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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers

Apr 20 // David Houghton
#1 – The Back-Seat Gamer  Behavior “No! Leave that! Go that way! Kill that guy! Circle strafe, circle strafe! Jumpjumpjumpjumpjump! Chainsaw, chainsaw! Rocket launcher on the guy at the back! NOOOOOOOO! Told you you shouldn’t have done that. My go.” Think you’re a good gamer? Forget those aspirations my friend. You are not as good as this guy. He is at one with the games, symbiotically tuned with them in body and mind. He sees all, he knows all, and he will pre-empt any AI script created. Every map of every level of every game is seared into the very matter of his brain, and he can walk any section by simply closing his eyes and recalling his surroundings down to the pixel. There are no surprises. There are no challenges. He laughs at player’s guides and devours opponents by the crunching meaty handful. He is, quite simply, unstoppable. In his mind that is … You see unless he’s actually playing, this guy knows everything. In theory he can destroy any game, rendering it to a small quivering puddle of blackening disc plastic by his sheer presence. In theory he’s the guy you want, no, need on your side. In theory, he skips straight to the most punishing difficulty level on a new game and burns through it in no time with his legendary gaming insight and lightning-fast precision skills. In theory … In practice however, the only recorded noise in human history louder than his militant bestowing of “advice” and proclamations of his gaming qualifications is the sound of the servers emptying whenever he enters a lobby. You see, the simple fact is, he’s not actually that good … Oh of course, he can talk a good game. Some of his aspirations of game knowledge are probably even plausible. He’ll have played enough to learn level layouts, know where the power ups and weapons are hidden, and understand exactly where you’re supposed to hit the boss. That doesn’t however, mean that he can actually do it. Thus, he will make up for his shortcomings (again, in his mind) by making sure that you know he could do it. Oh sweet Ghandi on a hover-board, he’ll make sure you know. Every move you make, you can bet he’ll be watching you like a video gaming overlord Sting, correcting you every time you move a pixel off the exact course he would have used. Change weapons or power up a second after he recommends it and you’re playing the game wrong and will fail. Achieve the miracle of success without following his instructions however, and well, you can do it that way, but you’re supposed to. This is the reason people online know him and fear him. There’s no avoiding it if you have the miserable, Dickensian street-orphan’s luck to end up in a game with him. Whether co-op or versus, he’ll be the same. Whether commanding the team or merely controlling an underling, it doesn’t matter. He’ll let you know where you’re going wrong (and you will be going wrong, don’t doubt that for a second) for every step of the miserable, grinding, teeth-gritting, face-bursting, hernia-inducing, mind-raping, sanity-haemorrhaging way. And that’s nothing compared to the supernova of aural abuse you’ll suffer if his team loses. Which it probably will, as by that point his comrades will have thrown the match just for the spectacularly horrific comedy of seeing him go into meltdown. Games PlayedAnything. It doesn’t matter. He’s better than you at all of them. How To Deal With Them If you’re playing anything, from Solitaire to Gears Of War, it’s best to be out of visual and sonic range of a back-seat gamer. Preferably in another room. Or another house. Country even. Actually screw it, if at all possible, you should endeavour to be in a totally different area of the space-time continuum to any back-seat gamer. It seriously is worth travelling in time to avoid these people. And never play them at co-op anything, least of all FPS, as that way lies only Lovecraftian madness and despair. You’ll make it through three minutes of play at most before you end up shooting them. With an actual gun. You’ll go and buy a really big one specially, trust me. #2 - The Closet Gamer  BehaviorA tragically repressed game lover, the closet gamer has not come to terms with the modern, accepting gaming climate. It’s probably not their fault. Maybe they weren’t lucky enough to grow up with a supportive gaming crew around them. Maybe they were forced to spend their younger developmental years trying to fit in with an unsympathetic crowd, and had to hide their true urges by mocking the school geeks at lunch time. Or perhaps they had over-protective parents who fell victim to the tabloid hysteria of the early ‘90’s, and were beaten senseless with warnings of social ostracising and the deadly gaming-transmitted diseases of psychosis and epilepsy. Whatever the