Archive for July, 2013

, | Games podcasts

the_golden_age_of_videogames

This week, Rogue Legacy game diarist Andrew Kneller joins Tom and Nick to talk about the first time a game blew your mind. When did it happen for you? What was the game and why did it grab you? We also talk about those insidious Steam trading cards, the great news about the ill-fated Doom That Came to Atlantic City, and Phil Fish taking Fez II and going home. Plus Dark Souls, one of those Sniper shovelware games, Pikmin 3, and the joyously dumb Rise of the Triad remake.

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, | Game diaries

intro-5

I am Sir Fleming. Long have I travelled the halls of this haunted castle, seeking fortune and fame. Though from time to time I seem to hear the sound of laughter, and enemies fade to thin air before my eyes, I remain steadfast. Each enemy I kill only strengthens me. Take this mimic above me for example. I jump towards it, sword slashing through it. *@#$! It bit me! Run all you like, I’ll get you in the *#$%!!! It bit me again!!! Oh no, here it comes again! &#%@ @^#$ @#$%!!!

After the jump, @#&$ $@&#, or liches get stitches! Continue reading →

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, | Games

Xbox-One-Bundle-HS-Consider

Microsoft confirmed via Twitter that there will be an adapter solution for gamers that want to use their Xbox 360 headsets with the Xbox One. Microsoft product planning manager Alberto Penello tweeted the news after he was asked if there was any plan to allow current “hi-end” gaming headsets on the new console. Penello later clarified that the adapter would be sold separately.

The Xbox One Chat Headset uses a proprietary connection exclusive to the console and does not come with the base hardware. It is sold separately for $24.99. Microsoft has explained the lack of a pack-in headset by saying that the Kinect sensor can be used to communicate.

Each Xbox One includes the new Kinect sensor, with highly sensitive multi-array microphones designed to enable voice inputs and chat as a system-level capability, both in-game and with Skype and other experiences.

Sony’s PS4 will ship with a headset in the box. It’s also been confirmed that the console will allow gamers to use any Bluetooth headset for communication, so frugal folks will be able to continue yelling into whatever they’re yelling into now.

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, | Games

Bruce_from_above

In the latest Tom vs Bruce, we get tres European. I’m the Czechs, Bruce is the West Germans, Sweden is our stage, and Wargame: Airland Battle is our game. I don’t want to spoil anything, but since it isn’t turn-based and doesn’t have hexes, you can imagine how it turns out. Check it out here.

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, | Games

super_mario_3DS

Nintendo reported that quarterly profits for April through June were up while sales of the Wii U console were low. Although Nintendo made 8.62 billion yen in profit, they also revealed that only 160K units of the Wii U console were sold in the world during this period. The disappointing sales of the console were attributed to the lack of key software titles released during the quarter. The primary driver of profits for the company appears to be the Nintendo 3DS and 3DXL. The handhelds sold 1.4 million units worldwide.

Nintendo plans to continue to push the 3DS in all territories with key software titles such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pokemon X and Y. For the Wii U, their strategy will be to concentrate on proactively developing first-party titles to attract hardware buyers. Nintendo also plans to leverage their console communications systems to reach out to consumers.

Nintendo strives to improve sales by communicating the compelling nature of our hardware and software to as many people as possible through our new netwrok service called “Miiverse,” which offers an environment where people can empathize with others and share their gaming experiences. We also strive to improve hardware profitability by reducing its costs.

In related news, Siliconera reports that Nintendo will be allowing customers to make digital eShop purchases through the web on PC and smartphones soon.

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, | Games

ts2014_choo_choo

Oh, sure you’ve driven a big rig across France in Euro Truck Simulator 2. Maybe you’ve even grown some hay and brought the harvest in with Farm Simulator 2013. Time to step up your game, blue-collar wanna-be! Railsimulator.com has announced that Train Simulator 2014 is coming to PC on September 26th. The new game features an upgraded interface, an enhanced career mode, and Steam Workshop integration!

Train Simulator 2014 delivers everything you love about trains with the exhilaration of speed, stunning graphics, and a variety of trains, real-world routes and challenging assignments. Whether you love driving trains, creating new routes or just watching the landscape fly by, the choice of how you play is yours. This is more than just a game; Train Simulator is a digital hobby.

If you already own a previous version, they’ll upgrade you to the 2014 version for free! Now you only need to buy the 122 DLC items to complete your collection. There’s a short teaser that shows how the logo was made all steely and manly-like.

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, | Game diaries

intro-4

I am Lady Teresa II. My one goal in life is to destroy Alexander. I live only to defeat the monster and grind his bones into dust. Too many of my family have fallen to the abomination. Many of ancestors have challenged him, and as many have fallen to him or his minions. But unlike my ancestors, I am something new. I am an all powerful combination of mage and assassin. My blade is made of magic itself, and I possess all powerful spells. Be wary Alexander, I am coming for you!

After the jump, will the spellsword spell victory or another defeat? Continue reading →

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, | Games

europauniversalisiv_shipping

Your saved games from Crusader Kings II can be ported into Europa Universalis IV. Paradox Interactive updated the Europa Universalis IV site with the news that one of the preorder bonuses available to players that purchase the game is a Saved Game Converter for Crusader Kings II that will read and transfer the older game’s Middle Ages data for use with the new game set in the years 1444 to 1821.

Fans of Crusader Kings II will be able to maintain the empires they have established and guide them through the age of exploration in an all-new strategic experience, continuing their personal stories of expansion and conquest.

