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4:00 PM on 03.21.2015

Experience Points .08: Persona 4

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a p...

Ben Davis



Lots of games are morally bankrupt, we get it photo
Lots of games are morally bankrupt, we get it
by Anthony Burch

With Hotline Miami 2 recently released, I realized I am really, really tired of games that belong in its genre. When I say "genre," I refer not to "action games" or "indie games" or even "violent games," but a subtler, more hypocritical classification: I'm referring to videogames that criticize violent videogames and their fans, while still being violent videogames.

Hotline Miami. Far Cry 3. Games that turn a mirror on the player and say, "look at you! Look at how much you love simulated, throwaway violence, you absolute monster! Let me rub your nose in how gross you are...by filling your screen with lovely, lovely violence!"

There are much better ways to deal with violence in videogames, and they don't involve hypocrisy.

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Destructoid turns nine: Let's celebrate with our favorite articles photo
Destructoid turns nine: Let's celebrate with our favorite articles
by Ben Davis

Destructoid turned nine today! Can you believe it? This lovely place full of incredible people has been doing its thing for nearly a decade, and it's not slowing down anytime soon. We can keep this wonderful, crazy community alive and thriving for years to come!

Destructoid has had nine great years of entertaining features, heartwarming stories, creative videos, zany podcasts, impressive community blogs, amusing forum threads, and all kinds of awesome stuff. Some of our favorite staff and community members have come and gone, but the spirit remains the same. We're still the weird, fun-loving community we've always been.

This year, we're celebrating by taking a look back at some of Destructoid's best moments. Here are some of the staff's favorite Dtoid memories:

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What can save Titanfall 2? photo
What can save Titanfall 2?
by Nic Rowen

I absolutely adored Titanfall, but going by the comments and blogs I've read over the past year, it seems like I'm the only person on Earth who did. Every article, news post, or blog written about the game invariably becomes a celebratory dance on its grave in the comments. While a lot of the ire is chalked up to hype backlash, a schadenfreude-rich reaction against all the positive preview coverage the game received pre-launch, I think it's safe to say the problems go deeper. Snarky comments are one thing, but it's hard to explain the empty servers, tepid response to updates, and lack of longevity without acknowledging that something about the game just didn't work.

Clearly Respawn messed up. Despite seeming like they had all the right elements to be the next big thing, Titanfall's mix of stompy robots and parkour commandos failed to light the world on fire. With the recent official announcement of the sequel, I've been wondering what they can do to win players back. Certainly going multi-platform is already a step in the right direction, but they'll have to make some big changes if they want to earn a real audience.

As a fan of the original, I have my own wishlist of features I would love to see in the sequel that just might help them put some more players in the cockpit of a Titan.

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Experience Points .07: Paper Mario photo
Experience Points .07: Paper Mario
by Ben Davis

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about Paper Mario. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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Why do some developers shy away from surrealism in gaming? photo
Why do some developers shy away from surrealism in gaming?
by Brittany Vincent

When it comes to crafting videogames out of the norm, there’s one question developers should ask themselves: What are we afraid of?

Games are the perfect medium for exploration of bizarre, unnatural worlds, and yet it seems few developers are interested in traveling to those places. What makes us afraid to innovate beyond the comfort of realism? While mainstream games rarely stray from convention, many indie developers are plumbing the darker corners of the human mind, creating strange worlds that both thrill and unsettle us. 

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What was the very first PlayStation 2 game you ever played? photo
What was the very first PlayStation 2 game you ever played?
by Ben Davis

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the PlayStation 2. In those 15 years, we've already had two more Sony console releases, but the PS2 is still near and dear to many of our hearts. The console gave us many of our favorite games, from huge hits like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Kingdom Hearts, and Metal Gear Solid 3, to more experimental titles such as Shadow of the Colossus, Persona 4, and Katamari Damacy. The PS2 had something for everyone, and many people consider it to be one of the greatest consoles of all time.

But where did it all begin? Everyone has their own special memories of when they first saw the PlayStation 2 in action, and of their very first time playing a game on the console. Whether you got the PS2 at launch, waited a few years before diving in, or played it at a friend's house, everyone had to start somewhere.

