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Bayonetta 2 photo
Bayonetta 2

Platinum Games teasing a gift for Christmas Day

'Rodin will have a present for you...'
Dec 24
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: The present is the first page of an ongoing downloadable Bayonetta calender, coinciding with the announcement that the weekly Bayonetta 2 dev blog updates are ending. Also, Kamiya blocked me again. Thanks f...
Atomic Santa photo
Atomic Santa

Dropsy's Jay Tholen presents Atomic Santa: Christmas Omega

A satirical sleigh ride into the weird world of paranoia culture
Dec 21
// Rob Morrow
From the strange and fertile imagination of Jay Tholen (Dropsy the Clown) comes a very special holiday treat this Christmas season. A harrowing tale of two brave individuals willing to stand tall aga...
Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Microsoft brings back Black Friday Xbox One bundles with extra free game

Yes, it's THAT bundle
Dec 10
// Dealzon
It's the return of the bundle with the game name that can't be spoken. (We're talking about Assassin's Creed Unity -- hmm, wait a sec...) With Christmas right around the corner and the holiday sale volume still relatively high, Microsoft Store is running a "12 Days of Deals" Holiday promotion. For today only, it brought back three of its Black Friday Xbox One bundles.

The perfect games for your holiday get-togethers

Dec 04 // Nic Rowen
Games you can play with the whole family Gang Beasts Picture two to eight drunken fat babies trying to wrestle in an over-the-top royal rumble style brawl. Now picture them on top of freight cars suspended by construction cranes. Or above a giant conveyer belt funneling trash into a fire pit. Or on top of a gondola over a dilapidated boardwalk that's falling to pieces below them. You've now pictured Gang Beasts. You're welcome. Gang Beasts is the perfect game for a diverse group of players (read: all your friends and family who are bad at games) because nobody, NOBODY, is good at it. You waddle around like shitty, violent babies trying to fling your friends out of the level, and nine-out-of-ten times, only succeed in flipping yourself ass-over-teakettle into the void. The controls are, purposefully, as clumsy as crutches on a butter-smeared floor. The levels are chaotic nightmare factories that will BETRAY you by crumbling beneath your feet faster than your post-graduate dreams. There are no health bars or stamina gauges to keep an eye on it – it's all maddening guesswork and swearing as you stumble about and learn to laugh and love again.   Super Smash Bros. Remember the first time you played Smash way back on the N64? It was this amazing, confusing, jumbled mess you couldn't possibly keep track of. It had these weird Nintendo mascots flying across the screen, smacking each other with fairy wands, baseball bats, and Bob-ombs. Madness! It was magical, special, and like everything else, you had to ruin it. You learned how to see past the chaos, filter out 90% of the visual information, focus only on your split-second reflector timing and meta-match up knowledge. Well, now you can give yourself the Christmas gift of going back to that special place and time before you broke Smash into tiny, joyless, pieces. Eight-man Smash with your family is guaranteed to quash any kind of competitive edge to the game. It's back to button-mashing silliness and yelling like crazy when someone scoops the Final Smash orb. You can also experience the (now annual) joy of explaining to your dad, multiple times, that just because you can use his old Wiimotes to play on the Wii U, he can't use the Wii U controller to play on the Wii. No, his tablet won't work either. Yes, he would have to buy a whole system. No, I don't know why they do it that way... repeat over the entirety of dinner. The Beatles: Rock Band If you're going to be hosting a get-together or two at your place during the holidays, this is the perfect chance to dust off all those old plastic instruments in the closet for one last send-off. There is no better way to say your final farewells to the dearly departed rhythm-game genre than with a night of The Beatles: Rock Band with the family (bonus points for closing out the evening with the Abbey Road medley). I feel like I'm stating the obvious here; everyone knows Rock Band is a great party game and a non-threatening way to get your non-gamer friends and relatives to play. But to me at least, The Beatles standalone version makes a particularly great case for feelgood Christmas family time. The trippy LSD dreamscapes and classic Beatles imagery is just so damn charming and whimsical, it's hard not to have a good time with it. Or maybe I'm biased towards the title because my own family is full of Beatles fanatics who know the lyrics to all of the songs and it's so easy for everyone to come together and get into it (except for Grandpa, who still believes John Lennon is a long-haired Devil worshiper). I like The Beatles, but you can also stick with regular Rock Band if that's more your thing. Maybe your family would rather celebrate the holidays with some Queens of the Stone Age and Dead Kennedys? Why not? In fact, that sounds pretty cool. Can I come over? The Jack Box Party Pack Alright, try as you might, you can't get your family into any kind of videogame. They're just not into cartoon babies kicking the crap out of each other, and they can't or appreciate the reference value of Little Mac's wireframe skin no matter how many times you explain it. But don't worry, you can still save yourself from a Storage Wars marathon thanks to the Jack Box Party Pack. You Don't Know Jack is one of my favorite games to break out with non-gamers. An acerbic trivia game, anyone who has ever enjoyed a game show or dreamed of being ridiculed by a bald weirdo can get behind YDKJ. It's