Guest Post: Why do we play video games? - Mohammed Maxwel Hasan

The follow is a guest blog post from our friend Mohammed Maxwel Hasan. Stay tuned for more from Mohammed as he’ll be joining me on the podcast shortly about storytelling in games.

[Update September 26th: We did our podcast]

You’re nestled in a comfy chair, gripping an overflowing popcorn bag while the booming surround sound penetrates your chest. You look to your right; teenage guys howl loudly at the character fights. You look to your left; fists are pumped in the air a mile a minute. As you lean back into your chair, you begin to wonder how many treasured memories are made at video game tournaments.

Why do we play video games? It’s embedded into our societal DNA as a favourite pastime. With millions poured into game development, what makes this a lucrative entertainment industry?

One reason has two words: wish fulfillment. Video games make the impossible possible. Maybe you’ve always wanted to experience what it’s like to be a hero, saving the planet from a dastardly villain or discovering an exotic land untouched by humans. Real life is limited with your unique circumstances but gaming gives you a window into another world.

Did you play Uncharted 4 for the story?

Did you play Uncharted 4 for the story?

Speaking of worlds, the human craving of compelling stories also pulls us into interactive media. When we watch something that resonates, we can’t stop talking or thinking about it long after the credits roll. The moment you can see yourself in a character, an instant bond forms and an emotional attachment with the narrative develops.

Take Uncharted 4’s dialogue as an example: “Emptiness. Yeah, well, you know, as thrilling as the next adventure might be, in the end... you’re always left with that same feeling. Sometimes you just gotta choose what you’re gonna keep and... and what you’re gonna let go.”

Then there’s the story. You can have the same story, but when the cast is swapped, you can have an entirely different experience. Stemming from the ability to connect with others, gamers look for those on-screen figures to cultivate positive associations. These one-sided connections are called “parasocial relationships.”

Look at the upcoming Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Throughout the hype, gamers frequently comment and request for a story mode. Seeing all the classic franchises clashing is one thing, seeing them together in a coherent story is another.

Should Super Smash Brothers Ultimate have a story mode?

Should Super Smash Brothers Ultimate have a story mode?

Sometimes, living out these stories is all about escaping to a new reality outside our own. Not always necessarily escaping from the negative, but encountering new friends and experiencing new worlds that enhance imagination. It’s analogous to the saying from George R.R Martin: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.”

Video games anchored its place as a leading pastime. With all the various genres and diverse productions, there’s something for everyone. So why do we play? By exploring the behind-the-scenes of the gaming experience, maybe video games can save us from ourselves.

Golem Out Now On Steam

Golem, the platforming puzzle from Hegemony developers Longbow Games is out now on Steam, and enjoying a 10% discount (as of this writing). Golem has you playing a young girl and shape-shifting golem who must navigate the ruins of an ancient tower.

No one knew who built the ancient tower that loomed beside the coast. The young girl figured water must have once flowed down its giant aqueducts into her village, but even her grandfather couldn't remember seeing the mill's old water wheel turn. These days it is the job of her and the other children to journey to-and-from the tower to collect what little water bubbles up in the caves beneath it. But everything is about to change when she awakens a mysterious glowing orb buried beneath the puddles. Images long hidden on the cavern walls now glow with hints of a new hope for her drought-stricken village, and the sealed door of the tower sits ajar for the first time in centuries. With her curious companion in tow, the young girl bravely enters the crumbling ruins of the ancient machine to discover if its long-held secrets hold the key to her future.

You can pick up the game on Steam right here $16.99 CAD (and it's currently on a 10% discount). 

Ubisoft Canada and Northern Arena Announce the Rainbow Six Canadian Nationals

Ubisoft Canada and Northern Arena have announced the Rainbow Six Canadian Nationals which starts this month and will have teams compete in Rainbox Six: Siege for $15,000. You can check out the website, trailer, and press release below.

UBISOFT® CANADA PARTNERS WITH NORTHERN ARENA FOR THE

TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW SIX® SIEGE CANADIAN NATIONALS

 Canadian teams will compete for a $15,000 CAD prize pool

MONTREAL, CANADA - May 28, 2018 - Today, Ubisoft Canada is pleased to announce the Rainbow Six Canadian Nationals, the video game publisher’s first partnership with Northern Arena, the largest esports organizer in Canada. The exciting new esports competition, featuring the popular Canadian-made Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege®, will crown one team as Canada’s best!

Presented by Ubisoft Canada and powered by Northern Arena, the Rainbow Six Canadian Nationals will kick off in June 2018. The competition will consist of two seasons, with live finals taking place in Montreal and Toronto. Each season, participating Canadian teams will compete for a $15,000 CAD prize pool.

Each season will begin with a two-day Open Qualifier, where teams (made up of all Canadian players) will compete for their chance at a spot to compete in the Canadian league. Once league play begins, each season will consist of eight days of matches spanning four weekends. The tournament will follow a round robin format, and rankings will be determined on a point-based system.

Season One Open Qualifiers will take place on June 23-24, with online league play happening each weekend in July. Season Two Open Qualifiers will take place on September 22-23, with online league play happening over every weekend in October.

