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Who was the WORST new videogame character of 2013? photo
Who was the WORST new videogame character of 2013?
by Mr Andy Dixon

[All week long we'll be asking for your thoughts on certain topics related to the year in gaming!]

2013 added some amazing new characters to our medium, but it also brought with it some serious stinkers. Annoying (and unwanted) co-op sidekicks, painful reimaginings of fan favorites from generations past, MERLENDERL -- the list goes on.

The object of my personal disaffection had to be Carver from Dead Space 3. The simple addition of an optional co-op character to one of my favorite horror series didn't turn out to be the harbinger I had worried it would be, but the design of said character couldn't have been much worse if they actively tried. Loud, brash, and full of the same grating military-FPS bravado I play games like Dead Space to avoid, I cringed every time Carver popped up on screen and the game didn't let me put a Plasma Cutter shot through his one good eye.

What about you? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below! Or, if you find yourself getting long-winded, write a blog! (Be sure to share the link below.) We'll be pulling in quotes from the community for a special recap post later this week, so take some time to think about your responses.

Have fun!

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Who was your favorite new videogame character this year? photo
Who was your favorite new videogame character this year?
by Mr Andy Dixon

[All week long we're going to be asking for your thoughts on certain topics related to the year in gaming. Here's the first!]

2013 was absolutely ripe with juicy new characters in the realm of gaming. Badass '80s action heroes, hilarious narrators, endearing psychopaths, robot dogs, annoyingly philosophical trans-dimensional twins, ass-kicking little girls, and a little dude with a lamp hanging from his nose barely scratch the surface as to the eclectic selection or protagonists and NPCs on display this year.

My personal favorite has to be Rex Colt from Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. His cheesy dialog and banter was straight out of the best (worst?) '80s action movies, and was a far cry (HAR HAR) from the usual FPS protagonist.

What about you? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below! Or, if you find yourself getting long-winded, write a blog! (Be sure to share the link below.) We'll be pulling in quotes from the community for a special recap post later this week, so take some time to think about your responses.

Have fun!

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Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in: Week 3 photo
Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in: Week 3
by Dale North

[Every week, from early November through the end of 2013, I'll report on my use of Wii Fit U and how it benefits my health.]

Read Week 1's weigh-in here.

If this Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in accomplishes only one thing, I want it to be a clear measure of just how much weight I'll gain Thanksgiving week. It's going to be gross, folks.

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Destructoid's favorite last-gen multi-platform games photo
Destructoid's favorite last-gen multi-platform games
by Brett Makedonski

To commemorate the launch of new consoles, we've taken to retrospective pieces to remember some of the best titles on each system. We did it with the Wii last year, and we've done it with the PS3 and Xbox 360 over the last two weeks. But, that doesn't really paint a complete picture of the past eight years of gaming.

Undoubtedly, third-party published games were just as important to the growth and prosperity of the last generation of consoles as first-party titles were. It wouldn't be right to deny them their time in the limelight just because they could be found on multiple systems. These were the Destructoid Staff's favorite multi-platform titles:

[Image source]

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Destructoid's favorite Xbox 360 games: A warm look back photo
Destructoid's favorite Xbox 360 games: A warm look back
by Brett Makedonski

We're almost there. With the release of the Xbox One just a few hours away, the torch will finally be passed, and what we've referred to as "next-generation" for years will simply become "this generation." Exciting times to be a gamer.

Of course, the release of the Xbox One doesn't simply make the Xbox 360 vanish into thin air. Games will still be developed for it for a long time to come, and a lot of people will probably just stick to their 360s for quite a while. That being said, it's undeniable that the focus will squarely shift to what's happening on Xbox One.

But, in a way, that shift can sort of be a tough pill to swallow. A lot of good things came out of the 360's lifespan. Just as we did with the Wii and the PS3, we want to reflect on our personal experiences with the Xbox 360 before setting our sights on Microsoft's new console. These were the Destructoid Staff's favorite Xbox 360 titles:

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Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in: Week 2 photo
Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in: Week 2
by Dale North

[Every week, from early November through the end of 2013, I'll report on my use of Wii Fit U and how it benefits my health.]

Read Week 1's weigh-in here.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I'm always on the quest for good food. I'm one of those a-holes that tweets pictures of his food all day. After one post earlier this week, one of my followers asked me if I ever ate anything healthy. I told him that I wouldn't want to waste my life doing that.

But now I look at my stomach... 

I was in New York all week, covering the PS4 launch as well as meeting with Microsoft on Xbox One. I'm in the city about 5 or 6 times a year, and when I'm there I eat a lot. So this week's weigh-in should be interesting.

