In a little over two weeks London's Meltdown gaming bar is going to be once again playing host toVideoBrains, an evening of talks about the world of videogames. Running from 7:00pm until 10:00pm on Tuesday May 26, the evening... read
Panda, a well-known fighting game streamer and commentator, has had his equipment and personal belongings stolen following the recent Texas Showdown tournament.
Panda, who has over 30,000 followers on Twitch.tv, made a series... read
Hey, do you like indie games? Are you in or around London on May 14? Do you fancy hearing talks from the likes of Paul-Kilduff-Taylor from Mode7 (Frozen Cortex) and playing a bunch of indie games? How about swapping assets wi... read
It’s almost that time again. Time for the great British-and-also-Northern-Irish-people to filter in to the polling stations, tick little bits of paper, and then have no change ever come about as a result. It’s tim... read
Do you like indie games? What about beautiful hand-sculpted architecture? What about the thought of the two combined? Yes, such a wondrous combination of things is possible, particularly if you're going to be in or around Vie... read
The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is one of Canada's biggest gaming, film, television, gaming, comics and "geek culture" events, drawing celebrities, panelists, and events from all over the world. This year, it wa... read
Outside of occasional gags like Doughnut Drake in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, I tend to forget how generally fit most mainstream videogame characters are. Leave it to artist Alex Solis to remind me of that fact with his upcom... read
From the beginning, this murder (and I've seen a lot of them over the course of my career) struck me as too simple. Kyle Hebert -- a voice actor you may recognize as the voice of Ryu from Street Fighter -- was found de... read
In a little under two weeks London's Meltdown gaming bar is going to be once again playing host to VideoBrains, an evening of talks about the world of videogames. Running from 7:00pm until 10:00pm on Monday March 30, the even... read
Not doing anything March 23? Near enough to London that travel seems feasible? Looking for a cool video game event to attend that won't cost you anything? Well, Ladycade is coming back to London's Loading Bar in Dalston from ... read
PAX East 2015 is happening RIGHT NOW! And just like years past, the Destructoid community is there in a big, big way.
Did you make the trek to Boston this year? Then check out our daily meetup schedule below! And be sure to j... read
2700 people in the Main Theater will remember that
// Darren Nakamura
At PAX East's big opening panel, Telltale Games co-founders Dan Connors and Kevin Bruner talked about how Telltale came into being. They began by following the storytelling path through the ages, from telling stories around a... read
New Steam Machines and the final Steam Controller, too
// Jordan Devore
Here I was expecting to find out about Steam Machines and the finished Steam Controller at next week's Game Developers Conference -- sure, that's fine -- but the company also has a surprise in store for the San Francisco show... read
"Dad By The Sword is a game about YOUR DAD running around in jorts and slaying Anti-Dads with a claymore. Experience a unique First Person Swordplay experience as you try not to get killed by leaping hot dog monsters. Out... read
[Update: The show must go on! Apex is relocating to the Garden State Convention Center. However, all events planned for today have been cancelled.]
Authorities have put Apex 2015 on hold over concerns about the venue's struct... read
Jan 24 //
Brett Makedonski [embed]286521:56979:0[/embed]
It's that emergence of two conflicting styles that makes Ronin so satisfying. In the three-stage demo I played, I was tasked with working my way through buildings, hacking terminals, and eventually assassinating a target. Outfitted with a target marker outlining where any particular leap would transplant me, I hopped across levels and climbed up walls. Easy enough, no real threat there.
However, when running across the increasing number of guards patrolling the secured area, that's when the turn-based action took a front seat. As soon as an enemy sees you, Ronin immediately switches formats. As a laser sight trains on you, you're given a ton of options and an endless amount of time to determine the best approach to the situation. An early encounter had me jumping to the ceiling of a room to dodge a single shot. On the next turn, the guard's focus followed me, so it required jumping back down the ground so that he shot high. Repeat until close enough to dispatch him with a melee kill.
