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4:00 PM on 12.07.2014

Dear devs, stop it with tutorials all the way through the game

“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 C...

Nic Rowen


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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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Blah Blah Top Five Blah Blah World Cup Blah Blah Soccer photo
Blah Blah Top Five Blah Blah World Cup Blah Blah Soccer
by Jonathan Holmes

[Art by SnowmanEX711]

Everybody's blah blah blah World Cup blah blah blah to celebrate top five blah blah blah soccer videogames blah blah blah.  Blah blah blah piggybacking off Google search result algorithms blah blah blah pandering to the interests of those who are more interested in thing other than videogames? Blah blah blah everyone's talking about it blah blah blah you don't want to be left out blah blah blah popular because it is popular blah blah blah Hamza's gotta eat blah blah blah Sup Holmes starts at 4pm blah.

So with out further blah blah blah, lets blah blah blah do blah blah blah this blah blah blah.

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Destructoid's definitive guide to E3 2014 photo
Destructoid's definitive guide to E3 2014
by Dale North

E3 2014 begins next week. Destructoid has its bags packed, ready to attack the press conferences and show floor.  This year should bring us what we really wanted last year: games for our next-gen consoles. Sony and Microsoft have had time to work up some new things for us since their respective console launches, and Nintendo is running at full steam for its systems. Some of big third-party publishers have had enough time to finally show off what they've been working on.

And this is not counting all of the PC games, indie games, portable offerings, VR dueling (Oculus vs. Project Morpheus), and other new announcements coming. It should be good.

But we hope E3 2014 isn't a huge tease. While we're sure to get some new games for fall 2014, who's to say that the rest of them won't be hanging back to 2015? With all of the recently delayed titles that were supposed to launch this year moving to next, anything is possible. 

If nothing else, we'll at least get some exciting software announcements next week. You were heard last year, gamers -- loud and clear. The big three know for sure that you don't want to hear about hardware and entertainment features during your press conferences. It's going to be all about games. Lots of games.

Our guide will set you up for Destructoid's E3 Unfiltered coverage next week. First, we'll lay out what you should know to catch you up. Then we'll list out times for press conferences and other events. Finally, we'll run down the list of top companies and tell you what you should expect.

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So what the hell is happening with Harvest Moon? photo
So what the hell is happening with Harvest Moon?
by Kyle MacGregor

A lot of folks seem pretty confused about what's going on with Harvest Moon. And that's perfectly understandable, because it's a tad complicated. Please allow me to try to explain the situation.

XSEED recently announced a farming simulation RPG called Story of Seasons. The title is a localization of Bokujō Monogatari: Tsunagaru Shin Tenchi, which released for Nintendo 3DS in Japan earlier this year.

You might not recognize the name Bokujō Monogatari, which directly translates as "Farm Story," because we westerners have learned to call the series Harvest Moon. And here is where the confusion arises. That name, Harvest Moon, isn't owned by the makers of Bokujō Monogatari, Marvelous AQL, but rather the company that localized and published them for nearly the past two decades.

That company is Natsume, who just this week revealed a 3DS title called Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, which, despite its name, is not an actual Bokujō Monogatari title. Though the brand is familiar and the product may seem very similar in appearance, The Lost Valley is made by an entirely different group than all Harvest Moon games before it.

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Killing and karnage: What I want from a new Mortal Kombat photo
Killing and karnage: What I want from a new Mortal Kombat
by Brittany Vincent

It's official. Mortal Kombat X is coming, and though we just got an extremely vague look at what it might showcase when it hits the scene, that's just not enough for me. I grew up on fatalities and the thrill of combat, and with a brand new entry into the series, there's plenty of room for change on the horizon.

I'm not talking a whole host of DLC fighters or any of that other nonsense. I'm talking real change -- the kind that can only come from surveying a loyal fanbase and implementing the changes that are being clamored for day in and day out. I can't speak for everyone as far as my own ideas for improvement go, but here are five things I want from a brand new Mortal Kombat.