been around for years and years, but I'm still not sick of Cookie Masterson and his ridiculous questions (although the Jack Attack is still a bullshit blue-shell of a comeback mechanic for dummies with slow brains and fast thumbs. I'm not bitter). The Party Pack also includes a few other games including Fibbage, one of those "tell the most amusing lie" style games so you can show off what a clever and sneaky bastard you are. Nothing rings in the holidays like deception and rude jokes. Best part about the Party Pack? The games can be played using phones and tablets, so you don't have to work out some kind of spiderweb horror of USB hubs and controllers as you all huddle around the PC like cavemen witnessing their first fire. For your hip friends who love couch multiplayer Crawl Despite its early access state, Crawl is one of the most fiendishly fun games I've played all year. Four players – one human hero, three ghosts controlling monsters – all playing a ghastly game of tag. Whoever lands the killing blow on the human gets to be the next human. It's a game of momentum, heartbreak, and dicking your friends over as you level up your hero and monsters, trying to be the one to take a crack at Kourok, the Cthulhuian boss at the end of the dungeon, who the ghosts also control! Crawl is a little more complicated than some of the other titles I've mentioned in this list and it might take a game or two before people grok what's going on. But believe me, the effort is well worth it. When everything clicks, Crawl is AMAZING. It all relies on the cooperative/competitive dynamics that spring up during the game. While all three ghosts might be trying to fight the hero, it's not uncommon to see some strategic cherry picking going on as the hero's health bar dwindles, every greedy little ghost trying to get their shot at bat. If one player starts to gain a little too much of a lead, you can expect the other three to gang up and try to put the kibosh on him – right up until that joint effort conflicts with their own chance at getting ahead. You're constantly working both with and against your friends, sharing victories, then viciously stabbing each other in the back. And really, isn't that what the holidays are all about? Towerfall /Samurai Gunn There is no shortage of four-player, single-screen, deathmatch games this year. While Towerfall Ascension is also available on the PC, it really shines on the PlayStation 4 where you can get everyone on the couch and play the game on a big screen with zero fussing about. Towerfall pits players against each other in a kind of retro-16-bit fantasy land where you try and skewer each other with arrows. Smart game design and constantly shifting conditions keep things lively. If you have an Ouya, you can of course get the original version of Towerfall, which still holds up. Also, what happened in your life that all you have is an Ouya? Personally though, I almost prefer the serene split-second action of the PC exclusive Samurai Gunn. It also pits four players against each other, but with swords and old timey muskets (with only three shots per life) instead of arrows. Samurai Gunn plays in many ways like the classic samurai films it draws inspiration from – long periods of careful stillness and hesitation broken by flurries of lightning-quick action. Divekick/Nidhogg I LOVE fighting games. But my friends? They like them. Which means they have fond memories of playing Street Fighter II on the SNES, but haven't touched one seriously since. Inviting them over to play a "friendly" game of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is almost the same as inviting them over for a "friendly" colonoscopy. That's why I love Divekick and Nidhogg. They provide the same great rush of one-on-one fighting games, but distill all the complicated systems and pretzel-hand special moves into simple and elegant control schemes. Everyone can have a good time and stand a fair chance, rather than harboring unspoken resentment at your "simple" one-touch-kill combo loops. Both games play quick enough to pass the controllers around and keep a good-size group engaged. They're zero-investment titles, unlike Crawl or Samurai Gunn where you need all four players there at the same time. So you can get up and go grab another beer and a handful of trail mix without leaving anyone waiting (the perfect excuse to leave after a particularly salty loss). Fuck it, we're playing Super Monkey Ball and Bomberman. Listen, they're classics for a reason.
Holiday games photo
'Tis the season for deathmatch
The holidays are fast approaching, and that means quality time with all the family you haven't seen since last year. Unfortunately, "quality time" can quickly devolve into awkward small talk and watching It's a Wonderful Life...


Bloggers Wanted: The Gift of Gaming

The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Dec 03
// Occams
[This month's Dtoid Community Assignment is all about the idea of video games as a gift!] December is upon us. The Christmas season descends from the mountains to infect our hearts and minds like an airborne spore. It’s...
Wolfenstein card photo
Wolfenstein card

Wolfenstein's Deathshead looks like a creepy uncle in this Christmas card

The creepiest?
Dec 03
// Jordan Devore
I'm a total sucker for the holiday season. Christmas cards, particularly those featuring creepy-ass uncanny-valley videogame men wearing festive sweaters, are no exception. In the hope that I'm not alone, I had to share this ...

What did you get for Christmas?!

Dec 25 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Christmas 2013 photo
IT'S CHRISTMAS! YAY CHRISTMAS! A lot of you got a ton of gifts this Christmas morning, and we want to know what it is! Did you get a new next-generation gaming console of the future? Or maybe the hottest new game of winter? M...