In the event that no guards in a room saw me (which happened often because sticking to the shadows is the way to go), real-time could be employed to stealthily sneak up on them one at a time. But, once spotted, it was back to the challenge of figuring out what sequence of jumps and kills would result in simply living past the encounter.
That's not to say that Ronin funnels the player into two distinctly different combat approaches. At any time, a button press will switch the action to the other method. If you'd rather take a stab at brute-forcing your way through a section, go ahead. Although, chances are you won't make it very far.
The method may feel new, but the reason for the madness will probably come with a twinge of familiarity. In a lot of ways, Ronin is kind of Kill Bill: the Videogame. It follows a helmet-clad, motorcycle-suited protagonist on a quest for revenge. Bloodshed is the only acceptable method, as she tries to infiltrate complexes and assassinate the leaders who wronged her. Then, at the end of each level, she gets away on a slick, souped-up bike.
Even though it cribs from Tarantino fairly heavily, Ronin is still an absolute joy to play. A Devolver representative who hadn't played much presented the game to me, and we essentially figured out the last stage together. It was like a chess match against the enemies where we had to think three steps ahead at all time. Many deaths occurred, but we eventually got through all of the hairy situations. I was playing, but it honestly may have been just as enjoyable in his shoes -- helping outline the strategy turn by turn but not executing.
The culmination of all of that was an appointment that ran over on time, but felt like it passed by in a breeze. I simply lost myself playing Ronin. I think that might be the case for a lot of people when they get to try it first-hand. It's so much more clever than it initially looks, and you'll consume yourself with trying to figure it out.
And to think that its exposure was almost limited to a few who tried it at a game jam.
But it's so much more than that Devolver Digital has a penchant for picking up clever game jam submissions and giving them a chance to grow into fully-realized titles. Titan Souls is a fine example, and it would have never had any exposure outside of t... read feature
Jan 21 //
Videogame journalists are the biggest nerds in the world
This may seem like an unrelated point, but it's important to start this off by identifying who we're dealing with here. Nerds. Huge fucking nerds.
What do I mean by nerd? A lot of things, but the two key points for now are 1) nerds care about shit that is completely unimportant to everyone else, and 2) nerds want other people to see how important this unimportant shit actually is. A nerd is a guy who can't help spend hours trying to convince his loathing in-laws that The Game Grumps are way funnier than Mel Brooks. A nerd is a girl who sits you down in the middle of a hurricane and babbles about how the latest Legend of Zelda game completely sucks compared to the prior, nearly identical Legend of Zelda game. A nerd is in their own world. A nerd wants you to be in that world with them.
I'm not saying there is anything wrong or right about being a nerd. It's just a thing. Some nerds take pride in being nerds, and they tend to be the most annoying of their breed. Other nerds are ashamed of being nerds, which is also pretty fucking annoying. Videogame journalists tend to do both at the same time, which makes them doubly annoying, and triple susceptible to manipulation.
A nerd wants to be understood, to be validated, to have their peers finally "get" how fucking amazing Buffy the Vampire Slayer is. They want to be honored for their ability to immerse themselves in banal, worthless shit. They want to get paid for it too, because who wouldn't? This is the portrait of a "videogame journalist," a writer who might as well be wearing clown shoes and a t-shirt that has "deluded asshole" written on it in big rainbow lettering, should they ever talk to actual, real-life journalists about their jobs. "I just wrote a hot exposé on how how the guy who made Gears of War got tops scores in Mario growing up, where the fuck is my Pulitzer?" they cry, alone at the journalism party, wondering why every other journalist in the world can't make eye contact with them without laughing or turning away in sympathetic embarrassment.
AAA publishers are well aware of what they're dealing with here. They know that videogame "journalists" are the biggest fucking nerds in the world, and they have spent millions of dollars on turning this situation to their advantage.
Food, folks, and fun
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that videogame "journalists" are all totally fucking poor. I don't know how much the staff at Destructoid get, but I'd bet they don't make much more than your average McDonald's manager. I don't just mean the frontline writers either. I mean the bosses too. Unless you're one in the unknown guys in the way back, sitting pretty at one of the big-money parent companies that pull the strings of the game blogs you read, chances are you're poor as fuck.
