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Christmas

Killing Floor 2 photo
Killing Floor 2

This modder made his own Killing Floor 2 Christmas map


Just what I was looking for
Dec 28
// Zack Furniss
The Killing Floor Twisted Christmas events (in which the enemies wear costumes, Christmas music jubilantly plays in the background, and maps like Santa's lair become available) hold a special place in my heart. Tripwire ...
Christmas photo
Christmas

What did you get for Christmas?


I got Super Smash soap
Dec 25
// Chris Carter
Merry Christmas from all of us at Destructoid! So what did you get today? Sure, some of us are a little too old to be getting showered with presents from parents (or don't have parents around anymore), but whether it's a gift...

Christmas memories with Destructoid

Dec 25 // Zack Furniss
Zack Furniss I don't get to see my best buddy as often as I'd like. We went to different colleges and usually had heavy workloads when winter came around. Tripwire Interactive started the Twisted Christmas events for Killing Floor in 2010 (the same year I moved away, making spending time with one another more difficult), where the enemies would be replaced by gingerbread men, elves, and reindeer. The timing was perfect, because we had been itching to get back to killing floors at the time, and now there was a festive theme for us to enjoy. Many nights were spent basking in both the glow of Christmas lights and my computer screen, laughing, catching up, and rekindling our relationship as the air became chillier. Now every year we look forward to whatever weirdness Killing Floor would bring next Christmas. I'm beyond bummed that they aren't doing it this year with the sequel, but next year should herald a glorious return. Jed Whitaker I'll never forget being blown away by the graphics of Super Mario 64 along with my family the Christmas I received the recently released Nintendo 64. At the time I only owned a Super Nintendo and a Sega Genesis, so the jump in graphics was mind blowing for my eight-year-old mind, not to mention the awkwardly shaped controller with my first ever analog stick. You never forget your first. Ben Davis Whenever I ask for video games for Christmas, my parents and other family members usually just get whatever's on my list. It's a very rare occasion when my family buys a game I didn't ask for, which is probably a good idea on their part. One year, though, they got me two games for the PlayStation: Spyro the Dragon, which I had asked for, and Rayman, which I had never even heard of. I was super excited about Spyro (advertisements really influenced my choices back then), but when I opened Rayman I had to feign my enthusiasm a bit. The cover showed some goofy-looking dude with weird hair and no limbs, and the screenshots on the back of the case all looked to be in 2D. This was the PlayStation, and I expected everything on it to be 3D for some reason. I tore through Spyro first, of course, and I really enjoyed it. Once I was done with the spunky little dragon, I decided I might as well try out Rayman to see what he was all about. And to my surprise, I ended up liking it even more than Spyro! The strange world of Rayman was so unexpected and creative in the best ways and I quickly fell in love with it, and Rayman himself was actually pretty awesome. His dance moves and silly faces cracked me up. It's still one of my favorite series to this day, whereas I've mostly forgotten about Spyro the Dragon. I guess my parents were pretty good at picking games out after all! Chris Carter I've shared this memory a few times before, but the morning that my mom gifted me Toxic Crusaders for the NES sticks out. I would always save up all of my holiday money for a "console fund," that way whenever a new system would come out, I could buy it on my own. As I grew, this translated into shoveling snow in the neighborhood for money, doing odd jobs, and getting a part-time job (full-time during the summer) of my own at 15 years old. My parents couldn't afford a whole lot, but they could get me used or cheap games, which often allowed me to experience titles that I would have never otherwise looked for on my own. I still play Toxic Crusaders to this day and remember the thoughtfulness of my mother. Jonathan Holmes When I was four, we were poor. Some of our cheese came from Ronald Reagan, and most of our Christmas presents were donations or hand-me-downs. We didn't mind though, because it had always been that way.  Still, my mom found a way to buy me and my brother a video game console that year. This was back when multi-game consoles were even more ridiculously expensive than they are now, and your average video game fan was often satisfied with playing just 3 or 4 different games a year. This allowed single game "Mini Arcade Cabinet" consoles to be big sellers. That's part of how we ended up with a Galaxy II. No, not the phone, the Galaxian clone.  I'm sure my Mom made some noble sacrifice in order to afford the game, but her then four-year-old son and his ten-year-old brother were not so morally advanced. We somehow discovered the game hidden in mom's closet sometime in October, and would sneak it out of the box and play it non-stop most weekdays between the hours of 3:30pm (when we got home from school) and 5:00pm (when she got home from work). There were some close calls, but we'd always get it wrapped back up and re-hidden well before she got home. We were always terrified that we'd get caught, but in retrospect, that was probably half the fun.  You'd think we'd have gotten sick of the game by the time we actually got it for Christmas, but being able to play Galaxy II any time we wanted instead of just during our daily, unsupervised afternoons was a gift onto itself. We played that game until our fingers bled. It was the winter of '81.  Niero I went to the Nintendo World Championships back in 1989, lost brutally. I also couldn't figure out a way to get out of the toilet in Déjà Vu, which wasn't the Shadowgate sequel I was hoping for. Emo! It wasn't a total loss: I fell in love with Dr. Mario and asked for it that year for Christmas. Much later when school had let out and my parents found me horribly bored around the house, so they suggested that I could open one gift that year. They weren't incredibly creative with wrapping and my spider sense detected which one it might be, and I was right. I played it till my fingers were bleeding and diseased. Myles Cox This one's a little more recent because I'm the youngest video boy in the world -- The year was 2004, and your ol' buddy Myles was a shitty snot-nosed ten year old who really wanted that sweet sweet Nintendo DS (really just a Metroid Prime: Hunters machine) from the big man in red. I got a dart board instead. Later on, as we lit a fire, a large mysterious package was discovered in the fireplace with big sloppy handwriting on it: "Looks like I forgot a present!" Inside was a DS with a demo copy of Hunters, as well as a few assorted launch titles. Don't think I ended up sleeping for three days. Santa Claus has awfully similar handwriting to my father's. Bonus story: Around the time Super Smash Bros. for the N64 was released, I elevator pitched the game to the mall-Santa whilst on his lap. "You press A to smash," I squeaked, in utter amazement and disbelief that the A button could be used for anything other than "jump". Patrick Hancock Okay, so the year is 1997, the year after the N64 released. I wanted one game incredibly badly: NFL Quartback Club '98. I'm honestly not sure why I wanted this game so badly, but the front cover is etched into my brain forever. I shall forever remember Brett Favre just about to throw a pass, in that exact pose. I'm not even a Packers fan, but damn do I love that cover. I was eight years old, so this is still a time where I'm not really sure if asking for a present really guarantees me that present or not. I remember writing it on the top of each of my Christmas lists (that's how you know it was important). Sure enough, NFL Quarterback Club '98 was under the tree that year, and I was super stoked to open that gift. Thanks, Santa. Mini-story: I also remember asking for a GameCube one year and, since we opened presents at random, opening a GameCube controller before the actual system. It was the most excited I've ever been to see a controller, since it had gigantic implications! Mike Martin 1989. My dad gave me the most amazing present ever: The NES. It came with RC Pro Am and Super Mario 3. Now we all know that SMB3 is an amazing game (and the best of the series), but RC Pro Am captured my 8 year old heart in a way it had never been captured before. Hell, my Dad would even join me sometimes, and he only played flight sims! I played the ever loving fuck out of that game. It's the reason I rally raced down the side of a mountain when I was 19, why I tricked out my '93 S-10 SS, and why I love racing games (and racing) to this day. It is also a game I have begun to play every Christmas (four years running). My Dad passed four years ago, and the first Christmas without him was pretty shit. I don't know what made me fire up the game, but once I did, I started feeling instantly better. It makes me feel close to my Dad again. Now please excuse me, I have to make a dick joke somewhere, before I cry. [Thanks to MeanderBot for the header image! I was a Grinch and forgot to thank him. Check out the full unofficial Christmas card here.]
Christmas photo
Walking in a winter gamin' land
[Header art by MeanderBot.] If you're reading this today, you're probably on the toilet, trying to duck away from that weird cousin/uncle/stranger who always shows up on Christmas. I feel you, I'm there too. Take a deep breath, you'll be fine (and drink the spiked egg nog when you get out). But before you get back up, why not take a trip down memory lane/34th street with us?

