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Destructoid Originals

Guacamelee photo
Guacamelee

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a few of the craziest references in Guacamelee


You might recognize a certain green robot
May 05
// Chris Carter
What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than remembering Guacamelee, one of my favorite platformers in recent memory. Alongside of solid Metroidvania action, DrinkBox Studios created a memorable world that will stay with y...
Fake Game News photo
Fake Game News

Madden 16 simulation predicts which players will be arrested this season


Hide their kids, hide their wives
May 04
// Fake News (So You Cannot Sue)
The launch of Madden 16 is still months away and while many of the new game mechanics and features are being kept a secret, the developers today did reveal one addition to the storied franchise that will tell gamers which NFL...

What would your Silent Hill look like?

May 03 // Nic Rowen
I'm preoccupied with dementia. It runs in my family, both my grandparents have it, their parents had it, and so on. It's a terrible disease, a spiritual vampire that sucks the light and life right out of its victims while dooming them to shamble on as shadows. I've written about it before, but I tend to read into games and movies that deal with instability and uncertainty as allegorical to Alzheimer's. The darkest thoughts that creep into my mind when I can't sleep are about my own parents someday showing symptoms of the disease, or the looming threat that it may (likely) happen to me as I age. Which is why my Silent Hill would have to be a shitty, confusing, dump of a place. A maze that was always fading and rebuilding behind you, filled with asshats you don't recognize, or recognize as someone else. It couldn't not be. Silent Hill as a series has always leaned heavily on the psychological aspects of horror. Sure, there are jump scares, dark corners, and sharp rusty blades like any other horror game, but the real terror of Silent Hill has always come from within. The town, or realm, of Silent Hill is a crucible of sorts that directly confronts its visitors with whatever nasty shit they have floating around their head. It tips the subconscious over and lets all the sticky neurological puss ooze out. Out of all that guilt, anger, fear, and trauma, the city rebuilds itself into a brand new personal hell for whatever unfortunate soul happens to be trapped within it. Silent Hill 2's James Sutherland had to deal with his sexual frustration and the guilt of resenting his ailing wife. These issues physically manifested as Pyramid Head and the grotesque/sexy nurse monsters. Heather in Silent Hill 3 had to deal with her split identity as the poor, tortured Alessa and her messed-up, unstable life on the run. Shattered Memories, a reimagining of the events of the first game, finds Cheryl struggling to reconcile her idealized memories of her father with the bitter reality of their lives. Murphy Pendelton had to fight weird ghostly blow-up dolls in Downpour (still not sure what the deal with that was). Those games offered a look into the minds of their protagonists, but I bet they also crystalized some of the deepest fears and uncertainties of the creative minds on Team Silent (and the lack of that honesty is probably why the series has fallen off so hard in recent years). It's one of the reasons I'm upset that Konami took the promise of a Silent Hill headed by Kojima and del Toro and dunked it in a bucket of horse piss. With auteurs like those two at the helm, I bet Silent Hills would have let us peek behind the curtains of their psyches. I bet they would have brought their own personal fears with them to Silent Hill; they would have brought back the honesty of terror. Yes, P.T. wasn't even a demo. It was a teaser, a shadow of a reflection of what Silent Hills might have been. But when I look at the themes and ideas in P.T. and I look at del Toro and Kojima's past work, I can see connections, overlapping ideas to work they've done before. P.T. was set in a home turned into hell. It hinted at dark family trauma -- domestic abuse, fathers committing murder-suicides on their entire family (and worse). Del Toro is no stranger to those horrors, and he's blurred the lines between the unfortunately all too real and common trauma of domestic abuse and the supernatural before. I look at his movies he's directed like The Devil's Backbone, and Pan's Labyrinth, or as an executive producer on Mama, all of which swim in similarly murky waters. There are also glimmers of Kojima's trademark post-Cold War paranoia to be found in P.T.. The unsettling voice from the radio, constantly repeating a sequence of digits over and over like a haunted numbers station, hypnotically spurring the listener to violence. There are possible allusions to mind control and manipulation, themes found again and again in his games. YouTuber RagnarRox recently posted a video exploring links between some of P.T.'s most disturbing elements with the real-life (and extremely chilling) MKUltra experiments conducted by the C.I.A in the 1960s. It may seem out there, but the material would certainly jive with other ideas Kojima has dove into with the Metal Gear series. [embed]291456:58421:0[/embed] We have no idea of knowing exactly what Kojima and del Toro's Silent Hills would have been like, in the end. However, I look at what those two men have done before and what we saw a peek of in P.T. and I feel like I can make out its shape behind the fog. Something disturbing and vulnerable, a Silent Hill that is at once deeply, uncomfortably personal, but also shrouded in conspiracy. How could either of them resist the chance to clean out their mental cellar spaces with the psychological dust broom of Silent Hill? It makes me sad to think of what we missed out on thanks to Konami's bungling, but it also makes me curious. I wonder about what other people's version of Silent Hill would look like. If you wandered into Silent Hill and the Otherworld was being built on top of the fault lines of your psyche (or if Konami lost its shit and suddenly tossed you the reins as the next creative director of the Silent Hill series), what would it look like? What would your fears made manifest be? Maybe I'm the only one who thinks of this kind of stuff, but I'd be super interested to know what kind of Silent Hill some of our community members would create. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments, or better yet, write a blog about it. We might never see Kojima and del Toro's Silent Hills but we can still speculate on our own dreams, or in this case, nightmares. They might be all we have if Konami keeps up like it has.
Your Silent Hill photo
Konami could probably use some ideas
My Silent Hill would be a place you couldn't trust. Doors would disappear behind you the moment you turned your back, hallways and staircases would loop back in impossible ways, main streets would abruptly end or lead to a pa...

Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Underground Hangovers and hating your own game with Jordi de Paco


Meet people who make great videogames
May 03
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] First, a word for our regu...