So you're a multi-billion dollar company and you have a group of "journalists" in front of you who are totally financially bankrupt and aren't respected by anyone in the world except for their videogame loving "fans." Metacritic makes or breaks games these days, and some game blogs are read in the millions, so you know you need to get these fucking nerds on your side somehow. But how can you do that, other than by making actually good videogames? That's really fucking hard, right? Isn't there an easier way to win them over? Like any business transaction, you have to look at what you have that the other side wants, and vice versa. From there, you concoct a deal that will leave you richer and the other guy poorer.
Videogame "journalists" have the one thing that AAA publishers can never have, but I'm not quite sure what the word for it is. I don't want to go as far as to say "integrity," but it's something in that ballpark. Multi-billion dollar publishers will always look like car salesmen to consumers. Some are more likable car salesmen than others, but we all know that all they want is for us to "shut up and give them our money." In fact, I have it on good authority that it was a corporate shill who created that meme. Nothing like memes to create a culture where buying shit makes you feel like a funny guy that's super popular on the Internet. But back to the point.
Though they often fail at it, the game "journalist" has the potential to be seen as something more noble than a car salesmen. In theory, they are someone who tells the honest truth about videogames, despite the fact that they get paid shit and are mocked by real journalists for choosing that path. It's a path they can't help but fall into, and can't usually crawl out of either. They can't help but care about videogames and the people who play them. I'd call it "honorable" if it weren't so fucking stupid. Either way, it's an image that AAA publishers can only dream about having.
So if you are a multi-billion-dollar game publisher, these borderline "honorable" people are who you want to buy, but the irony is, buying them would ruin them for you. If you put them on the payroll then *POOF*, cherry popped, and with it any illusion of honesty and integrity. That's counterproductive. That's scrubbing your toilet with shit-scented soap. So instead of buying game "journalists" directly, you have to work them sideways. You have to win their affection, to get them to feel instead of think. To do that, you have to feed them the things that they're missing -- acceptance, a sense of importance, and often times, actual food.
Ask your average San Francisco-area game journalist how many fancy parties they were invited to by AAA game publishers last month, and they'll likely be unable to tell you off hand because there were too many to keep track of. All of these parties are well-catered with fancy food and free drinks. They are almost all held at trendy clubs, complete with stylish DJs playing cutting-edge music. Young, attractive PR people work the "press party," playing the role of "professional friends." They'll smile and joke and hang out with the "journalists" as they drunkenly play some half-finished, totally mediocre, risk-free AAA videogame. Maybe they'll get drunk and make out with the attractive PR people later on. Maybe the game being previewed at that party will get a 9/10 by that writer later in the year. Maybe that happens with every goddamn over-hyped annual AAA game release in the history of AAA game releases. Maybe it's been going on for years.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. That's not even getting into "review events" where journalists are flown to exotic locations, fed even fancier food, and basically treated like kings for the entirety of a long weekend, before returning home to their shitty studio apartments and nightly ramen-noodle dinners. That's not touching E3, a trade show disguised as a press event where AAA publishers make an economy out of swag and "insider" game screenings, parties, and press conferences, where journalists are trained to measure their worth by how close they were able to get to certain "important" games and publishers, and not by how thoughtful and unbiased their coverage is.
This lists go on and on, and nothing on the list has ever been a secret. Like that giant gas pipe with "DANGER" written in bling all over it, all this unethical bullshit is hiding in plain site since the dawn of the game industry. Capcom even used to advertise its "CAPtivate" event on its own blog, despite the fact that it was basically a giant trip to Hawaii it bought for game "journalists." There was no GamerGate-style hashtag to complain about it either. That's right, gamers weren't worried at all about collusion and conflicts of interests at all back when Capcom took all of the most-read game bloggers in the world on a fucking group vacation to Hawaii. I guess gamers in those days were too busy fretting over the fact that some blog might have given a game they liked an 8 instead of a 9, or some other such bullshit that they've been trained to think is important. Good thing those days are over, right guys?