Beyerdynamic contest photo
From Dale North's private stash
[Update: Contest over! Winner is tangyrobot!] Merry Christmas, Destructoid! Nobody loves Christmas more than the Dtoid staff, and nobody on staff loves Christmas more than our own Dale North. He loves it so much, in fact, he ...

Sexy cabbage photo
Sexy cabbage

Skyrim gets sexy with cabbage

Curiously cruciferous
Dec 20
// Steven Hansen
I know this cole gallery isn't new to some of you, but it bares repeating. I love bienni-all of these magestic cabbage shots. I'm losing my head over them. The grandeur just makes this seem a magical savoyage. I do believe I'...
The Yule Lads photo
The Yule Lads

EVE devs dress up as Yule Lads to hand out presents

Iceland must be weird
Dec 19
// Joshua Derocher
I love CCP. They are a bunch of crazy guys, and every time they come out with a video it's always bizarre and amazing. To celebrate the holiday's in EVE Online, the guys at CCP are giving out in-game gifts on an advent calan...
Secret of Mana  photo
Secret of Mana

Christmas album hints at possible new Mana game

Square Enix bringing secrets in their holiday melodies
Dec 14
// Wesley Ruscher
A recently released Christmas album from Square Enix suggests that a new game in the fabled Mana series may currently be in the works.  As seen in the track listings for the X'mas Collections II, track nine -- which...
Animal Crossing: New Leaf photo
Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Become Sandy Claws in Animal Crossing: New Leaf

A Christ-must buy
Nov 27
// Steven Hansen
Welp, now I feel bad I left my Animal Crossing: New Leaf town to squalor. I assume banditry is on the rise, everyone locks their doors, and floor is filthy with weeds. At least Shrunk's club is booming for the black market s...

Destructoid Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Miscellany

Nov 27 // Steven Hansen
Destructoid clothing (under $20) Hey, you know we have a neat store with a bunch of really cool t-shirt and hoodie designs, right? C'mon, man, These are easy gifts, for yourself or for your loved ones. You can just guess the size. Your babushka will love a Mario nesting dolls shirt, and who wouldn't love a shirt covered in cartoon corgis? Persona 4 Arena Mitsuru figure ($115 USD) Seriously though, someone buy this for me. Please. I'm so damn sad the amazing Persona 3 Mitsuru figure is basically only available on eBay for hundreds of dollars. Pokemon Hanafuda cards ($25) These are not easily obtainable in the US, unfortunately, but they're too cool to ignore. I started playing hanafuda recently thanks to a free flash version and it's a blast. If someone finds me a multiplayer version, I'll play with you. Not with these cards, though, which might prove better decorative. Too pretty and rare to risk damaging. The $150, framed, uncut set is glorious. Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven ($30) A cast iron dutch oven for only $30? Sign me up. These thing are incredibly versatile and perfect for slow cooking. You could brain someone real good with one, too, I bet. Cast iron really is the way to go in the world of "non stick" finishes.  Stackable Tetris light ($40) You can rearrange the seven interlocking tetrominoes in this nifty little lamp any way you like. The vivacious, bright colors are perfect ambient lighting for your next te-tryst, provided your carnal companion doesn't notice it, think you a nerd, and escape down the fire escape.  Sumo bean bags chairs ($270) These things are super dumb and super comfortable. We had one in the Destructoid office for a long while, but we had to get rid of it because of its energy sapping powers (also, to clear space). Just settling down on one of these is inviting the sweet suckle of nap time. Wreck-It Ralph Blu-Ray ($15) Have you seen Wreck-It Ralph yet? It's really good! It's a good film independent of its videogame premise, but plenty full of nods for people who like games, without coming across as cloying and overeager. Socks People always think I'm joking when I say I'd like socks for Christmas. Do I look like I'm f---ing joking? Why would I be joking about this? I need socks. The Road ($12) The Last of Us was a big deal this year. Read the book that everyone kept comparing it to. Cormac McCarthy's staggeringly bleak and bare novel is so unlike his more colorful, Faulknerian oeuvre. It's one of my favorite novels and if you like good things, you will like it. The movie is worth a watch, too. The 31 Days of Zero Suit Samus ($25) This delightful collection of miniature comics by Chriss Furniss focus on Samus Aran during her off days, when she's not bounty hunting. There are also some bonus contributions from various awesome artists, like Zac Gorman. If you just want pretty pictures, you can buy it digitally and name your price. Super kawaii cat stockings ($4!) These are literally the best. Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia ($8) A 200+ page, hardcover Capcom character encyclopedia for under $10? Alright. Deva Zan ($30) This is the first novel from famed Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano. Naturally, it's also replete with hundreds of pieces of original artwork. It would probably be worth it for the art alone, but hopefully the samurai tale is a fun read, too. Jurassic 5 Feedback ($10) Just one of the best albums ever. Venusaur figure ($35) Sure, you can get a Charizard or a Blastoise, but all the cool cats are down with the 'Saur. 7" Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Link plushie ($11) Celebrate the best Zelda game getting an HD release with this adorable Link plushie. Amazon actually has a surprisingly robust collection (mostly Nintendo-related) of reasonably priced plushies. I've seen comparable things in Japantown run you $20 or $30. This adorable Boo is only $6! I don't stand a ghost of a chance. Chie in the Meat Dimension ($32) This lovely Persona 4 is filled with meat and Chie, just like my dreams. Alligator Tail Meat 5 lbs ($60) I've only had alligator once, at the stupid, overpriced, sweltering, dusty Gilroy Garlic Festival. It was okay. Not something I'd pay over $10/lb for, but maybe you would, either for yourself or someone you love. You could say, "See you later, alligator," after every bite. The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy Boxed Set ($60) If Deva Zan doesn't do it for you, how about this three volume collection of Amano's work on Final Fantasy? Dark Horse's website lists it at $140. Amazon has it for $60. I think I will buy this now before it is harder to find. Okami Official Complete Works ($32) So many art books, so little money. Drunken Angel (The Criterion Collection) ($25) C'mon, Criterion. If you're going to charge me $25, at least give me a blu ray. Sailor Moon S.H. Figuarts Action Figure ($39) Fighting evil by moonlight! Winning love by daylight! Never running from a real fight! She is the one named Sailor Moon! I'm very stoked for the Sailor Moon anime reboot.  Money ($?) "It’s not fun”? It’s not fun my behind. Not having money for food or rent or doctor’s visits is not fun, either, but I’m sure your giftee will enjoy the heck out of that chintzy glassware set and Mork & Mindy on DVD. -- Is Christmas over yet?
Gift Guide: Miscellany photo
How about a book by Miss Ellaine Yi?
You've read the Games Guide, you've read the Hardware and Accessories Guide. I know what you're thinking. "Steven, you goofy-haired jerk, tell me something I don't know." Fine, smart guy. Here are a bunch of arbitrary suggestions.

