, | Movie podcasts
Life_of_Crime_podcast

How does this movie fare as a prequel to Jackie Brown? How about as its own standalone Elmore Leonard adaptation? We cut off the discussion at the one hour mark for this week’s 3×3 of shaving scenes in movies.

Next week: Honeymoon

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, | News
the_ocho

In the debate over whether or not eSports are actually sports, ESPN president John Skipper lands firmly on the “not a sport” side. Speaking at the Code/Media conference in New York, Skipper gave his opinion on the nearly $1 billion Amazon purchase of Twitch.

It’s not a sport. It’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports.

Although ESPN has shown eSports events like the Dota 2 The International tournament on their web streaming channels, representatives of ESPN denied that they intended on broadening gaming coverage as part of their regular sports broadcasts. John Skipper’s most recent remark would seem to reinforce this stance. Perhaps they can sandwich gaming between dodgeball championships on The Ocho?

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, | News
batmaniac

Sorry bat-fans. Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady Studio’s current generation return to Gotham, has been pushed out to June 2nd of 2015. In June of this year, publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced a delay from the 2014 holiday period to “early 2015″, but this latest news confirms that the game has slipped to a much farther date. At least gamers can preorder the Batmobile Edition now for $199.99 that comes with a transforming Batmobile statue sculpted by Triforce.

Batman: Arkham Knight will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

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, | News
sims_blur

The image above is what you’ll see after a little while in The Sims 4 if you pirate the game. The pixelated mess is courtesy of hidden code in the game that turns the normal modesty censor into a full-blown storm of digital blur. As reported by Reddit user “nihwtf” once a sim uses the shower in a cracked copy of the game, the blur stays and grows until it blots out the screen. Electronic Arts says they have “no plans” to aid players with pirated copies of The Sims 4.

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, | Games podcasts
Trucks_podcast

This week Tom Chick talks to some of the folks responsible for Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Spintires. You might think you’re not into those kinds of games. You’re probably wrong. Listen and find out why. And also find out which game wins.

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, | News
Shadows_of_Lochhead

One of my favorite movies from the last ten years is Hanna, a dreamy, sharp, sleek putative action movie that turns out to be about parenting. In ways, it reminds me of Bioshock 2, a fantastic shooter that — wait for it — turns out to be about parenting. I love when genres unfold as expected, and as superlative examples of that genre, only to turn into a story with a powerful and relevant point about something you didn’t quite expect.

Hanna was directed by Joe Wright, who has directed various other movies, none quite like Hanna. Which makes me think screenwriter Seth Lochhead deserves much of the credit for what made Hanna special. Unfortunately, Lochhead has no other credits to his name. Hanna was his first and last movie. But that might soon change.

Sony has been fumbling around with Hollywood-izing Shadows of the Colossus for some years now, including its apperance in Reign over Me, a soggy 9/11 movie that tried to tie the game into some convoluted point about grief. Sony’s last Shadows of the Colossus project, a straight-up adaptation, was for Josh Trank, the writer and director of the found-footage superhero movie Chronicle. But now that Trank has finished his kiddie version of Fantastic Four and is moving on to work on a Star Wars thing, he’s got no time to direct adaptations of niche videogames. Shadow of the Colossus fans who saw Chronicle can breathe a sigh of relief.

Which leads us to the latest incarnation of a Shadows of the Colossus movie. Sony’s current intent is that it will be produced — and possibly directed, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves — by Andres Muschietti, a fellow who made a short movie called Mama that was developed into a disappointing feature film. The more exciting news is that Seth Lochhead is writing the script. Considering Hanna’s blend of languid fantasy with sharp stabs of action, this is great news for a movie doing justice to Team Ico’s own languid fantasy with sharp stabs of action.

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, | Features

In the late ’90s, I saw Spycraft littering more bargain bins than there are humans in the United States. And yet, today it’s regarded as a pretty solid adventure game that tried to do a lot of things, and was good at most of them. Plus it’s got tons of FMV, which no ’90s game was good at. Add those ingredients together and you’ve got a recipe for what I hoped would be a fun Quarter to Three Let’s Play. Was I right? Click that big fat “Play” button and find out.