So what was the very first PlayStation 2 game you played? Here's what our staff had to say:

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Will Bethesda hurry up and announce Fallout 4? photo
Will Bethesda hurry up and announce Fallout 4?
by Nic Rowen

GDC is here, and as is the case with any big trade show or splashy industry event, I'll be on tenterhooks waiting to hear the one piece of news I care about -- When is Fallout 4 going to happen? For years I've expected the announcement “any day now” while Bethesda remains stubbornly tight lipped with every passing E3 and VGA ceremony. Still, like the child of a deadbeat father, I hold out hope that this time they'll surprise us and come through.

It's important to me because Fallout 3 taught me how to love open-world games. I thought I already did. Games like Oblivion and the GTA series were considered favorites even then. But in retrospect, I had a fondness for those games. An appreciation for them born out of respect to the jaw-dropping technical execution and the brass balls of the teams that designed them. When I actually played them, I was often a stressed out save-scummer, constantly scheming on the best way to tackle the game and maintain a perfect record. It wasn't until Fallout 3 took me, hand-in-irradiated-hand, on a guided tour of its desolate wasteland that I really learned to love.

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Experience Points .06: No More Heroes photo
Experience Points .06: No More Heroes
by Ben Davis

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about No More Heroes. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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Experience Points .05: Demon's Souls photo
Experience Points .05: Demon's Souls
by Ben Davis

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about Demon's Souls. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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Tingle is the heterosexual hero that gaming deserves photo
Tingle is the heterosexual hero that gaming deserves
by Ben Davis

In a recent Kotaku interview with Eiji Aonuma, the longtime Zelda producer confirmed that Tingle is, in fact, not gay. He's "just an odd person."

This isn't exactly riveting news, but it is interesting that so many people seem to be wondering about Tingle's sex life. He was even ranked as the number one gayest character in videogames by GayGamer. Of course, this is all based on stereotypes, since the games never specify his sexuality. Tingle is a self-described "fairy," which could be a slang term for homosexual men (or, you know, an actual fairy from the Zelda universe), and he has some rather flamboyant mannerisms. Some found his personality to be a distasteful gay joke, while others found him charming and were just happy to see more representation of gay characters in games.

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Experience Points .04: Catherine photo
Experience Points .04: Catherine
by Ben Davis

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about Catherine. Since today is Valentine's Day, I figured I'd pick a game that's all about love, sex, and relationships (and also cheating... uhhh...). Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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Which videogame makes you the happiest? photo
Which videogame makes you the happiest?
by Ben Davis

Whenever you're having a rough day, there's nothing better than sitting down and putting on a game that makes you happy just to play it. Something that makes you laugh and smile, helps to relieve stress, or gets you to stop worrying about things for a bit. For some, this might be their favorite game. For others, it's more of a comfort game. Nevertheless, everyone has at least one game that makes them happy.

So, which video game makes you the happiest? Here's what our staff had to say:

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Jacob 'Humble' Browe talks Minelands: Call of the Border photo
Jacob 'Humble' Browe talks Minelands: Call of the Border
by Brittany Vincent

Jacob "Humble" Browe is a visionary. He's just shipped a multi-billion dollar game to hundreds of retailers across the United States and Canada, with additional release dates staggered across the world.

After running a successful Kickstarter that raised over $6.5 million to campaign for Avenged Sevenfold to play in his backyard, he then created a Patreon in an effort to supplement his crippling Starbucks habit month-to-month while using kickbacks from his millionaire parents to create Minelands: Call of the Border, the game that's got millions clamoring for a sequel only a day or so after release. Now he's making waves in the industry like we've never seen before. From humble beginnings, he's rising through the ranks of the video game business like a shooting star. It's going to be one fascinating ride.

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Experience Points .02: Shadow of the Colossus photo
Experience Points .02: Shadow of the Colossus
by Ben Davis

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

This entry is all about Shadow of the Colossus, one of my favorite games of all time. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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Majora's Mask 3D bosses are considerably different photo
Majora's Mask 3D bosses are considerably different
by Kyle MacGregor

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D is more than just a simple port. The portable remaster introduces sweeping changes, like adding fishing holes, apparently. Other things too, probably.

We can't divulge everything just yet, as there's a review embargo-shaped trapdoor under our feet, but some of the alterations to boss fights have seeped out into the Internet and the world at large.

While at PAX South over the weekend, I had the opportunity to demo the game, where I noticed Odolwa, the guardian of the Woodfall Temple, was a tad different than how I'd remembered.

