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6:09 PM on 10.05.2012

Do Game Designers Owe Us Anything?

I’ve been thinking lately. With the departure of such prominent figures in the gaming industry lately, are we the consumers partly to blame? The news of BioWare founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka stepping down was shocking alone. Just recently, however, Cliff Bleszinski of Epic Games has also announced his exit from an industry that has been very profitable for him. What is causing these great minds in gaming to just walk away? Is it simply fatigue from consistently keeping up with huge deadlines or are we, the gamers, to blame?


BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk


Not long after announcing his retirement from the gaming industry, Zeschuk was said to have been visibly exhausted according to fellow co-worker Trent Oster. He had this to say in regards to the co-founder dealing with the Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco.

"You have to love games and you put your heart into them to create them. To have the fans creating petitions against the work is pretty hard to take, especially when you've spent the last few years crunching overtime to try and ship a game. It can be hard to shut off the overwhelming negativity the internet spews forth, especially when it has your name or the name of your company in it."

Muzyka quickly followed with an announcement that he desired to tackle a whole new industry altogether. Both men gave their 6 months notice in April, one month after the release of Mass Effect 3. This would coincide with what Oster stated that the fan negativity was overwhelming and hit a breaking point which drove their decision.

We now take a look at Cliff Bleszinski, the mastermind behind such games as Unreal Tournament and the Gears of War franchise. If any current developer looked like they were going to be a “lifer” in this industry, my money would have been on this guy. You can imagine my surprise then when word of him stepping down broke out.


Former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski


The man who also goes by the name “Cliffy B” stated that his reason for leaving is just so as to “take a break”. He states how fortunate he was being a part of the industry since his teenage years and that this departure will now allow him to grow up.

It is unclear whether or not Cliff will return to Epic or the gaming industry in the foreseeable future. He is married and almost in his forties so one has to wonder if this decision was so as to, in the words of Street Fighter II’s Guile, ”go home and be a family man”. There are also the pressures of a demanding fan base such as when he was supposedly done with Gears of War after the third title then announcing a fourth entry in the series anyway. Perhaps he feels stifled by a lack of creativity. He still loves talking about games which is apparent from his recent appearances on GameTrailer's Bonus Round show.

Dedicated fans can be both a blessing and a curse for any game designer. As much as a great game can bring in a sea of praise, the slightest fault can just as strongly rush in a storm of vitriol. Something personal and creative like art, writing, or game design in this case can be tough to stay dedicated to when negativity fuels the vocal majority. Striking a balance between the love of your craft and good business sense, I believe, is the best way to stay sane in this environment that can too often be ruled by the “bottom dollar”. Perhaps Cliff Bleszinski understood that and got out before it could consume him.   read


5:07 PM on 10.03.2012

Assassin's Greed: Are Season Passes a good business practice?

Word broke out that Ubisoft's historical hitman title Assassin's Creed III will be getting a Season Pass for upcoming DLC (or downloadable content). This is reportedly going to be priced at $30 by itself or bundled with the PS3 Gold Edition for $90. The practice of having a Season Pass upon release of a big title is nothing new these days. One has to wonder though if it's really raking in enough of a profit to be justifiable or if the publishers are "nickel and diming" their fans. Does the end justify the means or does it simply come down to who is willing to pony up the dough?



As a way to recoup lost revenue from used game sales, publishers have turned to downloadable content. These extras have ranged from anywhere between gun skins for Gears of War 3 to the Catwoman missions in Batman: Arkham City. Now this idea has been expanded upon with the Season Pass; a collection of DLC bundled together at a discount price.

This move has been received with mixed results. Gamers questioned on if this was a way to fish more money out of a consumer for content that should already be in the game in the first place. The "Rockstar Pass" for L.A. Noire was the first time this sort of business practice was implemented for a console title which included 4 extra cases along with extra costumes and a badge scavenger hunt. Individually, all that content would have run you up an extra $20 while the bundle cost half that when originally sold.


Discount or swindle?


Since then, we have seen a number of titles use something similar such as Mortal Kombat with their bundle of extra characters and Max Payne 3's own "Rockstar Pass" which included a bevy of multiplayer content. Certain games, like Telltale's The Walking Dead series, have made a twist on this type of offer by having you pay for all the episodes up front for a discounted price.

Whether or not this extra content is worth it ultimately comes down to the buyer. I'm personally not one who finds value in things like Super Street Fighter IV bonus costumes. The previously mentioned Walking Dead game, on the other hand, is absolutely worth picking up since you will likely want to get the full story anyway. It has to be something significant like extra missions for single player experiences, maps for the Call of Duty folks, and downloadable songs for Rock Band in order to open my wallet.

