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Sorry for the lateness of this week’s linkage but life stuff threw me for a loop yesterday. Anyway here’s the past week’s worth of gaming awesome in a nice condensed form. It has been an odd week for me because the only things that have caught my interest have mainly been videos. So make a cup of tea and get comfy!

Apotheon – First Gameplay Video

This is the first I have seen of Apotheon but the art style and approach is amazing. It tickles my love for all things classical and made me wonder why nobody has done something like this before now. It looks like the final game will be a great mix of using everything possible to make the game stand out and being a reflection of the story and setting.

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Link Storm

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I haven’t done one of these for a while! Here’s some interesting gaming, game design and other random crap that I find interesting related links!

Games We Play

This video is a tad annoying in its approach (I don’t know why I just find it annoying) but it is some interesting food for thought about how we can make a game out of pretty much anything. Even the most mundane tasks or huge amounts of bordom can drive people to create a game to help pass the time.

Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse Kickstarter

What’s this? A new Broken Sword game that looks like it will be really good? And it has Charles Cecil on board too? Am I dreaming? I will be backing this if I can scramble the money together for a pledge before the deadline.

Voting Open For The Golden Joystick Awards 2012

A surprising amount of top quality games have made the cut this year but it is your votes that will stop Call of Duty from sweeping the boards! Any guesses as to how many awards Skyrim will win on the night?

The Making Of: Final Fantasy VII – Edge

One of the many look backs at Final Fantasy VII that have popped up since the PC Port Re-release came out a week or so ago. It goes into some detail about the production of the game and the advancements it made at the time but then like all look backs at FFVII it ends up focusing heavily on the characters and story.

So, Tell Me About Yourself, Video Game – Kotaku

A piece championing the underused story telling device of having a narrator (both first and third person) in video games. I find it can go a long way to helping create a connection between the player and the game. Making the experience a lot more personal.

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Hearthfire – Official Trailer

The second piece of Skyrim DLC is all about building a home and leaving your mark on the world of the game with it and your family. Basically it takes all the family and home mechanics from the Fable games and gives them a nice in-depth Elder Scrolls twist. YAY for rewarding time sinks!

The Video Game As Game Changer – Gail Simone

Comic book writer Gale Simone muses on the story and narrative structure of games and in particular their tendency to have protracted or indefinite second acts which make up the meat of the player’s experience with the game. She also points out that this is pretty much the opposite of what is happening in the rest of fictional media such as TV and Film where the second act is becoming shorter and shorter.

SPEC OPS: THE LINE!!!!

You may not be aware that I recently played through Spec Ops: The Line and fell in love with its dark, disturbing, mind bending and gut wrenching story and gameplay. So while I am still currently obsessed with it here are some interesting links about it:

Extra Credits – Spec Ops: The Line Part 1 & Part 2

The Extra Credits team take a brilliant two part look at the game. With the first part glossing over things and drawing your attention to key themes, concepts and moments while enticing you to try the game out with the minimum of spoilers. The second part goes into detail about everything basically and is spoiler central as it explores how every facet of the game works together to create the whole experience.

Spec Ops multiplayer is “tacked-on bullshit” – Edge

Interestingly this piece has been making the rounds about the game’s lead designer, Cory Davis speaking out about the game’s multiplayer and how the publisher 2K forced it into the game. Made by a separate team the multiplayer is a big departure from the main game and is one of the reasons why many reviewers scored the game at 7 or 8’s out of 10. Hopefully other publishers will take this onboard and stop trying to shoehorn multiplayer into every game they publish.

Spec Ops: The Line – Zero Punctuation

Yahtzee gives a rare mostly positive review for the game highlighting the story and character/player connection.

No Good Deed – Narrative Design in Spec Ops: The Line – Gamasutra

Finally, Gamasutra provides an in-depth look at the narrative design for Spec Ops which is well worth reading. A great behind the scenes look and good example how ideas can grow and change over time.

Websites For Budding Game Designers

Now that the major parts of my degree are over and done with it is time to step things up a notch on here!

Let’s start things off with a list of awesome game design, game design theory and smart game journalism websites that every would be game designer needs to check and use regularly.

These are some of the sites I use regularly and if you have any more suggestions please feel free to mention them in a comment or note on this post or by dropping them in my Ask Box. I’ll have a look at them and then add them to the list. The plan is that I’ll repost the list every couple of months with new additions and updates.

So let’s begin!

The Game Design Tag on Tumblr

Our quite little corner of Tumblr is slowly growing and every day I am impressed by the ideas and quality of work on display. From people showcasing their work, to people posting links and production images from games both old and new. The game design tag is always an interesting place to check out. Hats off to you guys! Seriously, I mean it.

Game Pitches

A website my tutor shared with us all. It may not be updated regularly but when updates do come they are usually really good. Pitch documents, presentations and game design documents from some of the industry’s most well known games and franchises. Go check it out and loose a day or two reading all the documents and presentations!

Game Development StackExchange 

It may mainly be a haven for games programmers and the more technically minded among us but game designers need to have at least a passing knowledge of programming and how it works to get by. Just spend an hour or so every week exploring the StackExchange and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll pick up.

The Psychology of Video Games

Not a website I check regularly but when I do they always have some interesting articles on how games and certain game systems effect the player and their engagement with a game. It will give you some major food for thought both on mechanics and the morals of them and game systems in general. Well worth checking out.

Gamasutra

This is one that everyone should have bookmarked already. The key here though is not just to check out the Design section. Explore the whole site; Programming, Art, Audio, Production and Biz/Marketing all impact on game design. Keeping up your knowledge of these areas even on a basic level is a must.

The Brainy Gamer

Michael Abbott’s blog is always a good place to go for higher level discussion and discourse about the games we play. Some great recommendations on books to read and other places to visit. It is also now home to The Smart Game Catalogue which you need to check out.

The Escapist

It may be a big news site but The Escapist’s contributors constantly throw out interesting points of discussion. If you just go their to check out the videos you are missing out on loads of interesting articles and content relating to game analysis.

Game Informer

If you live outside of the USA like I do the Game Informer website is a godsend. In the past year or so they have started putting up more and more content from and related to the monthly magazine. (WHY NO INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS?!) The area of the site that has the greatest interest is the Monthly HUB pages that tie in with the big focus, Cover Stories, of the latest issue. These are more than just slowly teased out previews. There is always a lot of content related to the game’s production and design process. Game Informer is also home to this wonderful piece of inspiration by Ken Levine from 2010.

Edge Online

The online arm of the UK’s game industry focused magazine. Lots of content from the magazine, lots of links and news articles that are actually relavent and lots and lots of job listings!

Penny Arcade

I cannot stress the growing importance of Penny Arcade as a hub for all things gaming enough. The team that run the various elements of the business know what they are doing and do it extremely well. It is not just because you have video series like Checkpoint and ExtraCredits finding their home on PATV. Or the brilliant webcomic that started it all. You also have things like the slowly growing PA Report which is quickly becoming my new favourite gaming news and discussion site.

So that’s it from me, for now. So do you guys have any suggestions that I can add to the list?