7 More Reasons Terranigma is the Best SNES RPG Most Gamers Never Played

If the first two acts of Terranigma were an ode to creation and nature, the massive third act is a requiem of history and humanity, a dark assemblage of surprisingly tragic events for a 16-bit game that goes beyond the normal RPG tropes. This is the second part of my Terranigma retrospective, focusing more on the plot… » 11/26/14 7:05am Wednesday 7:05am

How A Dark Time-Traveling Fantasy Game Became the Original Fallout

The end of the world was both darker and more humorous than anyone could have imagined, and in the original Fallout, released for the PC in 1997, gamers got to experience the apocalyptic future firsthand. The iconic, "War, war never changes," introduction set the somber mood, which came about, strangely enough, during… » 10/28/14 5:40pm 10/28/14 5:40pm

7 Reasons Terranigma is the Best SNES RPG Most Gamers Never Played

The SNES has some of the best RPGs ever developed. Final Fantasy IV and VI, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Shadowrun, Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, and many more. But after my recent interview with Alan Weiss about Secret of Evermore, many readers pointed out a game I'd never heard of called Terranigma as one of… » 10/10/14 4:51am 10/10/14 4:51am

7 Strangest Japanese Titles of American Released Games

What's in a name? In the case of Terranigma (which I've just started to play), the English title seemed to be a reference to an enigma about the rebirth of civilization until I found out that its original Japanese name, Tenchi Sōzō, translated to The Creation of Heaven and Earth. In fact, for games targeted at kids,… » 10/02/14 4:23am 10/02/14 4:23am

The Story Behind the Only Square RPG Developed in North America

Secret of Evermore is one of the most underrated RPGs in gaming. Released in 1995 on the SNES, it's a love letter to what is best about JRPGs, with influences from Secret of Mana and even cameos by Final Fantasy characters like Cecil from FFIV. But it also weaves its own identity with a quirky narrative encompassing… » 9/29/14 12:49pm 9/29/14 12:49pm

7 Strangest Alternate Endings in JRPGs

Last days. Leaving places. I know all things end. But last Friday, after almost ten years, it was a goodbye lunch, farewells, an exit interview and then a final departure out of the parking lot. I never realized how much I would miss my company and the people in it until I was leaving, even though it was on the best… » 8/28/14 4:45am 8/28/14 4:45am

7 Silent Hill Connections in P.T.

I've been really intrigued by the PT Demo of Silent Hills and what it might be teasing about the future of the series. What's most exciting for me is how it's gotten gamers who weren't familiar with Silent Hill or had always wanted to find out more really interested. And for good reason. It's not everyday you can get… » 8/15/14 7:33pm 8/15/14 7:33pm

7 Thoughts on the Strangeness of Silent Hill

The best Silent Hill games have always been about psychological terror, the emotions that haunt and wrack the protagonists with guilt and regret. Yes, thrills abound and there are horrific monsters, but it's the mental anguish that overwhelms players and keeps us going back to the city in a murky haze that is nebulous… » 8/13/14 2:53am 8/13/14 2:53am

7 Obscure RPGs That I Wish Had Sequels

I had a dream last night that I watched a secret Stanley Kubrick film that hadn't been released yet and had just been newly discovered. It was disturbing, provocative, and weirdly humorous. In other words, awesome. I felt so sad to wake up and realize it was only a dream. It made me think of Neil Gaiman's Sandman and… » 8/08/14 7:30am 8/08/14 7:30am

7 Strangest Bathroom Scenes in Gaming

Strange stuff happens in bathrooms, both in real life and in games. Bowels are a reminder that we are organic machines that need fuel, processing, and excretion. While games are full of strange foods, there aren't as many bathrooms and I've always wondered why so few RPGs have bathrooms when they're trying to create a… » 7/16/14 7:30am 7/16/14 7:30am

7 Strangest Foods in RPGs

Strange foods! I've seen a lot of them while traveling through Asia. I wasn't always courageous enough to try them all even when I wanted to. A friend of mine told me they serve live monkeys in the Sichuan area which I haven't personally seen, though I have once tried cow brains dipped in curry- it was soft, gooey,… » 7/09/14 7:30am 7/09/14 7:30am

Talking Deadly Towers NES with Broderbund's Producer, Alan Weiss

Guilty pleasures. I have a thing for games and movies that other people dislike. This goes back to the old school days of Nintendo and one of those games that I loved was Deadly Towers. I played it when it first came out and back then, it was one of the most difficult games around. I'd always been curious about the… » 1/07/14 4:46pm 1/07/14 4:46pm

Talking Indie Game Development in Bangalore India w/ Andy Deemer

I love Indie games and when I found out an old friend, Andy Deemer, was making his own adventure game in Bangalore, India called The Stormglass Protocol, I had to ply him with questions for my favorite gaming community, TAY. I met Andy in Beijing where he was running what he describes in the interview as “a propaganda… » 10/30/13 1:22pm 10/30/13 1:22pm

Last-Gen Heroes: Heavy Rain

For a second, I forgot I was playing a game. So much so that the day after I finished Heavy Rain for the PS3, I watched one of my favorite crime films, Seven, and involuntarily tried to control Brad Pitt’s responses and movements. I couldn’t. I’d never felt so bereft watching a movie, the TV screen dividing us in a… » 10/28/13 12:01pm 10/28/13 12:01pm

Channeling Zombies, The Last of Us, and Art with Paul Davies

What made The Last of Us so good? Part of the reason was the incredible animation. Paul Davies is an Animation Supervisor at Sony Computer Entertainment America and directed a huge chunk of the fully-rendered cinematics for The Last of Us, working with Naughty Dog animation leads Shaun Escayg and David Lam, as… » 8/06/13 9:57pm 8/06/13 9:57pm

Do RPGs Need Endless Grinding? A Talk with Indie Developer Kyle Muntz

I’ve spent way too much time on each of the Dragon Quest games fighting slimes and more slimes. Persona 3 and 4 sucked up hundreds of hours wandering the dungeons to level up my characters. Dragon Age and The Elder Scrolls and a hundred other RPGs have vaporized time I could have spent learning the basics of a foreign… » 7/31/13 12:01pm 7/31/13 12:01pm

My 7 Favorite JRPG Battle Themes

What are your favorite JRPG battle themes? This past weekend, I had a lot of errands to run so I uploaded some of my favorite JRPG OSTs. One of the tracks I found myself humming over and over was the Chrono Cross battle theme. Battle themes are an integral part of what makes JRPGs so special. I mean, can you imagine… » 7/29/13 1:14pm 7/29/13 1:14pm

Star Trek Holodeck During our Lives? A Recap of Siggraph 2013

I leapt over a building in a single bound. I flew past multiple skyscrapers. I was actually playing a building simulator using the Oculus Rift and despite the lo-res textures from the game developed by Esri, it was one of the most immersive experiences I’ve had. Looking left, right, above, and below, I felt like I was… » 7/26/13 12:27pm 7/26/13 12:27pm

An Escape From Monkey Island Retrospective from a former LucasArts…

I got my break into the game industry as a game tester at LucasArts back in 2000. One of my favorite titles to test was the fourth game in the Monkey Island franchise, Escape from Monkey Island. It was a year of long hours checking every aspect of the game from the dialogue to the difficulty of the puzzles. I must… » 7/15/13 3:44pm 7/15/13 3:44pm