reason, the closet gamer is a troubled self-hater, constantly struggling with his or her inner desires to break out into open gaming, for fear of the recrimination of a cold, cold society that just doesn’t understand. I have a friend like this. His is a sad story, but it needs to be told, if only for the hope that it will help others in his situation. He’s been game-curious for years, having the occasional quiet dabble in casual games when they were presented to him, but never allowing himself to be seen actively seeking them out. He’s always loved a bit of Tetris or a quick blast of Street Fighter II, but he’s never owned a console. However a couple of years ago while he was at university, his guard slipped and his true nature started to show itself for the first time. Living in a house with an N64-owning friend, Mario Kart 64 became his gateway game and things began to change for him. Of course at the time, he passed it off as a mere temporary phase, a bit of harmless experimentation with an accessible party game. He was just trying it out to see what it was like, and of course, it didn’t mean he was a gamer. Over the course of the year however, the inner depths of the game began to take hold, and something inside him began to stir. His hardcore side slowly but steadily awakened, and after a prolonged diet of daily binges he was talking about power slide physics and correct item usage like a pro. Though he still wouldn’t admit to anything.It all came to a head last Summer. His parents were away and he had the familial home to himself, so he invited me round for the evening. However what he proposed shocked me. “Come around, bring the SNES, and we’ll get drunk and stay up all night completing Mario World”This was unprecedented behaviour for him. Maybe it was the opportunity of being safely alone in his own house, away from the prying judgemental eyes of his university friends, and maybe the planned heavy drinking was his way of building up the courage to go through with it. Whatever the reason, it was clear that this could well be the night of his outing, and if it was going to happen, he’d need a sympathetic guide to help him through the process. Obviously, I deigned to be the friend he needed. Everything went brilliantly. After a couple of beers, his inhibitions dropped quickly, and in no time at all we were ploughing through the first island. By 3AM we were well into the Vanilla Dome with all secrets unlocked, and a whole new world was opening up for him. His future life looked to be one of well-adjusted self-acceptance and healthy, peaceful happiness. The next morning however, it was a different story. With sobriety and the cold light of day came his previous guilt and repression, worse tenfold now following our nocturnal activities. I don’t mind telling you it was an awkward morning. He couldn’t even look me in the eye for the first few hours, and even later in the day conversation was stilted at best. Still clearly trying to come to terms with the events of the previous night, he’d fallen back on his safe-zone of denial rather than embracing who he is, and my disappointment for him was crushing. Things are getting better now, and we are talking again, but it just isn’t the same. I still have hope for his future happiness though. I’m currently using the casual fun of the Wii and DS to get him back on the horse, and the news that his new housemate is buying a 360 has warmed my heart. A bit of experimental co-op over Live, taken at whatever pace he’s comfortable with, and hopefully we’ll start seeing some progress. Games PlayedAnything casual and quick, and easy to hide if interrupted. The odd bit of Tetris or Minesweeper at work is okay “just to unwind”, and retro games give them the excuse that they’re “just laughing at the graphics”. The advent of the DS is a major help for these people, given how quickly it can be closed and pocketed in standby mode should prying eyes arrive. How To Deal With ThemDon’t push them. Try to subtly bring them into more overt gaming over time, but do it with games and a pace that they feel okay with. Too much too fast and they’ll retreat into their shell faster than an agoraphobic snail at a rave. And never use leet-speak around them. Simply being in the presence of someone who uses the word “owned” will sent them spiralling down into more counselling sessions than anyone can afford. They’re not going to be ready for that kind of heavy exposure to the hidden world they crave for a good long time, so don’t rush them. -- Next week: Chavs!  (view all chapters)
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Told you you shouldn't have done that. My go
[Originally published in 2007, one of my favorites from Destructoid's Golden Archives! -Niero] It used to be a lot easier to stereotype a gamer. It used to be that all that was needed was some greasy hair, thick glasses, and ...

