When IO Interactive released Hitman: Codename 47, the first in the extremely popular action series, it didn't exactly get top billing. Released in November 2000, the game received lukewarm reviews and sold just enough copies in the initial run to not sink the series before it really came into its own. Now the Hitman franchise is one of the most popular video game series of all time. Without a doubt, this is because of its sequel's strong showing in the console market. So, if it was such a buggy, poorly planned game, how exactly did Codename 47 spawn such an successful line?
The business of video games is a precarious one, especially as technology has improved and standards have risen. Multi-million dollar budgets often result in a lot of meddling by the game publishers, eager to release their products in time for major purchasing seasons and generally acting like focus-group-influenced movie studios. Not surprisingly, a lot of great games get stepped on in such an environment. The business has become so stifling that a lot of programmers and designers have turned to independent outlets for the sake of creative control, resulting in new classics like Braid and an endless supply of Internet browser games. In the past decade, perhaps no major studio game was more unjustly hurried, and thereby crippled, than Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.
The 1990's were some of the best years for PC gaming. The first-person shooter especially took significant strides in that era. I wrote about one of the best from that period, the Star Wars themed Dark Forces. But there were plenty of other amazing FPS games produced between 1990 and 2000, some of them world-renowned, others merely appreciated. Let's take a look at a few.
It's time once again to look at some of the best browser games available on the Internet today. June was an especially good month for more involved games. While the heart and soul of browser gaming is a quick, pick-up-and-play sensibility, there's also a strong appeal in games with a learning curve and a longer play time. Last month's entries demonstrate just how far games in Flash and other platforms have come since the infancy of the medium. Rooftop Skater, these ain't.