Review: Sakura Santa

Dec 24 // Josh Tolentino
Sakura Santa (PC)Developer: Winged CloudPublisher: MangaGamerMSRP: $9.95Released: December 21, 2015 The aforementioned solitary souls seem to be situated smack in the target-audience sweet spot for Sakura Santa's story, as it revolves around Koji, an otherwise unremarkable college student whose main claim to fame is that he'll be lonely on Christmas eve. Yeah, that's really about it. Sakura Santa takes advantage of the fact that Christmas in Japan is more of a romantic holiday than a familial one, and kicks off with Koji visiting a nearby shrine to wish for someone to spend Christmas with. His wish is granted in short order, by fateful run-ins with Itsumi, an old childhood friend, Akina, a local fox spirit, and none other than one of Santa Claus' daughters. Then the only question is: Who shall he spend the time with? Now, before anyone gets any ideas, it's worth pointing out that Sakura Santa is not an adult game. The game's Steam store page takes care to stress that it contains "no sexual content." And they're technically right. There is no nudity, nor are there sex scenes in the whole of the game's two- to four-hour runtime. There is, however, plenty to ogle in the form of the three girls' character designs and the event scenes from the four available storylines. The art does stand out as the main draw, given that Sakura Santa has little else going for it. It's shorter and possessed of a much more bland premise than Sakura Spirits, and features a smaller cast to boot. Akina and Santa's stories quickly fall into too-similar "magical/alien girlfriend" templates familiar to anime, and though Itsumi's plotline also veers on the generic side, the story of trying to connect with an old flame after years growing apart is, at least, more inherently engaging. Then again, the other girl has fox ears and a short kimono. A dilemma, to be sure. Ultimately, Sakura Santa fails to stand out from the growing crowd of visual novels on Steam and elsewhere, except in the single respect of being a Christmas-themed story, coming out just in time for the holiday. Unfortunately, one would probably have to be as lonely as the game's protagonist to find a compelling reason to play. [This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.] Batman: Arkham Knight: Season of Infamy (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: WB Games MontrealPublisher: Warner Bros.MSRP: $9.99Released: December 22, 2015
Sakura Santa Review photo
A Christmas Miracle for the Solo Set
When it comes to holiday traditions, Christmas-themed video games aren't as common as Christmas movies or television specials. For whatever reason, be it development times, commercial titles' higher average price tag, or the ...