Experience Points .12: Metal Slug 3

May 02 // Ben Davis
Mission one start Right from the very beginning of Metal Slug 3, I could tell it was going to be a wild ride. The opening mission drops the player off on a sunny beach, which at first seems almost peaceful and comforting, until the rotting fish carcasses and crash-landed rockets littering the dunes come into view. Suddenly, a bunch of huge, mutated crabs swarm the beach and start attacking in hordes. Giant crab monsters for the very first enemy? Talk about starting off on a high note! The level then splits off into two different paths. One path leads to a mangrove area crawling with oversized locusts, and a boat that takes the player across a swamp infested with flying piranhas. The alternate path leads underwater, as the player takes a submarine and dives into a deep ocean crevasse. The waters here are teeming with electric jellyfish and are also home to four utterly enormous moray eels. These things appear to be 20-30 times larger than the submarine. They cannot be killed, but they can crush the player against the side of the wall in an instant. The eels also come out of caves which indicate that their names are Helen, Linda, Jenny, and Barbie. Quite adorable names for these hulking, majestic creatures. The eel crevasse has to be my favorite area in the entire game, and it's just the first level! And of course, once the player passes through the underwater cavern, they're met with the boss of mission one: a particularly intimidating crustacean by the name of... The Huge Hermit The boss of the opening mission is a gigantic hermit crab which makes its home inside of a military tank rather than a seashell. As the player runs along a boardwalk firing backwards at the massive crab, the Huge Hermit advances, easily destroying the boardwalk with its large claws as it moves. It also uses the tank on its back to fire projectiles from the cannons, keeping the player on their toes while they run. It's such an amazing adversary! The Huge Hermit is probably one of my favorite videogame bosses of all time, largely from a design perspective. Giant crabs are already awesome by themselves, but a giant crab with a huge tank on its back which it uses to shoot nukes and fireballs? You can't get much better than that! Plus, the animation team did a truly fantastic job bringing the sprites to life on this thing. Like pretty much everything else in the game, the hermit crab's movements are so fluid and natural, while the tank shifts around in a more mechanical way. It's almost mesmerizing to watch. And keep in mind, this is still only the first mission in Metal Slug 3. It's such an incredible introduction to all the craziness that the game has to offer! A Slug for every occasion Metal Slug's namesake, the Slugs, really help to set the game apart from other run-and-gun titles. The Slugs are mechanized vehicles which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with all kinds of cool weapons and abilities. Metal Slug 3 has about ten different types of Slugs to find and play around with. There's a mecha Slug which walks around with dual arm guns and a crotch cannon, a helicopter Slug for increased air mobility, a submarine Slug for easier underwater movement, a rocket Slug for space travel, a drill Slug which is particularly effective against giant snails, and more. But my personal favorite is still the classic SV-001 "Metal Slug" which has appeared in just about every game in the series. It's essentially just a tank, but it's one of the most well-designed tanks around. I love the iconic design, with a roundish body and long, spiky treads. Plus, it's built in a way that allows it to actually jump and crouch, making it not only powerful and protective, but agile as well. What other tank can do that? In a game where one hit means instant death, riding around in a Slug feels extremely satisfying. The Slugs can take a few hits before they overheat, forcing the player to eject before they explode, so climbing into one is always a breath of fresh air. Of course, I usually lose my Slugs pretty quickly anyway, but they're still great for those brief moments of feeling all-powerful among the hordes of puny enemy forces. Animals of mass destruction Metal Slug 3 offers a wide variety of helpful friends and modes of transportation, most notably from the animal kingdom. There's a bunch of animals to ride around on, like a camel, an elephant, and an ostrich, as well a cute little gun-toting monkey that can follow the player around. The monkey is especially adorable. It can be found during two different missions, wearing a diaper that it stores bananas in and carrying a gun that it's not afraid to use. I always find that it leaves me too quickly though. Come back, little monkey! Don't leave me while I'm being completely surrounded by zombies! The three vehicular animals actually count as Slugs. They all come equipped with weaponry strapped to their sides and they can't be destroyed. It's so much fun to ride around on camels and ostriches while mowing enemies down with mounted guns. You think you can take me down with your armored tank and helicopters? Too bad they're not fast enough to deal with my awesome weaponized ostrich buddy! Muahaha! The elephant is probably the coolest of the three, if only because of its unique grenade options. If the elephant picks up a crate of hot chilis, it will be able to shoot a huge ball of fire out of its trunk. Alternatively, it can pick up a car battery in order to shoot bolts of lightning. I mean, come on: a fire-breathing, electrified elephant with guns strapped to its sides? How do you top that? Mars attacks! There's just something about the Martians in the Metal Slug series that I find particularly compelling. It probably has a lot to do with their appearance. They've got huge, bulbous heads and a tangle of crazy, spaghetti-like appendages wiggling about all over the place. It's actually a pretty typical alien design, but somehow it really works. The animations for the tentacles are just gorgeous, and totally mesmerizing. I could watch the Martians' idle animation all day. These guys don't make an appearance in Metal Slug 3 until the final mission, where they retreat into outer space with hostages and use their advanced technology to slow the main characters down. The Martians play a role in many other Metal Slug titles as well, and I always get a kick out of the encounters. Even though they're usually the enemy, and cause a great deal of annoyance for the main characters, they're just such a joy to watch. I almost feel bad killing them. Almost. 101 ways to die With all the crazy, diverse enemies in Metal Slug 3, the main characters are bound to be killed in some pretty messed-up ways. Aside from being shot, burned, zapped, and crushed, they can also be stripped to the bone by piranhas, dissolved by acid, hit with spores that cause them to burst into a tangle of vines, and more. Certain enemies and objects can also cause the main characters to transform, often leaving them more susceptible to death. Bats and mummies can mummify the player, restricting their movement and weapons. Yetis can turn the player into a snowman, trapping them and leaving them open to attack until they can wiggle free. Collecting too many food items can cause the player to become obese, slowing movement but increasing firepower. But the best transformation by far is the zombie form. Being attacked by a zombie will cause the player to become a zombie as well. Like some of the other transformations, movement is restricted and only the default pistol can be used. However, the grenade becomes an extremely deadly, projectile blood-vomit attack, which blasts out in a huge arc from the bottom of the screen all the way to the top. It's possibly the most powerful attack in the game. It can even easily decimate the bullet-sponge of a boss if the player is skilled enough to avoid attacks with the sluggish zombie movement. Destroying helicopters and enemy hordes by barfing up a huge bloody mess never gets old! 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  
Metal Slug 3 photo
Rocket Launcha!
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...

We crunched the numbers: Pacquiao wins tonight's fight (according to Smash Bros.)

May 02 // Brett Makedonski
The thing about these kind of events is that they really lend themselves to gambling. The fight's in Vegas, which will naturally draw a lot of action. But, more important than that, a fair contingent will look to bet because it's the quickest way to go from interested to invested. Without loss or gain on the line, it's an occurrence for casual viewing; putting money down makes it personal. Lucky for you, we have the inside track on any legal (or otherwise) wagering you want to do. Pacquiao wins, but it's a nail-biter. Plunk down cash now without a fret in your mind. This is as good as gold. We counted your chickens for you. How do we know? Super Smash Bros. told us. But, it took some science. We set Darren up behind a set of boiling beakers and test tubes. We outfitted Steven in an ill-fitting lab coat. Jordan shouted "We need empirical data, dammit!" over and over again. Chris cried in the corner. Eventually, our sciencing paid off. The simulation took place between two computerized Little Macs. Since Mayweather and Pacquiao are the best in the world, we cranked their skill levels up to nine. We decked Pacquiao out in red, white, and blue trunks to symbolize the Filipino fighter's national flag. Mayweather's in the standard Little Mac garb because it had a lot of green. That's for money. Because Mayweather likes to throw around a lot of money. Since the boxers are scheduled for a 12-round match consisting of three-minute rounds, we found it appropriate to let them duke it out in a 36-minute marathon match. No items allowed -- just fists of fury. The arena was a source of contention. The boxing ring holds up thematically. However, given what it's taken to get this fight to happen, Final Destination also seemed appropriate. We were also worried about the extra space in the boxing ring stage. Chances are slim-to-none that Mayweather and Pacquiao will take the brawling up the ramp, much less on top of the lighting rig. Ultimately, we went with the boxing ring. It was just too perfect for these two ferocious fighters. With all the details squared away (organizing a boxing match is hard!), it was time to get down to action. Pacquiao dealt the first blow as he took the initial stock. However, as one might expect, these skilled combatants went back and forth, no one really gaining an edge. That trend wouldn't hold up, though. Before long, Pacquiao pulled out to an eight to five lead, indicating that this might not turn out to be the coin flip we predicted. Mayweather was landing bigger punches, but Pacquiao was sealing stock, which is all that really mattered. Slowly but surely, Mayweather mounted a comeback. A lot of it was predicated upon rope-bouncing and ramp-fighting. If their well-trained strikes weren't so form-perfect, you might have mistaken this for a Chicago Street Brawl. At the 11-minute mark, Pacquiao was suddenly in trouble. He spent more time dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging than he did fighting. Mayweather was back, and he was landing K.O. after K.O. The tide had officially turned. Then, each fighter went on a flurry of small streaks. Two stocks here, three there. Time whittled down, and it was impossible to tell who was ahead. No one really outperformed the other noticeably. With 30 seconds left, the lights came crashing down for the first time in the match, but both escaped unscathed. When the timer hit zero, the announcer held off on declaring a winner, instead booming "SUDDEN DEATH!" Holy shit. Two titans now at 300 percent damage, the next blow cementing both their places in history. There was no predicting what would happen, just the assurance that it would happen quickly. No more than seconds after sudden death began, it was over. Pacquiao landed a monster upper-cut and Mayweather almost instantaneously disappeared into a flash of light. The long-standing debate over who's a better fighter had a clear-cut answer. Appropriately, for all the carnage in the extraneous areas of the stage, the match was settled in the ring. The tale of the tape reflects the close-fought bout. Each fighter took 27 stocks from the other. Mayweather inflicted slightly more damage. Pacquiao landed one percent more of his blows. Although, Pacquiao took the belt, which is the statistic that's most important. [embed]291378:58412:0[/embed] For posterity's sake, we also felt it necessary to simulate what would happen in a first to one stock fight. After all, no self-respecting boxer gets knocked out 27 times in one match. Different circumstances, but same outcome. Pacquiao's the man. This news comes mere hours before the big fight, but we still implore you to make use of the empirical data. Jordan did too much work shouting to let it go to waste. Go ahead and bet the farm on Pacquiao. If you don't own a farm, rush out and buy one. Then, bet it. Pacquiao's leaving Vegas with that belt around his waist -- Little Mac has foretold it.
Mayweather & Pacquiao photo
Bet the farm
[Update: Oops, sorry about your farm!] Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are going to fight one another today. Any two other names, and it's a run-of-the-mill weekend where boxing continues to be relegated to the far c...

Things that the Persona 5 trailer is better than

May 01 // Steven Hansen
[embed]287234:58408:0[/embed] The first thing I did the morning I knew the trailer would launch was paw around in the dark, eyes half closed, for my phone to watch it and it was somehow as good as I expected it to be despite unreasonable expectations. But how good is that? We need context. Here are some things that the Persona 5 trailer is better than: 1) Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones. 2) Having ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. 3) The love and acceptance of a parent, because a parent is just going to die and leave you alone. Persona 5 will never leave you. 4) The Iditarod. 5) The episode of Seinfeld where Elaine dances badly. 6) When America legalized standing with your feet close together, thus freeing public transport from sweaty, leg splayed wafts. 7) Ants. 8) Some cats. 9) This joke: "Need a friend named Nick so I can say 'what do you call a guy with no balls?' Eunuch." 10) The time 50 Cent's grandma made him take out the trash and he tweeted, "I'm rich fuck this I'm going home I don't need this shit." 11) Brett Makedonski's basketball game. 12) The time when I was like five years old, playing on the top of a bunk bed. I grabbed the guard rail, looked over the side, and the guard rail came loose, taking me down with it. I split my head open and lost so much blood that I had to be carried around the house (no, of course I didn't go to the hospital, what am I, made of money?) 12) List posts.
Persona 5? It's good photo
The Persona 5 trailer is better than a lot of things and here are some of those things
Kyle posted some new Persona 5 screenshots earlier, which got me excited, which got me watching the Persona 5 trailer again, which just got me more excited. I like when a trailer can turn me on (not sexual). I watch a lo...

