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7:00 PM on 02.21.2015

Experience Points .05: Demon's Souls

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...

Ben Davis




Tingle is the heterosexual hero that gaming deserves photo
Tingle is the heterosexual hero that gaming deserves
by Ben Davis

In a recent Kotaku interview with Eiji Aonuma, the longtime Zelda producer confirmed that Tingle is, in fact, not gay. He's "just an odd person."

This isn't exactly riveting news, but it is interesting that so many people seem to be wondering about Tingle's sex life. He was even ranked as the number one gayest character in videogames by GayGamer. Of course, this is all based on stereotypes, since the games never specify his sexuality. Tingle is a self-described "fairy," which could be a slang term for homosexual men (or, you know, an actual fairy from the Zelda universe), and he has some rather flamboyant mannerisms. Some found his personality to be a distasteful gay joke, while others found him charming and were just happy to see more representation of gay characters in games.

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Experience Points .04: Catherine photo
Experience Points .04: Catherine
by Ben Davis

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 part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about Catherine. Since today is Valentine's Day, I figured I'd pick a game that's all about love, sex, and relationships (and also cheating... uhhh...). Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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Which videogame makes you the happiest? photo
Which videogame makes you the happiest?
by Ben Davis

Whenever you're having a rough day, there's nothing better than sitting down and putting on a game that makes you happy just to play it. Something that makes you laugh and smile, helps to relieve stress, or gets you to stop worrying about things for a bit. For some, this might be their favorite game. For others, it's more of a comfort game. Nevertheless, everyone has at least one game that makes them happy.

So, which video game makes you the happiest? Here's what our staff had to say:

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Jacob 'Humble' Browe talks Minelands: Call of the Border photo
Jacob 'Humble' Browe talks Minelands: Call of the Border
by Brittany Vincent

Jacob "Humble" Browe is a visionary. He's just shipped a multi-billion dollar game to hundreds of retailers across the United States and Canada, with additional release dates staggered across the world.

After running a successful Kickstarter that raised over $6.5 million to campaign for Avenged Sevenfold to play in his backyard, he then created a Patreon in an effort to supplement his crippling Starbucks habit month-to-month while using kickbacks from his millionaire parents to create Minelands: Call of the Border, the game that's got millions clamoring for a sequel only a day or so after release. Now he's making waves in the industry like we've never seen before. From humble beginnings, he's rising through the ranks of the video game business like a shooting star. It's going to be one fascinating ride.

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Experience Points .02: Shadow of the Colossus photo
Experience Points .02: Shadow of the Colossus
by Ben Davis

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 part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about Shadow of the Colossus, one of my favorite games of all time. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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Majora's Mask 3D bosses are considerably different photo
Majora's Mask 3D bosses are considerably different
by Kyle MacGregor

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D is more than just a simple port. The portable remaster introduces sweeping changes, like adding fishing holes, apparently. Other things too, probably.

We can't divulge everything just yet, as there's a review embargo-shaped trapdoor under our feet, but some of the alterations to boss fights have seeped out into the Internet and the world at large.

While at PAX South over the weekend, I had the opportunity to demo the game, where I noticed Odolwa, the guardian of the Woodfall Temple, was a tad different than how I'd remembered.

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Experience Points .01: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask photo
Experience Points .01: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
by Ben Davis

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 part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

With Majora's Mask 3D coming out in a few weeks, I figured it would be fitting to make the first entry all about The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, which happens to be my favorite Zelda game. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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I know how to save Call of Duty in a post-Advanced Warfare world photo
I know how to save Call of Duty in a post-Advanced Warfare world
by Nic Rowen

I don't think I can ever go back to the old style of Call of Duty.

I've heard some variation of that sentence at least once per week since the launch of Advanced Warfare, and if I were Treyarch or Infinity Ward, I'd be sweating right now. Not “oh, this room is a little too warm” sweat either. I'm talking a glossy, dripping, full-on flop sweat. Sweat so profuse it could be more accurately described as skin vomit.

Sledgehammer broke the code, solved the Sphinx's riddle, and threaded the impossible needle; the studio found a way to make CoD feel fresh and interesting again without screwing up the the basic formula. The developers took all the best parts of the CoD experience and added a sleek sheen of sci-fi gizmos, meaningfully different weapon types, and late-'90s mobility (basically rebuilding all the FPS tropes CoD played a massive hand in tearing down over the last decade), and it worked.

Even scornful hipsters such as myself, who have made sport of the series for years as an easy target for our snark, are giving Advanced Warfare a second look. A good long “hrmmM?” with a flirty upward inflection. AW coyly wiggling its exo-skeletal frame, like what you see?

People love it, and they aren't about to go back to slogging it on the ground with a crusty AK-47 or accepting the dolphin-dive as the height of combat mobility. So what the hell do you do if you're Infinity Ward or Treyarch? Halfway through production on your own version of the CoD experience, knee-deep in code, QA, voice work, and the million other pieces that eventually assemble a videogame, and you find out that THIS is what the people really wanted all along (even after harping on Titanfall all year)?

You pivot, that's what you do.

