, | Game reviews
80_Days_review

You can always rediscover an old path and wander over it, but the best you can do then is to say ‘Ah, yes, I know this turning!’ — or remind yourself that, while you remember that unforgettable valley, the valley no longer remembers you.

– aviator Beryl Markham, from her memoir, West with the Night

After the jump, some unforgettable valleys I remember. Continue reading →

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Counterspy_review

I’ve spent the better part of an hour trying to come up with a spy movie analogy to Counterspy’s style over substance but so far I have nothing. This is why Tom should write this review. Best I could come up with was Mission Impossible 2 where Coppola’s tense moodiness was traded in for John Woo’s stylish hyperviolence. But then I remember Tom Cruise climbing that mountain with nothing but chalk and grit and the fact that if it wasn’t for that movie, Dougray Scott would have been cast as Wolverine thereby plunging us into a dystopian future worse than anything Days of Future Past could come up with.

See, Tom really should write this. So yeah, Counterspy. It’s flashy, but then what?

After the jump, the spy who bugged me… Continue reading →

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, | News
saints_row_hell

Volition and Deep Silver have announced the next Saints Row game. Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a standalone expansion release that sets the rascally Third Street Saints against the forces of Satan himself. You can check out the trailer here to see how Steelport looks through a brimstone filter. In this installment, popular ne’er-do-well Johnny Gat and hacker extraordinaire Kinzie Kensington face off against the legions of Hell to rescue President of The United States of America and leader of the Zin Empire, The Boss.

Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is being developed with help from High Voltage Software. The game will be $20 on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC when it releases on January 27th of 2015.

A re-release of Saints Row IV was also announced at PAX Prime. Saints Row IV: Re-Elected will bring the greatest game of all time to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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, | News
itsame

Nintendo has announced new versions of the their handheld systems. The New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS LL (known as the XL in the West) will get upgraded processors, A-B-X-Y buttons re-colored to match the traditional SNES console, ZR and LR shoulder buttons like the Wii U, and a cute little analog nub added just above the face buttons that will work like another directional control. The revised systems will also feature NFC technology to read the recently announced Amiibo figures. Nintendo claims that the improved systems will also sport reduced blur when using the 3D feature.

The New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS LL systems will launch in Japan on October 11th. No dates have been announced for other regions yet, but the company did say that they would not launch outside of Japan this year.

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, | Games podcasts
Counterspied_podcast

Brandon Cackowski-Schnell and Tom Chick discuss Counterspy, Wolfenstein, Walking Dead (the pinball table and adventure game), Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, Hohokum, Resogun, Stick It to the Man, Star Realms, Trine 2, and Diablo III.

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, | Features

Hey, I’m playing a modern game! Well, sort of. This is a “reboot,” to use a term typically reserved for Hollywood and I guess also computers, of the beloved 1987 adventure game, Shadowgate, which was ported to every system under the sun. There have already been a few lackluster Shadowgate follow-ups on your grandfather’s video game consoles like TurboGrafx-16 (a side-scrolling beat-em-up!) and Nintendo 64 (something involving polygons!), but this one promises to be the real deal. It was funded on Kickstarter, and designed by the two old dudes who brought us the original Shadowgate, a game I played and loved. Will it kill me promptly? It wouldn’t be Shadowgate if it didn’t. Only one way to find out.

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, | Features
Seven_cheat_codes

As long as there has been games, there have been cheat codes. Whether it’s a programming tool left in by the original creators or a secret meant for some overzealous fan to find, cheats are still as popular as ever. But there are still some that haven’t yet been discovered. Until now. Here’s some of our favorite undiscovered cheat codes for you guys to try out at home!

After the jump, we get our cheat on. Continue reading →

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, | News
Quake-Live

Quake Live, id Software’s free-to-play version of Quake III: Arena that’s focused on the competitive scene, is being changed to attract a larger, less hardcore audience. Specifically, the developers want it to appeal to the average Steam user. Bethesda announced at QuakeCon in July that Quake Live would be coming to Steam sometime later this year, but had no information about whether the game would receive an update with the Steam version. Yesterday, producer Adam Pyle revealed that there will be some significant changes. The most controversial additions are an “auto-hop” mechanic, a visible timer will be added to item respawns, and players will be able to choose a secondary weapon before they begin a match.

Quake is a masterful game of skill, often compared to Chess by its veteran players. However, with that depth has come a challenge to welcome and capture new players long enough for them to discover the joy to be found in what many consider the finest Deathmatch game ever made.

A “classic” mode will be available for old-school Quakemasters that scoff at making things easy, although some elements of the update will be global and cannot be disabled.

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, | News
DLC1_LinkBike

One part of me is bummed to see Nintendo going the route of bilking customers for post-release DLC that, arguably, should have been in the game in the first place. But another bigger part of me is elated at the promise of 16 more tracks for the irresistible Mario Kart 8.

For eight bucks, you get three new characters, who are only cosmetic (although it’s hard to argue that a Cat Peach driver isn’t far and away the best way to play any Mario Kart); four new vehicles, which will presumably have effects on your kart’s basic stats; and eight new courses, which is like a whole new game, given how varied and imaginative the existing courses already are.

The first pack, out in November, will be Legend of Zelda themed and the second pack, out next year in May, will be Animal Crossing themed. If you buy both packs up front, it only costs $12 and you get a whole mess of colors for your Yoshi. If you care about that sort of thing. Frankly, with a Cat Peach in the pack, who cares what color you make that silly little lizard guy.