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DNA splicing will make you a better you in Subnautica photo
DNA splicing will make you a better you in Subnautica
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Natural Selection began life in 2002 as a mod that successfully married the first-person shooter and real-time strategy genres. It's since gone on to eat up the last 12 years of developer Unknown Worlds' time as they created a sequel, and even an eSports tournament around it. Now, development of Natural Selection II is being handed over to the dedicated community around the game as the studio focuses on their next project, Subnautica.

Subnautica, a vast departure for Unknown, is an underwater exploration and survival game that doesn't have an emphasis on combat. It made its worldwide debut at PAX East and, despite hiding the game inside a little booth on the showfloor, I saw people lining up every day of the show just to see what this new title was all about.

I visited the team at Unknown Worlds and talked to co-founder Charlie Cleveland to see what the public reception was like, and got some new details on what they hope to achieve with Subnautica

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Songs for the dearth: Classic music games to fill the hollow photo
Songs for the dearth: Classic music games to fill the hollow
by Brittany Vincent

With a new Amplitude on the horizon and a post-Guitar Hero world having left much to be desired by way of rhythm games, we must look to the past to drink our fill from the fount of the world of music. And even before Guitar Hero spoon-fed the bitter taste of recording artists' dignity to the videogame-playing masses (have you heard Band Hero’s reworking of Filter’s “Take A Picture?”), rhythm and music game aficionados had it way better.

The future is always promising, but if you backed the Amplitude Kickstarter because you felt starved for a musical revolution, take a trip down memory lane with these greats. Now, now -- if your favorite isn't on this list, I might just revisit the idea later. You never know.

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Remembering the glory of videogame manuals photo
Remembering the glory of videogame manuals
by Brittany Vincent

When I was a little girl, purchasing a new game often meant thumbing through the pages of a mammoth tome detailing impending gameplay down to the letter. If I were stuck on a long car trip with a recently-purchased title, digging into that precious parcel and retrieving the manual was the first thing on my mind. Sometimes, starting a fresh new game was only the icing on top of the delicious packaging sundae, and I was decidedly more interested in getting at the extras than actually tearing into Diablo II or Creatures.

It was a way to game vicariously through a few simple, innocent pages, and one of the first ties I established to any game I had my heart set on playing through. Unfortunately, it’s also a familiar constant that gamers new and old can kiss goodbye with the decision a majority of companies employ to downsize the distribution of manuals entirely. 

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Here's why I think you should get the new slim PS Vita  photo
Here's why I think you should get the new slim PS Vita
by Dale North

The revised, slimmer, lighter version of PlayStation Vita hit shelves this week. It's been out in Japan since October of last year, and now we're finally getting ours in a Borderlands 2 hardware bundle (which also includes 8GB PS Vita memory, all for $199).

There are plenty of portable-playing gamers on the fence over this new Vita model, so I thought I'd weigh in as a user and fan. I'm not necessarily trying to sell you on these. I mean, it's not like Sony gives me a cut or anything. I just want to go against some of the criticisms I've heard and explain that I think the slim Vita is pretty great. 

This piece won't cover why you should or shouldn't get a Vita. Because really?

Maybe we'll have that talk later.

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Advance Wars is better than CoD: Advanced Warfare photo
Advance Wars is better than CoD: Advanced Warfare
by Jonathan Holmes

When the word leaked that the next Call of Duty game is called Advanced Warfare, there was just one thing everyone everywhere wanted to know -- will Advanced Warfare be as good as a 10-plus-year-old Game Boy Advance game with a name that sounds kind of like Advanced Warfare?

Sadly, the answer is "no."

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Wargaming.net League Grand Finals recap from Warsaw, Poland photo
Wargaming.net League Grand Finals recap from Warsaw, Poland
by Dale North

The skinny arms of one of the team members of team Natus Vincere (also known as Na'Vi) were warbling dangerously as he attempted to lift the massive block of solid metal that is the trophy for the Wargaming.net League Grand Finals World Champions. His teammates rushed in to help him as spotlights shone down and a theater full of fans cheered and applauded in Warsaw, Poland this past Sunday. 

Natus Vincere took down 13 other teams over the three days of the event, which had players from six regions battling, and had fans and press from all over the world watching on while they did so. They took home about $110,000 in prize money, with runner-up team Virtus.Pro taking almost $100,000 themselves.