Here are some of the best in-game winter events running right now

Dec 21 // Joe Parlock
Neverwinter: The Winter Festival The Dungeons & Dragons MMO for PC and Xbox One has already launched its winter event on December 17. This year sees the return of the Winter Festival of Simril, a lovely little snowy fair full of mini-games and prizes. Claiming a present each day from the Giftmaster in Twilight Tor will nab you a whole load of free stuff, including new mounts and clothing, without having to do much work. While this event also ran last year, some new quests and areas have been added to celebrate the recent-ish release of the Underdark expansion, so there’s more to check out if you thought you’d done everything last year. The Winter Festival will run until January 7. World of Warcraft: Feast of Winter Veil Feast of the Winter Veil is a long-standing tradition in World of Warcraft, and once again the event brings with it new quests and loot up for grabs. If you’re Alliance head to Ironforge, and if you’re Horde head to Orgrimmar. There, you’ll find a whole load of characters needing help setting up the festivities. Greatfather Winter needs help doing his totally-not-Santa thing, and the Jinglepocket Goblins want you to go and save Metzen the Reindeer. But best of all is some dungeon bosses will be wearing little hats which you can take for yourself. Little. Freaking. Hats. Some of the others rewards you can get include new pets, such the Clockwork Rocket Bot and the Tiny Snowman, as well as new toys like the Train Set. The Feast of Winter Veil started on December 16, and will be running through to January 2. Hearthstone: Winter Veil World of Warcraft isn’t the only one who gets the Winter Veil festival, as it’s also come to everybody’s favourite collectible card time-sink, Hearthstone. The boards have been all decked up with snow, fireplaces and fancy lights, and even the heroes are getting a bit festive with their new holiday greetings emotes.  However, the big thing is the Gift Exchange Tavern Brawl mode. Greatfather Winter drops presents and crates onto the board, and whichever player manages to destroy them will get a new 1-mana card that will grant them a card either for their own or for their opponents' class. Winning a game of Gift Exchange will net you a very festive Winter Veil Wreath card back. Unfortunately, you don’t have much longer left with the Gift Exchange, as it ends on December 21, which at the time of writing is tomorrow. If you’ve missed that though, don’t worry. The wintery boards and a holiday sale offering 50 classic packs for $50 will be running until January 6. Rift: Fae Yule Rift’s winter event is probably one of the longest ones this year. It started on December 10, and will be running all the way through to January 6. The Fae Yule event returns once again with everything players are used to from previous years, with quests being found in Sanctum, Meridian, Iron Pine Peak, and Draumheim. However, this year there’s some pretty big changes to the proceedings. There’s a new instant adventure in the Iron Pike Peaks, a new questline for the Minions, as well as a reworking of the Sparkle Quest. There’s also a sale running on the in-game store, featuring weapon and item skins, mounts, and backpacks. Depending on how much in-game credit you buy, you can also nab either a Jolly Hellbug Pet or an adorable Jolly Hellbug Mount. RiftGrate has a great (heh) guide on getting the most out of the event too, for those who don’t want to miss anything. Final Fantasy XIV: The Starlight Celebration If you head to the upper deck of Limsa Lominsa and talk to Collys before December 31, you’ll be roped into a fairly long questline to help her set right the celebration plans for the Starlight festival. If helping save Starlight out of the goodness of your heart wasn’t enough, you can also nab some goodies too: Christmas trees and glowing wall decorations, as well as costume pieces to make you look like Santa or his Reindeer. This isn’t the biggest or longest event running, but it’s definitely one of the most adorable that I’ve seen. Rocket League: Snow Day Probably one of the best multiplayer games to come out this year, Rocket League introduced a hockey mode to its roster. It comes as part of a mutator called Snow Day that replaces the usual ball with a huge puck, which changes the game almost completely. As well as the new mode, a variety of cosmetic drops are available until January 4, including the ‘Xmas’ rocket trail, various toppers, and two new antennae. Azure Striker GUNVOLT: Christmas in Gunvolt Land Indie platformer Azure Striker GUNVOLT went full-out this year and added in a whole new mode for its winter event. Christmas Mode gives the game a wintery makeover, and tasks players with collective as many presents as they can on the slippery ice. The mode also has its own leaderboards too, for those who want to prove they’re officially the best at Christmas. Christmas NiGHTS Okay, this isn’t technically an event in the same way the other games are because it’s been available for almost 20 years now, but it’s still totally worth checking out. If you have a copy of either the PC or PS2 rereleases of NiGHTS into Dreams, you’ll currently find the menus have taken a much more festive tone. NiGHTS is decked out in red, there’s an awesome version of Joy to the World blaring, and even Dream Dreams, the game’s main theme, has a lovely a capella cover. It’s all one big reference to one of the coolest demos ever released for a game, Christmas NiGHTS.  Christmas NiGHTS was a demo released NiGHTS back in 1996 on the Sega Saturn. If you played for nine months of the year, it was just a standard preview of the game, showing off Spring Valley and the boss Gillwing pretty much exactly how you’d find them in the full game. However, if you played it from November to January, the entire thing took on a festive vibe. Spring Valley is covered in snow, NiGHT’s podium turns into a giant cake, and the Ideya containers are transformed into Christmas trees. Even Gillwing changes, turning his lair into a glittery Santa’s grotto around a huge Christmas tree. The whole thing was really cool. I always play whatever version I can find at this time of year, and so should you. That should be more than enough gaming to tide you over the next couple of weeks. However, remember that this week sees the start of Christmas sales on Origin, Green Man Gaming and Steam, as well as basically every console’s digital store too! Neverwinter: The Winter Festival The Dungeons & Dragons MMO for PC and Xbox One has already launched their winter event on December 17. This year sees the return of the Winter Festival of Simril, a lovely little snowy fair full of minigames and prizes. Claiming a present each day from the Giftmaster in Twilight Tor will nab you a whole load of free stuff, including new mounts and clothing, without having to do much work. While this event also ran last year, some new quests and areas have been added to celebrate the recent-ish release of the Underdark expansion, so there’s more to check out if you thought you’d done everything last year. The Winter Festival will run until January 7. World of Warcraft: Feast of Winter Veil Feast of the Winter Veil is a long-standing tradition in World of Warcraft, and once again the event brings with it new quests and loot up for grabs. If you’re Alliance head to Ironforge, and if you’re Horde head to Orgrimmar. There, you’ll find a whole load of characters needing help setting up the festivities. Greatfather Winter needs help doing his totally-not-Santa thing, and the Jinglepocket Goblins want you to go and save Metzen the Reindeer. But best of all is some dungeon bosses will be wearing little hats which you can take for yourself. Little. Freaking. Hats. Some of the others rewards you can get include new pets, such the Clockwork Rocket Bot and the Tiny Snowman, as well as new toys like the Train Set. The Feast of Winter Veil started on December 16, and will be running through to January 2. Hearthstone: Winter Veil World of Warcraft isn’t the only one who gets the Winter Veil festival, as it’s also come to everybody’s favourite collectible card time-sink, Hearthstone. The boards have been all decked up with snow, fireplaces and fancy lights, and even the heroes are getting a bit festive with their new holiday greetings emotes.  However, the big thing is the Gift Exchange Tavern Brawl mode. Greatfather Winter drops presents and crates onto the board, and whichever player manages to destroy them will get a new 1-mana card to work with. Winning a game of Gift Exchange will net you a very festive Winter Veil Wreath card back. Unfortunately, you don’t have much longer left with the Gift Exchange, as it ends on December 21, which at the time of writing is tomorrow. If you’ve missed that though, don’t worry. The wintery boards and a holiday sale offering 50 classic packs for $50 will be running until January 6. Rift: Fae Yule Rift’s winter event is probably one of the longest ones this year. It started on December 10, and will be running all the way through to January 6. The Fae Yule event returns once again with everything players are used to from previous years, with quests being found in Sanctum, Meridian, Iron Pine Peak and Draumheim. However, this year there’s some pretty big changes to the proceedings. There’s a new instant adventure in the Iron Pike Peaks, a new questline for the Minions, as well as a reworking of the Sparkle Quest. There’s also a sale running on the in-game store, featuring weapon and item skins, mounts, and backpacks. Depending on how much in-game credit you buy, you can also nab either a Jolly Hellbug Pet or an adorable Jolly Hellbug Mount. RiftGrate has a great (heh) guide on getting the most out of the event too, for those who don’t want to miss anything. Final Fantasy XIV: The Starlight Celebration If you head to the upper deck of Limsa Lominsa and talk to Collys before December 31, you’ll be roped into a fairly long questline to help her set right the celebration plans for the Starlight festival. If helping save Starlight out of the goodness of your heart wasn’t enough, you can also nab some goodies too: Christmas trees and glowing wall decorations, as well as costume pieces to make you look like Santa or his Reindeer. This isn’t the biggest or longest event running, but it’s definitely one of the most adorable that I’ve seen. Rocket League: Snow Day Probably one of the best multiplayer games to come out this year, Rocket Leagueintroduced a hockey mode to its roster. It comes as part of a mutator called Snow Day that replaces the usual ball with a huge puck, which changes the game almost completely. As well as the new mode, a variety of cosmetic drops are available until January 4, including the ‘Xmas’ rocket trail, various toppers, and two new antennae. Azure Striker GUNVOLT: Christmas Mode Indie platformer Azure Striker GUNVOLT went full-out this year and added in a whole new mode for their winter event. Christmas Mode gives the game a wintery makeover, and tasks players with collective as many presents as they can on the slippery ice. The mode also has its own leaderboards too, for those who want to prove they’re officially the best at Christmas. Christmas NiGHTS Okay, this isn’t technically an event in the same way the other games are because it’s been available for almost 20 years now, but it’s still totally worth checking out. If you have a copy of either the PC or PS2 rereleases of NiGHTS into Dreams, you’ll currently find the menus have taken a much more festive tone. NiGHTS is decked out in red, there’s an awesome version of Joy to the World blaring, and even Dream Dreams, the game’s main theme, has a lovely a capella cover. It’s all one big reference to one of the coolest demos ever released for a game, Christmas NiGHTS.  Christmas NiGHTS was a demo released NiGHTS back in 1996 on the Sega Saturn. If you played for nine months of the year, it was just a standard preview of the game, showing off Spring Valley and the boss Gillwing pretty much exactly how you’d find them in the full game. However, if you played it from November to January, the entire thing took on a festive vibe. Spring Valley is covered in snow, NiGHT’s podium turns into a giant cake, and the Ideyacontainers are transformed into Christmas trees. Even Gillwing changes, turning his lair into a glittery Santa’s grotto around a huge Christmas tree. The whole thing was really cool. I always play whatever version I can find at this time of year, and so should you. -- That should be more than enough gaming to tide you over the next couple of weeks. However, remember that this week sees the start of Christmas sales on Origin, Green Man Gaming and Steam, as well as basically every console’s digital store too!   What other events do you think are worth checking out? 
Winter Events photo
No Scrooges are allowed to take part
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Mince pies, gingerbread men, last-minute panic buying of presents, and, of course, shutting yourself away from your family for the entire time to take part in some of the many i...