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Experience Points .01: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask photo
Experience Points .01: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
by Ben Davis

Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.

This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.

With Majora's Mask 3D coming out in a few weeks, I figured it would be fitting to make the first entry all about The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, which happens to be my favorite Zelda game. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!

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I know how to save Call of Duty in a post-Advanced Warfare world photo
I know how to save Call of Duty in a post-Advanced Warfare world
by Nic Rowen

I don't think I can ever go back to the old style of Call of Duty.

I've heard some variation of that sentence at least once per week since the launch of Advanced Warfare, and if I were Treyarch or Infinity Ward, I'd be sweating right now. Not “oh, this room is a little too warm” sweat either. I'm talking a glossy, dripping, full-on flop sweat. Sweat so profuse it could be more accurately described as skin vomit.

Sledgehammer broke the code, solved the Sphinx's riddle, and threaded the impossible needle; the studio found a way to make CoD feel fresh and interesting again without screwing up the the basic formula. The developers took all the best parts of the CoD experience and added a sleek sheen of sci-fi gizmos, meaningfully different weapon types, and late-'90s mobility (basically rebuilding all the FPS tropes CoD played a massive hand in tearing down over the last decade), and it worked.

Even scornful hipsters such as myself, who have made sport of the series for years as an easy target for our snark, are giving Advanced Warfare a second look. A good long “hrmmM?” with a flirty upward inflection. AW coyly wiggling its exo-skeletal frame, like what you see?

People love it, and they aren't about to go back to slogging it on the ground with a crusty AK-47 or accepting the dolphin-dive as the height of combat mobility. So what the hell do you do if you're Infinity Ward or Treyarch? Halfway through production on your own version of the CoD experience, knee-deep in code, QA, voice work, and the million other pieces that eventually assemble a videogame, and you find out that THIS is what the people really wanted all along (even after harping on Titanfall all year)?

You pivot, that's what you do.

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Predicting Nintendo's next big crossover photo
Predicting Nintendo's next big crossover
by Kyle MacGregor

Somewhere on the slopes of Mount Nintendo there's an oracle that straddles a chasm wherefrom vapors emerge. She speaks in tongues, relying on an intern to interpret her enigmatic ramblings. The system has its misfires (this is how things get named Wii U, for example), but relying on these portents and premonitions has kept Nintendo in business for over a century.

In recent years, the oracle has spawned a number of bizarre crossover concepts, culminating in the creation of Hyrule Warriors, Pokkén, and Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition.

It's a fascinating trend, one I hope continues for a long time to come. Let's assume that it does. Let's make some wildly speculative predictions about what other mashups the future has in store.

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My name is Brittany and I'm a gaming sadist photo
My name is Brittany and I'm a gaming sadist
by Brittany Vincent

I ventured out to the vet's office a few weeks ago with a Miniature Pinscher in tow. Sam Fisher (the same of Third Echelon fame), my beloved pup, was to see the doctor for a regular checkup and heartworm test. While waiting in the lobby, I overheard other patrons discussing the abuse of a three-month-old Labrador puppy and the damage inflicted upon its tiny limbs. Tears welled up in my eyes nearly instantly. My fists involuntarily clenched themselves up, searching for the victim they would rain down searing pain upon should I ever meet them. 

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Gaming resolutions I'll strive to keep in 2015 photo
Gaming resolutions I'll strive to keep in 2015
by Brittany Vincent

No one ever keeps resolutions.

I tell myself every January that I'm going to stop inspecting cheese for fingerprints before putting it on a sandwich or that I'll actually start wearing something other than sweatpants and a hoodie out in public when it's cold, but it never happens. And it never will happen. What would I even wear? A pair of Uggs and leggings with some kind of lame scarf? How do you even wear a scarf? And what if my tongue somehow detects the wrongness of a fingerprint on the surface of my Deli Deluxe cheese slice? There are some questions we're just not meant to know the answers to, just like there are resolutions that we'll make and break in the span of 24 hours.

While sitting on my lunch break today I ruminated on the deeper meaning behind player agency, the male gaze and how it pertains to gaming, and whether Hatred should or shouldn't remain on Steam. After giving a glut of heady topics much thought, I decided I didn't care about any of them, so I started to write an article about my video game resolutions for 2015, none of which have anything to do with those concepts. Here's to being a better video game enthusiast gamer in 2015.