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Sony's Project Morpheus: An impressive first showing photo
Sony's Project Morpheus: An impressive first showing
by Dale North

Sony choose GDC as its coming out party for its virtual reality platform, Project Morpheus. The goal was to build interest at a show where just about every developer in the industry is in attendance. And from the look of the lines at their GDC floor booth yesterday, every one of those developers had someone in line to try it out. 

We finally got our faces in the headset late last night to try out the new demos that Sony prepared for the show. We were surprised to find that Project Morpheus is already on a level playing field with Oculus Rift, and even shows it up in some places.  

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XSplit Gamecaster makes game streaming so easy photo
XSplit Gamecaster makes game streaming so easy
by Dale North

Are you streaming gameplay? Well, forget cables, configurations, multiple PCs, software hacks, and confusion. That's all gone when it comes to streaming and capturing gameplay on your PC, starting today. XSplit Gamecaster is a simple software program that lets you send your PC or console gameplay to Twitch, Ustream, YouTube, and other sites without the hassles of previous solutions. 

We've known about it since last year, and have played with it a bit more recently, but the good news is that you won't have to wait long before you can try it out for yourself as it will be available on February 18.

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Here are your favorite gaming moments of 2013! photo
Here are your favorite gaming moments of 2013!
by Mr Andy Dixon

Last week, we asked you to share your favorite gaming memories of the year with the community, and the response was FANTASTIC! Seriously, the love you people expressed for some of your favorite games of 2013 was downright moving, and I enjoyed reading each and every comment.

Here's a brief recap of some of your responses. WARNING: Spoilers abound for many new games, so read with caution!

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Here are the worst games you played this year photo
Here are the worst games you played this year
by Mr Andy Dixon

Last week, I asked you to share your stories about the worst new games you played all year.

I am so sorry I asked.

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Here are your favorite songs and soundtracks of 2013! photo
Here are your favorite songs and soundtracks of 2013!
by Mr Andy Dixon

All week, we've been asking you to sound off on some gaming-related topics for our end of the year recap. Many of you took the time to chime in on our favorite and least favorite character posts, and the same rang true for our favorite songs or soundtracks call as well! BECAUSE MUSIC!

Our eardrums were rocked with some killer songs and OSTs in 2013, so let's crank up our speakers and take a listen to some of your favorites! If I were you, I'd also go ahead and bookmark this post for later, because there is a TON of awesome gaming music about to hit your face...

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Here are your favorite new characters from 2013! photo
Here are your favorite new characters from 2013!
by Mr Andy Dixon

Earlier in the week we asked you to sound off on your favorite new videogame characters in 2013. Here are the results!

From cartoon characters to muscular senators to a young woman who just will not stop dancing, a wide range of new characters were represented from just about every genre imaginable (no farming simulators this time, sadly). Hell, most of them weren't even unshaven white men with gruff voices!

Most of them, anyway.

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Here are your most hated new characters of the year photo
Here are your most hated new characters of the year
by Mr Andy Dixon

Earlier this week, we asked you to share your thoughts on the WORST new videogame characters of 2013. Here are the results!

Many of you took this opportunity to vent your frustrations (or at least upvote or downvote comments) regarding DmC's Dante, which is neat. Other than that obvious choice, there were quite a few other nominees for the wall of shame, and some that I certainly didn't expect!

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What were your favorite gaming moments of 2013? photo
What were your favorite gaming moments of 2013?
by Mr Andy Dixon

[All week long we've been asking for your thoughts on certain topics related to the year in gaming. Here's the final call for entries!]

2013 has been an amazing year for gaming. Hell, we've reviewed more 9.5s and 10s in the past three months alone than I think I've ever seen in all my time here. And it's not because we're getting soft in our old age; rather, this year's games have just been that good.

I already shared my favorite gaming memory of the year in our PS3 farewell post, but it's worth repeating. The game was The Last of Us, and the moment was when Joel and Ellie [SPOILERS] first make it to the university and a tower of giraffes pass by them. Joel, Ellie and I stood and watched those giraffes lumber their way out of view for what seemed like an eternity, and it was such a beautiful moment in such a bleak game that I will never forget it.[/SPOILERS]

A truly great game can mark your memory for a lifetime, and those are the stories we want to hear about right now! So go share your favorite gaming moments of 2013 with us in the comments below. Or, if you find yourself getting long-winded, write a blog! (Be sure to share the link below.) We'll be pulling in quotes from the community for a special recap post later this weekend, so take some time to think about your responses.

