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Destructoid Originals

The 8 best rejected Mega Man bosses

Sep 07 // Steven Hansen
"DJ Man was created specifically to administer only the freshest, hippest beats during Dr. Wily's mid-life-crisis-party-phase. Unfortunately during his first test run, the beats were too dope and the drops were too dank, rendering DJ Man only capable of harming instead of sick beatmaking. All of his tracks are certified bangers." - Myles Cox "The first real robo-births found in the Mega Man series can be traced back to Mega Man 2, which featured birds that drop eggs filled with children, and frogs that had the ability to give birth from their mouths. Apparently lacking in maternal instinct, both types of robo-parents seem quite content to send their robo-kids off to almost certain death. Perhaps that because it only takes them seconds to have a new baby, unlike humans, who take longer to make. The original idea here was to have robo-moms who fly through the air and drop their robo-placenta covered children on Mega Man en mass, like the birds from Mega Man 2, but technical limitations made it impossible for the NES to render baby graphics small enough and detailed enough to to make that work. Instead we've opted for a design based around the frogs from Mega Man 2 and the Penguin birth-bots from Mega Man 3. Robot mom heads spout rocket babies from their 'mouth' style openings. Baby rockets cry as they fly, leaving Mega Man torn between his urge to defend himself and his natural instinct to care for the children. Un-exploded rocket babies will eventually learn to walk (and kill) if Mega Man takes to long to ponder his decision. There's also a rare alt sprite for this enemy that features a giant baby head that spits up little mom rockets." -Jonathan Holmes "Here he is, Insomniman. Insomniman's too tired to really care, there are other Robot Masters who haven't been awake for three weeks who can deal with that crap... his lair is just one big kitchen in the dead of night, with Insomniman shuffling around, doing anything to keep him distracted. Once Megaman finally defeats Insomiman, he'll gain the ability to fire boiling hot coffee from his arm! Scorch the enemies, or give himself a little boost of energy when he needs it!" - Joe Parlock "The Plantman knows if the plants will growThe Plantman knows where the plants will growAnd the plants will know if the Plantman knowsThe plants will know if the Plantman knows" - Darren Nakamura "While Mega Man 3 was the first Mega Man game to feature a boss that shot organic projectiles with Snake Man, the concept of organic themed robot masters had been on and off the table at Capcom with mixed success since the production of the original game. Initially designed for the slot that eventually went to Guts Man, the tentatively titled Waste Man was envisioned as a robot that could replace humans within waste management plants. Designed without a nose, the character had soft, fleshy appendices to facilitate in large amounts of manual labour. While Waste Man's many butt-like protrusions were designed with practicality in mind, the development quickly came to love the character's unique, voluminous charm. Unfortunately, when it came to testing sprite art for the character, issues began to arise. While his head was technically feasible on the NES, the envisioned miniature projectiles he would wield, and that would be acquired by Mega Man upon boss completion, simply lacked the required level of visual detail. While Waste Man was initially shelved pending a SNES Mega Man release, it was ultimately decided that his design would be too endearing for fans to want to fight. The rights to the character have since been caught in a large legal battle, meaning we're unlikely to ever see this wonderful Robot Master come to market." - Laura Kate Dale "Dr. Wily built Particle Man to gather data on a microscopic level while easily avoiding detection. He's particularly effective at spying and infiltrating secret bases. Also, for some inexplicable reason, he really hates triangles. Particle Man fires a beam of charged particles to subdue foes, though due to his size, it's really only effective against single-celled organisms. When Mega Man acquires Particle Man's power, he gets equipped with the Particle Beam, which is much deadlier in the hands of the Blue Bomber. Unfortunately, Mega Man might be too giant for Particle Man to pose much of a threat, so the idea was scrapped. Plus, there was talk of a possible lawsuit..." - Ben Davis "CUT TILE MAN. After the mechanical Robot Masters' continual defeat, a new strategy was necessary. Every material under the sun was considered for construction, but tile ended up being the most cost-efficient. Tile Cut man uses a combination of sharp tile chunks and the mud of his fallen brothers to slow down his opponents. He's totally not just a googled image of Mega Man that I traced and cut out while remodeling a bathroom." - Zack Furniss "Child Coffin Man!" - Occams - I for one would love to see everyone draw their own version of Child Coffin Man, or any other Mega Man boss. Or just mess with the Mega Man creator some more.
Mega Man bosses photo
Completely real concept art unearthed
With the recent release of Mega Man Legacy Collection, Capcom has acknowledged that Mega Man is a character and series that exists, which, really, is just going to piss people off further, you know. The upcoming movie and sep...

Are there games you've never played but still love?

Sep 06 // Jonathan Holmes
[embed]309528:60257:0[/embed] Still, hearing friends' stories about The Phantom Pain, watching videos of it on YouTube, and reading spoilers about its story on message boards and social media this week has been a lot of fun. I'm going to guess that in-between baby care, I've spent an accumulated four hours in the past few days just thinking about the latest Metal Gear release, through either passive self-education or talking to others about it. Not a bad deal for the grand total of $0 I've spent on the game so far.  Looking back on it, I've always enjoyed watching friends play Metal Gear. My first time with Metal Gear Solid 3, my favorite title in the series, was mostly spent as a spectator. It wasn't until the friend I was playing it with got stuck on a few bosses that I took over playing for us both completely. Having had it both ways, I found that playing the game was different, but no more or less fun, than just watching someone else play. That's probably because Metal Gear Solid does such an amazing job of melding movie logic and game logic together into a seamless whole, creating an action/comedy/drama that's larger than the sum of it's parts. You don't necessarily have to control the game's characters directly to enjoy that formula, In fact, it's often easier to enjoy if you aren't the one left frustrated with being spotted by an enemy that you had no way of knowing was there, or stuck fumbling with the sometimes unwieldy button layout. Where the player may be left annoyed with these moments, they can be laugh-out-loud hilarious for the friend in the passenger seat.  Thanks to the Internet, I've been able to experience a lot of The Phantom Pain from that perspective, and it's left me loving the game just as much, if not more, than if I had actually played it myself. I'm sure to run through the game first hand someday (maybe after my son is able to dispose of his own poop independently), but for now I'm a happy to enjoy it as an audience member, rather than an actor. I've heard people say the same thing about EarthBound and games in the Persona series as well. People love the characters, settings, and fandoms around these games, but the act of actually playing them doesn't add up to enough fun moments per minute to justify the time sink. Of course, many fighting games today have way more fans than they do players, but as "Smash 4" world champ ZeRo told me not long ago: you probably need to have some understanding of Smash to get the most out of watching high level play. But the same probably isn't as true for Minecraft, which has millions of fans who are quick to say they like watching Let's Play groups like The Cube play the game way more than they like playing themselves.  How about you? Are there games that you like watching, talking about, or thinking about more than playing them? If so, why is that?
Video Games photo
The joys of being a spectator
I'm really enjoying Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, despite the fact I've never played it, and probably won't do so for a while. My understanding is that The Phantom Pain plays a lot like a cross between its two pr...

Podtoid 304: The Phantom Pain

Sep 06 // Kyle MacGregor
[embed]309503:60256:0[/embed] Crap we talked about: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain PAX Prime Is there a difference between Magic and D&D? The Airbnb situation Shovel Knight Amiibo Cliffy B and Lawbreakers Tasty cereal mascots The snake and lizard party SATPOTPAQ Recent Episodes Podtoid 303: A Good Amount of Cocaine Podtoid 302: Virtual Reality is the Future Podtoid 301: The Least Interesting Man in the World Podtoid 300: Randy Pitchford's Little Asshole Podtoid 299: Blast Ball Send any and all questions, tips, and sexy poetry to [email protected]
Podtoid photo
What a thrill...
Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or download it here. The Podtoid gang return from Seattle to chat about Metal Gear Solid V, recount tales from PAX Prime, and decide which breakfast cereal mascots would make for the most delicious meals.

Notch Tweets photo
Notch Tweets

Markus 'Notch' Persson posts vague tweets just to fuck with media (Fauxclusive)

Because the media will publish anything
Sep 02
// CJ Andriessen
Markus “Notch” Persson opened up on Twitter this weekend, posting several tweets lamenting that life as an celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be. The tweets became a news sensation as several high-profile webs...

Cliff Bleszinski: We want players to actually use verticality

Aug 29 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]308291:60187:0[/embed] "I don't mean to slag any other games, because those core loops of getting a lot of kills quick are what kill streaks and kill streak rewards are built on," Bleszinski said. "With us, we want to have a little bit of that dance, a little more like Halo where if someone gets the drop on you, you at least have a shot at either getting away or at least taking a dent out of them so they might die by your teammate." The hook that allows LawBreakers this freedom lies in the world-building. Because of a cataclysmic event known as "The Shattering," Earth is left with pockets of low gravity in certain areas. Conveniently enough, LawBreakers' maps are set in some of these areas, which should make for interesting and varied gameplay. Bleszinski was visibly excited about this. "We see these moments where there's this giant zero-gravity pocket where everyone's vertical and people are actually knocking each other around with rockets. One of the comments on Twitter was someone asking if rockets actually propel people. Since you have a rocket jump now, you actually have a radius. We found that with rockets not being a one-hit kill (because we don't really want them to be), even with Kitsune who's a very light character, once we have the law equivalent of her, she probably might be a couple rockets minimum. Still, it's a light character, but we want you to juggle." There's a reason he wants players to juggle. "When you introduce low gravity and the concept of juggling as well as a rocket that you can air-burst with the alt-fire, you see somebody flying through the air blind-firing propelling themselves, and you can suddenly send them over to the other side of the map by air-bursting a rocket and then follow through with your stomp move and kind of chain your moves together. We want the FPS dance to kind of come back." That FPS dance means that players stay alive longer and actually get to make use of the game's vertical axis. "It's a lot greater than your Call of Duty grind. It's a little bit faster than your Titanfall one. It's somewhere around Halo-ish is what I like to say," Bleszinski ultimately said of Spencer's original time until death inquiry. Figuring out exactly how to properly execute all that action is the tough part. LawBreakers' gameplay trailer showed a handful of different characters, each with their own abilities and traits. Bleszinski and his team are now in the position of getting all of those characters work in conjunction with one another without any of them sticking out like a sore thumb. "Perfect balance is nearly impossible to get," Bleszinski commented. "We're still working on it. Right now, in the current build that people are playing off-site, it's very asymmetrical -- two unique classes on both sides. The Law has all sorts of weapons whereas the Breakers have like area-of-effect stuff. That's been really hard to balance. One of the first things we're going to do when we get back is, you have Breacher on the Law side, we're figuring out who the Breacher equivalent is on the Breaker side. That's something that when we go back to symmetrical gameplay, I think it's going to be easier to balance. But, it'll still be slightly asymmetrical." It may not be exactly what he's shooting for, but Bleszinski made reference to a revered fighting game when talking about balanced gameplay. "I saw a graph where they're pointing out the Smash Bros. characters from the original that we've used over the years. Smash Bros. may be the most perfectly balanced game ever because they kept finding a new character and a new exploit without the game ever being patched or updated." An interesting analog, but LawBreakers won't take that approach. Bleszinski continued "Thankfully, we're going to be a living product so we can keep introducing updates, hopefully every couple weeks. Pump that shit through, have test kitchens and things like that. Basically, if we find an exploit that breaks the game, fix it. But, also recognize when there's an exploit that adds to the game. You know, rocket jumping is one of those accidents that actually is cool." Bleszinski and Boss Key can expect to find a lot of those exploits given the combination of possibilities between several unique characters and maps with variable gravity. There are a lot of factors at play. Some exploits will evolve into part of the game, some will get squashed. Those that make verticality more enjoyable and contribute to the FPS dance (as Bleszinski put it) have a better chance of surviving.
Bleszinski interview photo
Doing the FPS dance
Just this week, Cliff Bleszinski and Boss Key Productions pulled back the curtain on LawBreakers -- the free-to-play arena shooter that has been in development under the codename Project BlueStreak. It's more than just the co...

