YouTube user BOYvsVIDEOGAME decided to beat Bloodborne without leveling up or using a gun, and he's done it. Somehow -- with a lot of patience and practice, I'd imagine -- he's done it.
He went with the Waste of Skin origin f... read
Unity developer Erik Roystan Ross took one of the most iconic and beloved levels in videogames and gave it a makeover. Ross recreated Bob-omb Battlefield, the first stage in 1996's Super Mario 64, in HD from scratch. Ev... read
Whether you're a complete newcomer to Metal Gear or a seasoned vet just shooting to glaze over a few things that you probably already know, it's not a bad idea to take a look at this top-secret document. Okay, it doesn't... read
Paul Johnson spent "[four] years' worth of weekends" drawing and animating this '80s anime-inspired Star Wars TIE Fighter short film focusing on the Imperial pilots. It's like a cleaned up, rock and roll backed Legend of the Galactic Heroes. read
Another Man at Arms, then? Though it seems the series spun off since I've last seen it (last year) with a new team of blacksmiths. Still, this one goes well with the recent trend of cool craftspeople making cool Legend of Ze... read
That was a scary couple of minutes there while I dug through storage to confirm that, yes, my DK Bongos and copy of Donkey Konga have not vanished in recent years. My drum-whacking abilities have since dried up, though. Big ... read
Uncovering the mysterious, unforgiving, crazy-but-believably-crafted world of Lordran is one of the greatest pleasures experienced in not only Dark Souls, but in the last decade of videogames.
I'm still wrapping my head aroun... read
There’s a trend sweeping over YouTube at the moment, one that went unnoticed by me up until a few months ago. It's called ASMR (or if you want to kill time and sound fancy, autonomous sensory meridian response). I don&r... read
Holmes passed along this "stop-motion animation Zelda thing" by Johnny McHone earlier today and I put off watching it for far too long. Don't make the same mistake! The video borders on amateurish at times, but that ends up ... read
Let me set the scene: Day 1 of PAX has come to a close, or at least the show floor has. My friends and I have just finished dinner and are on our way back into the convention center to check out the Super Smash Bros. tou... read
Love them or hate them, the Five Nights at Freddy's games have been incredibly popular. Big surprise, people find slightly uncanny animatronic animals universally creepy. Now, thanks to Youtube user Dr. CreepyPasta, we get t... read
Hooray! Illustrator Jason Lupas has come out with more Mario and Shadow of the Colossus mashups following the pieces we covered last month. I'd love to see a game follow this concept.
There's a finished version of the prior Donkey Kong sketch, an underwater scene (shown above), and a cool four-legged reimagining of the Chain Chomp. Good stuff, Jason.
Jason Lupas [Tumblr] read
Web musician Dj CUTMAN has created a ton of awesome remixes of videogame music over the years. Today, he released his newest album, Volume III, compiling selected works from 2012-2015. There's a lot of great stuff in here, re... read
The titled epitome of '90s raditude done in by hubris, Sonic X-Treme, was meant to be the first full 3D Sonic -- a Mario 64 colleague -- and the first of SEGA's star series for its Saturn system. Like so many subsequent 3D S... read
Now that's a one of a kind collector's item. Forget the gaudy gold New 3DS XL.
Artist Griffon Ramsey works with the most delicate brush of all, the chained saw, and with it she sculpted this beautiful Majora's Mask out of a ... read
I think it's fair to say that amiibo are quite a tour de force in certain communities. In fact, some might even point a finger at this very website and accuse us of being mildly caught up in the craze. But, a talented few are... read
Back in Pokémon's heyday, it was difficult enough to catch 'em all with legitimate friends, additional cartridges, and link cables, let alone do it in record time. One talented 21-year-old speedrunner from Ohio who go... read
Very dang good artist (and current Firewatch art director) Olly Moss, whose work we routinely enjoy, made these pixel art Willow plates a while back. These classically-inspired works are now on display at the Victoria and Alb... read
Feb 07 //
Brittany Vincent Minelands: Call of the Border, from Triple-A Developer Entertainment, is Browe's baby, the product that's single-handedly responsible for his rise to prominence. It's received dozens of perfect 10/10, 5/5, 3/3, 2/2, and 1/1 scores from outlets just like this one, and none of us have even gotten to play the game yet. It's a thrill ride to be sure, but the game isn't the only reason he's becoming a household name.
After putting out a series of daily developer diaries, a photo documentary series with stills from each minute of his day (including videos from each of his Starbucks jaunts), Browe has gained a following with fans as well. His Twitter features up-to-the-minute news and opinions sponsored by now-defunct "energy" soda Vault, where he speaks only in lowercase, using bizarre syntax and phrases like "v cool" and "p sure." When it comes to the industry he grew up shunning to ensure he could still impress vapid women in high school, no detail can go overlooked.