FIFA 2016 photo
FIFA 2016

Festive FIFA offer is Sony's next PSN Deal of Christmas


SCORE!
Dec 21
// Vikki Blake
The penultimate deal in Sony EU's 12 Deals of Christmas promotion will bring you discounts for FIFA 16. From now until 11.59pm tomorrow, December 22, 2015, you can grab the Super Deluxe digital version of FIFA 16&nb...
Deals photo
Deals

GMG Winter Sale: $9 Cities Skylines and Shadow of Mordor GOTY


Beating Gabe to the punch
Dec 19
// Dealzon
GOG and GamersGate had their respective Winter sales earlier this month, but it's now GMG's turn to bust out the "savings." Today the digital retailer launched their 2015 Winter sale with discounts up 92% off after a stacking...
 photo
Also, win one of 10 bundles!
(Update: The kind folks at Groupees have revealed the first mystery game (pic below) and have given us five more bundles to give away!) Destructoid & Groupees have teamed up to raise meals for the hungry this holiday s...

 photo

Xbox One & PS4 returns to Black Friday prices for Christmas


Deals for the late comers
Dec 13
// Dealzon
If you don't hear the bell chiming and the smell of Christmas, then maybe you're not sniffing hard hard enough. Hmm wait... that didn't came out right. Gamers and shoppers still looking for a console in-time for Christma...
PES 2016 photo
PES 2016

On the ninth day of Christmas, Sony gave to me... a PES 16 deal for Europe


Only 7 deals to go!
Dec 09
// Vikki Blake
The fifth deal in Sony EU's 12 Deals of Christmas promotion will bring you discounts for PES 2016 on the PS4. From now until 11.59pm tomorrow, you can grab a standard digital version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 for &eur...
Rocket League photo
Rocket League

Play ice hockey in Rocket League


Here comes a Snow Day!
Nov 26
// Vikki Blake
Psyonix has confirmed that from December 14, you'll be able to jump into the Winter Games event, Snow Day, in Rocket League. The ice hockey-inspired playlist (well, it's a puck instead of a ball) replaces the Mutator Mashup a...
Bayonetta 2 photo
Bayonetta 2

Platinum Games teasing a gift for Christmas Day


'Rodin will have a present for you...'
Dec 24
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: The present is the first page of an ongoing downloadable Bayonetta calender, coinciding with the announcement that the weekly Bayonetta 2 dev blog updates are ending. Also, Kamiya blocked me again. Thanks f...
Atomic Santa photo
Atomic Santa

Dropsy's Jay Tholen presents Atomic Santa: Christmas Omega


A satirical sleigh ride into the weird world of paranoia culture
Dec 21
// Rob Morrow
From the strange and fertile imagination of Jay Tholen (Dropsy the Clown) comes a very special holiday treat this Christmas season. A harrowing tale of two brave individuals willing to stand tall aga...
Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Microsoft brings back Black Friday Xbox One bundles with extra free game


Yes, it's THAT bundle
Dec 10
// Dealzon
It's the return of the bundle with the game name that can't be spoken. (We're talking about Assassin's Creed Unity -- hmm, wait a sec...) With Christmas right around the corner and the holiday sale volume still relatively high, Microsoft Store is running a "12 Days of Deals" Holiday promotion. For today only, it brought back three of its Black Friday Xbox One bundles.