That’s one way to make sure your divine rule extends through the centuries! My Europa Universalis IV world is going to look really weird with the Aztec empire firmly entrenched in France.

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, | Games

good_dumb

Update: As Dave Oshry, from Rise of the Triad developer Interceptor, points out in the comments section, the dumbness that’s forcing me to replay levels — read on for the specifics — is partly a matter of my own dumbness for me not realizing there’s an option in the menus to go to any previously reached checkpoint.

I can’t help but enjoy the aggressively retro dumbness of the Rise of the Triad remake out this week. It captures the unhinged creativity and unabashed idiocy of the Duke Nukem era. It also demonstrates that a game can be big and dumb without being insultingly bad, Duke Nukem Forever style. However, if there’s one kind of dumb I can’t abide, it’s the sort of dumb that means I will probably never make any progress in Rise of the Triad.

After the jump, how many times am I supposed to play each level? Continue reading →

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, | Games

we_all_float

The next Living World update for Guild Wars 2 will invite players to take part in the country-wide celebrations for Quenn Jennah’s 10th anniversary of being crowned. Hot air ballon rides, ceremonies, the Queen’s Gauntlet, and other attractions will await players on August 6th when the Queen’s Jubilee goes live. As with previous Living World installments, the update comes with a host of permanent in-game improvements.

- A shared Account Wallet for all your characters’ currency
– PvP Solo Queue for solo arena matches
– Bonus in-game monetary rewards for dungeons
– Champion loot drops will get an upgrade
– A new level of detail system for effects will clear up large battles
– Supply Master ability line will be added to World vs World
– Permanent Finishers

The current Living World event is Cutthroat Politics and Tom is still trying to gather every bit of lore he can find.

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, | Games

That’s the trailer for the long-awaited first DLC for Bioshock Infinite called Clash in the Clouds. Remember when Irrational said their DLC was going to be substantial single player stuff?

This pack features 60 challenges in four brand-new maps. Complete Blue Ribbon Challenges and unlock concept art, Voxophones, Kinetoscopes, and more in The Columbian Archeological Society. Climb the Leaderboards and earn new achievements.

You get challenge maps. Congratulations. At least it’s cheap at $4.99 or 400 Microsoft points.

The next DLC looks a little better. Burial at Sea promises some actual story.

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, | Games

zombiez

Zombies!!! (punctuation theirs) is a competitive zombie apocalypse boardgame in which players set up a city one tile and one turn at a time. Eventually a helipad appears and everyone scrambles to reach it. Until then, the objective is staying alive with very limited ammo, very limited health, a handful of cards to tweak the action, and the brutality of six-sided die rolls. Now Zombies!!! is also a terrible iOS port.

After the jump, zoinks, gadzooks, and ah-ooh-gah! Continue reading →

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, | Movie reviews

there

Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland “there’s no there there”. Fruitvale Station begs to differ. The movie from first-time director Ryan Coogler tells the story of an Oakland man restrained by BART police and then shot in the ensuing scuffle. This happened back in 2009 and it’s been a piece of the city’s identity ever since. Coogler’s movie is partly a portrait of Oakland as he follows his main character around town, unfolding his day and his neighborhood with the warm grainy glow that only filmstock can afford.

But the genius of Fruitvale Station is that it’s not preoccupied with the particular. This isn’t a biopic. It isn’t the politically charged cause celebre you might expect. Of course, you can’t help but think of Trayvon Martin’s shooting as the movie unfolds, but what you’re thinking of isn’t the controversy or the legal proceedings or the aftermath of Zimmerman’s acquittal. What you’re thinking of is the incontrovertible fact of a life needlessly lost. The pervasive sense in Fruitvale Station is sadness. Not anger. Not outrage. Not indignation or a call to action to fight the power. This is a heartachingly simple story about something that shouldn’t have happened, but did.

Fruitvale Station reminds me of Paul Greengrass’ first movie, Bloody Sunday, as a careful chronicle of mounting dread. It reminds me of John Singleton’s first movie, Boyz n the Hood, as a story of people whose stories aren’t often told. It reminds me of Taxi Driver in that it’s directed with a keen eye and acted with stunningly powerful insight into a fascinating frustrated character pulled between two worlds, struggling to make a decision, a victim of his own nature rather than society. In the lead role, Michael B. Jordan is nothing short of a revelation. The way anger and frustration play across his face and twist his mouth, the deep pools of his eyes, his transition to studied easy charm, the way he crumbles into a ball of vulnerability opposite his girlfriend, fiercely played by Melanie Diaz. If I see another scene this year as good as the prison visit with Octavia Spencer as his mother, it will be a very good year indeed.

Fruitvale Station opened last week in select cities.

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, | Game diaries

intro-3

I am Sir Hirshley, the first of my name. Unlike my mother, Lady Henrietta III, I do not wish to face the monstrosity Alexander. In fact, I don’t even want to venture into the treacherous forest where my mother died. My only desire is to spend my life wandering the castle and to perhaps delay my doom. I don’t trust this castle. In fact, I entered unwillingly through a necessity to do my duty to my family. The rooms seem to shift, and the demon at the gate, Charon, has stolen the remainder of my family’s money. Zombies and skeletons roam the halls, and haunted portraits hang on the walls. And the chickens. Charon take me, the chickens!

After the jump, who’s afraid of the big bad chicken? Continue reading →

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