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Downfall of demo versions – why developers no longer release the demos?

Once common, now almost forgotten, demo versions of computer games, although liked by players, are nowadays an increasingly rare sight. Why are developers so reluctant to release popular "demos"... and do we need them at all in the era of digital distribution?

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IMHO: David Cage is overrated

David de Gruttola, aka David Cage – the creator of Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls – has for years been considered one of the greatest video game designers, oftentimes viewed as peer to Hideo Kojima or Sid Meier; deemed one of the paramount visionaries of the industry. And I can never shake off the feeling that delivering solid stories has been something he never seems to be able to accomplish. It's a great and perplexing paradox that Cage's games, which are entirely story-based, can be so successful if it's exactly the story that's their weakest link.

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Urban legends about video games... part 2

Urban legends, the today’s equivalent of mythologies, tales and fairies. They’ve been around since forever, accompanying humans since the dawn of mankind. The video games, naturally, also have their own share of such stories. Some are ludicrous, others are obviously fake and some of them are… unsettling. Join us once again for a ride down two more stories about a letter from the afterlife and a cursed cartridge.

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Isn't it too soon for PlayStation 5?

It's actually been over four years since PlayStation 4 was released, and the rumors concerning the specification of a successor have been increasingly widespread, same as voices of analysts predicting that PlayStation 5 will be released sooner than you could expect. Would that be a good decision? Do we really need the next generation so soon, and who would it actually benefit?

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Stories are not dead – do we really want battle royale or single player campaigns?

There seems to exist an opinion, prevailing among serious videogame publishers, which says that the time of cinematic, linear stories in videogames has passed. That the new is coming and that video games as online service is the way to go. I couldn't disagree more. I think – and I conclude this after considering many cases, both recent and more distant – that there's nothing that sells a game better, nine times out of ten, than a proper, closed storyline with a definitive beginning, middle and end. Here, I will try to explain my approach, aiming to prove that linearity in video games is going to prevail and thrive during the coming years, despite the current fads.

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Are platform-exclusive games a good idea?

A conversation about the supremacy of the consoles over PCs, Xbox over PlayStation or Sega Genesis over Super Nintendo wouldn’t be legit without bringing up the issue of exclusives available for the systems in question. Those games have always been stirring lots of emotions – both positive and negative. But what’s the thing laying at the heart of the issue – and does it ultimately benefit the players? We will try to determine just that in the following article.

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2018 - The Year of Games Leaving Early Access

Five years ago, the popularity of survival games surged, and different games of the genre have clogged early access programs ever since. Years went by and progress of some of the biggest titles was hardly noticeable, prompting people to believe that some things never change, and others never leave Early Access. But 2018 might finally bring change, proving the skeptics wrong and finally abolishing the eternality of the Early Access.

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Realism is the jam! Kingdom Come and the Czech school of gamedev

If you think about it for a while, it will become clear as day. The Czech school of video games is a peculiar one. If you’ve never played any games from the European country, you might have been baffled by some of the mechanics featured in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Otherwise, you probably felt that you’ve seen all this: inconvenient saving, long journeys, and difficult combat. In any case, here’s our attempt at defining the Czech school of video games.

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50 Shades of Geralt - if The Witcher was made by different developers

Did you ever think what would happen if your grandparents never met each other? If your father asked another girl out to prom instead your mother? If you took a left turn instead of going right that one day? If you ate a taco instead of a cheeseburger? Well, we wanted to know what would happen if The Witcher was made by another developer and released under different circumstances. Take a look at the many faces of Geralt… under different management.

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What makes a console successful? Xbox One, exclusivity according to Microsoft and its implications for the players

Xbox One didn’t actually deliver. While it wasn’t really a failure, its performance on the market has been poor enough to spur some discussion about what is it actually that makes a console successful? Is it the hardware; the sheer power to generate more realistic graphics? Is it the number of exclusives you can play on the given console? Is it something else still? Today, we’ll try to examine these matters, giving particular attention to Xbox One, and the direction that Microsoft seems to be taking.

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Input lag - the killer of PlayStation 4 remasters

In times of retro, remasters became extremally popular. Sony also wants to earn as much as possible by releasing new versions of the greatest titles available on PS2 and PSP. The problem is that many of these ports are almost unplayable because of the huge input delays.

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Curious Case of Saviour Schnapps: A hardcore saving system that divided gamers

Much has been said about Kingdom Come: Deliverance since the game’s release. The main subject, however, appears not to be the game’s greatest attributes or its worst shortcomings. The attention of the press and gamers alike focused on the game’s saving system – for some, a bliss that makes this game a lot more interesting; for others, a pointless and pestering obstruction.

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Fonts in console games are definitely too small!

Decades ago, while we were playing games we literally damaged our eyes by glancing at the TV screen from close distance because of a short length of the controllers' cables. Today we have wireless gamepads and much larger screens, and yet we still have to sit at a minimum distance from the TV to play comfortably, as there is a fashion for the use of microscopic fonts among the game developers.

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How The Witcher franchise mixes fantasy with modern world?

Remember the siege of the La Valette castle in the Assassins of Kings? When the blue stripes were clearing a tower, they reminded me of a SWAT team, the only difference being crossbows and swords instead of M-16s and flashbangs. Didn’t it feel a bit off? In this article we will talk about instances such as this one, analyzing source material both from Sapkowski’s books and the games, to find the source and purpose of the anachronisms in The Witcher.

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Why auto-scaling ruins video games?

Among the many mechanics used by the developers of AAA games, there is one that has always effectively spoiled the fun and rendered one of the ideas underpinning the role-playing games almost obsolete – the auto-scaling of the opponents' levels.

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The best and the worst video games from the Alien universe

The movies showed different approaches to deal with Xenomorphs – you can try to fry it inside a locked ship with an auto-destruct mechanism turned on, shoot it out of the ship’s airlock into space, and even send a squad of Space Marines who shoot first and ask questions later. Which of these approaches works best in Alien video games? Do you prefer to kill the dreadful Xenomorph or run the hell away from it? Let us see what the industry has to offer and how particular propositions have worked out for their publishers.

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Right in the feels – songs we love in video games

Having a matched, tension-building soundtrack in a video game surprises nobody these days; it’s become an irreplaceable narrative tool in modern popculture – one so common that it usually goes unnoticed. But when in the last mission, during the final, dramatic fight for survival, we suddenly notice that we have a vocal track running in the background, we’re confused. Of course we are – it’s something unnatural, and it makes us focus on the sound much more than during regular dramatic or tear-jerking background music.

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The most interesting Star Wars games that were cancelled

With all the fuss around DICE’s Star Wars: Battlefront II, fans around the world are more inclined towards the cancelled Star Wars: Battlefront III project that was being developed before Disney purchased the rights to the Star Wars franchise. What are the other examples of cancelled Star Wars games? And why were they cancelled?

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The life and death of Guitar Hero and Rock Band series

There was a time when you could not have a party without playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band with your friends. The rhythm games had become so popular that nobody ever thought they would vanish from the market so quickly. So, what has happened to the two gigantic franchises and the entire video games genre? And should you keep your plastic guitar peripherals for some better times in the future?

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The most exciting fighting games of 2018

When it comes down to beat’em ups, 2018 has a tough act to follow after last year’s releases such as Injustice 2, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 and Tekken 7. But this year may in fact come out on top – even be significantly better. It definitely looks great on paper with Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition and Dragon Ball: FighterZ being already released, and Soulcalibur VI, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Fighting EX Layer coming soon, along with a whole bunch of potentially great fighter games.

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