[The following review was reprinted with permission from GamePro.]
Poker Night at the Inventory (available on Steam) is a lot like hanging out with old friends; after a while, you start to pick up on their unique habits amid all the chatter. Strong Bad (of Homestar Runner and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People) always seems to bluff, so it’s never apparent when he’s got a good hand. Max (of the Sam & Max series) plays fast and loose with his chips, so it’s tough to call him on his raises. Team Fortress 2’s Heavy rarely backs out of a hand while Penny Arcade’s Tycho usually folds his cards at the first sign of trouble. But even when their playing styles start to get predictable, it’s the witty banter and idle chit-chat among this motley crew that will keep you coming back.
Games, especially those that feature a narrative story arc, need to be shorter, and that gamers need to stop making overall game length a priority when they make their purchasing decisions.
Before I go on, let me say that this isn't going to be a jaded rant about how games need to be shorter because I have lots of interesting things going on in my life and I don't want to be chained to my couch. The truth is there's nothing I love more than getting lost in a terrific title that keeps me playing until my stomach's about to cave in or my bladder's about to burst.
But I'm still going to argue for shorter games anyway because I think it would lead to better games. Games go on for way too long these days, and for all the wrong reasons, the biggest being gamers have arbitrarily decided there is a minimum number of gameplay hours they will accept (eight seems to be the magic number) and the longer the better. This is most likely because the concept of 'value' has become completely twisted around in most gamers' heads; they're no longer asking the right question, which is "How satisfied will I feel when I'm done?" and are focusing instead on "How much game time can I squeeze out of this thing?"
Tron: Legacy, Disney's upcoming movie sequel to the 1982 original, will arrive in cinemas next month, and to celebrate, computer peripheral maker Razer has announced a new mouse inspired by the upcoming sci-fi flick.
The Tron Gaming Mouse, which sports a lightcycle-esque design, will not only light up but it will also play sounds sourced from the new movie. Luckily, the light and sound effects only happen at certain points, such as when starting up or shutting down your computer.
Beyond the flashy visuals and sound effects, Razer's latest pointing device boasts an ambidextrous design, a responsive 5600 dpi laser, and what Razer calls Hyperesponse buttons.
Leave it to Valve to make me laugh even as they're breaking my heart with a Portal 2 delay announcement.
It's not GamePro news policy to publish press materials in whole (or even in part—so lazy!), but this one is too good to pass up:
VALVE ANNOUNCES SHORTEST DELAY IN VALVE HISTORY
Valve today announced that Portal 2— the sequel to the ground-breaking title that won over 30 game of the year awards, despite missing its original ship date—will now be available the week of April 18th, 2011. This two month slip not only marks the shortest delay in Valve's proud tradition of delays, it represents the approaching convergence of Valve Time and Real Time. Though this convergence spells doom for humanity, it will not affect the new Portal 2 release date.
On Thursday, NaturalMotion Games, a digital publisher of mobile games, announced its formation as a games publisher. The Oxford-based group, who was responsible for the development of the successful iPhone game Backbreaker Football, has formed with the desire to contribute quality titles to the iOS gaming community and provide consumers with new means of immersion and accessibility in gaming.
NaturalMotion Games will serve as the publishing branch of NaturalMotion, a technology and game development company that you may not have heard of before, but has likely contributed to a game you have. NaturalMotion is behind the animation technology Euphoria, which has been utilized in titles like Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Euphoria animation is much more complex and realistic than rag-doll physics, ensuring that the character models react to the environment in a realistic way. If a stormtrooper is shot in the side, for example, they’ll stagger and react in a realistic way.