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From the goat shack to Kickstarter: The origin of Stoic photo
From the goat shack to Kickstarter: The origin of Stoic
by Allistair Pinsof

A developer talking passionately about its game, a journalist receiving answers to questions without fail, and nothing in between keeping either side from doing what they set out to do. This is how it should be, but it rarely ever is these days.

Games have become more than entertainment. They are now multimillion dollar investments that can sink a company with 1,000+ employees or propel a humble one to graze the Fortune 500. Marketing, press representation, media tours, exclusive deals, sponsorships, trade show booths, partners, podcasts, blogs, downloadable content schedules, and social media presence have become part of the song and dance that is bringing a game to market in 2012.

But, over there -- way over there -- is a small studio called Stoic that is making a game like it’s 1999 again.

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Review: Super Hexagon photo
Review: Super Hexagon
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Super Hexagon is a game that makes your eyeballs feel like they're being forcibly twisted against your will while still in their sockets. It is a game that makes your brain feel like it's being torn up and stitched back together by a drunken doctor in a back alley. It will even, at times, make you question whether you're enjoying the experience or it's simply the pulsating visuals sending you subliminal messages that trick you into revelry.

You will feel your mind bend as you replay levels over and over, experiencing both bliss that you've increased your record by a mere second, and anger that your reaction speed failed to save you from a crushing death. Best of all, you will come away from each play session feeling sharper, and more energized than you did before loading up Super Hexagon.

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Phosphor talks Horn, mobile gaming, and touch controls photo
Phosphor talks Horn, mobile gaming, and touch controls
by Jim Sterling

While many "hardcore" gamers continue to look down on mobile gaming, there are a number of studios who view it as a legitimate gaming platform, capable of the kind of "AAA" experiences we're used to. Phosphor Games is one of the front-runners, with the great Dark Meadow proving that it has the right stuff and can craft a memorable experience out of humble tools.  

Phosphor's next iOS title, Horn, is coming to an iDevice near you soon. Before the launch of the studio's ambitious mobile project, we got to chat with director Chip Sineni about his game, the current state of mobile gaming, and whether or not those confounded touch controls really are as bad as people say.

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E3: Microsoft introduces Xbox SmartGlass photo
E3: Microsoft introduces Xbox SmartGlass
by Jim Sterling

Microsoft has today announced Xbox Smart Glass, a new bit of tech that will "transform the devices you already own and love." Smart Glass is, essentially, a feature that allows all your entertainment systems to communicate and and work together to enhance the way you watch films, listen to music, and play games. 

Working with your Xbox 360, iOS, and Android devices, Smart Glass is designed to immerse the user in their entertainment. This can range from starting to watch a movie on a smartphone and then having the 360 resume it at home, to more interesting gimmicks such as watching Game of Thrones on the 360 while having your tablet sync up and portray a map of the series' world, giving you detailed information on the show you're watching as it happens. 

In games, you could spot an interesting object while having a round of Halo, and information about that object can beam straight to your handheld device. It was also revealed that you can use a portable gadget to select plays in Madden. Naturally, this can open up some interesting new ways to enjoy a game. 

Smart Glass sounds pretty interesting, and has certainly livened up an otherwise dreary conference. Very interested to see how it turns out.

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New iPad announced: quad-core, 2048 x 1536 resolution photo
New iPad announced: quad-core, 2048 x 1536 resolution
by Dale North

Apple's unnamed new iPad was unveiled today in San Francisco at a morning press event. As expected, this new iPad will sport a Retina display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, coming in at 264ppi, the highest in a mobile device yet. The size and shape haven't changed much, with the whole kit coming in at 1.4 lbs, and the battery still pumping out 10 hours.

Under the hood it comes with a A5X processor and quad-core graphics that are supposed to spit out four times the performance of the Tegra 3. On the connectivity front, Apple's latest tablet has an 4G LTE radio. The camera has been upgraded to 5MP, with autofocus features and and 1080p video. 

Game developers are already hard at work scaling up their current games to use that shiny new screen and crazy resolution. Porn is going to be nuts on this thing.

Pricing for the March 16 release of iPad 3 is as follows: 16GB for $500, 32GB for $599, 64GB for $699. Add $130 for 4G. Pre-orders start today.

