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7:52 PM on 03.28.2013

PAX East 2013: Destructoid community at E&C

I'll just let this video speak for itself. :)

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9:46 AM on 03.28.2013

More PAX East 2013 pics


MR. DESTRUCTOID!!


Katamari braving the cold on opening day


Always trust Dr. Zed even if he doesn't have a real medical license






Me with Oscar Jilsén, developer of Sanctum with my signed copy for winning a contest to design a new weapon for the upcoming Sanctum 2


One of the many Chell cosplayers


A serious "Assassins Creed" fan (and cosplayer but out of costume)


Yeah, he's real. He was handing out "Borderland 2" items at the Dr. Zed vending machine


Well, there's something that you don't see every day


That is a real working Vectrex. If you don't know what that is, GET OFF MY LAWN!!




Siren!



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8:04 PM on 03.26.2013

Some PAX East 2013 photos




Dean Dodrill and Alex Kane, creator and writer (respectively) of "Dust: An Elysian Tail" with the lead character


Me with "Reverend" Anthony!!


Well, hello-o-o-o-o-o, Moxxi!


Me with the "Major Nelson" podcast team


The base price for that table ranges from $10K - $15K (!!!)


HA!


Handsome Jack and Mechromancer


Ezio bustin' a move with Dance Central


I don't care what anyone says, I love the LEGO games.


This room probably has the majority of working "Steel Battalion" controllers left in the world.


Well, there's an attention-grabbing name!   read


8:01 PM on 03.15.2013

The Ultimate Mario Wedding Cake

When you see something like this, does anything need to be said?   read


5:46 PM on 04.13.2012

PAX East 2012 - Bohemian Rhapsody

Words cannot describe the awesomeness that this night had for us. Unfortunately, I can't embed video into the article, so I'm afraid that I can only post a link.

Click here for Destructoid PAX East 2012 awesomeness   read


10:20 PM on 04.05.2011

Whither The LAN And The Bots?

For more than ten years, some friends of mine and I have gotten together every Friday night – as much as the Internet allows – to do some first-person gaming. We’ve reached a point where if we don’t have our gaming sessions on Friday nights, the night feels odd. Even our wives know that Friday night is our gaming and we’re not to be disturbed. (We’re married and have kids, so we have no idea what a weekend social life is anyway.) Thanks to Hamachi and Ventrilo, one of us plays as the server (usually me because my PC is the beefiest and I have a symmetrical 25Mb Verizon FiOS connection) and we play as a LAN game.

Unfortunately, we’ve been restricted with respect to the selection of games that we want to play. In this world where human-versus-human multiplayer is the de facto standard, we find that more and more game developers are opting to remove the venerable bot.

To the unknowing, a “bot” is nothing more than a computer-controlled AI character, exactly like those would would otherwise find within the single-player campaign of most first-person shooters. The main difference is that bots are used to fill in the missing members of a multiplayer team. They can fight with you, against you, or even against each other depending on what team they’re on.

Unfortunately, the majority of modern first-person shooters, especially tactical shooters, have dropped bots entirely in favor of forcing human-versus-human multiplayer. We always play in co-op assault mode with the three of us against an AI army. As a result, we’re forced to stick with the aged Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six Vegas, and Rainbow Six Vegas 2, with the first-generation Rainbow Six series relegated to history.

These are by no means bad games; however, after more than ten years of being restricted to the same few games running a “terrorist hunt” mode, we often find ourselves looking for a new game to satiate our desire for some co-op gameplay against an articficial enemy. Although a lot of those games to exist, most tend to bring on motion sickness, as happens to one of my friends if we try something like Unreal Tournament 3 or the Star Wars: Battlefront series.

Where have the co-op bots gone?

One of the excuses that I often hear for their disappearance is that it’s very difficult to program bots. I find that difficult to believe because that’s exactly what is happening during a single-player campaign, except that you are a one-man team instead of a multi-person team. When the enemy detects you, they attack. This is no different in a co-op multiplayer scenario with perhaps some extra logic added to the AI regarding which player to attack.

