June is a pretty huge month in the gaming world, with the kickoff of convention season! This last weekend saw two of the biggest: E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in LA; and the Game Manufacturers' Association GAMA's Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio.
Before we dig into those, since our last post, we've also had the Games For Change Festival, which has posted videos/articles from their conference. Games For Change (among whose directors is Jane McGonigal, keynote speaker at this year's ALA Annual) are another organisation seeking to expand the field of play to more concretely constructive ends, and are well worth a look.
Origins Game Fair
Origins is home to the tabletop games industry's awards, the Origins Awards. Because GAMA is a small not-for-profit, there is a charming quirkiness to the way in which high-quality tabletop games are gathered into one place for an awards ceremony... but the information about it is sometimes kinda hard to find. The following list of nominees and winners doesn't come from the Origins Awards page, for instance, but from gaming industry news site ICv2 and geek news site Bleeding Cool respectively (who in turn got it from the Facebook page of one of the early winners, which may explain why some of the categories towards the end are missing or a little mixed up...) - and a little investigation on Twitter (thanks to Karina Shaffer, @FidgetTBC, for livetweeting the winners!) to fill in the gaps. [NB: this may be the first time they are combined on a single list! That's sort of a scoop for our loyal IGD readers, right?]
In the list below, games in boldface are the official winners, and games in red are the "Fan Favorites" for that category (which may of course overlap). Without further ado, this year's Origins Awards go to:
Best Roleplaying Game
13th Age – Pelgrane Press
FATE Core System – Evil Hat Productions, LLC
Mummy: the Curse – White Wolf Game Studio
Numenera - Monte Cook Games
Shadowrun: Core Rulebook – Catalyst Game Labs
Best Roleplaying Supplement
DC Adventures Universe – Green Ronin Publishing
Heart of the Wild – Cubicle 7 Entertainment
Transhuman – Posthuman Studios
Night’s Watch – Green Ronin Publishing
Eternal Lies – Pelgrane Press
Best Board Game
Trains – Alderac Entertainment Group
Time n Space – Stronghold Games
Space Cadet: Dice Duel – Stronghold Games
Krosmaster Arena – Japanime Games
City of Iron – Red Raven Games
Best Collectible Card Game
Pokemon Black & White - Legendary Treasures – The Pokemon Company, Intl.
Pokemon Red Genesect Collection – The Pokemon Company, Intl.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Battle Pack 2 – Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! Super Starter V for Victory – Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Collection 4: Joey’s World – Konami Digital Entertainment
Best Traditional Card Game
Love Letter– Alderac Entertainment Group
DC Comics Deck-Building Game – Cryptozoic Entertainment
Boss Monster - Brotherwise Games
Clubs – North Star Games
Marvel Legendary: Dark City - Upper Deck
Best Children’s, Family, Party Game
Walk the Plank – Mayday Games
Three Little Pigs – Iello
My Happy Farm – 5th St. Games
ROFL – Cryptozoic Entertainment
Choose One! – Looney Labs
Best Game Accessory
Krosmaster: Fire & Ice – Japanime Games
Shadowrun GM Screen – Catalyst Game Labs
Fate Dice – Evil Hat Productions, LLC
Space Gaming Mat – HC+D Supplies
Pathfinder Battles: Skull and Shackles – WizKids Games
Best Miniature Figure Rules
Marvel HeroClix: Avengers Vs X-men Starters – WizKids Games
Battletech Alpha Strike – Catalyst Game Labs
Judge Dredd – Warlord Games
Best Historical Miniature Figure/Line
Fife & Drum: Revolutionary War -– Fife & Drum
Highlander Force – North Star Military Figures
Fate of a Nation: Arab Israeli Wars – Battlefront Miniatures
Red Army: 28mm Russian Infantry – Wargames Factory
Devil Dogs and Dragons – Empress Miniatures
Best Historical Board Game
SOS Titanic – Ludonaute
Navajo Wars – GMT, designed by: Joel Toppen
Freedom: The Underground Railroad – Academy Games
1775: Rebellion – Academy Games
Francis Drake – Eagle Games
Best Historical Miniature Rules Supplements
SAGA: Varjazi & Basileus – Gripping Beast
Flames of War: Fate of a Nation – Battlefront Miniatures
Force on Force: Classified – Osprey Publishing
Best Historical Miniature Rules
Fields of Fire 2nd Edition – Proving Ground Games
Fire and Sword – Wargamer
Chain of Command – Too Fat Lardies
Best Miniature Figure Line
Malifaux: The Guild’s Judgement– Wyrd Miniatures
HeroClix: Wolverine and the X-men – WizKids Games
MERCs Mini’s (Shock Trooper, Spy, Eagle, Beacher) – MegaCon Games
Best Game Related Publication
Khan of Mars – Evil Hat Books
Fire for Effect – Catalyst Game Labs
ICv2 - Editor: Milton Griepp
Dork Tower – Editor: John Kovalic
TableTop – Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day
Congratulations to all the winners!
(As a side note, movie buffs might like to know that Origins is also home to movie awards the Smithees.)
Random IGD volunteer picks:
- Dragon Age: Inquisition looks awesome, with over 40 different endings (they said once they write about 6 novels' worth for each game!). Here's their latest trailer, too.