Great alternative hamburger toppings that wouldn't go so well in a first-person shooter

Apr 30 // Steven Hansen
EGG "Egg" is short for "eggscrement," as it is the foul (hah!) byproduct of most poultry. In America, egg typically comes from the chick-hen, named for being the ladybird amore to the male cock. But just because egg comes from a chick-hen's buns doesn't mean it doesn't belong on yours! A nicely fried egg over easy with a drippy yolk makes for a great treat when biting down on a hamburger. It ain't a burger if you don't have to wash your hand after! Why it wouldn't go good in a first-person shooter? You have to crack an omelet to make a few eggs and executive types are more likely omelet someone work on wall textures than devote the processing power necessary for shell splattering particle effects or new viscous liquid engines -- and that's just in the butt-fresh, pre-cooked state. While the egg would serve as a good "Easter Egg" (hah!) in a grenade lob animation, the only scramble I want in my multiplayer shooters is towards a flag that needs to be captured. TOMATO CHUTNEY Have you seen what's in your grocery store ketchup? The All-American spread has been perverted by some strange new system wherein quality and safety become secondary to profit. And so ketchup becomes a slurry of high-fructose corn syrup, tomato flavoring and "spice." Take beck-up the ketchup! Or substitute it with a sweet, fresh tomato chutney. The onion, vinegar, and brown sugar will get you where you need to be. Why it wouldn't go good in a first-person shooter? Sounds foreign? GUACAMOLE No, not the 2D platformer, Guacamelee! We're talking the foodstuff for which it was named. I wanted to go "avocado" here -- a fine burger topping in and of itself -- but why not go-uacamole all the way! There are quite a few spreads that make surprising burger fixings. I recently mixed guacamole and an even spicier Calabrian pepper spread and loved the unexpected kick to my 'burg.  Why it wouldn't go good in a first-person shooter? The only spread first-person shooters seem to care about it bullet spread when discussing weapons such as shotguns. Also another spread they like are sheets. You know, like for accounting all the money they're making. Making guacamole, even if you throw the ingredients in a food processor, requires some manual dexterity to deseed peppers, deshell tomatillos and garlic. If you tried to make guacamole in the next big first-person shooter, it'd probably end up like playing Surgeon Simulator while the your enemy makes a nice spread of their own -- you! From your gutshot abdomen stirred up by your sucking chest wounds. JETPACKS My co-workers, public transit companions, and dentist have always expressed a universal thought when asked on a date: "Yeah, when pigs fly." The desire for airborne swine transcends race, social classes, and the irresponsibility of my request based on my familiarity or lack thereof with the responder. While not a "topping" per se, eating a hamburger (named for the gentle ham, the most ground-bound of all the lord's creatures) while in the air would be a noble gesture to the beast from which we derive so much pleasure. Why it wouldn't go good in a first-person shooter? No, no, no. Tightly controlled lanes of combat and no-more-than-two-story buildings are the "name of the game," and the game they are the name of is the first-person shooter. Jetpacks would require a complete design overhaul to account for them and do you know how hard that would be? I already know the buttons for shoot gun, aim gun, throw bomb, damn it. Look at Titanfall, languishing with no one playing but Nic Rowen and the "story-mode" robots. They think he's one of them. They don't even know he is alive. They trade self-deprecating asides about their faulty coding and sometimes run menial errands -- oil changes, circuitry hacks, taxes -- like he isn't even there. The idea of putting a jetpack into a first-person shooter is preposterous. That's what the sprint button is for. Are we supposed to just throw the stamina gauge baby out with the we-must-have-jetpacks-and-a-new-gauge-for-fuel bathwater? It's like putting a pineapple on a burger. Redundant, stupid, dunderheaded. Let me know in the comments if you have alternative hamburger toppers!
Hamburger toppings photo
Lettuce think outside the gun!
I recently picked up a controller to play some Mortal Kombat X with my lawyer after we finished working out (not sexual!) in the basement of his hilltop home. While he'd signed, sealed, and delivered (legal jargon) some Morta...

Double Fine Productions aims to rekindle the spirit of adventure

Apr 28 // Alessandro Fillari
"It seems like there's been so many people talking about adventure games, people crowdfunding new adventure games," recalled Tim Schafer, the founder of Double Fine Productions and game director on Broken Age. "It's just that everyone felt that it's okay to talk about it again. We don't have to talk about it like a dead genre anymore, people just throw that word around casually, like 'Oh, you're doing an adventure game?' -- it's become normalized now." With the renewed interest for adventure games in recent years, there's never been a better time to become invested in the once-dormant genre. There was a time when adventure titles were common, and full of optimism, but with a steep decline after the '90s, traditional point-and-click games seemed to have gone by the wayside. But recently, these games have seen a reawakening, thanks in part to developers like Telltale Games and Double Fine outputting a steady flow of titles. And with titles spread across so many platforms (including mobile), they're now more accessible than ever. The development of Broken Age, which is easily the studio's highest-profile project, has been a unique case to watch. Tim Schafer and the team aimed to create a title that was a true throwback to classic LucasArts titles like Day of the Tentacle, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Grim Fandango -- while also taking advantage of today's technology to illustrate visually vibrant and diverse worlds to explore. With the pretty positive reception the first act received last year, people have been anxious to get their on the final part of the game. During my session, I had some time to play the PlayStation 4 version of Broken Age along with Tim Schafer. Though I went in mostly blind, as I opted to wait until the full release was ready to play, I still had a wonderful time experiencing it this way. It felt great with the PS4 on a big screen, and adding to this was a sense of playing with a community that chimed in with thoughts and helped with clues for puzzles. It really added to the fun. Schafer hopes that players who've already cleared Act I will start from scratch now that Act II is out, as he believes many of the references and characters from the first half of the game may have been forgotten by players by now. Though the developers have launched other titles during the three years of Broken Age's development -- such as Grim Fandango Remastered, Costume Quest II, The Cave, and the beta for their second crowdfunded project, Massive Chalice -- firm interest has still been kept on their work for Broken Age. And with good reason. I mean, how many other games in active development have a film crew following them around recording all their successes and missteps for the masses to see? While they had the challenges of their own project to manage, they also had to deal with the high-profile nature of it following the success of the funding campaign. With everyone watching, the developers wanted to ensure they'd knock it out of the park with the completed title and not only live up to expectations but also to set a good example for the future of crowdfunded titles. Because whether they wanted to or not, they essentially became the people to follow and emulate. "We were like, 'We can't obviously walk away from [the Kickstarter project], we made a commitment to fans and to our backers," said the director of Broken Age. "It did feel like the beginning of something, and it did feel like the responsibility to not mess it up, because our game, our studio, and other people's games kind of were depending on it now, and if done well could lead to a whole bunch of things being funded, that couldn't have been funded otherwise. So we definitely felt like there was a lot riding on our shoulders, but we would've stuck with it anyway, because we always finish our games." The success of the Kickstarter certainly felt like a watershed moment for many. During my interview with Brian Fargo last year for Wasteland 2, the success of Double Fine's project sparked a lot of enthusiasm among many of the "old-school" designers looking to explore forgotten genres and franchises. In our chat, Fargo spoke about trust being the cornerstone of the relationship between developers and their community. And I definitely got a sense of that from my visit to Double Fine. There was not only a clear respect for the genre that many of the developers were returning to, but also for the many of backers and fans who have contributed to the title as well. For better or worse, however, the level of transparency has also contributed to scrutiny over the project. While there have been many successes with crowdfunding over the years, there are also many projects that missed the mark, or outright failed to deliver. During our talk, I felt that Schafer was humbled by the process, and even spoke honestly about their own stumbles with limiting content and details to backers only, leaving everyone else out of the loop. One of the important things they wanted viewers of the documentary to see is what exactly the process is like for game creation -- to give them an understanding of the challenges they often faced. "A lot of people make games, and they care so much about what they make," he said while discussing the challenges of development. "There are so many hard tradeoffs they have to make, there are features in the game they wanted but couldn't because there are these other things they wanted even more, and I want everyone to see that process, because I do think that when you ship a game everything you see in it is an active choice by someone, and it is, but sometimes it's a miracle the game got done. [...] I don't know if they need to think about that stuff, but I like to know that at least some people out there know how hard people work, how amazingly difficult or complicated problems are solved everyday, and all the choices they have to make while making a videogame." This definitely struck a chord with me. I'm inclined to think that there are many gamers out there who are unfamiliar with the actual process of game development, and assume many features and key aspects of development can be added in and removed as if they were text on a document. It felt very refreshing to see so much openness about game creation. Though that may be in part to due to the needs of transparency for operating a crowdfunded project, I found that it helped to not only give the developers their own chance to tell their side of the story, but also to humanize the actual process of game creation. While the added publicity of their project added pressure to make sure they did right by fans, it was the kind of pressure they were more than familiar with during their time on past titles from the LucasArts era and in recent years at Double Fine. Over the years, they've developed games that inspire a lot of love and respect from fans, and making sure they deliver was something that kept them on track. "It's definitely pleasurable to succeed and fulfill all those promises, and anyone who's kinda hoping we would fail, it's nice to hear their quiet tears in the night. If you listen quietly you can hear them cry into the night," Schafer said while joking about the messages they get from cynical commentators. "But we always have this pressure of trying to do things that the fans would like anyway, now that the fans are actually funding the game, so it's the same group. But you put that kid of pressure on you anyway so you'd make a good game."   With the complete Broken Age experience available now, this marks the end of a long and unique development period for the studio. Though it has still got another crowdfunded title in the wings, its first is now out in the wild, ready to be experienced by fans and newcomers alike. But as we've seen in the years since Double Fine's success on Kickstarter, there's no shortage of campaigns looking to reignite the same fire that only a few projects can attain. Schafer definitely believes the future is bright for crowdfunded titles. "I think crowdfunding is here to stay," said a confident Schafer. "I think when people realized you could get organized and make things happen that couldn't be made by the old gate-keeper system, I think that'll always be the case. [...] Basically I think things always go crazy on Kickstarter when there's a great story. I think we had a good story that was new, and also people were saying 'Here's this thing we wanted to happen for a while.' Like this new adventure game, and it hasn't happened, but we could fix that and make it ourselves -- and that's really powerful." "But there are a lot of other different kinds of stories, besides old-timers like me going back and doing the genre again. Just people doing projects no one has ever thought of before, but instantly want to happen, I think there'll be these spikes whenever that happens and continue to be more popular. I mean the things about crowdfunding will change and improve, but I don't think it'll ever go away." A good story is important. Whether it comes from a struggling developer looking to strike out on its own with a project that was rejected by countless publishers, or from a group of veteran creators seeking to return to a classic franchise all while doing it their way -- crowdfunding has inspired a lot of people with an idea to put themselves out there and hope to find others who share their vision, and to ultimately realize it. And with Broken Age out now, we're approaching the end of another story from the folks at Double Fine Productions. But as the genre goes, there are always more adventures to be had. It's not often you get to be a part of the revival of a once-dead genre that inspired many to create their own titles, bond with friends and family over the complexity of puzzles, or get caught up in heated debates about what the real ending is for contentious titles. As the name of the genre states, an adventure is an exciting and hazardous journey into the unknown, and the developers of Broken Age experienced just that with their first foray into crowdfunded game development. Regardless of how you feel about Broken Age as a whole, or whether the developers at Double Fine made the right choices, it's hard to deny that it all made for one of the most interesting development periods for a game in years. Whether you view Double Fine Productions as the underdog or not, it still made for an engaging story. And aren't those the ones worth telling?  
Double Fine interview photo
Everyone loves a good story
Who could forget the great Kickstarter boom of 2012? You remember, right? Out of nowhere, this website called Kickstarter suddenly became a focal point for established developers and indies looking to crowdfund the next big t...

