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7:30 PM on 08.31.2014

Why does the term 'gamer' feel important?

Earlier this morning I told my Twitter followers I was thinking of starting a post about why the term gamer might be "dying" or an article about positive representations of schizophrenia in videogames (like, all two of them)....

Jonathan Holmes




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

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

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

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

[Art by Fallen Party]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Art by SnowmanEX711]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe we'll have that talk later.

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

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

Sadly, the answer is "no."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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