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New Alien Confidential & Rocket Fox games, comics coming photo
New Alien Confidential & Rocket Fox games, comics coming
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

As we revealed last month, Namco Bandai is using its new ShiftyLook website to release comics based on "dormant" IPs. It was also hinted at, but some of these dormant IPs are being brought back as games as well! The next comics we can expect are going to be based on Alien Confidential and Rocket Fox, with accompanying mobile games too.

The Alien Confidential: Black & White comic series by Cryptozoic Entertainment will launch on March 9 while the social mobile game will be out sometime this Spring. The Rocket Fox comic by UDON Entertainment will be out later this month with the mobile platforming game out this April.

You'll be able to get your hands-on with Rocket Fox at WonderCon 2012 in Anaheim, California and again at the Namco Bandai Games Presents ShiftyLook x Destructoid Party at Pax East 2012. Until then, check out the exclusive screens and video below to see Rocket Fox in action.

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A starter's guide to Robot Entertainment's Hero Academy photo
A starter's guide to Robot Entertainment's Hero Academy
by Maurice Tan

Hero Academy is my new digital crack but it currently only has a tutorial consisting of screenshots and text, and no way to try out a game against an AI opponent. This might make some players a bit wary of trying it out for the first time against a random stranger, if you don't have a friend with whom you can ease into the game.

After suffering a number of defeats in a bunch of games that ranged from half a day to week-long bouts, I've learned some of the basics and general strategies the hard way. In order to help you get started and better prepared to jump into a match, here are some tips and tricks for Hero Academy.

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Review: Infinity Blade II photo
Review: Infinity Blade II
by Jim Sterling

When our future selves look back on the time mobile gaming truly earned its place in this industry, there is no doubt that Infinity Blade will be seen as the first major turning point. Its critical acclaim and commercial success, not to mention the quality of graphics and engaging gameplay, stood as the moment where more than just Angry Birds fans took notice of iOS as a legitimate gaming platform. 

Few games have really attempted to seize the momentum and continue what Infinity Blade started, so it seems only fitting that ChAIR returns a year later to remind us exactly how ambitious and downright enthralling a mobile title can be. This is Infinity Blade II -- bigger, deeper, and more ready than ever to prove that gaming on your phone isn't just for your mother. 

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Talking to Women about Videogames: Going mainstream photo
Talking to Women about Videogames: Going mainstream
by Jonathan Holmes

[Talking to Women about Videogames is a series where Jonathan Holmes talks to different people who are women about the biggest videogame news of the week for some reason.]

Steve Jobs spent countless hours working to advance the tech industry, but the thing that I've heard the most about him since he passed was how instrumental he was in bringing sophisticated technology to consumers outside of the enthusiast market.

Before the Apple II, personal computers were seen as something that only borderline-mathematical savants could enjoy. After the Apple II, home computers (and the games that people play on them) began to be seen as something everyone could use. From there, Jobs worked at Pixar to help bring CGI animation from the indie film festival world to the level of blockbuster film. Finally, he returned to Apple, where he was instrumental in transforming MP3 players (iPod), smart phones (iPhone), and tablet computers (iPad) from high-priced oddities to household gadgets. He was probably technology's most effective and evocative ambassador. 

Some (like Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson) think that Jobs' ability to sell tech to the everyman puts him in the same league as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, while others hate Apple and Apple consumers, calling them "hipsters" and "sellouts." My question is why do we care either way? Why does it matter to us if the mainstream accepts or rejects technology and/or gaming? That's what I aimed to find out in this week's TtWaV.

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High Flyer Death Defyer has Charisma photo
High Flyer Death Defyer has Charisma
by Conrad Zimmerman

Which is to say that the game has a character named Charisma, a free-falling freedom fighter trying to save her people. She's the female lead of High Flyer Death Defyer and can be purchased as a playable character in the iOS falling game for $0.99.

I haven't yet picked up High Flyer, but I'm thinking I probably will. I enjoy AaAaaAaAAA!!! -- A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, which this is similar to, but I'm interested to see the gameplay implemented in something more than just an arcade game. Anybody tried this out yet?

