Virtual Reality: Here To Stay?

In 2016, virtual reality saw a large increase of products and users. Since the development of the gaming headset Oculus Rift started three years earlier, the interest for the technology grew rapidly in the entertainment sector. While VR kicked off on the PC with the Rift and HTC Vive, the biggest VR headset for gamers to date is the Playstation VR with over three million sold units. Aside from the high-end headsets, a plethora of cheaper ones have become available for smartphones, making niche technology more accessible to a wider audience. The term “virtual reality” is nothing new. In fact, […]

Video Game Health Mechanics: Suspending Disbelief

Video game protagonists often have to experience tremendous amounts of physical trauma for our entertainment. In a medium where violence is often the primary tool for player interaction, it is necessary for the player character to be extremely resilient. All video game protagonists have their limits, however, and this is frequently displayed to the Player through the use of health mechanics. Be it the implementation of a health gauge or regenerative healing, these systems allow the player, using suspension of disbelief, to explain how the likes of Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series can survive the onslaught of bullets fired […]

Battle Royale: The King of the Gaming Hill

Trends come and go, but Battle Royale is big enough to stick around for a while – especially with Call of Duty on board. Battle Royale is arguably the hottest trend in gaming right now. The game type was popularised by DayZ, H1Z1, WarZ, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite, which has made millions of players enchanted. Now, the industry-leading and long-standing shooter franchise Call of Duty is confirmed to jump on the bandwagon in Black Ops 4 and Battlefield is rumoured to do the same. The premise of Battle Royale is a fight to the death, most commonly between 100 […]

A Matter Of Perspective: Comparing First And Third-person Shooters

Perspective in games matter. Game developers have always played and tinkered with player perspective, sometimes to precise and purposeful effect, other times as part of unconscious genre trends. Regardless of the goal, different perspectives have different effects. Notice for example how the ordinarily stable 2D viewpoint in Darkest Dungeon suddenly zooms into a close-up shot of a character when they become “afflicted”. This awkward transition captures a climactic moment of dread with an uneasy and claustrophobic angle. Compare this to the viewpoint offered by most strategy games — an epic, sweeping, zoomed out point of view that empowers players with […]

The Graphics Race: Is Photorealism the Future?

Is photorealism achievable in video games? If so, is it desirable or harmful? In video games, graphics is important for immersion and to sell the concept of a believable game world. In marketing campaigns, the technical prowess of games is often the main focus, such as in the cases of Crysis and Far Cry, which goes to show that many seek gaming experiences that look as realistic as possible. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4 and Battlefield 1 are all games that are pushing technology to new heights today, but while these showcase stunning results, many would argue […]

Survival Games: The Appeal Of Not Dying

Video game genres sometimes come and go like a flash in the pan, but a particular strain of relatively new titles that’s not going anywhere is survival games. The genre has become quite popular in the last few years; a cursory glance at Steam reveals dozens of open-world games that are all about just trying not to die in the woods. Of course, the overwhelming majority of these games remain unfinished (which is no coincidence, given that they become popular at about the same time that Steam’s Early Access program came about). Trying to stay alive in the wilderness would […]

The Decline: What Happened To Single Player?

In a world where social gaming is king, the big budget single player experiences are put aside. Two weeks ago, the rumour broke that Treyarch’s upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will not have a single player campaign. If true, this will be the first Call of Duty title in history (if we exclude the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of Black Ops 3) to only offer multiplayer content. Ahead of the first sneak peek of the game, Treyarch has been hinting at a multiplayer reveal instead of single player, which has not happened in that order before. […]

Walking Simulators: Making Gaming Better

“Walking simulators”, as they’re derogatorily known, occupy a controversial niche in the ecosystem of video games. As that commonly used moniker implies, the genre emphasizes exploration and atmosphere over interactivity. Many gamers don’t consider walking simulators to be video games because of this setup. While walking simulators are far from universally popular, there’s no denying that they’ve made a big change to gaming. In fact, walking simulators have been good even for more “active” genres of video games. The beginnings It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the genre of walking simulators got its start. A lot of critics and gamers […]

Immersion in Gaming: The Tools That Keep Us Coming Back

The idea of immersion in gaming is a concept that has plagued developers for decades. What exactly consists of a truly immersive experience, crossing the line between voyeur and player? A want to make the audience feel more a part of the narrative than ever before is a key driving factor behind game design. There is a menagerie of tools at the disposal of developers, but how much do we really pay attention? And how relevant are they in our choice of game? You’re The Star Like any good narrative, video game stories often revolve around a central protagonist, that […]