Matriarch

Tom: This week’s villain is The Matriach, who rules over a bunch of crows. This week’s random die roll situates us in the Wagner Mars Base. Here we are, fighting birds on Mars. You can’t make this stuff up.

Jay: I’m glad we don’t have to, as Sentinels of the Multiverse provides so many wonderful, quirky interactions. I’ll let the readers in on a little secret as we begin. This is the game that made me fall in love with Sentinels all over again. The ebb and flow, tragedies and triumphs, made for a story worthy of a Hollywood production.

After the jump, birdocalypse. Continue reading →

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, | Game diaries
16417_persona_4

It took 93 hours for me to realize that I’d been tricked in thinking I was capable of completing Persona 4. Where I was once unable to settle into the game, it had recently made a home upon me, as does a cat who’s decided to nap. I hadn’t noticed, and in standing to take my leave, we were suddenly tumbling to the ground alongside each other, its claws caught in my clothes as I tried to escape. It pondered a lifetime in seconds, “How did I come to be owned by this person?” before we hit the floor.

And this time, it was personal. Find out just how personal after the jump. Continue reading →

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, | News
game_on

Richard Garriott, creator of the Ultima games, has announced a contest to port one of his earliest creations for use within his upcoming Shroud of the Avatar. Garriott’s D&D #1 was originally written for use on his high school teletype machine in 1977. The game, written in BASIC, was copied onto spools of paper that had to be fed into the system. That code would result in a primitive ascii printout for the player to visualize the exploration of simple dungeons.

Richard wrote 28 of these “D&D” games in high school. He numbered them D&D #1 through D&D 28. When he finally had that Apple II, he rewrote D&D #28 to become D&D 28…also known as AKALABETH the precursor of all things Ultima!

No one has seen this game run since the retirement of the teletype in 1979, which is when Richard made the final printout of the game.

The best version of “D&D1 Resurrection” that runs in Unity and the best in-browser version will win pledge rewards for Shroud of the Avatar worth $550, while the runners up will receive pledge rewards worth $165 each.

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, | Game diaries
p4-4

I’d been at Persona 4 for three years. Playing any kind of game for that long requires a different approach than what committing regular hours to it asks of someone.

This was like building a sand castle that would take all summer long — constantly at risk of being washed away or stomped on by some uncontrollable force. Construction would be put on hold for the tide to lower, or to recover from having to fight some beach jerk. Once I’d picked myself up, operations would continue. I’d refresh myself on the game’s story, re-familiarize myself with my registered personas, and soldier on.

The end of 2012, however, brought with it a tidal wave. After the jump, we will rebuild. Continue reading →

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, | News
dogg_pound

Snoop Dogg is coming to Call of Duty: Ghosts. Forget Michael Myers or the Predator. Who else could’ve played Huggy Bear in the 2004 Starsky & Hutch movie? That’s right. Only Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr – AKA Snoop Dogg! His dulcet tones will be coming to Call of Duty: Ghosts in a Snoop Dogg Voice Pack for $2.99 on April 22nd for the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Infinity Ward and Activision will be adding a few DLC packs on the same day. Play as John “Soap” MacTavish in multiplayer for $3.99, or be Simon “Classic Ghost” Riley for $1.99. Add a bunch of garish skins to your weapons for $1.99 each. Finally, the Drill Instructor Voice Pack features R. Lee Ermey gently encouraging players to exercise good sportsmanship for $2.99.

What I wouldn’t give for a voice pack with R. Lee Ermey reading Snoop Dogg’s lines!

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, | News
space_towel

Star Citizen, the hype-fueled money train from Roberts Space Industries, just had a successful showing at PAX East, and reached $42 million in pledges and purchases. What do backers get for helping the ambitious space-jockey simulator reach such a high number? An in-game towel, of course!

Other goals unlocked include additional updates to the “Observist Guide” universe encyclopedia, and a way to access it in-game. The next goal at $44 million will enable the development team to add a stellar cartography room to the hangar module.

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BD_review

73 hours into Bravely Default and I have more questions than I have answers. Not about the battle system, it’s an elegant affair with plenty of flexibility to let you either prevail or hang yourself. Not about the story, something about crystals and renewing them many, many times. No, my questions all revolve around one thing and one thing only: what job goes best with what job.

After the jump, I’ve been lookin’ real hard and I’m tryin’ to find a job. Continue reading →

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, | Game diaries
p4_vs_3

That’s right — two years in this entry. We’ve got a lot to cover, and that’s not even counting all the stuff I had to leave out just to make sense of everything.

Also, I gotta say, it really killed the mood to fixate on Chie like that. Not when Persona 4 gives you the chance to be a player and go romantic with all the female S-Links. Truly, this was the land of opportunity, Japan. Opportunistic lands out there. Really fertile stuff, if you go for it — girl-wise. Game-wise, though, Persona 4 may as well have been dead to me by February of 2011.

After the jump, two more years closer to the end. Continue reading →

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, | News
RIP_WOD

CCP Games has cancelled World of Darkness. The game was supposed to be a massively multiplayer roleplaying game based on the Vampire: The Masquerade universe. The announcement ends the troubled vampire-themed MMO by laying off personnel in the Atlanta studio and moving remaining team members to support EVE Online. CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson expressed his regrets.