Destructoid Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Hardware/Accessories

Nov 27 // Steven Hansen
THE NEXT GENERATION OF GIFT GIVING The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are bound to be hot commodities this holiday season. If you can find them -- they're purportedly sold out -- you can buy an Xbox One for $500 and a PlayStation 4 for $400. If I were to do either, my recommendation is the PlayStation 4. My larger recommendation is you don't need either, yet. But here are some thing that could go with them or serve as gifts for people who have them. Extra Controllers (PS4, Xbox One) You know what's great? Your Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers are useless with the new systems. Those with friends who have the gall to want to play mulitplayer games will need to re-up on controllers. At least both controllers are quite nice and the PS4 controller will double as a PC controller since PS4 has no games. $60 is steep, though. Hard drives  Xbox One and PS4 games a very big. Those 500GB packed in hard drives won't last long, especially with disc installs in addition to full downloadable games. You can't freely crack open your One without voiding warranty, but PS4 hard drives are simple to replace with most 2.5", 9.5mm hard drives. You can double your storage space with reasonably priced 1TB drives or even throw down another bill for this $100, 1TB solid state hybrid drive. Modestly priced compared to a full solid state, but it will indeed shave some load off your PS4 games. OLDER SYSTEMS  Didn't have a PlayStation 3? A 360? Why plunk down next-gen money when you could get a console you missed at a steal? PS3 250 GB Uncharted 3 and PS Plus Bundle ($250)PS3 500 GB Grand Theft Auto V Bundle ($270)Xbox 360 E 250GB Tomb Raider & Halo 4 Bundle ($250) Wii U At $300, maybe it's not that much more enticing than the shiny, new PlayStation 4, but the Wii U has seen some lovely recent releases like Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Now might be the time to pick up a Wii U bundle. Amazon seems to be out, but other retailers aren't Nintendo Wii U Deluxe - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Bundle ($300)Nintendo Wii U Console Deluxe Set + New Super Mario Bros. U & New Super Luigi U ($300) Bonus: UK-exclusive Mario Mega Bundle. £299.99. Free delivery. Black 32GB Wii U, New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U, Super Mario 3D World, a limited edition Mario Wii Remote Plus, and a Mario hat. 3DS XL, 2DS The 3DS was rolling this year, from Fire Emblem to Luigi's Mansion to Shin Megami Tensei IV to Animal Crossing to Pokemon. You'll also be able to find them -- even the gold Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds one -- for like $150 this weekend, which you should do.  I got my 3DS XL for $180 last year (not even on a Black Friday sale of any kind), but they're starting at $200 at the moment.  Nintendo 3DS XL (Gold) + The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ($210; $150 on sale)Nintendo 3DS XL - Black ($200) Also consider the Nintendo 2DS at $130. PlayStation Vita In light of the 3DS' explosion, people aren't perfectly satisfied with the Vita's library. I am not one of those people, however, as my top three games of of the last two years (Gravity Rush, Persona 4 Golden, Tearaway)  have been exclusive to the system. The PS4 might inject some lifeblood into the handheld as well -- consider, perhaps, what appears to be an upcoming PS4 and PS Vita bundle. There's also the PS Vita TV, though it precludes you from playing feature heavy Vita games like Tearaway. Sony PS Vita 3G/Wi-Fi The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series Limited Edition Bundle ($170 on sale right now; normally $200)Sony PlayStation Vita (3G/Wi-Fi) 8GB Bundle ($170 on sale; extra 4gb card space if you've already played or are disinterested in The Walking Dead)PlayStation Vita Wi-Fi Assassin's Creed III Liberation Bundle ($200; the white Vita is pretty, if you can find it) PC MASTER RACE Getting carded AMD Radeon R9 290X GPU ($550)XFX Radeon HD 7970 ($280)NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 ($500)NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 ($313) Logitech G430 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset ($80)Logitech G602 Wireless Gaming Mouse ($55)Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard ($150) Gunnar Intercept ($55) Got to look cool and protect your eyes while PC gaming all night, right? What if a pretty person walks by your window? LOL Samsung UN65F9000 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV ($4,500) -- Remember to check out the Games Guide and catch our Miscellany Guide coming up soon.
Gift Guide: Hardware photo
This Christmas, why be an accessory to family drama fueled murder when you could give an accessory instead?
Like it or not, Christmas is rearing its frost bitten head yet again. I know you're still a day from sitting through fraught Thanksgiving dinners, but I'm here to remind you in advance and offer you a primer for planning you...