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Destructoid's favorite PS3 games: A fond adieu photo
Destructoid's favorite PS3 games: A fond adieu
by Brett Makedonski

The tail-end of console generations always feel a tad bittersweet. In our haste to eagerly welcome a new, shiny machine to the ever-growing stack of boxes underneath our televisions, we begin to neglect the systems we're currently graced with -- the ones that have kept us entertained for the better part of a decade. It's an easy enough trap to fall into; everyone shrugs off the ol' housecat in favor of the spritely, young kitten. But, truth be told, that housecat was a damn fine companion for a long time.

As we get set to usher in a new era with the PlayStation 4, it's a fine time to remember all that the PS3 had to offer. Just like when the Wii U was set to launch, we'd like to take a moment to look back at the experiences that personally defined this generation of games for us. These were the Destructoid Staff's favorite PlayStation 3 titles:

[Image source]

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Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in: Week 1 photo
Wii Fit U weekly weigh-in: Week 1
by Dale North

[Every week, from early November through the end of 2013, I'll report on my use of Wii Fit U and how it benefits my health.]

This year, being the biggest console launch year in a decade, has been really busy for me. I normally travel over 80,000 miles a year for Destructoid, but this year has me nearly doubling that, and it's not over yet. 

I eat well everywhere I go. It has become sort of a goal to find the best food I can in every city I visit. So I leave home for a week, pig out, come home stuffed, stressed, sometimes hung over, and  always lacking rest, doing this every two weeks or so.

I looked down at my stomach last week. And on the floor, just past my bulging gut, I saw the Wii Fit Balance Board... 

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Let's look at Tropes Vs. Black Guys in Videogames photo
Let's look at Tropes Vs. Black Guys in Videogames
by Jonathan Holmes

There is only one major Black male character in Total Recall (1990). His name is Benny. He is a buffoon. He is not entirely human. He's poor. He can't be trusted. He's a killer. He meets an untimely death about 25 minutes before the end of the movie. Isn't that interesting? 

Ever since seeing the movie at the tender age of 14, I've made a habit of taking a look at the Black characters in movies and videogames to see what patterns come up. Are they the only Black character in said movie or game? Are they the only one with a hideously lumpy forehead, or who is blind, or is constantly dancing? Are they always carrying a gun? Are they the only one who is humongous? Are they played by Samuel L. Jackson? Can they be trusted?

I put together a chart featuring a few of these tropes and their correlating Black male videogame characters to see how they intersect. It could use some work. There are a lot of notable characters missing (Henry from The Last of Us, Brad from Dead Rising, DARPA Chief from Metal Gear Solid, Mike Tyson) because the chart was already getting huge or because they already had representation by a similar character. There are also quite a few interesting tropes (Untimely Death, Grumpy Papa, Constant Smile, Constant Gun, Unnatural Hair Color, has the word "Black" in their name, etc) that didn't make the cut, either because we ran out of space, they were too subjective, or because they couldn't potentially apply to everyone here. There is simply no way of knowing if "Black Guy" in Kung-Fu is a Grumpy Papa, but we definitely know he's humongous. 

So it's not perfect, but it's still worth a look. I'm hoping it inspires others to make their own fun charts. One specific to zombie games would be particularly interesting. Thanks to Darren Nakamura and Sarah Thomas for helping me put these together, and look forward to more fun discussion of race and videogames right here on Destructoid!

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Cookie Clicker gets inside your psychological kitchen photo
Cookie Clicker gets inside your psychological kitchen
by Brett Makedonski

What's your CPS? That question is a litmus test, and if you have no idea what it means, good. You're safe. I envy you. I'm not as fortunate. I, like a whole bunch of other people, fell prey to the recent Internet phenomenon, Cookie Clicker, and things just aren't the same anymore. By the way, my CPS is 1.8 billion, as if any of it really matters.

CPS, or Cookies per Second for the uninitiated, is the statistic that's at the heart of Cookie Clicker. Ask anyone that plays, and they'll be able to ballpark their most recent figure. Their answer is unimportant. What is important is the fact that regardless of progression, their response will almost always come with a twinge of pride and accomplishment.

That's because we're not just baking cookies here; we're building empires. And if Cookie Clicker does one thing extremely well, it's giving the player a constant pat on the back, assuring them at every step of the way that their cookie kingdom is growing. Likewise, the next big breakthrough is always right around the corner. Always.

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This Killer is Dead cosplay sure is mondo photo
This Killer is Dead cosplay sure is mondo
by Wesley Ruscher

If there was ever an upcoming week for epic cosplay it would be this week. PAX Prime in Seattle and, from what I'm told, the mecca of all cosplay destinations Dragoncon in Atlanta are sure to provide some amazing displays for weeks to come.

With that said, I'll be ditching the Dtoid family this week (going to miss one wild party for sure) as I brave a trip to Atlanta to witness (and capture with my new camera) some hopefully insanely brilliant cosplay. 