If anything, gamers seemed to think that CAPtivate was cool. It probably gave them hope. If they became game journalist someday, they too could hangout with women who were paid to pretend to like them and get free food and basically be allowed to remain children forever. That's "living the dream" for many people. I know it was my dream for a while, until I woke the fuck up. Now I see that we've created a culture where the rich, popular kids occasionally ask the biggest nerds in the world for help with their homework, and in exchange they let the nerds sit at the "cool" table at lunch for a day. But just for a day. Then it's back to the fucking nerd hole with the lot of them. Even worse, everyone involved seems totally OK with maintaining this practice as the status quo.
That's fucked up.
So why is everyone OK with it?
Part of why everyone's OK with it is that everyone either feels like they benefit from it, or they feel powerless to stop it. AAA publishers get their coverage, game blogs get views and free vacations, and game blog readers get to read about the games that they've been convinced are "hardcore" and "important" by the other two groups. The consumer is having their wallets stolen from them as AAA publishers look them straight in the eye and say "I'm doing you a favor," and god fucking damn it, the average consumer seems to believe them. Why else would broken, bland shit like Destiny be one of the best-selling games of 2014?
As for the "journalists," they just look on at the crime and say "Well, that's just how the system works. Guess I'll just shrug my shoulders and obey this review embargo. Wouldn't want to lose my job! Wouldn't want to get my dick cut off by Activision! Gotta keep your dick around, even if the only thing you get to use it for is pissing out press releases and jerking off to the idea that you're doing something worthwhile with your life."
And in the face of all this, thousands of people think that some poor, no-name game developer fucking some poor, no-name game "journalist" are the root of the ethical issues in "game journalism"? Are you for fucking real?
Of course you're not for fucking real. You're a smokescreen, obviously.
I know that certain parties at certain AAA game publishers are fucking thrilled with GamerGate, and have actively worked to keep that shitstorm going under anonymous accounts, not unlike this one that I'm using right now. And why wouldn't they? GamerGate distracts from the real ethical issues in game journalism while bringing hits to the blogs that are basically working as unpaid PR for whatever cookie-cutter, "must-have" game of the week that they're hocking that day. It inflates the importance of game bloggers, and as a result, the importance of the games they blog about. 99% of the time, that's one of their games.
GamerGate also works to discredit the people who are scariest to AAA publishers; critics like Anita Sarkeesian who have managed to get their voices heard while remaining outside of the AAA PR ecosystem. Capcom can't fly Anita out to Hawaii and try to win her over. They can't slap a review embargo on her. She doing just fine without having to get involved with "hype-trains" or review events. She might be shitty at her job, but she's still an honest-to-God game critic, and that scares the fuck out of AAA publishers.
Equally scary are game developers who don't need AAA publishers to find their audience. Minecraft is their fucking worst nightmare, but it was too big to kill so they had to buy it. It's buy, sell, or kill with them, just like it is with all pimps. Those are the only services a pimp can provide. If they catch a girl who looks like she could live without a pimp, you can bet they'll do their best to swat her down, to make an example of her.
You wonder why no AAA publishers came to the aid of the game developers who are getting chased out of their homes by identity theft and death threats? It's because they are happy to see it happen. They are happy to see anyone who dared to work the streets without a pimp get shanked. But hopefully you're not happy with it. Hopefully you're not happy with people who are getting paid multi-million-dollar salaries to further a system where the shit trickles down from the top and lands squarely on your face. Hopefully you want to do something about it.
I've been trained do as I'm told so please tell me what to do, anonymous stranger!
If you insist.
First of all, let go of that goddamn fucking bullshit GamerGate hashtag. It makes you look like an idiot at best, a fucking stalker at worst. Start a new hashtag. Try #GameBoycott. Use it to identify games or game consoles that were presented to game "journalists" for coverage at fancy parties where they were given free stuff and other attempted buy-offs. Try that for a change, instead of spinning your wheels with dumbass witch hunts and obsessive nitpicking. Stop getting mad at the dog for farting and do something about the giant gas pipe in your kitchen.