Metal Gear memories

Aug 29 // Nic Rowen
I remember the entire route through Shadow Moses. I remember the area with electrified tiles inset in the floor and steering a tiny rocket over them. I remember resenting not being able to use my guns in the nuke disposal area. The cave with all of Sniper Wolf's wolves running loose -- one of them pissed on my cardboard box. I'll sometimes forget the best way to get downtown, but the map of Shadow Moses is burned into my memory. The bosses were legendary, both for their design and the surreal conversations you'd have before, during, and afterward. One-on-one with an old west gunfighter, circling each other around a hostage in the middle of a room rigged up with C4. He showed off his fancy carnival trick-spinning and made comments that distinctly implied that he wanted to make love to his pistol, or that gun fighting was an allegory for sex to him. I don't know, he was a weird dude. There was that shaman who you'd fight twice, once in a literal tank and once while he carried around a gun the size of a small tank. He discussed ear-pulling competitions and the futility of struggling against fate. He was eaten by his own ravens. Then there was the suffocating tension and isolation of dueling a single sniper hundreds of yards away. The battle with Sniper Wolf would be eclipsed in every way six years later by Naked Snake's duel against The End, but at the time it was one of the most intense fights I'd ever experienced. I feel like there has probably been enough ink spilled on how crazy the fight with Psycho Mantis was, but holy fucking shit. How did any of that happen? It was like stepping into some alternate reality where Andy Kaufman had been a game designer and somebody cut him a blank check. Memes of plugging the controller into the second slot, or the infamous “HIDEO” error screen are well worn now. But I don't think secondary accounts can do justice to just how crazy and bizarre that fight, and the rest of Metal Gear Solid, truly was. All of that weird fourth wall breaking shit -- holding the controller to your arm for a massage, having the Colonel explain combat maneuvers to Snake directly referencing the DualShock and a bunch of video game jargon, it was something that had to be lived in the moment. It felt like Kojima was peeling back our skulls and attaching electrodes to areas of the brain that were previously entirely unstimulated. He was showing us a new way of making and thinking about games. I remember taking that instruction book with me while on a short shopping errand that Saturday afternoon in a calculated move to ensure I wouldn't have to stop thinking about Metal Gear. It had its hooks in me, and once I was in that world of spies, rogue special ops groups, and shadowy conspiracies, I never wanted to leave. We were supposed to visit our grandparents that Sunday, but stopping wasn't an option. So we took the PlayStation with us, hooking it up to an ancient TV in their dusty basement where we could continue to save the world from nuclear disaster and learn more dubious information about genetic engineering. I know, it was a scumbag move. But in our defense, we'd just finished the torture scene, found the corpse of the real DARPA chief, and escaped a jail cell using a bottle of ketchup -- neither of us were in the best head space to make positive decisions. It was a weekend I'll never forget. My brother and I tackled Shadow Moses together, experiencing the entire mission as a single unit. It was was a battle march, a do-or-die suicide mission to finish it in a single weekend. Even if it meant wearing out our welcome at our grandparents with multiple pleas of “just 15 more minutes!” as we pummeled Liquid Snake to death and tried to watch the hour-long ending without completely alienating the rest of the family. So yeah, we kept the stupid manual. Call it a battle trophy, or a war memento. My brother still has it buried in some desk drawer. Besides, we did Blockbuster and the next person to rent the game a solid. When we returned the game, we taped an index card with Meryl's codec number to the inside of the sterile white and blue plastic box. We had to crack that puzzle with brute force after we couldn't convince our mom to drive us back out just before midnight to look at the back of the CD case on the shelf. Kojima never accounted for us rental kids with his fourth wall shattering puzzle, but I forgive him. How could I not? He made some of my favorite memories. The best moments I had with Sons of Liberty all happened years after the game first hit the shelves. Nowadays, I consider Sons of Liberty to be one of the most important and subversive games of all time. When we picked it up on day one though, I thought Raiden was a turd and Kojima was playing a mean spirited prank on us. You want to talk about memories? I remember thinking “boy, I hope this is just a joke and Snake takes over again reallll soon” about a million times during the first few hours with it. That's not to say I didn't like Sons of Liberty or that it was a bad game or anything, it was just frustrating. It seemed to exist only to validate every criticism of the original. That it was a bunch of nonsense for the sake of nonsense, or that it was a nice movie with some neat game bits in between. I wanted to love it, but it didn't seem to care one way or the other for me. Subliminally, I was picking up on the entire meaning of the game. But it'd be a long time before I could fully appreciate it. Sons of Liberty isn't a game you tackle in a single weekend of obsessive dead-eye play. It's an intricate and nuanced criticism of the industry, players, and power fantasies that you revisit every few years with a scalpel and a fresh set of eyes. It's a game that was so prescient that only now, with games like Spec Ops: The Line and Hotline Miami, are other titles even attempting the same kind of criticism it levied. It's a game that I've enjoyed reading about more than I enjoyed playing. And I've enjoyed playing it a lot. It would be easy to dismiss Sons of Liberty's message as postmodern gobbledygook, or its criticisms of Raiden, and by extension the players, as overly impressionable rubes playing pretend at being a super solider as a creator taking a shot at his audience. But I remember a time in high school when I skipped Mr. Hogarth's class in the morning and couldn't afford to be caught. How the blood in my veins began to pump as I saw him looming just in front of the door of one of my afternoon classes having a conversation with Mr. Jones. How I slipped seamlessly, without consciously thinking about it into STEALTH MODE, creeping up just behind him, turning with him as he turned, like I was staying just outside of the vision cone of any of Metal Gear's hapless guards, slipping in just past him to take my seat, no alarms activated. The S3 plan worked better than Kojima could have dreamed. Even a pudgy high school nerd could have his own Solid Snake moment with the kind of training he provided us with. The Substance Edition on the Xbox was where I really came to love Sons of Liberty. The VR missions more than made up for the intractable cinematics and radio conversations of the main game, finally letting me feel like I played Sons of Liberty rather than watched it. With a few years to get over the shock of playing as Raiden and absorb the message of the game's screwy third act, I was able to enjoy the story and characters. It's one of the few games I can think of that benefited from a remaster in a way that was more meaningful than just a graphical update. But when it's all said and done, I think my favorite memory of Sons of Liberty has to be slipping on bird shit and falling to my death. I don't know why, but that's the moment that crystallized Sons of Liberty to me. Snake Eater is one of my favorite games of all time. I've completed it maybe ten or so times give or take. Certainly more times than any other game I've ever owned. The reason I played through it so many times is simple -- it kept giving me something new every time I did. I'm not sure how many people appreciate how incredibly dense and rich Snake Eater is. If you just want to mainline the game on normal mode, stick to dependable tactics, and don't care too much if you get spotted or have to drop a few extra people, it can be a fairly straightforward affair. If you want to dig deep though, if you want to get weird, that's when Snake Eater really shows you what it's really made of. I did all of the normal things. A regular playthrough where I slit every throat I saw, blundered into enemies and tripped off alarms, and was admonished by The Sorrow who seemed very cross with the number of Russians I set on fire. I did the professional thing, where I snuck in like a shadow over Groznyj Grad, with no alarms and no surprises. Then I did the goofy stuff -- theme runs where I would try and see if I could complete the game as a North Vietnamese regular (all black camo, unsilenced pistol, AK-47, grenades, and SVD only). I did runs where I would only eat fresh killed food, no Calorie Mates or insta-noodles. Runs where I tried to kill as many people indirectly as I could, to see how many I could poison with rotted food or knock off of bridges, the spirit of bad luck. Runs where I made a point of blowing up every supply shed and armory in the country. Every time I thought I exhausted the very last bit of Snake Eater, there was just a little bit more to find. A new mechanic or trick (that of course was almost totally useless and impractical, and great), or some new weird quirk of enemy behavior (did you know you can kill The Fury with a few swipes of your knife? He even has custom dialog for it), or a new radio conversation or song I had never heard before. I played Snake Eater for years, and I'll bet there are still one or two things left to find; Kojima's bag of tricks never seems to end. I still have the memory card with all of my Snake Eater saves on it, just in case I ever feel the need to get down on my belly and crawl through the weeds and marshes of Tselnoyarsk again. I had a whole library of saves, most of them right before discrete scenes or moments I knew I'd want to play again and again. The mountain infiltration right before you rendezvous with Eva and the treacherous march back down again. Dodging KGB special operation units armed with flamethrowers, mindful of the differences in elevation and the gun emplacements littering the hill. I've heard The Guns of Navarone was one of the movies that inspired Kojima when working on the series, and I like to think this area is his little homage to the cliff-side raid of the movie. I saved right before the sniper duel with The End, two different versions. One where Snake would run into his valley clad in camo greens, ready to fight a war of attrition with the legendary marksman. Another, where I assassinated the old man earlier on in the game with a single split-second crackshot (Snake Eater lets you do this because Snake Eater is a game that gives and gives every time you play it). In that version, his valley was full of Ocelot's personal entourage of soldiers to play with. Can you slip by unnoticed while being hunted by a pack of red beret-wearing hotshots? Or maybe it would be more satisfying to unzip each of their throats one by one, or to fight them all in one glorious running battle of machine gun fire and shotgun blasts (I never really used the thing unless I was goofing around). Of course, I saved just before the final showdown against The Boss. It's probably the single greatest scene in the entire series and one of the best boss encounters ever designed. Sure, taking down the Shagohod was satisfying, and sneaking up on The End and forcing him to give up his special camo and rifle made you feel like a sneaky master, but this was the real test. Fighting a person with all of the same skills and tactics you've spent the game developing and mastering, but she's better at them than you. After all, she invented them. I have less personal attachment to the other games. Guns of the Patriots I had to enjoy vicariously, reading about it and watching other people play. Same with the Metal Gear Acid games. I've spent a good chunk of the last month catching up, reading wikis about them and watching Let's Plays to fill in the gaps of my Metal Gear knowledge. I think I'm ready. I'm ready to finally close the loop on this series I've been playing my entire life. I'm ready to experience the last chapter in this decades long story of espionage, betrayal, and hiding in cardboard boxes. I can't wait to get into The Phantom Pain next week and see it for myself. I'm hoping Kojima can give me a few more memories on his way out.
Metal Gear memories photo
More than the basics of CQC
We stole the instruction manual when we rented Metal Gear Solid from Blockbuster. It's the one and only time we ever did that. Normally we were fine upstanding rental citizens who held manual-thieves in smug contempt. But in ...

