Posts by Chris Morris

  • Happy 35th birthday, Pac-Man!

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 5 days ago

    First released in Japan on May 22, 1980, the coin-op classic quickly became a phenomenon, raking in over $1 billion worth of quarters over the decade. He appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. He's adorned cereal boxes, starred in a Saturday morning cartoon, and appeared on virtually every gaming platform to have ever been released.

    Credit Pac-Man 's popularity to great timing, simple gameplay, and instantly recognizable graphics, but according to creator Toru Iwatani, Pac-Man 's widespread appeal was entirely by design.

    “The reason I created Pac-Man was because we wanted to attract female gamers,” he said at a 2010 panel on the game. “Back then, there were no home games. People had to go to the arcade center to play games. That was a playground for boys. It was dirty and smelly. So we wanted to include female players, so it would become cleaner and brighter.”

    The First Lady A few years years after Pac-Man stormed arcades, Namco added a bow and lipstick and released Ms. Pac-Man , technically the first playable female character in any video game.

  • 'Candy Crush Saga' comes pre-installed with Windows 10

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 11 days ago

    Thinking of upgrading to Windows 10 when it comes out later this year? You might want to get ahead in your work first. Way, way ahead.

    As if the return of Solitaire to the operating system wasn't enough of a distraction, Microsoft has announced that it will include King Digital's work-ruining Candy Crush Saga with every copy.

    "All Windows 10 owners will be able to experience the hit game that's swept the mobile world like wildfire," Microsoft said in a statement. "As an added bonus, Candy Crush Saga will automatically be installed for customers that upgrade to or download Windows 10 for periods of time following the game launch."

    In an effort to doom you to a sugar-powered future of matching candies, Microsoft has also worked with King to make this version cross-playable with iOS and Android devices. This looks to be the start of a long-term relationship between Microsoft and King, which will see plenty of other games from the company hitting future PCs.

  • Kickstarter troll ruins game’s funding by withdrawing huge pledge

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 12 days ago

    Is the game any good? We don't know - and, in fact, may never know. Instead, the game’s lasting legacy may well be the story of a last minute funding salvation which turned out to be a cruel trick.

    The crowdfunding effort was the dream of 2Awesome Studios, a tiny Dutch independent game development studio. Dimension Drive was set to be their first game.

    So like many burgeoning developers, they turned to Kickstarter to help finance it. And while they did fairly well in the fundraising, gathering some €23,000, they were still €7,000 short as the campaign neared its end.

    Enter a white knight by the name of Jonathan, who pledged €7,000 in the waning hours of the drive to effectively save the game. The 2Awesome Studios offices (and Twitter feed) were jubilent..for just over 2.5 hours. Then reality kicked in the door.

    Jonathan, the developers learned, was a troll. The pledge that had saved their game was a fraudulent one. This information came just 31 minutes before the campaign was set to end.

  • Steam pulls offensive, homophobic game from site

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 21 days ago

    Valve Software is in hot water after a game about shooting and killing gay people appeared on Steam on Tuesday.

    Though Valve officials quickly yanked the game - entitled Kill the Faggot - from the digital distribution service, some questioned how a game that so obviously encouraged violence against a segment of the population made it onto the service in the first place.

    "How can this [expletive] get through even payment?" asked user Rock Su on the game's now-deleted Steam page. Game submissions to Steam’s Greenlight section, intended to give smaller developers a chance to spotlight their games, now carry a $100 fee to discourage inauthentic or 'joke' submissions.

    The crudely-built game was seemingly modeled on arcade light gun games, where players target and kill gay and transgender people on screen. Shooting a heterosexual person caused players to lose points.

    Skaldic, meanwhile, says it plans to keep making games and it has no plans to ease back on its content choices.

  • You have to watch this Mayweather-Pacquiao 'Punch Out!!' parody

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 22 days ago

    But Noober Goober Gaming saw the snoozefst coming, as illustrated in this amazingly prescient parody using the NES classic Punch Out!!:

    The video, which went live before the boxers even made their entrances to the ring, is a sadly accurate take on the fight.

    It starts by expertly skewering some of Mayweather's ridiculous demands for the bout, which everyone on the planet agrees should have taken place a few years ago. But once the virtual fight actually starts, the video kicks into high gear.

    Pacquiao swings wildly, failing to come close to Mayweather. Mayweather occasionally moves in, but only to lock up “Little Pac” (a hat tip to the real game's Little Mac) in a clinch, which referee Mario has to break up.

    "There's no blueprint on how to beat my hugs," the in-game Mayweather boasts.

    Subsequent rounds spotlight Mayweather's ability to dance around the ring, avoiding punches and never engaging Pacquiao. In the final round, Mayweather finally jabs an exhausted Pacquiao, winning the fight as Referee Mario sums up the thoughts of the millions who had hoped boxing would once again become a relevant sport: "Meh."