At the end of each season, the two top-ranked teams will move on to a live Grand Final in Montreal (Season One: August 4) and Toronto (Season Two: November 3). The winning team from season 2 will become the Year 1 national champion!

“Esports is one of the most important and fastest growing industries globally, and we are proud to partner with a renowned Canadian organizer like Northern Arena to continue to build esports in Canada. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is a Canadian-developed game and we are excited to help more Canadians perform at higher competitive levels,” says Olivier Ernst, Managing Director at Ubisoft Canada. “Partnering with Northern Arena allows us to offer a competitive esports playground for Canadians, by Canadians.”

 

“Esports is our passion and partnering with Ubisoft, one of the leaders in video game publishing, is an honor for us. We are excited to create this organized platform for the growing Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six community in Canada,” says Carl-Edwin Michel, founder and CEO of Northern Arena. “We look forward to fostering the amazing talent developing all over the country.”

Additional details regarding spectator opportunities for the Grand Finals will be released closer to each final, and fans are encouraged to follow Northern Arena and Ubisoft Canada on social media for real-time updates.

Canadian Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege players can register their team for the Canadian Nationals today, and find more information about the tournament at: http://northernarena.ca/rainbowsix/.

For more information about Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, please visit https://rainbow6.ubisoft.com/siege and the Facebook group page.

About Ubisoft

Ubisoft is a leading creator, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and services, with a rich portfolio of world-renowned brands, including Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s video game series, Rayman, Far Cry and Watch Dogs. The teams throughout Ubisoft’s worldwide network of studios and business offices are committed to delivering original and memorable gaming experiences across all popular platforms, including consoles, mobile phones, tablets and PCs. For the 2017-18 fiscal year Ubisoft generated sales of €1,732 million. To learn more, please visit www.ubisoft.com.

About Northern Arena

Northern Arena has become the leader of esports throughout Canada and is focused on creating platforms for on-site events and online leagues. By working closely with various game developers, Northern Arena is aiming to bring these events and leagues to players and audiences seamlessly and professionally with world-class production quality and innovative content distribution methods. Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are home to vast grassroots gaming communities that have been waiting for a pinnacle platform to enable Canadian esports to thrive. Northern Arena is dedicated to building comprehensive, integrated professional esports leagues and entertainment platforms for a variety of esports titles while still focusing on providing opportunities for grassroots communities to flourish.

Vacation Time - Guest Blogger

Hey everyone! Just a friendly reminder that I'll be on vacation fora week and won't be updating the website that much. However, good friend Sebastian Scaini (who you can follow on Twitter here) will be taking care of you with some updates.

See you in a week! Oh and remember to join the Discord and become a Patron :)

I'm shaking with excitement - Sebastian Scaini

I'm shaking with excitement - Sebastian Scaini

FutureGrind Gets A New Teaser Trailer

It's a been a while since we've seen FutureGrind, but one of the games developers Owen Goss recently tweeted the new teaser trailer which you can check out below. FutureGrind is a futuristic stunt racer that is set to release on PlayStation 4 and PC this year.

Metanet Software Releases N++ Ultimate Edition on PS4

N++ has been in the news a lot since first being released in 2015, after a few ports, and the announcement of the Ultimate Edition - it's come full circle with the Ultimate Edition being released on PlayStation 4 last week. This new edition, which is free to owners of the original version, now includes 4000+ levels.

In fact, Mare Sheppard talked about creating all those levels over on the PlayStation Blog. You can pick up N++ Ultimate Edition on PlayStation 4 right now.

COLHEX Out Now On iOS

Last we heard from Alessandro Profenna we interviewed him for his game COLHEX, which is out now on iOS (iPhone, and iPad). You can play the multiplayer game for free, but make sure to bring some friends for the hectic finger tapper. You can check out some of the iPad screenshots below.

Head over to the Apple Store to check out the game.

Patreon Update

Hey! So as you may or may not know, we are on Patreon. If you're unfamiliar with the platform, it's similar to Kickstarter but more of a subscription based service. You pay as long as you want, per month, and get rewards and perks, and then you can cancel anytime. It's a great way to financially help support what we're trying to do at TorontoGameDevs.

One thing I want to do more is engage with Patreon's more - I want them to have a say in how the site develops and evolves.  The first thing being how we'll do Game of the Year voting this year. So if you're a Patreon, check out the page to help with the site - and if you're not a Patreon - consider it :)

Guacamelee! 2 Announced For PlayStation 4

All is good in the world as Drinkbox Studios announced today that Guacamelee! 2 will be coming to PlayStation 4. Taking place seven years after the original, Juan Aguacate is living life with his family and friend but his trainer, Uay Chivo, discovers an evil menace that threatens time and space.

The game will include new abilities, as well as 4-player co-op and according to the trailer, we'll be able to play it "soon-ish".

Who Killed My Uncle From Devon Wiersma Launches On Itch.io

Friend of the site, Devon Wiersma launched a game on Itchi.io called 'Who Killed My Uncle?' Taking place in World War 2, 'Who Killed My Uncle?' is a narrative game about censorship, loss, and family you will never meet.  

Made in just under a week in memory of Sidney George James who served in the International Volunteers during the Spanish Civil War.

You can get the game on itch.io for your own price.