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Weekend gaming photo
Weekend gaming

Hey, Destructoid! What games are you playing this weekend?


I'lll show you mine if you show me yours
Oct 19
// Rob Morrow
Covering the PC gaming news beat requires that I spend a lot of my time researching the newest titles and the latest industry happenings for the site. Admittedly, I love to learn about new things and I especially enjoy sharin...
Steam Curators photo
Steam Curators

Follow Mr. Destructoid's Steam curation for great games you might have missed


An eclectic mix
Sep 25
// Darren Nakamura
One of the new features in the recent Steam redesign is the introduction of Steam Curators. Users can follow groups or people whose tastes align with their own in order to discover new games. Destructoid has taken some time t...
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A word on ethics


In light of recent events <3
Sep 04
// Dale North
[Update from Chris Carter, the Reviews Director, May 2015: as a whole I take disclosures very seriously, and we have continued to make an effort to disclose relationships in all of our reviews. That includes Kickstarters...

World exclusive Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare preview

Aug 11 // Kyle MacGregor
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the next game in Activision's acclaimed Call of Duty franchise, a popular first-person shooter series that allows folks to live out fantasies of murdering people in third-world countries. Advanced Warfare eschews the series' traditional settings for a grim future where terrorists strike nuclear reactors on five continents, instantly throwing the world into chaos. Enter Kevin Spacey and his private army of bad men who do bad man things. The story probably isn't too important, though, centering around a Hollywood action movie plot that you'll likely forget within a week. Do you remember anything about the last Transformers movie you saw? I sure don't. I'll venture a guess and say there were some big explosions and cool set-pieces -- which is exactly what you can expect from Advanced Warfare. As the moniker implies, the futuristic first-person shooter is all about pioneering gadgetry like jetpacks, cloaking devices, and hover tanks. You also get to wear power armor called an "exoskeleton," which makes ripping off car doors at their hinges as easy as kicking your co-worker Brett in the shin for no good reason only to then skip away while he languishes in pain. While pretending to play the game I was overcome with feelings of intense jingoism, at one point rising from my chair to shout "U-S-A" repeatedly until an imaginary PR representative restrained and doused me with a fire extinguisher full of Mountain Dew. On other occasions, I found myself remarking on the title's filmic quality and the realistic rendering of Kevin Spacey's jowls.  Once I had my fill of envisioning what the campaign would be like, I moved on to the real meat and potatoes of Call of Duty -- the multiplayer -- where you get to shoot dudes online. I love shooting dudes online. It's the perfect place to exert virtual dominance over others, providing an arena to combat low self-esteem with flagrant displays of teabagging and high-pitched shrieks. My spiritual journey also conjured images of a perk system, which puts newer players at a disadvantage with a more limited set of weapons and upgrades to choose from, while also tricking veterans to keep playing the game with devilish psychological ploys. I assume the multiplayer experience at the preview event was just stellar, hosted on the finest servers Skylanders NFC toy money can buy. What you encounter out in the wild might not be as amazing as what I played at Castle von Activision, though. Or in this case didn't play, as I am making all this up. In summation, I am generally optimistic about Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare because this is a preview and previews are generally optimistic. I do have some concerns, though. Would it have been too much to ask Kevin Spacey to reprise his gentlemanly Southern accent from the Netflix original series House of Cards? Why isn't the game coming to PlayStation Vita? And which retailer will have the best pre-order bonuses? (What the hell Watch Dogs?) At least we know this will be a truly next-gen epic visceral experience like none other -- until the next one. /dubstep outro PRE-ORDER NOW & SUPERCHARGE YOUR LOADOUT WITH THE ADVANCED ARSENAL!
Call of Duty fake preview photo
The power of imagination
Activision is upset with us, you know. As it turns out, publishers love revealing things. So when someone leaks something before a publisher intends on tipping its hand, well, it gets angry. And you aren't going to ...

What're you playing? Videogames, maybe?