Destructoid Holiday Gift Guide 2013: The Games

Nov 25 // Steven Hansen
[embed]266349:51567:0[/embed] Proper Paganism The pagan holiday the church co-opted for Christmas to sell pagans on Christianity was one of turpitude. Frightful stuff, really. Thankfully, videogames let you live out the id harmlessly with playable avatars and worlds designed with little interaction outside the base. Some games more than others.  Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, Xbox 360) Grand Theft Auto is synonymous with wanton violence and depravity and V doesn't disappoint there. It's a cynical, nihilistic and technically faithful recreation of Los Angeles and the surrounding area. Being from San Francisco, I spent early time with the game floored at how distinctly it looked like California, from the geography to the fire hydrant colors and road signs. Then I stripped to my undies, stole a bicycle, and crashed into body builders on Venice Beach. Once, I chased a guy on foot for five minutes because he had a dumb scarf. Just like real life.     Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3, Xbox 360) This game is subtitled Revengeance, for Pete's sake. Why wasn't this name already used by dozens of 80's action movies? This Metal Gear eschews sneaking in favor of ripping the gooey electric spines out of robots while you dance about with a sprightliness Michelle Kwan could only dream of. And it's all set to some transcendental butt rock. Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine (PC, Xbox 360) What better fantasy than that of the cat burglar? You go into Monaco, ideally with three friends in tow, planning to be the sneakiest of sneaks, pinching every coin. But does that ever happen? Mona-NO. Each level devolves into a heightened frenzy accompanied by ragtime piano and shouting in French. Sometimes it's more fun when a plan doesn't come together.    Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS) Arbitrary ascension to power sans qualifications? A town littered with animals, cats and dogs living in proximity? Extortionist realtors? Lawless island getaways with separate monetary systems for money laundering? A dog secretary? New Leaf is pure anarchy, letting you hunt wildlife, build and destroy civic monuments, and push jerks into holes.  Someone think about the children! I gave Tearaway a 10/10 and I am not a children, so clearly this list doesn't preclude those ossified by the harsh reality of age. These delightful, age appropriate choices are great for both kids and your inner youth. Gross. Of course, other games on this list, like Ni no Kuni, are plenty child appropriate as well. Tearaway (PlayStation Vita) Tearaway is among the most creative games to come out this year and it makes you a part of that, as you snap photos and cut designs -- hats, snowflakes, whatever -- out of construction paper. Media Molecule delivered a gem that's high on charm and originality, backed up by robust gameplay as you wind down a surprisingly interesting tale. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) If you needed any extra incentive to pick up Super Mario 3D World after learning it had a catsuit and kitty Goombas, we clearly have different ideas on what makes a good game. That's feline; I won't get catty. Maybe Chris Carter's purrfect score swayed you. Or Dale's picture of the Xbox One in a rubbish bin while Super Mario 3D World is on his TV. 3D World is the cat's pajamas. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) If you didn't know, 2013 is the Year of Luigi. The punishment for your ignorance is having to clear five spooky mansions of ghosts. It's a great punishment. People gave me looks when I spent much of the year calling Dark Moon my Game of the Year, but it's absolutely delightful. As Luigi shakes in fear or hums along to the soundtrack, he proves himself the superior Mario brother.   Rayman Legends (Wii U, PlayStation Vita, PS3, Xbox 360) Rayman Legends seems to have joined Puppeteer as wonderful, colorful games released but a few months ago yet already forgotten. Maybe the delay for multiplatformity hurt the game. Still, for my money, Rayman Origins and its sequel, Rayman Legends, are the standard bearers for contemporary 2D platforming. Doesn't get much better than this gorgeous, great-music-filled, precision platforming, even with touch control additions.  Cool games for cool people These games are so aloof you could use them in the shower to get clean. Bang them against a jukebox and you'd get a free play without a coin. "What are you playing?" your attractive neighbor will ask. "Oh, just The Last of Us, no big deal," you say modestly. Kissing on the mouth ensues  The Last of Us (PS3) It felt like I was the last of us to finally get to Naughty Dog's opus, but I'm glad I caught up. As far as massively budgeted affairs go, it is among the most deserving of its praise. The gameplay works, typically feeling appropriately stressful and haphazard without ever feeling too "fun." The writing deserves praise for its pithiness. As a whole, The Last of Us gets points for being appropriately subdued and subtle in its presentation of an indifferent world and its loathsome inhabitants. Gunpoint (PC) Jumping out windows to idiosynctratic jazz while dressed like Humphrey Bogart and living to tell the tale because of your Bullfrog Hypertrousers. That is Gunpoint, a stealth and puzzle blend of noir and self-aware, amusing neo-noir. You'll look cooler jumping out of windows than Leon S. Kennedy. The Wolf Among Us (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Vita) Telltale's follow up to last year's critical darling, The Walking Dead, is off to a good start. As with Gunpoint, the noir inspirations give the story-heavy adventure game a coolness lock. It's a gritty fairytale pastiche. Not wholly original, but not a bad thing, either. The style has done well for Tarantino. Artsy games for artsy people Are games art? Is this even a game? If you ask dumb questions like these, these games will probably annoy the heck out of you. If you're a more reasonable human being that wants to experience neat things, try these interesting games on for size.   