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3:00 PM on 12.18.2014

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014

[Image credit: Mike Lambert] It's impossible to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes for great narrative design. It's just something you know when you see. It's more than an outstanding story (although, that's certainl...

Brett Makedonski


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GOTY 2014: Best musical photo
GOTY 2014: Best musical
by Steven Hansen

What a dismal showing this year. Last year had Frozen, which tailed into this year, world without end, amen, with a long icy tail like Halley's comet. When are we going to have the "Let it Go" of videogames? We'll never have made it as an artform until games can produce a number with such virality and ubiquity that I start to wonder, "Wouldn't my life be better without a son," and "Remember the end of Ichi the Killer, with the sewing needles? That movie had some good ideas." 

Here are some of the so-called "big musicals" of 2014 that failed to register a single musical number: Alien: Isolation. Dragon Age: Inquisition. The trailer for the new Star Wars film. Bayonetta 2. Dark Souls II. Embarrassing. 

While no one put their bach into it to interrupt all sense of tone and pacing with a barrage of gaudy sung intermissions, I hereby award Kentucky Route Zero Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014 for Best musical, namely for its one stirring musical number in Act 3. This is quality over quantity folks. Kentucky Route Zero's first two parts are enough to make it one of the best games of last year, and the lone Act 3 enough to make it one of this year's best--and the best musical. 

First, the number pop ups organically, at a place you might expect song singing to happen, rather than in a prison or a dementia care home or the post office or just generally a place where you might not expect synchronized singing of thoughts and emotions by patrons. Oh, also a hair enhancement clinic. That's another one where a musical number feels out of place. Anyways, the sensibility of the time and place clashes beautifully with the levels of mediation inherent to the genre and toyed with in the mechanics. Just play the damn thing, the whole of it. 

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Nominees for Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of 2014 photo
Nominees for Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of 2014
by Chris Carter

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

Friends can make any game worth playing. Growing up, couch play was a staple in my household. I would often have videogame themed birthday parties, inviting all of my buddies over to have fighting game tournaments and, one time, a Tenchu II level editor challenge.

While a great single-player game can always elicit strong emotional reactions within oneself, a great multiplayer game lets you share those emotions with your loved ones. These are the games that made us feel special this year. The ones that had an impact on our lives as we gamed into the late night hours with the best of company.

These nominees have mechanics specifically designed to facilitate engaging interactions with others, which inherently differs from the design choices found in solo experiences.

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GOTY 2014: Best willful misspelling in a title  photo
GOTY 2014: Best willful misspelling in a title
by Steven Hansen

Might be your taste makers on this webpage made a Huge™ boner and left Samurai Gunn out of its 2014 game of the year plans. Because of its mid-December 2013 release, it was left out last year, too, and should have had 2014 eligibility. And there certainly isn't a multiplayer game I've had more fun with over the course of the year than the only game trying to carry Bushido Blade's torch. 

And there ain't a game that makes better use of a superfluous double consonant neither, so I am hereby awarding Samurai Gunn the Steven Hansen's Destructoid's 2014 GOTY award for Best willful misspelling in a title.  

Like a real gun or a decorative katana beneath your anime tits wall scroll, the second 'n' just makes you look cooler. This is how you name a game folks (incidentally, this is how you don't name a game, for the love of my Rouroni Kenshin reverse blade replica katana).

Do you see a lazy, '90s raditude 'z' slapped on the end there? Oh hell no. You may get three bullets per life, but there ain't no god damn, highfalutin pluralization nonsense happening here on the part of developer Teknopants. No. They doubled downn. That shows grit. Character. "You pronounce every god damnn letter," it screams. And you have to, or else you're pronouncing it wrong, like when you pronounce anno (year) as ano (anus). This isn't Samurai Ass. It's Samurai Gunn. Though I wouldn't mind seeing the former. Hit me up. 

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MechWarrior Online's Community Warfare has taught me what it feels like to be the frustrated parent photo
MechWarrior Online's Community Warfare has taught me what it feels like to be the frustrated parent
by Nic Rowen

In the land of MechWarrior Online, Christmas came early last week. Or severely, massively late depending on your perspective. Much like my relationship status with MWO in general: it's complicated.

Community Warfare, the long-, long-awaited “core pillar” of the game finally debuted (in beta form at least) last Thursday. A week ahead of the scheduled patch that was intended to usher in a new golden age of stompy robot combat, and roughly three years behind schedule otherwise. It's finally arrived, the holy guts of the game; the real MechWarrior starts here.