SpyParty is diverse photo
SpyParty is diverse

SpyParty is on its way to hosting the most diverse cast ever


If it's not already there
Apr 28
// Patrick Hancock
SpyParty, my most anticipated game of 2013 (heh) is still well under development. After its facelift, it's been adding characters in bunches, with the last bunch bringing along a puppy in a purse and a disabled character. Thi...
Season Pass photo
Season Pass

This 'Mystery Season Pass' nonsense is getting old


If you're going to charge us for it now, tell us what you're planning now
Apr 28
// Chris Carter
Season Passes are not inherently a bad thing. Take a look at how Nintendo is handling it. When it announced the pass for Mario Kart 8, it debuted at $12, provided a costume incentive bonus at launch, and Nintendo actuall...
Forgotten Memories Stream photo
Forgotten Memories Stream

Can a game on mobile fill the gap left in our hearts by Silent Hills?


Let's find out together!
Apr 27
// Jed Whitaker
Forgotten Memories recently released for iOS devices, and looks genuinely creepy. The game clearly takes a lot of influence from the Silent Hill series, going as far as including voice actors from Silent Hill 2, but can a gam...
Silent Hills, loud tears photo
Silent Hills, loud tears

I can't stop crying about the cancellation of Silent Hills


RIP sweet prince
Apr 27
// Jed Whitaker
I often film myself at random times during the day just in case anything cool happens -- like a funny joke or catching a ghost on film. Yesterday, I found out live on camera that Silent Hills was cancelled, and boy has it hi...

The beauty and tragedy of a perfectly planned character

Apr 27 // Nic Rowen
I spent way too much time looking at screens like this. City of Heroes probably holds the dubious distinction of having the most skewed relationship in terms of “time spent planning characters VS time spent playing characters” in my life. I spent entire nights pouring over different power sets, ability combinations, and team synergies for a game that doesn't exist anymore. I devoted hours upon hours to figuring out the perfect stat progression for super villains that I knew in my heart of hearts I'd never take out of the starter area. The only crime they'd ever commit would be loitering. However, City of Heroes wasn't the only game to trigger this kind of obsessive cataloging, not by a long shot. I have a stack of character builds and ideas as thick as the Yellow Pages for Dark Souls PvP set-ups, gimmicky X-Com squads, and Darkest Dungeon dream teams. I have concept characters (complete with embarrassing back stories) sketched out for both of the modern Fallout games. All of their would-be perks, S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats, and fashionable item accessories already plotted out -- all that’s left would be to actually wander out in the wastes and find them, but who could be bothered after so much work? This goes way back, long before I had easy access to the internet where character planners and clever apps make it simple to plot these things out. Go back to the Precambrian era of high school days, dig through the fossil records of my notebooks and I'm sure you could find Diablo 2 skill trees scribbled in the margins of my English homework. The cave wall painting blueprints of a Hammerdin specced holy warrior looming above my predictable observations about MacBeth (probably, hopefully, accompanied by a cool doodle of a flying hammer crushing a zombie's skull).   When I step back and look at the sheer amount of go-nowhere ideas and try to tally up the time I've sunk into them compared to the relatively meager hours I've clocked into some of the games they're for, it dawns on me -- maybe this is kind of messed up. Maybe I've been living all wrong. Looking at it from a distance, it all seems quietly sad. I've spent more time in my head with some of these games (some of my favorite games, I might add) than I have playing them. There's a small critical voice in the back of my mind that is furious with me for squandering those hours, for not doing something more productive with the time -- both in the sense of actually playing the fucking games, and in the broader and more judgmental “what are you doing with your life?!” sense.  I have perfectly good reasons (or maybe I should call them “justifications”) for all the obsessive plotting and scheming. For one thing, there are just too many cool ideas out there and not enough time to see them through. For as much as I beat myself up for the papery death of my stillborn characters, I never really would have had the time to convert those dreams into reality even if I had the work ethic of John Henry. How long does a full play through of Diablo 2 take anyway? How many trips through Hell do you need to make to grind through the necessary experience points? If you're after a certain item set (and you know you are because you're the kind of crazy person who didn't stop reading three paragraphs ago) you'd probably need to go online to trade and wheedle your way into a full set to see it done. It's a hell of a lot more of a time investment than goofing off in English class, that's for sure. Sketching out those ideas for gimmicky Paladins and upstart Mages let me stave off the temptation to roll another character while I took my (unfortunately less imaginative) Barbarian to kick the shit out of the Prince of Lies. In a weird (insincere) way, I could even argue it helped me save time. Besides, an immaculately planned character can be satisfying in its own right. It's always good to get your intellectual hands dirty, to put your fingers into the putty of an idea, to roll it around and shape it. As far as pastimes go, you could do worse. Let's not forget all the situations where actually playing a game would be impractical. You can goof off a little at the office and play around with the Borderlands skill editor without causing much of a scene. But try and boot up your lv 30 Gunzerker at your desk just once and you'll never hear the end of it. Human Resources takes a dim view on bringing akimbo guns blazing justice to the wasteland during company hours, apparently.  Still, I look at the swollen and poorly organized folder where I dump all of my character ideas, filthy with PDF character sheets, webpage saves from online builders, .txt documents imported from PC to PC for games I'm not even sure I own anymore, and I wonder if I have a problem. I can justify all the characters I cooked up sitting in class or during lunch breaks? I know I spent just as many perfectly fine nights sitting in front of the same machine that actually displays and runs the games I was thinking about, tapping away at some poorly conceived concept character while utterly ignoring the game itself. At the same time though, I love those characters, I love those ideas. Yeah, most of them never made it out of the gate, but those characters had character. If videogames are mostly an exercise in mental stimulation, of burning off stressed out braincells and decompressing after a long shitty day, does it really matter if the satisfaction you get from them is through play or by tinkering with the ideas they present? If I could swap those hours around, gut about a quarter of that folder and take the time spent on the fantasizing about those ideas to actually playing out a few of them, would I be more satisfied? Or would it shake out to be about the same? I honestly have no idea. What I do know is that while writing this article, I did have an idea for another Dark Souls 2 character, and it's been all I could do to keep myself from drifting over to a wiki to start putting him together. There may be no hope for me.
Character building photo
I'm the man with the plan (and little else)
I've probably spent more time creating characters, builds, and dreaming up party compositions in my head than I have actually playing games. It seems odd to think of it in that way, but if I could somehow tally it all up I be...

Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Owlboy lead almost made Ducktales Remastered, wants to make Breath of Fire


Get to know the people who make great videogames
Apr 26
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] A couple weeks ago on Sup ...

Nintendo, your work isn't done on Mario Kart 8

Apr 25 // Chris Carter
New crossovers: The sky really is the limit for new franchises. While I initially wanted a full-on "Mario Kart All-Stars" for the next game, I soon realized after playing the Animal Crossing pack that Nintendo could just keep supporting 8, and it would be more than good enough. With a real online infrastructure and a visual style gorgeous enough to withstand the test of time, we don't have to wait years until a new console iteration. Keep the crossovers coming. Samus, Fox McCloud, Kirby (with his Warpstar) -- all of them would fit perfectly into the Mario Kart universe, and I can see some really ingenious tracks down the road due to Nintendo's rich history as a character factory. One request is to just go all-out for the new characters though -- no "half Mario half new" -- just go all-new. Just inject F-Zero into the game already: We've seen the Mute City and Big Blue homages, but really, with F-Zero considered by many to be the definitive racing experience over Mario Kart, that's a huge market ready to be tapped. I'm not even talking about a "Pack" here -- more like a full-on expansion in 2016 featuring cast members from F-Zero, at least 10 tracks from the series, and extra elements like new characters and planets. Use that as a barometer for gauging interest in a new F-Zero game. Miyamoto himself said last year that "the struggle is that I don't really have a good idea for what's new that we could bring to F-Zero that would really turn it into a great game again." I have an idea -- fans already like what you've done with the franchise in Mario Kart 8, so think about expanding on it. A real battle mode: Finally, we come to my one big problem with Mario Kart 8 -- a lack of a real battle mode. No, that sorry excuse of "racing with balloons" doesn't cut it. I want real, tiered arenas that are all-new. Although I loved the core game as a racer, it really loses a lot of its spark due to the fact that so many fans grew up only playing the battle minigame. It cuts down on the replay value for fans as well, as I remember plenty of Mario Kart marathons that would have ended after a few hours if it wasn't for someone suggesting that we play "just a bit more" within the confines of the arena. I'm hopeful for these additions because Nintendo has shown it knows how to to DLC right. For $12 right now, you'll net seven characters (Villager counts as two!), eight vehicles, and 16 tracks. For reference, the game shipped with 32 courses. While I wouldn't trust a lot of publishers with this charge, Nintendo has the opportunity to really make Mario Kart 8 one of the longest-lasting games in the series, as the company has proven that it knows exactly what it's doing.
More Mario Kart 8 photo
More crossovers and a real battle mode
When Nintendo announced its DLC plans for Mario Kart 8, there was a combination of collective groans and cheers across the internet. The latter group was on the right side of history, it seems. When the first DLC Pack dr...

Smash Bros.  photo
Smash Bros.

Mewtwo vs. Lucario: A beginner's guide to Smash Bros.


The creator of Catlateral Damage runs down the basics
Apr 22
// Jonathan Holmes
Educating yourself on how to play Super Smash Bros. isn't always easy. Those who know the most about Smash don't always use words that you can find in a dictionary when discussing the game. If you go to the experts for ...

Pac-Man to show up in unexpected places this year, let's guess where

Apr 22 // Jed Whitaker
Mario Kart 8 Pac-Man is no stranger to Mario Kart games having been in all three iterations made for arcades, and with Pac's recent appearance in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS / Wii U, having him as a racer in Mario Kart 8 just makes sense. Running for president as a Republican This one is a no-brainer -- just think about it. What do Pac-Man and the Republican party have in common? They are mostly men, 35 years of age or older, greedy, don't play well with other races, and are deeply rooted in religion. Pac-Man isn't the typical white male that leads the party, but perhaps a recognizable yellow face could give Republicans the push they need to take the White House in 2016. Dark Souls II The Souls series and Pac-Man actually have a lot in common; in both, you play as a lone hero traversing dark mazes filled with spooky ghosts in a world where the only sure thing is death. Perhaps the original maze from Pac-Man will be reworked in a 3D space, much like that beer commercial, and released as free DLC for Dark Souls II. Pac-Man would of course be a grotesque version of himself that guards the end of the maze.  Pellets, Please Gritty, dark, realistic games are all the rage these days, so perhaps Bandai Namco Entertainment will give Pac-Man the reboot he deserves. Pac-Land has fallen on tough times and Pac-Man must sneak into the neighboring country of Arstotzka to find work and food, all while dealing with terrorists and extreme hunger. Pellets, Please could be the smash hit to bring Pac-Man into the two thousand teens. RuPaul's Drag Race Everyone's favorite feminist already told us that Ms. Pac-Man is just Pac-Man with a bow on his head, so Pac-Man decides to own it and joins RuPaul's Drag Race. Pac, Ms. Pac-Man if you're nasty, will take the other divas by storm. Mama Pac will be a ruthless, z-snapping glamazon that makes up for her size with an over-the-top personality. Drag and gays are so in right now to the point where people are trying to make laws against them, which is what happens when anything gets popular with the kids. Playgirl Pac-Man has always been a sex icon. He's known for running around in the nude in his early, drug-filled days; even now the dude doesn't wear pants, baring it all is a constant in his life. Plus, PlayGirl is a great publication to reach parts of the population that are rarely marketed to in gaming: women, and non-straight men. A bit of trivia for ya: the history of PlayGirl kind of falls in place with the history of Ms. Pac-Man, as they were both made as an answer to their male-oriented versions.  An Adam Sandler movie I'm just foolin', there is no way that Pac-Man would ever have a large role in an Adam Sandler film, right? 
Pac-Man's midlife crisis photo
35th anniversary, midlife crisis
This year is the 35th anniversary of Pac-Man, a fact that will surely make your dad feel old. At a recent event in Las Vegas, Bandai Namco Entertainment said to look for Pac-Man to "show up in unexpected places this year." I've thought long and hard about where those places could be and compiled my best guesses below. Feel free to post yours in the comments!

Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: Guitar Hero Live, Star Wars Battlefront, emotional reviews, and more


Zen distilled stories
Apr 21
// Darren Nakamura
The biggest story last week was Mortal Kombat X's handling of downloadable content. Warner Bros. should relinquish itself of its greed and earthly possessions. That is the first step on the path to Enlightenment. In this ser...
Activision photo
Activision

Does Activision still have selling power for Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk?


In your mind, obviously
Apr 20
// Chris Carter
It's no secret that I'm a Tony Hawk guy. I'd enjoyed nearly every entry in the series outside of the boring Proving Ground and the iffy Ride subseries, and that rumor of a new fully-fledged game has me all hot ...

How to make Ryu an interesting character in Super Smash Bros.