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Predicting Nintendo's next big crossover photo
Predicting Nintendo's next big crossover
by Kyle MacGregor

Somewhere on the slopes of Mount Nintendo there's an oracle that straddles a chasm wherefrom vapors emerge. She speaks in tongues, relying on an intern to interpret her enigmatic ramblings. The system has its misfires (this is how things get named Wii U, for example), but relying on these portents and premonitions has kept Nintendo in business for over a century.

In recent years, the oracle has spawned a number of bizarre crossover concepts, culminating in the creation of Hyrule Warriors, Pokkén, and Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition.

It's a fascinating trend, one I hope continues for a long time to come. Let's assume that it does. Let's make some wildly speculative predictions about what other mashups the future has in store.

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My name is Brittany and I'm a gaming sadist photo
My name is Brittany and I'm a gaming sadist
by Brittany Vincent

I ventured out to the vet's office a few weeks ago with a Miniature Pinscher in tow. Sam Fisher (the same of Third Echelon fame), my beloved pup, was to see the doctor for a regular checkup and heartworm test. While waiting in the lobby, I overheard other patrons discussing the abuse of a three-month-old Labrador puppy and the damage inflicted upon its tiny limbs. Tears welled up in my eyes nearly instantly. My fists involuntarily clenched themselves up, searching for the victim they would rain down searing pain upon should I ever meet them. 

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Gaming resolutions I'll strive to keep in 2015 photo
Gaming resolutions I'll strive to keep in 2015
by Brittany Vincent

No one ever keeps resolutions.

I tell myself every January that I'm going to stop inspecting cheese for fingerprints before putting it on a sandwich or that I'll actually start wearing something other than sweatpants and a hoodie out in public when it's cold, but it never happens. And it never will happen. What would I even wear? A pair of Uggs and leggings with some kind of lame scarf? How do you even wear a scarf? And what if my tongue somehow detects the wrongness of a fingerprint on the surface of my Deli Deluxe cheese slice? There are some questions we're just not meant to know the answers to, just like there are resolutions that we'll make and break in the span of 24 hours.

While sitting on my lunch break today I ruminated on the deeper meaning behind player agency, the male gaze and how it pertains to gaming, and whether Hatred should or shouldn't remain on Steam. After giving a glut of heady topics much thought, I decided I didn't care about any of them, so I started to write an article about my video game resolutions for 2015, none of which have anything to do with those concepts. Here's to being a better video game enthusiast gamer in 2015.

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Kyle MacGregor's sexy picks for Game of the Year 2014 photo
Kyle MacGregor's sexy picks for Game of the Year 2014
by Kyle MacGregor

And, suddenly, another year passed us by. It seems like 2014 had only just arrived, and already it's being hauled away, kicking and screaming, never to be seen or heard from ever again.

It's important that we take this time to reflect on the previous twelve months, to remember the good times and repress the bad. Soon we will be looking to the future, or anywhere else really, so long as we can stave off the here and now. So breathe deep, my friend. Take in those plummy aromas. Savor their toasty bouquets. And espy the subtle hints of oak and herb.

It was a good year. Hot and dry, no mildew, few pests. Soon it will be time to award ribbons and medals to the finest varieties, you know the ones. Not yet, though! No, it's time for a special treat.

Feast your eyes on this here list of the most wonderful games of 2014, according to yours truly.

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

“THA'S HOW YOU RIDE A CARRRRRAGOR!"

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

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

DIE IN A FIRE.

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

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

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For the love of God, please, no: Horrible game marketing strategies, part one photo
For the love of God, please, no: Horrible game marketing strategies, part one
by Brittany Vincent

When I was a young warthog, I didn't know diddly about the games I was buying. I simply made a beeline for the nearest video game section, be it PC or otherwise, and browsed until there was a title that immediately leapt out at me. I kept up with magazines and the like, but I remained mostly oblivious to the development cycles surrounding the titles I wished to procure, the personalities behind them, and in many cases, the content within them.

Sure, I'd check out Seaman in the back of an Electronics Boutique or lust after Monster Rancher Card Battle GB for Game Boy, opting to trade in half of my cartridges for a meager discount off the new title. But there was none of the "announcement trailer, character trailer, preorder trailer, launch trailer, trailer trailer, trailer trailer trailer" nonsense back then. There wasn't much of an opportunity for me to learn unless I truly went digging. And honestly, I liked it that way.

Don't mistake my nostalgia for bitterness. It's fantastic that we have so many opportunities to survey upcoming titles and appraise their quality before spending the $60 (and sometimes more) and ultimately being disappointed. It's only when these opportunities are used to trick consumers that I get heated. There are several ways that companies are marketing video games to this end, and while I can admit to falling victim to one or more of these marketing fads in the past, it's about time that we see them all put out to pasture. I'll be talking about a different stomach-turning technique each week. 

First up -- Emotionally manipulative trailers with accompanying musical covers and/or deceptive footage!

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Why I love The Last of Us multiplayer, in a nutshell photo
Why I love The Last of Us multiplayer, in a nutshell
by Kyle MacGregor

We're outnumbered, down to our last pair of lives. The clock is ticking, it's as much of a threat to my team's survival as the four armed men bearing down on our position. I don't like our chances, not one bit, but moments like this, they're the reason I play the game.

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