The top five most British games you'll ever lay eyes on

Aug 26 // Joe Parlock
#5: Bloodborne Bloodborne was a sign of great change over at From Software. After its run of massively popular Souls games, it wanted to try something really different. It wanted to move away from the formula that made From the huge success it was, and show the world the average, day-to-day lives of people living in Birmingham. Audiences were cautious of the idea at first: bringing the Midlands to life seemed like an odd choice for a Japanese developer to tackle. Over the course of the development process, we learned just how seriously Miyazaki was taking the project: he’d binge-watched every episode of Crossroads, a task no human being should be able to survive. But it all paid off: when it finally launched, everyone instantly understood how important the game would be. From the Werewolves of Snow Hill Station to the Dog Vicar of the Bullring, Brum really does come to life in videogame form. Treading over the broken cobbles and forcing my way through the rusted gates, it was just like I was there. Some players complained about the difficulty of the game, but frankly if you haven’t been devoured by a giant spider when going to Birmingham’s Selfridges, you’ve not truly experienced the city. #4: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Shropshire was an absolutely inspired choice of a location for The Chinese Room’s newest storytelling game Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. The county is very rarely a setting in games, and it has a rich history thanks to its influence and contribution to the industrial revolution. Shropshire is everything you could think about Britain neatly compressed into a nice, little place full. But that’s not the true reason why it’s such a great setting for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. The real reason is it’s the closest thing to a post-apocalypse you’ll find in the Western hemisphere! That’s right, after the AI incursion at Ironbridge in 1886, nobody has lived there! Every single human being you see in Shropshire is just a steam-powered Stepford-esque bio-machinations, who have left the county to go to ruin! Pubs and charity shops have combined into one weird amalgamation that’s not quite as good as either, and you can bet your entire family a new museum is popping up as you read this. Shropshire is an utterly bizarre, yet pretty, place. For the lens to be focused so intently on it in Rapture means we may soon finally find a way to reclaim our land from the androids. #3: Killing Floor Killing Floor might be a slightly controversial inclusion on this list, because it doesn’t paint our glorious isles in quite the best light. However, I think something us Brits have always been good at is introspection. From a National Trust café to a beach in Benidorm, we always act with the utmost class and decorum, but Killing Floor shows a darker side to our nation: British football. Killing Floor is about a world overrun by, and I quote, “bloody Millwall fans”. Set in the streets of London, you must survive against the hordes of football fans being kicked out of the pub. Killing Floor’s recreation of modern day football is so realistic, the attention to detail is simply amazing. I can smell the cheese and onion Walkers crisps and stale beer just thinking about it. In a positive light though, Killing Floor manages to be incredibly inclusive of its image of football fans. The world likes to paint the sport as a load of rowdy old geezers who can’t keep their drinks down in their moth-eaten Aston Villa t-shirts, but it simply isn’t like that in 2015. Men with chainsaws for arms and invisible women have become way more accepted in recent years! Even Spider-hybrids have found their place! Unfortunately, scary fire-shooting people have still been fighting for their place for a while now… but there’s certainly progress. Also, we have a lot of guns. That is some Britain is absolutely known for: how many great big, piss-off guns we all carry around at all times. Sometimes it’s a hassle trying to carry my shopping from Morrison’s with an AK-47 in the way, but that’s Britain for you. Killing Floor’s unblinking view of how many fully-automatic shotguns and flamethrowers even your common Londoner has is something we need to really understand about our culture. Thanks, Tripwire. #2: The Beatles: Rock Band It was twenty years ago today that Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play. They’ve been going in and out of style, but none the less they’ve been marching through the streets of Liverpool, ensuring all of Britain’s children are behaving as they should. If they are not learning the songs of their grandparents, or worshiping the great Lucy in the Sky with their Diamonds, Pepper’s mighty Walrus will take them away to a place nobody knows. This is how it has been for the past fifty years, and it is the way it shall always be. Of course, there have been attempts to destroy the great influence our Lord and Master Ringo Starr has had on us. The Oasis Movement of the '90s was the biggest threat, but problems among management meant it stood no chance against the Lonely Hearts Club Band. And this is why The Beatles: Rock Band is on our list. No one changed the face of Britain as much as Lord Starr did, and the great idea of incorporating the children’s mandatory daily reverence into a video game meant for those wealthy enough to afford the little plastic instruments, life is good. Well not good, but it’s getting better. #1: Sir, You Are Being Hunted You thought Everybody’s Gone to Rapture was our only way of fighting back against the robots? Oh heavens no, we also have Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Not only does Sir helpfully remind the British public to respect the god damn class institution that has been in place for centuries, it also provides handy-dandy training on how to survive should you find yourself in somewhere like Shropshire! Sir is a program to help remind those crawling in the shattered darkness that Britain still exists: with tweed shops, and union jacks plopped onto absolutely every item inconceivable. Digestive biscuits, far too many churches, parish halls, smokestacks, tea, tea, tea. If this doesn’t remind you of home, I don’t know what will. There’s even fox hunting! You remember fox hunting, right? That thing only rich people do because getting away with shooting poor people would be more hassle than it’s worth?  Of course, in this case you’re the fox… but never mind that, developer Big Robot is still working out the kinks. Sir, You Are Being Hunted is more than a game. It’s our message unto the world that no matter what they do to us, we will survive. A nice strawberry trifle here, an 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown there, and we will all keep calm and carry on. What is left of us must carry on. Oh god we must.
Blighty photo
God save Ringo and his Robot Army
Britain, Britain, Britain! Over the years we’ve been known for a lot: tea, monocles, the Queen, imperialism, and at one point… video games. We had it all, from the Sinclair ZX Spectrum to Rockstar Games, Britain ...

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New Patent

Nintendo files patent for first sales-less console (Fauxclusive)

No, this is not a joke about the Wii U
Aug 24
// CJ Andriessen
The discovery of two new patents filed by gaming giant Nintendo earlier this year may give us a peek into the future of the company. The first, as reported on Saturday, is for a disc-less home console. The second patent, whic...
Sonic photo

Sonic Dreams Collection: Mascots, legacy, and audience perception

What happened to you, Sonic?
Aug 22
// Laura Kate Dale
Most of the critical discussion on Sonic Dreams Collection up until this point has been largely focused on it as an unexpectedly odd curio, and with good reason. An unusual mix of Sonic fan fiction crossed with Don't Hug Me I...
Intel unboxing photo
Intel unboxing

Watch me unbox (and break) the Intel Box Master System

Including an i7-6700K and 750 series SSD
Aug 21
// Jed Whitaker
Intel decided to send us two giant boxes full of things, including its hot new 8-bit Intel Box Master System featuring wood side paneling to unbox on video. I couldn't possibly do a straight unboxing video -- that isn't my s...