Apr 19 // Patrick Hancock
Sprite GIFs used are all from the Street Fighter Wiki. Give him an EX meter and EX moves So, let's assume Ryu has his Hadoken, Shoryuken, Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, and some fourth move like a counter or his Joudan Sokutogeri. What would make Ryu unique isn't so much his actual set of moves, but what he can do with them. Give Ryu an EX meter, similar to Little Mac's KO meter, and allow him to build it up and use it. It could build just like it does in Street Fighter IV, by connecting with attacks or getting attacked. Spending this meter can work in a few ways. One would be double-tapping the B button to use an EX move instantly. Double-tapping is weird and I'm not sure it would work in Super Smash Bros., but it's an idea. Another option is to allow Ryu to consume an EX bar to make his next move an EX move. For example: when there's at least one bar of EX glowing, Ryu can hold B to drain it and store it, similar to how many characters store a charged up move. Then, the next special move Ryu executes will be an EX version of that move, with different properties.  If Nintendo really wants to get fancy, it could even work with Capcom to include Street Fighter V's mechanic of spending an entire EX meter to make a character "super-charged" until he is knocked down.  Art by DeviantArt user kupbot Make Ryu's alternate costumes like Bowser Jr.'s Whether Nintendo meant to or not, they set a precedent with Bowser Jr. and his alternate costumes. Ryu is a perfect candidate for this method of alternate costume since there are plenty of Shotokans for Nintendo to choose from. Since each character has seven alternate costumes, here is what I've come up with for Ryu's alternate costumes: Ken, Akuma, Dan, Sean, Gouken, Sakura, and Evil Ryu. Let's be honest, Ryu is boring. He's the "guy on the box." Sure, he's recognizable, but most people tend to gravitate to someone else in Street Fighter. He's a wonderful beginning character and incredibly important to the franchise, but I will be way more willing to use Ryu if I can actually play as Sean or Dan. Sure, it may only be an aesthetic change, but to some, aesthetics really matter. Speaking of which... Give Ryu custom moves from other Shotokans While it is incredibly disconcerting that Mewtwo does not have custom moves at the moment, I am still holding out hope that DLC characters will eventually come with or get their own custom moves. Considering it's one of the biggest new features in this entry of Smash Bros., it only makes sense to do so. Assuming Ryu does get some customs, why not take them from the characters that make up his alternate costumes? Here's some basic ideas: Hadoken custom move ideas: Dan's wimpy Gadoken Gouken's angled Hadoken Sean's basketball (I really like Sean, okay?) Fireball multi-hit Shakunetsu Hadouken Tatsu custom move ideas:Note: This is assuming Ryu's basic Tatsu moves him horizontally  Dan's multi-hit Dankukyaku Stationary Tatsu Vertical Rising Tatsu Shoryuken custom move ideas: Ken's fiery Shoryuken Sean's Dragon Smash The multi-hitting Shoryureppa Since the fourth move could be a multitude of things, I'll just stop here. I think the point is clear: there are a ton of variants on these moves, and it would be a shame to see them go to waste! Two different Final Smashes Luckily, Street Fighter's Ultras convert directly to Super Smash Bros.'s Final Smash. So why not give Ryu two of them? Everyone already expects the Shinku Hadoken to be his Final Smash, but what if, by hitting B and a direction, he could execute a different one? He could have the Shin Shoryuken or even the Shinku Tatsumaki Senpukyaku.  I honestly have no idea if this would be possible, but it sure would be cool! The bottom line is, Ryu is possibly going to be in Super Smash Bros., but without going the extra distance, he'll be a character not many people will be interested in playing. If Nintendo and Mr. Sakurai give Ryu the same care and attention I know they are capable of giving, Ryu could be a favorite character for many players. Roy on the other hand...
Ryu in Smash done right photo
Listen up, Nintendo!
Street Fighter's Ryu is currently rumored to be coming to Nintendo's newest entry into the Super Smash Bros. series, thanks to some hidden files in the most recent update to the game. It makes a lot of sense; Capcom...

Captain of my own destiny: Micro-goals and player liberty

Apr 19 // Anna Anthropy
Every level of Captain Toad is a dense little 3D dollhouse. (In fact, you start to wonder why it wasn't released on the 3DS, where I wouldn't have had to constantly flick my attention between the TV and the thing I was holding.) The player's job is to steer Captain Toad -- or later Captain Toadette instead, once she's submitted herself to being rescued by the character who isn't femme-presenting -- through these little dollhouses. It's refreshing to see Nintendo finally catch up with more progressive developers, who allow playable women characters in their games, but only after male characters (or micropayments) have "unlocked" them. I'm not actually sure the game ever awards Toadette the rank of full Captain. Captain Toad or (Ensign? Admiral?) Toadette move through each dollhouse, avoiding (or occasionally vegetabling) threats, discovering new ways to get around the place, and ultimately attaining the shining Star at the end. That's the point of each little dollhouse, its ultimate goal. But there are "micro-goals" too: three special coins hidden in each little house. They're sealed, like plucky detectives in Nancy Drew novels, behind breakable walls, or tucked into secret nooks or out-of-the-way paths. Their purpose is to encourage (and reward) more thoroughly exploring each dollhouse, turning it over and over on your touch screen to peek into every part of it you can see. That's a legitimate way of playing the game -- call it a "deep" rather than "wide" play style -- and is legitimately rewarding to a certain type of player. That's not usually how I play these games, though. Playing Captain Toad, I was more interested in just seeing as much as possible - the wide rather than deep style of play. I wanted to see all the dollhouses. I wanted to see lots of neat, new things in succession, and not to be stuck on any one for too long. (Certainly the fact that I wouldn't be able to play the game once I'd left my friend's house made me reluctant to linger.) But this style of play is legit too. A design that incorporates both simple unlock-the-next-level goals and extra, optional micro-goals is, theoretically, one that accommodates both styles of play. If I want to see new things, I prioritize the overarching goal that will get me to the next level. If I want to feel like I'm really plumbing the depths of each individual level, I prioritize the micro-goals. But more realistically, my play style -- and probably most players' -- incorporates elements of both: going for a challenge coin when I see how to do so, but not replaying the same level over and over until I've gotten all three. Where the design fails in this case is when it turns out these optional micro-goals aren't optional after all, and that you can only see so much of the game without prioritizing them. My friend was way more challenge-coin-oriented, but even so, the available levels eventually petered out. "Did you unlock any more?" he asked me. I had seen a level or two later than he had. After a point, Captain Toad explicitly enforces the "deep, not wide" style of play where it teases that it will accommodate both kinds of play. And it's not the only Mario (or "Mario universe?" "Mario galaxy?") game to be structured this way: this is the way they're designing them these days. I also bailed on Super Mario 3D Land before seeing the end because it wanted me to replay past levels and harvest more hidden coins. Maybe the hope was that after playing "wide" for long enough, I'd develop enough of an investment in the game to play "deep" when I was forced to. Nope. I stopped playing. Oh, I stuck on for a few more levels, a few more tollbooths. But then I got tired of these forced intermissions between the stuff I wanted to be doing -- seeing new stuff -- to do stuff I was bored of: retreading old territory. I was up to the challenge of the new stages. I was capable, ready, and excited to do more. But the game was unwilling to let me, and I got bored, and I gave up. Surely that's not the outcome the developers were hoping for: player gets bored, gives up? I think it's a failure when additional goals are used to narrow, rather than broaden, the player's experience. One of the games I've been spending a lot of time with lately, Alto's Adventure, a snowboarding game for the iPad, has a few different levels of overlapping goals: get as far as possible in a single run (survive), get as many points as possible on a single run (perform tricks), complete the current "missions" the game has given you (perform specific tasks). Some of the missions are long-term: perform 10 backflips using a character who has a difficult time gaining air. Some of them are really specific: smash a rock during a chase scene. While I'm playing for the overarching goal of travelling as far as possible, these extra goals give me opportunities to explore wider aspects of the game systems. I might have never attempted a triple-backflip if the game hadn't suggested I try it, in addition to my already-established goal of getting farther, seeing more. And not all games need extra layers of goals: Monument Valley doesn't need "missions" to distract from its sparse vignettes. But when extra challenges are deployed, it should be in the service of expanding the player's experience of the game, rather than forcing it. Maybe if you're a garden fungus, the only way up the ladder to the rank of Captain is doing whatever authority tells you without question. Maybe Toadette is the real brains here.
Captain Toad photo
Where playground meets obstacle course
A friend of mine got a good deal on a Wii U recently. That meant that I finally got a chance to play Captain Toad. It's really humbling to know that people at Nintendo have also played Monument Valley. I played through a bunc...

Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

The Matrix Online, internet fury, and being an empathic robot with Eric Ford


Get to know the people who make great videogames
Apr 19
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] Eric Ford was working in g...