Dungeon Defenders is bringing it to the hardcore

Oct 03 // John Speerbrecker
[embed]212118:41111[/embed] Dungeon Defenders (XBLA, PSN, PC)Developer: Trendy EntertainmentPublisher: ReverbRelease: October 19, 2011MSRP: 14.99 Dungeon Defenders is exactly what it sounds like. You are one of four warriors who are trying to protect your Eternity Crystals from the onslaught of Goblins and hordes of monsters. You will use your towers to help defend against the attacking hordes alongside your weapons and abilities.  Gameplay is based on a set-up phase and attack phase with each wave. Depending on what options that you choose in the tavern, you will be able to set up your towers in the map without problem. Then when all the players have set up what they could, you touch the crystal to unleash the many monsters that just hate crystals and want to do nothing more then just beat the crap out of them. During the attack phase, you can utilize your towers against your enemies and go toe-to-toe directly with them. Enemies will drop mana that can go to either repairing or upgrading your towers. It seemed that I gradually was peeling away the surface of the game in my playtime and each layer that was peeled off was more inviting and interesting to see. Each time that we played, we could choose to play in any of the difficulty settings available which would affect what kind of loot and experience we would get. Of course, replayability is always an option to help build out your character and get that awesome loot. You can also control the camera to be in third-person or you can zoom out to give it a more traditional isometric view of the map. There are four types of characters to use and you can use multiple characters in your match. So, if you want the magic missile towers in the game but want the attacking power of the Squire, you will be able to switch them before you release the horde. Another awesome aspect of this game is that while you play, you will not have to worry about one of your characters having items that you will not be able to find later as your inventory is shared with every character you create on your user ID. The Apprentice uses elemental magic who has a great mix of offensive and defensive towers. With that, his towers utilize ranged attacks and will also strip resistances away from the enemies. A small tip is that you can use a fire debuffing tower and then have your other towers attack the enemies with fire to be more effective. He performs more long distance physical attacks, both of which can be charged to unleash a much more violent version of them. The Squire is most likely the more balanced of the characters. He has a good balance of offensive and defensive towers that have a lot of hit points so they will be much more stronger to the attacks of the goblins. One unique aspect of the Squire is that he is the only character that can attack. With that, you will be able to send the Squire out to block the incoming enemies while you are able to repair your towers. Since we all want to include girl characters in our lives, we have the Huntress to fill that need. She is a very stealthy character that places traps that will severely hurt the enemies. Her physical abilities also allow her to become invisible and travel behind enemies where she can lay traps such as proximity mines.  Arguably, the most complex character to use is the Monk. This fighter does not use any physical blockades to stop the mobs of gobs. All he uses are auras that inflict status effects. For example, he can create an aura that slows down the enemies or electricity damage enemies. He is also the only character in the group that has both ranged and normal attacks, both of which are buffed by the staff that he uses. Each character is given their own tavern where you can buy equipment, manage your inventory, and choose the level that you will go to next. Also, you can level up your equipment and purchase a pet for your character to have by their side, like a flying tiger or a dragon. You will also be able to adjust the appearance of your fighters in the tavern.  Dungeon Defenders can be played through co-op, solo, local, online or even PvP. There is a survival mode where you will encounter wave-after-wave of enemies that will get at you nonstop. There is also the challenge mode where you can try to beat certain criteria, such as trying to defend your crystal while it teleports throughout the map. We played one level where the goblins just dropped out of the sky and we had to make sure that they didn't destroy the crystal in the level.  At first look at this game might be a little daunting to an unsuspecting player. As you charge through the levels, start building up the armor and weapons though, you'll be hooked.
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Just when you thought that you have already seen every type of tower defense game, the team at Trendy Entertainment have thrown us a curveball with what might be the most all encompassing version of the genre to date. To be more specific, this is a four-player-co-op-action-adventure-hack-n-slash-RPG-tower-defense-game.  Yeah, you read that right. It's time to lock yourself away for a while.

