, | News
gtav_nobeta

Rockstar is once again warning eager fans of Grand Theft Auto V that there is no way for normal peasants like them to try out the beta of the coming Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC version of the game. No matter what they do, regular gamers will not get in. No begging, cajoling, or pleading will result in a shiny new beta code emailed to them. Websites purporting to have beta codes are not legitimate. The only way to officially play the game is to buy the old and busted Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 versions, which prior to launch also spurred similar fake beta access scams.

“If you see ads or solicitations to join a beta program, beware as this is likely some type of online phishing scam.”

Grand Theft Auto V for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will launch on November 18th. The PC version is scheduled to release on January 27th of 2015. You will not be in the beta.

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Look, I appreciate that I can play Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 3DS in the same way I appreciate that I can watch The Dark Knight on an iPhone: it’s an option, but not one I’d ever choose given any — any! — other options. Still, what are you going to do if the only way to watch The Dark Knight is on the iPhone? Not watch it?

So here I am, my fingers clutching the buttons on the 3DS, its corners digging in the soft pads at the base of my thumb, playing Super Smash Bros. because I have no other options available. And I’m playing alone, instead of with my friends gathered around the TV in the living room, where Super Smash Bros. belongs, and certainly not online against legions of Japanese kids who can knock my Kirby out of this world while I stand there sucking vainly. It’s really kind of sad when you think about it. And it hurts my hands.

This hell will end on November 21 when Super Smash Bros. comes out for the Wii U, the way God, Miyamoto, and Kirby intended.

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, | Movie podcasts
Fury_podcast

Up this week is David Ayers’ WWII tank epic, Fury.

Next week: John Wick

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LTROI1

Chris: Being the new kid in the neighborhood is tough. Will there be many kids in your neighborhood? Will they play the same games as you? How long will it take before you fit in? Just before Halloween in the late 1970s when I was 12, my own family moved into a new subdivision across town. New school, new friends, new everything. I vividly remember my first afternoon there, meeting the neighbor kids over a game of kickball. It was the kind of halting and stumbling interaction you might expect, stressful for all parties.

After the jump, and all of that without the complication of being undead Continue reading →

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martyrs1

Chris: You’re standing in line to ride an infamously crazy rollercoaster, apprehension building with each little bit you shuffle forward. You ask your friends who’ve already ridden it, “It’s probably not as bad as everyone else makes it sound, right?” You get nothing of the assurance you’re looking for. “No, it’s definitely going to shake you up like crazy. But it’s totally worth it. Trust us.” And thus I hop into my first encounter with the graphic violence and ultra gore of the New French Extremity movement in cinema.

After the jump, buckle up Continue reading →

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, | Game reviews
Driveclub_01

I’d really rather not be here, writing this review right now. I’d just as soon wait until Driveclub, a fantastic variation on the usual driving games, achieves the state it deserves to be in, a state I have every reasonable expectation it will eventually reach, a state I’ve enjoyed firsthand before the launch. But after a certain amount of time, a launch issue is no longer just a launch issue. For Driveclub, nearly two weeks after its release, that time has come.

After the jump, I come not to praise Driveclub. Continue reading →

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Bill: Most ghostly tales employ themes of vengeance or just plain malevolence when trying to explain the reason for the hauntings that occur. Lake Mungo derives its impact almost entirely from its use of loss and grief as the source of any supernatural goings on. It’s a sad tale about the death of a loved one that just happens to have a ghostly twist.

After the Jump: Tragedy meets horror down the the lake Continue reading →

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, | News

Crowd-funding has brought gamers some great stuff. We have Divinity: Original Sin, FTL, and even potato salad thanks, in large part, to successful crowd-funding campaigns. Is it possible that we could finally get Half-Life 3 thanks to an IndieGoGo drive? Probably not, but that didn’t stop Chris Salem and Kyle Mazzei of the marketing firm McKee Wallwork & Co. from starting the We Want Half-Life 3 funding campaign. As the video above shows, this is not just a couple of guys sending an email to Valve. They have wacky sounding goals that will at least bug the heck out of Valve head Gabe Newell.

At $3,000, they’ll start a Google AdWord campaign that will target all Valve employees. With $9,000, the campaign will hire a mobile billboard truck to drive around Valve’s home turf of Bellevue, Washington. If they reach $45,000, the fund will pay for Gabe Newell impersonators to show up at Valve HQ. Last but not least, if they gather enough pledges to hit $150,000, the marketers will host “the biggest Half-Life concert possible” in Seattle to get their message to Gabe.