Experience Points .11: Rayman Origins

Apr 18 // Ben Davis
Dance Dance Ray-volution Rayman Origins is just about the happiest game I've ever played. Every little aspect of it seems to be built around the sole purpose of making players smile. For example, achieving almost any goal will cause Rayman and friends to break out in dance. Whether he completes a level or simply rescues a few Electoons, Rayman can't help but celebrate by busting a groove. Each of the characters have their own dance moves, but Rayman's got the best moves by far. He seems to really like disco, as much of his dancing takes inspiration from that. He also has this really weird dance whenever he rescues Electoons, where he sort of humps the air a few times while swinging his hands back and forth with a wild grin on his face. It makes me laugh every time. One of the funniest scenes in the game also revolves around dancing. When Rayman encounters the Magician in the Moody Clouds, the antagonist suddenly drops a funky beat. Of course, Rayman will take any opportunity to break into dance, so he busts out some of his sweet disco moves alongside the Magician. They look to be having fun dancing together before the bad guy runs away unexpectedly while Rayman is still too busy moving to the music. It was all just a clever ruse! And you have to admit, tricking someone into dancing so you can get away is probably one of the best escape plans ever. Musical Lums Rayman and friends aren't the only ones having a good time. If there's anything that will get players dancing along to the game, it has got to be the King Lums. Lums are the collectibles of Rayman Origins; they're these happy little yellow dudes who hover in the air and play musical notes when they're collected. They're everywhere. King Lums are a little bigger than your typical Lum, and they wear big gold crowns so they're hard to miss. Grabbing a King Lum will trigger a short, incredibly happy tune which causes all the other Lums to turn red and start dancing, meaning they're worth double points until the song ends. Gotta move fast and collect as many Lums as possible before the music stops! It's almost physically impossible for me to not dance at least a little bit after grabbing a King Lum. I always catch myself bobbing my head, moving my torso, or tapping my foot to the melody. I just can't help it; it's the happiest, catchiest music! Slap-happy friends Playing Rayman Origins with friends is a hilarious experience. Technically, everyone is cooperating to finish the level, but things can get competitive very quickly. You see, not only are players able to punch and slap enemies, but they can even beat their friends up as well. Smacking your friends doesn't cause damage, but it does make their characters yell out in ridiculously exaggerated pain, which is really funny to watch. It's pretty much an eventuality that every cooperative session of Rayman Origins will turn into a slap-fest at some point. It's difficult NOT to hit your friends, even if it's an accident, which will inevitably cause them to hit you right back. And thus the friendly fighting begins. Who will win in a slapping contest: Rayman or Globox? There's only one way to find out! In the belly of the beast The bosses in Rayman Origins are fantastic. There's a fat, googly-eyed bird; a thorny plant monster with a huge head; a giant, eel-like sea dragon; and a dragon chef suffering from severe heartburn. The ailing dragon chef, named El Stomacho, is definitely my favorite one. This boss's level is called "My Heartburn's for You," which is just about the best level name ever. He's so big that he swallows Rayman and friends whole, meaning the boss fight actually takes place inside his stomach. Rayman will have to avoid streams of flame and rising stomach acid as he waits for an opening to attack. This dude's heartburn is no joke! After each attack, there's a brief cutscene as the camera cuts outside to El Stomacho himself, who looks like he's about to barf with all of this activity upsetting his stomach. Finally, Rayman manages to escape back out the way he came, as he's launched out of the dragon's mouth along with a huge burst of flames. The massive dragon then shrinks down considerably to a tiny little lizard chef and breaks into dance with Rayman. In fact, all of the major bosses shrink down into these adorable little forms and start dancing after being defeated, and it always makes me happy. They weren't really bad guys after all! Treasures and tribulations Rayman Origins may seem like a fairly simple platformer at first, as most of the levels are straightforward and dying only brings Rayman back to the beginning of the room he's currently in. The main game isn't too difficult. The Tricky Treasure levels, however, are an entirely different story. Each world has a Tricky Treasure level which is unlocked after freeing a certain number of Electoons. As their name might suggest, these levels are seriously tricky! Each treasure level is a race to the finish where every action counts. Slip up even once, and it could be over very quickly. Rayman only has one shot at success, or else he has to start the entire level over from the beginning. Some of these levels are particularly brutal. I had to run a few of them over and over again until I knew every move I had to make by heart, to the point where I felt as though I could probably beat it again with my eyes closed. It was like Super Meat Boy levels of punishing platforming in this cute, cartoon-y Rayman game, and I loved it! Plus, the music for these levels is fantastic! I didn't even mind that the music was being repeated ad nauseum, because it was so upbeat and catchy. I'd often find myself humming along as I ran, only for the song to be cut short by some choice curse words whenever I died again. No country for old grannies I thought the Tricky Treasure levels were difficult enough, and then I came to the Land of the Livid Dead. Holy cow, you guys! The Land of the Livid Dead is a secret final area only accessible after beating every Tricky Treasure level and returning the crystal teeth to the old man in the Snoring Tree. It's a dark, gloomy underground graveyard full of thorny, eyeball-laden vines, pillars of flame, and angry grannies! That's right, angry grannies. The Land of the Livid Dead is populated by irate, undead grannies who won't hesitate to kick Rayman off their lawn. They're kind of the greatest thing ever. This area is an intense mega-marathon to the finish line. Luckily there are checkpoints, but even so, getting to the end is no easy feat. Once again, I got a sense of the crazy Super Meat Boy difficulty of the Tricky Treasure levels, and this quickly became my favorite area in the game. The level ends with a super ridiculous boss battle against a giant, hairy, many-eyed monster, who is busy painting her nails, singing a silly tune, and bathing in lava when Rayman interrupts her. She lets out a horrified scream (in a much deeper tone than her singing voice), and tries to shake Rayman off of her arms as her spiky bracelets slide around. She's such an unexpectedly bizarre final boss, and the perfect way to end such a great game. Oh, and I can't forget to mention the music from the Land of the Livid Dead, which is heavily inspired by Ennio Morricone's soundtracks to classic Spaghetti Western films such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It's my favorite music in the entire game (which is saying a lot, since all of the music is fantastic). Lucky for me, too, because I had to hear that music A LOT. [embed]290641:58221:0[/embed] Glou Glou I'll round this post out with another wonderful soundtrack selection. While it's not my personal favorite, the music from the Sea of Serendipity is definitely the most iconic music from Rayman Origins. The tracks "Lums of the Water" and "The Lums' Dream," both subtitled "Glou Glou," feature nonsensical vocals by the Lums. These peaceful, dreamy songs play while Rayman and friends are swimming around under the sea. It's impossible for me to listen to these tracks without smiling. They're beautiful and adorable, and they fit perfectly in the world of Rayman. 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  
Rayman Origins photo
Oo-na nee-na glou glou~
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...

Botched Pokemon tattoo becomes newest beloved internet meme

Apr 17 // Steven Hansen
[Vaughn Pinpin, 2012] But that out-there "blackface Charmander" design wasn't the result of a handful of pills and a Smirnoff Ice. It was a crudely drawn recreation of work done in artist Vaughn Pinpin's Tim Burton x PKMN Project collection, in which Pinpin drew Charmander, all its evolutions, and about 70 other pocket monsters in this style. We covered them almost three years ago. They're all on Pinpin's Tumblr. And while reddit was busy making fanart of this assumed addled original creation as fast as it designs amiibo mock ups, credit to the original artist fell by the wayside. Even the reddit top comment, "Looks like a Tim Burton Pokémon," links to an Imgur upload of the original Charmander drawing that points to the URL of a site that seems to aggregate and talk about art. The reply to that reply, the "full list" is a low quality, not-full collage featuring 25 of Pinpin's drawings. Finally, the third nested reply, after being edited, includes a link to Pinpin's Tumblr. One website actually posted Pinpin's original work under the impression that it was fan art of the tattoo, which is a bit like saying The Beatles sounds like Oasis. Lack of credit on an internet where it can feel as if things just materialize is a big issue today for people who create things. Artwork is passed around (sometimes watermarks maliciously removed, or added by outside parties), jokes are stolen, and people expect (and get) an endless influx of free stimuli. In this case, it went beyond fans giggling over a meme, as some folks started making and selling products -- necklackes, t-shirts -- with the tattoo's likeness. Pinpin responded to the situation on Twitter: "I'm cool with you guys getting tats of my dang Burton PKMNs, but try not to profit over it please. That's not entrepreneurship, that's theft." That was about as close to positive as Pinpin got about the situation, saying, "This just in: dumb kids did a dumb thing and everyone's laughing about it in the cesspool that is reddit. This is news!" before following up with, "I think I feel better about the whole situation now. But I don't think I can laugh with reddit. It's sort of like laughing with the school bully when the joke was punching me in the face." We all carry varying degrees of guilt for this sort of thing. I take shiba pictures and animal gifs for a public good. I tweeted out a still from A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night last week without naming the film, director, actor, or cinematographer. While you enjoy the fun times with friends you have on the net, it's good to remember that some of the things you enjoy -- web comics that end up as images in comment threads, photo galleries that get linked to on Facebook -- come from people who worked hard to make them. Sometimes someone just took a picture of their dog at the right time. Still, crediting the source is always a good move.
Charmander tattoo photo
'My friend was drunk and on Xanax when he decided to tattoo a black face Charmander'
If there's one thing my grandfather fought for in World War II, it was the right to monetize memes. Of course, he was in the Italian army, the side that rightfully lost the war, because all your grandfathers were fighting aga...

This could be the Godzilla game fans have always wanted

Apr 15 // Jed Whitaker
Godzilla (PS3, PS4 [tested]) Developer: Bandai Namco EntertainmentPublisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment Release: July 14, 2015 Fans of the classic Godzilla movies will be pleased, as the development team at Bandai Namco Entertainment has focused on making the new game as close to the original films as possible, and it has mostly nailed it; the monsters feel huge and lumbering, the cities crumble and the fights are epic, camera angles mimic the look and feel of the original movies. Buildings exploding is especially on point, as it looks like the fake, firework-esque explosions from the original Japanese films. The presentation of Godzilla as a whole is really impressive. When I first laid hands-on with the PS4 version of the game I was confused. The left stick makes Godzilla walk forwards or backwards, but the right stick only rotates the camera. After investigating the cardboard instructions stuck to the demo television I was surprised to find that the shoulder buttons, L1 and R1, are used to turn Godzilla slowly left and right. At first I was perplexed. "What a stupid control scheme" I thought, then after smashing through a few buildings and starting a fight with Ghidorah it finally clicked. The turning mechanic mixed with the cinematic camera makes you feel like a giant fucking monster and it is the first Godzilla game I've played that achieves this. [embed]290478:58183:0[/embed] Godzilla isn't the only playable monster as every monster in the game is controllable, each with its own variation of the story. Radio communications by humans during the battles paint a story of destruction and desperation. Each stage has an objective, typically destroying specific buildings, but while doing so can lure up to two other monsters for battle where the game keeps a surprisingly solid 60 frames-per-second. Monsters include Mechagodzilla, Destroyah, Jet Jaguar, Mothra, Mothra Larva, Gigan, Biollante, Hedorah, and more. Even Space Godzilla made it in as one of the exclusives for the PS4 version. The game will be launching this July for PS4 at retail and PS3 via digital. The PS4 version isn't just a direct port of the PS3 game as it has more monsters, an exclusive multiplayer mode, and the ability to battle two monsters at once. Those who preorder the PS4 version will receive Hollywood Godzilla, or the Godzilla model from the recent film, as DLC. If you've been waiting for the defining Godzilla game, this might be the one.
Godzilla goes old school photo
Hail to the king, baby!
I've dabbled in Godzilla games since the NES game Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, a game that for some reason took place in space; Mothra and Godzilla fought monsters and literally kicked rocks in this fondly remembered title....