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Kyle MacGregor's sexy picks for Game of the Year 2014 photo
Kyle MacGregor's sexy picks for Game of the Year 2014
by Kyle MacGregor

And, suddenly, another year passed us by. It seems like 2014 had only just arrived, and already it's being hauled away, kicking and screaming, never to be seen or heard from ever again.

It's important that we take this time to reflect on the previous twelve months, to remember the good times and repress the bad. Soon we will be looking to the future, or anywhere else really, so long as we can stave off the here and now. So breathe deep, my friend. Take in those plummy aromas. Savor their toasty bouquets. And espy the subtle hints of oak and herb.

It was a good year. Hot and dry, no mildew, few pests. Soon it will be time to award ribbons and medals to the finest varieties, you know the ones. Not yet, though! No, it's time for a special treat.

Feast your eyes on this here list of the most wonderful games of 2014, according to yours truly.

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Dear devs, stop it with tutorials all the way through the game photo
Dear devs, stop it with tutorials all the way through the game
by Nic Rowen

“THA'S HOW YOU RIDE A CARRRRRAGOR!"

Yeah, thanks asshole. I've already done this like two dozen times. You might have noticed I rode up to your mission marker ON a Caragor.

“WHEN UN' ORC IS DOWN, THA'S WHEN YOUR CARRRAGOR CAN POUNCE ON EM!”

DIE IN A FIRE.

I loved Shadow of Mordor. You know, unlike some people. I could ignore the generic revenge-driven plot, put up with Gollum's shenanigans, and embrace the hell out of the unique cast of orcs the game generated for me. Hell, I even loved the Arkham-style combat and the kill-crazy orc murder sprees it enabled. I'm not sick of that brand of carnage yet, not by a longshot.

But the game committed one unforgivable sin – It was still tutorializing basic mechanics well into the back half of the game. Every time it happened it was enough to make me want to pitch the game into Mount Doom's lava basement.

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For the love of God, please, no: Horrible game marketing strategies, part one photo
For the love of God, please, no: Horrible game marketing strategies, part one
by Brittany Vincent

When I was a young warthog, I didn't know diddly about the games I was buying. I simply made a beeline for the nearest video game section, be it PC or otherwise, and browsed until there was a title that immediately leapt out at me. I kept up with magazines and the like, but I remained mostly oblivious to the development cycles surrounding the titles I wished to procure, the personalities behind them, and in many cases, the content within them.

Sure, I'd check out Seaman in the back of an Electronics Boutique or lust after Monster Rancher Card Battle GB for Game Boy, opting to trade in half of my cartridges for a meager discount off the new title. But there was none of the "announcement trailer, character trailer, preorder trailer, launch trailer, trailer trailer, trailer trailer trailer" nonsense back then. There wasn't much of an opportunity for me to learn unless I truly went digging. And honestly, I liked it that way.

Don't mistake my nostalgia for bitterness. It's fantastic that we have so many opportunities to survey upcoming titles and appraise their quality before spending the $60 (and sometimes more) and ultimately being disappointed. It's only when these opportunities are used to trick consumers that I get heated. There are several ways that companies are marketing video games to this end, and while I can admit to falling victim to one or more of these marketing fads in the past, it's about time that we see them all put out to pasture. I'll be talking about a different stomach-turning technique each week. 

First up -- Emotionally manipulative trailers with accompanying musical covers and/or deceptive footage!

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Why I love The Last of Us multiplayer, in a nutshell photo
Why I love The Last of Us multiplayer, in a nutshell
by Kyle MacGregor

We're outnumbered, down to our last pair of lives. The clock is ticking, it's as much of a threat to my team's survival as the four armed men bearing down on our position. I don't like our chances, not one bit, but moments like this, they're the reason I play the game.

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I never thought Super Mario Bros. would make me so angry photo
I never thought Super Mario Bros. would make me so angry
by Kyle MacGregor

In a cramped beachside arcade, sandwiched between Galaga and Mortal Kombat 3, sits my white whale. It's surrounded by restaurants, a roller coaster, churro vendors, and a carousel, this sad little Super Mario Bros. arcade cabinet.