In many newer shooters, particularly the military type, you often play your single-player campaign with the assistance of other bots as you fight your way through the enemy bots. Why do these games not allow the ability for a real person to assume the role of one of those bots that are on your team? When did AI become so difficult to program that games that are over ten years old have multiplayer co-op with bots but modern games don’t?

I’ve read statements from some developers that there is no demand for such an option, but I don’t believe that. Many gaming sites and news articles have discussed the lack of etiquette in multiplayer gaming, whether it’s due to cheating, sexism, homophobia, or just plain arrogance from someone who is hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet. One of the key reasons why I don’t play on public multiplayer games anymore is because there are too many jerks out there who are ready to ruin the experience for everyone else just to bolster their own ego or get that precious unlockable perk. But, sadly, the selection of games that allow team-based, tactical co-op against a non-human enemy seems to be limited to games of the past.

Now would be as good a time as any to start focusing on LAN and co-op gameplay once again – with lots of bots to come along for the ride.

Original posted on my personal blog at http://thebergerbits.com   read


10:01 PM on 03.23.2010

Let's help Topher to get a Wii! -- ENDED

UPDATE -- Thanks to everyone who has responded to this; however, while Topher has made it clear that he's very appreciative for the effort, he requests that we don't keep going with this. Because that is clearly his wish, I'm going to honor his request and stop the "Get Topher A Wii" campain.

At least some good has come out of this for him. This got enough publicity that someone is sending a game from play-asia.com that Topher was hoping to get. :)

I am incredibly proud of how the Destructoid community has come together so quickly with this and other such efforts, and I'm very happy to be part of that global family. But this particular quest needs to be abandoned.

Thanks, everyone! Game on!

----------------------------------

I was listening to Podtoid #143 when Topher mentioned that he doesn't have a Wii, and I know that in previous Podtoid's he's mentioned that he has ... well ... employment difficulties right now.

This seems like a damned shame, especially for someone who has lamented that he doesn't have a Wii and would also (probably more so) have a lot of fun with the Virtual Console. So, I thought about what could be done to get Topher a Wii and I made a semi-serious comment about a "Get Topher A Wii" fund. I thought about it some more and figured "Well, why the hell not?"

As one of the older Dtoid members and a proud member of the first true generation of gamers (being Atari 2600/Commodore 64 era) I've been a gamer since many of you were gleams in your parents' eyes. So, I have a personal love for the ol' 8-bit games. I've also been on that unemployment line twice, so I know what that's like.

In the interest of transparency, I'll be glad to put a list of donors and the amounts on a public web site (I own several) as well as and photos of the purchase, mailing, etc. Also, I have to say that I've never met Topher nor even spoken to him. A few e-mails is about it. But he's always been one of those Dtoid personalities that always seemed to strike a familiar chord with me.

So, what do you say, everyone? If I can get some kind of fund going to help to get Topher a Wii, would you be willing to contribute?   read


7:40 PM on 09.19.2009

I got a role on "Flare"! Anyone else?

WOW!

A little while ago, our own unbelievably hot Colette posted an article about the upcoming independent game Flare, stating that the developer was also looking for voice actors, artists, writers, and so forth. Well, I'm not trained in graphic arts and I'm no writer, so I sent in a demo MP3 for whatever role he wanted to give me. (I would have been mildly upset if he had chosen me for one of the women, obviously, but who am I to criticize? Frank Oz was the voice of Miss Piggy, for crying out loud!)

I just got an e-mail with an NDA (or a "FriendDA" as he called it) congratulating me for getting the role of hero #2!

From his e-mail:"I'm very happy to say that I've accepted you into the Flare voice team. Congrats! When I first heard your voice, I instantly knew you were male hero 2. The good news is that he's a great character, a really fun womanizer with a unique talent. The bad news is that he doesn't have any lines yet (but he's next on my list)."

A womanizer, eh? I like that.

In his initial response to me, he said that he got a lot of feedback since Dtoid's post went live. Did anyone else volunteer for and get any of the available positions? It would be neat to find out how many of my fellow Dtoiders are on the team.

Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Beuller?   read


8:14 PM on 08.17.2009

When Gaming Loses Its "Fun" Factor

(Note: This is actually a smaller version of my article on Bityard, a web site that I write for. But it definitely applies here. I don't know if it qualifies for an "I suck at gaming" entry, and frankly I'm not trying to get that; but it's a rant that I think all of us have felt at one point or another.)

