian


Levels Of Detail Podcast: Bad Words Edition (07.07.11)

Games and Gaming, News, Retrospectives

I, personally, choose to believe that we are all capable of being decent human beings at any time, and that corporations which are smart enough to make a serious impact on the world around us are also smart enough to not intentionally sabotage their own efforts, products, or customers. I also realize that people are jerks to each other for little or no reason a lot of the time, and that corporations can and will choose short-term gains over long-term profits and security almost every single time. You can imagine what this does to my temperament, something which is on full display in this week’s podcast, as last week’s relatively bad news free status is drastically reversed.

Some good news does make it under the wire, Crysis is coming to consoles, CCP decides that screwing their Eve Online customers isn’t such a good idea, the Extra Credits drive to help their artist keep making art was a success beyond their wildest expectations, and I have new hope for a good video game movie as details for a Mass Effect film surface with a pretty decent writer and production company attached to the project. On the bad news front, Team Fortress 2 players are determined to show new players on the free-to-play accounts that they’re not welcome around these parts, and EA continues their charge to be more hated than Activision. Please, put the little ones in the other room and then Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 33 (07/07/11)


Levels Of Detail Podcast: Put On A Happy Face Edition (06.30.11)

Games and Gaming, News

Finally, we have good news to bring you, fair listeners! There’s the obvious announcements of Team Fortress 2 going free-to-play and the Supreme Court ruling video games as protected speech, but other, more subtle things, like LA Noire being announced for the PC and possibly the end of wireless bandwidth limitations. It can’t all be positive, Nintendo decided to kick some dirt in fans of quality JRPGs, Eve Online wants all your money, and Capcom’s rolling out a new and even more restrictive form of DRM, but on balance? I’d say this one’s pretty positive. Please, Share and Enjoy.

LOD Podcast Episode 32 (06/30/11)


Levels Of Detail Podcast: Gently Caress Everything Edition (06.22.11)

Games and Gaming, News

Well, today’s podcast would have come online earlier today, but due to a bewildering array of extenuating circumstances, it’s going up late. My frustrating day certainly matches the tone of the news we have for this week, what with EA deciding to retake their Asshole Crown and the gamer bitchfest about every decision made by any game company reaching deafening levels of volume. There was some good news as well, Valve is taking one of their games free-to-play, Al Gore backs gaming as a legit medium, and Microsoft released the Kinect SDK beta. So, please, Share and Enjoy; I’m going to get drunk.

LOD Podcast Episode 31 (06/22/11)


Building Game Communities

Features, Games and Gaming, Retrospectives

It seems like game developers and publishers tend to take a few different strategies with how they release and support their games. This can be for any number of reasons, like meeting a release date, reaching specific sales numbers, and experimenting with sales models. Let’s take a look at what works and what doesn’t.

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First Engie Unlock Revealed

Games and Gaming, News

The first Engineer-class unlock for TF2 has been revealed. As predicted based on the last video to be released, it’s a fancy-pants shotgun. It delivers critical hits that are directly proportional to the number of sentry kills and whether or not the Engineer’s sentry gun was just destroyed. It is meant to be a revenge weapon (called “Frontier Justice”), which begs the question: do these crits only come into play when the sentry is destroyed, or do they become instantly available whenever the sentry makes a kill?

In other news, the golden wrench has been confirmed, with 32 lucky players currently in possession of it. Only 100 people will ever get a golden wrench, and it is both craftable and droppable.


Andy Rooney On Teams and Fortresses

Features, Games and Gaming

I don’t know what’s  happening to gaming these days. In my day you had a fortress, you had a team, and you just went at it. It was like tag or flag football, the bedrock of any small town community. I know community isn’t in vogue these days. It’s one for one and all for none, it seems. I watch the television and it’s not more about team sports, its about the individual stars.  A trophy for this, a  medal for that.

It seems to me that nowadays, our fortress team games are obsessed with personal milestones. What sort of whacky combination of numbers have to be achieved today, I wonder. When I was younger, you just worried about how many times you fragged, and how many times you got fragged, and that was that. Now there are silly hats and punny little titles given to any number of strange number crunching.

Lately I’ve been wondering if it doesn’t have to do a little bit with things. What I mean is, too many people are in a rush to get things, get into the city, say, pick up a newer version of a pair of pants that have been perfectly fine these past five years. It’s not that I wouldn’t do it myself, if was a little bit younger, a little less wise, but it’s a shame all the same.

And seemingly, the company that, to be honest, makes me think more often of plumbing supplies than video gaming, has attached their weird and wonderful number crunching to getting more things. What’s wrong with a rocket launcher, I ask? Now you want a rocket launcher that does more splash damage, or less splash damage, maybe heats up your car on a cold  morning.

It might be a bit much, I wonder.

But things move on, sure as taxes, or your toast getting inedibly dry after an endless conversation with a coworker you don’t like too much. I’m not one to complain about things. But it seems to me that the Team Fortress of today is a little too friendly, maybe, a little less fortressy. I don’t think we ever needed hats to really enjoy the game. We sure don’t need more things.

At least, I’d like to think so.