Does the mention of a Season Pass encourage or repulse you away from a game? Is there a particular Season Pass you bought that was worth coughing up the dough for? Share your thoughts below!   read


12:56 PM on 10.02.2012

Looking back at TV Shows inspired by Video Games

Having been born in the 80's, I've been fortunate to grow up with some awesome television shows like He-Man, Ghostbusters, and Transformers. Even the likes of Thundercats and Ducktales hold a special place in my younger days. I was also a huge fan of video games growing up with such classics like Battletoads (that badass pause music!) and Super Mario Bros. 3. Knowing that a lot of kids shared these similar interests, television executives jumped at every opportunity to capitalize. This is a look back at the shows I specifically remember and how they hold up today.



Captain N: The Game Master


When first thinking back on this topic, I knew Captain N: The Game Master had to be mentioned. This show introduced Kevin, an average young kid, who gets sucked into the world of video games where he gets to meet heroes like Simon Belmont and Kid Icarus. The idea alone was a dream come true for any kid with an escapist fantasy. Admit it. While playing Super Mario Bros. 3, you wished you could stomp on goombas and fly in the air wearing a Tanooki Suit all day.

As awesome as this idea sounded like on paper, there were some serious off-putting elements that any gamer will spot out immediately. These blatant changes were confusing at best and just plain ignorant at worst. Probably the worst offence was Mega Man sporting a puke green color and sounding like he has lung cancer. He's not nicknamed the "Blue Bomber" for nothing. His constant use of the word "mega" may have been endearing as a disillusioned kid at first but that got real old real fast.


"Don't ask me why they mega-screwed up my character."


Kevin, Captain N himself, was an obvious attempt to relate to the viewer. While his character was a stereotypical white suburbanite, at least he had the Nintendo Zapper gun. His constant squabbles with the cocky and arrogant Simon Belmont made for some chuckle-worthy moments.



Super Mario Bros. Super Show


This show holds a lot of fun memories for me as a kid. You know you "did the Mario" back then. In a lot of ways, this was one of the first sitcoms I ever watched because of the way it was formatted. I'll use an old VHS tape I owned as an example. Famed wrestler/actor "Rowdy" Roddy Piper brings in his bagpipes to get fixed despite the fact that the Mario Bros. are plumbers. He comes to visit and check on them when it's revealed that Mario mistakenly turned his bagpipes into a vacuum cleaner. The show cuts to the cartoon then returns after the brothers "fix" the problem by modifying the vacuum cleaner to play bagpipe music automatically. It's probably best not to ask how that works exactly.




The humor, acting, and production value is straight-up Disney Channel level. Seeing Mario and Roddy Piper together on TV was pure gold for me back in 1989. Now? Oh, the pain! Nostalgia aside, this is a show that has aged like milk. I'll give Lou Albano some props for playing as a more accurate Mario than Bob Hoskins in the Mario Bros. movie but that's not really saying much.

There was a Legend of Zelda cartoon that would usually play on the same block. Thankfully, there was no washed-up wrestler in green tights to introduce it but the show itself wasn't any better. Let's just get the "Excuuuuuuuse me, princess!" line out there and call it a day.



Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog & Sonic the Hedgehog: The Animated Series


Not to be outdone by Nintendo, Sega's own mascot Sonic the Hedgehog had a couple of shows of his own. One was the more kid-friendly Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog while the other, which I most remember liking, was Sonic the Hedgehog: The Animated Series.



I remember watching a bit of the Adventures series but grew tired of the overly "kiddy" nature of it. This was the 90's now and being at an older age made me crave for something that wouldn't talk down to me.

Around the same time, the Animated Series came out which still had a cartoon-ish flavor but with some darker themes. Robotnik was more of an evil badass as opposed to the bumbling version in Adventures. There was also the concept of Sonic and Tails being part of a group of "freedom fighters" who would try to save their animal brethren from a soulless robotic fate.

Despite the cooler concept and a much better theme song than the previous series, Sonic the Hedgehog: The Animated Series also suffers from aging poorly. I'm not sure if it's the voice of Jaleel "Steve Urkel" White or just the way he portrays the character but Sonic comes off extremely one dimensional trying to be the cool kid on screen at all times. This may still be entertaining for kids now if they can bypass some of the 90's lingo and mannerisms.


"Hey! I'm still cool!"




Mega Man


We now start getting into shows of a higher quality starting with the mid-90's Mega Man animated series. Badass intro and song? Check. Slick animation? Check. No annoying voices or side characters? Checkmate!