Aug 09 // Steven Hansen
I am still trying to wrap up Bravely Default. After about 80 hours, I have seen the "bad" ending, but I am still a couple chapters away from the true ending. Otherwise, I have been playing Halfway for review. It is a little rough around the edges, but it has some good tactical gameplay with great pixel art. Smash Bros. 4 is the first thing I think about every morning and the last thing I think about every night. It's an obsession. When I can't take thinking about it anymore, I'll play Melee, Brawl, or the N64 original for a few minutes. Like a great corpse once said "it makes the pain go away". Also been playing Rogue Legacy on PS3, Animal Crossing: New Leaf (I can't get enough of watering flowers, dawg), Shovel Knight, 1001 Spikes, and a few matches of Wii Sports Club Boxing online to get in some cardio.  I've been playing Steel Empire for review, and found myself completing multiple playthroughs of it. I'm also enjoying a few Mega Man games like Battle Network and X3 before the Wii U versions hit. My static raid group is currently on Turn 8 in Final Fantasy XIV -- we almost "beat the game" (until the next patch). I switch off between Dragoon and Paladin for raiding, and use my Bard and White Mage as often as I can in Ramuh. I found myself with some time in July to finally sit down at play the Burial At Sea, the BioShock Infinite DLC. It's a bit uneven but like Minerva's Den from BioShock 2, I'm like small 4-5 self contained DLC packs like this. I also finished off The Wolf Among Us, a game which I kinda feel the opposite about; I was struggling to remember earlier plot details and in a whodunnit mystery that's vital. Still a solid series overall and I'd be keen to play another. I was playing Sacred 3 for review but the less said about that the better.... a game worth talking about is The Fall, a wonderful, sci-fi adventure game. At least an adventure game with shooting and stealth sequences in it. There's a darkly humourous tone to the game and whilst it might only be a few hours long, I'm really excited to play future episodes.  Without much time on regular systems, I've been on a Persona kick the last month or so, replaying Persona 4 Golden on PS Vita. Even after seeing Persona 4's story for the third time now, I'm amazed just how much more there is to Golden. Pretty much everywhere you thought the original could've used something extra, Atlus has filled in. And for those who have played it already, there's yet more hilarious fan service in this season's Persona 4 Golden the Animation, which is possibly one of the least necessary but most appreciated shows I've ever seen. I have a weakness for Lego games. They help me unwind as I mindlessly smash stuff into oblivion while solving mildly challenging puzzles to bring myself ever closer to one-hundred percent completion. I just attained that goal on Lego Marvel Superheroes, a game that was entertaining enough that it never let its glaring flaws turn it into a slog. Since then, I've moved onto a hard-mode run of Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition. It scratches the persistent Metroidvania itch that I have. Of course, that's all in between my many runs of Binding of Isaac. I should really stop playing so many videogames and focus on preparing for gamescom. Let's see, what have I been playing? Not much actually. My family just made the move from Florida (Orlando) to Illinois (West Dundee), so that pretty much sucked up all the free time I had to play, because you know, loading the truck, driving 21 hours away, unloading, unpacking, etc. That's not to say that I've had no time to play games; however, I've managed to squeeze in a few minutes here and there, and when I have, this is what I've been playing: Braveland and Halfway on the PC. I've had this turn-based itch lately and both of these games have really scratched it, especially Halfway. Once the console side it's been Battlefield 4 multiplayer (when I can) and three new games I picked up on the Wii U. Bombing Bastards, Shut the Box and Wooden Sen'Sey, with Wooden Sen'Sey taking the cake as the best of this bunch, it's a very pretty and very fun little platformer. The only other game I've managed to play is Mario Golf World Tour, which has quickly become my most played game this year. I've gotten back into playing Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, but this time on PC. The decreased load times alone made double dipping worthwhile. Many hours later, I'm still finding it to be super fun and it's also nice to be good at a multiplayer shooter, just this once. Also tried out Astebreed, which I haven't fully wrapped my head around yet, but being able to wield a sword in a shoot-'em-up is rad all the same. Lastly, Mega Man Battle Network has been good in short bursts and/or while watching TV. Too many damn random battles, though! I have sort of been in a post Destiny Beta video game depression lately and have been spending most of my days working on music. My consoles have been collecting dust and I have only really been playing David O'Reilly's "relax 'em-up" Mountain on my Iphone. If you haven't checked this game out, do it. It heirs heavy on the side of 'experimental art game' but I love it so much. One of my favorite features is an on screen musical keyboard which adds spacey reverb as you zoom farther from your mountain -- neat! I finally got back to my replay of Catherine, watching myself laughably make the same awful decisions that led me to an earned disappointing end the first time around. I am bad. But I am good at Catherine. The puzzles, at least. Trying to unlock all the Babel tower challenges.   I'm ashamed to say that I haven't actually played very much at all lately, but I've gotten a whole lot of Timberman in on my iPhone. I also finished "Looking for An Apartment That Isn't In The Gross Part of Town," as you may recall that I was playing last time, and am now playing through the bonus stage, "Buying Things For Said Apartment Is Expensive." It's solid, but there are way too many IAPs. I also spent a little time playing through The Journeyman Project earlier this week, a favorite from adolescence. Should really give it a look.  In between races with the wife and kid in Mario Kart 8 (my daughter is in love with Rosalina), I finally managed to go back and finish my first playthrough of The Darkness, which was wonderful! The story was dark and surprising, and the awesome Darkness powers more than made up for the "floaty" gunplay; I haven't had that much fun shooting out lights since the first time I played Splinter Cell. I also recently acquired a used 3DS (thanks, Qalamari!), so I've been trying to figure out that whole thing. Did you know you can pass people on the street and then do things with them? Amazing.
What're you playing?  photo
You the best, Mitsuru-senpai
You guys might not know this, but some of us here at Destructoid are big fans of videogames. For a change of pace, we'd like to share that interest with you all and fill you in on some of the games we're playing right now.&nb...