Hands-on: Gunnar gaming and 3D eyewear

Aug 18 // Dale North
Before we get into the specifics of each offering, know that my overall impression of Gunnar's eyewear was high right off the bat. Both pair of glasses are extremely well made, and both come in very nice packaging. You get the impression that each were made to a high standard. Granted, I've only used these two pair and one other, but know that if you do drop some change on a Gunnar offering, you're likely going to get something really nice. These look good and feel nice on your face, which isn't something I usually find myself saying about gaming wear. MLG Legend (Chrome, amber lens)MSRP: $99 Look and fit: I've never looked cool in aviator-style sunglasses, so I didn't expect to look very cool in these Gunnar gaming glasses. Fortunately, they look really cool on my face, enough so that I found myself wearing them for no reason! The frames are very light, and the sides leave ample space for a headset. The temples are branded with the MLG logo, which I felt bad for wearing as I really suck at most games. In use: I cannot tell you exactly what these lenses do for your game and computer use, but I know they're doing something cool. Excuse my lack of technical terminology, but things just seem to look a bit cooler with these glasses on. Wearing the Legends in front of a computer screen gives the most pronounced effect. My less-than-optimal 26" monitor looks like a lot nicer of a model with the Legends on. On my too-reflective MacBook Pro screens, the glare is greatly reduced, and the overall look is way more contrasty and eye-pleasing. On both, text seems to be more sharp, and it feels like the screen itself is more set into my work space, making it easier to look at. There's definitely some kind of optical shift, almost as if the screen seems to flatten out, with a slight bowing in the center. I realize that this may not make total sense, so just know that the lens effect does seem beneficial. I gave the Legends a full rundown over the course of a week in various games on a couple of different televisions. Naturally, this optical change would do the most for action games. It seems like spotting an enemy off in the distance when playing shooters is a bit easier with the Legends on. High-action, bullet heavy situations felt like they were easier to navigate in online matches of Resistance or Call of Duty. Gunnar says the glasses could give you reduced reaction time. I didn't feel that in my test time, but I did feel like I could see things a bit better, and that helped me get out of the way of bullets/projectiles/grenades a bit faster. Maybe that's what they meant. Racing in Forza 3 felt improved, but it would be hard to gauge how improved it was with the Legends on. I'd guess that I was seeing down the track a bit better with them on, and I suppose that helped in cutting down my time on the tracks I'm less versed on. In both types of games, you could definitely feel some kind of benefit from wearing the Gunnar glasses, though it is pretty difficult to quantify the benefits. The benefit was less pronounced in the games I typically play, which are role-playing, light sports and puzzle games. Putting on the glasses to play Hot Shots Golf maybe helped me see my ball moving out into the brush a little better, but I don't know that it helped my game that much. In my ritual weekly match of Magical Drop on the Sega Saturn, I wondered if the lens tint would hinder my ability to see the colors of the different gems. It didn't at all, though the Legends didn't really help my terrible reaction time either. I didn't expect it to, mind you. Summary: If you heard about Gunnar lenses and were expecting an effect something like what polarized glasses give you, I think you'll be surprised when you try a pair out. Again, they're doing something cool to your eyesight, though I'm not sure I could tell you what exactly without regurgitating some of the marketing speak that has been thrown our way. There's a marked difference when looking through them, especially if you play a lot of high-action games. It also seems like these would be good for those that spend a lot of time close to a computer monitor, as text and images seem to come of the screen a lot better. If you play games at any kind of competitive level, I could see these Gunnar glasses giving you an edge. For the rest, you'll have to ask yourself if you're wiling to drop the price of two new games on Gunnar's brand of improved clarity. Phenom Graphite 3D glassesMSRP: $99 Look and fit: These are damned good looking glasses. While just about anything would look better than the glasses they give you at the theater at 3D movies, these make the others feel bad because of how great they look. Seriously: you'll feel so smug sitting in the theater, surrounded by all those idiots in plastic glasses. The Phenom are really well made, too. These frames are offered in both the 3D and amber lenses, but they really look nice with the dark lenses for 3D, kind of like sunglasses. The ends of the frames have a small triangle of soft rubber that feels nice over your ears, and the frames themselves are really lightweight. These came in a nice storage box and included a soft sleeve for transport. In Use: It's going to be difficult to tell you how Gunnar's 3D offerings compare to the standard 3D theater glasses. They both give you the 3D effect as intended, and while it feels like the Phenom 3Ds give you a better experience, I couldn't honestly tell you exactly how they do. Naturally the optics are a lot higher quality than the cheap plastic freebies, and that has some effect on a movie's clarity in 3D. You'll get a crisp, clear and bright image right into your eyeballs. You want the lenses to cover your eyes fully for a movie in 3D, and it seems like the Phenom really do that. They come around to the sides, closer to your temples, giving you better coverage. Gunnar says that this enhances the 3D effect, and I could see that, as getting light in at the sides of your glasses could hinder immersion. One hang-up is that these particular lenses do not work with every 3D movie. People at the local Dolby 3D cinema tell me that the Gunnars won't work correctly there. Gunnar also says that IMAX is not compatible with these lenses, though they say they make a variant that will work. It's not a serious problem, as these glasses use RealD technology, and Gunnar says that 75% of 3D screens worldwide use this tech. I was not able to try these glasses out in a gaming capacity, but the Gunnar 3D lenses are supposed to work with passive PC gaming solutions including offerings by nVidia. The iZ3D displays also work with Gunnar's lenses. Note that these glasses will only work on polarized, passive 3D signals. Don't expect to wear these Gunnars with your new 3D TV at home if your set uses active shutter glasses, though I feel like home 3D would be a bit easier to sell if all the glasses looked this nice. Summary: In the end I think you're paying to not look stupid in the theater in 3D movies. And you're getting comfort as a bonus, as the glasses are nice and light, and have nice nose pieces and padding over the ears. Plus, think of the germs from reused 3D glasses. Put all of this on top of improved clarity from the better optics and $99 doesn't sound so bad, especially if you frequent 3D movies. If you happen to have 3D PC gaming equipment, I'd imagine that these glasses are looking even more attractive to you. As for me, I'm just happy to go to the movies and not look silly.  
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We had the privilege of giving a couple of Gunnar's eyewear offerings a test run in our office recently. Both the MLG Legend (Chrome) gaming glasses and the Phenom (Graphite) 3D glasses were worn in the appropriate situations...