"Super fighting robot... MEGA MAN!"


Oh yeah! Anyone who has seen at least one episode from this show had that intro song stuck in their head at one time or another. The entire intro alone was simply awesome and got you pumped for whatever episode was coming up next.

Okay, so maybe Mega Man wasn't the best role model with his misogynistic views towards his sister Roll and a tendency to litter energy cans (3:14 - 3:51). He was still badass though thanks to the direction of the show making him look and act older. Having his "brother" Proto Man as a personal rival made for some excellent fights between the two that always seemed to mess up Dr. Wily's plans. The episodes have a very formulaic way of fleshing out characters and moving the plot that's reminiscent to a lot of anime shows. Mega Man does justice to the source material and still holds up pretty well to this day.



Pokemon


Just like every young gamer in the 90's, I was a fan of Pokemon. The show started shortly after the original games were released and a phenomenon was born that hooked Japanese and American kids alike.


(from left to right) Brock, Misty, Meowth, Jessie, Pikachu, James, and Ash


The basic concept of the games had you fighting and collecting monsters echoing the famed catchphrase "Gotta catch 'em all!" This made for an easy to translate story of a young Pokemon trainer named Ash going on a journey to be the best. As addicting as this idea for the show was, I want to say the characters are what really made Pokemon the show popular. You have everyone's favorite cute yellow conductor Pikachu of course along with the "oh so cool" Brock. The absolute "show-stealers", however, have to be the bumbling baddies of Team Rocket comprised of Jesse, James, and Meowth.

I absolutely loved these guys. I call this the "Dick Dastardly complex" where the villain (or villains in this case) of a show is just so awesome and/or hilarious that they become the main reason to tune in. There was a time in the series where Jessie and James were replaced by a more successful duo named Butch and Cassidy (I see what you did there). It was that change which had me move on from the show entirely.



There were some other notable shows that also come to mind that I'd like to briefly mention. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? was an excellent kids game show that aired on public television. There were a lot of notable villains like RoboCrook and Vic the Slick along with the Chief (played by Lynne Thigpen) who would brief you on your case. That final round where you had to place 8 markers on different countries of a map within 45 seconds was brutal!

Another show I have to bring up is Battletoads. You may be asking yourself, "Really? There was a show based on Battletoads?" Well... sort of. Only the pilot episode aired and the concept took some liberties with the source material such as having the main characters as teenage kids who can change into the anthropomorphic amphibians at will. It mainly served as a prequel to the game but that didn't prevent it from looking like an obvious knockoff from the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon which was hot at that time.

I hope you enjoyed this look back down memory lane! Please share some of your favorite video game inspired television shows in the comments below.   read


12:02 PM on 09.27.2012

[NVGR] Jaimie Alexander, Lady Sif in 'Thor: The Dark World', suffers injury

I’m sure Jaimie Alexander wishes she had the same strength and durability as her Thor: The Dark World character, the Asgardian warrior Lady Sif. The actress suffered a pretty scary-sounding injury on the rainy London set after slipping and falling.



Details of the injury were scarce until Alexander’s publicist Craig Schneider revealed the nature of it. Word initially broke out via Twitter which put the health of the actress at question. Thankfully, she seems to be doing okay and recovering quickly.



This will not delay the Thor sequel since shooting had to work around the inclement weather anyway. It’s unclear whether or not director Alan Taylor will continue using real world sets going forward after this mishap but it will certainly be in the back of his mind.

Comic book fans are breathing a sigh of relief also since Lady Sif will likely play a bigger role in future movies. She is known as being a tough warrior and lover of Thor which may put her at odds with Jane Foster who’s played by Natalie Portman. Thor: The Dark World is scheduled for a November 8th, 2013 release.   read


4:08 PM on 09.26.2012

'Mass Effect Trilogy' coming out in November

Did you miss out on the adventures of Command Shepard and his crew saving the galaxy the first time around? No need to worry because BioWare has announced the release of the Mass Effect Trilogy box set.


"I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite box set in the Citadel!"


As you can guess, this fancy collection includes all three Mass Effect titles along with some neat packaging and artwork thrown in. There was no word on if this will also include previously released DLC such as ME2's "Lair of the Shadow Broker" or ME3's "From Ashes". Considering how it wasn't explicitly mentioned upon announcements, I wouldn't get your hopes up.

This set will be released on November 6th, a day before N7 Day (eh? eh?), for Xbox 360 and PC. A PlayStation 3 version will be released at a later date not yet revealed. This will mark the first time PS3 owners will get to play the original title.

