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Destructoid Originals

Chibi-Robo photo

It's time to pray for Chibi-Robo

God have mercy
Oct 08
// Jonathan Holmes
Chibi-Robo is a refugee from GameCube country, born from the co-mingling DNA of the industry's most well-known publisher and one of its least mainstream-friendly developers, he was ready to die from the moment he hit the grou...

Joe Mad (Darksiders, Battle Chasers) has answered your questions

Oct 06 // Jonathan Holmes
[embed]314164:60637:0[/embed] Kevin Bowyer: Wii U version? Loved Darkstalkers II for the Wii U. Joe Mad: It’s not currently in the plan, unfortunately. We are a small team on a tight budget, so we had to be choosy about which consoles to launch on. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen further down the road though. Jesse Johnson: How does he feel about the new apple flavored skittle? I feel it ruined the candy as a whole. I'm a bit pissed really. Joe Mad: I actually really like it (sorry!). I usually buy Darkside Skittles (because I like to pretend it says Darksiders) but for some reason the yellow skittle in the blue ‘Tropical’ bag is one of my favorites. Pineapple I think? ThePich: How does that armor bra on the redhead work?  Joe Mad: I honestly have no idea. Magic, probably! [embed]314164:60638:0[/embed] Dango: Who are these Darksiders that the games are named after? Joe Mad: It was meant to describe the Horsemen, but really encompasses the game as a whole, since even the ‘good’ guys are ‘dark’ characters. You seek the aid of Dead Lords and go on quests for Demons. Angels are corrupt. It’s not your typical ‘save humanity’ hero story! Cosmonstropolis: What's your go-to while pooping? What book are you currently reading?  Joe Mad: Usually, if I’ve forgotten to bring my phone into the bathroom with me, I’ll just grab at whatever’s nearby—shampoo labels, toothpaste, etc. But I’m currently reading The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Black Company. And don’t worry, I always put my phone back in my pocket before I touch anything nasty. Swear! Barry Kelly: With a very ambitious game and what appears to be a very frugal budget and development time, which changes in the industry over the last few years do you most attribute to being able to deliver a project like this? Better experience? A tighter, closer knit team? A more focused and defined game design and scope? Better development tools? etc  Joe Mad: All of the above! Our small team is very experienced, and we’ve all worked together for years. We carefully scoped this game to be manageable for our team size and budget from the onset. You’d be surprised what a small dedicated team can do when it’s a passion project. Alex Heat: Darksiders 3 when? Joe Mad: We get this question a lot. The information is out there, but for those that don’t know, Vigil Games was dissolved when THQ went bankrupt, and Darksiders was sold to Nordic Games. They own it now, and seem very committed to continuing to do great things with the series (Check out the Deathinitive Edition, coming out in October!) We are just as curious/excited as you guys about the possibility of a DS3! It’s out of our hands! [embed]314164:60643:0[/embed] Ahr Ech: Why is the guy from Berserk just standing in the background of that header?   Lex: Same reason why Miss Fortune is in the front maybe? Joe Mad: Heh. Not taking the bait! Keiichi Morisato: What is your favorite Zelda game? Joe Mad: Gameplay wise, Ocarina of Time. Art wise, Windwaker! John Seiler: Are we going to see new collections of the old Battle Chasers book along with new comic stories? I really liked the issue that Adam Warren did and would love to see other writers and artists take a stab at that world. Really, I just miss that world. Joe Mad: Thank you. Yes, I plan on making all the old books available again in physical form. Stay tuned for details! Brandon Dunlap: From what we see from the game play videos there will be 3 active players and everyone else will be reserved, will there be an on the fly swap feature in combat, and why did you choose to go with 3 active characters, and not 4? Joe Mad: There’s more weight to choosing your party makeup when you’re forced to pick 3 (out of 6 available characters). You can switch them out at any point when you’re in town prepping for your adventure. It also speeds up the combat a bit, the pace feels better. And visually, it allows the characters to all be larger on screen. So, lots of reasons! [embed]314164:60639:0[/embed] Adolfo Arredondo: Have you thought about selling Battle Chasers action figures? Cartoonish like Disney Infinity or more detailed? Joe Mad: Yes! There’s no solid plan at the moment, but it’s something we all geek out about, so hopefully we can make it happen before too long! Anthony Griego: Any chance we will see Akimon in the game? He was one of my favorites and I was always bummed he was *spoiler* killed! Joe Mad: Actually, Akiman is very much alive, it was Bengus who we saw get blasted (though there’s no proof he’s actually dead). I will for sure touch on these guys in the books again—as far as the game, we will have to wait and see. Toshiro Miphony: Will Battle Chasers the game be released as timely as Battle Chasers the comic? If so, I can't wait until it's released in 2021. Joe Mad: No, it’ll be on a tighter schedule. Mastersith40: Will Liquid! return to color the comics? Joe Mad: I would really love for this to happen. Both Aron Lusen and Christian Lichtner have gone on to become video game art director rock stars, so they are out of the comics biz these days. But I will use all my powers of persuasion (and guilt!)  to try to lure them back when the time comes… [embed]314164:60640:0[/embed] churchofvirus: Why no physical copy of the game at any backer level? This turns off a large amount of potential backers. Joe Mad: We would really love to do these! We decided against it for Kickstarter since we were strongly cautioned against it by some of our good friends who had large successful KS campaigns. It mainly comes down to (very unpredictable!) shipping costs, production costs, and managing order fulfillment (among other reasons).  Maybe we can make it happen later down the road. I’d love one sitting on my shelf too! Mike Payne: Of your own work, what sticks out in your mind as some of your favorite pieces? what's your least favorite?  Joe Mad: I definitely think my BC era stuff is among my best as far as comics go. I was really happy with the splash art I did recently for Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Sadly, I tend to hate most of my stuff shortly after I do it, so I don’t latch on to specific pieces very often. And of course, I absolutely hate all the older stuff I’ve done, like Excalibur, Deadpool, and a lot of my X-Men stuff (sorry guys!!! ). I was just going through growing pains still as an artist back then, and I only see the bad when I look back on it, never the good! Mike Payne: When you started to bring anime into your style were you ever unsure about it? Did editors ever make you doubt your style choices? Joe Mad: No, actually the editors were very supportive! It was some of the fans who really, really hated it and made me doubt, lol! Specifically on the Uncanny X-men stuff. I’d get comments on the dumb hairstyles, missing nostrils and giant eyes quite often. Back then, we still had fan mail in the form of letters, so I would have these huge piles of hate mail that I eventually stopped going through in order to preserve my sanity! [embed]314164:60642:0[/embed]  Jonathan Holmes: I'd love to see Battle Chasers crossover with other games, like Darksiders, Shovel Knight or maybe Skullgirls. Is it possible? Do you want me to get you in touch with those guys? The Skullgirls team just announced just announed a party based RPG, so it could be a perfect fit.  Joe Mad: Oh man, Shovel Knight rocks. You don’t know how bad we wanted to make a Metroidvania game (cannot wait for Chasm!). An intro would be awesome. I definitely wouldn’t rule out a Darksiders crossover. We are still good friends with those guys (which is why they let us use the Chaoseater in Battle Chasers!) And Indivisible looks fucking gorgeous. I’m backing it for sure.
Battle Chasers photo
Comics, game development, and Skittles
The Battle Chasers: Nightwar Kickstarter is in its final days, and to help celebrate its resounding success, comics legend Joe Mad, creator of Battle Chasers and Darksiders, has answered a boat load of questions from you, the...