Thirsty, hungry, and crappy in ARK: Survival Evolved

Aug 18 // Nic Rowen
There are tons of survival games to choose from these days, but I downloaded ARK: Survival Evolved almost entirely on the promise of weaponized dinosaurs. If I was going to go down this road, I would do it in style -- on the back of a giant, heavily armed lizard -- and indulge all of my Dino-Rider fantasies. The fact that ARK's character creator is busted and will let you roll up with a nightmarish mutant of disproportionate body parts and bizarre growths is just the icing on the cake. I never read any instructions or watched any tutorials; I went in completely blind. My survivor woke up on a sandy beach as God and Studio Wildcard intended – confused, nearly naked, and shivering. I don't know much about these games, but I do know that they all boil down to collecting resources and building things with them. I start picking up stones on the beach, slightly disappointed that I can't seem to pick up any of the glittering sea shells scattered around. My survivor almost immediately shits himself, somewhat spoiling the moment. But hey, bonus, I can pick up the turd! I can't collect sea shells, but I do start a catalog of dookie samples. I come across a flock of dodo birds on the beach. They're dumb as bricks and don't seem to react to my presence in any way. I punch them and punch them, but only succeed in rendering them unconscious. I savage the flock until I'm standing over a pile of comatose birds and have somehow learned how to write notes and sew pants in the process. This is caveman education at its finest. Soon my pockets are heavy with stones, the beach is awash with pulverized birds, and my survivor is complaining. In fact, complaining seems to be all he does. I never knew the raw nature of primitive man was so whiny. During the day he complains that he's too hot. At night, the big sulky baby is too cold. And he's hungry, and thirsty. I'm starting to worry that Child Services is going to come and take my caveman away. A series of icons depicting sweltering fires and frigid ice cubes, along with unending penalties to my stamina let me know what a terrible job I'm doing of keeping him alive. I stuff some narcoberries I've picked off the local plants down his gullet, hoping the natural sedatives will fill his belly and put him to sleep for the night letting him doze through the cold. But he just staggers around in a haze for a bit, stamina lower than ever. It's time to engage with the crafting system before I get arrested for criminal neglect. As a species we are tool users, after all. It's time to take advantage of that. Looking at what I have available to make, it seems like building a pickaxe would be a good start. I'd need stone (check), thatch (nope), and wood (na-da). Can't I just make it with narcoberries? I still have plenty of those. I waste a good 20 minutes wandering around a small forest looking for loose sticks to collect, thinking they'd be like the stones on the beach. I can't find any and the, "I can't get wood" jokes got old about 19 minutes ago. I punch a tree out of frustration. Gouts of blood spray from my hand and a piece of wood lands in my inventory. Oh, so it's like that, huh? I punch trees until my knuckles are bloody and broken and I've managed to pick enough splinters out of my hand to fashion a crude pickaxe. Then I get into the holy guts of these games – hitting shit to build more shit. I hit rocks with smaller rocks until they give me the other kind of rocks I'm looking for. Then I use those rocks to hit other rocks more efficiently. I make hatchets, spears, a shirt to cover my misshapen body. Caveman essentials. Is this really all there is to life? We've lost a generation of gamers to this? I suppose the closest comparison to ARK would be Rust, which also throws you into the wild with nothing and expects you to build up from stone-aged flint spears and hemp pants to assault rifles and flak jackets. But ARK has a different vibe. You're a caveman sure, but there is a pulsating metal jewel embedded in your arm. You have a number and, ominously, a projected survival expectation based on your performance. You're tagged and tracked like an animal, which begs the question of who exactly is doing the monitoring. At night, pillars of light and energy reach into the heavens. High-tech obelisks stand alone in the middle of miles and miles of untamed jungle and roaming packs of dinosaurs. Clearly something is going on here. If there is a concrete storyline, I haven't picked up the thread yet. I'm sure it exists out there in wikis and forum posts scattered around the net, but I don't want to seek it out that way. I want to know what my survivor knows and live in that reality. And right now, it's all just sci-fi mystery and terrible giant lizards that look like they could snap me up as a light snack without even thinking about it. It's terrifying and fascinating, and truth be told, I kind of like keeping it vague. My mind wanders while I play. Are we all futuristic criminals banished to an otherworldly penal colony? A kind of Space-Australia complete with raptors and megalodons? Are the inhabitants of the island subjects of some kind of twisted social experiment? Or is it somewhere in-between? Like the '60s British classic The Prisoner? Do I need to be careful of Rovers if I try and leave the island? The best moments I have in the early hours of ARK are moments of transgression. Moments that I'm not particularly proud of. Players are given unfettered freedom to do what they like in ARK, and somewhat predictably, most people like to be jerks -- myself included. I came across a player's unguarded camp once and looted everything that wasn't nailed down. I even stole the charcoal from his fire, blackening my hands and soul with the theft. I stumbled on an unconscious player, half hidden under a rocky outcrop. I knew I should just leave him alone, but I hovered over him, freshly made spear in hand. I mean, I should probably take a chance to test it out right? It's just good survival. He wasn't the last. Like the old lady from Mad Max, I killed everyone I ever met out there. Or at least I tried to. My belligerent, mutant caveman would shake his spear and charge at everyone, no matter how unclear the actual threat they posed or how hopelessly outmatched he was. Maybe it speaks to some deep-seated trust issues of mine, but I never saw the point in playing nice with the other neanderthals. Better to go down spitting and stabbing than take a chance. I know I should probably reach out, join a tribe, engage with others. Maybe find someone with skills I don't have and combine our efforts to mutual benefit. You know, like our ancestors did. I know we could work together to make this land livable, to build a life. But, it's a matter of motivations. I didn't come here to make the world a better place. I came here to strap machine guns on a T-Rex. I came to trample, shoot, and devour anything that stood in my way. I came to make the world a distinctly worse place. I die a lot. I die of malnutrition and deprivation. I die from giant mosquitoes and their toxic stings. I die from dinosaurs I don't even know the name of. Each time, I respawn in some new random location with nothing in my inventory, right back to the raw state of nature. But I keep the knowledge and skills I've accumulated and it's easier and easier to rebuild with every attempt. Well, except for that one time I respawned right next to a saber-toothed tiger and had to play hide-and-go-seek with it on a pile of rocks for a good ten minutes before it finally got on top of me. It's hard out there for a sci-fi caveman. I still haven't yoked and tamed a dinosaur. My dreams of loading up a T-Rex with cannons and missiles and riding it around like some prehistoric Metal Gear haven't come to fruition, and I don't think they will anytime soon. It just takes too long to level up, to learn the skills you need to tame a thunder lizard, or stitch an appropriately intimidating saddle to ride on (I'm thinking skulls, but I'm open to rows upon rows of claws and teeth). It's even more effort to make a pen to keep a three-story tall dinosaur in and gather enough food to prevent it from turning on you. Then of course there's the long, painfully slow journey towards making gunpowder. I'd have to mine for raw metal and build a furnace to stamp out just a simple blunderbuss, never mind a high caliber mini-gun (as a consolation, I just recently discovered slingshot technology). It's too much for any one would-be warlord to do on their own. It really would take a village. A savage, bloodthirsty village. But I think I saw it. I glimpsed the abyss, the way one would get sucked down into these sorts of games and never come back. At the end of my third or fourth night of playing, after hours of exploration deep into the island, I realized that I didn't want to die and start over again. It was late, I was tired, but I couldn't go to sleep and just leave my caveman to die in the wilderness like I had at the end of previous sessions. I found a nice spot secluded in the trees and laid down a simple foundation and a campfire. It was a simple hut. Four walls, a door, a roof, and just enough room for a sleeping bag if you stood outside and dithered the placement just right, but it was home. I had enough wood in the fire to last all night, a bounty of meat to feast on, and full waterskins. My caveman was looking sharp too, fully dressed, new shoes, a backpack full of extra spears -- this was a person who was going to make it. My mind immediately unspooled reams of future designs. A bigger house, wood and stone structures, spikes for defense. If I built near a river I could make a simple plumbing system, grow my own patch of berry bushes, maybe tame a few dodo birds for pets (or food, the line is blurry for cavemen). I could make my survivor more comfortable, I could provide more for him, and he'd be okay, protected and safe. I went from Kull the Conqueror to Mr. Nanny in the space of one night. It was the same feeling I used to get from placing all of my action figures in their proper boxes or play-sets when I was a child. It reminded me of an article I once read explaining why people get screwy sometimes and start adopting all the neighborhood stray cats or obsessively outfit their backyard with squirrel feeders and multiple kinds of birdhouses. It's that fleeting feeling of control, of finally, actually taking care of all of a creature's needs (inanimate toy, video caveman, or small wild animal). To be able to give something the kind of security and finality that is outside of your control and impossible to provide in your own life. I think back to what it was like in grade school; All the uncertainty, the nasty and brutish classmates that made those formative years a gauntlet of survival. I used games to escape from that setting, but it was all about hopping into other worlds, being a tourist. I wonder how much more time I would have spent in any one of those worlds if they let me build with the same degree of granularity a game like ARK or Minecraft does. I always assumed the appeal of survival games was the trolling, of ruining the fun for other players. Or failing that, the creativity of playing around with the tools. While I'm sure those things are the reason some players come to these games, I think the reason they stay is more simple than that. Maybe it's just the pleasure of building a home, of having something to come back to. Maybe it's time I learn to play nice with the other neanderthals.
Ark experiences photo
Out of my Comfort Zone #01
[Out of my Comfort Zone is a new series where I try to combat complacency in my gaming habits by trying different genres and tackling challenges I might otherwise never attempt. In this debut entry, I try my hand at a surviva...

Destructoid photo

Take a look at some recent bad asses in gaming

From Destructoid's video team
Aug 17
// Chris Carter
The Destructoid video team has whipped up a look at some recent badasses in gaming. from all walks of life. Out of everyone, I'm still looking forward to playing as Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid V. It feels like I've been waiting forever, but Phantom Pain is nearly here. Drake can definitely still be considered a bad ass, but I'm over Uncharted a bit after playing through the last game.

What if Bonk were cool?

Aug 16 // Jonathan Holmes
In the meantime, we're left to wonder what could have been had Bonk managed to stay alive into 2015. John-Charles Holmes, producer of the new Rhythm Heaven fan magazine Rhythm Zinegoku (featuring art from yours truly and former Dtoid writers Colette Bennett and Ashley Davis), has one possible answer to this question. While this might not be the evolution that many would hope to see for our top heavy caveman hero, I wouldn't be too surprised to see today's Konami take him in this direction. 
Bonk photo
Would he be Zonk?
Out of all the frustrating decisions Konami's made in the past few years, its shelving of the Bonk series hurt me the most. For those who don't know, Bonk was the first "radical" console wars rival to Mario, pre-dating Sonic ...