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, | News
ryse_ing_son

Former Xbox One exclusive Ryse: Son of Rome is coming to PC and the Steam page for the game is live. The system requirements aren’t as demanding as you may have been led to believe they’d be if you went by the marketing behind the console launch. You don’t even need a Kinect unit to command the troops like the pre-launch advertising said! Beyond the 64-bit operating system, the hardware demands aren’t that bad. The most limiting factor may be that you’d have to want to play Ryse at all. At $40 with all the console DLC bundled in, it’s not a bad deal for folks that want to push their systems with all that CryEngine spark.

4K gaming is another leap in graphics quality for PC gamers and Ryse is the perfect showcase for what’s now possible in high-end PC games. Ryse: Son of Rome leverages the power of Crytek’s CRYENGINE and the latest High-End PC gaming technology to present conflict in the Roman Empire like you’ve never seen it before.

The PC version of Ryse: Son of Rome launches October 10th.

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, | News

Whether you’re fighting under the Golden Gate Bridge, in Monument Valley, or inside a space elevator, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer appears to take all the stuff you’ve seen from previous big-budget shooters and combines them into one crazy game. Jetpacks, exo-suits, cloaking, and basketball disguised as satellite retrieval. The only thing missing is the anti-chopper dog. Where’s your helicopter-killing canine, Advanced Warfare? You can customize operators all you want, but without Riley, you’re nothing!

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gsb2

Positech Games has taken the wrapping off Gratuitous Space Battles 2. Set for release later this year, the sequel to the hybrid tower defense fleet management game keeps the hands-off approach to setting ships on fire near the shoulder of Orion and watching c-beams glittering in the dark. What GSB2 will add is even more pretty explosions and epic exchanges of energy. There’s even a new early alpha video to show some of this kaboom off! The game will still be top-down 2D, but lots of nifty parallax effects and better lighting that weren’t possible in the old engine improve the experience. Multiple monitor setups will also be supported, for those armchair Adamas that want to command battles from as wide a view as possible.

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, | News
stomps

Hunting dinosaurs while trying to survive as a native jungle-dweller? Survival crafting blended with dino taming sounded like genius. Too bad SuperCrit, the developer of The Stomping Land, seems to have dropped off the planet. The game launched on Steam’s early access program in May, after successfully raising over $114,000 in support from Kickstarter, but actual communication with the developer has been less than satisfactory. Although a patch was released on June 26th, there’s been nary a word otherwise. After a couple of months with nothing from the developer, Valve has apparently disabled the ability to purchase the game from the Steam store.

Kotaku did manage to talk with SuperCrit head Alex Fundora in early August, but he only stated that development was going strong and that the game would be retooled to use Unreal Engine 4. Unfortunately, SuperCrit’s public relations person was a freelance worker and announced back in May that his contract had run out.

You can still see the listing to marvel at the concept, but there’s no way to purchase it. We’ve reached out to Valve and SuperCrit for comments.

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, | News
wargame_rd_nk

Eugen Systems has released a free DLC for Wargme: Red Dragon that adds twelve new units and an additional single player campaign. The Second Korean War update brings the real-time strategy game up to 1992 and plunges the world into war on the Korean peninsula as the Soviet and NATO forces square off. Hooray for alternate timeline saber-rattling!

In the all-new campaign, a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev succeeded in 1991, a year prior to the events of the narrative. The former guard succeeds Gorbachev, and restores Soviet order, bringing them closer to the communist leaders in Asia, as leaders in the West grow ever-distant from the Soviet super-power. After a year of friction, the entire Korean peninsula is at war as the Soviets and UN coalitions take their increasingly distancing ideologies onto the battlefield.

New units include the venerable Patriot missile system for the United States, the elite Spetsnaz GRU for the Soviets, and the South Korean K-9 Thunder. The full list of changes can be found here.

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, | Movie podcasts
November_Man_podcast

This spy movie has it all, assuming by all you mean Pierce Brosnan, a couple of exploding cars, and some Serbian locations. At the 51-minute mark, we fill out the necessary forms to discuss the best scenes involving paperwork.

Next week: Life of Crime

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, | 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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