On Wednesday I had an opportunity to sit down with Philip Asher, the marketing director for Trendy Entertainment. You may know them as the developers behind Dungeon Defenders, the runaway success Tower Defense/Action-RPG hybrid that recently celebrated a million sales. We talked about Trendy’s philosophy on DLC, expanding the Dungeon Defenders name from more than just a singular Tower Defense title, and their stance on community interaction. It was a great interview and I’m really happy I got the chance to talk with someone who really enjoys what he’s doing in the industry. Hit the jump for the full interview and lemme know what you think of it!
I’ve been watching the slow and methodical translation of Mass Effect as a series from “single-player RPG/waifu simulator“ to “social aggregation machine”. While previous BioWare releases have taken the occasional jaunty step into off-shoots and side-releases, like Mass Effect Galaxy for the iOS or the browser-based Dragon Age: Journeys, the Canadian developer has never gone full-bore into bringing a game’s fiction forward in multiple, simultaneous forms. As the final installment in Commander Shepard’s story, Mass Effect 3 is taking a pretty bold step by encouraging cross-promotions and extra incentives through other forms of interaction, most of which revolve around the “Galaxy at War” concept. It’s an interesting idea as an addendum to the overarching single-player campaign, but the more I think about it, I start to wonder what the implications of this system could mean as a testing ground – an experiment into delivering games not just as a single product, but as a wide-reaching “suite” of entertainment options.
Today is a very big day for users of the Internet everywhere. Across the wide network of tubes that makes up this confusing frontier, sites are shutting themselves down, blacking out and rising together in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act – two US bills, one for the Senate and one for Congress, that threaten to undermine the very fabric of what makes our web so great and facilitating towards human creativity.
I enjoy a near-gratuitous amount of freedom as the founder and owner of this website. I am free to make whatever stupid comments I want, crudely Photoshop together a picture of a 3DS printing money, or boldly declare that all publishers are whillywhipplesnappers, which is a word I just made up. If SOPA or PIPA pass, I would be held liable for the dumb things I say. My website, Toastervision as a whole, could be shut down because of a copyright claim on the picture of that 3DS, if Nintendo felt it was inflammatory. The site would be blocked, blocked from search engines and DNS look-ups – search engines bring in most of our traffic as it is, and that alone could spell an untimely demise for something that I thoroughly and entirely enjoy doing.
For the rest of the day, Toastervision will be joining in the Internet-wide blackout. We refuse to stand idly by while our government attempts to place lockdowns and destroy the livelihood of millions of people who rely on the Internet to do their jobs, interact with others, and make a living. If SOPA and PIPA pass, the wrong people will be punished while the entirety of the Internet will be both less safe and less reliable.
As a final notice, Toastervision has made the expressed decision to join in the boycott of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, run and organized by the Electronic Software Association (ESA). The ESA has lobbied in favor of SOPA/PIPA, contributing $190,000 towards PIPA lobbying. For an organization that claims to represent the gaming industry, a decision like this is inexcusable and does not reflect the opinions of “gamers” as a whole. Because of this, the Toastervision staff will not be attending E3 or covering the convention in any capacity. Until they revert their stance on these disappointing bills, our decision on this will remain firm.
In short: Fuck SOPA. Fuck PIPA. We will not be attending or covering E3 unless the ESA pulls their support from these bills. We believe in a free and unrestricted internet, and we hope you will too.
Hello again, everybody! You’re probably wondering where we’ve been lately. Holidays and whatnot have kept all of the Toastervision staff pretty well occupied, but now that we’re moving into New Year’s Eve territory, which really isn’t a holiday so much as an excuse to drink in excess (not healthy, y’know), it feels like it’s time to talk about where we’re at right now as a site.
November was a really good month for us. We had a solid amount of views from what I could see, and Jared, JD and I were prepared to pick things up in December. Suffice it to say, our traffic has increased far, FAR beyond what I thought we could do right now. We’ve got a solid 3,450+ UNIQUE visitors right now for the month of December, and it thrills me to type that. So many people have come to visit this website, and it makes me so happy to see that some of you continue to return.
I wanted to bring up some stuff with the people that are frequent visitors to our glorious republic of Toastervision. As you may or may not have seen, we recently outfitted an old World of Warcraft community forum into the official Toastervision Forum Oven XL 3600. You can get to those here! http://forum.toastervision.com/forum.php
Secondly, we would love to hear feedback from people on what they would like to see more of, things that you genuinely want to hear about in the industry right now. We’re at a very volatile point, with the launch of the Vita imminent in the US and already available in Japan, and a new generation of consoles potentially being revealed half a year from now. We can’t do it all but we want to focus on what you guys want to see. My contact info is below, along with our general Editor/Tip Line address – please use them if you have something to say.
That’s about all I’ve got for tonight. I might do another one of these posts again at the end of February. Who knows?! Hope you’re enjoying your stay. Big things in store, still!
Contact Info: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Good evening, Toaster-heads. Tonight I have something special for you, something that we’ve been working on behind the scenes for a while now and are finally able to actually give to you, the people who are bizarrely interested in what we have to say about video games.
What is it, you ask? Allow me to tell you. A few weeks ago, JD, Jared and I sat down to talk about a video game called Skyrim. You may have heard of it – it’s kind of a big deal. Over the course of an hour, we talked about our likes, our dislikes, and shared a wealth of helpful tips about Bethesda’s newest RPG monolith. That discussion is now available for listening via the magic of iTunes.
You can download the first episode of Toastercast right here. Send us any feedback to email@example.com – this will not be the last you hear of us.
An important addendum to note: Our official Skyrim review will go live tomorrow afternoon. It’s been a long time coming.
Well, it’s that time of the year once again. As we move into the last weeks of 2011, we take time to look back on all the unbelievable games that have released over the past 12 months. Without a doubt, this year has been one of the best in terms of consistent, high-profile releases. A staggering amount of really, really good titles were always just around the corner, and now it’s time for your friends at Toastervision to decide, once and for all, what the best game of 2011 was, in our opinion.
Hit the jump and see all of our official nominees (they’re all displayed proudly in the picture above, but you might not know them at a glance), and be sure to come back next week when we officially announce our 2011 Game of the Year.
We’re going to try something dangerous and new here, folks: a regular column! Yes, you read that right. Due to the fact that we’re trying to have a site worth coming back to, it made sense that some form of reliable posting would be a good incentive to do just that. Skip forward about 15 minutes, and here you are, reading the words I have so carefully pressed keys down to make.
The first of the several new columns we’re going to be bringing you deals with games that currently aren’t out yet. Despite the fact that they have yet to be released, people are able to freely make complete assumptions and baseless speculation about what will happen in them. Rather than spend all my time on the various networks like Reddit, 4chan or…NeoGAF (he said, shuddering slightly), I’m just going to spew words all over my own website, thank you very much.
So, let’s get started with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Note that there might be some spoilers for Oblivion contained within. Deal with it.