What say you? Is this something you plan to pick up? Is it even worth it without any of the DLC included? Sound off below with your thoughts!   read


5:13 PM on 09.25.2012

[NVGR] Thanos and his role in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'The Avengers 2'

CONTEST: "Like" Ultra Mega Death Ray on Facebook and comment on the picture of Thanos about how you think he will be used for a chance to win $15 in Facebook credits!

I'm sure a lot of you out there have already picked up a copy of The Avengers. Those of you who have already seen the hugely successful superhero romp are also aware of Thanos making a surprise appearance during the mid-credits scene. With more information recently surfacing on the Mad Titan's inclusion in both The Avengers 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy, we can start to speculate how Marvel plans to lay out phase two of their movie lineup.



The mid-credits scene mentioned reveals Thanos turning his head and smiling upon hearing about the attack on Earth and how challenging the Avengers would be to "court death". Of course the Avatar of Death himself would embrace this challenge being madly in love with the very embodiment of Death herself. It was this love that drove him to seek out the six Infinity Gems and become a god during the Infinity Gauntlet comic book story arc.

We know that the Infinity Gauntlet will come into play after a revealing of it at San Diego Comic Con two years ago. In the movie Thor, it was briefly shown in the Asgardian vault. My theory is that Thanos will use Loki, being the cunning mastermind that he is, in order to obtain this weapon.


The Infinity Gauntlet at SDCC 2010


Guardians of the Galaxy will likely have Thanos on the hunt for the Tesseract (the movie version of the Cosmic Cube). Star-Lord and his crew will be unsure what he is up to but know they must keep that kind of power out of the Titan's hands. I can see the movie ending with Thanos meeting with Loki, Tesseract in hand, and making a trade for the Gauntlet. Thor's mischievous brother will gladly give it away since no one is aware of its true power.

Now with the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos is free to do whatever he may please in the name of his Mistress Death. There will obviously need to be some major changes in order to make this work on-screen. Namely, we can't have Thanos as powerful as he becomes in the comics. There would literally be no way anyone, never mind the Avengers, could stop him. He will likely come to Earth and make his presence known in a big way. We could see him wipe out half of the planet's population (similar to how he kills half of the universe's population in the comics) then set up fort out in space with the thrones and statues of Mistress Death. An Avenger will likely die during the final battle as well just to raise the stakes. Defeating Thanos and taking control of the Gauntlet, our heroes bring back half of Earth's population as well as their fallen comrade.

In terms of the role itself, I'm rather excited to see how Damion Poitier portrays the Mad Titan. While it's not officially announced, he was the one under all that makeup during The Avengers mid-credits scene. It's hard not to believe that this is his role to play.


"There are many actors in this grand drama and I, Thanos, appear to be the only participant with a full grasp on the situation."


Of course, this is all speculation until Marvel unveils more on Thanos and its upcoming films. I'm sure fans will have a few bones thrown on what to expect in the Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man sequels much like how the original films lead to The Avengers. What are your thoughts on what we can expect? Share with us in the comments below!   read


3:22 PM on 09.24.2012

[NVGR] Michael Bay on decision to tackle 'Transformers 4'

Oh, Michael Bay. You never cease to confound and annoy fanbases everywhere. While getting the Ninja Turtles script situation figured out, the infamous director explained why he’s on board for the next Transformers movie. The plan was to release the three previous films then reboot with a new cast and crew. I guess Bay isn’t quite ready yet to unhook those claws. Just when fans of the franchise thought they were out, he pulls us back in.


When does the hurting stop?


With Bay on board, Transformers 4 will continue the storyline from last year’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The director himself gives the following reason for his return.

“I thought I was done. Then you’re thinking, ‘Oh my God, someone’s going to take this over.’ And you start doing a lot of soul-searching. The studio says they want to restart the franchise. Someone could come in here and screw it up, you know?”

Someone could come along and “screw up” Transformers more than you have, Mike? Are you kidding me? The man must keep a lot of ass-kissers within reach to think this is some sacred ground that only he can walk on. If anything, a change of pace is exactly what Transformers 4 needs. It has already gone so far off the deep end from the source material that I barely even recognize it anymore. You’ve had your time in the sun and looking a little burned at this point. Leave the reigns for someone else to pick up.


“Nobody takes my toys away!”


Thankfully, Bay seems primed to make this his last foray with the “robots in disguise” according to his following statement.

“So I’m thinking that if I do this last one, we set it on a new footing. We change a lot of things but we keep the history of the three in place. We broaden it so it can be set up and be carried on. It would have a better chance for survival, I guess.”