What're you playing? A lot of Mario Kart 8 around here

Jul 04 // Steven Hansen
I'm very busy rearranging my life so I don't have time to play much. I just started EA Sports' UFC and can't get it to glitch out like I keep seeing in the GIFs. Disappointing! I'm also regularly checking in with Tomodachi Life, which I haven't put down since launch. That game is ridiculous. Finally, my bedtime game is now Atelier Rorona Plus, which should provide some sweet dreams. I've been playing a ton of Hero Siege thanks to the Steam sale, I also just played through Spec Ops: The Line again because of it's amazing story. Also been playing through Pushmo World and How to Survive on the Wii U with my daughter. It's funny, she asks me every day if I'm going to play the zombie game (How to Survive). She's totally invested in the story, I'm not sure why... Oh, and Mario Golf: World Tour. Lot's and lot's of Mario Golf: World Tour. If you didn't already know, I'm obsessed with Pokemon. One of my favorite things to do with my IRL friends is challenge them to random pokebattles through this awesome web app called Pokemon Showdown. (http://play.pokemonshowdown.com/) I've been playing a ton lately so lets battle sometime! Super-embarrassing confession: I never finished The Witcher 2. I played it a bunch when it came out on 360 and didn't really "get it." After seeing The Wild Hunt at E3 last year, I ran home with a raging hard-on and started a new game, actually getting into it. After a few weeks, I was promptly sidetracked by work, other games, moving house, and real life. So, after seeing The Wild Hunt at E3 again, I've resumed by adventures as Geralt yet again. Other than that, I've had some fun drunkenly crashing cars and dying a lot in the Battlefield: Hardline beta. I'm honestly not sure who's having a harder time playing: me, my internet connection, or the game itself. I just beat the first BioShock again yesterday, and man do I love that game. The characters, the storytelling, the plasmids, it's so great! I've had an influx of new Animal Crossing villagers recently and I'm pretty keen to all of them. I just wish Queenie would freaking MOVE OUT. Other than that I've been working my way through 1001 Spikes, Mario Kart, and Mario Gold: World Tour. And Dota 2. Always Dota 2. I cannot stop playing Boom Beach. No, seriously, I'm going to upgrade my sniper tower as soon as I send this email. I've been working my way through Mario Kart 8 Grand Prix a little bit at a time. I've finished 50cc and 100cc, and am just getting started on 150cc. Otherwise, I've been spending a lot of my free minutes here and there playing Bravely Default, which I'm liking a lot more than I expected to. It's nice to be able to just flip open my 3DS, grind a little bit, then close it. When I have more time (usually before going to sleep), I try to actually advance in it. Lastly, I'm still playing Borderlands 2 with friends who only recently got it. With the Steam Sale, I have a new set of friends who are just starting out, so I'll probably be at it until the Pre-Sequel comes out. I'm currently playing Valiant Hearts, and that's a good thing because I've not yet found a title this year that I can more highly recommend. It's a game that highlights the atrocities of war without forcing the player to reciprocate them. It's an emotional journey where subtlety weighs far heavier than the most overwrought dramatics. Simple cues like the curve of lips or the slumping of shoulders expertly convey the immediate and long-term toll of violent engagement. I'm only half-way through with no idea where the protagonists will end up. While their stories are central, the war-torn landscapes and people you meet (and usually help) only briefly teach the more important lesson -- there are no winners when it comes to war. I finally uninstalled Spelunky after 314 hours... As much as I loved it, I know it distracted me from really getting into other games. So now, I'm in Steam sale mode but I'm really being picky with what I'm buying. So far I've played a bit of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II which is scratching that Diablo/Torchlight itch. I've also picked up Noir Syndrome which looks like a really interesting adventure game. I also bit the bullet and got Rocksmith 2014 which I'll start to play once my required cable turns up from Amazon and I retrieve my brother's electric guitar from my parent's house. Early onset of a mid-life crisis? Nah. Every morning and every night before bed, I check in with my Miis in Tomodachi Life. I've been playing it consistently ever since its release, and I'm happy to report that Geordi LaForge is best friends with Vladimir Putin. Daria and Naked Snake are getting along swimmingly, though Dr. Steve Brule was jilted by Daria and fell into a deep depression. Jon Snow is dating Arya Stark against my better judgment, and we're celebrating the birth of our very first, oddly-misshapen Mii baby. Seriously, its head looks like a potato. I don't claim it. I'm also playing this super difficult game called "Looking for An Apartment That Isn't In The Gross Part of Town," and while the graphics are decent, the replayability factor is horrid. In my increasingly rare bouts of down time, however, I'm playing through Commander Blood again and backtracking some in Harvester to relive some of my favorite moments. What's next? I'll probably pull out Loom and go through it again. Far Cry 3 was cheap enough in the Steam sale that I couldn't hold off any longer, especially considering I've already played and enjoyed the hell out of Far Cry 2 and Blood Dragon. It's about damn time I got this. For as much fun as I had sneaking through all of the outposts and getting jump-scared by random crocodiles, more than anything, it just left me wanting Far Cry 4 given its far more interesting locale. Questionable story aside, great game, though. I've now moved on to Shovel Knight and I wish I could put life on hold to marathon it. I'm working through all three Rhythm Heaven games at the same time! It's great because I travel a whole ton, so I can take the DS or GBA version with me and never be without it. When I'm home I play it quite often and you can catch me cursing or praising it on twitter. After E3 winded down there wasn't a whole lot to review, so when Shovel Knight came across my desk I was pretty thrilled to get my hands on it. I'm on my third playthrough and I'm loving it -- one of the best modern day retro games ever. I'm also playing the Mountain game from the guy who directed the videogame scenes in Her, WildStar, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, and I just completed my fourth level 50 character in FFXIV (Bard). Blizzard stuff; WoW mostly, but also a lot of Heroes of the Storm and a sprinkling of Hearthstone.  Also forcing myself through Deadspace 3 and holy FUCK that game is boring so far. Will probably replay Spec Ops: The Line soon since Bill Platt bought it for me on Steam. Picked up MLB 14: The Show on PS4 this week because it's the summertime and I can't think of anything more summer than baseball. It's super good. Also finally picked up Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on PS4 so I've been playing that when I'm not baseballin'. I like getting the tank and just running all the guards over. Other than that it's the occasional Mario Kart 8, Final Fantasy X HD, and Final Fantasy XIV: A Real Reborn as usual here and there to get some things done in those when I can. A real busy month at the day job has kept me unable to play anything for more than half an hour, which means I've been pretty much limited to playing in Star Trek Online's annual summer event has been the limit of my gaming. That, and playing Dragon's Crown on the can with my Vita. When I do find the time, though, I really want to sink my teeth into some of the indie games I bought into this Steam sale, like Blade Symphony, Overgrowth, and some obscure unknown thing called Call of Duty: Ghosts. Thanks to Nintendo having the audacity to feature games I want at e3, I went ahead and picked up a Wii U. Currently I'm working to unlock all the characters in Mario Kart 8, have started Super Mario 3D World, and been enjoying Nintendo Land with friends. I've been getting my nostalgia on with Wario Ware and Super Punch Out on Virtual Console and NES Remix 1 & 2 as well. I also started playing through Shadow of the Colossus HD finally. The Last of Us still has its hooks in me. Between Shovel Knight sessions and working on various reviews, I've been consumed by the oft overlooked multiplayer element of Naughty Dog's latest. I play a stealthy build and really enjoy creeping around in the shadows with my bow and silently moving around the flanks to catch enemies off guard with a quick shiv in the neck. It's less disturbing than it sounds. Probably. I'm currently knee deep in the Dead. I'm about 3/4 of the way through a co-op playthrough of Dead Space 3 with my brother-in-law, which has been... interesting. I'm an enormous fan of all things Dead Space, but playing with another person -- while fun -- just doesn't feel very Dead Space-y. Still, it's given the game some extra miles and given my brother and I something to bond over, so I'm not complaining. I also just finished Dead Island after pouring over 30 hours into it, and I'm SO happy I went in with low expectations... because I had a blast! Seriously, I haven't had that much mindless fun in a long time. And as soon as I put that one aside, I booted up Dead Rising 2, donned Chuck's heart boxer shorts, and started hacking and slashing my way through Fortune City, which is always a good time. Also, Mario Kart 8. I have been drowning in work the last few weeks so I have played virtually nothing other than the occasional game of League of Legends and the first stage of Shovel Knight. I'm flying to Boston for the entirety of next week though. Even though I got Shovel Knight on PC, I might pick up the 3DS version so that I can play it on the plane and in my hotel. I'm also going to try to get back to Kirby, Mario Golf, and Soul Sacrifice Delta, since those have been my go-to travel games recently. I'm reading a nice book called Typical American. I recommend it. A move cut into my Dark Souls II progress. E3 killed my replay of Catherine. I want to get back to the latter & write about it. Last weekend I started a new XCOM (Enemy Within) campaign and then by 4AM realized I shouldn't get myself hooked on XCOM again and deleted the save file. I still need to finish Transistor (I don't know why I refuse to turn limiters off). 
What're you playing?  photo
Wow, too many god damn people work for this site
You guys might not know this, but some of us here at Destructoid are big fans of videogames. For a change of pace, we'd like to share that interest with you all and fill you in on some of the games we're playing right now.&nb...