The perfect games for your holiday get-togethers

Dec 04 // Nic Rowen
Games you can play with the whole family Gang Beasts Picture two to eight drunken fat babies trying to wrestle in an over-the-top royal rumble style brawl. Now picture them on top of freight cars suspended by construction cranes. Or above a giant conveyer belt funneling trash into a fire pit. Or on top of a gondola over a dilapidated boardwalk that's falling to pieces below them. You've now pictured Gang Beasts. You're welcome. Gang Beasts is the perfect game for a diverse group of players (read: all your friends and family who are bad at games) because nobody, NOBODY, is good at it. You waddle around like shitty, violent babies trying to fling your friends out of the level, and nine-out-of-ten times, only succeed in flipping yourself ass-over-teakettle into the void. The controls are, purposefully, as clumsy as crutches on a butter-smeared floor. The levels are chaotic nightmare factories that will BETRAY you by crumbling beneath your feet faster than your post-graduate dreams. There are no health bars or stamina gauges to keep an eye on it – it's all maddening guesswork and swearing as you stumble about and learn to laugh and love again.   Super Smash Bros. Remember the first time you played Smash way back on the N64? It was this amazing, confusing, jumbled mess you couldn't possibly keep track of. It had these weird Nintendo mascots flying across the screen, smacking each other with fairy wands, baseball bats, and Bob-ombs. Madness! It was magical, special, and like everything else, you had to ruin it. You learned how to see past the chaos, filter out 90% of the visual information, focus only on your split-second reflector timing and meta-match up knowledge. Well, now you can give yourself the Christmas gift of going back to that special place and time before you broke Smash into tiny, joyless, pieces. Eight-man Smash with your family is guaranteed to quash any kind of competitive edge to the game. It's back to button-mashing silliness and yelling like crazy when someone scoops the Final Smash orb. You can also experience the (now annual) joy of explaining to your dad, multiple times, that just because you can use his old Wiimotes to play on the Wii U, he can't use the Wii U controller to play on the Wii. No, his tablet won't work either. Yes, he would have to buy a whole system. No, I don't know why they do it that way... repeat over the entirety of dinner. The Beatles: Rock Band If you're going to be hosting a get-together or two at your place during the holidays, this is the perfect chance to dust off all those old plastic instruments in the closet for one last send-off. There is no better way to say your final farewells to the dearly departed rhythm-game genre than with a night of The Beatles: Rock Band with the family (bonus points for closing out the evening with the Abbey Road medley). I feel like I'm stating the obvious here; everyone knows Rock Band is a great party game and a non-threatening way to get your non-gamer friends and relatives to play. But to me at least, The Beatles standalone version makes a particularly great case for feelgood Christmas family time. The trippy LSD dreamscapes and classic Beatles imagery is just so damn charming and whimsical, it's hard not to have a good time with it. Or maybe I'm biased towards the title because my own family is full of Beatles fanatics who know the lyrics to all of the songs and it's so easy for everyone to come together and get into it (except for Grandpa, who still believes John Lennon is a long-haired Devil worshiper). I like The Beatles, but you can also stick with regular Rock Band if that's more your thing. Maybe your family would rather celebrate the holidays with some Queens of the Stone Age and Dead Kennedys? Why not? In fact, that sounds pretty cool. Can I come over? The Jack Box Party Pack Alright, try as you might, you can't get your family into any kind of videogame. They're just not into cartoon babies kicking the crap out of each other, and they can't or appreciate the reference value of Little Mac's wireframe skin no matter how many times you explain it. But don't worry, you can still save yourself from a Storage Wars marathon thanks to the Jack Box Party Pack. You Don't Know Jack is one of my favorite games to break out with non-gamers. An acerbic trivia game, anyone who has ever enjoyed a game show or dreamed of being ridiculed by a bald weirdo can get behind YDKJ. It's been around for years and years, but I'm still not sick of Cookie Masterson and his ridiculous questions (although the Jack Attack is still a bullshit blue-shell of a comeback mechanic for dummies with slow brains and fast thumbs. I'm not bitter). The Party Pack also includes a few other games including Fibbage, one of those "tell the most amusing lie" style games so you can show off what a clever and sneaky bastard you are. Nothing rings in the holidays like deception and rude jokes. Best part about the Party Pack? The games can be played using phones and tablets, so you don't have to work out some kind of spiderweb horror of USB hubs and controllers as you all huddle around the PC like cavemen witnessing their first fire. For your hip friends who love couch multiplayer Crawl Despite its early access state, Crawl is one of the most fiendishly fun games I've played all year. Four players – one human hero, three ghosts controlling monsters – all playing a ghastly game of tag. Whoever lands the killing blow on the human gets to be the next human. It's a game of momentum, heartbreak, and dicking your friends over as you level up your hero and monsters, trying to be the one to take a crack at Kourok, the Cthulhuian boss at the end of the dungeon, who the ghosts also control! Crawl is a little more complicated than some of the other titles I've mentioned in this list and it might take a game or two before people grok what's going on. But believe me, the effort is well worth it. When everything clicks, Crawl is AMAZING. It all relies on the cooperative/competitive dynamics that spring up during the game. While all three ghosts might be trying to fight the hero, it's not uncommon to see some strategic cherry picking going on as the hero's health bar dwindles, every greedy little ghost trying to get their shot at bat. If one player starts to gain a little too much of a lead, you can expect the other three to gang up and try to put the kibosh on him – right up until that joint effort conflicts with their own chance at getting ahead. You're constantly working both with and against your friends, sharing victories, then viciously stabbing each other in the back. And really, isn't that what the holidays are all about? Towerfall /Samurai Gunn There is no shortage of four-player, single-screen, deathmatch games this year. While Towerfall Ascension is also available on the PC, it really shines on the PlayStation 4 where you can get everyone on the couch and play the game on a big screen with zero fussing about. Towerfall pits players against each other in a kind of retro-16-bit fantasy land where you try and skewer each other with arrows. Smart game design and constantly shifting conditions keep things lively. If you have an Ouya, you can of course get the original version of Towerfall, which still holds up. Also, what happened in your life that all you have is an Ouya? Personally though, I almost prefer the serene split-second action of the PC exclusive Samurai Gunn. It also pits four players against each other, but with swords and old timey muskets (with only three shots per life) instead of arrows. Samurai Gunn plays in many ways like the classic samurai films it draws inspiration from – long periods of careful stillness and hesitation broken by flurries of lightning-quick action. Divekick/Nidhogg I LOVE fighting games. But my friends? They like them. Which means they have fond memories of playing Street Fighter II on the SNES, but haven't touched one seriously since. Inviting them over to play a "friendly" game of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is almost the same as inviting them over for a "friendly" colonoscopy. That's why I love Divekick and Nidhogg. They provide the same great rush of one-on-one fighting games, but distill all the complicated systems and pretzel-hand special moves into simple and elegant control schemes. Everyone can have a good time and stand a fair chance, rather than harboring unspoken resentment at your "simple" one-touch-kill combo loops. Both games play quick enough to pass the controllers around and keep a good-size group engaged. They're zero-investment titles, unlike Crawl or Samurai Gunn where you need all four players there at the same time. So you can get up and go grab another beer and a handful of trail mix without leaving anyone waiting (the perfect excuse to leave after a particularly salty loss). Fuck it, we're playing Super Monkey Ball and Bomberman. Listen, they're classics for a reason.
Holiday games photo
'Tis the season for deathmatch
The holidays are fast approaching, and that means quality time with all the family you haven't seen since last year. Unfortunately, "quality time" can quickly devolve into awkward small talk and watching It's a Wonderful Life...

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Bloggers Wanted: The Gift of Gaming


The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Dec 03
// Occams
[This month's Dtoid Community Assignment is all about the idea of video games as a gift!] December is upon us. The Christmas season descends from the mountains to infect our hearts and minds like an airborne spore. It’s...
Wolfenstein card photo
Wolfenstein card

Wolfenstein's Deathshead looks like a creepy uncle in this Christmas card


The creepiest?
Dec 03
// Jordan Devore
I'm a total sucker for the holiday season. Christmas cards, particularly those featuring creepy-ass uncanny-valley videogame men wearing festive sweaters, are no exception. In the hope that I'm not alone, I had to share this ...

What did you get for Christmas?!

Dec 25 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Christmas 2013 photo
PRESENTS!
IT'S CHRISTMAS! YAY CHRISTMAS! A lot of you got a ton of gifts this Christmas morning, and we want to know what it is! Did you get a new next-generation gaming console of the future? Or maybe the hottest new game of winter? M...

Beyerdynamic contest photo
From Dale North's private stash
[Update: Contest over! Winner is tangyrobot!] Merry Christmas, Destructoid! Nobody loves Christmas more than the Dtoid staff, and nobody on staff loves Christmas more than our own Dale North. He loves it so much, in fact, he ...

Sexy cabbage photo
Sexy cabbage

Skyrim gets sexy with cabbage


Curiously cruciferous
Dec 20
// Steven Hansen
I know this cole gallery isn't new to some of you, but it bares repeating. I love bienni-all of these magestic cabbage shots. I'm losing my head over them. The grandeur just makes this seem a magical savoyage. I do believe I'...
The Yule Lads photo
The Yule Lads

EVE devs dress up as Yule Lads to hand out presents


Iceland must be weird
Dec 19
// Joshua Derocher
I love CCP. They are a bunch of crazy guys, and every time they come out with a video it's always bizarre and amazing. To celebrate the holiday's in EVE Online, the guys at CCP are giving out in-game gifts on an advent calan...
Secret of Mana  photo
Secret of Mana

Christmas album hints at possible new Mana game


Square Enix bringing secrets in their holiday melodies
Dec 14
// Wesley Ruscher
A recently released Christmas album from Square Enix suggests that a new game in the fabled Mana series may currently be in the works.  As seen in the track listings for the X'mas Collections II, track nine -- which...
Animal Crossing: New Leaf photo
Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Become Sandy Claws in Animal Crossing: New Leaf


A Christ-must buy
Nov 27
// Steven Hansen
Welp, now I feel bad I left my Animal Crossing: New Leaf town to squalor. I assume banditry is on the rise, everyone locks their doors, and floor is filthy with weeds. At least Shrunk's club is booming for the black market s...

