Getting Some Play: Your Freedom to Play

Welcome to Getting Some Play — the spiritual successor to Sarah Warn’s excellent Good Game column — where we’ll take a look at the latest releases, news and developments in the world of video games.

There’s been no shortage of big news in the time since the last Getting Some Play. The biggest story of all, however, has to be the historic Supreme Court decision that video games deserve First Amendment protection.

From GamePolitics:

The United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the video game industry and retailers in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (formerly known as Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association). The full opinion can be found here. According to Justice Scalia, who wrote the opinion: “the act forbidding sale or rental of violent games to minors does not comport with the 1st Amendment.”

In plain English, the decision means that video games – for the first time – are being considered a legitimate form of expression by the highest court in the United States. This is huge – not only because it means that the court is able to actually evaluate new media without getting caught up in terrible and/or stupid fallacies, but also because, hey, games are awesome, and it’s time that was acknowledged.

Feeling Dishonored

Big publisher Bethesda has announced a brand spanking new game: the oddly named Dishonored. It sounds like a Call of Duty/Medal of Honor knock off, but it’s reportedly light years away from the military shooter genre. It’s actually a unique-looking stealth/action adventure played in first-person, and the team making the game is comprised of some very talented individuals.

From 1Up:

Harvey Smith, the lead designer on the original Deus Ex, is involved as co-creative director along with Arkane founder Raf Colantonio. The designer of Half-Life 2‘s City 17, Viktor Antonov, is also lending his talents to the project.

Game Informer even put the game on its latest cover – always a sign that they smell a hit. We don’t know much (and what we do know comes largely from GI itself), but the game is due out sometime next year on the PS3, 360 and PC.

Coming Attractions

We’re definitely into the dog days of summer now; though, thankfully, with all of the platforms we have now, July isn’t quite the dead zone it used to be.

It’s been a fantastic summer (already) for downloadable games, and two upcoming games look like they’ll be continuing the trend. The first is Ms. Splosion Man, the sequel to the awesome, explosive original, coming to XBLA on July 13. Later, on July 20 comes Bastion, a fantastic looking action-RPG with a seriously trippy looking world and an awesome “play-by-play” voiceover. This one is XBLA and PC.

Catherine is an adventure title coming from Atlus (a fabulous, quirky publisher), with a particularly intriguing plot with romance, sex, and two gorgeous women named Catherine/Katherine. It’s due out on July 16 for both the 360 and the PS3.

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is an ultra-stylish brawler/platformer based on a particularly bizarre retelling of a Dead Sea Scrolls tale. It’s out on July 26 for the 360 and PS3.

Finally, one of my personally most anticipated games of the whole month is From Dust, a stylish, downloadable “god game” that allows you to change the landscape around a primitive people so they can thrive. It looks fresh and genuinely compelling – and it’s due on July 27 on the 360, PS3 and PC.

That’s all for now, players. Stay tuned for more game impressions, news and new releases!

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