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Times Square gets its own videogame broadcast


Apr 18
// Dale North
Even with as popular as videogames are today, broadcasts on gaming are pretty hard to come by. Sure, we have the G4's shows, and there's always GameTrailers TV. But there's not much beyond that.There's one more new option for...
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Less than one day to Smash Bros Brawl: The future of Smash Bros.


Mar 08
// Jonathan Holmes
This is to be the last post it the series. Promise. Though it's tempting to do a front page post later today titled "One hour to Smash Bros. Brawl: My favorite breeds of dog and how they should have been playable", ...
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Darwin, the Wii Remote one-off: Evolution?


Feb 05
// Dale North
Motus Corporation is showing off their new Wii-mote look-alike, named Darwin. This sword hilt-looking device is supposed to bring better motion sensing gaming to non-Nintendo systems, including the PC. Technology Review says ...
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Optionally obligatory online gaming


Dec 17
// Jim Sterling
Gaming and the Internet go hand in hand, both technologically and culturally. We grew up with both, we witnessed the synergy of both, now the two seem as inseperable as thirty-year-old Jaffa cakes. While it germinated and blo...
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Videogame Conventions I: Indefatigable Capitalism


Nov 12
// Leigh Alexander
After 1,000 years, the Dark Lord has, against all odds, re-emerged into the world.We hadn't thought it possible. Our people had, through a use of time- and space-rending magical power, with the aid of a great celestial coinci...
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Here's a Radical idea: just say no to used games


Oct 29
// SRVSLPS
If you happen to be the type of person who prefers the used game market in lieu of paying full price for your next fix in what amounts to an already expensive hobby, then Free Radical's David Braben has a few choice words for...
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Surfer Girl is back with a cancelled game list


Oct 23
// Dale North
We still don't know who the hell Surfer Girl is, but we know that she manages to drop more and more interesting "insider" information on us as time goes on. This time she lists some canceled games that you'd never k...
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Sony has a change of attitude?


Oct 20
// SRVSLPS
I'm not one to go all teary-eyed over any negative news involving Sony, but this next bit of info coming out of Dean Takahashi's blog was more than enough to at least tug at my sympathy strings a tad. While commenting on rece...
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Survey says that casual games are bringing families together


Aug 28
// Dale North
Can a Wii fix your broken family? Are casual games good for everyone? In a recent survey polling 7,500 casual gaming adults, about a third had children or grandchildren who played casual games in their home, and 80 percent of...
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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers: Chapter 10


Aug 16
// David Houghton
This my friends, will be the last chapter of the Guide for now. I've loved writing it, and I've loved even more the feedback you guys have given me and the discussions we've had as a result of this series. It's been the most ...
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MTV injects major moolah into gaming, proves again that music is an afterthought