Experience Points .22: Tomb Raider

Aug 15 // Ben Davis
T. Rex doesn't want to be fed, he wants to hunt One of my most memorable gaming moments was seeing the T. Rex in Tomb Raider for the first time. Keep in mind, this was actually the very first 3D video game world I was exposed to. So that, coupled with the fact that I was very young at the time, helped to make the T. Rex a very mind-blowing experience for me. Here's the scenario: As an eight-year-old exploring a three-dimensional cavern for the first time ever, pretty much everything in Tomb Raider seemed incredible to me. Running around, dodging traps, solving puzzles, and shooting at bats, wolves, and even frighteningly powerful bears, I was having an amazing time. Then I get to the Lost Valley, the third level in the game, and things take a surprising turn. Lara climbs up a high wall and drops down into a curiously lush jungle environment, very different from the rocky caves I was used to. A bunch of skeletons litter the ground, and there are some rather large, bird-like footprints all over the place. What could have possibly made these prints? Suddenly, the sound of something large can be heard coming directly towards Lara, and out of nowhere a huge red creature shrieks and lunges at her. It happened so fast that all I could think was, "What the heck is that thing?!" as I jumped around like crazy and desperately fired my pistols. Finally it died, and I was able to take a closer look at the corpse to find out, oh my god, it's a freaking raptor! At that point, dinosaurs were definitely the last thing I expected to see in this game. From then on, I explored the jungle area very cautiously. Soon after dispatching a couple more raptors, Lara approaches a broken bridge high above her. I was moving very slowly towards the bridge, looking up to try and see if there was anything up there, when suddenly the battle music started and the ground began to shake. I stopped dead in my tracks as an enormous T. Rex burst out of the shadows and quickly bounded towards Lara. My heart skipped a beat and I slammed the pause button and nearly fell off of the ottoman I was sitting on! A T. Rex? I have to fight a freaking T. Rex? How in the world? After mentally preparing for several seconds, I got ready to attempt to take down the dinosaur and pressed the start button to resume playing. The T. Rex immediately ran up to Lara, grabbed her in its jaws, thrashed her about, and slammed her limp body onto the ground. Welp. That sure was fast. Eventually, I figured out an effective, if rather cheap, method of killing the big dino, but that moment of seeing it for the first time will forever remain one of my fondest memories in gaming. The wrath of the gods My favorite level in Tomb Raider would easily be St. Francis' Folly. It's the first level of the Greece section, and introduces lions, gorillas, and crocodiles into the mix of enemies. But what makes this level so fun and memorable is the extremely tall, enormous room which leads to four other rooms labeled Thor, Atlas, Neptune, and Damocles. While it's admittedly strange that they included the Norse god Thor and the Roman god Neptune in this Greek ruin (they later changed the names to Hephaestus and Poseidon in Tomb Raider: Anniversary), we'll just look past that for now. These four rooms are some of the coolest areas of the game. They're all themed around the mythological figures they're named for, and they're all quite deadly. Thor's room is decked out with a ball of electricity that shoots lightning bolts onto random floor tiles which Lara must carefully avoid, as well as a gigantic hammer which falls in an attempt to crush her if she wanders beneath it. Atlas' room traps Lara in a narrow corridor with a deadly boulder, which is meant to symbolize the sky that Atlas held upon his shoulders. Neptune's room has a frighteningly deep pool of water which sucks Lara down to the bottom and won't let her back up until she finds a hidden lever. Finally, Damocles' room is rigged with a bunch of huge swords dangling from the ceiling, which fall as Lara tries to leave and even home in on her a bit in an attempt to slice her up. I always enjoyed the creativity that went into making this level. The traps based on mythological figures were a really neat idea and really well implemented, even if they mixed up some of their mythologies. It added a lot to the wonder of the game's world, and even inspired me to research some Greek and Roman gods as a young kid to try and figure out what the names meant. Levels like this are what Tomb Raider is all about. The temptation of the Sphinx This one is a little specific. It's more of a small ritual that I personally enjoy doing every time I play Tomb Raider, even though it's probably not a part of everyone else's experience with the game. But it's also possible that I'm not the only person that does this! Lara actually has two different kinds of jumps in Tomb Raider: a normal jump and a swan dive. The latter is basically just a fancy jump that's probably only meant to be performed around water. Except Lara can do a swan dive anywhere, and one of my favorite things to do is take advantage of this and have her perform swan dives in some of the most ridiculous locations. Sure, she usually breaks her neck, but at least she looks damn good doing it! When I first learned that Lara could do swan dives, I was pulling them off all over the place. I swan dived into every pool of water. I swan dived from the top of the waterfall in the Lost Valley. I even swan dived from the top of the really tall room in St. Francis' Folly (Sorry, Lara!). Then Lara made her way to Egypt, and found herself in the Sanctuary of the Scion. Eventually, she exited into a big, open room with a gigantic Sphinx statue. I took one look at the Sphinx, towering way above Lara's head, and immediately thought, "I have to do a swan dive off that Sphinx." I made that my primary goal as I navigated around the room in an attempt to climb on top of the huge statue's head. Finally, I arrived at the top. I stood there for awhile, surveying the massive, open room around me and the ground far below. Then I pulled off the most glorious swan dive imaginable as Lara silently plummeted to her death in the sand at the Sphinx's feet. It was awesome. Now, whenever I replay Tomb Raider or Tomb Raider: Anniversary, I make it a ritual to perform a swan dive off the top of the Sphinx whenever I arrive at the Sanctuary of the Scion. I wonder if anyone else does the same thing... Home sweet home One of the best parts of any Tomb Raider game is getting to explore Lara Croft's mansion. In many games in the series, including the first, the mansion acts as a tutorial level. It's completely optional to play, and even the tutorial sections of the mansion are optional as well. When Lara enters certain rooms, including a gym, a room with a tumbling mat, a room full of boxes, and a swimming pool, she'll announce to the player all the different moves she can perform and which controls to use. The player can either follow her advice or choose to just keep moving and ignore her if they want, and continue to explore freely. It's actually one of the best ways to include a non-intrusive tutorial that I can think of. Unfortunately, there's not too much to do in the first game's mansion other than tutorials. The second game introduces a bunch of neat little secrets to discover, hidden rooms to find, and a crazy old butler to mess around with and lock in the freezer (he's a hoot), all staples of Lara Croft's awesome home. It's still pretty neat to run around the mansion in the original game though too. Goldfinger This may sound weird, but one of my favorite parts of Tomb Raider is actually one of the death animations. The Tomb Raider series is known for having some pretty gruesome deaths. Even in the first game, I sometimes felt really bad about dying because of Lara's death animations and sound effects. Seeing her thrash about while drowning, hearing the horrible popping and squelching sounds when she falls onto spikes, and watching her get torn apart and tossed around by the T. Rex and the final boss... man, Lara had a rough time. But there's one death animation that had me literally laugh out loud due to how absurd it is. When Lara travels to Greece, she eventually finds herself in an area called Palace Midas. There's a puzzle in this level wherein Lara must collect a few gold bars, except the only things to be found nearby are lead bars. Perhaps there is some way to turn the lead into gold? Those who are familiar with the story of King Midas know that he was said to have the power to turn anything into gold merely by touching it. And wouldn't you know it, there just so happens to be a giant statue of King Midas in the palace, with one of his hands severed and lying on the ground. Obviously, the key to solving the puzzle is to place the lead bars onto the statue's broken hand, which then turns them to gold. But... does the hand turn other things to gold as well? Lara's curiosity gets the better of her as she jumps up onto the hand and, lo and behold, her body parts slowly transform into solid gold as she dies a horrible, yet totally glamorous death. I believe the first time I witnessed this death animation it was completely by accident. I walked into the room, saw the hand lying there, and thought, "I should jump on that hand!" The death that followed took me completely by surprise, but as I sat there looking dumbfounded at the continue screen, I slowly started to piece together what had happened. "Oh! King Midas, duh!" Afterwards, I had a really good laugh, and then promptly went back to the statue room to watch the death animation all over again. Horror in hiding Tomb Raider is one of those games where nobody seems to realize how terrifying and bizarre it is until they actually play it all the way through. It's kind of like Ecco the Dolphin in this regard. For the majority of the game, the locations and enemies remain relatively normal. Lara makes her way through caves and ruins, fighting against the sorts of enemies you might expect to find there, such as bats, wolves, bears, lions, and crocodiles. Occasionally, she'll also encounter some unexpected things such as dinosaurs, but even those aren't too disturbing. But everything changes once Lara reaches the end of the Tomb of Tihocan. The entrance to the tomb is decorated with two statues of centaurs. They don't actually do anything other than look intimidating, so she leaves to navigate the area to find a lever to open the door of the tomb. But as she begins to enter the tomb, the two statues unexpectedly spring to life and attack. And not only do they do that, but their stony exteriors crack open to reveal a truly grotesque sight of what looks like a skinless creature with muscle and bone clearly exposed to the elements. It's horrible, and the first time I played this level it scared the crap out of me! But the horror doesn't stop there. After the Tomb of Tihocan, Lara makes her way into Egypt, and of course the place is crawling with mummies. But these aren't ordinary mummies. You might expect mummies to be slow, lumbering, yet powerful monsters, but the mummies in Tomb Raider are anything but slow! These things freaking run and jump all over the place, making an awful shrieking sound the entire time as they're thrashing at Lara. Their movements are so sudden that they somehow manage to startle me every single time I encounter one. Finally, Lara discovers the lost civilization of Atlantis, which is not nearly as wondrous as you might expect. It's actually pretty nightmarish. The place is crawling with creatures like the centaurs from before, with exposed muscle and bone. Not only that, but the walls, floors, and ceilings are all pulsating and throbbing like the entire place is alive, as if Lara is walking through some massive creature's body. It's extremely unsettling, and very far off from the relatively normal caves that began the whole adventure. And then there's the final boss... I'm fairly sure nobody expected to find something so grossly horrifying from a game like Tomb Raider, but I love how unpredictable it is. Past Experience Points Level 1: .01 - .20 .21: Katamari Damacy
Tomb Raider photo
I'm sorry, I only play for sport
Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a p...