Enjoy this week's gallery. There are some fantastic cosplays old and new, a little Killer is Dead action, and even one our own Jim Sterling could get behind. 

Remember, if you have any spectacular cosplays you'd like to show off here make sure to send them in to tips@destructoid.com.

Until next time!

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Ubisoft's Southeast Asian outpost, Ubisoft Singapore photo
Ubisoft's Southeast Asian outpost, Ubisoft Singapore
by Dale North

The sweltering, tropical city-state of Singapore is home to one of Ubisoft's branch studios, Ubisoft Singapore. This is the studio behind the naval combat segments of Assassin's Creed III, and those went over so well that they're now working on several aspects of Assassin's Creed IV's open-world gameplay, including the water tech, underwater exploration, naval battles, and awesome shark harpooning

We had the pleasure of visiting Singapore to learn more about this studio, its staff, and the fascinating city itself. I enjoyed the visit so much that I wanted to share a bit more about the studio and city.

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Exploring the depths of the ocean in Assassin's Creed IV photo
Exploring the depths of the ocean in Assassin's Creed IV
by Dale North

Water is usually a background element in action/adventure games. Or at best, water gets a temporary spotlight in levels that let you take a break from standard play -- a quick splash and then back to land.  It's rarely ever a focus in these games. Usually, underwater segments are the worst parts of these games. Poor water.

The ocean played a sizable role in Assassin's Creed III with its naval battles, and while that was fantastic, it only served as a tease for what the ocean offered. Reacting to feedback, Ubisoft is now bringing the deep blue sea to the forefront in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. They've embraced the open-world concept, and the free exploration extends to the ocean, not only by boat, but through underwater play. 

We visited the team behind Assassin's Creed IV's ocean tech, Ubisoft Singapore, to learn how deep they were willing to dive this time around.

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These Tales inspired cosplays will soothe your soul photo
These Tales inspired cosplays will soothe your soul
by Wesley Ruscher

It only took two years for the thirteenth flagship title in the Tales series to reach western shores, but now that Tales of Xillia has finally arrived what better way to celebrate than with a collection of some fantastic cosplay traversing the series' lineage. 

From the PlayStation classic Tales of Destiny, to the soon to be remastered Tales of Symphonia, all the way to the present with Tales of Xillia; there definitely is no shortage of breathtaking cosplays to admire. To narrow it down we've limited this week's entries to a few characters from the most prominent games in the series. Even this was near impossible.

So let us know below which one is your favorite. And as always, if you have any spectacular cosplays you'd like to show off here, send them in to tips@destructoid.com.

Until next time!

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A Kingdom Under Fire cosplay that will blow your mind photo
A Kingdom Under Fire cosplay that will blow your mind
by Wesley Ruscher

Welcome to our new regular column showcasing some of the world's most amazing videogame and other geek centric cosplays (costume play).

To kick it off, we're going mostly old-school with a stunning Princess Zelda, feisty Street Fighters, a serene Tifa Lockheart, and a downright disturbing Alice. Not to keep it completely retro though, we also have a look at one of my favorite new characters of this generation: a brilliant Nilin worth remembering from Capcom's sci-fi thriller Remember Me.

Perhaps the most elaborate cosplay of the week goes to a character from a MMO I've never even heard of based on the Kingdom Under Fire universe. The armor work and intricate detail on each sword for Age of Storms' Elyuin is utterly ridiculous. Follow this link for in-game footage of the actual character to see just how accurate the cosplay is.

Also if you have any spectacular cosplays you'd like to show off here, send them in to tips@destructoid.com

Until next time!

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Troubadour: An Xbox employee and his desire to make games photo
Troubadour: An Xbox employee and his desire to make games
by Brett Makedonski

Securing a job in the videogame industry is a lifelong goal for a lot of people. Some eventually get there; many of them never do. Eric Doty got there a few years ago. He's worked his way through the ranks of the Microsoft Xbox team on the community side. But Doty's not content to simply "get there." He has a deep-burning passion that doesn't exactly parallel his day job.

No, Doty (maybe better known as "DMZilla" to the Internet community) has a fervor for creating. He's already authored a comic book (about a cyborg corgi!), but now he's moved on to a more interactive medium. After playing videogames for the majority of his life and being surrounded by the culture at work, Doty has decided to try developing them.

So that's exactly what he's doing. He's acquired game development software, he's written the story, and he's enlisted the help of Seattle artist Zak Alexander to collaborate on the game's tone and visual elements. The only problem is despite the desire to make a videogame, Doty didn't actually have the know-how to program it.

Luckily, he has the drive to figure it out. Doty began the process figuratively neck-deep in online tutorials. As he continues work on the game, he learns new things every day. Mechanics that were once difficult to grasp have become increasingly easy. He's treating the entire endeavor as a learning experience and as an experiment -- because that's exactly what it is.

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