The idea behind Community Warfare has always been to have players recreate and rewrite the history of the Battletech franchise. To combine the qualities of a largely player-run MMO like EVE with a mech combat simulator. The chance to pick a side and become either a noble Inner Sphere pilot fighting to defend your home, or a member of the crusading Clans, deep-space warlords who left the known solar system centuries ago and have returned as almost alien invaders; humanity's past sins come back to haunt them.

You narrow that allegiance down further, pledge yourself to a particular Great House or tribal Clan, seize home-worlds from the others, foster relations you will inevitably betray, engage in a deadly dance of political and steel warfare. Like Game of Thrones in space, but with giant mechs and laser cannons instead of a bunch of creepy dudes on horseback.

If you're already guessing that what's been released has failed to live up to the hype, give yourself a gold star.

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5:15 PM on 12.15.2014

Holiday clearance! All Dtoid shirts now $12.95!

All t-shirts on the Destructoid store have been dropped down to $12.95! All the shirts are on clearance, meaning once they're out of print you won't be able to get these shirts again! We're making way for something new, ...

Hamza CTZ Aziz



How did Destructoid's most anticipated games of 2014 come out? photo
How did Destructoid's most anticipated games of 2014 come out?
by Steven Hansen

Want to feel old? January 2014 was just about one year ago. That's one whole season of a TV show or a complete Earth's orbit around the sun. Way back then--I can hardly remember it in the shadow of the god awful year--the Destructoid staff did a list of our most anticipated games of 2014

And what suckers we were! Most of the damned things didn't even come out. Chris was right to go with sure-thing Dark Souls II. It would've been hard to mess up (or not release). And a few folks who picked things way back in the first Year of Luigi (AL) didn't follow up for various reasons, but be assured that Patrick Hancock was definitely happy with Super Smash Bros

It was a weird year of games, though, rife with big-name delays, big-name flops, and lovely games that came out of nowhere to end up being the most fun (like Invisible Inc.) Maybe 2015 will do right by us (or us by it). For now, let's look back. 

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3:00 PM on 12.14.2014

Street Fighter V being exclusive might not be the worst thing ever

Ok, yes we all hate third-party exclusives. It's especially grating for a franchise as venerable and well loved as Street Fighter. This is a raw deal for the world warriors out there who have already plunked down money on an ...

Nic Rowen



The most disrespectful push-ups in videogames photo
The most disrespectful push-ups in videogames
by Jonathan Holmes

Like I was saying to the creators of Pocket Rumble, the minutia is what will make or break a fighting game. All the little moment-to-moment experiences in a given round of combat have to come together to create a vast psychological landscape. That big picture is easy to take for granted unless you take the time to pick it apart now and again.

For instance, winning or losing a fight doesn't have to be about how the game defines victory. The player can define victory on their own terms if they choose to. Using the old Dan/Servbot/Amingo team in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and knocking just one of the opponent's characters out of the match is the peak of competitive fighting game majesty for some. For others, taking on all comers with Pichu and surviving a three-minute battle in Super Smash Bros. Melee is the zenith of videogame achievement. Setting a goal and reaching it. That's what winning is all about, regardless of how the game or anyone else judges you.

Maybe the Wii Fit Trainer's unorthodox crawl animation in Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U will become the next great disrespectful fighting game handicap. Doing a quick set of push-ups while in the middle of a super-powered combat scenario really sends a message. It's a message about priorities, about how seriously you take your opponent, and the importance of doing whatever the heck you want. It's beautiful. So beautiful that I had to write a song about it. 

Thanks Leonard Nimoy!

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The five best indie games at PlayStation Experience photo
The five best indie games at PlayStation Experience
by Brett Makedonski

With regard to games shown at last weekend's PlayStation Experience, Sony had two noticeable strengths: its first-party mega-titles and the projects of its ever-growing stable of independent developers. While PlayStation fans finally got the chance to go hands-on with the publisher's biggest names like The Order: 1886 and Bloodborne, it was the indies along the length of the entire side wall where the true gems could be found.

In that sense, PlayStation Experience stepped right in line with all the year's other conventions; in relatively small crowds, players got to move from station to station, and fell in love with new games that they knew little-to-nothing about. Checking out the giant booths is all fine and fun, but ask anyone and they'll tell you that talking to passionate indie devs about their games and playing it at their small, humbling exhibits is the glue that holds community shows together.

These were Destructoid's favorite indie games at PlayStation Experience.

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Happy 21st anniversary to the most important FPS in my life photo
Happy 21st anniversary to the most important FPS in my life
by Brett Makedonski

My, how time flies. Today, we're 21 years removed from the launch of one of the most influential videogames ever, Doom. It may not have been the original first-person shooter, but it was certainly the most important one in my life. Well, indirectly.