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Here's the Twitch E3 2014 streaming schedule


Makes me twitch a bit
Jun 02
// Dale North
Twitch streams basically everything these days. I think that's great -- especially for the press conferences. So running their schedule is a service for you, dear reader. I mean, they're now the official streaming platform of...
Ellie art photo
Ellie art

Destructoid interprets The Last of Us concept artist's work


Ellie, what are you doing?
May 06
// Dale North
[Update: Even more responses added.] We didn't know what to make of the tease from The Last of Us concept artist Marek Okon earlier this week. Okon said,"Is it about TLOU2? Not really... Maybe... Its classified ;P" We kn...
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Help me get a corgi in Four Sided Fantasy


It's the best dog!
May 01
// Dale North
Upcoming game Four Sided Fantasy is a puzzle game that plays with screen wrapping, like their previous game The Fourth Wall. If you haven't seen it, check it out -- it's gorgeous, and it might scramble your brain if you watch...
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PSP versions of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Origins coming to PSN?


At least in Europe
Apr 17
// Dale North
[Update: Err...gross price alert. Look at this: They want $29.99 apiece for these two!] Konami said that a re-release of the PSP versions of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Silent Hill: Origins will come to the PlayS...
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GDC PARTY

Reminder! Destructoid's GDC party is tonight!


Join SEGA, EnMasse Entertainment, Twitch, and Dtoid for one wild night!
Mar 18
// Mari Monzo
Update: The Me So Hungry food truck will be parked at our party! Doors open at 8pm, and the event is sold out via EventBrite. If you RSVP'd via Facebook or are super BFFs with Dtoid crew we will try to accommodate y...
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R O B O T


