Sunday, 11 October 2015

Shenmue 3 - Finally being made after 14 years.

 Not too long ago in a land far far away, a not-so-simple
games-maker called Yu Suzuki produced a rather unusual
& often misunderstood game named Shenmue

And so the saga begun...

Nowadays it's become a bit of a thing to say how awesome and historically important the Shenmue game is, or was, to the current gaming industry. But this wasn't always the case...

I remember picking up the boxed sets of Shenmue One and Two for the Dreamcast from a second-hand games store, for around ten UK pounds (17ish US dollars),  a good few years ago. They were both in good condition and had all the original packaging intact. In fact, it looked like they were hardly used!
Of course that was before the game had really began to gather much of a 'cult following' status, and definitely before it became mainstream, or in vogue, to know about and 'like' the Shenmue franchise. Remember that this is a game that cost more than any other to make at the time of its release, and then (more or less) bombed in the high-street stores!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Artsy, not Fartsy...

In the Beginning...
There has always been an element of 'art' that has existed, and grown, alongside but generally separate (or underground) from mainstream computing, long before the computer games industry was invented. Likewise the 'can computers make art' debate has existed from the very beginnings of the medium.
Even the early Teletype operators used to send text generated pictures to each other.This was the beginnings of what became knows as ASCII Art, arguably the first true 'art' produced solely by using machines. Arguable, because some still say it was nothing more than akin to computer graphite. Is graphite art? Well that's a question for a different blog...

Sticking with computer generated art, Conway's Game of life was possibly one of the first computer programs that could ever be considered a true form of computer art - rather than 'traditional' art made on a computer. The 'game' was based on a cellular automaton thought experiment originally devised  by John Horton Conway, a British mathematician, in 1970. His 'game' had no user interaction other than the placing of the first cells in a grid. These cells ether 'lived,' 'died,' or 'reproduced' on each turn of the game, based on Conway mathematical rules.

The rules to 'Game of Life' were few and simple, but many intricate 'living,' evolving designs could be made from the placing of the original 'seed' cells.

This zero-player 'game' was typically written for most of the 1970's mainframe, and mini, computer systems.

During the 1980's it was a typically included in various how-to programming books and listings magazines as a teaching program for most 8Bit micro computer machines.

Friday, 19 June 2015

AR v VR.

Are we now seeing the next step in console evolution?

I'm writing this in the aftermath of an E3 conference that definitely had a very real tendency towards Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) gaming.

Now, both of these technologies are hardly new, Ether in concept nor in, largely failed, real world implementations. Although we now we seem to be at a place where the technology; and equally importantly, its cost; has caught up with consumer expectations, making large scale VR and AR devices not just commercially feasible, but viable in mas-produced marketplace, perhaps for the first time...