The Manhunt Conspiracy

Manhunt 2

Yeah, so, long story short – Rockstar is currently developing a game called “Manhunt 2”, as the title suggests it’s a fairly violent game. When it was done sometime this spring, it effectively got banned for the intensity of this violence, and Rockstar has now put forth a slightly less violent, un-banned version to be released this Halloween. The background on this is that Rockstar was largely responsible for the “Hot Coffee” incident a few years back, an incident which almost single-handedly stirred up the game/morality/yadayada – questions again after a few years of hiatus, so now all kinds of crazy theories are appearing suggesting that all of this is actually a planned move to save some face.

Whose face, though? I could understand if people thought the ESRB toughened up to look impressive in front of politicians and save the ESA some lawyer fees, but there seems to be some delusion that this was actually Rockstar’s plan all along. Of course, I don’t know for certain but how cheap do these people think game development is? sure, some sensational headlines might raise a few eyebrows, but if they wanted sensation they could just have advertised Manhunt 2 by spraying blood on the streets of New York. Having a product delayed for half a year and being forced to re-submit it for revised ratings is expensive.

And why are people bitching that ESRB should go public with the changes? ask Rockstar. It’s their game.

Manhunt 2 rated Adults Only by ESRB

Manhunt 2 re-rated from AO to M

Manhunt 2 Conspiracy Theories Emerge

ESRB responds to Manhunt 2 rerating complaints

Posted on Aug 28/07 by Saint and filed under Moral panic | No Comments »

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Super Chick Sisters

Colonel Sanders and his minions have kidnapped Pamela Anderson for revealing to the world that KFC’s secret recipe is cruelty to chickens.

Super Chick Sisters

… I don’t really like PETA and I question the effectiveness of displaying a message by slapping it on NPCs in a digital game, but that’s just an ideological standpoint and those shouldn’t really stand in the way of enjoying a decent platformer and parody.

Super Chick Sisters flash gameĀ 

Posted on Aug 17/07 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture | No Comments »

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Zero Punctuation

Yahtzee Croshaw, the guy who did the Darkness Review awhile back, has gotten himself a regular show over at the Escapist…

… So that’s awesome.

Zero Punctuation: Heavenly Sword


the Darkness Demo

Posted on Aug 17/07 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture | No Comments »

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Games and christianity don’t mix…

… It was proven with Bible Adventures (etc), proven again with Left Behind: Eternal Forces and now it seems someone else wants to try their hand…

The Christian population of U.S.A. is usually estimated to be somewhere between 70 and 80 percent, so I can’t for the life of me figure out why no-one has been able to make a good Christianity-themed game yet; there should be lots of people not only willing, but driven to try, right? on the other hand, games based on existing IP:s are rarely any good, so perhaps it’s not their fault.

Of course, the opinion I have about Bibleman is just an educated guess about the game’s quality, should I be proven wrong you can just ignore this. Though, for those less informed, it should be pointed out that this is about as likely as a homemade porn short winning the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Posted on Aug 13/07 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture | No Comments »

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Scurge: Hive

Scurge: Hive

The titular game caught my eye awhile ago in a list of “Hidden gems that you might have missed”. The game is for GBA, ported to DS, and falls into the action-adventure category. Is it worth getting? in short, yes. Not quite so short, read on…

Scurge: Hive tells the story about Jenosa Arma, an intergalactic bounty hunter hired to salvage what she can from a research lab overrun with the parasitic-experiment-gone-wrong, Scurge. Yes, the game quite blatantly borrows large chunks of it’s story and design from Metroid, and the general idea of the game is the same. Jenosa Arma can, like Samus, upgrade her suit and weapons to enable her to reach new areas, and the entire game is about exploring the different-themed parts of the research lab. Gameplay-wise, however, Scurge is more reminiscent of Secret of Mana as you play in a top-down manner, and enemies give you experience points when defeated so you level up and become stronger.


In the beginning of the game, Jenosa gets infected with the Scurge and to keep the infection at bay, she must revisit decontamination platforms. I thought this was really bothersome at first, but as these platforms also save your game and replenish health you never forget to save your game, so the system has some merit. A thing that did annoy me about Scurge was how heavily it sometimes relied upon Jenosa’s ability for diagonal movement, the D-Pad for the DS is decent but a little to small to allow you to press several directions with precision. After awhile you learn methods to work around these situations, but it’s still sad that something like that should be a problem. It is also somewhat disappointing that once you’ve beaten the game, there’s not much more to it; while in Metroid you had lots and lots of secret areas, I don’t think there’s a single room in Scurge that you don’t have to visit at least once during the game.


Despite these issues, Scurge: Hive is still a good game in a genre that doesn’t see many games at all. Thought-through controls make the game flow really well (apart from the diagonal issue), puzzles are interesting but don’t hold up the action by being tedious, bosses are grand and impressive and the level-design is varied – in some aspects even more so than Metroid. Seeing as it was originally a GBA game, audiovisually it isn’t quite as good as other DS games but at least the graphics are clean and don’t hinder the gameplay.

Apart from some gameplay elements, Scurge: Hive isn’t at all original. It does, however, prove that a good game doesn’t necessarily have to be.

Posted on Aug 11/07 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »

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A little bit more about PR

Gamasutra has a piece about how Gaming PR works, since this was one of the things I was most fascinated with in my first large-scale game development project, I think it was pretty interesting:

PR And the Game Media: How PR shapes what you think about games

The fascinating part isn’t so much the length publishers would reputedly go to to secure favorable review, but rather why they care so much in the first place. As I wrote last time, there exists some confusion whether review scores actually help game sales, and considering how many issues the biggest gaming magazines sell vs. How many copies a “successful” game sells, I’m not prepared to assume review scores are actually that important.

Posted on Aug 11/07 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture | No Comments »

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History repeats itself…

Purple Moon was a game company formed in the 90s by Brenda Laurel as a by-product of an attempt to make technology more accessible to girls. Long story short, they created some mediocre interactive novel-style games about everyday happenings, failed and were bought by Mattel. The general idea was that games are a channel to live out your dreams and fantasies, and – surprise, surprise – some girls actually have grander fantasies than about their first day at school.

It now seems Ubisoft has decided to repeat this mistake with their new “Imagine” series;


… And yes, I probably wouldn’t know about Purple Moon if it wasn’t for Ernest Adams, You can read his column on the issue here; Games for Girls? Eeeeewwww!

Kotaku: Ubisoft Puts Women In Their PlaceĀ 

Posted on Aug 08/07 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture, General game development | No Comments »

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The Controller

The Controller - Armchair Combat Professionals

This trailer needs to be seen. The movie might be a little too much over-the-top to be funny anymore, though.

The Controller – Armchair Combat Professionals

Posted on Aug 08/07 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture | No Comments »