It isn't much to look at, with its chipped, gaudy yellow paint and weathered artwork. The monitor is tiny and its picture quality about as clear as mud. The buttons are sticky, and the stick is buttony. You could look right through it, and never even know it's there.

Maybe that's what I like about it, this unassuming relic with a dark side.

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Flyin' to my heart: Seven videogame songs that actually excite me photo
Flyin' to my heart: Seven videogame songs that actually excite me
by Brittany Vincent

It's tough for me to get excited these days. I ain't jaded, I just hate it. Actually, it's not like I hate everything. I simply feel anxious nearly every waking moment of my life. I need something to look forward to, no matter the context. If I know I'm going out for dinner with someone at the end of a long day, I'll count down the seconds. If there's an event in a month or so I'm particularly jazzed for, I'll plan it down to the very last detail. Because I'm always looking forward. I'm always waiting for the next email assignment, the next game, the next writing gig, and the next life-changing event. While I'm waiting, I need an appropriate soundtrack to set the mood.

Luckily for me I can turn to some of my favorite videogames to provide a bouncy soundtrack that gets me hyped enough for my next challenge...or at the very least, thinking about how to kickstart my life so that there is another challenge to look forward to. 

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I miss demo discs photo
I miss demo discs
by Nic Rowen

It's hard not to sound like an old man when you go off on something like this. Decrying modern advancement in favor of some kind of nostalgic never-was is always a terrific way to seem out of touch. Intellectually, I know that the past is usually not as good as you remember it was, and you never appreciate what you have in the present as much as you should. But with that said, I really miss demo discs.

Also, get off my lawn, whippersnapper.

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Not-review: Devil's Dare photo
Not-review: Devil's Dare
by Jonathan Holmes

[Note: Destructoid's robot mascot, former news manager Conrad Zimmerman, and I appear briefly in the opening cinematic for Devil's Dare. We'll be giving out Steam codes for the game tomorrow on Sup Holmes if you want one.]

Secret Base it probably most well known for its incredible mock-ups for theoretical Ghostbusters and The Avengers games for the NES. It's clear that the developer has a passion for adapting live-action fantasy/sci-fi icons for classic games, even when they don't legally have the right to.

This passion is strewn all over Devil's Dare, its latest release on Steam. Horror is the theme here, and no expense was spared to pay tribute to all the modern horror icons, both familiar and obscure. Of course there's a boss based on Jason Voorhees, but you might be more surprised to see a tribute to both Baxter Stockman's and Jeff Goldblum's disgusting fly-man monsters. At least, I think that's what's going on here. It's hard to be 100% sure, which is part of the fun. 

Devil's Dare is like classic, Glenn Danzig era-Misfits in game form, except it seems to be intentionally ridiculous, where Glenn might not have been as self aware. The references to horror classics, the low-fi aesthetic, the tension, and the levity all come together to form something larger than the sum of its parts. Even better, it plays a lot like a traditional four-player arcade beat-'em-up but with Smash Bros.-style flash and simplicity. This isn't the kind of crossover that Nintendo is likely to publish, but it will likely appeal to many of its fans.

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Lone Survivor is one of my favorite games about psychosis photo
Lone Survivor is one of my favorite games about psychosis
by Jonathan Holmes

[An aside: We're giving out Lone Survivor Humble Bundle and Wii U eShop codes on Sup Holmes today at 4pm EST. Today's guest is Ron Gilbert (Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island). Chuck the Plant appears in both Lone Survivor and Maniac Mansion, so it sort of makes sense, at least to me.]

Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut has been out on PSN and computers for a while, though it just made it over to the Wii U a few days ago. This post was originally going to be an impressions piece on how the Wii U port came out, but before I knew it, I'd gushed about how the game depicts psychosis with incredible nuance and sensitivity. It's a good thing too, as there isn't much to say about the Wii U port other than 'it's got remote play and it's nice to be able to plug your headphones into the Gamepad.'

Jasper Byrne, the one-man development team behind Lone Survivor, must know more about psychosis than what you can learn from TV and movies. That's the only way I can imagine how he pulled this off so well. 

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This is why I love Vib-Ribbon photo
This is why I love Vib-Ribbon
by Jonathan Holmes

Vib-Ribbon is a game by NanaOn-Sha (Parappa the Rapper, UmJammer Lammy) that was originally released on the PS1. It came to the United States for the first time just recently, by way of PSN. The original game allowed you to take the disc out of the PS1 and replace it with any CD. You could then play levels based on the sounds found on that CD. That's part of why the game has such minimalist visuals. The game's code had to be small enough to be stored in the PS1 on its own. Hence the black and white vector-based graphics. 