Destructoid's eight great games from gamescom 2015

Aug 14 // Steven Hansen
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain I didn't see shit with respect to The Phantom Pain at gamescom because I already played the damn thing for 14 hours months ago and there wasn't going to be anything too new compared to E3. Just more cut trailers and word that you can Looney Tunes-style kidnap soldiers from other players' bases. Bless this game. Roughly two more weeks.  (-Steven) Rise of the Tomb Raider Lara Croft's up to her usual shenanigans in Rise of the Tomb Raider. You know the drill by now: traverse dangerous terrain, avoid deadly traps, brutally murder everyone she encounters. Somehow, it doesn't feel old yet. Actually, it's still pretty damn fantastic.  Rise of the Tomb Raider steadily throws challenge after challenge at the player, usually with impeccable style. It's the slow-motion "act quick or Lara's definitely dead" moments that stick with you, but don't underestimate the times when you stand still for a minute and try to pick apart the next puzzle. This game leans heavily on the framework established in 2013's Tomb Raider, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's a bad thing. More of that is perfectly welcome. In our gamescom showing, Lara traded her flairs for glowsticks but the rest of the flashy demo proved that this girl definitely still has flair. (-Brett) Dark Souls 3 There is fear of Souls fatigue and completely sane fear this Dark Souls 3 is easy garbage for casuals, but From Software's tough-but-fair macabre fantasy world remains alluring all the same. I have high hopes for new settings and genres, but once more into a bonfire and flask-filled world of nightmare creatures isn't a bad way to spend some time. (-Steven) Scalebound While Scalebound looks like Platinum's most mainstream-appealing game yet, what with it being an open-world RPG with a vaguely fantasy setting, I'm confident in Hideki Kamiya's ability to bring the weird and inject some life into this Dragonheart successor. Even if it doesn't get too off the rails, it is a completely gorgeous game, with action principles that extend beyond Platinum's typical style (though terms like "open world" and "weapon degradation" do spook the "I like shorter games" side of me). But I'm still pretty sure at some point we're going to be riding that dragon real-time through the completely modern city streets of Drew's world. (-Steven) Hellblade As early a showing as it was, Hellblade has all the right ideas. It's all going to come down to execution. Taking the parlor trick that is hallucination sequences in games and making them "real," because the game takes place in Senua's point of view and her vivid visions are her reality, is a great way of blending theme and form. It gives you a good excuse for a moody third-person action game, too. If Ninja Theory can continue to do Enslaved and Heavenly Sword style stuff on a smaller scale, that will be a win against the homogenization of the industry. (-Steven) We Happy Few First comes credit for cutting this brilliant, unsettling trailer. Then comes credit to me for finally figuring out what the hell this game is. Basically it is an open-world survival sim not unlike Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Everyone is on their happy pills, keeping them in line; you are not on your happy pills and want to make your way off crazy person island. The world is randomly generated each time, but there are five distinct areas to get through, story characters to encounter en route to freedom, and so on. And those faces are still intimidating. (-Steven) Mirror's Edge Catalyst I generally wouldn't feel comfortable making this sort of bold statement after seeing a game in preview form, but here goes: No one who loved Mirror's Edge will be disappointed by the gameplay in Mirror's Edge Catalyst. With some hands-off and hands-on time under my belt, at least that much seems very obvious. The reason is that Catalyst's open-world free-running feels absolutely fantastic. An EA DICE representative gave a tightly-rehearsed presentation and said the word "fluid" about fifty times, and with good reason too. The developer put seamless movement at the forefront when creating this game, and it shows. Everything is fluid. Running across the City of Glass is a treat, not a chore -- that's exactly how Mirror's Edge should be. (-Brett) Kingdom This way my surprise game out of gamescom and I am in love. It takes the complexity of sprawling empire-building games like Civilization and distills them down to one button press. As King or Queen on your high horse, you gallop left or right to expand your kingdom. You do this by dropping coins from your purse. Drop a coin in front of a wandering vagrant and they become a loyal subject. Drop two coins in front of the arrow shop and it will produce a bow that an unemployed subject can pick up to become an archer, who then hunts to add funds back to the national treasury and defends the kingdom during the night cycle as horrible monsters attack. Resource management, strategy, expansion all simplified, easily readable, and supported by a lovely art style and fanastic music. Can't wait to play it again. (-Steven)
Best games of gamescom photo
All the winners, in no particular order
Another year, another gamescom. The show wrapped up last weekend and both Brett and I are safely home in the United States of America, clutching out guns and dystopian healthcare, but we've loosed out iron grip just long enou...

Don't speak photo
Don't speak

Nintendo will now duct tape employee mouths shut before they go home for the day (Fauxclusive)

This or they start cutting out tongues
Aug 14
// CJ Andriessen
Following the dismissal of Nintendo Treehouse employee Chris Pranger over comments he made in a Part-Time Gamers podcast, Nintendo of America told employees that beginning next week the company will start physically taping ...
Pro Game Journo photo
Pro Game Journo

Video games journalist is total big shot at high school reunion (Fauxclusive)

Because it's the best job in the world!
Aug 13
// CJ Andriessen
Students attending the Monroe High School Class of 2005 10-Year Reunion say the most memorable aspect of the night was neither the catering by In-N-Out Burger nor the Wolfmother cover band. No, these students say the thing ...

I used to love Konami

Aug 12 // Jonathan Holmes
There aren't many video game characters from 1987 who are still relevant today. I've selected a few for your perusal below. See if you can pick out which one is not like the others. I've added a generic chart of realistic human proportions to help you guess the answer.  While not quite "realistic," Castlevania's Simon Belmont is far and away the design who comes closest to following actual human proportions. He doesn't rely on bright colors, baby proportions, expressive facial features, and other tools borrowed from the language of traditional hand drawn cartoons to win over the crowd. He's an earnest attempt to harness the style of a classic action film hero and apply it to a video game. Most of Konami's games back in the late 1980s went for this style. While other publishers tried to tickle players with clownish antics, Konami titles like Gradius, Rush 'N Attack, Castlevania, The Adventures of Bayou Billy, Contra, and Metal Gear rejected cuteness in favor of a feel that payed tribute to Hollywood action films of the day, though they often walked dangerously close towards the line between tribute and theft. It was common practice for Konami to "borrow" the visage of big name actors for the games. Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Boris Karloff, Sean Connery, Kurt Russel and Mel Gibson are just a few of examples of big names who bear a strong resemblance to classic Konami characters. That kind of thing is pretty common in our modern world of games, with actual Hollywood actors (like TV heartthrob Norman Reedus) regularly lending their names, faces, and voices to AAA titles, but back in the 8-bit era, only Konami had the balls to consistently leap over tech limitations in an effort to deliver something more like an R-rated film. If the ESRB had existed back in the '80s, chances are a few of Konami's games would have flirted with an M rating.  While Konami may have worked to divorce itself from the cartoon mascots of '80s gaming, it did not work to avoid video game logic. Castlevania payed tribute to the dark, intimidating worlds depicted in classic Universal monster films, but it also hid meat behind walls and implanted Valentine's hearts inside of candles. Metal Gear combined James Bond's spy action with Rambo's lone soldier in a politically unstable world, but underneath that macho exterior, it's basically Pac-Man with guns. It's a game where characters may discuss the seriousness of World War III in one scene, only to have a large exclamation mark pop up above their heads in the next. That's a tradition that the series has never let go of, and has gone on to be one of its defining characteristics.  Playing off the tension between film and video game logic lived on in the Konami brand for over 30 years. The Silent Hill series centers around entering worlds that defy conventional reality, where subconscious thoughts and feelings fuse with the horrific and supernatural to create an environment that's emotionally real but physically impossible. At their heart, that's what most video games are -- worlds that feel real even though we know that they are not. Konami used to dart between realism and surrealism, symbolism and literalism, unplayable cinema and interactive gameplay, to create something larger than the sum of its parts. That interplay is the natural evolution of its old 1980s practice of depicting real life Hollywood icons with stripped down, iconographic sprites. It's something we see so often in modern games that we may take it for granted, but if it weren't for Konami working to pave the way, who knows where we'd be now. I sincerely hope that Konami returns to this kind of game design, or any kind of game design that doesn't involve sexy Pachinko machines.
Konami photo
I also used to love Mel Gibson
There aren't a lot of good things to say about Konami these days. Its missteps over the past few years have been frequent and severe, including: the embarrassingly poor Silent Hill HD Collection; the cancellation of Silent Hi...

Which video games did you grow up with?

Aug 09 // Ben Davis
We had a ton of other NES cartridges, too. Of course, we had the other two Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, plus some other neat games like Clash at Demonhead, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, 1943: The Battle of Midway, Marble Madness, and Excitebike, as well as some weirder ones like Fester's Quest, T&C Surf Designs, and Winter Games. I dabbled in all of these games, usually with my sister and brother -- who was way better than me at the time, so I watched him beat more than a few of them. As for the other consoles, we only owned a few titles for each, and typically rented more. Our SNES collection included Super Mario World, Mario Paint, A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy II (well, IV), and Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge. I liked all of these, but I probably played Final Fantasy II and Mario Paint the most (I loved that fly swatter mini-game!). I was terrible at Final Fantasy, though. I always got stuck on the octopus boss or the Antlion. I know I never saw anything past that point. But I kept trying to get better, because I really wanted to see more of that world. The Sega Genesis didn't get much love. I know we had a few Sonic the Hedgehog games and Ecco: The Tides of Time, but I can't remember anything else. Ecco was actually one of my favorite games at the time, because I was obsessed with marine biology as a kid (and still am!), but I was so bad at it that I just watched my brother play it instead. Whenever I played, I mostly just swam around and did flips and stuff. We also had some neat PC games. I remember playing Myst, SimTown, Lemmings, Magic Carpet, and Lode Runner: The Legend Returns on our old Windows 95 computer. I always thought Myst was really interesting visually, but I could never solve the puzzles by myself, of course. I spent most of my time with SimTown and Lode Runner. I even messed around with the level editor in Lode Runner a bit and tried to make my own maps. I'm sure all of the games from my childhood helped shape me into the gamer I am today and had major influences on my tastes. I always seemed to prefer the weird stuff, like Super Mario Bros. 2, Blaster Master, and Ecco. I loved platformers most, but also enjoyed RPGs and creative games like Mario Paint and SimTown. Of course, my tastes have since grown to include many other genres and types of games, but the ones I grew up with were the foundation of my hobby and I'll never forget them. How about you? Which games did you have growing up? What did you play the most and why?
Community discussion photo
Time for a nostalgia trip
Everyone remembers their first video game, right? I often think back on the games my family owned growing up and realize how much of an impact they had on my life. Without them, I might not be here today talking about video g...