So, what this translates to is, “This franchise is still making me a buttload of money and no one is taking it away from me. If this bombs, then I’m out. If not… we’ll see.” Aye carumba!

Do you believe Michael Bay should be helming a fourth film or are you ready for someone else to take over? Let us know in the comments section below.   read


7:21 PM on 09.21.2012

Top 5: Video Game Sidekicks

After my bitching and complaining about having a sidekick in Resident Evil 6, it seems like a good time as any to praise those who excel in this role. These are the often unsung heroes who make searching for treasure or saving the galaxy a lot less lonely. They may be a love interest, best friend, or programmed to be loyal, it doesn't matter. These characters got your back.



In order to make this list, each character has to be:

- in a video game
- physically there with you (disembodied voices need not apply)
- someone who can hold their own (no damsels in distress or escort mission fodder)

5. HK-47 (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series)



"Assassination is my primary function. I also possess excellent hearing and can bend spoons."


Loyalty doesn't get much greater than when it's hardwired in your circuits. HK-47, the homicidal droid with a knack for killing "meatbags", kicks off this list for a few of reasons. One of these is that he was made by your character as an obedient killing machine. Although he prefers the more violent route, HK-47 will fall in line no matter how you wish to tackle a situation. You also have to appreciate a robot with a sick sense of humor.



4. Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Uncharted series)



"Real greatness is what you do with the hand you're dealt."


As Nathan Drake's treasure hunting partner and mentor, Victor Sullivan has been through thick and thin. He is a womanizer who loves to smoke, drink, and gamble. On top of all that though, he is a father figure to Drake who will help him in any way he can even while openly doubting his reasoning. The man affectionately nicknamed "Sully" puts his naval training to good use with the ability to handle firearms as well as commandeer a rescue plane in the nick of time. He is a pal you can count on to pick you (and a pretty lady) up no matter how hairy a situation may get.



3. Alyx Vance (Half-Life series)



"Good thing you've got your hazard suit on. This stuff's nasty. Got room for two in there?"


Alyx Vance, one of the most beloved females in gaming history, was a shoe-in for this list. Her cute appearance masks an incredibly smart girl with a "take no shit" attitude. Her interaction with you in Half-Life 2 is one of the first moments I remember where you truly build a relationship with a character that goes beyond the story. A skilled hacker and very capable with a pistol in hand, Alyx is an invaluable ally in the fight against the Combine organization. She's also full of personality and seems to grow a potential relationship with the protagonist Gordon Freeman during their time together. It's not too far off to say that Alyx is a primary reason why many gamers hope Half-Life 3 sees the light of day.



2. Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect series)



"You know me, always like to savor that last shot before popping the heatsink."


Who thought you could care for a turian more than most any human encountered in the world of Mass Effect? If that was the objective for Garrus Vakarian, then mission accomplished. Garrus was a C-Sec officer before joining Commander Shepard's crew to stop fellow turian Saren and his geth army. Since then, we have seen a relationship grow from mutual respect and admiration to friendship and (if playing as a female Shepard) potentially romance. Garrus is secretly insecure despite his cool demeanor and humorous quips. This effectively makes him very relatable and a mainstay for almost any team in need of a proficient sniper ("SCOPED AND DROPPED!") or ship calibrations.



1. Trip (Enslaved: Odyssey to the West)



"Save me, save yourself."


Some may think this choice breaks the rule of no "damsels in distress". While it is true she relies on the protagonist Monkey in combat, Trip can still hold her own with an expert knowledge in reprogramming old technology she comes across. The relationship between her and Monkey is a symbiotic one at first that develops slowly into something more. A lack of combat skills is more than made up by her intelligence and ability to think fast. Trip earns the top spot on this list mainly because the voice acting and characterization in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is just that good. We're on an adventure with this girl who was clever enough to drag us along against our will only to earn it without question as her motivations are revealed. By the end of the game, you really feel for her as she's questioning herself after making a difficult decision.   read


8:07 PM on 09.20.2012

Interview with Yanier "Niero" Gonzalez, Founder of 'Destructoid'

Having someone that made it big to look up to helps when trying to develop your craft in something as competitive as game journalism. We had the privilege to speak with someone who perfectly fills that slot as a role model.

Yanier Gonzalez, better known by his childhood nickname "Niero", is the mastermind behind one of the most widely read video game news sites, Destructoid. This site, along with others he produced like Flixist (movies), Japanator (anime), and Tomopop (toy collecting), all fall under his Modern Method parent company. The combination of these channels has grown to receive over 300 million page views and 4 million unique visitors per month since 2006.


"Oh hai, Niero!"


(UMDR) What was your earliest gaming-related memory growing up?

