First Person Legend of Zelda

While the popularity of making first person versions of videogames has waxed and waned for a while, it looks like now it is officially a thing. Take, for example, the version of Flappy Bird that I mentioned previously or the more obscure version of Mega Man.

Now, it is The Legend of Zelda's turn at getting a first person version, this time on the Oculus Rift.

The game looks like it would be a blast to play. However, the level design for Legend of Zelda was based on the premise that a player could always see everything in Link's immediate vicinity so I imagine that some of the puzzles (especially in the dungeons) would be maddeningly difficult.


More Legend of Zelda stuff from the archives:

Woman Hacks Legend of Zelda to Play as Zelda Instead of Link

What If Zelda Was the Hero Instead of Link?

Concept Animation for a Legend of Zelda Movie

Maintaining Kids' Finances is Difficult

Rebecca, over at Zenerdgy:

In the past, we had lots of money mishaps. Sometimes, they handed the money to a "responsible" parent. I usually placed the money in an envelope, which we never had handy when the child found the perfect toy at the store. Since Ben and I never remembered the amounts in the envelope, we relied on the child's memory. They always swore that they had enough money, but that often was not the case (funny, how they forget money spent but not money owed).

The rest of the post is a good, quick read on the trials and tribulations of tracking children's allowances. By the way, their app Family Bank is available on the App Store. Check it out.

People Just Can't Get Enough of Flappy Bird

We've all seen the innumerable Flappy Bird clones on the App Store and Google Play ever since the game was pulled from the app stores, but some folks are taking things to a whole new level.

Take for example, this version ported to the ancient Commodore 64:

If that doesn't tickle your fancy, then how about a version played with a first person point of view?

If you still haven't had enough, then the only choice is to try it in a box.

Folks, this bird has legs.

Selling Copies of Windows and Office is not Microsoft's Future, Redux

Remember when I said that selling copies of Windows and Office were not Microsoft's future? Well, here's a first step towards that future, courtesy of Paul Thurrott:

In a bid to counter the threat from low-cost PC alternatives like Chromebooks and non-Apple tablets, Microsoft will reported slash the licensing cost of Windows by 70 percent. But the price cut will only apply to low-end Windows devices that cost less than $250.

North Korea's 'Mac OS X'

Martyn Williams, for North Korea Tech:

Poor Microsoft. It seems North Korea doesn’t like the traditional Windows-look anymore. The latest version of the country’s home-grown operating system, Red Star Linux, has been restyled and ships with a desktop that closely resembles Apple’s Mac OSX. The previous version was based on the popular KDE desktop that mimicked that of Windows 7.

The screenshots in the source link are worth checking out. What you will find is an OS that apes the Mac look, albeit in a primitive sort of way. With that said, I do think that the red star (a tribute to the name of the OS as well as an important symbol for its home country) is an interesting replacement for the ever present Apple logo.

Much Ado About In-App Purchases and Arcades

Drew Crawford, over at Sealed Abstract:

See, in the in-app purchase model actually predates phones. It predates video game consoles. It goes all the way back to the arcade, where millions of consumers were happy to pay a whole quarter ($0.89 in 2013 dollars) to pay for just a few minutes. The entire video games industry comes from this model. Kids these days.

Crawford's post was in response to an article by Thomas Baekdal about in-app purchases destroying the gaming industry with the latest example being Electronic Arts' (EA) butchering of the classic videogame Dungeon Keeper. (Both Crawford's post and the original post are worth reading, and I think it is especially valuable to view a few minutes of the two videos in the original post.)

I've written about freemium as a damaging force in modern game design, so my opinion on the original Baekdal post should come as no surprise. I do appreciate Crawford's post for its content on modern app economics and Crawford's musings on potential developer strategies for navigating the various issues with app-based businesses.

However, where Crawford's post goes off the rails is the segment (highlighted by the quote above) attempting to relate today's in-app purchasing model with the arcade model of yesteryear.

The two models could not be more different.