Destructoid Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Miscellany

Nov 27 // Steven Hansen
Destructoid clothing (under $20) Hey, you know we have a neat store with a bunch of really cool t-shirt and hoodie designs, right? C'mon, man, These are easy gifts, for yourself or for your loved ones. You can just guess the size. Your babushka will love a Mario nesting dolls shirt, and who wouldn't love a shirt covered in cartoon corgis? Persona 4 Arena Mitsuru figure ($115 USD) Seriously though, someone buy this for me. Please. I'm so damn sad the amazing Persona 3 Mitsuru figure is basically only available on eBay for hundreds of dollars. Pokemon Hanafuda cards ($25) These are not easily obtainable in the US, unfortunately, but they're too cool to ignore. I started playing hanafuda recently thanks to a free flash version and it's a blast. If someone finds me a multiplayer version, I'll play with you. Not with these cards, though, which might prove better decorative. Too pretty and rare to risk damaging. The $150, framed, uncut set is glorious. Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven ($30) A cast iron dutch oven for only $30? Sign me up. These thing are incredibly versatile and perfect for slow cooking. You could brain someone real good with one, too, I bet. Cast iron really is the way to go in the world of "non stick" finishes.  Stackable Tetris light ($40) You can rearrange the seven interlocking tetrominoes in this nifty little lamp any way you like. The vivacious, bright colors are perfect ambient lighting for your next te-tryst, provided your carnal companion doesn't notice it, think you a nerd, and escape down the fire escape.  Sumo bean bags chairs ($270) These things are super dumb and super comfortable. We had one in the Destructoid office for a long while, but we had to get rid of it because of its energy sapping powers (also, to clear space). Just settling down on one of these is inviting the sweet suckle of nap time. Wreck-It Ralph Blu-Ray ($15) Have you seen Wreck-It Ralph yet? It's really good! It's a good film independent of its videogame premise, but plenty full of nods for people who like games, without coming across as cloying and overeager. Socks People always think I'm joking when I say I'd like socks for Christmas. Do I look like I'm f---ing joking? Why would I be joking about this? I need socks. The Road ($12) The Last of Us was a big deal this year. Read the book that everyone kept comparing it to. Cormac McCarthy's staggeringly bleak and bare novel is so unlike his more colorful, Faulknerian oeuvre. It's one of my favorite novels and if you like good things, you will like it. The movie is worth a watch, too. The 31 Days of Zero Suit Samus ($25) This delightful collection of miniature comics by Chriss Furniss focus on Samus Aran during her off days, when she's not bounty hunting. There are also some bonus contributions from various awesome artists, like Zac Gorman. If you just want pretty pictures, you can buy it digitally and name your price. Super kawaii cat stockings ($4!) These are literally the best. Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia ($8) A 200+ page, hardcover Capcom character encyclopedia for under $10? Alright. Deva Zan ($30) This is the first novel from famed Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano. Naturally, it's also replete with hundreds of pieces of original artwork. It would probably be worth it for the art alone, but hopefully the samurai tale is a fun read, too. Jurassic 5 Feedback ($10) Just one of the best albums ever. Venusaur figure ($35) Sure, you can get a Charizard or a Blastoise, but all the cool cats are down with the 'Saur. 7" Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Link plushie ($11) Celebrate the best Zelda game getting an HD release with this adorable Link plushie. Amazon actually has a surprisingly robust collection (mostly Nintendo-related) of reasonably priced plushies. I've seen comparable things in Japantown run you $20 or $30. This adorable Boo is only $6! I don't stand a ghost of a chance. Chie in the Meat Dimension ($32) This lovely Persona 4 is filled with meat and Chie, just like my dreams. Alligator Tail Meat 5 lbs ($60) I've only had alligator once, at the stupid, overpriced, sweltering, dusty Gilroy Garlic Festival. It was okay. Not something I'd pay over $10/lb for, but maybe you would, either for yourself or someone you love. You could say, "See you later, alligator," after every bite. The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy Boxed Set ($60) If Deva Zan doesn't do it for you, how about this three volume collection of Amano's work on Final Fantasy? Dark Horse's website lists it at $140. Amazon has it for $60. I think I will buy this now before it is harder to find. Okami Official Complete Works ($32) So many art books, so little money. Drunken Angel (The Criterion Collection) ($25) C'mon, Criterion. If you're going to charge me $25, at least give me a blu ray. Sailor Moon S.H. Figuarts Action Figure ($39) Fighting evil by moonlight! Winning love by daylight! Never running from a real fight! She is the one named Sailor Moon! I'm very stoked for the Sailor Moon anime reboot.  Money ($?) "It’s not fun”? It’s not fun my behind. Not having money for food or rent or doctor’s visits is not fun, either, but I’m sure your giftee will enjoy the heck out of that chintzy glassware set and Mork & Mindy on DVD. -- Is Christmas over yet?
Gift Guide: Miscellany photo
How about a book by Miss Ellaine Yi?
You've read the Games Guide, you've read the Hardware and Accessories Guide. I know what you're thinking. "Steven, you goofy-haired jerk, tell me something I don't know." Fine, smart guy. Here are a bunch of arbitrary suggestions.

Destructoid Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Hardware/Accessories