Kentucky Route Zero (PC) I recommend Kentucky Route Zero as I wait impatiently for the third episode, going on a year since the first episode's debut, and without having played the second yet. This moody, mysterious, bluegrass delight is just that good, though. I think it's better than the The Walking Dead. It's one part ghost story, one part journey of self exploration, one part having a cool dog.  Rain (PS3) Like the two days of rain that just swept San Francisco, Sony Japan's Rain seems to have came and went. The bleak and beautiful title puts you into the transparent shoes of a young boy who has faded into invisibility in a mysterious city. You can enjoy the metaphor, the light puzzle gameplay, or just get lost in its dreamy soundtrack. Papers, Please (PC, Mac) Papers, Please describes itself as, "A Dystopian Document Thriller," if you need a reason for it to be on this list. It's also garnered a lot of deserved praise for just how affecting a tale it is, putting you in the shoes of an immigration inspector of a country in tenuous peace. You decide who crosses the border and who is arrested and detained. Screw up, and your ass is on the line. Think about that when you stare into the face of a starving child without proper paperwork. Well, I'm really into roleplay... It's my favorite fetish. Hah! Get it? Because "role playing games," but also kinky role play. Like in the bedroom. It's hard looking back amidst Persona 5 hype, but this year has some good role-playing options, almost enough to hold a candle to Persona 4: Golden, which enraptured me last year. Pokemon X & Y (3DS) After burning out quickly on Pokemon Diamond and giving the series a rest, its 3DS iteration was a warm experience, almost a decade removed from the series. Chock full of weird new pocket monsters, endearing 3D models that look 2D, and distractions like clothes shopping and PR video shooting (mine is the best), X and Y are a lot of fun. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3) Ni no Kuni is in some ways a modernized Baby's First JRPG. It hits every note genre fans expect it to, ditching things like random battles and the need for excessive grinding. Still, through sheer sincerity and other facets of originality (art design, music, world building), it's worth playing for fans and newcomers alike. At its best, it's like playing a Studio Ghibli film. At its worst, it's like playing a lovely JRPG. XCOM: Enemy Within (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) The XCOM expansion is sitting nearer to a budget price and marks the most robust way to play the game, adding in micro and macro wrinkles to the already wonderful strategy experience. Plus, additional voice packs let troops speak in their native languages, which doesn't change too much, but is really cool and helps serve the personal stories you write with your pawns. Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)  This decadent strategy game not only saved the series from being shelved, but kicked off an absolutely wonderful year for 3DS owners. Gorgeous flourishes, from legitimately good use of 3D to unrivaled 2D art, help the sprite-based strategy game keep from feeling dated. Still, all that addictive strategy goodness is in tow. So, you bought a next gen console? Well look at you, Mrs. Moneybags. Too bad it has no games! At least it has games coming. You could always gift someone money so they can save it for use when the good games (like The Witness!) actually do come out, but you feel like that takes the fun out of gift giving. Even though that's what your recipient would prefer. Christmas really is a selfish holiday. Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4) You have to show off the horsepower of the new system, right? Good on Killzone for finally being able to stand alone as a launch game, right? A lot less to derisively compare it to now. Resogun (PS4) The best launch game on either new system is an indie shooter that is actually free with a PlayStation Plus subscription so you probably won't be buying it anyway. But play it. It's a blast.  Forza 5 (Xbox One) Forza 5 might feel a little barren compared to its predecessors, but it's gorgeous (again, for showing off your new console) and the racing is top notch, thanks in part to Drivatar supplanting racing AI. Zoo Tycoon (Xbox One, Xbox 360) First-person animals. You know you want it. -- Stay tuned for the rest of our 2013 Holiday Gift Guides and feel free to verbally berate me in the comments for not including any one of the innumerable games that didn't end up on the list!
Gift Guide: Games photo
The best gifts come from the heart. Barring that, buy some games and hit the bars.
Like it or not, Christmas is happening yet again. I know you've yet to sit through fraught Thanksgiving dinners, but I'm here to remind you in advance and offer you a primer for planning your consumerist immolation.  This list is just games. Hardware, accessories, and miscellany are coming up throughout the day. Merry Christmas, you filthy animal.


