This week on Built to Play, we went to the Vector Game Arts Festival, but first Steam sales for all!
Valve is now opening up the process for sales on its online video game retailer, Steam. Steam now allows the developer to create sales two weeks in advance, and opt out of weekly sales.
Sony Santa Monica, meanwhile, looks like they won't have much to sell, as they cancelled their new intellectual property and laid off the team working on it. Sony Santa Monica seems to still be working on a new God of War game and whatever Cory "Balrog" Barlog's mystery project turns out to be. Also in Japan, Nintendo end Internet services for the Wii and DS, in the form of the WiFi Connection.
Hollywood is working on a series of video game movies that are pretty dubious in content. Markus "Notch" Persson said that there's a Minecraft movie in the works, helmed by the producer of The Lego Movie. Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, the writers of Knocked Up and Superbad are working on a movie based on the Console Wars. The Console Wars is an upcoming book by Blake Harris which tracks the 1990s competition between then console giants, Sega and Nintendo.
In mobile news, King, the creator of Candy Crush Saga, has given up on the "candy" trademark in the US. Seth Fischer wants you to pay a dollar to let Mario jump a little higher. And Square Enix made a new Secret of Mana game for iOS, Rise of Mana, that's unsurprisingly riddled with microtransactions.
Last weekend, Vector was in the air, showing lectures and games that were oddly about love. It wasn't the plan for this week, but enjoy our final week of romance-themed interviews.
First up this week, we talked to Rachel Simone Weil on her lecture "Breaking out of 8-bit Hell: The Retropolitical in Game Design." At the Dames Making Games Social, she talked about the ways in which people romanticise the 8-bit era, and how that appears to be the default golden age for a lot of video game fans. This love of the 8-bit can mask some of the political and gender issues in the 8-bit era, particularly the marketing and types of narrative in those early games. Her final point, however, is on how we should avoid condemning each other for our childhood experiences. If someone considers the Playstation, the Colecovision, or even the Casio Loopy as a personal golden age, it's okay to feel that nostalgia. She talks about her lecture at around 24:50.
We called back Kara Stone and Nadine Lessio to the show to talk about the Sext Adventure. As part of the Feb Fatale game jam, a 48-hour race to finish a game, they created a text adventure based on sexy phone texts. You contact an anonymous android who attempts to satisfy humans sexually, but instead lapses into existential depression. Our sex-positive reporter, Daniel Rosen, dug deep into the jam game, and discussed with Stone and Lessio society's intimate relationship with technology, the eventual disharmony routed in cyborg theory and dildos. The tomfoolery starts around 36:57.
By the way, it is not the actual world's first sext adventure. That honor goes to 1984's The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, since we are too embarrassed to name anything else.
Flashing back to last year's Feb Fatale, we talked to Sagan Yee and Nadine Lessio about their jam game, A Long Time Coming. A Long Time Coming is a visual novel, a genre of which we discussed in detail last week, about cheating on your boyfriend. In moments of high tension, you're given a timed choice on how to respond. You can confess that you're cheating, recover and act polite, or become hostile. To pick one of those three options you use a throwing knife. In person, you grab a throwing knife from the table beside you and throw it at a projector to pick one of the three options. It is an unpredictable way to play the game which is part of the fun. As Lessio bluntly put it, "it's about metaphorically stabbing someone in the back." The game feels like it's a lot more than that as Lessio and Yee explore some of the implications of the game that asks you to do the irresponsible thing, and continue to lie to your boyfriend about your infidelity. The knife-throwing starts 44:18.