That prestige actually goes to Final Doom. Back in fourth grade, I made a new friend. We went to his house one day after school. The first thing he wanted to do was to boot up his computer and show me Final Doom. I remember being blown away by how awesome it was.

We weren't taking legit runs at Doom, mind you. IDDQD, IDKFA, and IDCLIP made sure that we could run wherever we wanted and kill whatever we wanted with absolutely no problem. Cyberdemons and Arch-viles fell by the hundreds. And, there was always a squeemish glee to watching a Cacodemon die in a messy pile of gloop.

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PlayStation Experience was my favorite convention of the year photo
PlayStation Experience was my favorite convention of the year
by Brett Makedonski

I've been to a lot of videogame conventions this year. From the relatively small BitSummit to the monstrosity that is gamescom, I've pretty much seen them all. I didn't think this past weekend's trip to Las Vegas would result in me saying this, but for better and for worse, I think Sony's PlayStation Experience was my favorite convention of the year.

Part of what makes that so surprising is that the event itself was surprising. Nobody really knew what to expect from the PlayStation Experience. How big would it be? What would the booths look like? Would third-party publishers show up in force? Would it be a ghost town? No one knew.

The doors to the show floor opened up just as Saturday morning's keynote ended, and we finally got a glimpse at the mysterious PlayStation Experience. At first, it was bustling. Everyone coming off the high of the keynote, and they just wanted to play some games. Attendance was probably at its peak in those moments. It didn't feel packed, but there was certainly a steady flow of people at all times.

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Uncharted 4 trailer analysis: Hints at improvements over Uncharted 3 photo
Uncharted 4 trailer analysis: Hints at improvements over Uncharted 3
by Steven Hansen

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa" - Nathan Drake. 

As Chris mentioned when the trailer debuted at PlayStation Experience, Uncharted 4 looks, "very Uncharted." There are Nolan North quips at everything you see. The dark and dingy cave gives way to a sun-washed, cinematic vista as three birds fly by right as your eyes adjust to the sun.

The climbing, too, looks same as it ever was, save for the addition of a centuries-old, apparently indestructible soft-rock-climbing dagger. And a grappling hook, which was at least used once. 

But while the base mechanics are familiar, the layout, at least as it appears in this trailer, is different, and that's why I'm a bit more excited for A Thief's End after being less impressed with Uncharted 3

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2:00 PM on 12.08.2014

LIVE! Absinthe vs. The Talos Principle: A Most Distinguished Stream

You guys might recall (we sure as hell don't) a month or so ago, Devolver Digital sent me and Bill an early build of Titan Souls and a couple large bottles of some sort of ale made by wizards or monks or something. Bill and I...

Max Scoville



Dear devs, stop it with tutorials all the way through the game photo
Dear devs, stop it with tutorials all the way through the game
by Nic Rowen

“THA'S HOW YOU RIDE A CARRRRRAGOR!"

Yeah, thanks asshole. I've already done this like two dozen times. You might have noticed I rode up to your mission marker ON a Caragor.

“WHEN UN' ORC IS DOWN, THA'S WHEN YOUR CARRRAGOR CAN POUNCE ON EM!”

DIE IN A FIRE.

I loved Shadow of Mordor. You know, unlike some people. I could ignore the generic revenge-driven plot, put up with Gollum's shenanigans, and embrace the hell out of the unique cast of orcs the game generated for me. Hell, I even loved the Arkham-style combat and the kill-crazy orc murder sprees it enabled. I'm not sick of that brand of carnage yet, not by a longshot.

But the game committed one unforgivable sin – It was still tutorializing basic mechanics well into the back half of the game. Every time it happened it was enough to make me want to pitch the game into Mount Doom's lava basement.

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Megan Fox talks Lego Universe, pigeon racism and nonviolent gun play  photo
Megan Fox talks Lego Universe, pigeon racism and nonviolent gun play
by 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.]

Last week on Sup Holmes we welcomed Megan Fox of Glass Bottom Games to the studio. Megan is a powerhouse of imagination and business acumen. We chatted about her time working for Lego on Lego Universe, how your portfolio is more important than your degree when applying for work in the business, the right and wrong way to do Steam sales, the non-intrusive themes of race and sexuality in her upcoming game Hot Tin Roof and a lot more. 

Thanks again to Megan for hanging out with us, and tune in today at 4pm EST when we welcome the developers of Rocket Rumble to the program. 

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