Emil writes for Game Informer

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Thumbing through the April issue of Game Informer (be on the lookout for the Alpha Protocol cover), I was pleasantly surprised to see Emil’s Op/Ed piece entitled, “A Question of Character.” I suppose I should have known it was in there, but it’s hard to be thinking about April when you’re still in March. Anyhow, within the editorial, Emil explains the challenges and importance of creating believable characters in RPGs. Here’s a quick sample:

“If we accept that all video game characters fall under one of three literary classifications — prototype, archetype, and stereotype — it’s easy to see the appeal of the archetype. This is the established, easily-understandable character model. The badass space marine or seductive sorceress. The prototype, while imaginative and interesting, is too easily viewed as ‘weird,’ and that means inaccessible. The stereotype? Overused, oversimplified, and more often than naught, offensive.”

Want more? Keep an eye out for the April issue of Game Informer.

Mascots on parade!

In what’s probably become world news by now, today at London’s Millennium Bridge, the folks behind the Guinness Book of World Records Gamer’s Edition organized an event to set the world record for the “Largest Gathering of Games Characters.” From the video, you’ll see they had a pretty good turnout.

So the big question is: where’s Vault Boy?? Apparently he was contacted about an appearance, but was busy spending the morning resting after attempting to set a different kind of Guinness record on St. Patrick’s Day.

Shivering Isles install walkthrough

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Since releasing The Shivering Isles as a standalone disc for Xbox 360, I’ve received a number of emails from fans experiencing problems getting the content to load within Oblivion. As a result, we decided to put together a short video that covers the main steps necessary to update your Xbox, install the expansion, and ultimately use the content within the game.

I hope this video helps. Please… don’t…mock…my…robot…voice — it’s a compilation of different takes in a rather steamy recording booth. I’m just lucky I had the help of sound engineer Mark Lampert and Steve Green, our video guy. If it weren’t for them I’d end up as a winner on America’s Funniest Home Videos simply for embarrassingly bad voice-over outtakes.

If you check out this video and it doesn’t fix your Shivering Isles woes, there are a few things I can suggest. You can check out troubleshooting tips here on the blog, within the forums, and on our tech support page. If you still need help you can also contact us.

Mod Interview: Spartan VI

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This week we’re talking with John Gray, otherwise known in the BGS forums as Spartan VI. John is a 21-year-old from Walnut, CA. For a living, he does item processing and tech support for Western Corporate FCU. I was going to ask John a bunch of questions about credit unions, but figured that wouldn’t be too interesting for you guys — so we’re talking about his mod work instead. Speaking of which, John has been working on mods for a large portion of his life — dating back to when he was modding Doom.

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More Oblivion Love in Japan

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This morning Claff spotted that Oblivion was rated as the second-highest reviewed game of 2007 in Famitsu, a popular Japanese gaming magazine. Oblivion’s cumulative review score of 38 only trailed The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, which had a score of 39. So what are these numbers based on? Well, each game is reviewed by four editors on a 1-10 scale. That means Phantom Hourglass was only one point from perfection on their review scale, with Oblivion being only two points off. Here’s a rundown of their top five:

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And the answer is…

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Here’s the answers this week’s Name That Sound

1. What game is the line from?
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

2. What is the name of the character who speaks this line of dialogue?
Gogron gro-Bolmog, a male Orc who is a member of the Dark Brotherhood. Jonathon Bryce is the voice actor who performs the Orc male voice.

Bonus: The scratch voice is being done by Emil Pagliarulo, the designer responsible for the Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion.

Looks like this one might have been a little easy. Props to frappezlesinge for answering all three questions correctly.

What we’re playing: Bubbles Bursting edition

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Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sports nut (but in no way associated with nuts called Buckeyes). For me, it really doesn’t get any better than March Madness. The buzzer beaters. The upsets. The Cinderella teams. It’s AWESOME, baby!!! Awesome except for the fact that my alma mater hasn’t made the Big Dance in the past decade. You can see just how bad things have gotten by looking at the score of their final game played today.

The good news for me is that misery loves company. My fellow Bethesda Blog pals, Pete and Ashley, won’t have much to cheer for either. Pete’s Demon Deacons showed promise at times this year while battling adversity, but ultimately, they were outmatched in a very competitive conference. As for Ash, his alma mater, the Unversity of Maryland, has definitely seen better days. Their loss yesterday in the ACC Tournament pretty much sealed a trip to the NIT.

I suppose we can still hope for exciting games to watch in this year’s tournament. And if the games get boring, there’s always plenty of videogames to play.

Here’s what we’ll be playing this weekend. Let us know what you’re playing, and if you’re into college hoops, tell us who you’re rooting for.

Angela Browder, Associate Producer: Lost Odyssey, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Transformers: The Game

Sam Bernstein, QA Tester: Carcassonne, Catan, Eternal Sonata, and Fallout 3

Orin Tresnjak, Graphics Programmer: Pata pata pata pon. Pon pon pata pon!

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Inside the Vault: Adam Adamowicz

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Today’s Inside the Vault is with Adam Adamowicz, our resident concept artist here at the studio. If you ever visit our offices, his cube is the one you should insist on visiting. When we start a project internally, Adam is one of the first developers to begin work so he always has amazing pieces of art all around his corner of the offices.

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Team Bethesda vs. Shacknews community

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If you’ve kept up with the blog, you’ve probably seen that some of our developers have a bit of a Team Fortress 2 obsession…so much so that they made a habit of besting developers from other studios — including BreakAway, Retro, Bioware and EA Mythic. Not too long ago, however, the Vault 101 Dwellers suffered their first loss at the hands of Ubisoft’s Montreal studio.

A competitive bunch, Team Bethesda doesn’t like losing, and they’re looking to bounce back with a victory. Tonight they’ll get their chance — competing on Dustbowl and Gravel Pit against some of the best players from the Shacknews community. Having talked with Nate Purkeypile about the matchup, he mentioned the Shack community has got some real ringers, most notably Nasty Jack, who he claims “is probably the most feared demoman in all of TF2.”

Hmm, is Purkey playing head games, or is V101 still licking its wounds from the Ubi loss? Time will tell, and I’m sure the community will be discussing the match tomorrow.