(Niero) I remember me and my family at the beach getting ready to head home. On the way to the car, there was a small room with a bunch of guys huddled around a Pong machine. I never got a chance to play that day but it was the first time I saw a video game. They were all elbowing each other trying to get a turn.

(UMDR) You started Destructoid as a WordPress blog (just like this one!) in order to gain access to E3. What compelled you to be a part of the gaming industry?

(Niero) In the long run, I'd say it was a quarter life crisis. It was mostly a consequence of happenstance. My first company, a web development studio, had recently failed. I was forced to sell it to this ad agency who was our biggest client and also where I was working at the time. On the eve of my birthday, a group of us were all sitting around playing Shadow of the Colossus when my friend casually suggests to me that we should try to attend E3 to see the Wii and PS3 before anyone else. That seemed like a killer vacation idea to me. We started to research how and began to hatch the plan that night. I try not to think about how fragile that moment was. Had I been asked to stay late for work, my friend been busy, or I hosted a big blowout party elsewhere, this site would never have existed. It's like the probability of a very rare bird shitting on you.


The Probability of a Very Rare Bird Shitting on You


(UMDR) How does the name "Destructoid" represent the tone of the website?

(Niero) We can be a bit polarizing, wouldn't you say? The site was almost called "Angry Red Stick" and something else. We ultimately decided on Destructoid because it sounded like a robot and I'm a big Transformers nerd. My first articles were full of rage. I'm not sure where that comes from since I'm a pretty mellow guy otherwise.

I did run a video game club for years as a kid. As I recall, most of what we did was look at magazines and scream helplessly at the printed review scores. I guess it was a bottled up passion to criticize video games. We love to destroy PR hype so the name fits.

(UMDR) The mascot, Mr. Destructoid, has become a very infamous figurehead in the gaming blogosphere. Does he represent the silliness behind "hard-hitting" gaming news sites (IGN, G4TV) or is he just meant to be a champion for the common fan?

(Niero) The helmet became infamous when I wore it before an ESA (Entertainment Software Association) press briefing. GamePolitics (a LiveJournal blog at the time) turned into the poster boy of everything wrong with fan journalism during this event. To my surprise, most people that read the piece on this swiftly came to my defense and stated that gaming was taking itself way too seriously. That forged Mr. Destructoid as a man of the people. To this day, we lend the helmet to our fans at gaming events. Anyone can borrow it and experience what it was like to be me. The president of the ESA actually ran from me. He ran!


Mr. Destructoid, Man of the People


(UMDR) Destructoid was the original source on the story of Jack Thompson's disbarment. His notorious campaign against video games had given our community a real life villain to root against. Do you believe his past efforts will have a staying affect on the industry or just be a blip on the radar?

(Niero) Honestly, I'm surprised we're not dealing with another one right this moment. There will always be overprotective conservatives pushing that agenda. We're lucky Jack Thompson embarrassed himself as that sets a negative precedent for those who may follow suit.

(UMDR) Your reviews editor Jim Sterling has grown as a prominent representative of the site. He is considered by many to be very brash and controversial with claims of misogyny. As the head honcho, how do you balance his voice while being a credible site with advertisers?

(Niero) Jim is a gifted entertainer, the likes of which the gaming industry isn't used to facing head-on. He also used to do stand-up comedy which explains the tone of his videos. I bring this up because when you go to a comedy show in person, you're going to hear material that's aimed to get a reaction from you. That's usually because the truth is sprinkled into what's being said. I was just at a comedy jam hosted primarily by ethnic performers and most of their material was poking fun at sex and race. Since you're there in person, nobody would reasonably call them racist or misogynistic. I agree that it's hard to pull off that tone online and we do get in trouble when we push it.

As you said, Jim can come off as a brash alpha male. People that don't take the time to understand his comedy or real personality can take that out of context. Early on, advertisers thought I was crazy for publishing him. Now they're happy with the traffic his work brings and are asking me to find more of him. His freelance career exploded from there. Jim adds credibility to other publications now. He's bulletproof.


Destructoid reviews editor Jim Sterling


(UMDR) Media presence for Destructoid has grown recently with a weekly podcast and video series (=The+Destructoid+Show&tags[]=video&filterby=The+Destructoid+Show&t=video]The Destructoid Show for example). Considering G4TV's upcoming departure, is it possible we will see a move to television in the future?

(Niero) Nope. I rarely pay attention to broadcast television at all these days. I think people younger than me pay even less attention to it. I'd like to see the Internet gobble it up somehow and work my way in like that. It's why we partnered with Revision3 since I think that's where things are headed. I'm more interested in building a cooler mobile site for our readers while the Internet TV thing figures itself out.

