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6:49 AM on 04.17.2013

PlayStation Network maintenance delays US PSN update

Since Sony doesn't have a set time when they update the PlayStation Network -- a stark contrast to pretty much all of their competitors -- a lot of us were anxiously waiting for them to eventually update the PSN, and get our ...

Chris Carter


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'Gun violent' videogames removed from MA truck stops photo
'Gun violent' videogames removed from MA truck stops
by Jonathan Holmes

My original plan for today was to head out to Connecticut to talk to residents of Southington about their initiative to destroy violent videogames. That event was canceled. So one ridiculous sidestepping of the real issues in our society taken off the docket, right? Wrong.

Just like the Hydra, cutting off one head results in two growing in its place. Now the town of Melrose, Massachusetts, is planning on doing its own "dump a violent videogame for coupons" drive, and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has banned some gun-related videogames from highway rest stops, including Time Crisis and Beachhead 2000.

Haven't any of these goofballs read Grand Theft Childhood?

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PSA: The Wii U GamePad is NOT a tablet controller photo
PSA: The Wii U GamePad is NOT a tablet controller
by Jonathan Holmes

Ever since the existence of the Wii U was leaked just prior to E3 2011, game developers, publishers, those in the gaming press, just about everyone but Nintendo have called the console's new controller "a tablet." Every time someone does this, they drag their collective fingernails across the chalkboard of my soul.

Anyone who has used the Wii U GamePad should be able to tell you that it's not a tablet device. A tablet features multi-touch screen controls, and does not rely on multiple buttons and control sticks/pads. The Wii U GamePad does not feature a multi-touch screen controls, and it does have dedicated buttons and control sticks (and one control pad).

If you are going to call the Wii U GamePad a "tablet," then you're going to have to call the 3DS, the PS Vita, ATM machines, The Real Touch anus simulator, and everything else on the planet with touch controls a "tablet" as well. Personally, I'd prefer for us to use the word for devices that are actually are tablets, and not mindlessly tack it on to every new touch-controlled device that hits the market just so we can sound trendy. It's cool when words mean something, isn't it?

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E3 Rant: You got what you asked for, happy now? photo
E3 Rant: You got what you asked for, happy now?
by Allistair Pinsof

I'm an old school gamer, but I like to think I have an open mind. I like it when series reinvent themselves and I rarely object when a developer attempts a new aesthetic or visual style. I was there to applaud Konami's Guillermo del Toro-inspired Castlevania reboot, Lords of Shadow, and was happy to see Silent Hill attempt something new in Shattered Memories.

In this day and age, publishers are always going to drag out established franchises, so I'd much rather see them stitching new dresses for them to wear instead of beating a dead horse. I don't think I'd want to see anyone beat a dead horse, now that I think about it.

Consumers-at-large aren't so different then me: They demand something new out of their favorite franchises. The key difference is that they demand something new that has been done to death by others. Publishers are in no place to argue against consumer demands, so they bowed down and homogenized their once unique franchises.

This is an alarming trend I saw at this year's E3. Here's three examples of great franchises dumbed-down and removed from their defining elements.

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Talking to Women about Videogames: They can't see the art photo
Talking to Women about Videogames: They can't see the art
by Jonathan Holmes

[Talking to Women about Videogames is a series where Jonathan Holmes talks to different people who are women about the biggest videogame news of the week for some reason.]

The debate over the artistic merits (or lack thereof) of videogames has been going on for years. Every time I think it's over, it pops up again. The passion on either side of the argument never seems to die down, while those on the outskirts are just desperate to put the whole debate to rest. Any topic that leads to this kind of endless impassioned debate (and debate about the debate itself) must have some greater meaning.

I think that meaning can be found in the deeply contrasting perceptions found on each side of the argument. Talking to someone who doesn't think videogames are an art form can feel like talking to a Predator (the "Arnold Schwarzenegger hating" variety, not the "to catch a" variety). It's like their eyes just don't see the same world that mine sees. Where I see a face, or a sunset, they might see a random swirl of colors, or a bunch of amorphous blobs. That leads them to desperately try to convince me that there is a blob setting in the west, while I'm yelling at them about the breathtaking symphony of colors exploding in the sky right in front of us. We're both sure that what we're seeing is reality, and that schism between our two realities drives us nuts.

