videogames

The First “Grand Theft Auto V” Trailer

by Joey deVilla on November 2, 2011

The first trailer for Grand Theft Auto V was released today at noon. You’re not going to find out much about the game from it, other than:

  • It takes place in what seems to be present-day “Los Santos”, the analogue for Los Angeles in the world of Grand Theft Auto. Los Santos is one of the three cities in the sprawling Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
  • The plot seems to involve a guy trying to start a new life in a new city, not unlike Grand Theft Auto IV’s Niko Bellic or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’s Tommy Vercetti. I think it’s safe to assume that his plans get waylaid and through a series of bizarre circumstances and friends and associates with poor life-planning skills (no shortage of such types in the world of GTA), our hero lands himself in a whole world of trouble. It would also be safe to assume that he gets out of said trouble by causing a lot of mayhem.
  • The voice-over in the trailer sounds a helluva lot like Ray Liotta, who played Tommy in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

As with most of Rockstar’s trailers, this one’s all cinematics and mise en scene. There’s no indication of what the gameplay is like, whether you’re playing the story or in multiplayer mode. There’s also no indication of what platforms it’s coming out for (although it’s safe to assume that Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 will be supported, with a PC version to follow later) nor when the game will be released (I assume sometime in 2012).

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Super Mario Bros. Does Portal

by Joey deVilla on August 30, 2011

Mari0, a creation of StabYourself.net, the people behind videogame alterations such as Not Tetris 2, combines Super Mario Bros. with Portal for some weird and wonderful 8-bit gameplay. This is a supposedly real working game, and I can hardly wait to get my paws on it!

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Does the Safety Dance

by Joey deVilla on August 30, 2011

YouTube user JoshuaMutter, who makes a lot of Minecraft machinima, created this video that mashes up the gameplay from Deus Ex: Human Revolution (which I still have to get) and Men Without Hats’ 1982 dance-synth-pop classic, Safety Dance. All it needs is the little minstrel from the original music video.

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“No Escape”: A Portal Movie

by Joey deVilla on August 23, 2011

No Escape is a short film set in the world of Portal, and it’s seven very well-done minutes.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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A Portal 2 Marriage Proposal

by Joey deVilla on August 23, 2011

How does a gamer propose marriage to another gamer? If the first gamer is well-connected, he gets a level designer, an artist and the voice actor behind GLaDOS (your cybernetic tormentor in the Portal games) to create a special set of Portal levels (and not simple ones, either) which conclude in a big church-like chamber and GLaDOS popping the question on his behalf. The video above shows gameplay from these levels.

If you have the PC or Mac version of Portal 2, you can take these levels for a spin:

  • Download them from here
  • Put the VPK in the addons directory
  • Put the bik files in the media directory
  • Open up the console and type map la_bringing_together

First the zombie-themed engagement photos and now marriage proposal videogame levels. Are these signs of a geek marriage chic trend?

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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Windows Phone 7 App: Rubik’s Cube

by Joey deVilla on August 31, 2010

Hoem screen for Magmic's "Rubik's Cube" game

I was a teenager in the 1980s, which meant that along with watching Knight Rider, going to Depeche Mode concerts and playing blocky games on an Atari 2600, I had a Rubik’s cube. These puzzle toys were such a big craze at the time that toy and game stores couldn’t keep them on the shelves. I’m told that even decades later, it’s still considered to be the number one-selling toy of all time.

It’s nice to see that Ottawa-based developer Magmic, who specialize in mobile casual gaming, are bringing Rubik’s cube – the real officially-licensed thing – to Windows Phone 7. Naturally, you can try solving the classic 3 * 3 * 3 cube that we all know and love…

Game screen for Magmic's "Rubik's Cube" game

…but the game lets you go beyond the classic with:

  • Four different sizes of cubes
  • “Free play” or the more challenging “Timed mode”
  • A timer to keep track of your best solution times
  • Variations like “CRAZY cube” and “Picture cube”
  • A solution guide to help you learn how to solve the puzzle
  • Anaglyphic 3-D mode (3-D glasses not included)

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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The Week-Long Discussion

Cover of the book "Head First C#"Andrew Stellman, co-author of O’Reilly’s excellent and easy-to-read C# intro, Head First C#, is holding a week-long “Inner Circle” discussion on C# and .NET 4.0 in the forums for O’Reilly’s “Head First” book series. In this discussion, he plans to cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Why use C# instead of any other language?
  • C# best practices
  • Becoming a better C# developer
  • Dealing with objects
  • Productivity hints
  • The best of C#

If you want to follow the discussion, simply point your browser at the Head First Labs Forums’ “Head First C#” section and look for topics started by Andrew Stellman. You don’t have to log in to just read, but you’ll have to register for the forum if you want to join in the discussion and comment back.

The Challenge

Charlie Chaplin and the original IBM PC

In his first discussion topic, Andrew issues a challenge: build an old-school, text-mode game in C#! In the 1980s, the computing world was seen through the command line in an 80-character by 24-line grid (40 characters if you were on an Apple ][, Commodore 64 or Atari 400/800, even fewer if you were on a VIC-20), and that’s how we played a lot of games, whether they were commercial or typed in from source code in magazine or books like the ones scanned into the Atari Archives.

If you’ve never written a text-mode game before (or in my case, if it’s been a long, long time), he’s written an article to help out — Understanding C#: Use System.Console to Build Text-Mode Games.

Your efforts in building an old-school text-mode game will not go unrewarded. Submit a text-mode game and you can win a prize! He’ll judge them on the following criteria:

  • Game play
  • Fun
  • Technical coolness
  • General awesomeness
  • “Retro nostalgia” for extra point

The winner will receive five O’Reilly eBooks of his or her choice. He’ll also choose runners-up who will get a free O’Reilly eBook.

If you’re looking for ideas for an old-school text-mode game, check out these books at Atari Archives, with source code written in old-school line-numbered BASIC. Some of these take me back to my high school days:

Video Q&A: Stellman on C#

As a prelude to the discussion, Andrew recorded videos of his answers to questions about the C# programming language and the second edition of Head First C#

Why should developers learn C#?

What kind of applications can you build with C#?

How hard is C# to pick up?

What’s the toughest thing to learn in C#?

What’s new in the second edition of Head First C#?

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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