Tshirts in development

14 12 2007

We took these as our tshirts were in development.Β  Thought we might share:


We are no longer naked. Pixel-Lab & Never Mind the Polygon T-shirts

13 12 2007


Our first ever batch of T-Shirts have arrived (#1-3), and they look awesome. New ones will be made to accompany each Pixel-Lab event.

Printed on heavy Jerzees T-Shirts, these will make you the envy of developers everywhere. Each design features a game in our Hall of Fame, it’s designer, platform of choice, and year of. Conditions of wear are printeed on the back.
These cost Β£15 at the events, and will soon be available online for Β£18.

Current designs are shown below, and new ones will appear shortly before each event.

#1 – Loco Roco (PSP)
#2 – Mario Kart (SNES)
#3 – Out Run (arcade)

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Click to enlarge1446948-1211418-thumbnail.jpg

Minter Threatens to Quit Game Development

4 12 2007

Space GiraffeJeff Minter has threatened to quit game development after Llamasoft’s Space Giraffe was outsold by Frogger on Xbox Live Arcade. Writing on his sweary livejournal page:

not seeing a lot of reason to continue even trying to make games, at this point, when a remake of Frogger, one of the worst games in the history of old arcade games, can outsell Space Giraffe that we put so much love and effort into, by more than ten to one, in one week.

OK, we get the message. All you want on that channel is remakes of old, shite arcade games and crap you vaguely remember playing on your Amiga.

We’ll shut up trying to do anything new then.

Sorry for even trying.

I wonder if the comments and resulting news stories have driven any sales? Hopefully πŸ™‚

Photo from Llamasoft’s photostream.

Microsoft Parents Survey

4 12 2007

Kids playing videogames

Microsoft just published a survey of parents with a report written by Margaret Robertson. BBC News have a story on it here:

More than 75% of parents are concerned about the content of video games played by their children, a survey suggests.

Almost half of the 4,000 parents surveyed in the UK, France, Italy and Germany said that one hour of gaming each day should be the limit.

Some 43% of the surveyed parents said they were not aware of ratings systems for games to determine suitability.

I would really like to know more about the 25% apparently not concerned: Are the majority of those already well versed in games, or do they just not care?

The story doesn’t say much new, just confirming how unaware a lot of parents are of the ratings systems for games, but it’s worth pointing out Ask About Games as a new resource for parents who want to know about the content of the games their children are playing. Other good sites include Gamerdad and What They Play.

CC Licensed image by Ed Fladung.

Games As Junk Food

4 12 2007

Jonathan Blow, Developer of Braid, was widely reported in the past few days as describing games as junk food:

“MMOs have empty gameplay but keep players hooked with constant fake rewards. Would players still play our games if we removed these scheduled rewards?”

“Rewards can be like food, nutritionally beneficial, or like drugs, artificial. We overuse drugs because we don’t understand food.

“In pursuing ever more players the games industry exploits them in an unethical way. We don’t see it as unethical, though, because we refuse to stop and think about what we are doing.”

Blow, who believes that the medium is set to play a major role in shaping culture as the games industry grows in influence, said games need to teach the correct lessons.

“All games teach, and if games are going to be a foundation of human thought the question we have to ask is what they will teach the audience.”

He’s made a post about it on his own blog, stating that the context he said those words in is important. You can download audio of the entire talk along with slides there:

I gave a lecture on November 27th at the Montreal International Games Summit; this lecture was highly critical of current game design practice. It’s about what I think is wrong with the intentions designers have when they set out to create a game, and points out that, as games are played by more people, this will become increasingly societally damaging. It also holds some suggestions about how to create games that are deeper and more meaningful, rather than being throw-away entertainment.

CC licensed image by flickr user awrose.

IGDA Christmas Bash

4 12 2007

IGDA Midlands December

Late notice I’m afraid, but via Andrew Oliver comes this news of the last IGDA Midlands Chapter meet of 2007. It appears to have acquired new format, since Andrew was on our panel for the last Never Mind The Polygons πŸ˜‰

The last IGDA meeting for this year…

As winter draws on and Christmas approaches, we would like to welcome you to the latest 2007 Midland Chapter event which will take place on Thursday 6th December!

For your enjoyment and edification, this time we will be hosting a topical quiz with Andrew Oliver taking the role of the Quiz Master. Add in a panel of speakers from some of the best-known local studios (details TBA) and it should be a thought-provoking and entertaining evening πŸ˜‰

As the popularity of the Midland Chapter IGDA events has increased, so has the number of attendees.

Please print out, and bring with you, the official invite linked below.


Please fill in your name and email address on the bottom part prior to entrance; this will help us manage the entrance process to this event. Reducing waiting times, which should increase your enjoyment and help get you to the bar quicker! J

The venue is once again the Royal Leamington Spa Pump rooms, which are situated near the bottom of The Parade, the main road through Leamington Spa.

Royal Pump Rooms
The Parade
Leamington Spa
CV32 4WA
Tel: 01926 742751


The event – on Thursday 6th December – will start at 7.30 pm and will continue till closing time at approx. 11.30 pm.

Kuju Opens Two New UK Studios

4 12 2007

Nik Nak LogoKuju has added two brand new studios to it’s stable, doublesix and Nik Nak. Respectively from Gamasutra and Next Generation:

Officials from British developer Kuju have announced that the company has established a new studio named doublesix, which will be dedicated solely to developing downloadable games for Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, WiiWare and the PC.

I’ll be interested to see the eventual headcount of doublesix: While, for instance, PopCap have become a casual leviathan with nearly 100 employees, some large developers anticipate scaling problems with management overheads for that many staff and such small teams, even staying out of the arena entirely as a result. It might be easier for a new studio to handle though.

On Nik Nak:

Currently working on a series of titles for a core audience of 6 – 12 year olds which will be announced early in 2008, NiK NaK will only make PEGI rated 7+ games or below (ESRB β€˜E’ for everyone 10+ or below).

Maybe studio brands are part of the solution to issues surrounding game content and minors? For some years, Blitz have been running imprints that develop for specific age groups and markets.

EA no longer the world’s biggest publisher

3 12 2007

Activision and Vivendi Games to merge


In a surprise deal over the weekend, moves have been made to creates the world’s biggest publisher, called Activison Blizzard

(worth a total of $18.9bn) in the most surprising news of the year, Electronic Arts has been dethroned as the games industry’s biggest publisher, ousted by a new company formed following the merger of Activision and Vivendi Games.

The two companies said that the massive power-shifting deal will create ‘the world’s largest pure-play online and console game publisher’ – a company called Activision Blizzard, which will boast the highest operating margins of any major third-party video game publisher.

Creating the goliath company brings together a raft of Activision’s properties, including Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, the Tony Hawk series and a range of licences that includes Spider-Man, X-Men, James Bond and Shrek, with Vivendi’s slate of games which includes Blizzard’s world-popular World of Warcraft and its Diablo and StarCraft stablemates and the likes of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro.