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The Daily Mail's review of The Last of Us is incredible

Britain's worst newspaper has the best review
Jun 06
// Jim Sterling
British tabloid The Daily Mail has a review for The Last of Us, a game enjoying perhaps the most unanimous critical acclaim in videogame history. The Mail, ever a bastion of wisdom and judicious thinking, feels it doesn'...

Microsoft: Xbox One reports 'inaccurate and incomplete'

Vague Microsoft doesn't know why we misunderstand its vague statements
May 25
// Jim Sterling
Microsoft, by way of mouthpiece Major Nelson, has criticized reports on its Xbox One used game policy as "inaccurate and incomplete," seeming to miss the fact they're based entirely on Microsoft's own statements -- which have...
Bonus Jimquisition gives Microsoft a telling off
The Xbox One was revealed this weak to thunderous applause. Oh wait, did we say applause? We meant, farts. Thunderous farts. Speaking of farts, here's a man who loves the smell of his, tearing Microsoft's unified entertainment philosophy to shreds and arguing how the Xbox One is basically a system for nobody but the privileged and demented.

Super Metroid photo
Super Metroid

Wii U owners don't know how to play Super Metroid

Guys, why can't Metroid crawl?
May 17
// Jim Sterling
If you're a jaded hardcore gamer, and if you've ever complained that the new generation of "dumbed down" console gamers are the bane of life, prepare to feel justified. The arrival of Super Metroid on Wii U demonstrates the d...

Hypocrisy: The Sun calls 3DS the greatest console ever

Tabloid reverses its '3DS is dangerous' stance
May 13
// Jim Sterling
British tabloid The Sun came out strong against the 3DS when it first launched several years ago, going above and beyond the call of sleazy duty to try and prove it was harmful, disorienting, and unpleasant to use. Today? Tod...

Resident Evil 6 fails to meet sales projections ... again

But overall numbers are looking good for Capcom
May 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Capcom originally projected that Resident Evil 6 would sell seven million copies. They revised that number in February to five million, but as of yesterday's financial results Resident Evil 6 fell barely short of the target w...

Dead Space 3 is the latest game to have officially failed

Electronic Arts declares the game performed below expectations
May 08
// Jim Sterling
It had co-op and cover-based shooting, but Electronic Arts' flailing attempts to make Dead Space 3 "appeal to a wider audience" apparently failed. Visceral's latest game now joins Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and Resident ...


Mars: War Logs needs to STOP IT!
May 04
// Jim Sterling

Dead Island Riptide Steam codes unlock Dark Souls

Accidental quasi-giveaway for UK and Nordic copies
Apr 26
// Jim Sterling
Dead Island Riptide customers in the UK and Nordic regions are discovering that retail PC copies of the game contain the wrong Steam codes. Redeeming these codes will give gamers a copy of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition i...
Miiverse photo

You can't view Miiverse on Wii U or 3DS browsers

Apr 25
// Tony Ponce
Nintendo made Miiverse accessible via PC and mobile browsers yesterday, giving you the chance to interact with the (not so wide) Wii U online community while away from your console. But as Nintendo notes at the bottom of the ...

Embracing failure: We're all losers and that's OK

Apr 25 // Steven Hansen
One of the singularly unique features of videogames is your ability to lose them. A movie isn't going to stop 3/5 through and ask, "Hey, smart guy, who's the bad guy?" and then shut off if you’re too dense to figure it. Or maybe you were too busy fantasizing about a quixotic life in a small, but modern apartment with your waifu, eating steak fresh from the local butcher. Books don't quiz you on the moves and tactics you've learned and ask you to write a page before carrying on. Games can do this, and it can be a wonderful thing. I was thinking back to X-COM: Enemy Unknown and how it allows you to fail spectacularly at saving the world. With all the games that task you with being the Ultimate Savior of All Things, few offer a sense of urgency or suspense. You generally know you'll save the world, even if some grind is involved. Eventually. Whenever you're good and ready. In X-COM, you can play for 20 hours, fail to prepare adequately for an alien invasion, and lose the game. Game over, man. Game over. Feel free to try harder next time, you twit. It's easy to fall into the "ain't nobody got time for that" camp, but there's something delightfully droll about the game telling you you've reached absolute failure. And something in me that makes me want to try again. After all, I knew the stakes going in, and I should've been a bad enough dude to handle them, right? There's an untapped level of tension that keeps you engaged and on your toes when the impetus to succeed is put squarely on the player. It's the same feeling that encourages people to do self-imposed permanent death runs of games. Developers don't even have to be as damning as Firaxis was with X-COM, though. It would be neat to miss a QTE and end up with a scar that follows your player for the rest of the game. Just some semblance of consequence that elevates things beyond circumstance, or more ambiguous states of failure and success beyond the "dead/not dead" binary. In Persona 4’s narrative, you -- that’s you, the player, by way of a mute, surrogate main character -- are trying to catch a criminal. It's easy to lull yourself into a state of passivity and complacency, busying yourself with the tertiary mechanics and wonderful trivial details while you wait for the story to play out and tell you what's what. If you do that, though, the only things that will get you to the best, fullest endings are either a guide or plum luck. The game assumes you're properly invested. The quest for truth and, subsequently, what truth means, seems to be the highest thematic goal of the narrative and it’s reflected on the metagame level of rewarding players with a thirst for satisfaction and an attention span to match. It’s a good thing. It encourages an attuned, critical audience. There's something to be said for a challenge, whether reflexive or mental. I'm not advocating arcane rules, difficulty spikes, or cheap mechanics aimed to preclude potential players. I don’t mean to perpetuate insularity. But death or failure in games doesn't have to be pointless, or merely a brief respawn to a previous, uncorrupted state. Imagine a pure detective game that, unlike L.A. Noire, actually requires you to do proper detective work to succeed rather than scurry you up the promotion ladder because of player nepotism. There was something arresting about playing Myst and being told, “Figure it out,” as I scrawled across notebooks record of each and every little island discovery. Why is this market so painfully underserved while companies churn out samey games. Didn’t anyone ever tell them not to go chasing waterfalls? I'm reminded of the visual novel/puzzle game 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which ended with me being stabbed in the back by an unknown assailant. It was awesome. It was infuriating. It had me yearning for another playthrough in which I do a better job of staying on my toes, unraveling its mysteries, and avoiding an empty death. What we need less of, in part, is what we’re inundated with: linear adventures in which we’re led by the nose by way of noisy, arrow-laden UI, toward inevitable, empowering success. Having actual threat and consequence to the player can make for unique experiences -- Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls come to mind as games in which you fully inhabit their worlds -- and serves as one way to heighten engagement as players explore the finely tuned digital space. It is also a means through which less stagnated design can be born as genre conventions would have to be either interestingly worked around or entirely cast off. In the case of the L.A. Noire example, a team would have to work out a viable way to make an actual detective game. Even some games in which you can’t “lose” offer a fresh alternative to the whitewashing of failure and instantaneous reversion to a comfortable, safe save state. During a particularly treacherous portion of Journey, I felt more possessive and protective of my lengthy, hard-earned scarf than I would have a lives counter ticking away and subsequently resetting me a couple of minutes. Failure is part of life. It's most of life for most of us. It also has room to be a meaningful part of a game beyond a temporary state to be overcome with the smallest amounts of added insight, skill, or chance. Giving failure meaning or consequence -- and exploring different modes of failure beyond the kill or be killed dichotomy -- is a chance to inculcate players with another experience beyond reckless abandon and lethargic play. It can add tension or engagement. If I’m just carted around on a sightseeing tour, made more voyeur than participant, my actions and attention both meaning little, it becomes easier to disengage.
Eminent fail photo
Or; Another reason why Persona 4 is still cooler than most other games
As I was knee deep in the glorious Persona 4: Golden, something curious happened. A heavy 50 hours into the game after something resembling a climax, the game ended. It was an ending that felt hollow, strangely devoid of reso...

Star Trek on PC is broken as f*ck!

Apr 21 // Jim Sterling
Most insultingly of all, the game's official PR channels have decided to try and diminish the problems of those affected, claiming "only a fraction" of users have experienced problems. When that "fraction" seems to include anybody attempting to review the thing and loads of customers, I don't think we're dealing with a tiny handful.  Even if it were the case, having a "tiny fraction" of users unable to play the game's only real draw is fucking shameful, and absolutely nothing to boast about. It especially doesn't help when a developer for the game, Kenneth Lindenbaum, is posting on the Steam forums that it works fine for him and there isn't a problem.  And this is all before we get into the accusations of the development team flooding Metacritic with fake positive user reviews. While it promises to be looking into the issues, Digital Extremes has so far displayed a lackluster and slow response to complaints, as well as a bad attitude it's in no position to have.  So yes, Star Trek for PC is broken, unable to do what it advertised itself as doing. We'll have a review coming from Ian Bonds, but my personal recommendation is to ignore this crude waste of time.  You had one job. One.
The sole reason the game exists ... doesn't work
The latest Star Trek release has its fair share of problems -- chief among them being that it's kind of boring -- but PC users are in for an altogether more shocking problem. The online co-op, arguably the entire point of th...


GOW: Judgment and GOW: Ascension failed, says analyst

Leading franchises for Microsoft and Sony 'significantly underperform'
Apr 16
// Jim Sterling
Recently, the PS3 and Xbox 360 each saw prequels for their leading franchises -- God of War: Ascension and Gears of War: Judgment. According to analyst firm Cowen & Company, the two GOWs failed to impress at retail. ...
Jimquisition photo

Jimquisition: Dark Souls and Dark Sales

Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Apr 15
// Jim Sterling
Dark Souls sold over two million copies and is a bonafide success. Tomb Raider sold over three million copies and is a disappointing failure. Wut? Different projects obviously have different standards for succ...

EA scrapping The Sims Social, SimCity Social

Oh, and Pet Society ... ha ha
Apr 15
// Jim Sterling
The Sims Social is being scrapped by Electronic Arts, along with fellow Facebook games SimCity Social and Pet Society. In the case of SimCity, this will be a case of a game shutting down less than a year after launch. That wh...

Nintendo Korea calls weather reporter a brainless bitch

This week's Twitter goof winner!
Apr 15
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo of Korea is in hot water after its Twitter account insulted TV weather reporter Eun Ji Park. A mystery representative of the company criticized Park's growing fame, suggesting her looks were respo...

EA voted worst American company in 2013

Apr 09 // Jim Sterling
"Video games are big business," the outlet wrote. "A company like EA -- and Activision, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Sony, etc. -- merits just as much scrutiny as any other business that plays a leading role in a multibillion-dollar industry. It’s only a fractured, antiquated public perception that video games are somehow frivolous holdovers from childhood that allows gamers to be abused and taken advantage of by the very people who supply them the games they play. "... When we live in an era marked by massive oil spills, faulty foreclosures by bad banks, and rampant consolidation in the airline and telecom industry, what does it say about EA’s business practices that so many people have -- for the second year in a row -- come out to hand it the title of Worst Company In America?" Some would argue -- and have -- that the results say more about gamers and their broken priorities than it does about Electronic Arts' business practices. Is that the right call to make? Depends on where your own priorities lie, I suppose.  I'll certainly agree, as I did last year, that it may be silly to have EA considered worse than such monstrosities as Bank of America, but at the same time I hardly consider it worthy of outrage. Gamers are concerned with game-related companies, and Electronic Arts has done a lot to earn their ire. It makes sense they'd vote for what they're most intimately concerned with. Ultimately, it's not like the prize for the victory is jail-time, fines, or any other tangible punishment. It's an online poll in which the winner receives a "golden poo."  I'd argue getting upset over EA receiving metal-plated feces is about as silly as it winning in the first place.
EA voted worst of 2013 photo
Electronic Arts takes home the prize for a second straight year
How time flies! In April of last year, Electronic Arts "won" the worst American company of 2012 award, beating out near-criminal banks and oil companies to achieve victory in The Consumerist's publicly voted poll. EA has now ...

Aliens: Colonial Marines photo
Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines Wii U canceled

What. A. Shock.
Apr 05
// Jim Sterling
Those of you left caring may have noticed Aliens: Colonial Marines missed its Wii U release launch window. There's a very good reason for that -- SEGA finally decided to shoot the lame dog in the head, and has quietly cancele...