I'm a true, first-generation gamer. I've been gaming since the days when the Atari 2600 was brand new and I haven't stopped since then. Commodore 64, Sega Genesis, NES, and so forth – I've owned a lot of consoles and spent tens of thousands of hours gaming. Nowadays, my PC will blow away most “gaming” PCs out there and I own each of the current-gen consoles.

Having taken this past week off, I spent the majority of my time catching up on several games that I bought and never played. I also rented some games that I've been meaning to try out. Unfortunately, one of these games has made me realize that some game developers are sadists who think that punishing gamers is lots of fun (for the developers, not the gamers).


Before I continue, let me just say that anyone who excuses what I'm about to discuss as “simply being challenging” is wrong and somewhat arrogant. Countless thousands of games are challenging and fun at the same time without crossing the border into “frustrating”. But ths is not one of those games.

The new “Bionic Commando” game from Capcom, which I've been playing on my Xbox 360, is a great third-person action game. You need to have good reflexes and a sharp eye to defeat the various enemies and swing with your bionic arm from one area to another. The sound is nicely done, although the continually repeating music can get annoying after a bit. The graphics are the normal levels of gray that have sadly permeated the first/third-person gaming community as of late; but Capcom has brought forth the look of a devastated city with realism I've never seen before in a post-apocalyptic game. And the physics engine is top notch. In just about all ways, this game is fantastic. I found myself oddly satisfied every time I find a new way to dispatch an enemy and gain those in-game accomplishments and precious Xbox Live achievements. I've also gotten a lot better than I thought I'd be at swinging on the bionic arm.

But the frustration level about this game forced me to shut the console off on more than one occasion.

My frustration didn't come from being too difficult. “Mega Man 9” is incredibly difficult, but it's still fun. No, in this case my frustration with the game comes from one of the most annoying things that the developers at Capcom think is just such a great idea.

Imagine this scenario.

You fight your way through a number of baddies, gaining accomplishments and achieving goals, whether it's killing fifty enemies to unlock a new weapon or dispatching a boss character in a way to gain an Xbox achievement. You're near the very end of the level; but you miscalculate a swing from one building to another and subsequently drown in the flood that now covers the city. It's time to load from the last save point. Unfortunately for you, the last save point was the beginning of the level and all of the in-game accomplishments that you achieved are gone.

Imagine another scenario in which you spend a significant amount of time defeating a boss when you realize that you need to kill him with a jump kick in order to complete an accomplishment and gain an upgrade to your weapon. After diligently making sure that you dispatch him in the right way, making the battle last much longer than it needed to be, you get killed by a lucky shot from a low-level grunt. Thanks to the timing of the last save, the accomplishment that you spent extra time trying to get is gone and you have to go back and defeat that boss again.

The lack of an in-game, manual save function is killing the enjoyment of this game for me.

To the developers, I have to say this: as much as the graphics and gameplay of “Bionic Commando” are absolutely fantastic, you're still a bunch of sadistic bastards. When I have to restart a level several times because you think it's great to make your save points excessively far apart and you refuse to implement a less frustrating manual save function, that's not challenging - that's annoying and overbearing. That's something that actually made me shut the console off in frustration. That's something that a game should not be doing.

This is by no means the first time that I've run into this. When Bityard was 32 Bits Online, I wrote a review for a third-person shooter called “Oni” from pre-Microsoft Bungie. I really enjoyed that game. The levels were intriguing; the hand-to-hand combat in which you could break spines and snap necks was ingenious for the time; the techno music perfectly matched the futuristic, city-based levels.

But as with “Bionic Commando” the save function was unbearably frustrating. What the folks at Bungie thought would be great was to save your game for you after every major fight. That meant that, more often than not, when your game was saved your health levels were painfully low. What's worse, that meant that you often were too weak to make it to the next save point because health was not easy to find; so you'd have to go back to an even earlier save game with the hopes that you'd have enough health this time around after the battle that you could progress onward.