GDC '14 + March 18 @ Mighty
Mar 06
// Niero Gonzalez
Details to come. RSVP

Review: Need for Speed: Rivals

Nov 17 // Dale North
Need for Speed: Rivals (PS4 [reviewed], PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC)Developer: Ghost GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease: November 15, 2013 for PS4, November 19 for Xbox 360,  PS3 Need for Speed: Rivals is an open-world racing sandbox that you're free to do whatever you'd like in. Sure, there's a single-player progression and a light story to follow, but that stuff really doesn't matter in the long run. It's all about going fast and doing what you want as either a racer or a cop, speeding around in a big, crazy racing world. When you boil this game's structure down, it's a series of checklists to complete. While that might not sound exciting, it works pretty well as a way to keep players engaged. Since Rivals lets you play as either a cop or a racer, there are branching paths to follow to work your way up through the progression. Along the way you're free to take on any of the branches, called Speed Lists, picking the objectives you'd prefer to tackle, or the ones that suit your racing style best. Completing items from these Speed Lists will earn you Speed Points, which can be used to buy and upgrade your cars, while completing the Speed Lists themselves will unlock more cars. Rivals goes light on the customization. Beyond the basic paint job and trim customization, progressions that add to a car's speed, acceleration, control, and durability are also available. The only true customization comes from Rivals' Pursuit Tech, which lets you add offensive abilities to your cars. Shockwaves, EMP blasts, jammers and more can be equipped in the two available slots of each car. Each of the Pursuit Tech types also has an upgrade progression.  [embed]265857:51422:0[/embed] For the racer side of the game, the Speed Lists focus on either racing, driving, or messing with the cops. For the most part, by picking carefully, I found that I could avoid the challenges I didn't care for -- like the interceptor cop chases -- sticking to the fun ones that had me jumping off ramps for distance, or bashing other cars off the road. There are points where the progression forces one objective on all of the paths, though these cases are rare. For the most part, the constantly evolving stream of challenges keeps things fresh, though I found that after I had tried most of the challenge types, it started to feel more like a grind. It works the same way on the cop side, giving the choice to patrol or enforce with challenge types that are more in line with what a cop with a super-fast sports car might do to uphold traffic laws. While taking down racers with sirens screaming is always fun, some of the challenges, like the "go-fast-but-don't-mess-up" Rapid Response mission are somewhat boring in comparison.  Need for Speed: Rivals' AllDrive mode has you playing your races alongside the rest of the world, effectively mixing single-player and multiplayer experiences together. Every time the game is loaded, you're logged into EA's servers. Other players will show up in your game, and you're free to challenge them in races. Through Autolog, friends' race times and other records are also tracked and compared as you race, adding another competitive layer. Between the story progression, the speed lists, and AllDrive, you're never at a loss for what to do next. You can keep your head down and keep to yourself if you'd like, but I found that openly engaging other racers makes for a much better time. As nicely done as Rivals' open world is, it wouldn't be nearly as exciting without real racers zipping around you as you try to run from the cops. For the most part, it gets rid of its predecessors' scripted races and messy multiplayer, giving you action that feels more real. AllDrive is the real deal, and it makes for some pretty lively gameplay. As great as the open world and its always-online connectivity are, there are a few speed bumps in Rivals' game balance. While the cop campaign is mostly problem free, racers' patience will be tried with some supremely frustrating design choices. While both cops and racers earn Speed Points for completing challenges, racers are always at risk of losing their earnings at any time. Cop busts or full wrecks will drain all of a racer's earnings; the only way to ensure keeping these points is to race to a hideout to 'bank' earnings before being busted. There are multiple issues here. First off, the more Speed Points a racer earns, the higher their point multiplier goes, letting them increase earnings exponentially if they're daring enough. But, with this multiplier increase comes a heat level increase, which means that the cops are more likely to attack. And, with faster cars, the heat level starts out higher. By the middle of the racer campaign, you're certain to have cops on you at all times, and there is no break or breathing room. Even if you're flying at over 200 miles per hour with nitrous flaming out the back of your car, the cops are on you, coming from all directions, plowing at you at any given opportunity. Chances are you will be busted, and you will lose all of your Speed Points. Since Speed Points earnings are tied directly to the acquisition of new cars and their upgrades, you're essentially losing your progress with each bust.  There were sessions of play where I was being busted six times an hour, which means that aside from Speed List challenge checkmarks, I was literally spinning my wheels, going nowhere. In the later levels cops are so aggressive that the game's open-world sense of freedom is completely drained. Cars can be pulled over for not moving at all, first off -- that's ridiculous. I had points where I had pulled my car near hideout after barely breaking free from multiple attacks, mashing L1 to make sure I'd be able to bank my Speed Points, only to find the cops flying at me from every angle, coming out of nowhere to bust me before the game even registered my button presses. I streamed a couple of these sessions via PS4 last week, and my viewers got a kick out of me losing my mind over Speed Point losses. I didn't think it was funny at all. There are a couple of other design holdouts from Most Wanted that they still need to fix. When you need to set a waypoint most -- during a pursuit where you're in danger of losing all of your Speed Points -- Rivals' conveniences no longer feel convenient. You can use either the EasyDrive mini menu by tapping the d-pad, or the overworld map, by pushing the Option button. Either has you taking your eyes off the road when you should be going full speed. With no way to stop and look, you're going to either crash or get busted. There's nothing even close to a pause button. The mini-map is pathetically small, poorly placed, and barely usable. Just like with Most Wanted, it's too far away from the action in the bottom left corner to look at, which means you'll have to take your eyes off the road to know where to go. Doing so at 200 miles per hour never ends well -- and with that kind of speed you're actually out-driving the map! The colored path lines are slow to appear anyway, but at that speed they appear far too late. Worst of all, the range the map displays is too restricted, leaving you unsure of what's ahead until its too late. Ghost Games have added street-level graphical indicators to help guide you in the right direction, but they're hard to see, and they still don't give enough of a clear view of where you need to be going. That all said, I want to thank Ghost Games for dialing back the crash animations. In Most Wanted, they lasted so long that it felt like the game was making fun of you for losing, and were sometimes so disorienting that I had to look away. In Rivals, they're big and flashy, but not drawn out.  Need for Speed: Rivals looks great on the PS4, though there's nothing inherently next-gen about it. It looks like a souped up current-gen title with added areas of polish. All of the cars are shiny and highly detailed, and the day-night cycles and weather changes are impressive. Ghost Games' California-inspired world, Redvies, is particularly lovely in its desert areas. Again, no complaints, but I can't wait to see what a ground-up built, next-gen Need for Speed will look like.   My only gripes on Rivals' presentation are the story elements and their narration. The tutorial narrator sounds bored or annoyed, which does little to get you excited about the race. The story itself is nonsensical, and the cutscenes are so silly that you'll likely end up skipping them. But the voice bits assigned to each level's Speed List are so bad that you might get some enjoyment out of them in that unintentionally funny kind of way. It sounds like some dope with a nose cold trying to mock designer cologne commercial one-liners. "Fate is out there. Somewhere," one says. Rivals crashed on me a few times, with one crash so bad that the PS4 asked me to send a crash report. Twice, when trying to use the PS4's Share button to upload clips, the game crashed and closed out on its own, losing my progress. Another time, in checking the map during a race, I was kicked out of the game. A few graphical glitches also popped up in the distance, though they were nothing major. Even with the balance issues and design missteps, Need for Speed: Rivals is a blast. Literally. Plowing into cops to watch them explode off the side of the road as you zip by is never not fun. So is blasting them with EMP to watch them flip in the air. And through AllDrive's connectivity, I loved being able to race up alongside someone and mash L1 to instantly challenge them to a head-to-head showdown. Ramping jumps, drift contests, dodging speed traps -- it's all a blast. There's simply too much fun to be had here to get hung up on the gripes. Just be sure to take breaks when playing the racer campaign, as the grind, and the suicidal cops can wear on you.
Need for Speed: Rivals photo
Crash, into me...
Like any good racer, the Need for Speed franchise never stops moving. They've come a long way since the early '90s, though the last few years' releases have been more about refinement of the formula than anything else, moving...

Opinion: The 3DS is the best system to get this year

Nov 15 // Chris Carter
See that picture right above this text? I took that live at the 2010 Nintendo E3 press conference, when they revealed their newest portable -- the 3DS. There were hundreds of people around me, cheering and screaming at the reveal, but I felt out of place: I was almost completely silent. Nothing about the 3DS excited me. The fact that it was so similar to the DS, the underwhelming 3D effect in general, and the weak game lineup -- all of it couldn't really muster more than a collective "enh." My colleagues were all hyped up to try it out mostly due to the glasses-free 3D effect, but I walked around the floor trying out pretty much everything else I could, avoiding the two plus hour lines to wait to play a 3DS tech demo. Fast forward to the week before the 3DS' launch. in February of 2011. I'm just starting to really break out into the games writing field, and I realize that I really should pick one up to cover it. I look at the launch lineup, let out a collective groan, and decide to wait a little longer. The wait wasn't that long though, as I picked one up for Ocarina of Time 3D in mid-June, and completely changed my mind on the tech. Immediately, I was sold on the 3D based on how much it added to Ocarina. I felt like I was almost playing a completely new game, and was blown away at how faithful the re-creation was. Ok, so I fell in love with the hardware, but there was still one major problem -- I had no more games to play. For weeks, nay, months on end, I chastised Nintendo for dragging their feet. Yes, free Excitebike was cool, but where were the rest of the 3D Classics? Where were the original games to forge the way among a sea of sloppy ports? Where were the Virtual Console releases, with the hundreds of games they had in their stable? Eventually, they came. First-party Nintendo games like Pushmo lit up the 3DS eShop, while incredible physical releases like Mario 3D Land pushed the hardware in new directions. Then came Gunman Clive, the Switch Force! series, Mutant Mudds, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Fire Emblem Awakening. With the DSi's catalog in tandem with the newly minted and flourishing eShop, a digital future was real with the 3DS, on top of all the physical boxes that were readily available. StreetPass also became more of a valid option once more and more people started to buy the 3DS after the price drop. In fact, it's become one of the highlights of my convention visits, bringing my system with me to see how many tags I can get. The overall 3DS experience is far too deep to even describe here, so I recommend reading my 3DS buyer's guide for even more suggestions. Slowly but surely, the 3DS has become a gaming nirvana. It has a steady selection of RPGs, platformers, action games, and even shoot 'em ups, among many other genres. You should definitely choose what you want come this holiday season, and pretty much any choice would be the right one -- but I would contend that the with the 3DS, you're choosing best one.
The 3DS is going strong photo
What do you choose between an Xbox One, a Wii U, and a PS4? A 3DS
Since I tend to play a lot of games on a lot of different platforms, people sometimes turn to me and ask what console to buy. "Should I get a PS4? I heard that the Xbox One has this thing called 'DRM' that's bad." Or, "is the...