Have fun!

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What was the WORST new game you played this year? photo
What was the WORST new game you played this year?
by Mr Andy Dixon

[All week long we'll be asking for your thoughts on certain topics related to the year in gaming. Miss yesterday's post? Click here to chime in with your favorite new songs or soundtracks!]

Ride to Hell: Retribution. Final Fantasy All the Bravest. Resident Evil 6. Aliens: Colonial Marines. You get the point. Please don't make me keep looking these up. It hurts.

I thankfully avoided every stinker of a game released this year, but I know some of you weren't as fortunate. Some of you got conned into a ticket on the pre-order hype train and had no choice but to ride it to the end of the line. Some no doubt played through these toxic specimens because you knew they were turds, possibly to fulfill some masochistic fantasy that you should probably see a therapist about. Whatever the case, you no doubt played some real shit games this year, and we want to hear about them!

Share your awful game stories in the comments below. Or, if you find yourself getting long-winded, write a blog. (Be sure to share the link below.) We'll be pulling in quotes from the community for a special recap post later this week, so take some time to think about your responses!

Have fun! If it's even possible...

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What was your favorite song or soundtrack of 2013? photo
What was your favorite song or soundtrack of 2013?
by Mr Andy Dixon

[All week long we'll be asking for your thoughts on certain topics related to the year in gaming! Miss a previous post? Click here to sound off on your favorite and least favorite new characters!]

Gaming is graced with some amazing original songs and scores every year, and 2013 was no exception. From The Last of Us to Tomb Raider, Ni No Kuni to Super Mario 3D World, and everything in between, our ears were just as blessed as our eyes and fingers this year, and I'm not even sure I could pick my favorite if I tried!

What about you? Have a favorite song or soundtrack from 2013? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below! Or, if you find yourself getting long-winded, write a blog! (Be sure to share the link below.) We'll be pulling in quotes from the community for a special recap post later this week, so take some time to think about your responses.

Have fun!

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Who was the WORST new videogame character of 2013? photo
Who was the WORST new videogame character of 2013?
by Mr Andy Dixon

[All week long we'll be asking for your thoughts on certain topics related to the year in gaming!]

2013 added some amazing new characters to our medium, but it also brought with it some serious stinkers. Annoying (and unwanted) co-op sidekicks, painful reimaginings of fan favorites from generations past, MERLENDERL -- the list goes on.

The object of my personal disaffection had to be Carver from Dead Space 3. The simple addition of an optional co-op character to one of my favorite horror series didn't turn out to be the harbinger I had worried it would be, but the design of said character couldn't have been much worse if they actively tried. Loud, brash, and full of the same grating military-FPS bravado I play games like Dead Space to avoid, I cringed every time Carver popped up on screen and the game didn't let me put a Plasma Cutter shot through his one good eye.

What about you? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below! Or, if you find yourself getting long-winded, write a blog! (Be sure to share the link below.) We'll be pulling in quotes from the community for a special recap post later this week, so take some time to think about your responses.

Have fun!

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Who was your favorite new videogame character this year? photo
Who was your favorite new videogame character this year?
by Mr Andy Dixon

[All week long we're going to be asking for your thoughts on certain topics related to the year in gaming. Here's the first!]

2013 was absolutely ripe with juicy new characters in the realm of gaming. Badass '80s action heroes, hilarious narrators, endearing psychopaths, robot dogs, annoyingly philosophical trans-dimensional twins, ass-kicking little girls, and a little dude with a lamp hanging from his nose barely scratch the surface as to the eclectic selection or protagonists and NPCs on display this year.

My personal favorite has to be Rex Colt from Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. His cheesy dialog and banter was straight out of the best (worst?) '80s action movies, and was a far cry (HAR HAR) from the usual FPS protagonist.

What about you? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below! Or, if you find yourself getting long-winded, write a blog! (Be sure to share the link below.) We'll be pulling in quotes from the community for a special recap post later this week, so take some time to think about your responses.

Have fun!

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