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Eurogamer Expo 2010 Roundup
By: | October 12th, 2010

I like my expos like I like my Tom Hanks movies. Big. And this year’s Eurogamer Expo is Tom Hanksier and better than ever, moving to Earl’s Court for a larger venue, cramming even more salivating gamers into the place than ever.

Tickets sold out, and exhibitors are lining up to peddle their wares. Last year Heavy Rain, Left 4 Dead 2 and Lost Planet 2 stole the show for me. But what will this year offer? Well, let’s hit the show floor and find out.

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Flower is a title that is considered by many to be largely centered on evoking positive emotions from players. With simplistic gameplay, vibrant visuals and a calming soundtrack, developer thatgamecompany succeeds in providing a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Flower also has a subtle story to tell, one that is far more interesting and profound than a gorgeous game about the interaction between wind and flower petals might first let on.

From the very beginning Flower delivers on the aesthetic which first makes the title so attractive. Within the first moments of gameplay thatgamecompany provides an experience that is beautiful, calming, and liberating all at once. Flower romanticizes nature and revolves around a common modern mindset towards nature: the absence of human development allows the natural systems of the planet to shine and offer their raw beauty.

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[We Need to Talk is a weekly feature that puts you in the driver's seat of the discussion. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

Greed. One of the seven deadly sins. A simple five letters, yet no one seems to be able to talk about greed properly in the gaming world. We constantly hear about the greed of big companies like Microsoft and Sony due to their apparent desire to charge us out the ass for everything.

Early this week, news broke that Microsoft was raising the subscription fee of its Xbox Live Gold service by ten dollars, and the G word began to fly around. Microsoft is obviously driven by nothing but greed. They’re out to screw over the consumer.

I don’t think you understand what greed is.

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["Stop It" is a weekly feature which serves as a forum for me to express my opinions on things in the video game industry or community that need to stop. Despite the fact these things may never stop, this will, at the least, fuel discussion. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

Let’s face it, there have been a handful of downloadable games for consoles each year where we raise our eyebrows at the price. Whether it is the fact that the game feels unfinished, is downright awful, or is far too short, there are a myriad of reasons why the current pricing structure of downloadable games on consoles just doesn’t work. In fact, there are plenty of recent releases that I can think of – and I’m sure you can as well.

Being upfront, I do consider myself to be a huge fan of Apple products. However, I am more than able to realize the problems with the App Store. What I can’t disagree with though is its pricing structure. More so than any other downloadable market out there, the games available on the App Store either seem just right or feel like a downright bargain. I rarely, if ever see that on XBL, PSN, and Wii marketplaces. Overpriced games are an abomination. Stop it! Read more… »

We are living in a time where our resource consumption is beginning to threaten the delicate balance of global climatic and ecological systems that make this planet a suitable place to call home. With the future viability of the human species at stake, individuals the world over have taken it upon themselves to do their part to lead environmentally-friendly lifestyles, and so must we.

If you are someone who is conscious of environmental issues and also are an avid gamer, chances are that having such an energy-intensive hobby makes you at least a little uncomfortable. While one might feel torn between their love of games and environmental commitments, that does not mean we are forced to choose.

Hit the jump to find out nine easy ways you can save the environment and maybe even a little money.

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[This month is officially Driver Month here on Gamer Limit. Join us as we embark on an exhaustive road trip in a series of retrospectives for the Driver franchise in the run-up to Driver: San Francisco.]

As the dust settled after the carnage that ensued from the colossal car crash that was Driv3r, the announcement of a new Driver game was met with tepid trepidation in contrast to the days where it would have been tremendously exciting news. I was naturally predicting that the next game would be called DrIVer however, so the news that it would carry the Parallel Lines subtitle instead created a lot of intrigue about the possible direction the series was heading in.

Things became even more interesting upon the knowledge that everyone’s favourite wheelman Tanner, the long-standing protagonist who was previously left for dead during the climax of Driv3r, had been replaced with an anonymous hippy youth donning a pair of slick sun glasses. It was all a sign that the franchise was about to undergo a significant overhaul: drastic repairs were needed if it was to be ever taken seriously again.

Founder Martin Edmonson subsequently left Reflections following the relentless backlash that Driv3r suffered, leading to the company being reformed in a deal with Ubisoft thus creating Ubisoft Reflections under the new leadership of Martin’s brother, Gareth Edmondson. But was the damage already done?