Browe was the picture of patience and humility during our chat in the Gaylord Hotel suite he so lavishly recommended that I reserve with my credit card. I had requested my own room, but he was gracious enough to suggest we share the executive suite because, as he put it, "There's way too much space in here for one lonely guy."
He spent much of the interview posted up at the minibar alternating between downing shots like a fish desperately seeking the glistening life force of water and checking his iPhone 6 Plus, making moves on his fantasy football team roster. It's like I wasn't even there, which actually allowed me to capture an even more intimate portrait of one of gaming's rising stars. When he did talk though, I definitely felt a sort of camaraderie I hadn't felt in some time from other devs. Chatting in the dimly-lit suite's makeshift "living room" area felt a lot like, well, home.
Over a steaming cup of hotel brand coffee, Browe opened up about Minelands: Call of the Border, and why he thinks it has struck a chord with reviewers, who were privy to fifty 30-second trailers over the course of a three-month period before release.
"Obviously everyone's excited because my game is taking creative risks like no other company out there. Minelands is doing something completely and totally new," Browe gushed, with a twinkle in his eye that could have been all the booze he had taken in before and during our talk. "For the first time in history, players can use two weapons at once. So if you're trying to kill an enemy and make sure he's dead, you could use your shotgun and your AK at the same time to dual-wield. You can even reload independently. And you don't even have to hold two weapons at a time if you don't want to. It's not required at all. "
Technically, Browe reminded me earlier on when we met, Minelands is a first-person shooter, but its host of envelope-pushing features ensure that it defies classification. For instance, you'll be able to save your progress anywhere in the game. Rather than waiting for checkpoints, you can go to the menu at any time -- whether on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or N-Gage -- and save. Female characters, I was told, would play a major role as well.
"Commander Hua Wei is a fellow operative from China, and as you play through the game as Captain Guardevoi she's by your side every step of the way. She'll give you waypoints from her command center, and appear before you as a hologram of sorts for in-game interactions. This is the first time there's ever been a female commander in a shooter, let alone one that gives you orders as you go along. Of course, there's still plenty of time for romance in the game. Hua Wei may be your colleague as you trek across the Minelands to defeat the nefarious Hangdog Mack at the Border, but there's no battlefield too big to let love in."
Though he didn't share much else regarding the title that's launched him into the gaming celebrity stratosphere, Browe did invite me out for dinner next week, where he's ordered that I come dressed in heels and a revealing dress so that we can talk about his creative process. But what about how the players feel about the actual game? I'm dying to know myself. Minelands has been released to the public already, but technically won't be going on sale for another couple of days, and then only at retailers like GameStop and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Some members of approved media outlets who've seen the multitude of trailers are keeping mum about the game thus far other than the quotes okayed for the promotional materials: "Fantastic!" proclaims a prominent games magazine. "Brilliantly!" exclaimed a digital publication.
Browe had quotes on hand, but he wasn't so forthcoming about sharing them with me, keeping silent so as not to give anyone a taste of what's already being called Game of the Year material. I did see something along the lines of "Brilliantly terrible," but I'm almost certain the "terrible" was a typo and it was something like 'Brilliantly, terribly genius" from Video Diversion Educator Magazine. But they wouldn't get the last word on things. That pleasure belonged to Browe as he gave me his parting words to pass on.
"Please subscribe to my Patreon and support independent video game development. Buy me a vanilla bean frappuccino if you end up liking Minelands: Call of the Border. I also accept major credit cards. It's all for the fans, and I'm planning on making something even bigger soon involving player choice. Two words: Branching dialogue options." Browe had wiggled his eyebrows seductively toward me after divulging this information, and even as I pen this piece now I'm astounded.
Truly, Jacob "Humble" Browe is a visionary.
A rising star speaks 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 succ... read feature
Play Minecraft for 25 hours to make those years up
// Jason Faulkner
Wanna know what you have to do to be the best? The new Guinness World Records 2015 Gamer's Edition hosts a diverse listing of various gaming records. Wanna have the largest Tomb Raider memorabilia collection in... read
Not long removed from Dying Light's recent release, one boy decided to play through the entire game engaging only its best elements. That is, running around and drop kicking fools. It's dubbed the Jean Claude Van Damme run and its the only correct way to play a game that has drop kicks.
More games need drop kicks. read
Managing game downloads on PlayStation Network is a far greater pain that it needs to be, but I've grown accustomed to Sony's ways. Thank goodness for people like redditor RePod37, then, for coming up with an intuitive soluti... read
What a thrill
I noticed the creepy janitor in Life is Strange slowly climbing up the ladder and thought, "Ah, I see, an organic, in-world time limit."