Microsoft man on always-online consoles: 'Deal with it'

Apr 05 // Jim Sterling
When his comments were taken to task by BioWare's Manveer Heir, who pointed out the embarrassing issues faced by Diablo III and SimCity at launch, Orth got even more derisive. Heir mentioned America's less-than-consistent broadband coverage, and how users in areas such as Janesville, WI or Backsburg, VA would have a rough time dealing with a console that required a constant connection. His response?  "Why on Earth would I live there?" Wow. His comments were seized upon by NeoGAF commenters, who took him to task in their usual merciless way. Aside from making comments on things Microsoft has been staunchly refusing to comment on, he was taken to task for his general snotty attitude and derogatory comments toward those who don't live in cities blessed with non-shit broadband. Some have taken his combative defense of the idea as a strong hint that Microsoft will, indeed, force Next Xbox users to stay online -- an absolutely absurd hypothetical plan that banks on broadband infrastructures around the world improving immeasurably in an incredibly short time.  Detective-GAF also found a comment from an experienced developer following the issue, posting a line from Nikolai Mohilchock, who said: "Given that legally I cannot confirm or deny if this information is true, nor can I comment on rumor or speculation, all I can say is be sure to pay your ISP bills." In response to the online battering, both Orth (who likes to be called Sweet Billy) and Heir downplayed the nature of their discussion, the latter saying: "Don't read too much into our back & forth ... All those tweets you are seeing about the city being superior. That's him just trolling me. And I fell for it. Don't bust his balls on that." Unfortunately for Orth, it was way too late for that, and his comments were damning even without the "trolling" about cities.  In the wake of the shitstorm started by his statements, Orth has now protected his Twitter account, hiding further commentary from public view. Once again, this is little more than a case of locking the door after the horse has bolted, but there you go.  A number of industry members, most notably David Jaffe, have rallied to Orth's defense, asking members of NeoGAF and other communities to stop giving Orth a pummeling and insisting he's "one of the good guys." While that might be true (unconfirmed), and while he's probably suffering some disproportionate retribution, what he said to begin with was impressively, jaw-droppingly ignorant, and he does deserve to have such poisonous, anti-consumer rhetoric counteracted. He's going to have to "deal with it" for a while. The privileged attitude of "deal with it," seems to be one held by many members of the mainstream publishing industry, and more and more customers are getting sick of it. As the console market spirals ever haphazardly toward a crash, I feel people like Orth will learn exactly what happens when consumers en masse begin to learn they don't actually have to deal with any of this bullshit, and go looking for entertainment elsewhere. When the major companies fall to their knees after trying to shave the sheep one too many times, I wonder if they'll be able to "deal with it." On the subject of an always-online, DRM-gated console, I think Michael Hartman of Frogdice Inc. sums it up perfectly: "I hope the entire next gen is 'always on DRM.' I love anything AAA does to make it easier for us indies to sell our games." Deal with it.
Next Xbox always online? photo
Director spews bullshit about DRM-locked system
[Update: Microsoft has since apologized for Orth's statements. Deal with it.] Rumors that the Next Xbox will be restricted by the same always-online requirement that has crippled several major PC releases of late has not exac...

The War Z photo
The War Z

The War Z taken offline following security breach

User emails and passwords compromised
Apr 02
// Jim Sterling
It never ends for The War Z. While the controversial MMO was reinstated by Steam after addressing false advertising complaints, Hammerpoint's game is currently offline due to hackers making off with personal information. Acco...

Disney shuts down LucasArts

Apr 01 // Jim Sterling
LucasArts shut down photo
Studio axed as name becomes a "licensing model"
Disney has today announced that it's decided to close down LucasArts as a game studio, transitioning it into a "licensing model." This effectively means that LucasArts is dead, likely to exist as little more than a legacy nam...

Tomb Raider misses mark photo
Company's biggest recent releases proved unable to meet targets
Despite each game clearing at least a million sales, Square Enix has revealed Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs all failed to meet their targets. This news comes on the same day the company projected a 13 bill...

Square Enix prez resigns photo
Square Enix prez resigns

Yoichi Wada resigning as Square Enix president

Boss to step down amid talk of "extraordinary" financial losses
Mar 26
// Jim Sterling
Following in the footsteps of Electronic Arts' John Riccitiello, it seems Yoichi Wada will be the next executive taking the fall for a major game publisher's failings. Surrounded by talk of "extraordinary" financial losses, S...
uDraw shanked Saints Row photo
How one f*ck-up can ruin things for everyone
Poor, poor THQ. A series of catastrophic mistakes led to the 23-year-old company's closure earlier this year. Among the more notable mistakes was the uDraw tablet, originally released in 2010 exclusively on Wii where it becam...