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Fond Memories: Podtoid intro music from early episodes


From a loooooong time ago
Oct 09
// Dale North
Are you a Podtoid listener? If so, thank you. We love that you support our silly and almost pointless podcast. But how long have you been listening to Podtoid? Since the early days? No, I'm not talking about last year or anyt...
Goodbye photo
Goodbye

Take care, Destructoid, for everlasting peace


Nothing is over... you just don't turn it off
Oct 07
// Tony Ponce
You know that sudden feeling, that you have to make an important decision that will affect your future in significant ways, but you don't quite know what the decision is going to be or when you are going to make it? You simpl...
New Valve controller photo
New Valve controller

Exclusive: A better look at Valve's new Steam controller


Get in close with this strange beast
Sep 27
// Dale North
You may have seen Valve's announcement today, but Destructoid has the only full, in-depth gallery for their new Steam controller. Below, you'll find images from every angle of this new device. Every detail can be thoroughly examined in our gallery. We didn't miss a beat. Maybe we did. If we did miss an angle, let us know in the comments section.  pic by Mikey Turvey
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You can date Lolo from Klonoa in Namco High


Destructoid Exclusive
Sep 21
// Dale North
Shifty Look's upcoming browser-based dating sim Namco High will welcome recurring Klonoa character Lolo to the cast. She has broke out to make guest appearances before (PS2 game Namco x Capcom), but now she's going to school ...
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Street party with Dtoid @ SummerSalt


Retro gaming, Joust tournament, DJ, Prizes & more
Sep 14
// Niero Gonzalez
  You know, I really wish that newfangled air tube transportation system was already a thing so our friends from out town could just warp over here this weekend ... because we're about to join forces with a hell of a str...
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Golden Archives: The Destructoid children's alphabet book


Made by the Dtoid Community, March 2009
Sep 10
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
[Something cool we just remembered from our Golden Archives. Love this! -Niero] Last year, GuitarAtomik sang, Rio McCarthy made a bunch of awesome, Necros was racy, itemforty drew the staff, RockVillian made a prologue, Canni...
PAX Dtoid panel photo
PAX Dtoid panel

COME TO OUR DESTRUCTOID HUGE PAX PANEL TODAY


Sunday at 2:00, Pegasus Theatre
Sep 01
// Dale North
[Update: As requested, I've included the full picture in our gallery.] Today. It's today. You need to get ready for our Destructoid HUGE panel at PAX today at 2:00 p.m. in the Pegasus Theatre (2nd floor, Sheraton Hotel). We a...
Dtoid PAX panel photo
Sunday, 2pm, Pegasus Theater
Destructoid will be live in the house once again at PAX Prime, this time with a panel titled "The HUGE Evolution of Games Blogging." We'll be talking about the changes that have come to the way we talk about games, contending...

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Mr. Destructoid is super popular in Retro City Rampage


Oh, and that Jim Sterling guy is pretty neat, too
Jul 09
// Jim Sterling
According to Retro City Rampage's top fifty character styles, people love rocking that robot look. Mr. Destructoid is the second most popular character portrait on PS3/PS Vita, and the third most popular on PC! In order to un...
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Destructoid's E3 2013 Game of the Show: Titanfall


Titanfall
Jun 14
// Dale North
Those that managed to play Respawn Entertianment's Titanfall at E3 this year had the ultimate bragging rights. Players were like small-time celebs at evening events, with others asking everything they could about the title. S...
Corgtoid photo
Corgtoid

At PAX? Say hi to Dtoid EiC Dale North at his two panels


Will discuss journalism, JRPGs, and probably corgis
Mar 22
// Allistair Pinsof
Longtime game and music journalist and -- oh yeah -- Destructoid editor-in-chief Dale North will be available for your viewing, listening, and creeping pleasure at PAX East this week with two awesome panels: Do JRPGS Really S...
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Be Jim Sterling in the Zpocalypse board game


Angry Joe, Totalbiscuit, Spoony, and Linkara also on the cards
Mar 18
// Jim Sterling
Greenbrier Games' Kickstarted undead board game expansion, Zpocalypse Aftermath, is heading to stores around December time of this year. An expansion to the main Zpocalypse game, Aftermath adds new content -- including a play...

Half of Destructoid's readers block our ads. Now what?

