Archive for the ‘gaming’ Category

Take our gaming survey to help out Ars

May 19th, 2020
I would totally drop a quarter in whatever this is.

Enlarge / I would totally drop a quarter in whatever this is. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Gamers of Ars, we’ve got a small side quest for you today! Before diving back into your favorite loot‘n’shoot, would you help us demonstrate to the gaming industry—and to the LVL40 bosses at Condé Nast—that Ars Technica is home to a serious gaming community?

Gaming companies love to spend their marketing budgets on “endemic” websites, meaning "games-only" pubs. They think these are where real "gamers" hang out. But we all know that's not the full story; many of these sites just offer ad-spam walkthroughs written for people who wouldn't try solving an Uncharted puzzle on their own. They've got their place, but those are not the only game sites in town.

So we’re asking you to share—totally anonymously!—a bit about your gaming habits by taking the survey below. The idea is to take this—again, totally anonymous!—data to game companies, slap it down on the table and say, “Look, Ars has loads of real gamers, and frankly, they’re more discerning, more influential, and more active than you can imagine.”

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Posted in ars asks, gaming, gaming survey, Staff, survey | Comments (0)

Game platforms respond to increased demand amid coronavirus quarantines

March 24th, 2020
Stock photo of a man playing video games in the dark.

Enlarge / This guy has actually been self-quarantining with his game console for the last decade or so. (credit: Piqsels)

Major online gaming platforms are dealing with a surge in demand as an increasing number of countries and localities force citizens to stay home in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Both Microsoft and Nintendo's online networks went down briefly last week for many users around the world, and network tracker Downdetector noted numerous spikes in reported problems with the PlayStation Network throughout the week.

Microsoft Head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirmed via Twitter that "usage is up on almost everything" and thanked the employees working to get the servers back up. "So many people using gaming as a way to stay connected during these times," he said at the time. "Play is a fundamental human need. Proud to be part of an industry that can offer escape and fun right now."

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Posted in coronavirus, gaming, Gaming & Culture, networks | Comments (0)

The Ars 13: Our top indie game picks from PAX East 2020

March 7th, 2020

I’ve been writing about games long enough to remember when the concept of an “indie game” was new and odd. It seems like just yesterday that getting a game to market without the help of a major publisher or console maker was so rare as to border on impossible. Today, though, increased access to digital distribution, easy-to-learn game development tools, and cheap game development hardware has produced thousands upon thousands of independent game developers, all fighting for a small portion of gamers’ limited attention spans.

Nowhere is that battle more apparent than at PAX East, where the crowded Boston Convention Center floor is packed to the gills with hundreds of indie game booths that range from single-person development teams to mini-conglomerate indie publishers like Devolver Digital, Tiny Build, and Annapurna Interactive.

Playing every indie game at a modern PAX East would take multiple weeks; a four-day show just doesn't offer enough time to take it all in. But we did our best, sampling from a wide variety of the most interesting indie prospects. Here, in alphabetical order, are 13 indie games that stood out from the PAX East crowd.

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Posted in Features, gaming, Gaming & Culture, indie, PAX east | Comments (0)

The hidden gems of Apple Arcade

November 22nd, 2019

The biggest problem facing games on the App Store has always been one of discovery. If a game doesn’t make it to the Featured section, or if it isn’t a massive hit, you’re probably not going to find it just by casually browsing.

Apple Arcade, with its smaller, more carefully curated library, helps remedy that problem a bit. But with dozens of games included in an Apple Arcade subscription, it’s still hard to find the hidden gems languishing behind those few hyped in the spotlight. In between the Sayonara Wild Hearts (which is beautiful) and Grindstone (oh, is it 2 AM already?) are games that you absolutely should be playing, if only you knew to take the time.

Well, friend, I'm here for you with my own tasting menu of hidden Apple Arcade delights. Here’s a sampler of some of the best entries on offer, chosen for their quality, inventiveness, and suitability for playing on a phone. (Though, if you have an Apple TV, I definitely recommend using it for more than Netflix).