It's amazing how NanaOn-Sha was able to create such charming and memorable characters with just a few lines. Vibri, the game's star, is a lovable scamp with tons of personality. With this article, I will do my best to follow in his footsteps by using as few lines as possible in my effort to convey to you the joy of Vib-Ribbon.

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Confessional: I make up my own stories for games photo
Confessional: I make up my own stories for games
by Nic Rowen

So here is a dumb thing I do: I make up my own stories in games.

No, I'm not just talking about RPGs like Fallout or Skyrim where the entire point is to go out and make your own mark on the world. I'm talking about just about every kind of game. Action titles that already have stories, multiplayer shooters where there shouldn't even be a narrative; hell in a darker moment in my life, I once tried to make a fictional justification for I.Q.: Intelligence Qube, a puzzle game where you rotate giant cubes floating in a void. HELP ME.

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Is classic Survival Horror considered old fashioned now? photo
Is classic Survival Horror considered old fashioned now?
by Dale North

I like to be scared. I'm not some kind of dark-obsessed weirdo, though. I just really enjoy the feeling of being tense or terrified, so much so that I used to think that there was something wrong with me. Maybe there is.

A few years back, after a nearly year-long kick of reading freaky books, watching horror movies, and replaying some of my favorite survival horror videogames, I decided to do some digging into why I like to be scared. It turns out that the typical reasons are fairly tame; some folks like the huge pile of satisfaction feels they get from being able to work through tense or scary moments. It's a break. An escape. Something new and different. 

Being armed with the knowledge behind these feelings out doesn't change that I'm still drawn to them. And I've found that survival horror games are still the best way to get that high. I regularly replay the classics. I chomp at the bit for new ones and devour them when they're finally released. I'm hooked.

But I'm starting to feel a bit old-fashioned in my love of these games.

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The game trailers with the most feels photo
The game trailers with the most feels
by Dale North

I'm easy. And I think you are, too. Those debut game trailers get me every time. It usually goes like this:

Stirring, slow beds of strings and woodwinds underlay a dramatic shot; an extreme closeup of some unknown character. Or, maybe a well-known one. Just the eyeball, or just the face. Pan out. Wide, lush landscapes that take the breath away. Maybe sunny and bright. Maybe foggy and mysterious. The music increases in tempo and loudness. Quick cuts! Sword slashes. All-white flashes. Strings crescendo as they build via agiato. The heart rate quickens. Fast. Faster! Then, boom. Quiet. Black screen. Some sounds, or maybe some dialogue. Slow, slow text. Subwoofers do something. Fade...

Logo. 

[breathlessness]

AAAAAH!

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Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system signals the true beginning of this generation photo
Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system signals the true beginning of this generation
by Nic Rowen

It's bad enough dying a humiliating death at the hands of some random orc, but "Azdush the Dung Collector?" Really? He couldn't have been "Azdush the Shield Breaker" or "Azdush the Invincible?"

I could have taken a bit of consolation dying to someone with a straight-up badass name like that. But The Dung Collector? I knew I'd never live it down, and his constant taunting certainly made sure of that.

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If I made my own racing game... photo
If I made my own racing game...
by Dale North

With both Driveclub and Forza Horizon 2 hitting the streets this month my mind is fully in racing game mode. We racing fans are spoiled this month with two very nice titles, and I'm racing my days away in them. As of late I am this close to getting a speeding ticket IRL.

I think about racing games a lot. While I'm Destructoid's resident JRPG guy, I've always loved racing games. I've been playing them regularly since Pole Position (yeah, I'm old), and I'm perfectly open to racers of all sorts, from casual kart games all the way up to full-on simulations. 

But lately, after spending time with Driveclub and Forza Horizon 2, I'm hung up on what my ideal racing game would be. Both of them hit positive marks for me, but there are plenty of things I'd change or do differently. And I have some ideas of my own that no one has managed to work into a racer yet. 

So here's what my racing game would look like.