Mar 09 // Niero Gonzalez
"Almost half of your readers block your ads. We don't think we're mistaken." BlockMetrics was easy enough to set up and monitor. At first, it was about 10%, then 20-something. When I dared to blink it just increased faster. Over a few days it never got better, averaging at an ominous 42-46% block rate. I thought their tech might have been flawed, so I performed my own tests and contacted another company who returned a similar result.  This means that we're working twice as hard as ever to sustain our company, as if keeping a group of game writers fed isn't difficult enough. We see gaming sites shut down or selling out so often these days. Feeling my pain yet? So, what would you do, standing in my one shoe remaining? I took these sobering stats to Twitter, and this is what people close to me said: [embed]247904:47442:0[/embed] Nobody wants ads in the way while they're trying to read something I know there's a fine line a publisher must walk when inviting ads in. We work with a very reputable outside company that respects our readers and is quick to ban ads we don't like. Destructoid does not allow ads that play automatic audio, and also doesn't allow ads that automatically expand without your interaction. If you ever see any of those, please report them. Also, if you stay logged in on our existing free accounts, you'll never see a full-page interstitial advertisement (the skip to continue kind). We've also moved most of our new videos to YouTube, which allows ad skipping in most circumstances. Despite adhering to what I believe are best practices for all parties involved, we're having this conversation. Still, I assume most of you haven't singled out blocking Dtoid for malicious reasons, so I went onward with my appeals.    Would you kindly un-block Destructoid? BlockMetrics' technology allowed me to overlay a special message to those who have Ad-Blocker installed. I didn't mince words: My appeal read something to the effect that ad blockers primarily hurt our writers, and if you are reading our site, we'd like your support. Indeed, our ad rate dropped slightly overnight. I didn't like guilt-tripping our readers, but it seemed like a better option than hijacking the site away from them. Ultimately, the best feedback came from one reader who, despite willingly denying our passive revenue, thought I was being too bold. A frank letter to the editors: Dear Destructiod,  Just a quick feedback. Today I found a message in red on top of my browser window telling me not to block ads on your site. I have an ad blocking software installed my my browser, as many of the more tech savvy users who are often gamers, do. I understand that you need to make money off the site traffic through ads. For a moment, I considered making an exception rule in my ad blocking software. However, there was no way to turn off the intrusive red message until I 'do what I was told'. I was intending to have a quick read of an article you have posted before proceeding to 'support your writers'. This made me uncomfortable, and alienated. Your site was no longer welcoming.  I have therefore decided not to visit your site or any of your affiliates. I can get my gaming news from similar sites that do not 'dictate' my actions, such as Kotaku, Eurogamer, vg247, Gamespot, Joystick, IGN, Giantbomb, Edge-online, Polygon - the list goes on. In this day and age, you might want to rethink the way you make money against the way you treat your readers because your competition is way too varied and strong to pull sustainable readership. I'm sure many others felt the same way as I did and a handful might actually give a damn to give feedback as I have. Just something to consider.  (Name Withheld)  What was most annoying about the letter is that he was right, and I knew it.  When I first read the letter, I felt like I was reading those kinds of hippie stories on the news where the guy comes into your house to rob someone; then when he gets beat up, he wins a lawsuit for aggravated assault. The principles of the matter don't matter -- you're just wrong and you can't punch your way out of it. It didn't help that my appeal was presented in a red floating box, and my tone was all wrong. Dating site OKC had the right idea. (Thanks, Chris) Still, I had to say something to this person that I've offended. Deep breath:  First of all, thanks so much for your candid letter and caring enough to write. May I ask why you use an ad-blocker on Destructoid? I'm also taken back that, despite learning that you had the option to indirectly help us fund the site by doing almost nothing, you found this request to be offensive. Was it what we said, and/or how we said it? I know you have many options in gaming sites, but I urge you to notice that gaming magazines and blogs are increasingly shrinking and ad-blockers are not helping. Every website relies on ad revenue. Sure, some new ones will pop up with funding but once they get running they'll rely on ads, too. While others may be less forthcoming about it we're all in the same boat, and that's not an easy boat to keep afloat. Even IGN, who arguably has the most successful ad-free subscription model, was sold last week. If I can't appeal to people to at least passively support it with ads I'm not convinced you'd be willing to reach into your pocket and help us either, because there are and always will be free options that come and go. Am I correct in that assumption? As a personal note, I love that we give everything away for free. If I can continue to do that without silly things like pay walls or begging for donations then my company will face no uncertain future. That's all we're asking for here. We could offer twice the coverage, a bigger travel budget, better computers, and have more well-fed team running the show if everyone just passively allowed the ads. That's not reality, and I get that. The results so far are not good, but show promise. Since we put up the message only 3% of people have accepted our appeal, so you're correct in stating that others do feel the same way. Since I received your letter I've revised the alert from red to a soft blue so it isn't so jarring. What else might you do if you were in my shoes? Re: "I certainly was not expecting a reply." Thank you for respond to my feedback. I am aware that the competition is tough and downsizing/ bankruptcy is rampant in gaming industry as well as game-related media. Moreover, journalism itself is under immense pressure - I should know because I, myself is in the news business (editorial design, not a reporter). I did not activate ad blocker only on your site - the plugin blocks almost all ads automatically and I can tell it not to block anything on certain sites. So it is only a few clicks away to disable that if anyone really wanted to help out. I think you missed my point on why I was not willing to do it. It is a question of choice. If I was given a choice to unblock the ads out of good will, I would have done it. but the pop up doesn't seem to go away UNTIL I unblock. So there wasn't any choice to keep viewing without having it 'nagging' me all the time whenever I visit your site, and covering search fields etc. I think that is what put me off primarily. Maybe a gentle reminder that runs across the banner (there is plenty of space between the search field and sign up/ login buttons) or even posting an article about all the facts you've sent me will further enlighten the community and even shed light on the innerrworkings of your site might help. I find that 98% of the rolling news and pictures are repeated in most of the gaming sites and I'm sure you are aware there are reposts for exclusives (albeit with a credit and link to the owner) plus twitter etc so the only reason to check a certain site is for reviews and original content. Therefore, when reading itself becomes a hassle, the battle is already lost. I hope somehow this shed some light to the matter. This is of course, an opinion one one person but I have a feeling I'm not the only one that thinks so. As for my support, your sincere reply has made me unblock the ads on the site without a second thought and I will be visiting often.  I wish you and your team well and the best of luck in your future endeavours. If this were a movie, I'd dramatically turn to the camera with puppy eyes and blurt a dramatic call to arms: "Where were you when your favorite gaming site died?" Maybe I've won this battle, but I've lost a war I wasn't even aware I was fighting. I'm not alone -- ArsTechnica once fought back by limiting access to those running the plug-in and saw an immediate backlash. Clearly, fighting your readers head-on is not the right solution.  