- Nintendo jumps on board the metacreativity train with Mario Maker.
- Promenade game Dear Esther's Dan Pinchbeck returns with another exploration-based game.
- Ubisoft games Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed: Unity are looking stunning (and apparently you can ride elephants in Far Cry 4!), but have come under scrutiny for their lack of female player character models - including from series creator Patrice Désilets. A detailed recreation of Revolutionary France - with no chance for women to play a part? Hmm, maybe not so detailed after all... still, anyone who's wanted to sneak through Versailles now has the chance.
Hi folks! Our third-Monday-of-the-month series is going to be news from the world of games. We're still getting everything up and running, and the tabletop games business is quiet at the moment as it's gearing up for convention season, so this month's entry will be a bit short. But still hopefully of interest!
There have been a few interesting announcements about upcoming releases in games - some of which are not so new, but perhaps newsworthy to library folks.
Trading card game Magic: the Gathering has just announced its next big September expansion is going to be called Khans of Tarkir. Rumours are that dragons will play a significant role in the fictional world of the game - one to keep an eye on if you have patrons who like dragons. They also have a new multiplayer set called Conspiracy coming out shortly featuring intriguing [pardon the pun] multiplayer mechanics.
Speaking of TCGs, our sponsors Konami (thanks again!) have just released the latest set for their card game Yu-Gi-Oh! The set is called Primal Origin and is the final set in the 8th series of the cards.
The 5th edition of iconic tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons, which has been playtested extensively under the working title D&D Next, is slated for release this August at Gen Con and generally on August 17. It could be worth thinking about as a school holiday program - pick up the rulebooks and run a few games, then point the players at a display of the tie-in fiction.
In a surprising turnaround, Microsoft have announced that they will be selling their XBox One console in a new Kinectless bundle. This is noteworthy because they have stuck to their guns about requiring the Kinect motion sensor/camera, to the point of costing US$50 more than rival console the PlayStation 4, despite both considerable market friction on the higher price and consumer resistance to the idea of a compulsory infra-red camera attached to the TV (and, usually, an internet connection). The announcement means they'll now be selling the console for the same price as the PS4 (or, so reports say, $50 less here in Australia) - and also does away with technical and privacy issues that might have made it harder for libraries to include the consoles in their facilities.
From the Department of Ingenious Absurdity: Mario in a box - http://vimeo.com/28781718 - Possibly useful as an inspirational tool for a robotics (or game design) session at your library?
From the Department of Archaeotechnology: The Atari landfill excavation - http://www.wired.com/2014/04/atari-et-dig/ - A story about the proof an urban legend turning out to be true (pretty much). There have been stories about an early ET tie-in game being so bad that Atari buried copies of it in landfill circulating for years - certainly the game was pretty bad! Personally I thought the story was worth it just for the mention of "Atari truthers" at the end.
From the Department of Good Fun: Games for Good video update - http://www.spreecast.com/events/games-for-good-supporter-update - Games for Good is an initiative of games consultant and writer James Portnow (Extra Credits) that was funded via crowdfunding site RocketHub last year, to highlight the many positive contributions that games make, and to enable and encourage gamers and game-makers to collaborate with other folks doing good in the world. In this video (recorded during a livestreamed update to backers) Portnow talks about what he and collaborator Soraya Een Hajji have been up to - and it's pretty impressive! The update is followed by a lengthy Q&A, which might be a little more skippable to a less invested audience; but as an introduction to the kinds of inroads games are making into the wider culture - and their ambitions to do good things along the way, which notably for libraries prominently includes standing up for Net Neutrality - it's not a bad place to start.
That's it for now! If there's anything else you'd like us to add, please feel free to be in touch!
Update to previous post! Excessive DRM/check-in requirements on Microsoft’s upcoming XBox One removed.
It seems that Microsoft have been listening (though it might be more accurate to say that they finally got tired of sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting "lalalaIcan'thearyou") - the onerous DRM-motivated requirements mentioned in the last post have been removed. Details are in the updates to that post, since they provide the context to the broader discussion.
There's some good discussion of the changes on game developer site Gamasutra.
Welcome everyone! Our third-week-of-the-month series will be a quick overview of games news, from my own unique perspective. Please note that I am writing from Australia, and from a part-designer-part-educator-part-gamer perspective, and so my take on the games market is likely to be idiosyncratic… which is a polite way of saying that I might miss something, and that these views are those of this particular volunteer and are not any kind of official ALA position. Feel free to add news I’ve missed in the comments or to contact us!
Perhaps the biggest news in the gaming world this month has been the release at E3 of information about the PlayStation 4 and XBox One, the two upcoming incarnations of Sony and Microsoft’s game consoles. This month’s update will focus on the news from E3 from a library perspective. [This discussion has been updated in light of a dramatic about-turn in Microsoft's policies for the XBox One. Updates in dark red.]
Before we get there, though, it’s worth noting that the Origins Game Fair, one of the biggest tabletop gaming conventions in the world, took place this weekend just past. I'll post the nominees in each category (with winners highlighted in red) before we move onto the discussion of consoles.