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I know a man who was once consumed by Gratuitous Space Battles. The stand-offish strategy lets you design a fleet, sketch out a plan of attack and then deploy them against the enemy. It's like cultivating a bionic army of space-pokemon. Once they're away, you can only watch as they're lasered, rocketed and bombed into shimmering clouds of galactic debris. My friend spent hours tinkering with the modules on each ship. He tried sending hordes of tiny fighters into the fray. He tried lone rocketeering behemoths. With every iteration his score increased until he entered the upper echelons of the global high score table. Then, one day, he was gone. All that remained was his chair, a puddle of alien goo and a note in cryptic cosmic shorthand. I sometimes wonder what happened to that guy. I like to think he was recruited by some interstellar warmongers to direct their ships. Wherever he is, I'm sure he's playing the new Gratuitous Space Battles expansion, The Outcasts.
We just watched a bullet slowly bore through a man's skull. It left a big empty chunk in both the entry and exit wounds. It was simultaneously the most revolting and amazing thing we've seen in a long while.
World of Tanks was one of the sleeper hits of 2011—a realistic, methodical tank shooter that was way more intense than a first glance would grant it. To follow up their flagship game, Wargaming.net is paving the runway for World of Warplanes, which takes WoT's team play and "Nice shot!" heroics and gives them freedom in three axes of movement. But what can WoT players expect when they make the transition from treads to wings? We got a chance to check out an alpha build at GDC, and from what we saw, WoWP will make those Panzer pilots look like pansies.
In a world of clones and copycats, it’s worth remembering that every idea was once new. Whether it’s Richard Garriott turning himself into the world’s first cosplayer by showing up at conventions dressed as his alter-ego Lord British, or Westwood inventing the RTS in Dune II, these are the moments that defined the games we play today. On PC, anyway. Herzog Zwei? What’s that? But what about some of the more obscure firsts? Who made games talk? Who made film ratings part of our industry? Which FPS first came up with the idea of mixing driving and shooting, in much the same way that the genius who first combined salt and vinegar crisps and broken up pieces of Kit-Kat created the most delicious snack of our age? That is the question. We’ve gone back into the archives in search of the geniuses, the dreamers, the designers and games that proved there were still ideas left to explore – just as today’s designers continue to prove how much more can be done.