I've found the best way to deal with situations like these is to take on the differing perspective. From there, you can mentally team up with the person whom you're "arguing" with, and try to guide them over to your way of seeing. They may not ever share your perspective, but by engaging with them, you can at least share the same reality for a little bit, and that can only lead to good things. So let's take a look at why some people can't see that videogames are an art form, and help to get them on the right track!

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10:30 AM on 05.02.2012

Nintendo wants digital and retail to be priced the same

Nintendo, always so close and yet so far. As the publisher makes baby steps toward the 21st Century by offering full digital versions of its retail games, president Satoru Iwata believes that the ethereal options will not pro...

Jim Sterling

7:50 PM on 02.23.2012

Little Niero would have cut your throat for a cartridge

I like beef, so I eat it sometimes. It's too much work for a lazy blogger go kill and roast an animal in the woods, so I'm glad that there's a place that shapes it into squares, then puts it on bread and cheese. It's called W...

Papa Niero



GameStop's Retro Game Vault is ridiculously stupid photo
GameStop's Retro Game Vault is ridiculously stupid
by Tony Ponce

Hey, guys! Remember when GameStop used to sell legacy games and hardware? Atari, Genesis, you name it. Those were the days, before the company began swallowing up the competition and ditched the retro wares in favor of almost exclusively cramming used copies of week-old releases down your throat. Wouldn't you like to go back to those simpler days? Fat chance.

GameStop has added the Retro Game Vault to its PowerUp Rewards program, giving you the option to use points accrued through in-store purchases towards titles from the SNES, Dreamcast, PlayStation, NES, and more. When you think about it, it's quite similar from Club Nintendo's downloadable games initiative. Wait a minute... no, it's not. Whereas Club Nintendo software is priced at a reasonable 100 or 150 points, easily earned after a couple of retail purchases, Retro Game Vault software is priced like that sh*t is gold.

You earn 10 points per dollar spent on new games and consoles, 20 points per dollar spent on used goods, and 20 points per dollar earned on trade-ins. So if you were to buy two used Xbox 360 games at $40 a pop, for example, you would earn 800 points. Sounds like a decent chunk of change, right? How many points does a random game like, say, Double Dragon cost? 32,500. Let me repeat that: 32,500. So in other words, if you were trying to maximize points earned, you would have to spend $1625 on used merch, trade in the equivalent value, or apply some combination thereof. What. The. Hell.

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PlayStation Move, why aren't you moving?  photo
PlayStation Move, why aren't you moving?
by Jim Sterling

The PlayStation Move came to North America on September 17, 2010. In that time, I think I've used the peripheral maybe six times. This is said as a person whose job it is to own and use one of these things.

When the controller was first introduced, Sony made a big deal about how it could create richer, deeper experiences than we'd gotten on the Wii. Coupled with Sony's more "hardcore" focus, we seemed in line to receive the kind of motion-controlled games that had a real edge and innovation to them, rather than the waggling minigames the Wii has helped perpetuate so damn much.

So ... where are they? Where are these deep experiences? Why, over a year on from the peripheral's release, are we still getting proof-of-concept games instead of actual games?

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8:00 AM on 11.06.2011

Hey Microsoft, no means no!

Dear Microsoft, Have you ever heard the word "no" before? When somebody says that word, it usually means they don't want something or would like an ongoing activity to stop. So for instance, when you notify me via Xbox Live t...

Jim Sterling



Is the dual-stick controller a game design crutch? photo
Is the dual-stick controller a game design crutch?
by Tony Ponce

It has been nearly two months since Nintendo unveiled the 3DS Slide Pad Expansion (Circle Pad Pro in the West). Despite the initial cries of "Nubageddon," the fervor has since died down, allowing everyone to reflect upon the news with an open mind and clearer perspective. Some have concluded that this move is proof that the 3DS hardware was rushed to market, whereas others have dismissed it as just another peripheral that will soon join the ranks of the Super Scope, e-Reader, and Wii Balance Board.