Nov 27 // Steven Hansen
THE NEXT GENERATION OF GIFT GIVING The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are bound to be hot commodities this holiday season. If you can find them -- they're purportedly sold out -- you can buy an Xbox One for $500 and a PlayStation 4 for $400. If I were to do either, my recommendation is the PlayStation 4. My larger recommendation is you don't need either, yet. But here are some thing that could go with them or serve as gifts for people who have them. Extra Controllers (PS4, Xbox One) You know what's great? Your Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers are useless with the new systems. Those with friends who have the gall to want to play mulitplayer games will need to re-up on controllers. At least both controllers are quite nice and the PS4 controller will double as a PC controller since PS4 has no games. $60 is steep, though. Hard drives  Xbox One and PS4 games a very big. Those 500GB packed in hard drives won't last long, especially with disc installs in addition to full downloadable games. You can't freely crack open your One without voiding warranty, but PS4 hard drives are simple to replace with most 2.5", 9.5mm hard drives. You can double your storage space with reasonably priced 1TB drives or even throw down another bill for this $100, 1TB solid state hybrid drive. Modestly priced compared to a full solid state, but it will indeed shave some load off your PS4 games. OLDER SYSTEMS  Didn't have a PlayStation 3? A 360? Why plunk down next-gen money when you could get a console you missed at a steal? PS3 250 GB Uncharted 3 and PS Plus Bundle ($250)PS3 500 GB Grand Theft Auto V Bundle ($270)Xbox 360 E 250GB Tomb Raider & Halo 4 Bundle ($250) Wii U At $300, maybe it's not that much more enticing than the shiny, new PlayStation 4, but the Wii U has seen some lovely recent releases like Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Now might be the time to pick up a Wii U bundle. Amazon seems to be out, but other retailers aren't Nintendo Wii U Deluxe - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Bundle ($300)Nintendo Wii U Console Deluxe Set + New Super Mario Bros. U & New Super Luigi U ($300) Bonus: UK-exclusive Mario Mega Bundle. £299.99. Free delivery. Black 32GB Wii U, New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U, Super Mario 3D World, a limited edition Mario Wii Remote Plus, and a Mario hat. 3DS XL, 2DS The 3DS was rolling this year, from Fire Emblem to Luigi's Mansion to Shin Megami Tensei IV to Animal Crossing to Pokemon. You'll also be able to find them -- even the gold Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds one -- for like $150 this weekend, which you should do.  I got my 3DS XL for $180 last year (not even on a Black Friday sale of any kind), but they're starting at $200 at the moment.  Nintendo 3DS XL (Gold) + The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ($210; $150 on sale)Nintendo 3DS XL - Black ($200) Also consider the Nintendo 2DS at $130. PlayStation Vita In light of the 3DS' explosion, people aren't perfectly satisfied with the Vita's library. I am not one of those people, however, as my top three games of of the last two years (Gravity Rush, Persona 4 Golden, Tearaway)  have been exclusive to the system. The PS4 might inject some lifeblood into the handheld as well -- consider, perhaps, what appears to be an upcoming PS4 and PS Vita bundle. There's also the PS Vita TV, though it precludes you from playing feature heavy Vita games like Tearaway. Sony PS Vita 3G/Wi-Fi The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series Limited Edition Bundle ($170 on sale right now; normally $200)Sony PlayStation Vita (3G/Wi-Fi) 8GB Bundle ($170 on sale; extra 4gb card space if you've already played or are disinterested in The Walking Dead)PlayStation Vita Wi-Fi Assassin's Creed III Liberation Bundle ($200; the white Vita is pretty, if you can find it) PC MASTER RACE Getting carded AMD Radeon R9 290X GPU ($550)XFX Radeon HD 7970 ($280)NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 ($500)NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 ($313) Logitech G430 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset ($80)Logitech G602 Wireless Gaming Mouse ($55)Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard ($150) Gunnar Intercept ($55) Got to look cool and protect your eyes while PC gaming all night, right? What if a pretty person walks by your window? LOL Samsung UN65F9000 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV ($4,500) -- Remember to check out the Games Guide and catch our Miscellany Guide coming up soon.
Gift Guide: Hardware photo
This Christmas, why be an accessory to family drama fueled murder when you could give an accessory instead?
Like it or not, Christmas is rearing its frost bitten head yet again. I know you're still a day from sitting through fraught Thanksgiving dinners, but I'm here to remind you in advance and offer you a primer for planning you...