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, | News
DAInquisition_buddies

Dragon Age: Inquisition will have multiplayer in the form of 4-player cooperative missions. According to IGN‘s exclusive, BioWare’s swords and sorcery sequel will get a co-op mode similar to the multiplayer offered in Mass Effect 3. Dungeon-crawling players will get to fight baddies and gather gold in quests that consist of randomly assembled parts of pre-set levels. Collected loot can then be traded for treasure chests that contain cosmetic skins, potions, upgraded gear, and sometimes rare items.

Like Mass Effect 3′s multiplayer, BioWare says they are committed to keeping pay-to-win out of the economy and future multiplayer DLC like levels and new characters will be free. They will offer a way for players to purchase “time saver” currency with real money, but nothing will be required. Dragon Age: Inquisition launches on November 18th for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.

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, | News
Spinning_Gamera

GOGO.com now has a movie library. The famously DRM-free digital game store has just launched a movie section that offers movies about video games and internet culture. Like their games, GOG.com is offering these movies without any digital copyright protection software. Buy them. Keep them in your account and your hard drive for as long as you want, or stream them right from the site. According to GOG.com, the selection at launch is limited because studios needed to see the business model in action.

“We love your ideas, but…we do not want to be the first ones. We will gladly follow, but until somebody else does it first, we do not want to take the risk.”

GOG.com is offering two movies, The Art of Playing and TBP AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard for free, but other movies are $5.99. GOG.com would eventually like to carry TV shows as well as movies.

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, | News
nrsc-giopi

The National Republican Senatorial Committee wants the GOP to win the mid-term elections, and apparently the best way to get the grassroots support they need is with a video game. Mission Majority is a simple platformer that stars a pixelated elephant named “Giopi”. (Har, har! Get it? Gee-oh-pee!) It’s a free web game that’s obviously been made to collect social media participants’ information as well as educate the masses.

Hi, my name is Giopi! I’m one of the GOP’s best volunteers for the 2014 midterms, and I’m here to show you how we can win back the Senate! There is going to be a lot of red tape and regulations in our way, but we need to overcome them in order to succeed. At the end of each level, there is a link that will bring you to a site where you can support Republicans in real life. Ready to get started? Great, have fun!

The Mario-esque enemies in the game include “Taxers” sent by President Obama to catch Giopi. As of this posting, there is no video game from the Democrats’ side of the aisle for the upcoming elections.

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, | News
destiny_loot

There will be no trading in Destiny. Bungie confirmed that their big-budget hybrid MMO shooter will not support the trading of loot between players in their latest weekly update. Gamers will be able to swap items between characters on the same account, but if they see a shiny piece of kit on a friend, they’ll just have to be content with looking until they find it for themselves. That nice set of armor you find in the loot chest is for you only.

As for swapping irons in the Tower? Nope. We want you to earn ‘em. You should be able to tell a badass story for every sweet jewel in your arsenal.

In the same update, Bungie noted that the orbital loading screen will not be skippable when traveling to a mission location. Destiny launches on September 9th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.

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, | Features
CGC_Sacrifice

[Editor's note: Every two weeks, we'll pick a classic game to play and discuss. Then the choice of the next game will be made by a randomly selected participant from the current discussion. It's like a book club, but with videogames. We'd love to have you join us. Register for the forums and hop into the discussion! This week's choice, by krayzkrok, is Sacrifice.]

Pick a game, they said. Make sure it’s a classic, they said. It has to be available for less than $10, they said. What kind of lunatic forces someone to choose from the thousands of classic games out there, many of which they’ve likely never played? Perhaps I should toss a coin? A multidimensional coin with thousands of sides.

Okay, I have a plan. I am going to pick a game that I’ve never played before, one that I suspect many have never played before, one that’s often mentioned in conversations about under-appreciated games, and conversations about games that still hold up today. All the while resisting the temptation to choose Descent? Right then.

My Classic Game Club pick is Sacrifice. Developed by Shiny Entertainment, published by Interplay, and released in 2000 for Windows and Mac, it completely passed me by at the time despite being highly praised for its innovative RPG/RTS hybrid gameplay. According to Wikipedia, players control wizards who fight each other with spells and summoned creatures.

Wait, that sounds awesome! Why did I never buy this?

According to Wikipedia again, it was the first video game to “make full use of video graphics cards that can process transform, clipping and lighting instructions.” You had me at “full use”.

The reason for choosing Sacrifice, aside from all the above, is partly the fault of the previous Classic Game Club pick of Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Despite my fond memories for that game, it just didn’t click with me. I wondered if I might be over RTS games, but then I realized that I need more from my RTS games these days. Sacrifice certainly has RTS elements, but it apparently does something quite different. It does away with all that resource-gathering and base-building nonsense that I’ve never really enjoyed, and it puts a greater focus on the tactical combat. Which reminds me of another favorite game of mine, Ground Control. Furthermore, the creature summoning mechanic and the completely “out there” Bosch-inspired art direction convinced me it was time at last to give Sacrifice a go.

Sacrifice is available from Good Old Games and Steam for the trifling sum of $9.99. It was clearly written with the future in mind, so there are no DOSBOX shenanigans required, and hopefully it should work out of the box. If you can’t stand horiziontal black bars on your widescreen monitor, you can force widescreen support by hacking your registry. It only affects the in-game resolution, in case you get as confused as I was about the main menu remaining resolutely unadjusted. Just for fun, the game also sometimes resets the resolution tweak when you quit the game, so if you really like widescreen you’ll soon get used to retyping those hex values into your registry. I found the best results by setting the desired graphic detail in the options first, and then editing the registry.

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