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Why does the term 'gamer' feel important? photo
Why does the term 'gamer' feel important?
by Jonathan Holmes

Earlier this morning I told my Twitter followers I was thinking of starting a post about why the term gamer might be "dying" or an article about positive representations of schizophrenia in videogames (like, all two of them). A couple of people wanted me to do the schizophrenia one... but mostly just because they didn't want me to do the gamer one. I got the feeling that they didn't want another ugly, negative post about videogame culture to exist. 

That said to me that this "gamer" term has some inherent power to it. It makes people feel something, for better or worse. Compare it to terms like "golfer" or "golf journalism." Imagine if golf pros and commentators were to declare that the term "golfer" is dead. The collective golf community would likely raise an eyebrow, shrug, and get back to golfing. That's not what we're seeing in the "gamer" community right now.

Right now we're seeing groups of once-unified "gamers" look at each other with disappointment, anger, and frustration. The thought is "you're not what I wanted you to be." The gaming press is saying that to game consumers. Game consumers are saying that to game developers. Game developers saying it to the gaming press. It's a constant three-way of pure disdain.

This disdain is born from the budding awareness of how different the goals, perspectives, and priorities of those three groups are. The illusion that we're "all just gamers" has been shattered. That said, the term "gamer" will likely never die. It's just not working as an applicable catch all for everyone who is passionate about videogames. Not anymore. Not after all of the misuse it's seen. That doesn't mean we have to give up on it though. 

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Do you refer to players online by their callsign or real name? photo
Do you refer to players online by their callsign or real name?
by Chris Carter

I was playing Final Fantasy XIV the other day, engaging in my weekly static raid group (we just beat Turn 7!) when I realized something -- I refer to most of them by their callsigns and not their real names. In fact, I stopped calling a few friends that I've known for years (and went to college with) by their given names, just to uniformly refer to everyone as their in-game character.

It got me thinking on the etiquette for asking for players' real names online, and the reasons why someone may not want to divulge that information.

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I'm going to miss tripping in Super Smash Bros. 4 photo
I'm going to miss tripping in Super Smash Bros. 4
by Jonathan Holmes

[Art by Fallen Party]

[Update: Some of you are pretty upset about the article! Sorry about that.

Also, a few people pointed out a couple of mistakes I made. First, I wrote that you can block in the air in Smash Bros. Looks like I "tripped" up! I meant to say "dodge." Sometimes when you type too fast, you put down the wrong word, and it may not get caught in the proofread. My apologies.

Also, there is some dispute over if "L-canceling" is an "unintended abuse" of the game's system, or something intended by the developers. My guess is that it's both -- that "L-canceling" was intended by the developers, but players learned to exploit it to a degree that Sakurai and the gang didn't intend, which could be why it was removed from Brawl entirely. It's hard to say for sure though, as Sakurai hasn't made any comment on the subject that I know of. Either way, you should know that "L-canceling" may be an intended mechanic in Melee and Smash Bros on the N64. Hope that helps, and if you find any other mistakes, you can let me know on twitter- @tronknotts. Thanks everybody!]

[Update 2: I asked Michael "Mr Bean" Molinary to write a counterpoint to my point and it's really good.]

There's a Smash Bros. tournament going on tonight at a local comic book store. The creator of Catlateral Damage and I were planning on attending, but they changed the game from Brawl to Melee at the last minute. We both backed out, resigned to the reality of the situation, but still disappointed. It's totally understandable that the majority of competitive Smash players prefer the increased level of fast and precise character control that Melee offers over Brawl, but as diehard Lucas, Olimar, and Squirtle fans, Melee isn't worth the $15 entry fee. 

I figured I'd get over it by watching some Melee at EVO, and I quickly found myself feeling frowny. It seems like the longer the game is played, the less high level competitors try new things. Most of the matches were just a high-speed poke and fake contest. The only times things got really interesting was when a character is in the clutch, trying to recover from being knocked off the edge, but those mechanics are just as fun to watch in Brawl or even the original N64 Smash Bros

I wondered how much more interesting it would be to watch some aggressive play in Brawl. Yes, even though it has tripping. Especially because it has tripping. 

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Some videogames you have to try this boring summer photo
Some videogames you have to try this boring summer
by Kyle MacGregor

Whether it's a humid summer day or just an unpleasantly hot one, there's nothing quite like hiding from the sun in your small dark apartment. Here are x number of videogames to help you stay pale this season.

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