Experience Points .21: Katamari Damacy

Aug 08 // Ben Davis
Royal Rainbow! The King of All Cosmos might actually be my favorite video game character of all time. It's weird though, because honestly, he's kind of an asshole. He "accidentally" destroys all the stars in the galaxy, and then has the nerve to make his son do all the work creating new ones. He's also incredibly snarky and super critical of the Prince's work. Really, dad? You're gonna force me to fix your mistakes and then tell me I'm not doing it well enough? I'm really feeling the love here... But even after all the abuse, I just can't help but admire the King of All Cosmos. I mean, just look at him! He's fit, handsome, has a quirky fashion sense, well-groomed facial hair, and a shockingly noticeable bulge (oh myyy). And did I mention he literally vomits rainbows? He is the very definition of fabulous. The King's dialogue is one of the most entertaining aspects of Katamari. Hearing him put down the Prince in such a nonchalant way is pretty funny. Plus he's got a witty sense of humor and a really strange way of viewing the world. It's fun to see what he thinks of humans and their way of life as he tries to understand why they do the things they do. He talks a lot (and I mean a lot!), but I never got tired of hearing his weird and wonderful thoughts or the strange record-scratching sound he makes. The King of All Cosmos may be a horrible father and a huge asshole, but he's just such a lovable asshole. I mean, it's hard to be mad at a man that has rainbows bursting out of every orifice! [embed]297398:59858:0[/embed] Na naaa na na na na naa naa naa na naa naa na na na~ It's almost impossible to talk about Katamari and not mention the soundtrack. It's one of the most unique video game soundtracks I've ever heard, filled with relentlessly happy songs and catchy melodies. If I ever want to smile, I simply have to put on some Katamari music. It cheers me up instantly. The vocal tracks are the best. Some of my favorites from the first game include "Lonely Rolling Star," "Katamaritaino," "A Crimson Rose and a Gin Tonic," and "Katamari Mambo" (I especially enjoy the male singer in that last one; he sounds so crazy!). Then there's "Cherry Blossom Color Season" with some adorable child vocals, "Que Sera Sera" with its notable English vocals ("I want to wad you up into my life!"), and "Katamari on the Rocks" which gets stuck in my head for days whenever I play the game. And I can't forget to mention "The Wonderful Star's Walk is Wonderful," which may not be a vocal track, but it's my personal favorite. I could honestly gush about every song on the soundtrack; the whole thing is fantastic! I had to give special mention to the title screen music, though. It's the very first thing the player hears upon turning on the game, and it's fantastic. It's basically just a guy singing a simple melody, but it's an instantly classic tune. It's calming, cheerful, quirky, and immediately recognizable. All you have to do is sing the first two notes ("Na naaa...") and it's already in my head! For the people The basic premise of Katamari is to roll junk up into a ball. It's a very simple idea, but it's crazy just how fun it is. It starts the player off as a tiny little ball rolling up thumbtacks and candies, growing larger and picking up progressively bigger objects like trash cans and bicycles, and eventually becoming huge enough to roll up entire buildings and even the very island they're standing on. It's such a wonderful feeling to see the Katamari growing larger and more powerful by the second and rolling up everything in its way. But I always find that the most fun comes from rolling up people. The behavior of the humans in Katamari games is hilarious. When the Katamari is still really small, they sort of just go about their business normally, most of the time not even giving a second glance to the weird ball of junk rolling around them. But once it's big enough, people will notice it and run away in terror, flailing their arms wildly. Even when they get rolled up themselves, they keep flailing their arms and legs in a comically energetic manner, like insects that are stuck on their backs. They also make funny noises upon being picked up. Usually it's a goofy shouting or laughing sound, but many of them make other strange noises. The biker punks' cries are especially odd. This video has a good sampling of the many sounds the people make. It may seem cruel to enjoy rolling people up into a ball of random objects, potentially crushing them as things like cars and buildings are added into the mix, or impaling them on fence posts and street signs, or burning them on campfires, or drowning them as the Katamari rolls through the ocean. And all the while they await their fate of being turned into a flaming hot star in a newly reformed galaxy. But, you know, they'll probably be okay... right? I hope? I'm sure they're fine... My cousin Dipp The Prince's many cousins are a bizarre bunch of individuals. They can be found hidden in each level, and can later be selected for use in the multiplayer mini-game. Over the course of the series, more and more cousins were added to the mix, and they became playable characters for the main game as well. Even though they're essentially just costume swaps of the Prince (they don't have special abilities or anything), I just love collecting all the little guys. Whenever I find a cousin as I'm rolling around one of the levels, I absolutely have to roll them up. If they're too big, I make it my goal to grow large enough to grab them before the timer runs out. The cousins also have some of the craziest designs in the game. They're all very colorful with differently-shaped heads. There's Ichigo who looks like a strawberry, Marny who's shaped like a tennis ball, Nickel who's a robot, Lalala who is always naked, Miso who literally has a bowl of soup for a head (filled with actual soup in later games), and many more. My two favorite cousins are Dipp and Odeko. Dipp's body is covered with brightly-colored, flashing polka dots so he looks like a disco ball or something, and Odeko has an unreasonably tall head which grows taller in the later games and makes certain items like the headphones look really funny. I almost always play as those two. Throughout the Katamari series, the cousins seem to get weirder and weirder. The original 23 from the first game have all had their features altered and intensified, while newer, crazier cousins are introduced as well. I really like them though. They're like a strange, dysfunctional, rainbow-colored family. I bet they have the greatest reunions! Must find all of the things! Katamari Damacy is one of those games where I have to collect everything. I feel like I haven't truly finished the game until I've rolled up every last object I can find. This mentality is mainly due to the very detailed collection screen, which lists every object by category, location, and size, as well as a separate list for rare objects with special names. Each list provides a percentage of items that have been collected, which of course made the completionist gamer in me want to fill out each list for 100% completion. Katamari also took one step further with its collection screen by adding funny little descriptions for each object in the game. The descriptions appear to be written from the perspective of the King of All Cosmos, since they often use the royal We, which the King enjoys using to refer to himself. Since the majority of the objects are human items, the King sort of has to guess at what they're used for through observation, so a lot of the descriptions are humorous. Some of my favorite descriptions include the peach ("A butt-shaped fruit that is more tasty than butts."), the chopsticks ("Why are these called chopsticks? And why are they so difficult to use?"), the toothbrush ("A stick to put in your mouth. There's got to be a purpose..."), the nail clipper ("Used to clip human claws. We wonder if it hurts."), the handcuffs ("If you do something really bad these may be used on you! Or if you are good..."), and the dung beetle ("Rolls cow dung and makes it bigger. We feel a little rivalry here."). The collection screens are always a joy to read through. Every time I find new items, I go directly to the collection to read what the King has to say about it. In fact, there's actually a Twitter account specifically dedicated to cataloging every single Katamari item with their descriptions! And now for something completely different It's not often I praise a game for its cutscenes, but Katamari's cutscenes are simply glorious. The game's intro is just about the happiest, craziest thing I've ever watched, and it sets the mood perfectly. It has rainbows bursting everywhere, animals dancing and singing, the King flying around and looking all regal, the Prince doing a happy little dance, and really catchy, upbeat music. It might just be my favorite opening scene of all time, simply because of how wacky and cheerful it is. Those ducks get me every time! And then there are the other cutscenes which focus on the human Hoshino family as they live their daily lives while Katamari are being rolled in the background. These scenes are particularly awkward. The Hoshinos are all square and boxy, move very slowly, and speak in slow, unenthusiastic voices, but something about their boring demeanor clashes with the wackiness of the game in a hilarious way. The cutscenes always had me laughing in a "what did I just watch?" kind of way, and I kept looking forward to seeing more of them. Oh, and the little girl also has her own cutscenes after each constellation level is completed. She gets a peculiar sensation and proclaims, "Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!" before swirling out of control into the cosmos herself. I love those scenes so much. Past Experience Points .01: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.02: Shadow of the Colossus.03: EarthBound.04: Catherine.05: Demon's Souls.06: No More Heroes.07: Paper Mario.08: Persona 4.09: Final Fantasy IX.10: Mega Man Legends.11: Rayman Origins.12: Metal Slug 3.13: Animal Crossing.14: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King.15: Super Mario Sunshine.16: Final Fantasy VII.17: Nier.18: Chrono Trigger.19: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.20: Red Dead Redemption
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Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!
Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a p...

The 90s are bad photo
The 90s are bad

Rude old PC ad suggests all men are casual console babies

The 90s are bad
Aug 08
// Steven Hansen
Can you believe this 3Dfx ad from the 90s recently unearthed online by Felipe Pepe? In the era of "attitude" (or just 'tude), 3Dfx had the gall to suggest all men, the fairer sex not graced with breasts, are all casual consol...

Podtoid 302: Virtual Reality is the Future

Aug 08 // Kyle MacGregor
[embed]297458:59878:0[/embed] What We Discussed Gamescom (Star Wars, Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed, MMOs) Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest Oculus VR inventor Palmer Luckey's unfortunate TIME cover Dark Souls  Darren is playing some dumb mobile game Penny Arcade Expo Gardevoir Rocket League Inside baseball and actual baseball Recent Episodes Podtoid 301: The Least Interesting Man in the World Podtoid 300: Randy Pitchford's Little Asshole Podtoid 299: Blast Ball Podtoid 298: Tales of E3 and Batman: Arkham Knight  Podtoid 297: E3 2015 Predictions, Tips & Tricks  Send any and all questions, tips, and Steven Hansen fan art to [email protected]
Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or download it here. No Brett or Steven this week, as the beastie boys are still off gallivanting around Cologne, Germany for gamescom. But we did manage to bring back PCWorld's illustrious Hayden Dingman to discuss the hottest, sweatiest, smelliest news in the world of video games for your listening pleasure.

Here's what the first ever Super Smash Con looks like

Aug 07 // Chris Carter
[embed]297294:59877:0[/embed] That right there [above] is the major tournament area, where players are hard at work qualifying for the major tournaments. The turnout is actually pretty good, as most of the massive parking lot at the expo center was filled, but there's plenty of space to walk around inside, and a plentiful amount of arcade cabinets and console stations. In addition to a smaller arcade section and a small gaming museum exhibit, there's a ton of indie game setups, as well as homebrew spots and retro areas to game in. My favorite part was probably the little signs that displayed random factoids about the series, like "17 of the 36 characters in Mario Kart 8 also appear in Smash." It's not at the size of say, the current era of MAGFEST (there were only 12 exhibitors or so here, and although they are across the street from a hotel, the expo center isn't as massive as your typical con), but again, it's a great start -- I'm looking forward to getting back to catching the matches throughout the weekend.
Super Smash Con photo
I'd say it's a success
Today is the first major day for the first Super Smash Con, taking place in Virginia this weekend. While I covered the major happenings here as well as all the pertinent info you'll need for tournaments and streams, I also ha...