Nintendo: Wii U sales are 'not bad'

Iwata claims console sales are steady
Jan 07
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has claimed that sales of the Wii U aren't doing badly, despite its failure to replicate the "sold out" status enjoyed by the original Wii during the holidays.  "At the end of the Christma...
Christmas with Sonic photo
Christmas with Sonic

Spend Christmas with Sonic in this sweet short film

A belated Christmas treat
Jan 02
// Tony Ponce
It's a little late, but here's a sweet Christmas movie about Sonic and his insufferable friends. Sonic visits home for the holidays, and everyone sits around swapping popular Yuletide tales with Sega characters inserted. Eve...
Mega Man Christmas photo
Mega Man Christmas

Ring in the New Year with Mega Man Christmas Carol Remix

The next best thing to Christmas Carol III
Dec 28
// Chris Carter
Mega Man fans are in for one last treat in 2012 -- another Mega Man Christmas Carol fangame! After the first and second iterations, Sprites Inc. is back with a third title, which is a remixed version of the first one with th...

Tank! Tank! Tank! makes kid weep manly Christmas tears

Child becomes inexplicably overjoyed at rubbish videogame
Dec 27
// Jim Sterling
If you were to unwrap a Christmas present and discover Tank! Tank! Tank! inside, anybody's natural instinct would be to burst into tears. However, for one child, his weeping was spurred by joy -- such an obscene gift actuall...

Kid loses it after unwrapping Wii U Christmas morning

What a good kid!
Dec 27
// Dale North
The kid in this above Christmas morning video from YouTuber Deongello Vanorsby ramps up slowly, from delayed reaction to shock to... tears! Dad gets a flying bear hug that slowly devolves into grateful so...
Brawl in the Family photo
Brawl in the Family

Brawl in the Family is home for the holidays

Another wonderful BitF musical number
Dec 25
// Tony Ponce
As Christmas wraps up and MAGFest fast approaches, we celebrate the Yuletide season with the gift of song. The previous four strips of Matthew Taranto's Brawl in the Family (454, 455, 456, and 457) have seen Dedede, Pok&eacu...
Xmas Cards photo
Xmas Cards

Check out several sites and companies' Christmas cards

From Ronimo, LEVEL-5, Shinesparkers, and Team Bobo
Dec 25
// Tony Ponce
Every year, game companies and other game sites like to send out holiday cards to their various contacts -- not that out of the ordinary. Sometimes these cards are your basic season's greetings, but other times they go above ...
Merry Christmas photo
Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Dtoid: now what'd you get?

Seasonal materialism!
Dec 25
// Jim Sterling
Today is Christmas Day, the day we celebrate America's favorite lover, Cool Christmas, bedding beautiful women around the nation and refusing to pay child support. Cool Christmas says condoms are a scam. Just listen to him. H...
The Jimquisition photo
The Jimquisition

Jimquisition: The Sh*tiest games of 2012

Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Dec 24
// Jim Sterling
There's something to be said for tradition, and the Jimquisition's most sacred tradition is the year-end evisceration of the very worst games released. Quake in fear, O ye creatively impoverished fools! Presented to you...
Christmas Music photo
Christmas Music

Listen to Yasunori Mitsuda's annual Christmas arrangement

A track from Mitsuda's non-game work
Dec 24
// Jayson Napolitano
Every Christmas season composer Yasunori Mitsuda streams a holiday arrangement on his Procyon Studio home page. In past years we've heard arrangements of everything from Chrono Cross's "Dimension Break" (recently mentioned in...
Ganondorf photo

Ganon Claus brings tidings of great immolation

Random Encounters wishes all a Merry Christmas
Dec 21
// Tony Ponce
Oh, that Ganondorf! Musical troupe Random Encounters has gifted the Internet a nice holiday-themed production starring that bottomless well of happiness and cheer, Ganondorf! Listen as he and Princess Peach regale us with a song about Ganon Claus, noble benefactor and malicious fiend alike. Speaking of Christmas, only four days left. I'm ready to get fat. Ganon Claus [YouTube]

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams gets a free Christmas level

Available by way of update
Dec 11
// Jordan Devore
Holiday season or not, we appreciate getting freebies. Black Forest Games has put out a free Christmas-themed level for Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams that owners of the game can grab from the Extras menu as of today. In addit...
chipWINter photo

Merry chipWINter! Have 14 holiday-themed chiptunes!