Nick Robinson thought of Metal Gear Solid 3, which is always the better thought. read feature
Like the Penis Brothers of yesteryear, some people in zombie survival games are less concerned with the undead, and more intent on messing with fellow humans. You know what they say: man is the real monster.
This group in&nb... read
Paul Robertson, whose work you might have seen in games like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World or Mercenary Kings or in crazy-ass gifs like this, has teamed up with fellow animator Ivan Dixon and musician Jeremy Dower for a heartf... read
Jan 30 //
Nic Rowen [embed]286902:57093:0[/embed]
Resident Evil 4
Until the fourth installment of the series, the knives in Resident Evil almost set the standard for terrible videogame knives. They were not a tactical option, they were a punishment. A sentence you were forced to carry out until you were able to scrounge up a few precious shotgun shells, ideally learning to be a little more judicious with them in the future. In RE4 though, the knife became your best friend.
No longer hidden away in a cumbersome item menu, Leon could draw his blade with the push of a button, allowing for near-instant access to a blade when you needed it the most. In the faster-paced, more action-heavy climate of RE4, the knife provided you with vital close-in protection for those times when some shambling zombie or horrid flesh-monster got a little too close. While it still did fairly low damage, a good slash could send a monster reeling, giving you the time you needed to regroup, or set up an awesome Wrestlemania-style suplex.
Leon's knife gets a lot of screen time. It shows up in cinematics where he uses it to save his life, quick-time events where he climbs on some humongous boss or another to slash its weakpoint, and of course, the clash of knives is the focus of his vaguely intimate confrontation with Krauser. Krauser's instrument might be bigger, but Leon can handle his better. Innuendo? Only barely.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
The knife in Turok has all the hallmarks of a shitty videogame knife. It has a typically unsatisfying swipey animation that never feels like it's connecting with an enemy and does piss-poor damage, the kind of utterly inferior weapon you'd never want to use if you had even a single bullet or arrow left. However, for all of its flaws, the Turok knife is saved from the trash pile of ignominy by one amazing gimmick, that by the nature of its novelty also incredibly dates the game -- slow-motion.
By collecting spirit talismans (hidden away in inscrutable caches as was the grand tradition of late-'90s FPS games), Turok could slow the world to a psychedelic crawl. Reality would warp and bend, replacing the ever-present gray fog of the world with pulsating Hotline Miami-esque neon while the sundry velociraptors and poachers of Turok's ire would move like they were submerged in rapidly settling cement mix. That was when it was time for your blade, when each inhumanly fast swipe would draw a crimson dash of blood that would hang suspended in the air, layering on top of each other over and over again as helpless enemies fell one by one.
It doesn't sound like much, but that cheap slow-motion effect was the height of technological gimmickry the N64 was capable of, and about the goriest thing you could find on that platform until Doom 64 eventually chainsawed its way onto the scene. I'd use a cheat code to lock myself in slow-motion permanently and hypnotically, methodically, work my way through entire stages slicing up each goon or monster a dozen times or more. Staring at the screen dull-eyed and mechanical, gone blood-simple in my single-minded dedication to the knife.
Hey, don't judge. It was about the only way to actually enjoy that game.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Naked Snake's knife is notable for reasons almost entirely divorced from any kind of play mechanic or practical use. Yes, using the knife to kebab tree frogs, or to unzip a KGB officer's neck after an impromptu field interrogation was immensely satisfying (at least to my ghoulish tastes), but it wasn't a game changer. The same sorts of techniques had been in the series before, in the form of punches, silenced tranq darts, and the classic neck snap. What the knife offered in MGS3 wasn't about new mechanics, but about setting a tone, about establishing who Naked Snake (the man who would become Big Boss) was and where he came from.
There is an overwhelming amount of attention paid to Snake's knives in MGS3. The careful slow draw and of his leather-braided fighting knife as he remembers the basics of close-quarters combat. Whittling down the handle on his 1911 mere seconds after acquiring it to better accommodate his knife/gun akimbo fighting style. The long-winded radio conversations about the merit (or lack thereof) of survival knives stuffed with gear in hollow handles. Hell, the CQC knife is in the frame every time you aim your pistol in first-person mode.
Say I'm reading too much into it (this wouldn't be the first time when it comes to the MGS series), but I don't think that was a mistake or a coincidence. You're supposed to have that image of the knife floating around in your head while you play. The knife is the raw edge of the game, the old fashioned kind of murder that grounds the action in spite of all the bumblebee-men and ghost-astronauts you fight. The thing that really reminds you of the moral grime and dirty dealings of the espionage world during the height of the cold war. The subtle reminder that while Naked Snake might be the hero of this game, you know he has a darker, more ruthless turn waiting in store.
