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Built to Play 51: Our Objective is to Win the War

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Built to Play 51: Our Objective is to Win the War

WE CONFRONT ENEMIES, WAR, AND CLONES IN OUR DISCUSSION OF BATTLEFIELD 3 MAPS AND SCREAMING IN SPACETEAM

Built to Play's had a chance to explore the ways games and interactive art can bring us closer together, but like any other medium they also have the power to tears us apart. Not just in the tribal sense either. Conflicts between whether a particular console is better than another are vacuous affairs, and rarely do friendships end over having bought an Xbox One over a Wii U. Multiplayer pits us against each other and while it's usually part of amiable competition, many players don't see it that way. They call the SWAT team on players they dislike. They call other players racial epithets. 

But what if a game could make us against a whole region? Since military shooters started taking place in the near future, there's been a big focus on the Middle East and Russia. It's easy to acknowledge that the narratives in these games are frivolous sub-The Expendables attempts at storytelling, but those story maps become multiplayer maps. That's when these games, which have levels in Karachi, Tehran, and various parts of Afghanistan, leave the player to form an opinion about the place they're fighting in. 

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Built to Play 46: Very Real

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Built to Play 46: Very Real

Built to Play dives back into virtual reality through Samsung's Gear VR and by visiting Toronto's VR hub.

Almost a month ago, Samsung announced the Gear VR, a small virtual reality headset. The idea is Oculus already uses Samsung phone screens for its display. In fact their current display is the exact same as the Galaxy Note 4. So why not just use the phone as the virtual reality headset? Plug it into the Gear VR, and BOOM, virtual reality on the go. 

Turns out there's a bunch of reasons why not. Unless the attachment comes with an AC adapter or an extra battery, that phone is going to die within the hour. Not to mention, phone CPUs may be more powerful than ever, but they still pale in comparison to a PC. And that's without getting into the lack of positional tracking.

But don't listen to us. We're a bunch of downers. Listen to E McNeill, better known as E to his friends, the designer of Darknet

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Built to Play 38: Delayed to 2015

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Built to Play 38: Delayed to 2015

We travelled all the way to our computer screens to watch E3 2014 unfold before our very eyes. For the most part, we were pleasantly surprised.

Last week was E3 with all three major press conferences, plus EA and Ubisoft. Microsoft showed off a shocking number of games. EA demonstrated that they understood what game was conceptually, and played videos about where game designers get drunk. Ubisoft had Aisha Tyler share a stage with a line up of exceptionally short men. Sony gave us a taste of Project Beast, and revealed that they also want to get into the TV business. And Nintendo thought we really liked Robot Chicken in 2009, plus the conference was only mostly cashing in on nostalgia. 

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You can catch our live tweets of those conferences on Twitter, or our storifies for more detailed coverage. However, in lieu of recapping every single press conference in this one page, here's a couple highlights.

Daniel and Arman were both impressed and slightly annoyed with Scalebound, which looks like Monster Hunter but made by Platinium and with a Shinjuku-esque protagonist.

We had very little to say about Call of Duty, but were interested in its attempts to distance itself from its predecessors. Also that new game from Playdead had a great aesthetic, but drew too much on the studio's last game Limbo.

We didn't have much to say about EA aside from the shocking number of games that didn't seem to exist beyond short videos and wireframe models. Their Mass Effect announcement was essentially playing the theme music to build up to excitement, only to drop that excitement off a cliff when they revealed that was all they had. The publisher had shockingly little to say about Dragon Age: Inquisition. Arman enjoyed the first one, while Daniel seems to like neither,

 Ubisoft had a few more games in concrete form, several of which piqued our interest. Neither had much love for Assassin's Creed Unity, especially thanks to the comments on the lack of female protagonists. Arman has some lasting curiosity about the Division, though after Watch Dogs, most of that has cooled. Ubisoft did seem insistent on making their gameplay trailers sound like radio plays, which both of us loved immensely. By the way, Valiant Hearts is probably the best looking game about the First World War we've seen.

As for Sony, both Arman and Daniel were pumped for Bloodborne, and but Sony showed off a couple games that seemed worth the while. No Man's Sky was an easy pick, although they didn't show much new from last year. Also Sony probably shouldn't have spent 20 minutes talking about Powers, before showing off the new crazy looking, but depressing sounding Metal Gear Solid V.

Nintendo had the best show for us, if only because it was the shortest. Take that as a lesson publishers. If you can just show games over and over again for 40 minutes, that will impress people. We enjoyed the new Zelda video, but that is not a game. That is a tech demo with a 10 second trailer. Splatoon and Codename S.T.E.A.M. were more impressive that they existed at all, and weren't another old retread Nintendo property. Daniel still wishes they were Metroid though. Nothing can fill the void.

Game of Show: Bloodborne and Splatoon

Game we will actually play: Valiant Hearts. 


We only used one song this week, from the Free Music Archive. It's called "Dream Land Attack" by Thiaz Itch. If you believe your music was used inappropriately, let send us an email.

This episode was written by Daniel Rosen and edited by Arman Aghbali. Please leave us a review or comment so we know how we're doing and can improve the show. Thanks for listening. 

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Built to Play 17: Leave Luck to Heaven

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Built to Play 17: Leave Luck to Heaven

Hiroshi-Yamauchi.jpg

This week ex-Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi died after more than 50 years at the company (1949-2002), helping the company transition from a card game company to a video game giant. Ouya Free the Games decides that scammers probably don't deserve ,  Sega bought the failing Index Holdings, which means they now own Atlus Japan and Atlus USA, EA has a new CEO, Andrew Wilson, found in the depths in the Origin division. GTA V made more than a billion dollars, but who cares because Ace Attorney V has a release date and we are psyched.

Plus we have an interview with Shadowrun designer, and the CEO of Harebrained Schemes Studios, Jordan Weisman . We talk about the future of his his new video game, Shadowrun Returns and the Berlin Campaign.

Leigh Alexander's fantastic review of GTA V can be found on her website and on soundcloud.

For the music we used in this week's episode, check out Persona 4, Epsilon Not, and the Shadowrun Returns soundtrack. 

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