Chiptunes = WIN gets festive
Dec 10
// Tony Ponce
[Update: The chipWINter Bandcamp page is up! There was an opportunity to purchase a limited edition audio cassette of the album, but it sold out in five minutes. Damn!] It's the holiday seasoooooooooon! Brandon Hood of "Chip...

Sound Card 010: Top ten game music tracks for Christmas

Nov 26 // Jayson Napolitano
[embed]238989:45848:0[/embed] Ahhhh, let's start with something measured and relaxing. A lot of the music featured on this list will be upbeat and sticky sweet, but this track from Xenoblade Chronicles captures the whimsical essence of the holidays while retaining a mature sound, making it one of my modern favorites on this list. [embed]238989:45849:0[/embed] And off we go! This is easily one of the first songs that comes to mind when I think about Christmas-appropriate music from videogames. The icy strings and playful tambourine create a perfect backdrop for what's really a pretty jazzy Christmas theme. It's actually so much more soothing outside of the game, as I can't help but be reminded of the slippery road and those damn penguins always getting in my way! [embed]238989:45847:0[/embed] Well, let's just say that Koreans know how to write Christmas music. All of the Korean titles featured on this list (there are four in all) had numerous tracks that were theme appropriate, but I wanted to spread the love and give other games some rep. "Snowfield" is jubilant and poppy, working in elements of "We Wish you a Merry Christmas," which should go a long way towards helping those non-gamers around you accept your "weird" music preferences. At least, that's what my friends and family call my unhealthy obsession with game music! [embed]238989:45850:0[/embed] This one is near and dear to my heart. I absolutely adore Ragnarok Online and its soundtrack, composed by Korean sound studio soundTeMP. I remember playing the game when Lutie was first added to the servers and being instantly blown away by this track as well. Now it's just not Christmas without hearing it regularly on my Christmas iPod rotation! I appreciate that this one is rather subdued and doesn't beat you over the head with the holiday atmosphere. [embed]238989:45851:0[/embed] There aren't many tracks out there more appropriate for this list than "Jeuno ~Starlight Celebration~," a song that accompanied an in-game FFXI event to celebrate the holidays. This one opens with jingle bells and jubilant brass before icy bell tones and a funky bassline roll in, remaining upbeat and classy at the same time. [embed]238989:45852:0[/embed] What kind of list would this be without Christmas NiGHTS? To go along with the game's vibrant visual appeal, there's a flashy arrangement of "Joy to the World" with some great improv work. It's jolly, funky, and a great way to get into the season! [embed]238989:45853:0[/embed] I have to shamefully admit that I've never played Shenmue, but that hasn't kept me from loving the music from the series. This track is so warm and encompassing while also sporting an icy quality that captures both the winter cold and the essence of the holidays all at once. It definitely has me wanting to bundle up and play through the game this holiday season. [embed]238989:45854:0[/embed] Surprised to see Parasite Eve? You shouldn't be! The game takes place around Christmas, and there are actually several great tracks that could have made this list. This one in particular is a little jam session featuring several composers at Square Enix. It has a loose jazz structure with a lovely xylophone melody and some snazzy rhythm guitar. [embed]238989:45855:0[/embed] While there was a lot of talk as to what should be on this list, we all agreed that this minimalistic track from Secret of Mana was a must. It's so pure and beautiful, a perfect accompaniment to a chilly winter morning. And even though it's the oldest piece of music on this list, I still think it withstands the test of time thanks to its minimalism. [embed]238989:45856:0[/embed] A few years back, Jinbae "ESTi" Park posted this track on his Twitter account as a Christmas present to his fans. As it turns out, it was a track from his work on TalesWeaver, and it remains my favorite Christmas theme from any game. The original "Feliz Navidad" is such a fun Christmas song, and ESTi takes it in a more serious direction with a full pop treatment. As I mentioned, there are several tracks from the above titles and more that we wanted on this list, but alas, we had to pick just ten! Here are some others you can check out, and please also chime in to let us know which of your favorites didn't make the list. Maybe we'll put together a round two for next year! Bar Oasis 2 - "Silent Night" Chrono Cross - "Dimension Breach" Lord of Vermillion - "Spiege Snow Plains" (for the hardcore winter experience!) Super Mario Galaxy 2 - "White Snow" Valkyria Chronicles II - "Winter in Lanseal"
Sound Card photo
'Tis the season!
It's the most wonderful time of the year! And I truly believe that. While Thanksgiving is easily my favorite holiday, Christmas is a close second, and I've always made an iPod playlist with tons of holiday music that I roll o...


Sony: judging PS Vita before Christmas is 'preposterous'

Ho Ho Holy crap that's some bullsh*t!
Oct 11
// Jim Sterling
Most sane people will tell you that the PS Vita is in a bad way right now. It just broke a million sales in Japan after 42 weeks, and its not grabbed much attention elsewhere in the world. However, according to Sony's Fe...

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