Destructoid Holiday Gift Guide 2013: The Games

Nov 25 // Steven Hansen
[embed]266349:51567:0[/embed] Proper Paganism The pagan holiday the church co-opted for Christmas to sell pagans on Christianity was one of turpitude. Frightful stuff, really. Thankfully, videogames let you live out the id harmlessly with playable avatars and worlds designed with little interaction outside the base. Some games more than others.  Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, Xbox 360) Grand Theft Auto is synonymous with wanton violence and depravity and V doesn't disappoint there. It's a cynical, nihilistic and technically faithful recreation of Los Angeles and the surrounding area. Being from San Francisco, I spent early time with the game floored at how distinctly it looked like California, from the geography to the fire hydrant colors and road signs. Then I stripped to my undies, stole a bicycle, and crashed into body builders on Venice Beach. Once, I chased a guy on foot for five minutes because he had a dumb scarf. Just like real life.     Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3, Xbox 360) This game is subtitled Revengeance, for Pete's sake. Why wasn't this name already used by dozens of 80's action movies? This Metal Gear eschews sneaking in favor of ripping the gooey electric spines out of robots while you dance about with a sprightliness Michelle Kwan could only dream of. And it's all set to some transcendental butt rock. Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine (PC, Xbox 360) What better fantasy than that of the cat burglar? You go into Monaco, ideally with three friends in tow, planning to be the sneakiest of sneaks, pinching every coin. But does that ever happen? Mona-NO. Each level devolves into a heightened frenzy accompanied by ragtime piano and shouting in French. Sometimes it's more fun when a plan doesn't come together.    Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS) Arbitrary ascension to power sans qualifications? A town littered with animals, cats and dogs living in proximity? Extortionist realtors? Lawless island getaways with separate monetary systems for money laundering? A dog secretary? New Leaf is pure anarchy, letting you hunt wildlife, build and destroy civic monuments, and push jerks into holes.  Someone think about the children! I gave Tearaway a 10/10 and I am not a children, so clearly this list doesn't preclude those ossified by the harsh reality of age. These delightful, age appropriate choices are great for both kids and your inner youth. Gross. Of course, other games on this list, like Ni no Kuni, are plenty child appropriate as well. Tearaway (PlayStation Vita) Tearaway is among the most creative games to come out this year and it makes you a part of that, as you snap photos and cut designs -- hats, snowflakes, whatever -- out of construction paper. Media Molecule delivered a gem that's high on charm and originality, backed up by robust gameplay as you wind down a surprisingly interesting tale. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) If you needed any extra incentive to pick up Super Mario 3D World after learning it had a catsuit and kitty Goombas, we clearly have different ideas on what makes a good game. That's feline; I won't get catty. Maybe Chris Carter's purrfect score swayed you. Or Dale's picture of the Xbox One in a rubbish bin while Super Mario 3D World is on his TV. 3D World is the cat's pajamas. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) If you didn't know, 2013 is the Year of Luigi. The punishment for your ignorance is having to clear five spooky mansions of ghosts. It's a great punishment. People gave me looks when I spent much of the year calling Dark Moon my Game of the Year, but it's absolutely delightful. As Luigi shakes in fear or hums along to the soundtrack, he proves himself the superior Mario brother.   Rayman Legends (Wii U, PlayStation Vita, PS3, Xbox 360) Rayman Legends seems to have joined Puppeteer as wonderful, colorful games released but a few months ago yet already forgotten. Maybe the delay for multiplatformity hurt the game. Still, for my money, Rayman Origins and its sequel, Rayman Legends, are the standard bearers for contemporary 2D platforming. Doesn't get much better than this gorgeous, great-music-filled, precision platforming, even with touch control additions.  Cool games for cool people These games are so aloof you could use them in the shower to get clean. Bang them against a jukebox and you'd get a free play without a coin. "What are you playing?" your attractive neighbor will ask. "Oh, just The Last of Us, no big deal," you say modestly. Kissing on the mouth ensues  The Last of Us (PS3) It felt like I was the last of us to finally get to Naughty Dog's opus, but I'm glad I caught up. As far as massively budgeted affairs go, it is among the most deserving of its praise. The gameplay works, typically feeling appropriately stressful and haphazard without ever feeling too "fun." The writing deserves praise for its pithiness. As a whole, The Last of Us gets points for being appropriately subdued and subtle in its presentation of an indifferent world and its loathsome inhabitants. Gunpoint (PC) Jumping out windows to idiosynctratic jazz while dressed like Humphrey Bogart and living to tell the tale because of your Bullfrog Hypertrousers. That is Gunpoint, a stealth and puzzle blend of noir and self-aware, amusing neo-noir. You'll look cooler jumping out of windows than Leon S. Kennedy. The Wolf Among Us (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Vita) Telltale's follow up to last year's critical darling, The Walking Dead, is off to a good start. As with Gunpoint, the noir inspirations give the story-heavy adventure game a coolness lock. It's a gritty fairytale pastiche. Not wholly original, but not a bad thing, either. The style has done well for Tarantino. Artsy games for artsy people Are games art? Is this even a game? If you ask dumb questions like these, these games will probably annoy the heck out of you. If you're a more reasonable human being that wants to experience neat things, try these interesting games on for size.   Kentucky Route Zero (PC) I recommend Kentucky Route Zero as I wait impatiently for the third episode, going on a year since the first episode's debut, and without having played the second yet. This moody, mysterious, bluegrass delight is just that good, though. I think it's better than the The Walking Dead. It's one part ghost story, one part journey of self exploration, one part having a cool dog.  Rain (PS3) Like the two days of rain that just swept San Francisco, Sony Japan's Rain seems to have came and went. The bleak and beautiful title puts you into the transparent shoes of a young boy who has faded into invisibility in a mysterious city. You can enjoy the metaphor, the light puzzle gameplay, or just get lost in its dreamy soundtrack. Papers, Please (PC, Mac) Papers, Please describes itself as, "A Dystopian Document Thriller," if you need a reason for it to be on this list. It's also garnered a lot of deserved praise for just how affecting a tale it is, putting you in the shoes of an immigration inspector of a country in tenuous peace. You decide who crosses the border and who is arrested and detained. Screw up, and your ass is on the line. Think about that when you stare into the face of a starving child without proper paperwork. Well, I'm really into roleplay... It's my favorite fetish. Hah! Get it? Because "role playing games," but also kinky role play. Like in the bedroom. It's hard looking back amidst Persona 5 hype, but this year has some good role-playing options, almost enough to hold a candle to Persona 4: Golden, which enraptured me last year. Pokemon X & Y (3DS) After burning out quickly on Pokemon Diamond and giving the series a rest, its 3DS iteration was a warm experience, almost a decade removed from the series. Chock full of weird new pocket monsters, endearing 3D models that look 2D, and distractions like clothes shopping and PR video shooting (mine is the best), X and Y are a lot of fun. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3) Ni no Kuni is in some ways a modernized Baby's First JRPG. It hits every note genre fans expect it to, ditching things like random battles and the need for excessive grinding. Still, through sheer sincerity and other facets of originality (art design, music, world building), it's worth playing for fans and newcomers alike. At its best, it's like playing a Studio Ghibli film. At its worst, it's like playing a lovely JRPG. XCOM: Enemy Within (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) The XCOM expansion is sitting nearer to a budget price and marks the most robust way to play the game, adding in micro and macro wrinkles to the already wonderful strategy experience. Plus, additional voice packs let troops speak in their native languages, which doesn't change too much, but is really cool and helps serve the personal stories you write with your pawns. Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)  This decadent strategy game not only saved the series from being shelved, but kicked off an absolutely wonderful year for 3DS owners. Gorgeous flourishes, from legitimately good use of 3D to unrivaled 2D art, help the sprite-based strategy game keep from feeling dated. Still, all that addictive strategy goodness is in tow. So, you bought a next gen console? Well look at you, Mrs. Moneybags. Too bad it has no games! At least it has games coming. You could always gift someone money so they can save it for use when the good games (like The Witness!) actually do come out, but you feel like that takes the fun out of gift giving. Even though that's what your recipient would prefer. Christmas really is a selfish holiday. Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4) You have to show off the horsepower of the new system, right? Good on Killzone for finally being able to stand alone as a launch game, right? A lot less to derisively compare it to now. Resogun (PS4) The best launch game on either new system is an indie shooter that is actually free with a PlayStation Plus subscription so you probably won't be buying it anyway. But play it. It's a blast.  Forza 5 (Xbox One) Forza 5 might feel a little barren compared to its predecessors, but it's gorgeous (again, for showing off your new console) and the racing is top notch, thanks in part to Drivatar supplanting racing AI. Zoo Tycoon (Xbox One, Xbox 360) First-person animals. You know you want it. -- Stay tuned for the rest of our 2013 Holiday Gift Guides and feel free to verbally berate me in the comments for not including any one of the innumerable games that didn't end up on the list!
Gift Guide: Games photo
The best gifts come from the heart. Barring that, buy some games and hit the bars.
Like it or not, Christmas is happening yet again. I know you've yet to sit through fraught Thanksgiving dinners, but I'm here to remind you in advance and offer you a primer for planning your consumerist immolation.  This list is just games. Hardware, accessories, and miscellany are coming up throughout the day. Merry Christmas, you filthy animal.

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Nintendo: Wii U sales are 'not bad'


Iwata claims console sales are steady
Jan 07
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has claimed that sales of the Wii U aren't doing badly, despite its failure to replicate the "sold out" status enjoyed by the original Wii during the holidays.  "At the end of the Christma...
Christmas with Sonic photo
Christmas with Sonic

Spend Christmas with Sonic in this sweet short film


A belated Christmas treat
Jan 02
// Tony Ponce
It's a little late, but here's a sweet Christmas movie about Sonic and his insufferable friends. Sonic visits home for the holidays, and everyone sits around swapping popular Yuletide tales with Sega characters inserted. Eve...
Mega Man Christmas photo
Mega Man Christmas

Ring in the New Year with Mega Man Christmas Carol Remix


The next best thing to Christmas Carol III
Dec 28
// Chris Carter
Mega Man fans are in for one last treat in 2012 -- another Mega Man Christmas Carol fangame! After the first and second iterations, Sprites Inc. is back with a third title, which is a remixed version of the first one with th...
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Tank! Tank! Tank! makes kid weep manly Christmas tears


Child becomes inexplicably overjoyed at rubbish videogame
Dec 27
// Jim Sterling
If you were to unwrap a Christmas present and discover Tank! Tank! Tank! inside, anybody's natural instinct would be to burst into tears. However, for one child, his weeping was spurred by joy -- such an obscene gift actuall...

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