SEXY LAYTON photo
SEXY LAYTON

Sexy Layton and Sexy Luke react to going mobile


But what about the 3DS?
Apr 15
// Kyle MacGregor
The Japanese mobile game market is booming and studios are climbing aboard the money train. Take Level-5, for example. The next installments in the Professor Layton and Fantasy Life series are abandoning their homes on Ninte...

What would a Daredevil game 'look' like?

Apr 14 // Nic Rowen
Illustration by Reynan Sanchez From the darkness So the Batman games give us a great formula to follow for a third-person superhero action game, but Daredevil isn't Batman. He doesn't have the tools, the armored suit, or the resources to throw himself into the fray like the Dark Knight can. I'm picturing a more restrained affair -- a crawl through the shadows more focused on stealth and surprise than taking on massive scrums of 20 thugs at once. I would like to see a game that rewards patience and observation for Daredevil, a world that only reveals itself when you take the time to focus on it. I'm thinking of something like Joel's concentration ability from The Last of Us, but turned to the max. A black and white world with occasional splashes of color that resolves in increasing detail the quieter and calmer Matt is, allowing the sounds, smells, and feel of his environment to paint a picture for him. A world you can navigate and use to your advantage to get the drop on criminal scum, but one that can also turn against you. If you blow the element of surprise and end up in a scuffle, Daredevil's attention shifts to the most obvious threat. While the attackers you're trying to subdue come into greater focus to let you get your knife-deflecting, arm-breaking kung-fu on, the environment around you would slip away, evaporating into an impressionistic haze. Only the most obvious and loud elements of the environment (a subway car racing by, an industrial air conditioning unit clattering away) would be left to provide you an anchor point. Fighting on a rooftop would suddenly become a treacherous guessing game as you try to remember just how close you were to the ledge before you had to start dodging gunfire. Again, I'll admit that I don't know much about the comics, so I don't know how true the Netflix series is to the source materials, but I like the tone and the limitations it sets. I like that Matt is not all that superpowered, that a group of four or five thugs are a credible threat to him. I think a stealth-action game that grounded itself on that level would work well. Besides, it would be a great chance to bust out something similar to the Nemesis system from Shadow of Mordor. Daredevil doesn't have a supercomputer in his cowl or a genius hacker in his ear to solve crimes for him. He has to go with his gut and old-fashion legwork. A game that would let you target individual members of the underworld and threaten them into giving up their bosses would fit Daredevil's aesthetic. An open-world version of New York, where you play gangsters and criminals off each other to work your way up the food chain. By taking every criminal as a serious threat, there would be a real intimacy and sense of accomplishment when you manage to bring a mob boss or trigger-man to heel. So, my idea is to make an open-world game based on a complicated, always changing, sense-memory representation of New York, filled with individual criminals and characters that interact with each other in complex ways. When you get into a fight, the game becomes a frustrating, chaotic scramble. There might be a reason I don't make games. Murdock Mysteries (or Hell's Kitchen Noire) Matt Murdock is a complicated character defined by his paradoxical position as both a criminal defense lawyer and a brutal vigilante. I think it would be a shame to miss that element of his character in a videogame. I mean, we can safely ignore Bruce Wayne because who really wants to spend time as a billionaire playboy driving fast cars, explaining away suspicious bruises, sleeping through investment meetings, and flirting with supermodels? Actually, that sounds like an amazing idea and I immediately regret throwing shade on it. What if you had a game that focused on made Matt's identity as a lawyer? As an investigator and seeker of truth? I want to play “blind superhero L.A. Noire” if only as an excuse to say the phrase “blind superhero L.A. Noire.” It would be an interesting experience to arrive at a crime scene completely blind. A black screen as the door shuts behind you or the car engine slowly cools. As Foggy Nelson, Matt's lawyer sidekick, describes the scene and known facts of the crime, a picture slowly comes together piece by piece. As Matt uses his super senses to take in the environment around him, more details emerge that you can follow up on. The crime scene resolves based on not only the observations you make and questions you ask, but the way you interpret that data. Focus on the wrong elements and you may end up chasing down pointless leads and compromising your defense strategy (or worse yet, wind up defending a guilty man). Interviewing clients and cross examining witnesses could also take advantage of Matt's senses. Small clues like a tiny quiver in a person's speech, a slight nervous tapping of the foot, or an increase in perspiration could help guide your questions. But again, it would still be on you to determine what that data means – did his heart skip a beat when you asked your last question because you caught him in a lie, or is he scared of something else? If they don't answer your questions like you want them to, you can savagely beat them within an inch of their life later. Just like I always wanted to in L.A. Noire. Fuck it, let's just blind the player You want to know what it's like to live in Daredevil's world? Fine, just put out your eyes. Well, okay, maybe that's going a step too far. But if we're going to talk about completely unmarketable ideas, a sensory-deprivation based game like Deep Sea that encloses the player in darkness and makes them rely on their sense of hearing might be the truest expression of the Daredevil experience. If you've never heard (har) of it before, Deep Sea is an arcade game/art project of sorts made by Robin Arnott, one of the creative talents behind the mind-screwy Antichamber. To play it, you strap on a gas mask that has a pair of binaural headphones that provide excellent 3D sound, but no screen. You play the game blind. It simulates a deep-dive-gone-wrong experience, forcing you to listen for unseen terrors amidst the low rumbling noises of the unknown deep. You try to locate these creatures with echolocation and blindly fire at them hoping to hit your mark in the darkness. It's a game about vulnerability, isolation, and oppressive fear. Daredevil has mastered those forces. He's the man without fear. Could you learn to master them too? To be so confident and sure in your sense of hearing and touch that you could live in that world as well? Hell no! But it would be a great gimmick game to take to PAX and NARPS. I'm sure Marvel will see the wisdom in my decision and hand over the license immediately.
Daredevil ideas photo
Do we dare envision it?
I've been watching the Netflix Daredevil series and so far it's good. It's so good in fact, it's made me rethink my entire opinion on Daredevil -- which prior to this last week had been an exaggerated shrug with maybe a sarca...

We're changing our review descriptions to be more emotional

Apr 14 // Chris Carter
Jonathan Holmes on reviews: We've chosen to revamp our scoring system at Destructoid. The general bent here is to steer away from the "product review"-style descriptions that make guesses about how the reader will enjoy a game ("Everyone on Earth will love this! I know, because I am some kind of wizard!") or attempt to make universally objective qualifiers ("We measured how much fun this game has with a fun scale and it weighed 100/100 fun points! That means it's perfect!") in the score descriptions, and instead describe the writer's personal relationship with the game. The exception to that are "The Best" and "The Worst," which are meant to reflect the writer's intense personal feelings, and not an attempt to state that a game is universally, objectively, absolutely the "best" or "worst" game of all time. We all know that it's not actually possible for a game to be the best or worst to everyone everywhere, right? RIGHT?!?! Destructoid's new review scale: 1/10 - The Worst - One of my least favorite games ever. Just thinking about it is upsetting. I am upset.2/10 - Painful - This game made me feel actively disgusted most of the time. Like a disease. It might not kill you, but anything is possible.3/10 - Insulting - I feel mocked by this game. It's engaging for just long enough to pull the rug out from under me and scream in my ear, "surprise! I suck!"4/10 - Disappointing - I feel sorry for this one. It came close to being passable, but dropped the ball too many times to prevent itself from being an embarrassment.5/10 -  Tolerable - Like a meal of lukewarm water with white bread. It filled my time and my belly, but lacks any discernible flavor or nutritional value. A game that left me no different than it found me. Just passing through. 6/10 - Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.7/10 -  Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game.. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.8/10 -  Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others. 9/10 - Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me. 10/10 - The Best - Is it legal to marry a videogame? Because I want to be with game every day for the rest of my life. It completes me. It is my soul mate.
New review descriptions photo
Once more, with feeling
I never understood people who try to put reviews in a box. They can be short, long, scored, unscored, or use a hybrid symbol system. Although there are merits to some of these discussions, there's no inherent "better" way, th...







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