In this weeks bulletin, we will discuss playing with Greek mythology, the history of orcs in gaming, the epic fail by an English heritage trust, the auction of a very rare piece of hardware, the graphics of the Game Boy Advanced and the reoccuring free games over at the Epic Games Store!

How Hades plays with Greek mythology

Rock Paper Shotgun published a great article on the now available (early-acces) game Hades. Hades is a rogue-like dungeon crawler created by Supergiant Games. The game combines hack ‘n slash action with great storytelling and an amazing narrative. The game responds to the players actions, and the narrative can shift whilst still being an endless cycle of dungeon runs. With the game focussed around dying and restarting, the clever use of storytelling makes dying part of the narrative, instead of anger. Alex Wiltshire delves deeper in the analysis of Greek myths over at Rock Paper Shotgun.

Image: Rock Paper Shotgun

History of orcs in videogames

Nic Reuben of published an exciting article on the history of the disposable green nemesis of many videogames. They are ugly, good at fighting, mostly numerous and of course green. But since when? And why? Orcs haven’t always been green. As with any good analysis, Reuben not only sketches the history of the green fiends, he also delves deeper into the meaning of the orcs. Why are they there? And what does it say about how we represent beings other than humans in videogames? It makes for an interesting, and thoughtful read.

Video: Orcs Must Die reveal trailer by IGN.

The ‘Nintendo Play Station’ will sell for over $300,000

Image: Heritage Acutions.

Heritage Auctions, a live auction house, is auctioning a rare 1990’s Super NES CD-ROM. The doomed machine, born from a Nintendo and Sony collaboration, combined the SNES from Nintendo with a CD-ROM drive from Sony. The project ultimately failed, and only a few objects remain. The bids have risen to $280,000 lately, and are open until the final auctioning at the 6th of March. With Heritage Auctions asking a 20% fee upon auctioning, the price is guaranteed to end up above $300,000, dwarfing the record for most expensive single piece of gaming memorabilia. The founder and former head of VR company Oculus, Palmer Luckey, came out as one of the bidders, claiming to having the desire to ‘preserve the history of physical videogames’. Read more.

Video: Heritage Auctions.

English Heritage Trust apologizes for ‘dismissive’ video games marketing

The heritage charity, responsible for curating over 400 sites across England, including the world famous Stonehenge, has apologised for their slogan used of leaflets. It stated: ‘isn’t it time to make their virtual world history?’, accompanied by the image of a sword impaling a Dualshock controller. Many Twitter-users were quick to denounce the slogan (see the tweet below), and reminded the charity of the good videogames and digital culture can do. The charity responded that they didn’t intend to dismiss the value of digital culture, but do recognize it may seem to be the case with this leaflet. The message on the leaflet was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to ongoing debates among parents (who might wonder if their children play too much videogames). Read more over at VGC.

Game Boy Advanced Graphics

Always wondered how the graphics of a handheld game console work? The Modern Vintage Gamer over on YouTube made this interesting video (around 12 minutes) about the graphics of the Nintendo Game Boy Advanced!

Video: Modern Vintage Gamer.

Free games on Epic: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate & Faeria

Epic Games are again giving away some cool free games! From the 21st until the 28th of February, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Faeria are free to download over at the Epic Games Store! AC Syndicate, set in London, was a better installment than its predecessor Unity, but was also met with mixed reviews. It seemed a turning point for Ubisoft, who have since re-imagined Assassin’s Creed to be more of a RPG-style game with the latest installments. Faeria is a card game like Hearthstone, but also has a ‘unique living board’ which can be changed by the player (unlike in Hearthstone). Faeria is also ‘the only card game where you can collect all 300 cards in less than 50 hours’.

Image: Abrakam Entertainment SA.