The only similarity to be found, if you squint really hard, is in the vague notion of paying for an amount of gameplay time. The critical difference--and this is at the heart of the problem with modern freemium design--is that the in-app purchasing model has nothing to do with player skill.

Think about those old arcade games. Pac-Man. Galaga. Street Fighter 2. All of those games could be played and conquered with a single quarter if the player was skilled enough. The amount of money that a player had to pay was directly tied to his or her own skill level. By comparison, no amount of skill is going to help you acquire those Smurfberries any faster. Only cold, hard (digital!) cash will suffice.

Even the worst 'quarter munchers' like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Simpsons arcade games had an element of skill involved. Nothing was quite as sweet as seeing how far you could get on a single quarter.

Admittedly, racing games generally fell into the 'pay more play more' model, but that was often mitigated by the game having a 'winner gets to race again without paying' feature.

Folks, claiming that yesterday's arcade business model is essentially the same as today's in-app purchase business model is akin to saying that receiving a high five is essentially the same as getting a slap to the face. I don't think I have to tell you which one is fun and which one hurts.

Quoth the Flappy Bird, 'Nevermore'


Flappy Bird, the latest iOS casual game breakout hit, has been pulled from the App Store by creator Dong Nguyen. Flappy Bird, for the few people who somehow avoided the hype, was a simple game where players tap the screen to make a bird fly over pipes that block their path. The game was renowned for its simplicity and frustrating difficulty. Players were apparently engaged enough to keep playing the game and also interested enough to tell their friends to play (ultimately resulting in the app hitting #1 in the App Store). It was reported that Dong Nguyen was pulling in $50,000 per day in advertising revenue for the game before the app was removed from the store.

Why would an indie developer pull such a successful game from the App Store?


Watching this story unfold online was a sad commentary on Internet culture and the human capacity for envy. For example:


Perhaps the worst part of this whole story is the hatred that Nguyen received from other indie developers. Time and time again, presumably jealous developers were attacking Nguyen from every angle:

  • 'This game is crap that could be created in a weekend!'
  • 'I spent 2.5 years on my game, and it hasn't had this level of success. Unfair!'
  • 'Must be a scam. This game has been in the store for months and suddenly hits #1? Must be paying for downloads!'

Of course, now that Flappy Bird has been successful there are now a bazillion clones cluttering up the App Store. Funny how the industry works like that.

Folks, this isn't the first (or last) time that we will see stories like this.

Attack on Nintendo

This is a nifty fan-made animation of characters from Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. videogame series, set to one of the opening songs for this past season's smash hit (no pun intended) anime, Attack on Titan.

This animation is very well thought out. The scenes do a very good job of evoking the 'feel' of Attack on Titan with the established Nintendo characters. I would love to see this artist do another rendition using the other opening song (which is one of my all-time favorites).

Folks, it's worth your time to watch this one. Also, if you haven't checked out Attack on Titan, you can do so for free on Crunchyroll.

It's Time to Destroy Seattle a game, of course.

The folks at Mature Gamer Podcast recently posted a trailer for the upcoming edition of the Infamous series titled Infamous: Second Son, which takes place in Seattle, Washington.

This PS4 game is being made by Sucker Punch Productions (owned by Sony), which is based near Seattle in Bellevue, Washington.

Folks, I have to admit that I relish the thought of being able to play a game where I can cause mayhem in familiar streets and around landmarks like the Space Needle and the Elephant Car Wash.

Patch Laid Off a Bunch of People Over the Phone

Matt Burns, at TechCrunch:

The ax came down at Patch today. TechCrunch has confirmed that a number of Patch employees were let go this morning with another round of layoffs happening later today. We’re hearing hundreds were laid off, focused mainly around editorial staffing. Employees are being told to pack their virtual desks and clear the premises today.

If you haven't listened to Jim Romenesko's audio recording of the teleconference, take the time to do so. It must have been difficult for those people to hear their jobs being eliminated in a short 1m 30s.

I've said it before, folks: treat employees with respect, especially when firing them.