    And the parody they deserve.

  • Ouya's demise: What went wrong?

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 26 days ago

    Ouya? Oh no.

    On Tuesday, we got word that Ouya, the Android-based machine that kicked off the micro-console flood, is in dire financial straits and is desperately seeking a buyer. But take a look at the company's history of missteps, and it's really something of a miracle that it lasted this long.

    Ouya was one of the first real breakouts on Kickstarter, raising $8.6 million from gamers eager for something new. With its $99 price tag, sleek design, and promise of affordable gaming, the system seemed poised to shake up the console hierarchy.

    It didn't take long before things started to go wrong, though. And the mistakes began compounding. In its short history, Ouya has made just about every possible mistake a gaming start-up can make - and invented a few new ones along the way.

    I first met with Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman in March of 2013 to talk about the then-much-anticipated system and learn more about the company's business plan. By the time I walked out of that meeting, alarm bells were shrieking in my head.

    But Uhrman was undaunted, and things kept moving along.


  • Video game designer tops new career options for 'The Game of Life'

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 28 days ago

    Life has changed quite a bit since 1960, the year classic board game The Game of Life first sent players down its twisting path. But despite incremental updates over the past five decades, many of the original game’s career options haven’t changed much at all.

    So in an effort to bring their game up to speed, Hasbro is giving ho-hum vocations like accountant, computer consultant, and salesperson the boot and replacing them with careers that are a bit more relevant to today's kids.

    To determine exactly what those new jobs would be, the toy maker went to the source, polling children between the ages of 8 and 12 about what they want to be when they grew up.

    The top pick? Video game designer.

    Game making was the top vote getter, but kids had plenty of other cool suggestions that made it into the game as well: singer, secret agent, scientist, lawyer, inventor, chef, race car driver, dancer, firefighter and fashion designer.

    Four of the game's classic jobs also made the cut with kids: teacher, veterinarian, doctor, athlete and police officer.

    (The least popular job with the kids was, unsurprisingly, garbage collector.)

  • Make money with Skyrim? Here's how

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    For the past five years, Team Fortress 2 players have been able to cash in on their in-game creations. Now, fans of Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim are getting their chance.

    Valve is slowly opening up its Steam Workshop to other games - and Skyrim is the first in line. And though it might seem a minor thing, there's big money in virtual swords and other modifications. As of June 2013, Valve has paid over $10 million to people who have created in-game items for Team Fortress 2.

    But does Skyrim, a game that came out some 3 and a half years ago, still have a fervent enough audience to make paid mods a potential windfall? Absolutely.

    The game is a regular among the 10 most played games on Steam. At press time, there were over 31,500 people playing the game, according to Valve.

    As with Team Fortress 2, the introduction of paid mods, items and maps doesn't mean you won't still be able to find free ones. There are over 24,000 free Skyrim mods available today - ranging from quests to soundtracks to graphical improvements.

  • Daniel Radcliffe, Bill Paxton to star in ‘Grand Theft Auto’ drama

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    Grand Theft Auto is prepping for its close-up, and it's pulling in some serious talent to help tell its tale.

    The BBC has confirmed that Daniel Radcliffe and Bill Paxton have signed on to star in "Game Changer" (working title), an upcoming documdrama that tells the tale of the people who created - and fought against - the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

    The 90-minute drama is being made by the BBC and is based on David Kushner’s 2012 book, Jacked: The Outlaw Story Of Grand Theft Auto. It covers how the violent crime game became an unprecedented commercial success despite tremendous opposition from parents groups and moral crusaders.

    Radcliffe will trade in his scar and invisibility cloak for the dark shades and bearded look of Sam Houser, co-founder of Rockstar Games and the principal creator of the GTA series. Paxton will portray Jack Thompson, the prominent attorney who dogged Rockstar for much of the early 2000s.

    What made Thompson such a memorable character was his hyperbolic, self-written press releases decrying GTA .

  • Could 2015 be the year the Xbox One strikes back?

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    Fans and critics savaged the system when the initial feature set was announced. Microsoft reversed course so many times, it gave gamers whiplash. By the time the company had settled on a steady course, Sony's PlayStation 4 had developed a commanding lead in the U.S.

    Microsoft has clawed its way back, though, and thanks to a few timely delays, competitive pricing, and some smart maneuvering, 2015 could well be the year that the Xbox One becomes the industry's top-selling console.

    The 2015 holiday season was initially setting up to be a doozie. Sony's PS4 exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has looked fantastic in previews, and the Nintendo faithful can't wait to get their hands on the long-promised high-definition The Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U.

    But on March 11, Sony revealed that Uncharted wouldn't be coming out this year. Two weeks later, Zelda was delayed into 2016 as well.