To our current and former employees and fans of World of Darkness, I am truly sorry that we could not deliver the experience that we aspired to make. We dreamed of a game that would transport you completely into the sweeping fantasy of World of Darkness, but had to admit that our efforts were falling regretfully short. One day I hope we will make it up to you.

World of Darkness had been in development since 2006 when CCP Games purchased publisher White Wolf. Development of the MMO was plagued with setbacks. In mid-2012 senior producer Chris McDonough admitted to fans that much of CCP’s resources were invested in DUST 514. In December 2013, CCP confirmed layoffs at the Atlanta studio.

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, | News
age_of_yuck

For every new sincere AAA, big-budget, remake or spiritual successor to a beloved franchise that we get, there’s at least one announcement like this one. Age of Empires is coming back as a multiplayer mobile game. Age of Empires: World Domination shrinks the real-time strategy game down to this.

With over 100 legendary heroes to choose from, create your ultimate battle unit with distinct troop types! Create your own empire with structures from history’s greatest civilizations.

“Pre-registration” is open now. Age of Wonders: World Domination will launch this Summer.

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, | Movie podcasts
Oculus_podcast

Oculus is perhaps the scariest movie about mirrors since Mirrors. Whatever the case, it’s no Absentia, which was director Mike Flanagan’s previous movie. At the 59-minute mark, we mount a discussion of our favorite framing devices in movies.

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, | Movie reviews
The_Machine_01

Caity Lotz had nearly enough gravitas to make the silly horror movie The Pact work. She was able to sell being panicked and straddling an old school motorcycle without it being simple cheesecake. Because, oh yeah, she was totally in her underwear for that scene. But she takes the movie seriously enough that it’s worth watching, even though it cast Casper Van Dien as a pudding eating cop.

So it’s a nice surprise to see her show up opposite proper actor Toby Stephens in The Machine. It’s not clear early on where The Machine is going, thanks to a merciful lack of exposition and very little techno-babble. So when Lotz arrives as the typical movie scientist — too young, too pretty, too effervescent — The Machine nearly falls apart. But it’s quite the accomplishment that she’s the one to bring it back together, to breathe life into it while Toby Stephens emotes sullenly, to shoulder what this movie is trying to deliver in the space between Robocop and Her. And oh my, what shoulders Lotz has got!

The other real star of The Machine is the production design and cinematography. I don’t recall seeing a credit for “colourist” in other movies, or even “colorist”, but it’s appropriate here. The Machine looks like Beyond The Black Rainbow, the 2010 incomprehensible love letter to the 80s, but with a budget. This is what Richard Stanley intended with all that garish color in Hardware. This is where Cameron would have ended up without CG and 3D and Titanic. This is the supersexy hard sci-fi movie Michael Mann never made, featuring wetly growling cyborgs, mostly sensible touchscreen computers, and a synth pulse soundtrack that would make Tangerine Dream proud. The Machine glows and throbs with the heart and sound of the 80s, but the production values of the 21st century.

The Machine is available on VOD now. Watch it on Amazon.com to support Qt3.

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, | News
not_alpha_centauri

Firaxis and 2K Games have announced the next installment of their Civilization strategy games. Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth was revealed at PAX East. The game will build on the framework of Civilization, but the time frame is the far future. According to the teaser video, humanity seeks to build a new home on other planets. PC Gamer interviewed lead designers Will Miller and David McDonough to talk about the obvious influences.

David McDonough: I grew up on the Civ games. Like you, I played Alpha Centauri until my eyes bled. When we very first got the option to make the game, to us it was making a game about the idea of Alpha Centauri, the idea of the future of humanity. That as expressed by a Civ game, we sort of figured out. Part of that was inspired by Alpha Centauri, part of it was inspired by the Civ legacy, and part of it just invented. Civ is about the history of mankind, it travels ground that everybody knows already. This game is about the future, which nobody knows, so we get to make it up. That’s where I started.

Will Miller: Yeah, the influence of Alpha Centauri will be apparent, but it’s in winks and nods – it’s an homage to that game – this game really is meant to be our version of the place that game sat when it came out. It’s our version of this idea of mankind in space, and we started with that perspective of the fiction and the narrative, and also of Civ V. Civ V has enjoyed a huge success. There are lots of parts of that game that people really like, and we’re building on the Civ V technology, so we took a lot of influences from that as well. If you’re a Civ V player, you’ll feel right at home.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is scheduled to launch in the Fall of this year. Since the game will support modding, work on the Chairman Sheng-Ji Yang mod has probably already begun.

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La_Capitan

Jay: After copious amounts of research for this week’s challenge, which consisted of watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and yelling “Arrr” around the house, I have come to the conclusion that pirates are pushovers. Seriously, how scary can a pirate be? All they do is sing sea shanties, drink rum and apply generous amounts of mascara to themselves. In what way is any of that threatening?

Sentinels of the Multiverse knows how to make a pirate formidable. Give her a time-traveling galleon and she will rule the world, right after she destroys me and Tom.

After the jump, crossing oceans of time. Continue reading →

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