Tense Games: Creating the Perfect Atmosphere of Fear, Paranoia, and Anxiety

Tense Games
Resident Evil restricts saves in early games, and makes ammo and health packs hard to find, making players feel more vulnerable than in other series. Image Source: Danskyl7 via Wikia.

Building fear and anxiety into a game’s atmosphere is an art form. We’re used to fast-paced narratives and heart-pounding gameplay, but that typically comes from having multiple things happening at the same time, such as enemies shooting, guns needing reloading, and objects exploding. In tense games, it’s less about quick reflexes and more about planning, but that planning must be supported by a mood that makes you feel cautious – not overpowered.

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Stealth Mechanics: 3 Innovations and Refinements Gamers Want to See

Steatlh Mechanics
Stealth mechanics are in a state of constant evolution, building on early concepts like line of sight and instant detection for more nuance and immersion. Image Source: Game widow363 via GamePedia.com.

Stealth mechanics are constantly being refined and reinvented thanks to improved hardware capabilities—we’re at a point in gaming history that allows for greater experimentation than ever before. Enemy AI is far more intelligent than in early stealth games, players have more freedom of movement, and there’s a greater array of weapons and approaches to choose from.

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Gaming Through History: 5 Fan-Favorite Historical Video Game Characters

Historical Games
Due to a glitch, Gandhi is prone to using nuclear weapons at a ridiculous pace in Civilization, making him a fan favorite.

Historical games can be a lot of fun, as they let us explore settings and events we might have read about but not actually experienced ourselves. They also let us interact with key historical figures, and while the personalities of these video game characters probably differ significantly from their real-life personalities, there’s nothing quite like rubbing shoulders with the historic elite.

Whether you prefer your historical games rooted in realism or with a healthy twist of fantasy, these five representations of historical figures are some of the most popular – though not necessarily for the right reasons!  

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The Elements of a Stealth Game: Intelligence, Freedom, and Tension Characterize Popular Genre

Stealth Game
Stealth games require certain elements that make them both fun and challenging. Image source: UnconventionalSoldier21 via Wikia

Creating an excellent stealth game isn’t just a matter of slapping together fun elements and hoping it works. It requires a nuanced approach. While the genre does have core elements that players expect, those elements must work together in a particular way or the game won’t hold up to the expectations of stealth fans. The way each piece of the puzzle fits together is crucial to the success of the stealth game, so innovation and the reimagining of familiar elements both go a long way toward helping a game stand out in the genre.

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Honoring Video Game Spies: Gaming’s 6 Greatest Secret Agents

Video Game Spies
Video game spies might not possess the firepower of other staple characters, but they have their own unique set of skills to finish the mission. Image Source: TeamFortress.com

Video game spies can be silly or serious, bumbling or suave, either gaming the system or being gamed by the system. The fun of playing a spy isn’t just in the gadgets and sneakiness (although those are great, too), but also in the many different ways that these characters fit into their respective worlds, with each one boasting different skills and techniques to get the job done.

Today we honor just a few of the gaming world’s greatest spies by exploring the gadgets, intelligence, acrobatics, and other unique skills they utilize to save the world.

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Stealth Gaming Modes: Four Different Ways Games Use Stealth Mechanics

Alekhine's Gun, like many others, blends multiple aspects of stealth gaming together for a unique spin on the genre.
Alekhine’s Gun, like many others, blends multiple aspects of stealth gaming together for a unique spin on the genre.

To those playing outside the genre, stealth gaming might appear to incorporate just a few core mechanics—sneaking, killing, and lock-picking, for instance. But to designers and hardcore fans, there’s a lot more nuance to it than that; one stealth game can differ greatly from the next as familiar mechanics are blended and elevated, and new ones are created. These different combinations often manifest as different stealth modes (such as social and line-of-sight stealth) under the larger stealth gaming umbrella.

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New Spy Games Twist Genre Conventions for Exhilarating New Gameplay

New Spy Games 1

While established franchises might play around with stealth mechanics, gadgets, or covert ops, new spy games put a twist on the familiar, sneaky and suave stock characters that often characterize the genre, turning James Bond carbon copies into fascinating new personalities with their own unique stories. New spy games are also building on the concepts of deception and reconnaissance, giving players more options in approach and execution rather than the linear, one-solution styles that characterized early entries in the genre—such as the excellent but comparatively limited GoldenEye 007. From classic spy thrillers with contemporary refinements to tense, cyberpunk thrillers, this year’s spy games mix up the genre with a whole lot of imagination.

If you like sneaky fun, gadgetry, and infiltration, don’t miss these three new spy games in development right now.

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Cold War Conspiracies: Real-Life Operations That Would Make Excellent Video Game Plots

Cold War conspiracies often involve secret plots by leaders such as Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Josef Stalin, pictured here at the Potsdam Conference in 1945.
Image Source: U.S. National Archives via Wikimedia Commons.

Cold War conspiracies are some of the most intriguing theories out there due to the Cold War being largely devoid of direct combat and the intense technological development during that time. The Cold War formed the era of intense space and arms races as the United States and Soviet Russia tried to outdo each other with superior technological advancements, often resorting to increasingly bizarre means in order to get the upper hand.

Video games are the perfect medium to explore some of these Cold War conspiracies. Due to interactivity and a proclivity for alternate history, games have a lot of potential to turn the strangest Cold War plots into playable reality. Here are just a few of the weird operations and projects that would make for incredible video games.

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Speed Run Challenges: How To Play Against The Clock In Your Favorite Game Genres

Alekhine's Gun screenshot

Speed run challenges can make your favorite games feel new again, turning levels you have experienced multiple times into fresh and exciting challenges. In speed runs, it’s all about maximizing time use through careful planning, and making the most of your gaming toolbox to complete levels as quickly as possible.

Almost any game can be turned into a time challenge if you have the guts to go for it. While platformers and puzzle games seem ready-made for a speed run challenge, story-based and stealth games are also primed for a race against time if you follow a few simple strategies.

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New Stealth Games Shine Brightly On 2015 Holiday Wish Lists

Alekhine's Gun artwork

The holiday season is just around the corner, and that means new games. Even better, it means new stealth games, and this year is shaping up to be excellent for stealth fans. With titles ranging from straightforward historical espionage to dark and creepy mysteries, the latest batch of stealth games runs the gamut from realistic to fantastic, so there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Stealth is a genre usually blended with other genres for mass consumption, but these five new stealth games feature dedicated stealth gameplay as a core mechanic and intelligent enemies waiting with pricked ears and itchy trigger fingers. Although these games all allow for an action-driven approach, hardcore stealth fans will have plenty of room to play with strategy and tactics as an alternative to shooting or slashing through foes.

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