Ad-blockers have gone mainstream. Actually, it probably hit gaming sites the hardest because gamers are some of the most savvy computer geeks. We're tinkerers and tweekers, so what's a simple browser plug-in? Only 4% of our Internet Explorer users block our ads, which the tech elite have written off years ago. Another citing: When GameSpot's Total Access program ended three months ago, the news was met with the most ghastly of comments. It's one thing to see it on a spreadsheet but when you see your readers bragging about it, it's pretty fucked up: The solution must be weirder, more creative. No wonder Valve is selling hats If left unchecked, small publishers like me may face an ad block rate of 75% or higher with no way to pay my bills. I'm not going to lobby congress to make ad-blocking illegal. That ad block percentage is not really negotiable, and is only going to go up. Other technology trends are also closing in on independent publishers: ad rates are dropping, mobile adoption is booming and dragging old ad models that don't work into them, and (let's be honest) my Internet generation expects everything to be free, cheap, and plentiful. As a pro-consumer site operator, I'll be the first to admit none of that sounds unreasonable, so it's on me to figure it out. Yes, I can raise capital and wait for the market to evolve. I'm not going to do that. Everyone that's raised capital gets sold to someone they will later wish hadn't bought them. To quote a founding editor of a recent downsized publication: "Never lose control." "Just disable the flash ads" [Updated April 11]: If I've not made this clear, let me spell it out: I don't necessarily ever want Flash ads on the site, expanding ads, hovering ads, audio ads, gutter ads -- I didn't build this site to have ads on it.  Those ads are a means to an end: they support a staff.  By removing Flash ads it would mean removing half of my writing team. You simply can't have GIF or Static ads at our size and expect to keep a time of this size fed. It's just not realistic. Allowing even semi-obtrusive ads (rollover to expand) is a difficult reality to explain, and one that I admittedly stumbled over while on an NPR talk show. I appreciate the well-meaning comments proposing that we simply remove Flash ads, but if it were that easy I would have done that long ago. In the words of our ad rep, they make us "competitive". That is to say I haven't fired anyone in the last seven years over the matter. Advertisers are also in a desperate position to use the web to advertise their products inexpensively. We're talking thousands of people the cost of a fast food value meal. Ad agencies are even more desperate: they're trying to keep their clients happy and also win more business by wining design awards. The most cunning (or annoying) ads win the clicks. Go punch a monkey. While we can afford to turn away auto-expanding and auto-audio ads, we simply cannot turn away all interactive ad units. There isn't a professional ad sales company that would take us as a client. I'd lose half my team, and there's no data that supports a mass ad-block appeal would lift even if we did. Let's also not be idealistic: there are plenty of Internet users who hate ads on principle or wants ultimate non-tracking privacy will eventually just use a different ad-blocker that doesn't have a whitelist policy. Just skim through the comments and you'll see that some people are above appeals, no matter how much we bend the advertising industry.  If you're big enough you're in a better position to try this, though. Indies, not so much. Larger websites with massive inventories with in-house control of their ad supply chain can appeal Ad-Blockers to whitelist them, but unless you're at the massive scale of Reddit you're not going to convince lazy/busy media buyers to specifically create ads for your smaller website. We're a medium-sized site and it wouldn't fly.  Sites smaller than us are in an even worse predicament: They solely rely on the wild west of ad networks where quality control is all over the place.  An ad network will call a script or two, not have an ad to display, and will bounce it to another provider. We've seen happen upwards of 25 times per page. The tech sucks, but then again, the Internet ad industry has only been around for so long. Its improving every day, but some of these ad serving systems are really showing their age.   Destructoid will somehow offer you an awesome membership program this year  I needn't point out to anyone that the videogames press has shrunk at record speed this year. Whether you're a freelancer for an established site or well-fed at a temporarily funded business that relies on ads, this ad-block trend will eventually take a slice from your livelihood. Take stock, do your diligence, and have a quiet conversation with your staff and readers about it. Yes, it is a business issue, but it also a matter of the viability of the independent press.  If you had to choose one single editorial or swag perk, ad-free browsing aside, what would make an annual membership on Destructoid worth your while?  That's the magic question. To offset ad-blocking or advertising altogether some top bloggers are trying the unspeakable: asking their readers to become the customer. Giant Bomb, ScrewAttack, and Penny-Arcade have all famously made this work. From the research I've done, the perks that these programs offer seems like the most respectful alternative to slinging the advertising hustle. We'll follow suit, and aspire to do the right thing. I certainly wouldn't put up the sites you know today behind a paywall. Instead, I'd challenge my teams to justify a network-wide membership with a bunch of bonus stuff, and the money we earn would go towards making even more perks. We're having those conversations internally right now, so we're open to ideas. Speak up. This is an interesting time to arrive at these crossroads, as our company turns seven years old next week. To be clear, we're not going out of business anytime soon nor will I be using this an excuse to lazily panhandle for dollars. No offense to those which have gone the one-time crowdsourcing route, but you won't find me on Kickstarter shopping for a temp quick fix. We want to remain a 100% independent and are willing to work that much harder for it by offering our readers something MORE, not by hiding what we already do behind a pay-wall. In the 7 years of our company we have never irresponsibly raised venture capital money, or have had massive layoffs. We believe in running a company the good old-fashioned way and want to stand the test of time. That's what makes working at Destructoid such a great place. Thanks for sticking with us, blocked ads or not. We'll make it our way. [sad keanu by implyingrope]
Ad-blockers hurt Dtoid photo
Hug it out
[Webmaster Dojo is a column where I share my experiences running Destructoid, one of the last sites not owned by a media conglomerate or venture capital velociraptor. I'll sling exotic coffee bean water to keep servers on.] R...

Free Quest Download photo
Free Quest Download

Free DLC: Download a new Dtoid quest in Etrian Odyssey IV


Scan this QR code to access the Destructoid Quest
Feb 27
// Dale North
How are you liking Etrian Odyssey IV so far? I've talked to several of you and it seems that everyone is digging it. Some have asked for gameplay tips, so here they are. For now, Destructoid has an exclusive quest in Etrian O...
GameWars photo
GameWars

Quit your job and host videogame parties for a living


GameWars launches franchise business, partners with Destructoid to party
Feb 27
// Niero Gonzalez
Want a job in videogames, but suck at writing and design? How are your partying skills?  If you (or a group of friends) are looking to turn your gaming hobby into a business, I'd like you to consider GameWars Franchise ...
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Destructoid Live! panel at MAGFest this weekend


Friday at 3pm in Panels room 2
Jan 02
// Dale North
Are you going to MAGFest this weekend? You should. We gave you five very good reasons to go. The music alone should be good enough, and bonuses like table flipping should round out what's sure to be an incredible weekend.&nbs...

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