Law junk photo
Law junk

Every video game delayed in the UK (Fauxclusive)

Damn you consumer protections!
Oct 06
// CJ Andriessen
Following the enactment of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which guarantees a refund for any digital video game purchase if they are found to be faulty, not as described or not a quality product; every video game publisher an...
Disney Infinity photo
Disney Infinity

Ask any and all of your Disney Infinity 3.0 questions here

Oct 01
// 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.] [Update: Show's over folks...

When a bonus mode is better than the main game

Sep 26 // Kyle MacGregor
There's just something about Monkey Target. It seemed to have the power to transfix random passersby that might otherwise have little interest in games. Perhaps it was the peaceful music, which never seemed to get old no matter how many times you heard it. Maybe it was the bright colors that pulled people in -- a vast cerulean ocean stretching out as far as the eye can see, rainbow-coated targets, and rows upon rows of golden (and bizarrely Dole-branded) bananas hanging in the air. Maybe it was just the alluring concept of a bunch of monkeys in translucent balls rolling themselves down a slope toward the sea, popping the capsules open and gliding over the water toward faraway bull's-eyes. It's strange and fantastical -- the sort of thing you would have never dreamed up on your own in a million years, something you can learn in a minute but take a lifetime (or at least countless hours) to truly master. I'm not sure what it is about Monkey Target that I love so much. Everything, probably. Even today, I dusted off my old GameCube and fired the game up for a little "research." An hour later I was still trying to best my high score, just as enamored as I was 10 years ago. Are there any extra modes you enjoy more than the main games they're attached to? Funnily enough, the Chao Gardens from another Sega series, the Sonic Adventure games, also come to mind. Please share your favorites with us in the comments below.
Super Monkey Ball photo
Monkey Target forever
Super Monkey Ball was magical. It's a series for which I have so many fond memories. I have this vision in my head, a strong mental picture of half-a-dozen guys in a dimly-lit college dorm room playing Monkey Target 2. There ...

Experience Points .24: Deadly Premonition

Sep 26 // Ben Davis
The man who wasn't there The big question on everyone's minds while playing Deadly Premonition is always, "Who is Zach?!" York talks to himself a lot, and he's always addressing someone named Zach who is not actually present. There's never a physical manifestation of the person he's talking to, and Zach never responds out loud, although York does speak as if Zach is talking to him as well. They seem to be best friends, and York always asks him for advice. So who is he? Is Zach an imaginary friend? Does York have some kind of mental disorder such as a split personality? Did Zach die and York is still in denial? All of these possibilities crossed my mind while playing through Deadly Premonition, but about halfway through I decided on something else which I kind of liked. Maybe Zach is the player, meaning every time it seems like York is talking to himself, he's really trying to have a conversation with the player to try and piece together the mystery of what's going on around town. It would have been a clever way to make the player feel included in the story, even if their name wasn't actually Zach. Zach's true identity is revealed towards the end of the story, and it's about as cheesy and melodramatic as I would have expected from this game. I do sort of wish they had kept his identity a mystery, though. Coming up with possible theories about Zach was a lot more fun than learning the truth about him. Let's take this baby for a ride For a perfect example of the kind of thing that makes Deadly Premonition an awesomely bad game, let's take a look at the driving mechanics. The first time I got in a car, the controls seemed jarring and overwhelmingly complicated. The game assaults you with a huge list of controls. Every single button seems to do something different. Not only can York steer, accelerate, brake, and change the camera angles, but there are also buttons for honking, turning on the headlights, using the windshield wipers, signaling turns, and talking (either to a passenger or to himself). I'm surprised they didn't include buttons for the radio and air conditioner too, while they were at it. All of these controls may seem like a lot to remember, but really, none of these things are necessary aside from steering, accelerating, and braking. The headlights don't really help much when it's dark, and likewise, the wipers don't help much while it's raining. And who knows why anyone would ever need to use turn signals in a video game. So why were all of these complex controls included? Beats me. I guess they wanted the experience to feel more realistic, but it honestly just makes it feel way more absurd. And not only do the vehicles have superfluous controls, they also break down over time and run out of gas, meaning if York wants to keep driving the same car, he'll have to take it to the gas station for refills and repairs. All of this just to drive from one location to the next in a murder mystery game, as if it's trying to be a driving simulator on top of everything else. The driving mechanics are incredibly bizarre and mostly unnecessary, but I kind of love them for those exact reasons. There's so many things to do in the car with no real justification for their inclusion, and I think that's hilarious in a way. All the girls say I'm pretty fly One of my favorite things in Deadly Premonition is its random inclusion of beard growth and hygiene mechanics. It may not be obvious at first, but York's face will slowly start to accumulate stubble over time, and his clothes will become dirtier the longer he wears them. At first I was confused about why he was able to shave at every mirror he came across, not to mention the fact that he was dry shaving (sometimes mere seconds after he had just shaved, if I kept making him... ouch!). Soon I stopped shaving, because it didn't seem to do anything. And then the stubble started to come in. I was pleasantly surprised. Beard growth mechanics in Deadly Premonition? Unexpected, but why not? The game already has everything else going for it. Obviously, I kept the beard for the remainder of my playthrough, because beards are awesome. But what about the hygiene mechanics? This one took me a lot longer to figure out. Eventually, as I was playing, I began to notice flies hovering around York. It started with one fly, and I thought it was just a random background element of the specific scene that was happening. Maybe the police station had a fly problem? Who knows. Soon the flies began to multiply, to the point where York was holding a town meeting amid a veritable swarm of insects. Only none of the characters were reacting to them. I thought, "Okay, now this is getting ridiculous! What is the deal with these flies?!" I had to resort to looking it up online, because I was seriously confused. Apparently, York's clothing gets dirty over time, so he needs to get his suits dry cleaned every now and then to stay fresh and keep the flies away. Who would have guessed? After I found this out, I honestly considered staying in my dirty pink suit for the rest of the game anyway, just because of how hilarious all of the cutscenes were with a horde of flies swarming around York during serious moments. It made me laugh, but ultimately the little bugs were too distracting, so I had to get rid of them. Geez, York, take a shower or something! A damn fine cup of coffee There are many reasons to love Mr. Francis York Morgan (I mean look at that smile... how could you not love a face like that?), but my favorite thing about him is his unbridled, almost alarming excitement for food and coffee. Much like FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper's enthusiasm for coffee and pie in Twin Peaks, York can't hold back his love for certain foodstuffs. A few of the most memorable scenes in Deadly Premonition are about food, such as when Polly brings York a cup of coffee for his first day on the case. Before she brings it over to him, he warns, "I am very particular about my coffee. The very best you have, please," with a charming smile that surely melted the old lady's heart (or her eyes). He takes his time enjoying the cup, and even has a surprising revelation while staring into the dark brown liquid. Afterwards, he can go back for another cup (and another... and another), and each drink gives him a new fortune. I have to wonder how he gets these fortunes, though. Are they appearing to him in the coffee itself, like the letters "F K" did? The fortunes are pretty long, so that would be rather impressive. Maybe he just has such a strong connection to coffee that it speaks to him every time he drinks it. Maybe he is the coffee whisperer. Another great scene is when he tries a special sandwich for the first time. After ordering a turkey and gravy sandwich and a fresh cup of coffee (obviously) from the local diner, Mr. Stewart stops by to pick up his lunch and convinces York to change his order to a turkey, strawberry jam, and cereal sandwich. Or as York calls it, the "Sinner's Sandwich." York is skeptical at first, but tries it anyway. His reaction to eating the concoction is perfect. He takes one bite and literally jumps back out of his seat, staring at the sandwich in awe and proclaiming, "I can't believe it! This is... fantastic!" The camera then pans to Emily, who has a look of thorough disappointment at her friend's choices. I have yet to try this sandwich myself, but it sure sounds... interesting. I can't imagine turkey and strawberry jam going well together, and "cereal" is a pretty vague ingredient. I wonder what kind of cereal would be best to use? Beauty in death Deadly Premonition had some of the best death sequences I've ever seen in a video game. Obviously, this is a bit of a touchy topic, because I don't want to spoil too much for anyone who hasn't played the game yet. But even the very first victim, Anna Graham, who we see strung up to a tree in the opening cutscene, looks like some kind of beautiful, bloody angel of death. Creepy and unsettling, but at the same time aesthetically pleasing. We don't actually see her being killed, though. The rest of the victims' deaths are just as dramatic, except the player must watch as they happen. I think the second victim's scene was my personal favorite, because the tension was so incredibly palpable. It was such an intense moment, and the color palette and placement of the body helped make everything stand out. I'm usually not one for appreciating blood and gore, but Deadly Premonition's death sequences were just so well executed that it was hard not to appreciate them. More than just a pretty (ugly) face If there's one thing that Deadly Premonition does legitimately well, it's character development. Every single character is memorable in their own way. They all have unique personalities and backgrounds. Even minor characters seemed interesting, even though I might have only talked to them a couple of times. Take the hospital receptionist, Fiona, for example. York really only has to talk to her once or twice during the entire game, but in that small amount of time I learned that she likes reading best-selling books, she's studying for a medical exam, and she has a crush on the hunky doctor she works with. She could have easily just been another random NPC with no personality, but they fleshed her out and made her seem important. I was actually surprised when I got to the end of the game and realized I only talked to her twice, because it almost felt like it was setting her up to be more crucial to the plot. And I could say the same for just about every other character. There was Mr. Stewart, the creepy, quiet, gas mask-wearing man and Michael who talks for him; Polly, the kind old hotel owner who is hard of hearing; Thomas, the shy police assistant who is great at cooking and knows a lot about squirrels; Kaysen, the friendly traveling plant salesman who has a cool pet dalmatian; Isaach and Isaiah, the creepy-cute twins; Nick, the art-loving cook who is very quick to anger; Lysander, the "general" who wears a sergeant's uniform; and even "Roaming" Sigourney, the crazy old lady who is always lost and carrying a pot around. They're all wonderful characters with so much personality packed into each and every one of them. I think the characters are the biggest reason why Deadly Premonition became such a huge cult hit. If the characters had been dull and uninteresting, I'm not sure most people would have put up with the weird controls, poor graphics, and sometimes tedious gameplay to make it to the end. I know the reason I couldn't put the game down was because the characters were all so likable and I couldn't wait to see more of the story to find out how things turned out for everyone. Past Experience Points Level 1: .01 - .20 .21: Katamari Damacy.22: Tomb Raider.23: Mother 3
Deadly Premonition photo
'F K'... in the coffee!
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...

Halo 5 photo
Halo 5

Halo 5's grunts are so adorable when they're sleeping

Also, when they're trying to murder you
Sep 24
// Brett Makedonski
We've spent well more than a decade conditioned to abhor The Covenant. Every time we see them, everything immediately dissolves into an all-out firefight. There's no love loss at all. But, maybe those guys aren't so bad -- e...
Coximano Challenge photo
Coximano Challenge

The Coximano Challenge: Super Mario Maker

It's a metaphor for life!
Sep 22
// Mike Cosimano
I used Super Mario Maker to drive one of my good friends into the arms of alcoholism. When Myles Cox (the Destructoid Video Boy who had his day) and I workshopped the idea that would become the Coximano Challenge, we fig...

How the hell did I become a MOBA player?

Sep 20 // Nic Rowen
I remember trying Dota 2 a few years ago. I had just watched the International and it seemed like everyone else did too. Hype was at an all-time high, and it felt like the moment to finally try it out for myself. I did it right, I did my homework before I started playing: read a few beginners guides, watched a few videos to prepare myself; I was a professional. I had modest expectations, I knew the game's rep, that it was complicated, had an abrasive community, and could be rough on new players. I thought I was ready for it. As you might have guessed, I wasn't. I wasn't just bad at Dota, I was horrific at it. Looking at the action on my monitor was like staring into a void of despair. Every single one of my few matches was a ghastly car wreck that would tumble and twist and dismember over the course of 40 excruciating minutes, and I was forced to look it all straight in the eye. After all, I was the one behind the wheel. I was, despite my best intentions, despite my goody-goody studying and prep work, possibly the worst Dota player of all time. It turns out there is a huge gulf between knowing what you're supposed to do, and actually doing it. I was never where I was supposed to be, never doing what I was supposed to, constantly buying the wrong items, requesting the courier at the wrong time, and my teammates were sure to let me know it. I've been playing online multiplayer games for more than half my life, I'm used to a little shit talk now and then. But I've never encountered vitriol so purely distilled and highly concentrated as I did as a noob in Dota. The worst part was that it didn't even make sense. Sure, I sucked. I sucked hard. But so did they. I was being matched in with other new or low-performing players, and while I didn't have an expert eye, I could tell none of the chucklenuts I was teamed up with were exactly pro-players in their own right. They were heaping scorn on me, and each other of course, not out of a place of superiority, but a place of expectation. They knew Dota was supposed to be foul and mean, so they acted that way. It didn't matter if they had the chops to back it up, shit talking was done for the sake of shit talking. Not that I want to imply being great at a game gives you license to be an asshole (it doesn't), but there is something especially grating about being told to “git gud” by someone failing just as hard as you. Is there anything less appealing than a community that embraces an ethos of shittiness? So yeah, I might have been the one driving, but there were four other assholes in the backseat pulling my hair and messing with the radio. Is it any surprise we all wound up mangled in a ditch? So I begged off. MOBAs were not for me and never would be. I couldn't hang in that group and I had no interest in even trying. However enchanting the action on the International tournament stage was, however interesting the genre seemed to be in the abstract, however cool/funny/cute any particular character was, it wouldn't be worth putting up with all the crap surrounding it. Flash forward to a few weeks ago. I've got the nebulous idea of giving a MOBA another shot for this series, I'm thinking, obviously, Dota. But, when I tell a few friends about it, they remind me they've been trying to get me to play Heroes of the Storm with them for months now and if I'm gonna play a MOBA, it's going to be that one on pain of excommunication. Well, might as well hit two birds with one stone right? Heroes of the Storm will give me plenty of material to work with, right? Well, yes and no. Sadly, I don't have sadomasochistic stories about suffering to share. On the bright side, I am pretty excited to talk about my new favorite game. I have to explain to you how bad it's been. How quickly this new addiction spiraled out of control. I went from begrudgingly playing Heroes of the Storm as an academic exercise to subscribing to two different Heroes of the Storm-centric podcasts to listen to while I'm not playing. I went from thinking “oh, some of those characters might be kind of cool” to owning a bunch of mini-figs of the cast. Please understand, I haven't bought plastic crap for my desk in years. I got away from the pre-order statue, premium action figure game when I realized it was getting difficult to find room for a coffee mug in my work area and never looked back -- until now that is. What the hell is wrong with me? I can't say what exactly it is about Heroes that makes it so much fun. I mean, the basics are obvious, it's a well-constructed, highly polished game with excellent variety and constant influxes of new content in the form of characters, maps, skins, and balance adjustments. It's more welcoming to new players, with (from what I've experienced) a less abrasive community. Sure, you still run into the occasional jerk, but they're rare (it helps that there is no communication between opposing teams and muting someone is as easy as clicking their name). I'm not sure that explains it entirely, but for some reason this one hooked me, badly. When I love a game, I really love a game. I'll play them with a pretty scary amount of fixation. Since becoming a (somewhat) more professional games writer in the last year, I haven't had the time or focus to really deep dive on a game like I used to. But I can feel it happening with Heroes, all the old symptoms are there. I've already started pushing the game on others as a per-emptive defense mechanism, building a network of enablers. Like some cliche schoolyard drug dealer straight out of a PSA, I got my girlfriend and family to “just try it out” too and dragged them down to my level. Judge me now, but know that you judge yourself. To me, Heroes triggers the same impulses as Team Fortress 2 did when I was at the height of my passion for it. A wonderful combination of enjoying the silly characters and goofy aesthetic (Blizzard knows the premise of the game is ridiculous and the characters are appropriately flippant about it) while being absolutely captivated by the mechanics underneath. I've always loved class-based team games, and Heroes is very up front with character roles and the niches they occupy. If you squint hard, it almost like playing something like Team Fortress 2 from a bird's eye view, or maybe the commander's chair. I like the wheedling, the finagling, the uncountable little nuances of positioning and timing and situational awareness that make all the difference. How spotting just the right place to be in a team fight can secure a crucial kill that you know deep in your bones wouldn't have happened if you didn't scout it out right. How using the right skill at exactly the right time can be game winning. While using the same skill half a second earlier or later would be meaningless. How the mini-map becomes your very best friend in the world. How you slowly learn to fear the enemies you don't see on it more than the ones that are clearly charging towards you. The ones you don't see are the clever girls about to Velociraptor you from your blindside. Right now, all the MOBA players reading this are shaking their heads, “No shit, that's exactly what we've been saying for years!” and they're right. What I've discovered isn't some big secret about MOBAs that I'm sharing the hot scoop on. It's only revolutionary to me. But life is made of tiny, personal revelations. Practically everything you love was appreciated by others before you stumbled onto it. I don't want this to read as a hit piece on Dota 2 while I lavish praise on Heroes of the Storm. Despite my rough introduction to it, I still think Dota 2 is one of the most entertaining and interesting games on the market. I bet that if I tried it out now with the skills and basic familiarity with the genre that I've built up with Heroes I'd have a much better time with it. Really, it's the concessions and cuts from other MOBAs that are a big factor of why Heroes is so much more fun for a new player. There's no item shop to overwhelm you with options, no last hitting, or creep stacking. Ideas like jungling, capturing Roshan, and using minions to push lanes are more formalized into mercenary camps and map objectives in game. Everything has timers on it, things are explained. The inscrutable mysteries and highly specialized, uber-obscure knowledge of Dota is one of the things that makes that game so interesting to watch and to think about. But, and you're free to call me a wimp here, when it comes to actually playing something, maybe explaining what you're supposed to do isn't the worst idea in the world. I like mystery in games, I like mental work, but it has to be in the proper context. In something like Dark Souls I'm more than willing to explore the world, experiment with mechanics, and generally take a few lumps in the process. But that's a (mostly) single player experience built on those ideas. MOBAs are more like a sport, a competition between two teams where you have up to 9 other people depending on you to do your part to make it a good match. Thinking about it like that, it seems insane to me to hide half the rules of the game. To suddenly throw another ball onto the field and then scream at someone when he gets hit in the face with it. You could call Heroes of the Storm “baby's first MOBA” and you wouldn't be entirely wrong. But is it really that bad to want to get your feet under you before being asked to run a race (on a course with deathtraps and spike-pits, where all the other competitors are swinging around bicycle chains and throwing lawn darts at one another)? Who knows, maybe my infatuation with Heroes won't last. Maybe in a month or so I won't be feeling the rush as much as I did the first time, and I'll be looking for a more concentrated, more complex dose of MOBA action. I'll come sheepishly up to Dota, or even League of Legends, looking for a new kind of hit. Who can say? I'm a MOBA man now, and whatever the flavor, I don't see that changing anytime soon. Previously on Out of my Comfort Zone: #01: Thirsty, hungry, and crappy in ARK: Survival Evolved
HotS experiences photo
Out of my Comfort Zone #02
Okay, I'm going to let you take a peek behind the curtain on this one. I chose to tackle a MOBA for the second entry of Out of my Comfort Zone because I thought it would be funny. I thought it would be a story of failure, pai...

Dtoid Designs photo
Dtoid Designs

Dtoid Designs: Show us your Super Mario Maker skills

Let's see what you can do!
Sep 20
// CJ Andriessen
Earlier this month, after more than a year of waiting, Nintendo finally released Super Mario Maker on the Wii U. Our own Chris Carter liked it, and with more than one million levels created so far, it seems the rest of the wo...
The New Normal photo
The New Normal

Major game studios ask that you just lower your standards from now on (Fauxclusive)

Throw any expectations out the window
Sep 19
// CJ Andriessen
Following reports from video game QA testers that the industry hasn’t learned from the errors of the past, publishers and developers around the world today asked gamers to just lower their standards from here on out. In...

The Silent Hill Retrospective: Silent Hill 3

Sep 19 // Stephen Turner
At its heart, Silent Hill 3 is about a girl coming of age. From the opening nightmare sequence, we’re treated to very familiar horror iconography: blood red hues, a fascination with blades, of something foreign inside the body, and a cute mascot in disturbingly lifeless poses, all set in an abandoned amusement park. Heather’s journey home takes her through teenage hangouts and public places, their dark sides brought to the fore, all the way to Silent Hill and deep within. Little Red Riding Hood by way of Dario Argento, if you will. Her survival depends on a reconciliation between childhood and adult life, with her former selves being these literal, separate slices of life. By the end, Heather is not Alessa, nor Cheryl, but its through their remembrance that she ultimately becomes her own person, able to make her own decisions in life. On the other side of the coin, there's Claudia Wolf, the story's misguided antagonist; a colourless imitation of a reasonable young adult, preferring the comfort of blind faith over autonomy. Adulthood, or at least what we find of it in Silent Hill 3, is represented by the messes of men. Douglas Cartland is a walking list of mistakes, whereas Vincent Smith takes a perverse pride in belittling the ignorant few. One seeks redemption, the other deals in exploitation. The cast might be minimal, but it works for the duality on display. Lines are drawn and lesson are learned. Douglas, himself, finds redemption through parental guidance, something he thought he'd lost, a lifetime ago. [embed]311452:60439:0[/embed] As a direct sequel to a fairly obtuse original, past events are recalled and plainly deconstructed. Riddle speak is deftly cut down by barbed tongues, infallible fathers are shown to be weak and vulnerable (breaking down our own hero worship in the process), and The Order is explained in definitive detail. It's this clarity that ends up being vital to Heather's character growth. Particularly telling is how her descriptive texts turn from dismissive to thoughtful, reflective and empathetic, along with the bloodstains that are eventually splashed across her pure white jacket. The Otherworld returns to its original form, now a higher-definition of improbable locations, foetal-like defects and rattling heads (for his final game, Masahiro Ito's designs were part-freakshow, part-macabre fairytale). It's a harsher world, full of abattoir tiles and maddening works of art, an intensity that almost goes overboard in places; bringing back the surface level scares that were missing in Silent Hill 2. It's visceral, but it needed to be that way. The Otherworld doesn't adapt, it grows with its protagonist. And it's most obvious in the way the skeletal walls and beasts of raw flesh develop rippling layers of skin as you progress. The Otherworld is a fearful representation of pregnancy and birth, all of which ends with an abortion of sorts. For a series that prides itself on subversion, Silent Hill 3 is rather transparent with its humanist values. Both pro-choice and nihilistic towards religion, the messages come through clearly at the most shocking of times and even breaks the philosophical fourth-wall when needed (note how Vincent usually addresses the audience through POV angles). At one point, the player is asked to forgive or condemn Claudia's actions, and the answer doesn't lie in the usual act of altruism. Silent Hill 3 will always be most famous for the line, “They look like monsters to you?” but that's always been a sly misdirection at best, or a love letter by a dev team on their way out. Personally speaking, it’s a symptom of why Silent Hill 3 never crawled out from Silent Hill 2's shadow; the constant post-modern distractions took focus away from the bigger picture. But you could also argue that it was down to a waning interest in survival horror, or an emphasis on unrefined combat, badly paced locations, or even the re-use of assets for a quick turnaround. And none of these would be wrong, either. That said, especially after replaying it for this retrospective, Silent Hill 3 is a game in need of re-appraisal. The tired, introspective tone from the developers is actually more relevant now than on release. Heather Mason also manages to be a strong female character, one that earns that title, rather than put on a pedestal from the get-go. And this was in 2003, remember. The Otherworld was as close as we were ever going to get an HD remake, complete with so many hidden details and huge advancement in character design. And it's rarely said enough, the haunted house section is completely underrated in the way it pulls the rug from underneath the player. Hey, maybe, ironically, it's a reconciliation with the past speaking. In any case, no matter where you place it – best, mid-tier, worst (personally, mid-tier) – Silent Hill 3 signaled the dying days of "Team Silent," but there was one more oddity that would send us tumbling down the rabbit hole and into a realm of existentialism that hasn’t been explored in video games since.
Silent Hill photo
'It's about your birth.'
Silent Hill 3 is a mean-spirited game, but then that was always the point. In order to value her future, Heather Mason is dragged, kicking and screaming, through the muck and mire of her past. Yes, she’s given the tools...

MGSV photo
And someday you feed on a tree frog
Before the tactical espionage begins, certain "important announcements" must be ignored...

Podtoid 305: The Voice of God

Sep 13 // Kyle MacGregor
[embed]310493:60341:0[/embed] Things we talked about: 0:00:00 -- Foreshadowing 0:09:33 -- Metal Gear Solid V and inside baseball 0:29:10 -- Penny Arcade's Mad Max review tantrum 0:34:15 -- Video game movie talk 0:35:00 -- Would you rather watch Hitman: Agent 47 or Pixels? 0:36:15 -- Uwe Boll is a bad man 0:40:28 -- Peeing in the shower: OK or not OK? 0:44:20 -- Apple TV, iPhone 6S, Crossy Road multiplayer, and Beat Sports 0:49:50 -- Wearable technology 0:54:30 -- We don't talk about Rocket League 0:55:45 -- Crowdfunding gone wrong 1:04:45 -- Super Monkey Ball 1:06:30 -- PlayStation and Dreamcast anniversaries 1:08:50 -- Metal Gear Solid V again 1:13:40 -- SATPOTPAQ 1:31:12 -- Podtoid Quiz 1:40:30 -- What game would you recommend everybody play? 1:42:30 -- Steven's Twitter Recent Episodes Podtoid 304: The Phantom Pain Podtoid 303: A Good Amount of Cocaine Podtoid 302: Virtual Reality is the Future Podtoid 301: The Least Interesting Man in the World Podtoid 300: Randy Pitchford's Little Asshole Send any and all questions, tips, and Mötley Crüe mp3s to [email protected]
It's anything but Quiet
Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or download it here. Destructoid editors Kyle, Steven, Brett, and Darren are joined by pal of the show Hayden Dingman to chat about Metal Gear Solid V, the latest Apple news, Penny Arcade bullshit, and more.

Experience Points .23: Mother 3

Sep 12 // Ben Davis
Monkey business My favorite character in Mother 3 doesn't remain a party member for very long, but he uses his short amount of time to really shine. Chapter 3 introduces a cute little monkey named Salsa, who is being led around by a horrible man named Fassad. Fassad forces Salsa to perform for him with a device which electrocutes the poor monkey for disobeying. He has also kidnapped Salsa's girlfriend and threatens to harm her if Salsa doesn't do what he says. Fassad is a rather despicable man. Eventually, Fassad drags Salsa to the quiet town of Tazmily, hoping to trick the citizens into buying his "Happy Boxes" (which are basically televisions or computers) by charming them with Salsa's dance moves. He then forces Salsa to deliver the heavy electronics to each of the customers, which means he's free to walk around town without Fassad following him around for a while. Even though he's under strict orders to deliver the Happy Boxes in a timely manner, he can still pretty much do what he pleases. This is one of the most powerful moments in the game to me. A little chime plays each time Salsa picks up a Happy Box, but it's definitely not a happy chime. It's more of an apprehensive tune, which foreshadows the eventual downfall of Tazmily due to the Happy Box catalysts. And poor Salsa is the one being forced to deliver these evil boxes against his will, probably unaware of what he's about to cause. The music for this section, "Monkey's Delivery Service," is one of my favorite tracks. It almost sounds happy at first, but there's this subtle mournful tone to the music which starts to creep in once the player becomes aware of what's happening. It's quite brilliant. Chatting with the local townsfolk of Tazmily while he's supposed to be delivering boxes, Salsa will get a lot of comments about how sad he looks. Makes sense, given his current predicament and the horrible treatment he's been getting. Also, if he looks in the mirror at Lucas' house, he'll think to himself, "What does a smile look like again?" It almost broke my heart the first time I noticed this. But thankfully, Salsa is eventually redeemed, freed from Fassad's evil clutches, and reunited with his girlfriend. It's a good thing he got a happy ending, because I don't know how much more sadness I could have taken. I just wish he could have stayed with Lucas and friends for a while longer! Freaks of nature The enemies in Mother 3 are just amazing. Along with the usual wacky foes, such as living trees, walking musical instruments, and baked yams, Mother 3 also introduces chimeras into the mix. And these aren't your typical chimeras; these jumbled up monsters are all sorts of unexpected and terrifying! Some of the tamer chimeras include the Muttshroom and the Pigtunia, mixing animals and plants to horrific (possibly humorous) effect. But then things start getting crazy when Lucas and friends encounter such bizarre beasts as the Batangutan, an orangutan head with bat wings; the Ostrelephant, an elephant with ostrich legs and an ostrich head for a trunk; and the Parental Kangashark, a hammerhead shark with kangaroo legs and a pouch holding a baby Kangashark. The scariest chimera of all, however, is the Horsantula, a horrible hybrid of horse and tarantula, with eight horse legs, a tarantula torso, and a frightened-looking horse head (*shiver*). A real-life horsantula would probably make me shit my pants... that thing is truly the stuff of nightmares! And then, of course, there is the Ultimate Chimera, which appears to be some kind of demonic creature with a baby chick attached to its head. This foe is practically invincible. It actually cannot be fought in typical combat, and in fact, if it catches Lucas then it's automatically game over! The party's only hope for survival is to run for their lives and hope they're fast enough to escape. But there is a secret which temporarily leaves the Ultimate Chimera incapacitated... Snake charmer Mother 3 took the series' trademark ridiculous inventory items to a whole new level by introducing the Rope Snake, an item that actually becomes a character in the story (and one of my favorite characters at that!). Duster first purchases the Rope Snake from the ghosts in Osohe Castle to help him cross pits as a sort of adorable grappling hook device. Duster also uses the Rope Snake to try and grab hold of an escaping Pigmask airship, with Lucas, Kumatora, and Boney hitching a ride as well. At this point, Rope Snake proudly announces that he's now a major character in the story (and breaks the fourth wall in the process). But unfortunately for everyone else, he also announces that he's unable to support the weight of three people and a dog. His jaw gives out and they all fall from the sky. Later on, Rope Snake gets a second chance and tries to redeem himself by grappling onto a flying bird cage with the party in tow, but his jaw gives out again and everyone falls out of the sky for the second time. His pride shattered from letting his friends down twice, poor Rope Snake leaves the party to go hide in a hole and feel sorry for himself. I've never felt so bad for a snake before as I did for Rope Snake. I just wanted Lucas to give him a hug and tell him that they still believed in him, but instead they just let him go. It's okay, Rope Snake! You tried your hardest! Eventually, the gang meets back up with Rope Snake in New Pork City. He excitedly tells the party that he's close to becoming a behemoth of a snake and wishes them a happy new year, but it seems like Lucas and company are trying to avoid him. It's like they don't even care about their reptilian friend's feelings, the jerks! Oh well. You'll always be cool to me, Rope Snake! Mother 3: The Musical Mother 3 introduced an awesome new mechanic to the turn-based battle system where the player could keep an attack going by repeatedly pressing the button to the rhythm of the music. It's pretty difficult to get the timing just right, and it changes depending on the battle theme, but once you get the hang of it, it's extremely satisfying to pull off. A single attack can turn into a string of several more smaller attacks, stacking up the damage to quickly take down foes. I always enjoy when turn-based JRPGs add interesting mechanics like this to make the combat feel more action-oriented. Games like Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario were really good at this too, keeping players on their toes by allowing them to do extra damage or defense with a well-timed button press. Mother 3's rhythmic combat is possibly my favorite system, simply because of how fun it is to tap along to the music and watch the damage numbers steadily increase and bounce off the enemy. I like to imagine these attacks playing out with Lucas and friends circling around the enemy and bashing them to a rhythm, kind of like that scene from Shaun of the Dead where Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" suddenly starts playing on the jukebox. It's like a fully choreographed dance for every fight! I pity the fool who tries to throw his life away One of my favorite things about the Mother series are all the crazy NPCs. It's one of the few games where talking to every NPC I come across is almost always a rewarding decision. Everyone seems to have something interesting, funny, or completely random to say. Mother 3 happens to have my favorite NPC in the series. He doesn't have a name, and he can't be found wandering around on his own. Instead, he seems to appear out of nowhere whenever Lucas tries to walk on the railroad tracks leading out of Tazmily. If Lucas tries to enter the cave on the tracks, a man will shout, "Hold it!" and run on screen to grab Lucas and pull him off the tracks. He'll then go on about how dangerous that was, urging Lucas not to just throw away his life, and to forget they ever talked. After he walks away, a message pops up saying, "Your life was saved." The gravity of the conversation was so unexpected that I couldn't help but laugh. Even better, the man will continue to save Lucas' life each and every time he tries to enter the cave. He has different dialogue each time, growing more and more impatient and exasperated with Lucas until eventually he gives up trying to convince him not to throw away his life and just rescues him quietly with nothing more to say. The man also bears a striking resemblance to Mr. T, which just makes the whole scene so much more entertaining. Thanks for saving my life, Mr. T! Lucas be trippin' When Lucas and friends find themselves washed ashore on a seemingly deserted island with all of their items missing, they must go foraging for food. The only thing to be found, however, is a group of brightly-colored mushrooms. Lucas' dog Boney steps back as Lucas, Duster, and Kumatora consume the fungi for sustenance. At first, the mushrooms seem to be all right. That is, until they start to take effect and the party falls to the ground, the worlds turns bright pink and purple, and everything starts shifting and swirling. Maybe eating these strange shrooms wasn't the best idea after all... oops! Suddenly, the party springs back to life with the message, "Lucas and company felt just dandy!" But the island looks totally different now, and is strangely populated by... people you know? While running through the jungle, the party will encounter friends and family members who shouldn't be there. They're all saying really strange things, but they're just illusions. They can even be battled and destroyed, revealing that they were actually enemies shrouded in disguise. The jungle is also strangely littered with mailboxes, and these mailboxes are filled with some of the most insane things you can imagine. Among the many mailboxes Lucas comes across, some of my favorites include the following contents: "Inside the mailbox was the sound of yourself crying," "Inside the mailbox was absolutely nothing. Nothing after nothing came bursting out," "Someone looked back at you from inside the mailbox! ...Or so it seemed, but you were the one looking from the other side, too," and my personal favorite, "There's nothing in the mailbox. Except for the 1000 rat corpses." Man, those mushrooms were no joke! Eventually, the party arrives at the house of Mixolydia, the local Magypsy, who notices that they're all hopped up on shrooms and kindly knocks them back to their senses. So ends Lucas' crazy, drugged-out adventure through the psychedelic island jungle full of horrific, mind-blowing discoveries. It's just too bad they didn't run into Mixolydia before they decided to take a dip in a nice, relaxing hot spring which actually turned out to be a disgusting sewage dump... blech! The saddest man in the world Mother 3 has some awesome boss fights, but there's one optional boss that really stands out from the rest. Granted, he's not really boss material per se, but he does get the "Strong One" boss music, so I think he technically counts as a boss. I'm talking, of course, about Negative Man. Lucas finds Negative Man hunched over on all fours, alone and unmoving in the middle of a cave. If the party decides to battle him, they had better be prepared for the easiest fight of their lives! It's so easy, in fact, that I actually feel pretty bad for the guy. Negative Man very rarely attacks, and when he does, he can only manage to dish out a measly single point of damage. Mostly, he'll just be pathetic and feel sorry for himself. Instead of attacking, he'll use up his turns muttering things like, "There's just no way I can win..." or, "Just get rid of me now..." or even, "I'm nothing but a worthless protoplasm..." Meanwhile, Lucas and company just keep mercilessly beating the crap out of him until he's defeated. Poor guy... I almost want to just let him win so that he might feel a little better about himself. But let's be real, that could take ages and I don't want to wait that long. Sorry, Negative Man, but today's not your day! [embed]310276:60326:0[/embed] Open Sesame Tofu The Mother series is at its finest whenever it's trying to be funny, which is admittedly almost all the time. One of the funniest moments hands down happens in Mother 3 when Wess must open a secret door in Osohe Castle. And what better way to open a secret door than by... dancing in front of it? For a bit of background, Wess is an elderly gentleman with a rather serious disposition who spends most of his time scolding his son, Duster. The last thing I'd expect someone like Wess to do would be to let loose and start acting silly. But when the father-son duo finds themselves blocked by a grim-looking door, Wess does the unexpected. He urges Duster to turn around because he's about to do something embarrassing. And then, out of nowhere, some upbeat, goofy music begins playing and Wess starts shaking his butt and performs just about the silliest dance I can imagine, causing the door to crack a huge smile and open. It might just be my absolute favorite moment in the Mother series, just because it's Wess of all people. For an old guy, he can really shake it! Later in the game, Salsa also gets to perform the dance to open the door. It's a lot more adorable when Salsa does it, but also a lot less shocking and hilarious because he's not an old man. Video games could really do with more old folks dancing, in my opinion. Past Experience Points Level 1: .01 - .20 .21: Katamari Damacy.22: Tomb Raider
Mother 3 highlights photo
A story is a series of memories
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...