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Posted in Apple Arcade, Apple TV, gaming, Gaming & Culture, iOS, ipad, iphone | Comments (0)

Esports gamers experience same stressors as pro athletes, study finds

November 19th, 2019
A new study by researchers at the University of Chichester in England found that esports players who compete in major tournaments face the same level of stress as pro-athletes.

Enlarge / A new study by researchers at the University of Chichester in England found that esports players who compete in major tournaments face the same level of stress as pro-athletes. (credit: ESL/University of Chichester)

Professional athletes at the highest level regularly contend not only with fierce competition from opposing teams or individual athletes but also intense psychological pressures, ranging from performance anxiety, fear of failure, and tensions resulting from miscommunication, particularly in team sports. Professional gamers competing in major esports competitions experience the same kinds of stressors, according to a new psychology study published in the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations.

Sports psychology has long been an active field, but applying it to esports is a relatively new area of research, one that the University of Chichester in the UK is embracing with its newly launched BA (Hons) esports degree. The program focuses on the scientific study of the physical and psychological impact of esports, including nutrition, coaching, and strategy in an immersive gaming environment, according to co-author Philip Birch, who specializes in sports and exercise performance psychology.

This is the first study of its kind, per Birch. The objective was to gain a clearer understanding not just of the stresses esports players face but also the coping strategies they use to deal with those stressors. Birch and his colleagues decided to focus on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) because it is similar to physical team sports like football or rugby. It's a multiplayer first-person shooter game that pits two teams against each other: Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists. The Terrorists try to plant bombs or take hostages, for example, while the Counter-Terrorists strive to defuse those bombs and rescue any hostages, as both sides try to eliminate the other. Players who do well are rewarded after each round with in-game currency; those who screw up can incur penalties.

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Posted in esports, gaming, Gaming & Culture, Psychology, science | Comments (0)

Study casts doubt on value of WHO’s “gaming disorder” diagnoses

October 22nd, 2019
Stock photo of angry young men playing video games.

Enlarge / Two gamers with obvious unmet psychological needs. (credit: Philip Sowels/​Future Publishing/​Shutterstock)

Since the World Health Organization proposed new diagnoses for "hazardous gaming" and "gaming disorder" last year, there's been an ongoing scientific debate about which way the causation for these issues really goes. Does an excessive or addictive relationship with gaming actually cause psychological problems, or are people with existing psychological problems simply more likely to have an unhealthy relationship with gaming?

A recent study by Oxford's Internet Institute, published in the open access journal Clinical Psychological Science, lends some support to the latter explanation. But it also highlights just how many of the game industry's most devoted players may also be driven by some unmet psychological needs.

Getting at the problem

To study how so-called "dysfunctional gaming" relates to psychological needs and behaviors, the Oxford researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,004 UK adolescents and their caregivers. They asked the caregivers to evaluate their adolescents' levels of "psychosocial functioning:" how well the adolescents are able to internalize or externalize problems in their lives as evidenced by their behavior.

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Posted in gamind disorder, gaming, Gaming & Culture, Psychology, WHO | Comments (0)

Thousands of DOS games have been added to the Internet Archive

October 14th, 2019
Promotional image for video game Wizardry.

Enlarge / Just one of the games added to the archive recently. (credit: Sir-Tech)

The Internet Archive has been updated with more than 2,500 DOS games, marking the most significant addition of games to the archive since 2015.

New additions include forgotten classics like Wizardry: Crusaders of the Dark SavantPrincess Maker 2, and Microsoft Adventure, a rebranding of Colossal Caves Adventure. They also include a whole lot of weird, early experiments and dead ends that should be fascinating to explore for historians, technologists, game designers, and players alike.