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Jerry Holkins, Tycho of Penny Arcade fame, penned a comic (shown above) and an accompanying blog post in defense of THQ’s recent comments regarding purchasers of used games. The quick recap is that THQ doesn’t care if used game buyers are upset that purchasers of new titles are going to get a bunch of “free” stuff that a used game buyer is going to have to pay extra for, and Tycho doesn’t think it’s appropriate for these used game purchasers to get angry at THQ over it.

What bothers me about Tycho’s commentary is that he comes across as sounding more like a privileged industry insider rather than the civilian commentator everyone has come to love, and I don’t think he meant to be taken that way.
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[We Need to Talk is a weekly feature that puts you in the driver's seat of the discussion. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

Sony Computer Entertainment big boss Kaz Hirai said this week that he believes that a PlayStation console supporting 100% digital distribution is over ten years away. As expected, this opened the floodgates of discussion, with topics ranging from the desire for more downloadable games to net neutrality and the worldwide internet infrastructure. Obviously, this is a multifaceted issue.

But I’m interested in a hypothetical situation here. Assuming that the infrastructure were in place today, and we could quickly, painlessly, and easily download all of our games, would we? When will we, the consumers, be ready to switch to 100% digital distribution?

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Stop It: Microtransactions
By: | August 25th, 2010

["Stop It" is a weekly feature which serves as a forum for me to express my opinions on things in the video game industry or community that need to stop. Despite the fact these things may never stop, this will, at the least, fuel discussion. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

Let me first say that I am not opposing microtransactions in their entirety. In my opinion, there is a right way and a wrong way to implement them. It is the greedy implementation which impacts gameplay that I cannot agree with.

Microtransactions are a great way for games to bring in a steady stream of profit for extra elements of a game. However, those games that have allowed game design to be altered by microtransactions are undoubtedly the wrong way to go about it. Stop it!

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[This month is officially Driver Month here on Gamer Limit. Join us as we embark on an exhaustive road trip in a series of retrospectives for the Driver franchise in the run-up to Driver: San Francisco.]

It would take four long years before another Driver game would burst onto the scene in an intoxicating cloud of smoke, ready to serve its pining fans after Driver 2. To help quench this thirst, Reflections introduced Stuntman in 2002, a game that that played on Driver’s affinity with cinematic car chases by starring you as a charmless Hollywood stunt driver on fictional film sets. In Stuntman, you were required to perform death-defying car stunts in a series of stringently timed scenes for some upcoming action movies.

While the obvious film parodies were fun to watch, the game ultimately pushed the limits of trial and error by constantly demanding precision driving and was, above all else, infuriatingly difficult. As Reflections’ debut for the next generation of consoles however, it served as an effective appetiser that showed great promise for what was to come in the Wheelman’s next outing.

With the avalanche success of Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City, it’s fair to say that the next generation of Driver had an awful lot of catching up to do. Expectations were running high, especially with the impending release of San Andreas the same year just to add to the pressure. As a result, many were hoping that the third instalment would be everything that Driver 2 should have been, given the advantage of the extra graphical muscle thanks to next generation hardware. Instead, what we were given is widely regarded as one of the most disappointing game sequels in the whole of video game history.

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Bright people sometimes do stupid things. Experienced people sometimes stumble into a noob mistake. Either of these instances are expressions of the fact that we’re all simply human, and therefore err…but I don’t think either of them explain why Microsoft decided to distribute their review copies of Halo: Reach digitally rather than via physical discs shipped overnight to the reviewers. I think, perhaps, that they simply just don’t care anymore.
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[We Need to Talk is a weekly feature that puts you in the driver's seat of the discussion. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

Adventure, as a genre, doesn’t really exist anymore. We have some studios like Telltale who make nice, traditional adventure games that not many people play. Aside from that, you could ask a random gamer what the last adventure game he played was, and he’d probably look at you weird and ask, “You mean like God of War?

Honestly, I’m not in any rush to see “adventure games” make some sudden, miraculous resurgence. Instead, I’m much more interested in those games from other genres that still feel like grand adventures. You know – setting out to explore a huge land, meeting eccentric inhabitants, and generally feeling that sense of adventure that never fails to excite.

But even the sense of adventure seems to be disappearing, and it’s quite troubling.

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