Aug 16
// SRVSLPS
Not exactly known as one to adhere to a strictly musical format, MTV has decided that investing heavily in the videogame market over the next two years is the next great idea. According to what MTV's Chairman and Chief Execut...
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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers: Chapter 9


Aug 02
// David Houghton
One of the best things about this generation of videogames is the sheer diversity of what's around. Tried and tested genres are evolving and mutating under the influence of next gen technology. Indie developers are making a c...
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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers: Chapter 8


Jul 26
// David Houghton
Videogames are great, right? We all know that. To the average player they bring fun, stimulation and cameraderie, demanding only the occasional sleepless night and mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome in payment for the big fa...
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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers: Chapter 7


Jul 05
// David Houghton
Roll up, roll up one and all, and come bear witness to the greatest cavalcade of videogaming curiosities known to modern man. We've got freaks, we've got geeks, we've got things the mere sight of which will make your eyes ble...
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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers: Chapter 6


Jun 28
// David Houghton
Once again, it's Thursday, meaning the time has come to roll out this week's chapter of the Guide. Follow me through the jump, where you'll find another gamer archetype analyzed, scrutinized, dissected*, and moderately lampoo...
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Games: SERIOUS BUSINESS


Jun 28
// Leigh Alexander
Slate just pubbed a piece about the whole "serious games" phenomenon. If you haven't heard, the serious gaming concept refers to games whose primary purpose isn't fun. A game that isn't fun? Good luck wi...
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According to PC Magazine, the Wii is greater than sliced bread


Jun 22
// SRVSLPS
Just when you thought the Wii had started to reach the end of the hype train, along comes an article from an unlikely source -- shooting the whole cycle into overdrive once again. It seems that Lance Ulinoff, Editor for PC Ma...
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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers: Chapter 5


Jun 21
// David Houghton
Welcome friends, to the fifth chapter of A Guide To Reconizing Your Gamers, your invaluable helper in spotting the many varied gamer sub-genera prevalent in today's videogaming experience. As gaming has spread as an activity ...
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LEGO Batman site launches: A good Batman game at last?


Jun 21
// SRVSLPS
Much to the delight of many, the LEGO Batman Web site is up, and ready to show that the Dark Knight can dominate the landscape as well as any Star Wars game can. Featuring character bios, Batman trivia, and even a few viewabl...
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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers - Chapter 4


Jun 14
// David Houghton
So here we are again, at the beginning of the newest chapter of our gaming field guide. I'm sure you all know the drill by now. Each week we take two archetypes of the 21st century gaming world and analyse their traits, play ...
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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers - Chapter 3


Jun 07
// David Houghton
Welcome once again to our continuing anthropological guide to the ways of the modern gamer. You may recall that last week, a full dissection of the common or garden British gaming chav took over the whole chapter. Things retu...
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The thing about girl gamers


Jun 03
// atheistium
Editor's Note: Hey all, DMV here. Atheistium's written an interesting rant on the whole girl gamer issue, which has always been a hot topic. So far, it's been a real hit on the community blogs, so give this Destructoid veteran some love and read her story. Enjoy! I finally want to get my issues with the "girl gamer" culture to rest. This will be my final rant on it all... finally.
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A Guide To Recognizing Your Gamers - Chapter 2


May 31
// David Houghton
Welcome, my friends, to the second part of Destructoid's ongoing field guide to the anthropology of the various modern gamer sub-species.  Before we go on with this week's study, I must confess that only one of the two b...
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EA: You haven't seen the last of The Godfather engine


May 17
// SRVSLPS
It looks like the game engine that powered The Godfather still has a bit more life left in it. According to one industry analyst, EA has planned on using the engine in at least five upcoming projects, including a follow up to...
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The top five gameplay innovations to look forward to this year


May 01
// Anthony Burch
We are alive during a very important time in gaming. The 360 and the PS3 are capable of things never before imaginable on a home console. The Wii, for all its flaws, may revolutionize contemporary control mechanics. And seve...
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Subtitles a video gaming necessity?


May 01
// David Houghton
A deaf gamer has brought up what may well be an very important and overlooked point. In a letter he sent to the ESA, and now reprinted by Kotaku, he points out that a great deal of the modern gameplay experience is lost by de...






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