The blog post announcing the additions includes some disclaimers: not all games will run as speedily as one might like, not all games have manuals available (though some do), and frankly, not all games from these bygone areas are enjoyable by modern standards.

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Posted in Browser games, DOS, DOS games, emulation, eXoDOS, Games, gaming, Gaming & Culture, Internet Archive, Jason Scott, MS-DOS | Comments (0)

Staffsource: Ars staffers reminisce on the games that made them gamers

August 22nd, 2019
Staffsource: Ars staffers reminisce on the games that made them gamers

Enlarge

Welcome to Ars Gaming Week 2019! As a staff full of gamers and game-lovers, we'll be serving up extra reviews, guides, interviews, and other stories all about gaming from August 19 to August 23.

While it's exciting (and a bit overwhelming) to think about all the new games we want to play, it's fun to occasionally walk down memory lane and remember the first games we ever played. For the Ars staff, our lists of nostalgic games are exhaustive, but a few titles still stand out as the true gateways to the years of gaming that followed.

These might not be the very first games we played, or even the games we played the most during our youth, but they do hold a special place in our hearts for sparking something inside of us that made us continue to seek out games to feed our needs for action, adventure, strategy, escape, and more.

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Posted in Ars Gaming Week 2019, Games, gaming, Gaming & Culture, gateway games, Staff, staffsource | Comments (0)

Guidemaster: Navigating the hazy world of gaming laptops in 2019

August 19th, 2019
Amid the chaos of the Ars Gaming Week testing lab, we took a moment to snap a photo of <em>some</em> of our preferred gaming laptops. But are they right for you? Not necessarily! Hence, here's our careful guide on the topic.

Enlarge / Amid the chaos of the Ars Gaming Week testing lab, we took a moment to snap a photo of some of our preferred gaming laptops. But are they right for you? Not necessarily! Hence, here's our careful guide on the topic. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Welcome to Ars Gaming Week 2019! As a staff full of gamers and game-lovers, we'll be serving up extra reviews, guides, interviews, and other stories all about gaming from August 19 to August 23.

Putting together an ideal gaming desktop computer isn't always the easiest task, but at least it's a controlled kind of chaos. When building a PC, we can individually rank each component type—from CPUs to GPUs, from speakers to monitors—and aspiring builders can feel out their options for each within hearty system-builder guides. Barebones budgets, small form factors, pricey beasts: we can offer tips for each, then let shoppers mix and match those recommendations as they see fit.

The same cannot be said for gaming laptops. There's no simple way to break out and individually test laptops' big-ticket components, and singling out one gaming laptop is tough in a sector that has often suffered from bulk, heft, expense, and ugly designs. When you buy into one good thing in a gaming laptop, you're buying into its every other element, good and bad, with no ability to swap. How much worse does that get when you're stuck with a firm budget?

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Posted in Ars Gaming Week 2019, Features, gaming, Gaming & Culture, gaming laptops, guidemaster, Tech | Comments (0)

Journey creator’s Sky debuts on iPhone and iPad

July 19th, 2019

This week marks the launch of Sky: Children of Light, a game from famed designed Jenova Chen and beloved studio thatgamecompany, on iOS devices. Intended as an entry point to gaming that upends conventions and seeks new ranges of emotional expression, Sky was revealed during Apple's iPhone keynote in 2017 as a mobile-first game and an iOS exclusive at launch.

The game is expected to arrive on Android, Mac, Apple TV, Windows PC, and consoles sometime in the future, though. Its initial wide launch this week follows a long soft-launch period and a launch-date delay as the game went through some big changes in testing to get its social aspects—a key part of the experience—just right.

In Sky, you play as a nondescript, child-like being who walks and flies through varied 3D environments collecting light, helping beings, solving puzzles, and working with friends to bring light back to your world.

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Posted in apple, Apple App Store, gaming, Gaming & Culture, iOS, ipad, iphone, iPod touch, Jenova Chen, mobile games, Sky, thatgamecompany, USC | Comments (0)