[Every week, from early November through the end of 2013, I'll report on my use of Wii Fit U and how it benefits my health.]
This year, being the biggest console launch year in a decade, has been really busy for me. I normall...
There is only one major Black male character in Total Recall (1990). His name is Benny. He is a buffoon. He is not entirely human. He's poor. He can't be trusted. He's a killer. He meets an untimely death about 25 minutes before the end of the movie. Isn't that interesting?
Ever since seeing the movie at the tender age of 14, I've made a habit of taking a look at the Black characters in movies and videogames to see what patterns come up. Are they the only Black character in said movie or game? Are they the only one with a hideously lumpy forehead, or who is blind, or is constantly dancing? Are they always carrying a gun? Are they the only one who is humongous? Are they played by Samuel L. Jackson? Can they be trusted?
I put together a chart featuring a few of these tropes and their correlating Black male videogame characters to see how they intersect. It could use some work. There are a lot of notable characters missing (Henry from The Last of Us, Brad from Dead Rising, DARPA Chief from Metal Gear Solid, Mike Tyson) because the chart was already getting huge or because they already had representation by a similar character. There are also quite a few interesting tropes (Untimely Death, Grumpy Papa, Constant Smile, Constant Gun, Unnatural Hair Color, has the word "Black" in their name, etc) that didn't make the cut, either because we ran out of space, they were too subjective, or because they couldn't potentially apply to everyone here. There is simply no way of knowing if "Black Guy" in Kung-Fu is a Grumpy Papa, but we definitely know he's humongous.
So it's not perfect, but it's still worth a look. I'm hoping it inspires others to make their own fun charts. One specific to zombie games would be particularly interesting. Thanks to Darren Nakamura and Sarah Thomas for helping me put these together, and look forward to more fun discussion of race and videogames right here on Destructoid!
What's your CPS? That question is a litmus test, and if you have no idea what it means, good. You're safe. I envy you. I'm not as fortunate. I, like a whole bunch of other people, fell prey to the recent Internet phenomenon, Cookie Clicker, and things just aren't the same anymore. By the way, my CPS is 1.8 billion, as if any of it really matters.
CPS, or Cookies per Second for the uninitiated, is the statistic that's at the heart of Cookie Clicker. Ask anyone that plays, and they'll be able to ballpark their most recent figure. Their answer is unimportant. What is important is the fact that regardless of progression, their response will almost always come with a twinge of pride and accomplishment.
That's because we're not just baking cookies here; we're building empires. And if Cookie Clicker does one thing extremely well, it's giving the player a constant pat on the back, assuring them at every step of the way that their cookie kingdom is growing. Likewise, the next big breakthrough is always right around the corner. Always.
If there was ever an upcoming week for epic cosplay it would be this week. PAX Prime in Seattle and, from what I'm told, the mecca of all cosplay destinations Dragoncon in Atlanta are sure to provide some amazing displays for weeks to come.
With that said, I'll be ditching the Dtoid family this week (going to miss one wild party for sure) as I brave a trip to Atlanta to witness (and capture with my new camera) some hopefully insanely brilliant cosplay.
The sweltering, tropical city-state of Singapore is home to one of Ubisoft's branch studios, Ubisoft Singapore. This is the studio behind the naval combat segments of Assassin's Creed III, and those went over so well that they're now working on several aspects of Assassin's Creed IV's open-world gameplay, including the water tech, underwater exploration, naval battles, and awesome shark harpooning.
We had the pleasure of visiting Singapore to learn more about this studio, its staff, and the fascinating city itself. I enjoyed the visit so much that I wanted to share a bit more about the studio and city.
Water is usually a background element in action/adventure games. Or at best, water gets a temporary spotlight in levels that let you take a break from standard play -- a quick splash and then back to land. It's rarely ever a focus in these games. Usually, underwater segments are the worst parts of these games. Poor water.