I have drawn a completely different conclusion, however. In attempting to rationalize the absolute necessity of a second pad for Nintendo's latest handheld, I broadened my scope to include the very concept of the dual-stick controller. What has the second analog stick brought to the table? Why has it become a staple of console gaming? What gaming experiences would be impossible without it?

The truth is that I simply see no real justification for the Circle Pad Pro's existence. In fact, I believe the dual-stick controller is a stopgap that has overstayed its welcome.

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5:30 PM on 09.24.2011

Adventure Time creator thinks the best games have stories

We've already heard a lot from Pendleton Ward, creator of the hit show Adventure Time, about his interest in making a game based on the property. Up until now, I was excited about the prospect of an Adventure Time game. Now I...

Jonathan Holmes



Fans upset over anime-ized statue of Mass Effect's Liara photo
Fans upset over anime-ized statue of Mass Effect's Liara
by Tony Ponce

I remember when the Western anime craze really started to boom in the late 90s. Not only did media distributors start licensing every single Japanese property under the sun, distinctly Western properties began to demonstrate greater and greater Japanese influences. It started when shows like Dexter's Laboratory would incorporate speed lines, giant robot battles, and kaiju monsters. Eventually, there was Teen Titans on television and Marvel Mangaverse in comics, which tried to more directly emulate Japanese art and animation.

This wasn't a one-way street, however. Powerpuff Girls Z was a Japanese adaptation of a Western cartoon which itself drew heavily from Japanese media. Currently, we've got Marvel Anime, four miniseries by Japanese animation studio Madhouse, based on Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men, and Blade. Just as we are fascinated by foreign styles, likewise are they with ours. It's what explains the viability of the Kotobukiya Bishoujo line of figurines, which immortalize fictional female characters, including many Western comics icons like Wonder Woman and Phoenix.

Now, BioWare is working with Kotobukiya on a mold of Mass Effect's blue-skinned asari Liara T'Soni. Production images were shared on the company's Facebook page, but the over-3000 comments are less than receptive. Hit the jump for my further musings on this situation.

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The 3DS eShop, or why Nintendo has no f*cking clue photo
The 3DS eShop, or why Nintendo has no f*cking clue
by Jim Sterling

I am an idiot. Some of you are reading this now and your first thought is, "He finally admits it!" However, I have a specific reason for this self-deprecating opener. There was some part of me -- some naive, doe-eyed, expectant part of me -- that truly thought Nintendo was going to get its act together with the 3DS eShop. 

For possibly demented reasons, when I heard that Nintendo intended to make serious strides with its digital offerings and give us something to make the 3DS a worthy download platform, I actually wanted to trust it. I wanted to think Nintendo knew what it was doing, had learned from its mistakes, and would kick righteous amounts of downloadable arse. 

So like I said, I'm an idiot. 

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8:00 PM on 04.20.2011

You got some of your film in my video game

[To cutscene or not to cutscene? That is the question posed by Zwuh; not so much posed as answered vehemently. Want to see your own writing on the front page? Write something awesome and put it in the C Blogs. -- Kauza] Welco...

Andy Astruc



Valve 'fans' whine and cry about Portal 2 like idiots photo
Valve 'fans' whine and cry about Portal 2 like idiots
by Jim Sterling

Portal 2 launched yesterday in a whirlwind of critical acclaim, but if you believe some of the fans out there, this game is the worst thing since anthrax was invented.

An army of bitter little fanboys has attacked the game via Metacritic's user reviews, with hundreds of negative summaries complaining about unbelievably inane sh*t. Many of them just seem upset that the game didn't release as early as they wanted it to. Others bitch about the downloadable co-op costume packs that appeared at launch. 

Yet more are claiming that the game is overpriced and that the main campaign is only two to four hours long. That last complaint is a straight-up lie, but apparently that doesn't matter if a customer is really pissed off about some inconsequential nonsense. 

I'd go so far as to agree that the DLC is silly, but that actually has nothing to do with the game itself, which is one of the best titles I've ever played (review coming soon). The campaign is six to eight hours long, and then there's co-op, which looks to add almost as much playtime.

As far as the ARG not unlocking Portal 2 early? Oh BOO HOO, you entitled, spoiled, pathetic little twats. Nobody promised anything.

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