To me, MGS3 isn't “the prequel” or “the one set in the '70s.” No, it will always stand out in my mind as “the knife one.” I think that's telling.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
When it comes to open-world games about stabbing people, we enjoy an embarrassment of riches. While the Assassin's Creed series might be built on the blood-soaked foundation of the sheer joy of leaping from the shadows to stick a blade in someone's back, I think top honors in the field of shivving must go to Mordor instead.
While Colonial Redcoats might be a (slightly) more satisfying object to work murder on than orcs, the way Talion goes about his grim business edges out the Ezios and Connors of the world. I'd take Talion's ragged, broken hilt of a sword-turned-makeshift-orc-sticker over the facile slickness of AC's spring-loaded wrist-blade any day of the week. The near-endless variety of ways he can use it to end an orc's life is simply breathtaking in scope and imagination.
You don't just “stab” an orc in Mordor. No, Talion will arch an orc over his knee like a lover, only to drive that broken blade into its guts. He'll hover the knife in the air for three-fifths of a second too long above a prone orc scrambling in the dirt before finally plunging it into his back. He'll drop from a height to sticking the blade into a woefully exposed throat before pulling it sideways free with both hands, awkwardly straddling the line between just slitting a throat and full-on decapitation. Grisly, horrible (and thrilling) stuff.
This is all without mentioning the “brutalize” variant of his stealth kill that is specifically designed to butcher an orc so horrifically that any other monster witnessing it would rather drop their weapons and run than face the same fate.
When the fucking uruk-hai are startled by your savagery, you might have gone too far.
Team Fortress 2
How could you have a list about awesome videogame knives without honoring the Spy's iconic butterfly knife? You can't and you don't. So that's what we're doing now.
The Spy's knife gets EVERYTHING right. Slick, practical, powerful in the ways it should be, limited when it's out of its element, just perfect. From the super satisfying click-clack of opening the knife when you select it (I would absentmindedly fiddle with the quick-swap button every few seconds whenever I was out of the action just to hear it) to the quick downward jab of a backstab – it just feels great.
Of course, the big difference between the Spy's knife and the other fine-edged weapons on this list is that you get to use it on other people as opposed to A.I.-driven cannon fodder. As a Spy you get to stalk, hunt, and prey upon other actual players, using your skills and wits to maneuver into just the right place at just the right time to put the knife in. It's a dynamic that has brought out the best of the worst in Spy players. As TF2 has aged, the old tricks just don't cut it anymore. You can't spam out cries for a Medic while disguised as a Pyro and assume you've duped everyone anymore. An entire substrata of players have worked out every possible sneaky angle and head-game you could care to think of to keep the Spy relevant and dangerous as the meta-game has churned on.
I've never experienced anything more gratifying in an online game than pulling off a hard-earned backstab. Finding a way to sneak past an enemy team specifically watching and checking for Spies, worming your way past all the random explosions and possible mishaps, stabbing someone just as they look away, confident in their security. Nothing tickles the black recesses of my heart more than watching the enemy roster empty out of Medic, Heavy, and Sniper players as they switch to more aggressively anti-Spy classes like the Pyro, Scout, and Soldier in an attempt to extract revenge.
And of course, I've never experienced anything as white-hot frustrating as having a good Heavy minigun-rampage cut short by a shiv to the spine courtesy of some clever Spy. Cheeky bastard.
Far Cry 4 – The chain knife takedown, where you stab one dude in the back, then pull his own knife out of the scabbard to throw at his slack-jawed buddy, is too damn cool to go unmentioned.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Jensen's arm blade things remind me a lot of RoboCop's data-spike. Only with a lot less data and a lot more spike.
Super Street Fighter IV - Cody has some nerve bringing a knife to a street brawl. I like it.
Soldier of Fortune 2 – SoF2's knife would leave these horrific gashes on an enemy model and it didn't stop there. Dice a corpse long enough and you could dismember some poor sod until all that remained was a pool of blood in a hallway. Ewwww.
Enough to make even Gabe Newell blush Knives in games are weird. They're either way too weak and flimsy to be any fun (the weapon of last resort you mess around with for a few moments to delay dying or before you restart from your last, hopefully ammo-rich, save)... read feature
I hope that car was non-running and cheaper to junk than fix, or else that's a waste of a perfectly good little car. Not that we all haven't thought about letting the aggressions out and possibly hurting ourselves while destroying some property. Just think about taking a baseball bat to some cheap, boardwalk-prize glassware. I could go for one of those right now. read
Kevin Birrell, who goes by the alias of KevinDDR, has joined the few, the proud, the Tetris Grandmasters. He is only the sixth person in the world to ever accomplish this feat, which should already give you an idea as to... read
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a short game. After you have a good feel for what you're doing, you can run it over and over, experimenting all the way. Eventually, you'll know it like the back of your hand (assumi... read