I'll even give you a head start. I heard that Nintendo threw a big surprise party for game "journalists" last week where they were all fed free expensive food and given a "gift bag" that included a New 3DS and a bunch of games and shit. I think it's fair to call that an attempted buy-off. If you agree, boycott the New 3DS, and make some noise about it. Show Nintendo that you won't tolerate those kinds of business practices. Show them that you don't appreciate their efforts to buy the affection of nerds with really expensive gifts and fake friendship, regardless if those nerds are on the "consumer" or the "journalist" side of the equation.
Your money is the only thing they care about. If you want game "journalism" to be more ethical, you've got to go after the AAA publishers running the show. Trying to kill the blogs that write about their games won't help. If one dies, two more will just pop up in their place. Instead, reward the blogs who are up front about what AAA publishers are doing, and avoid the rest. Don't lose focus. Don't fall for smokescreens. Be consistent in your efforts to fuck with the secret AAA douchebags who are really in control, the guys smiling in the shadows as they wipe their asses with your hard-earned money. I know these guys personally, and trust me, they deserve to be fucked with.
[Disclaimer: The views and opinions of The Badger do not necessarily reflect those of Destructoid.com. They do make some interesting points, though.]
Because you apparently can't figure it out on your own [Note: The Badger could be anyone -- a game developer, a member of the gaming press, even a writer for another game blog. They could be just one person or multiple people. You'll probably never find out who they really are, w... read feature
Also Super Smash Bros., for those living in the past
// Darren Nakamura
The New Nintendo 3DS XL is the current hot commodity for Nintendo fans, with special edition units selling out. For those who are not so keen on ordering one before playing, an opportunity to get some hands-on time is coming ... read
If this morning's Humble Bundle didn't already tip you off, this year's Awesome Games Done Quick event is now running. Every year it gathers some of the best speed runners to show their stuff, streaming the event and collecti... read
No Man's Sky showed off a particularly purple planet in its Game Awards trailer. It's still exciting, walking amidst bioluminscent fauna and dinosaurs, getting into your ship and zipping off to another planet. Oh, and t... read
When Sony announced PlayStation Experience, I didn't pay it any attention outside of a cursory glance, but in the weeks since, the Las Vegas event has shaped up nicely.
It kicks off on Saturday, December 6 with a keynote at 1... read
I've been excited for No Man's Sky for almost a years' time now, but it has become a passive excitement as I wait patiently for it to release. This video, what with some footage I haven't seen and it generally looking a... read
Nov 17 //
Steven Hansen You are an industrial diver working on the very bottom of the Pacific Ocean (the best ocean). Here there are shades of Dead Space, but without a gory and horrific surprise. An incident has left everyone else on the underwater rig tied up on account of them being killed, so you, on your lonesome, need to get topside.
Narcosis is mostly linear and narrative driven, but there's, "no conspiracy," writer David Chen explained. There is no dark mystery to unravel. More than the typical "survival horror" genre this is "survival," with some psychological horror woven in, most directly through narration as you are treated the to inner monologue of a man in serious trouble.
The psychology is also played with by harking back to the title, Narcosis, which is an actual condition that effects deep divers, causing audio visual hallucinations. It can also be brought on if your oxygen supply dwindles, the gauge of which you can look down within your dive suit to see on a physical HUD. This effect is doubly impressive while playing entombed in an Oculus Rift and head phones, as I did on the Game Connection Europe show floor, as you look down inside your cockpit at your oxygen levels, or look through the pane of glass that stands between you living still and being smooshed by immeasurable pressure.
Chen calls it a "walking coffin."
Your oxygen levels are important to your survival, and you will occasionally find canisters to replenish. Important to your oxygen levels is your rate of consumption. Under high stress situations, you consume oxygen more quickly. Disorientation leading to stress leading to decreased oxygen leading to more vivid hallucination could prove a vicious circle.