The ocean played a sizable role in Assassin's Creed III with its naval battles, and while that was fantastic, it only served as a tease for what the ocean offered. Reacting to feedback, Ubisoft is now bringing the deep blue sea to the forefront in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. They've embraced the open-world concept, and the free exploration extends to the ocean, not only by boat, but through underwater play.
We visited the team behind Assassin's Creed IV's ocean tech, Ubisoft Singapore, to learn how deep they were willing to dive this time around.
It only took two years for the thirteenth flagship title in the Tales series to reach western shores, but now that Tales of Xillia has finally arrived what better way to celebrate than with a collection of some fantastic cosplay traversing the series' lineage.
From the PlayStation classic Tales of Destiny, to the soon to be remastered Tales of Symphonia, all the way to the present with Tales of Xillia; there definitely is no shortage of breathtaking cosplays to admire. To narrow it down we've limited this week's entries to a few characters from the most prominent games in the series. Even this was near impossible.
So let us know below which one is your favorite. And as always, if you have any spectacular cosplays you'd like to show off here, send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to our new regular column showcasing some of the world's most amazing videogame and other geek centric cosplays (costume play).
To kick it off, we're going mostly old-school with a stunning Princess Zelda, feisty Street Fighters, a serene Tifa Lockheart, and a downright disturbing Alice. Not to keep it completely retro though, we also have a look at one of my favorite new characters of this generation: a brilliant Nilin worth remembering from Capcom's sci-fi thriller Remember Me.
Perhaps the most elaborate cosplay of the week goes to a character from a MMO I've never even heard of based on the Kingdom Under Fire universe. The armor work and intricate detail on each sword for Age of Storms' Elyuin is utterly ridiculous. Follow this link for in-game footage of the actual character to see just how accurate the cosplay is.
Also if you have any spectacular cosplays you'd like to show off here, send them in to email@example.com
Securing a job in the videogame industry is a lifelong goal for a lot of people. Some eventually get there; many of them never do. Eric Doty got there a few years ago. He's worked his way through the ranks of the Microsoft Xbox team on the community side. But Doty's not content to simply "get there." He has a deep-burning passion that doesn't exactly parallel his day job.
No, Doty (maybe better known as "DMZilla" to the Internet community) has a fervor for creating. He's already authored a comic book (about a cyborg corgi!), but now he's moved on to a more interactive medium. After playing videogames for the majority of his life and being surrounded by the culture at work, Doty has decided to try developing them.
So that's exactly what he's doing. He's acquired game development software, he's written the story, and he's enlisted the help of Seattle artist Zak Alexander to collaborate on the game's tone and visual elements. The only problem is despite the desire to make a videogame, Doty didn't actually have the know-how to program it.
Luckily, he has the drive to figure it out. Doty began the process figuratively neck-deep in online tutorials. As he continues work on the game, he learns new things every day. Mechanics that were once difficult to grasp have become increasingly easy. He's treating the entire endeavor as a learning experience and as an experiment -- because that's exactly what it is.
There is little debate over who "won" E3 this year: In our internal poll following the conference most of our readers chose the PlayStation 4 as the superior contender.
Sony put on a quite a strong show, came $100 under Microsoft's next-gen offering, and reassured gamers that no online or DRM restrictions or used game policies would impede them from enjoying their console. Still, to say that Microsoft has lost the battle would be underestimating one of the most capable companies around. The Xbox One launch is still several months away and there is time for the Microsoft PR machine to get their act together.
Now, imagine if you were in that hot seat tonight in Redmond. You've got a gazillion dollars to patch that hole in the wall. How would you "fix" this?
We're only a few short days beyond the official unveiling of Microsoft's next-generation videogame console, the Xbox One, and things haven't gone all that well. Microsoft is catching a ton of flak from every direction for an event that the masses have somewhat unanimously declared "underwhelming." Digital lines are being drawn in the virtual sand over this press conference, and the most vocal bunch is loudly siding with Team Sony.
Given some of the reactions to the Xbox One reveal, you'd think that Microsoft was guilty of some sort of legendary gaffe, a mistake so serious that it sunk any chance the console had before it was even born. But that's not the case. Xbox One is positioned for success just as well as PlayStation 4. In fact, maybe even more so.