Lighthouses photo

Today is National Lighthouse Day, go play To the Moon

Everything's Alright
Aug 07
// Darren Nakamura
We have a lot of silly "holidays" in the United States, when we don't actually take off work but instead just take a few minutes to think about a thing we maybe don't often think about. Today is National Lighthouse Day, so le...

What games are you never ever ever getting back together with?

Aug 05 // Jed Whitaker
Thank you, Mortal Kombat X, For driving the final nail in the coffin of secret characters. I now accept that unlockables, especially in the form of hidden characters or outfits, are dead.  --   Thank you, League of Legends, You kept me company when I was all alone, sometimes for up to eight or more hours a day. I'm sorry that you started seeing other people; people who mostly spout garbage and toxicity. I've heard you've cleaned up recently, but I've moved on.  --   Thank you, Words With Friends, For ripping off Scrabble and capitalizing on it. I actually enjoyed our time together until I started getting text messages -- on top of your already plentiful notifications -- telling me it was my turn.  --   Thank you, Mario Kart, We had such fun times together on the Nintendo 64, back before you were all about micromanaging parts of karts and had far too many items. Back before you needed a spreadsheet to pick your karts, there also used to be dedicated balloon battle arenas. Those were the days. --   Thank you, Sega, You were a large part of my childhood. Golden Axe, Sonic the Hedgehog, Ristar, and others were my jam. I'm glad you never remade Golden Axe or made a game where Sonic the Hedgehog is a werehog with stretchy arms or kisses a human. I'm so not in denial.
You've got what I need photo
Never say never
Are there any games or series out there that you gave a chance and really tried to like until they inevitably broke your heart, as many boys games do? Sometimes you might even still have feelings for the games, or even love t...

My completely inaccurate Rising Thunder tier list

Aug 05 // Nic Rowen
Crow Crow is like a mini-Evangelion mech with a chakram, which I'd normally consider a strong look. But, when compared to the rest of the much goofier and lighthearted Rising Thunder cast, he just looks like he's trying too hard to be edgy -- like Hot Topic opened a mech garage. I can't wait for the DLC to give him a wallet chain and a checker pattern. Crow also looks like he'll be annoying as hell to fight against. Rising Thunder may be the first fighting game to actually do invisibility right (because it's online only, the Crow player will be able to see an outline of their character on their screen while the opponent will see nothing) and that will be sure to attract the trollish kind of player who likes to mess with people. I can already see the YouTube clip reels of time-out victories where a Crow player gets a life lead and dances around invisible for the rest of the match on the horizon. His spinning disk can be delayed to float in the air for a long time, which is the kind of thing that is always a pain to deal with. Any character that can force an opponent to defend while still being able to move and attack themselves seem to do well, so I wouldn't be surprised if Crow actually turned out to be one of the better characters in Rising Thunder. For the purposes of this list however, his high school-ish gothy design and my prediction that I'm going to hate fighting him will land Crow squarely at the bottom of this list. What, you thought this was going to be useful? Edge So, we can all agree that Edge is basically Zero with the serial numbers filed off, right? I mean, red armor, green energy sword, slim build. Heck, he's even got a freaking pony tail! It would be scandalous if Capcom hadn't already abandoned the maverick hunter. Someone might as well rescue him from the scrapyard and put him to work. The in-game description labels Edge as a rush-down character with a high skill difficulty. Given how Zero played in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the resemblance isn't purely coincidental. Edge looks like the kind of character who is designed to reward dedication and practice by becoming a sheer nightmare in the right hands. The kind of character I can never quite seem to grok but can look forward to being bodied by, over and over. Joy. Oh well. Here's hoping he doesn't have any lightning loop nonsense at least.   Dauntless I want to like Dauntless more than I do. She has all the right pieces, a goofy expressive face, extra large hands for Rock'Em-Sock'Em style fisticuffs, and a pleasingly robot-ish squared off design. But something just doesn't click. There is nothing wrong with her, but she's just a little too bland to really crack the top half of the list. Sorry, Dauntless, it's the curse of being the mascot character. Too inoffensive to hate, too milquetoast to love. Speaking of Rock'Em-Sock'Em, that's a cross marketing opportunity if I've ever seen one. Someone should get on that Kickstarter fast. Talos Talos is the big dumb grappler character of Rising Thunder and he knows it. He's got a silly accent, a boisterous attitude, a dumb haircut, and incredibly overdone command grab specials; everything you need to make Zangief, the patron saint of grapplers, proud. Talos goes one step further by joining the ranks of some of my other favorite big dumb characters like Iron Tager and Lex Luthor by having an electromagnetic suction mechanic to pull opponents in close for that real soviet damage. Come here and give daddy a hug.  Also, his forward dash makes him pivot on his arms like a gorilla. Perfection. Vlad I can't tell if Vlad is going to be the Dan of Rising Thunder, or the Akuma. All I know is that he's going to be a fan favorite and I'm no exception. He's so damn cute and silly that I almost don't want to love him, but I do, I do. How could I not? He's like if the Iron Giant had a goofy Russian step-brother. While all the other fighters of Rising Thunder are cutting-edge robots ripped from futuristic anime series and discarded Jagger design documents, Vlad is like a tin robot stumbling out of the 1950s, with all the adorable goofiness and Cold War tension that implies. He's got a jetpack, a tiny flag antenna, and he windmills his arms and torso about like a madman. He even fires a tiny elbow rocket! Vlad has everything I'm looking for in a robot. But I suspect Vlad harbors a darker secret underneath all that silly charm. Inside that metal chest beats the heart of a real terror, the kind of character everyone writes off as a joke until he shows up in a tournament one day and cleans house. It's that jetpack, and all the fly-canceling shenanigans it could allow. I bet we'll see someone break the game with it sooner or later, and then no one will be laughing anymore. Chel Chel makes the top of my list by virtue of sheer adorability. She's a little ball of energy with a whole lot of personality for a robot. A big plume of pink hair, a charming accent, and cute little rocket boosters on her hands for when she does a forward dash. Robot girls just want to have fun! In a weird coincidence, Chel is the one place where my dumb personal tier list happens to overlap with reality. As it stands in the alpha, Chel is one of, if not the, strongest character. Her keep-away fireballs and one-button uppercut lead to a simple, but brutally effective game plan that is easy to implement and difficult to work around. That Shoto archetype set the standard for a reason. Given how upset people seem to be at Chel right now, I'd expect to see some balance changes that will make her a little less of a cruise-control character. So I guess now is the time to scumbag it up and establish that character loyalty cred while sneakily enjoying a top-tier character. Rising Thunder is still in the earliest of early days, so any talk of actual tier lists is super dumb and I'm sure everything will change twenty times before the game is launched for real. There are still characters to be revealed, mechanics to iron out, and decisions to be made. As it stands though, Rising Thunder is remarkably fun to play, even if it represents a dramatic shift from traditional fighting game models. Has anyone else been playing the alpha or watching some streams of it? Picked out a favorite already or have a particularly despised foe? I'd be interested to hear what other people think of the game so far!
Rising Thunder tier list photo
From rust bucket to top-bot
Rising Thunder is an experiment I'm not quite sure about yet. On one hand, it seems to be custom made for me: an aging fighting game fan with a well-documented obsession with robots and a pair of cinder-block mittens for hand...

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Keiji Inafune: Is it too soon to start my next Kickstarter? (Fauxclusive)

Is it ever too soon?
Aug 03
// CJ Andriessen
Game developer Keiji Inafune asked himself today if it was too soon for him to start his next Kickstarter campaign. In the minutes following Red Ash's Kickstarter failure, Inafune paced around his office mentally going throug...
Jonathan Holmes vs Jed photo
Jonathan Holmes vs Jed

Splatoon Splatfest Faceoff: Marshmallows vs Hot Dogs

Holmes vs Whitaker / Nipples vs Weiners
Aug 03
// Jed Whitaker
Get your tentacles ready, there is about to be another Splatfest in Splatoon for those of us in North America and this time the theme is marshmallows versus hot dogs. Jonathan Holmes and I decided to debate why our side...
Dtoid Smash Bros. photo
Dtoid Smash Bros.

Results for the first ever Dtoid Smash Bros. tournament

A new one starts soon!
Aug 03
// Jed Whitaker
Our first ever Super Smash Bros. for Wii U online tournament just ended and the results are in and we have a tie! Congratulations to Edgar (NNID MexiBoy51) and Jaydubious (NNID Jaydubious) both having 9 wins. Also an honorabl...

You aren't the hero in this RPG

Aug 02 // Kyle MacGregor
A Healer Only Lives Twice isn't a typical RPG by any means. Instead of putting the player in control of the prototypical hero, they actually have to defend him. After a light introduction, a warrior and the eponymous healer venture into a dungeon teeming with all sorts of dangerous monsters. The goblins, slimes, and other beasts advance toward the duo in rows, the leaders of which attack the "tank," while the rest wait their turn until a gap opens in the ranks. The only power players have over the tank is suggestion, telling him which row to attack while you see to his defense. The tank, despite his name, might as well be made out of glass and relies on the healer to vigilantly mend his wounds and cast various sorts of defensive buffs to reduce the effectiveness of oncoming attacks. You'll also be crafting items and learning skills on the fly to make your party more effective, which means you'll never be without something to do in the heat of battle. If the tank and healer don't succumb to their enemies, the healer's torch will eventually go out, at which point the journey will begin anew after allowing you to spend the experience you just earned on a myriad of different upgradeable attributes. This makes your quest easier at the outset, allowing you to go progressively further each time, as you learn more and become increasingly powerful. It's a really enjoyable little game that I'm glad I managed to pick up before it disappeared with scores of others when Sony turned off PSM's taps last month. Thankfully, A Healer Only Lives Twice is aptly named and won't be gone forever. Its creator has plans for the game in a post-PSM world. A Healer Only Lives Twice is primed for a Windows PC release sometime this summer, ensuring that a larger audience will have an opportunity to play this cute roguelike RPG if they so choose.
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But playing second fiddle isn't half bad
Doujin Dojo is a sporadic column dedicated to spotlighting independent games from Japan and the people that make them. Every time I talk about PlayStation Mobile, someone inevitably mentions it's the first time they...

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