Which Pokemon would you find in your neighborhood?

Sep 11 // Steven Hansen
Excelsior I've lived a couple different places in Excelsior, including my current digs. You'll find savvy Sneasels and Scythers scurrying through the fragrant wild fennel fenced off alongside the sloping freeway underpasses on your way up to the relative wilds of Glen Park. Murkrows dot power lines along Geneva and Mission. Ekans occasionally slither down from their dry McLaren plains into the European-named streets below. The Meowths, too, will come down and brave the streets to swipe coins, while a more timid crew stays completely up in the hills. Exeggutors wander Mission freely while Machokes are hard at work. Noe Valley Wandering Magnemites have been spotted in increasing numbers in this region. They are mostly nocturnal and drain the batteries of residents' Teslas. Eevee, of course, are prized in Noe Valley, including its fashionable evolutions brought about by precious-gem-owning old money. Except Jolteon. Fuck Jolteon. Wandering Trubbish and Garbodor, abandoned in Dolores Park by transplants and tech assholes, have been spotted wandering into outlying regions such as Noe Valley, but only the latter employs underpaid Quagsire to wash the trash Pokemon downhill into the Mission. Fort Funston San Francisco's beaches are typically cold and free of the Southern California, bathing suit clad beaches people often associate with the state. The lesser known Fort Funston, south of the creatively named Ocean Beach, is a haven for owners of dog Pokémon like Growlithe and Arcanine, which are allowed to run freely amid the wild Sandshrews and Sandiles burrowed in the beach. The dogs are free to chase Wingull up and down, sniff the occasional washed up, dead Krabby, and sometimes roll around in Sealeo corpses, covering themselves in disgusting, rotting viscera. Beware if you bring your smaller pup Pokémon as assholes nearby (the country club?) occasionally rise their Rapidashes down onto the beach, threatening the safety of all dogs in this typical haven. Plus they shit everywhere and do those prissy fucks get off their high horse to pick it up, like the responsible dog owners? Of course not.
Pokemon Go Proust photo
An on-going Pokemon map of San Francisco
Forget the open-world Pokémon console RPG with wild pocket monsters represented on-screen instead of in random encounters. Nintendo just went and leap frogged all of us by partnering with a mobile company to bring Pok&...

Apple TV photo
Apple TV

New Apple TV promises to bring gaming all the way into 2006 (Fauxclusive)

Party like Bush is still president
Sep 09
// CJ Andriessen
As predicted for nearly a decade, Tim Cook announced at Apple's September Event that the next iteration of the Apple TV will be able to play games. With a new motion-sensing controller and titles such as Guitar Hero hitting t...

The 8 best rejected Mega Man bosses

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

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

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

Podtoid 304: The Phantom Pain

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

Notch Tweets photo
Notch Tweets

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

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

Cliff Bleszinski: We want players to actually use verticality

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

Metal Gear memories

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

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

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

New Patent photo
New Patent

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

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

Sonic Dreams Collection: Mascots, legacy, and audience perception

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

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

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

Thirsty, hungry, and crappy in ARK: Survival Evolved

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

Destructoid photo

Take a look at some recent bad asses in gaming

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

What if Bonk were cool?

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

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