Are they mad, or are they savvy chaps demonstrating their own marketing skills for their company? If we’re all sitting around playing Half-Life 3 shortly after the campaign ends on November 17th, I guess we’ll all know for sure.

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, | Games podcasts
qt3-podcast-evil-within

Jason McMaster, Chris Hornbostel, and Charles Moran talk horror movies, board games, horror games, and the upcoming game releases for the next couple of months. Stay a while and listen!

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Rob: Why not cut to the chase? I think The Orphanage is the best horror film of the past two decades. Maybe more. It has all the ingredients I personally love most in a horror movie including a haunted house, a disfigured child, and a deliciously gory close-up. Director Juan Antonio Bayona is clearly inspired by some of my personal favorites like Rosemary’s Baby and Poltergeist, probably the single most formative scary movie I saw in my impressionable youth.

I think this film is an absolute master-class in how to build tension and create fear. It’s a fascinating, intricate, and rewarding mystery. And it’s a deeply moving tragedy about a desperate mother and her lost, little boy. And it all starts with a childrens’ game.

After the jump, one, two, three, knock on the wall. Continue reading →

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, | News
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Shiver me timbers! Taleworlds has announced Mount & Blade: Viking Conquest. The DLC adds Vikings to Mount & Blade Warband. Yarrr, me mateys! It will feature bearded Norsemen, manly new arms and armor, a new sandbox map, and new game modes like sea battles and coastal raids. Avast! The team behind the popular Brytenwalda mod is working with Taleworlds on this conversion.

Viking Conquest takes the Mount & Blade franchise into historical Dark Age Britain, at a time when Norsemen began to raid the British Isles, looting monasteries and burning coastal settlements.

Mount & Blade: Viking Conquest is coming to Steam early access “soon”. Ahoy! The full sequel, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, is still being worked on by Taleworlds.

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rec1

Chris: Have you ever heard–rather than seen–a car accident happen? You’re outside and maybe a block away or more and you still pick up the sudden sound of a quick squeal of brakes and then there’s a sickening crunch. It’s hard to describe the sound of that impact. There’s a heaviness to it, a weight. You don’t just hear it, you feel it, even if it’s not close enough to be particularly loud. [REC] has a nerve-jangling scene early where sound plays a key role and it feels a lot like this. It puts us on notice that this movie is not going to be a slow burn.

After the jump, not your older brother’s found footage movie Continue reading →

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, | News
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Halo: Spartan Strike, a follow-up to Halo: Spartan Assault, is coming in December. IGN reports that the twin-stick action shooter will continue the story from the first game. Set during the events of Halo 2, Spartan Strike will feature new Promethean enemies and vehicles. It will not have microtransactions on any platform, a feature that drew criticism for Spartan Assault. Vanguard Games, the developer, is working with assistance from 343 Industries. The developer says there are “no plans” to bring it to Xbox 360 or Xbox One.

Halo: Spartan Strike will be available on Windows 8, Windows Phones, and Steam for $5.99 on December 12th.

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descent2

Bill: As far as I’m concerned, The Descent has two monsters: the blind, inbred cannibals that make up the active participants in the downfall of our heroines, and the claustrophobic spaces within which this struggle takes place. I just wish that there was more of the latter and less of the former.

After the jump: John becomes Juno and Ben becomes Beth Continue reading →

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, | News
walker_gta_ranger

We’ve talked before about various methods of traversal in open-world games. Some games get it right, and some get it very wrong. Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V gets it mostly right. Driving the streets while jamming to the in-game radio is a great way to get immersed in the faux SoCal setting. On the other hand, the times when the player isn’t in a car can be frustrating. Walking and running is sometimes a chore thanks to the slow shuffle, goofy turns, and Rockstar’s insistence making you hammer a button to get your character to run.

Color me surprised then that Super Meat Boy co-creator Tommy Refenes has been walking across Los Santos to raise money for family medical needs. Just ambling along. It took him a little over six hours to make it from one end of the open-world to the other. He started streaming his Grand Theft Auto V march on October 9th to get donations to pay for his mother’s service dog. Once the pledges passed the $15,000 goal, Refenes vowed to put the extra money raised towards another person’s dog. He’s since walked across the maps of Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Maybe casually strolling through open-world games is a better option than violently careening through traffic, while shooting an Uzi? Nah.

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