The most commonly drawn comparison between the PS4 and Xbox One events is that Sony showed games while Microsoft didn't. This is completely accurate. However, anyone that expected Microsoft to actually show off games clearly hasn't been paying attention. Microsoft so much as publicly stated before the event that it wasn't going to focus on games. Rather, E3 was where it intends to flaunt the system's software.
I grew up as a Nintendo kid, through and through. From the very first time I laid eyes on a Nintendo Entertainment System at a Sears at the age of four, I wanted to be a part of that world. I have no idea why a four-year-old would have the tenacity to save up money he had gotten from relatives to purchase a gaming console, but according to my parents, that's what happened.
From there, I moved onto the SNES when I was seven, naturally. After all, I was an all-out fanboy, not content with exploring other options and broadening my horizons -- I mean, what could they possibly offer me that Nintendo didn't already? Unfortunately for me, I stayed in that tunnel vision-centric mentality for quite some time -- that is, until my cousin showed me the PlayStation, and my whole perspective changed.
Earlier this month, Brett shared his love of Xbox Achievements with us, and cautioned that Microsoft's rumored next-generation revamp to the system may end up ruining part of what makes them great. For Brett, the idea of Achievements soon spanning multiple titles or being added willy-nilly, post-launch by nefarious developers is a frightening prospect that any Achievement-loving completionist should fear. I couldn't have agreed more.
So when Microsoft confirmed the rumor during their Xbox One reveal earlier this week, I was disappointed. And the more I started thinking about it, the more I started to realize that, dammit, we've been at this for long enough now to rightfully expect certain things from developers where Achievements are concerned. After seven years, shouldn't we be past the growing pains? Shouldn't they know what we want by now?
So with that in mind, I present to you my Achievement Whore's Manifesto. Think of this as a list of demands for what we should expect to see (and expect to not see) in a game's Achievement list in 2013 and beyond. I know not all of us agree on Achievements' worthiness or impact on gaming, but I think we can all get behind the idea that a shit Achievement is a waste of everyone's time, and if they're here to stay, we might as well get the most enjoyment we can out of them.
Are you looking forward to Remember Me next month? I've been looking forward to the game's soundtrack, composed by Olivier Deriviere, who some may know from Alone in the Dark and Of Orcs and Men.
We're now getting a sense of what the game will sound like with samples via Deriviere's SoundCloud account, but we've got some exclusive samples of our own which you can find below along with some liner notes-style commentary from Deriviere himself.
Check it out and let us know what you think of the digitized orchestral soundscape that's been created for the game.
Following a swift completion of BioShock Infinite's 1999 mode last week, I was hit with a particularly potent wave of boredom. Quelling the bubbling cauldron of monotony was easy while skating through the battle-torn dystopia of Columbia. Feverishly hunting down achievements, collecting voxophones, and Bucking Bronco-ing my way to victory pacified me for a time, but that time had passed.
Upon repetition, (three play-throughs, in fact) the vibrant collective of American idealism, religious fervor, and technological prowess dreamt up in the minds of Ken Levine and the folks at Irrational Games had unfortunately been reduced to a memorized script. Like a well-oiled machine I stood front and center stage, wielding a flurry of headshots and premeditated vigors until the credits rolled. With the experience complete on every level, the post-game reality crept into consciousness. Now what do I do with myself?
Maybe you played StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Maybe you enjoyed the soundtrack disc that came packed in with the collector's edition, or perhaps you simply enjoyed it in-game. With this expansion focusing on the Zerg, I was most looking forward to this installment in terms of its music, and it didn't disappoint as you can read in our soundtrack review.
We've had the opportunity to pull together the key players on the StarCraft II audio team, including six composers and the lead sound designer. They've all provided exclusive audio samples that you can hear below via our SoundCloud, explaining what you're hearing while giving us insight into the behind-the-scenes work and thought processes that went into the game's impressive soundscape.
Check it out below and let us know what you think of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm's music!