(UMDR) Mr. Destructoid has had a number of video game cameos in titles like Bomberman Live, Raskulls, and Ms. Splosion Man. If you had your choice, which game would you most like to see the mascot make an appearance?

(Niero) I'd love to see Mr. Destructoid as an ultra-rare monster encounter in a Final Fantasy game. I think I would have a heart attack. We've been in about a dozen video games which is surreal. I'm always happy to license the character for cool projects. It's fun for everyone involved and free publicity unlike any other.


"I choose you, Dtoid!"


Thank you Niero for taking the time to speak with us! You can follow him on Twitter as well as Instagram where he commonly posts images during his travels. He recently came back from Costa Rica for a 3 week expedition building houses for underprivileged families all while still doing the job he loves. As he famously exclaims, the man is "living the dream!"   read


4:06 PM on 09.19.2012

WTF Capcom?: 'Resident Evil 6' Demo Impressions



The time has come for the masses to get their first taste of the much hyped Resident Evil 6! The demo available allows a short playthrough in each of the campaigns (Leon, Chris, and Jake). Each character has their own partner much like in the previous game in the series. There's also an option to have someone take control of the partner for some co-op action. Unfortunately, what sounds like a pretty robust experience quickly turns into a "shit storm" of frustration.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to pause the game, you need to choose "offline" when picking a campaign.

I first started with Leon for a myriad of reasons. His campaign seemed to be the closest to a Resident Evil type experience, he was the hero in the greatest entry in the series (RE4), and not to mention he's my man-crush of the franchise. This is definitely the most cinematic and "survival horror" out of the three campaigns. There are tense moments and tricky navigating throughout with the former being a nuisance most of the time. There's a part where you're in an auditorium of some sort with stacks of desks and chairs blocking your path. It's all very linear.


"Something tells me we're in for a nightmare. Zombies? What zombies?"


You'll notice right away upon playing that the controls aren't as stiff as they have been in past entries. Animations are definitely smoother and, thankfully, you can move while aiming and shooting. The melee button is going to be your best friend and your most hated enemy for a number of reasons. The enemies in RE6 soak up bullets like a sponge. Seriously, lead must be in their diets cause it takes WAY too many shots to take down just one guy.

You will quickly run out of bullets if you try relying on your gun which means using melee attacks. These can be pretty cool and bring up some sweet animations if you're near a desk or a shovel. This is also where things can get hectic though. In all three campaigns, you will be in situations where you have to deal with up to 5-7 enemies at once. Your character (and the camera) is not really equipped to handle this. Sure, a melee attack can knock some guys back but they'll keep coming unless you finish them off with 3 or 4 more kicks each.


"Stay down already!"


This may just be me but the co-op aspect feels like a bit of a burden. It's improved over RE5 but that's not saying much. Running around, trying to get to your next checkpoint, only to come across a door which needs both of you can be maddening at times. Your partner does a decent job keeping up but if they're tangled up with an enemy, you could be waiting for a while. This is especially apparent playing Jake's campaign since there's an enemy in every direction that regenerate into even tougher monsters when you kill them.

Chris's campaign is worth noting since it tries (key word here) to be a quasi Gears of War cover based shooter. You can run and slide into cover or press up against walls before shooting. This ends up feeling really clunky and simply doesn't work with the gameplay mechanics in all of the campaigns. Couple that with the previously mentioned problem of having too few bullets to kill tough-as-nails enemies and it ends up failing miserably.


"Something's not right about this... "


A quick nitpick I have to bring up is shooting corpses. In any instance where you're dealing with zombies, a dead body could be for real or an undead sneak attack. As a precaution, I like to shoot the corpse just in case it's the latter. Makes sense, right? That's not the case in Resident Evil 6. Shooting a corpse, whether it's really dead or not, will do nothing until you get close enough for it to jump you. This is pretty discouraging for those of us trying to play the game smart. I may as well just run right through the level like John Rambo and stomp whoever comes my way.

I was considering picking up Resident Evil 6 after it's been out for a while. Now it's not even on my wish list. Getting myself lost trying to figure out where I'm going while spraying myself with magic pixie dust to heal every 5 seconds isn't my idea of a fun time. The cut scenes are impressive and Troy Baker does a nice job playing the role of Jake but that's all I can really take from this demo. If you ask me, Capcom needs to give this franchise a major overhaul.   read


3:57 PM on 09.18.2012

'Killer Instinct' Potentially Making a Return, Trademark Renewed

Microsoft may have fans screaming "ULTRA COMBO!" soon enough. The owner of famed studio Rare has renewed the license for the popular fighting game franchise Killer Instinct. Could we finally be seeing a return to glory for the likes of B. Orchid, Jago, and Glacius?