SimCity can be played offline, according to anyone but EA

Mar 14 // Jim Sterling
[embed]248656:47560:0[/embed] This discovery follows reports by Rock, Paper, Shotgun that an anonymous insider is claiming SimCity never needed to remain online, and can actually go offline at any moment. While Maxis' Lucy Bradshaw claims offline play would require "a significant amount of engineering work from our team to rewrite the game," faceless informants cry foul.  "The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing," claims RPS' source. "They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise. It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless." It's suggested the server doesn't even react to your gameplay in real-time, and that it can take a few minutes for it to check your session for hacks or cheats. The bottom line is that, according to those who aren't in Electronic Arts' thrall, it wouldn't take much effort at all to get your an offline version of SimCity -- barring, of course, the game's regional features.  But of course, Electronic Arts made a bold stand on this issue, and is expected to pridefully stick to its guns. All the while, its resolute determination to keep players online will continue to confirm something I think was obvious -- the always-online requirement was only ever a business decision, not one made to enhance the gameplay. The end goal was to keep tabs on players at all times, and control their behavior beyond the point of sale, because EA is terrified of its own audience.  It's DRM in sheep's clothing, and the longer EA decides to keep SimCity online, the clearer that becomes.
SimCity online workaround photo
Evidence mounts that 'always-on' requirement is total bunkem
There is mounting evidence that, despite EA Maxis' claims to the contrary, SimCity is wholly capable of being played offline -- a capability that would have saved buyers a week of hassle and tons of creativity now lost to ser...

Maxis has 'no intention' of making SimCity offline

Mar 11 // Jim Sterling
"The good news is that tens of thousands of new players are streaming into the game every day and the confidence our fans have shown is truly humbling," she wrote. "I can’t begin to explain the way a development team feels when something you're proud of is threatened at launch. Our biggest fear was that people who love this franchise would be scared off by bad reviews about the connectivity issues. "But you put your faith in us. You bought the game with the understanding that we’d quickly fix the server issues. For that support -- that incredible commitment from our fans -- we are deeply grateful. As the general manager of Maxis, I want you to know that we cherish your faith in us, and the love you've shown for this franchise." All very touching stuff, but these grand displays of humility ring rather hollow for me when it was so obvious SimCity was going to be unplayable at launch. We all pretty much called it, and I refuse to believe anybody at Maxis or Electronic Arts would be so dense as to have not called it too. Once you cross a point where what you're doing is so obviously detrimental to a game launch, and you do it anyway, you waive the ability to craft a believable apology.  SimCity's bullshit wasn't a mistake. It was the result of a decision that had to have factored in the frustration of launch day buyers, and deemed that frustration an acceptable risk.
No offline SimCity photo
Claims the problems are 'almost behind us'
While SimCity's DRM-in-sheep's-clothing continues to cause playabilty issues, EA Maxis has declared its intent to keep the game tied to a server. The company will do "everything it can" to make your game playable, but that do...


No SimCity refunds on Origin

Anti-refund policy exposes the risk of buying digital
Mar 08
// Jim Sterling
If you are one of the many who purchased SimCity this week and found yourself unable to play it, you may feel like you were gypped out of $60 and want your money back. Unfortunately, while physical retailers might do the hono...
PS4 can't play old games photo
Strike one, Sony
[Update: Sony has confirmed to Dale North that it has the ability to honor your PSN purchases through its cloud service. If it chooses to, it can give you everything back in streaming form. Of course, it's not said it will --...


Aliens: Colonial Marines 360 save wipe bug

Do not clear your cache if you want to keep your saves
Feb 15
// Jim Sterling
Oh, Aliens: Colonial Marines could really use some bad press? Sure, why not? It's been such a long time since we heard anything negative about it. Try this one on for size -- players are reporting that Xbox 360 save files are...

Aliens: Colonial Marines says hello, my honey

All singing, all dancing!
Feb 12
// Jim Sterling
So yeah, Aliens: Colonial Marines is pretty glitchy, but considering the lack of entertainment value in every other facet of the game, I guess we have to take our laughs where we can get them. This, for the record, is worth a solid chuckle.  At least this game's proving itself fertile ground for video clips and .gif silliness!

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