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May 30, 2011 / Notmaker

Adwatch: The Dirt Devil is Coming…for YOU!

Another advertising post while I collect my thoughts on a couple new games.

I absolutely love how even though most of the commercial doesn’t show the product, the concept is so well-executed, it ties deeply and memorably (and hilariously) into the product.  Enjoy!

May 25, 2011 / Notmaker

Turn Your iPad into an Old-School Arcade!

[h/t Kotaku]

Is it weird that this makes me want to buy an iPad?

May 25, 2011 / Notmaker

Sunny with 50% Chance of Frogs and Rapturing

Duke Nukem just went to gold master.  It’s coming, folks, for realz.

Maybe the Family Radio guy just got the details slightly off….

May 21, 2011 / Notmaker

Sales Experiment: Sale by License?

Just a random thought from this morning as I contemplated whether I really wanted to re-buy Braid for the 360 so I could clear it off my latop’s slowly shrinking harddrive:

Considering the increasing move on the part of the major publishers to sell game boxes under the auspices of actual software licenses instead of retail box ownership, would gamers be willing to spend an additional $X amount in order to acquire a truly platform-agnostic version of the game they want?  And would publishers be willing to make such an offering price competitive?

Read more…

April 22, 2011 / Notmaker

AdWatch: Honda Civics for Everyone!

(h/t Adweek)

Not game-related, but I just want to say that I really like Honda’s new TV spot campaign for their new model of Civic.  While the idea of “[insert car model here] is great for everyone!” isn’t new at all, Honda’s unapologetically over-the-top approach is surprisingly cunning.  It’s not just that the new Honda ads feature a zombie, a ninja, a lumberjack, and a luchador, it’s that each ad also crafts a fairly hilarious persona around each them that dovetails perfectly with a feature of the car.

We’ll see on how successful the campaign actually is, but for as far as achieving memorable style while succeeding in keeping the brand and product front and center.

Read more…

April 1, 2011 / Notmaker

Gamification: New Hotness or Snake in the Grass?

Interesting article from Heather Chaplin at Slate about the ideas behind the philosophical “Gamification” movement.  According to Chaplin:

The basic idea arises from how engaged people are when they play games, even if they’re doing mundane things like running a farm or mining ore. If we make the world more like a game, the thinking goes, we can harness all that energy to solve real-world problems.

Now, this is not a field that I’m particularly well-read in (check out Jane McGonigal‘s blog for lots of good info), but the basic principle behind earning virtual rewards for achievement as a method of motivation shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has ever taught children, owned pets, or had a job that came with a large corporate hierarchy.  What Gamification seems to be pushing is the idea that the same impulses that allow people to feel rewarded through virtual rewards can be applied to society at large to solve current social problems.

Read more…

April 1, 2011 / Notmaker

Sorry for the long hiatus

Hey guys,

I’ve been pretty busy in the last couple of months doing other things, and I just haven’t played many games.

Hope to change that pretty soon, but thanks for checking me out occasionally.

November 12, 2010 / Notmaker

Call of Duty: Black Ops TV ad is solid…and takes a few subtler risks

I like Activision’s new TV ad for Call of Duty: Black Ops, the latest game in the CoD franchise.  In a time when special forces/near-future military shooters are practically pouring out of the industry onto our consoles, I can really appreciate how difficult it is to create an ad that makes the game’s themes as clear as possible while also being visually-distinctive enough to establish and creative tone that is demonstrably different from the ads of competitors’ products.

With this ad, Activision takes a nice, solid swing at the problem, with great pacing, a daring visual concept, and a couple more subtle attempts at differentiation.  While I’m not convinced on how clean a hit it is, considering the realities of the market, the presentation is excellent.

Looking Different When Everything Looks the Same

November 11, 2010 / Notmaker

New Netflix PS3 Interface Not Quite Enough to Dump XBLive Sub…But Close

Started using (one of) the new Netflix PS3 disk-less interfaces a couple weeks ago.  It’s buggy, it crashes more than I’m comfortable with, even for a free app, and every time I watch a video, I have to exit out to the application’s home screen to be able to browse again if I’m in the mood for more.

However, PS3 users now have:

  • Movies arranged in a grid layout with rows so you can easily see what’s available quickly
  • Lightning fast pre-loading of HD streams (2-3 seconds compared to the 15-20 seconds on the 360 application)
  • The ability to search for individual movies (without crashing)

There are actually three different PS3 interfaces that are being tested now (h/t Engadget), but they all apparently have these key features, none of which are currently built into the 360 interface.  Combined with Netflix and Sony cracking that strange upscaling problem for older videos only available in 480i, and the 360 application’s hold on this particular bit of the video-streaming market is looking a lot shakier (especially with the new XBLive Gold price hike).

October 21, 2010 / Notmaker

Valkyria Chronicles: A Spectacular Period Mashup in Tactical, Turn-Based Form

This article was originally published as part of’s Steampunk Fortnight.

I have a confession to make: Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles really isn’t a steampunk game. It’s more of an Anachronism Stew; it’s got a hearty dieselpunk base (most weapons and technology), chunks of meaty steampunk (costumes, politics, other weapons) and out-of-left-field historical anomalies (the lancer class), and is garnished with a zesty,zesty sprinkling of Japanese fascination with western dictatorships.

Do alternate histories make you uncomfortable?

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