I slammed Bungie in my review for that to the point that their developers personally responded to me. Not surprisingly, they decided to hide behind the “challenge” excuse, which is an excuse that I'm tired of hearing. Again, a game can be sufficiently challenging without the need to frustrate the player because of having to revisit, re-revisit, and re-re-revisit areas over and over again because of the lack of a manual save function.

Games like “Saints Row 2” have it right. You save where you want, when you want, right from the options menu. There are even checkpoints within a mission, so you have the option of starting from the beginning or from the last checkpoint. Even then, the missions don't make you play for ten minutes before finally throwing a checkpoint at you.

And for any of you who are about to make a claim about how people who want manual saves are “not up to it” or we “don't have what it takes” or whatever excuse you prefer, the fun in any game is the journey. You travel your journey the way you want, and we'll travel the way we want. That journey should not involve going around in circles multiple times. Besides, some of us have jobs and families and can't spend 40+ hours a week playing games (or in the case of “Bionic Commando” spending hours just to get past one level) in our parents' basement like you can.

For genuinely retro games like “Mega Man 9”, I can understand having to start from the beginning. That's the way that games used to be. To have a save function in the middle of a level would have been out of place. Frankly I'm not sure how that could have worked in a 2D side-scroller anyway.

But for modern console games that have rich, detailed, expansive worlds, the removal of a manual save option is pure arrogance. The option should be there, but if you don't want to use it then you simply don't use it! Having it as an option does not in any way reduce the challenge or enjoyment of the game. Unfortunately, this is too basic a concept for the developers at Capcom to understand.

I have to return “Bionic Commando” to Blockbuster tomorrow. I'm actually glad that I didn't outright buy it. No one should have to pay $60 for a game that makes him want to shut the console off.

As a working father of three, I have other responsibilities that demand my time. I'll leave Capcom's sadism to the basement dwellers who apparently have nothing better to do than waste hours playing the same damned level over and over and over again just because they got killed near the end of the level or they met their demise five seconds before they reached a ridiculously distant save point.

It's too bad, too. It really is a great game.

The original article is posted here.   read


3:40 PM on 02.26.2009

The original Duke Nuke 'Em at GOG!

I hate sounding like some kind of a GOG sales rep, but in fairness I did submit this to the D-toid guys this morning. The front page has been pretty busy with other stuff. So, I'm not surprised that they didn't get it posted.

I just got my regular e-mail from the folks at Good Old Games and it turns out they they made a deal with Apogee to get Duke Nuke Em (the original one, not the vaporware one), Rise of the Triad, and Blake Stone! I can't even think about how many hours I burned up playing the original Duke Nuke Em!

No, these obviously don't have ZOMG HD GRAFX, but I don't care. I bought Duke immediately. For $6 and no DRM, f*ck yeah!!! What's funny is that the extras that come with it take up more MB than the game itself!

Since they have Apgoee on board, I hope that Commander Keen is next...   read


1:15 PM on 02.13.2009

15% off racing titles at GOG

Seeing as how the Dtoid staff don't consider this to be worthy enough to let everyone else know, I'll just do it here.

I got an e-mail today that GOG, our favorite inexpensive, DRM-free game company, is offering 15% off of five racing titles:
* 1nsane
* Colin McRae Rally 2005
* Flatout
* Screamer
* TOCA Race Driver 3

Some of them are $5.99, some are $9.99. Use the code "RACING15" to get the discount.

Even if you're not a huge fan of these games, they offer both Freespace and Freespace II, which I know are some prizes games for many of us, as well as the first two Fallout games. Because they're DRM-free ... well, I don't need to explain the benefits of that.

So, even if you don't like racing games hopefully they'll have something that you're interested in and you'll be willing to show your support. They don't have a lot, but I appreciate what they're doing so I bought a few games today. Hopefully, they'll be able to get more in the near future.   read


9:10 AM on 01.12.2009

Another Amazon Gold Box video game day

Turns out that today is another video game day for Amazon's gold box deals. The deal of the day is the MyCoach series for the DS.

Looks like they have at least a game for each main console including PC. Might want to take a look and see what's what. The PS3 game is listed as a game "that dreams are made of". Hmmm...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/goldbox/ref=cs_top_nav_gb27

Feel free to post if you think you know what any of the games are once they're available.   read


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