Deep sea life--often exaggerated in size or ferocity--also cause problems. The only source of light beyond a flashlight is your flare gun, which doubles as a means to cause distractions for fish n' things what want to nibble at you. You also have a knife, but I only ever used it to prise a face-hugging nasty from my face. It clamping on out of nowhere scared the heck out of me, jump scare as it was.
What I played of Narcosis was a lot of deep sea walking, jetting over crevasses, and a bit of avoiding fish things. As you see in the trailer, there'll be bits taking place back within the flooded station, and you'll have some actual tasks to complete to get yourself topside. It's aiming for a fall 2015 Steam release. We'll see if the Oculus is out by then, because the two work real well together. Otherwise, I'm keen to explore the deep story Chen aims to deliver.
You a narc?!
I said it when I checked out Amnesia developer's SOMA early this year, but we could do with some more games set underwater. It's a scary place. There are goblin sharks down there, damn it. And you don't even have t... read feature
Nov 16 //
Steven Hansen But boomboxes are a big, dead cultural artifact. Inside My Radio, one of the coolest projects I checked out at Game Connection Europe, puts you in the role of a lively LED inside of a dying boombox. Your goal is to bring back the funk (or, actually, the electro, dub, and disco).
Inside My Radio is structured similarly to underrated rhythm-platformer Sound Shapes, with a number of stages making up the track list in an album. Within the musical genres of electro, dub, and disco, there will be subgenres and styles represented, which will wind up with their own albums, so it won't be a three-tune affair.
Unlike Sound Shapes, though, the music here isn't just tonal, visual set-dressing. Here, your main movements--jump, dash, slam--have to be synchronized with the backing beat, or nothing registers. A bit closer to Crypt of the Necrodancer, perhaps, but with a more consistent rhythm rather than a tile based affair. Should you slip up and lose the beat, prompting a complete meltdown, as is often the case in rhythm games, a button press brings up a metronome-like visual indicator around the LED chap that you can follow to get back on track.
Aside from rhythm-based precision platforming, there are a few puzzle sort of things to deal with, as well as the ability to slightly alter the style of track within the level you're playing, depending on which bit you prefer. The dubworld even has a giant mixing board you can manually adjust for the sound you want.
The music I've heard is good, the visual style is lovely in its colorful lighting and sharp angles (the cutscenes, too, which look a little different). I'm excited to check out more Inside My Radio, headphones on, soon. PC and "consoles" are currently confirmed, though it may be a tip that the studio's last, very different game came to PS3 and Vita alongside PC.
Get in my radio (an Austin Powers joke)
There are things to consider when it comes to playing music in public. Are you in an open space, perhaps a park, with enough distance between you and others so that your tunes don't dance on over into unwilling ears? Are you... read feature
If you're too late, just stare at this picture for a while
// Jordan Devore
Passes for PAX East are on sale! Get in here while you still can.
The show takes place at the Boston Convention Center the weekend of Friday, March 6, 2015. Tickets are $45 for a single-day badge and $95 for a three-day badge. Scalpers be damned.
I've never made it out to Boston, but I'd like to go, one day. The weather that time of year, though! read
Featuring Aegis Defenders, Anamnesis, Walden, and more
Destructoid is excited to once again be partnering with Angry Bananas, Giant Robot, and Meat Bun to host another Game Night!
What: Game Night USCWhen: Saturday, November 8, from 6:30pm to 10pmWhere: Giant Robot 2, 2062 Sawtel... read
Paris Games Week has finished happening. It happened across the street from Games Connection, where I was busying myself with loads of smaller folks' games, so naturally I visited.
I played The Order, which a lot of folks are... read
In the company of Limbo, Loading Human and other past winners
// Steven Hansen
Game Connection Europe held its annual Development Awards this week in Paris, with Area Effect's Izle leading the way with five wins. Each of the ten categories feature two possible awards, the European Games Booster Award an... read