The news came yesterday from Microsoft knowing full well how news reporters, like yours truly, will react.

"With all due respect to our friends in the media who like to frequent trademark sites, we thought we’d break this one ourselves."

"Our legal eagles have authorized us to say: 'We have either renewed or refiled a trademark application in various jurisdictions.'"

So there you have it! There isn't much else revealed asides from this statement. although. That doesn't stop us from making some fun assumptions though.


SUPREME VICTORY!


The likely plan for the time being is to release Killer Instinct (and maybe Killer Instinct 2) on Xbox Live Arcade. Depending on the response and sales numbers, this could potentially mean a new entry in the series. If Microsoft plays their cards right here, this could end up being a very profitable move especially with the recent resurgence of the fighting game genre. I have to wonder, however, if Rare will be back in charge of such a project. A lot of the talent back in the company's history has moved on after all.

Killer Instinct 3 would have a lot of potential to go in a few different directions. Certain mainstay characters would need to return like Fulgore and Sabrewulf along with some fresh new challengers. The combo system would have to be revamped but still keep the over-the-top style that made the series popular. I think the gameplay could be built for beginners to easily get into it (much like Marvel vs Capcom 3) but with a deep system that rewards learning advanced combos and the timing required for combo breakers. I can see the addition of super moves or some sort of revenge mechanic (or both) to give KI3 a more modern feel. The game should be fast-paced and kept in a one on one style. Maybe a tag team system could be considered if KI4 follows suit.

Are you psyched to see the possible return of Killer Instinct? What would you like to see in a brand new entry? Let us know in the comments!   read


1:45 PM on 09.17.2012

British tabloid magazine The Sun trashes the Wii U in their own Top 5

Following in our footsteps, the Rupert Murdoch owned British "rag-mag" The Sun has made a Top 5 list of their own. This list, however, has sinister intentions giving reasons why you should not pick up a Wii U. Normally, this wouldn't be newsworthy but the reasons stated in their article raises some eyebrows. Let's break it down, shall we?



1. It'll be out-dated within a year

The Wii U displays graphics at a quality comparative to what we see now thanks to Nintendo's long-awaited jump to HD. As far as how this will stack up to other next-gen systems is anyone's guess. The reasoning here seems to stem from the Wii falling behind in this department compared to its competition. Despite this, the system still sold roughly 30 million units more than both the Xbox 360 and PS3. While I'm not really interested myself, the Wii U will have an audience especially those who have already bought into the now established Wii brand name.

2. Vita masquerading as the GamePad



I'm not really sure where to start on this outrageous claim. It's literally comparing apples to oranges. Yes, both the PlayStation Vita and the Wii U GamePad have touchscreens but that's where the similarities end. The Vita has a processor while the GamePad does not. You can play games on the go with the Vita which you cannot do on the GamePad. It's understandable for the common consumer to get something like this mixed up which makes this false claim especially dangerous.

3. The threat to all consoles - mobile gaming

This is, again, another "apples and oranges" comparison. Anyone who has experience playing games on a console and an iPhone will tell you that they're completely different experiences. In almost every instance, iPhone games are built to quickly pull out and play while you're on the go waiting for your bus/lunch/job interview. You don't get the same engrossing experience with Gears of War as you would Doodle Jump. It's a matter of what you're into and where you are that dictates how you game.

4. DS + Wii = fail?

This is a pretty silly claim. The writer for this article has the idea that the Wii U is the Frankenstein's monster of previous Nintendo products. In reality, it's a different experience that progresses what the Wii was all about. The previous system made a swing for the fences on motion control gaming and ended up hitting it out of the park. Wii U looks to press that further while putting in more of an effort to bring back the "hardcore" crowd. To say this reason is a stretch would give the Fantastic Four's Mr. Fantastic a run for his money.


"Your point is just out of my reach."


5. It's dramatically over-priced.

Now this is a statement I can somewhat stand behind. Consumers who expected a similar price tag to that of the Wii were in for a surprise this time around. I can understand why we're looking at $300-$350 for the Wii U considering just the tablet-styled controller itself. Speaking of which, it's going to be interesting to see in the future what the price will be for the controller alone. My guess is $100 which could be a serious turnoff for a lot of people. A price reduction when Sony and Microsoft come out with their next-gen consoles is a safe bet I'd be willing to make.

What are your thoughts on The Sun's claims? Sound off in the comments below!   read





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