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After eight years, XIII is getting a new game! photo
After eight years, XIII is getting a new game!
by Jim Sterling

One of my favorite shooters of the last generation, XIII, is getting a followup game after nearly eight years of complete silence. The comic-based conspiracy FPS turned many heads in 2003, but sales weren't spectacular and it seemed the game would end with the first.

Seems that miracles do happen after all, however, with a teaser image for a new XIII appearing on Anuman Interactive's Facebook page. According to the French text, we'll see it in November and it'll hit iOS, PC and Mac. 

I am incredibly excited by this news. Despite getting mixed reactions, XIII remains one of the most absorbing first-person shooters I've ever played. While it's not going to be a major console release, I'm glad to see it return in some fashion!

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Play as Jim Sterling in The Blocks Cometh  photo
Play as Jim Sterling in The Blocks Cometh
by Jim Sterling

The Blocks Cometh, a really cool iOS game that features Mr. Destructoid, had its first full update today since launching, adding a wad of fresh content and four new playable characters. One of those characters, I am quite pleased to reveal, is ... me. 

Starting today, I will be an unlockable character in The Blocks Cometh. Unlocking me is quite simple and rather fitting -- just hit the "Write a review" button on the character select page, and my muscular, well-toned body is yours to master. I also throw microphones, like I do in The Jimquisition sometimes. That was my idea!

As well as an appearance by yours truly, the game has thirty new achievements, a Casual and Hardcore mode, a new "Landscape" view, in-App purchases and a bunch of fixes. The game costs $0.99 right now, so pick it up if you didn't already. It's good!

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WWDC 2011: Apple updates Game Center with iOS 5 photo
WWDC 2011: Apple updates Game Center with iOS 5
by Bob Muir

Apple was ballsy enough to hold their yearly Worldwide Developers Conference opposite E3. I mean, they're Apple -- they can do whatever they want and they're still going to rake in the money. And with the announcement of iOS 5, the next version of the OS for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, they're sure to get a bunch of people breaking down and buying an iDevice, since it fixes a lot of minor problems, like notifications.

But the reason you might care is the overhauled Game Center. Yes, it still looks horrible, but Apple is taking a page from Xbox Live and integrating a lot of features from Microsoft's system. The biggest gameplay change comes with the addition of achievement points, which I've come to expect on practically any game system these days.

There are a couple of social improvements as well, such as being able to access friends of friends, which will allow you to find more potential friends and rivals. Game discovery allows you to find new games to play based on who wants to play with you at that moment. You can also display photos in your profile, which, if the Internet has taught us anything, can only lead to bad things.

Finally, Apple made some improvements under the hood that allow game downloads from within Game Center and support for turn-based games like Words With Friends and Scrabble. The changes are nothing mind-blowing, but certainly they're all welcome. Are you ready to start comparing your achievement score against other Apple gamers, or does its inclusion make you roll your eyes?

iOS 5: The Top 10 New Features [Gizmodo]

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Review: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP photo
Review: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
by Sean Carey

Trying to describe the experience of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is a lot like the experience of playing the game itself. Depending on what angle you're looking at it from, you'll get an entirely different perspective. A masterful collaboration between artist and game designer Craig Adams, musician Jim Guthrie, and the gang over at Capybara Games (Critter Crunch, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes), this is a title that is smashingly new-school in its extreme old-school-ness.

From one point of view, SB: S&S EP is an avant-garde deconstruction of the Zelda story, where smatterings of Carl Jung's archetypal psychology literally dance naked in the forest with a Twilight Zone sensibility of presentation that will keep your brain just slightly off kilter. With a rich rock opera structure and a self-aware design, the fourth wall is broken so often that all Kojima's horses and all Kojima's men couldn't put it back together again.

From the other, the game masterfully executes the mechanical framework of a classic PC adventure title, where exploration, puzzle-solving, and light combat all take advantage of the touchscreen and tilt environment native to the iPad.

For you gameplay purists who are already turning up your nose at my delight in the thematic content, let me put your fears to rest. Even with the ambitious way in which it challenges one's usual gaming mindset, SB: S&S EP refuses to take itself too seriously, and it comes to the party replete with a stockpile of your most precious of currencies -- fun.

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Survey: What do you think of the iPad? photo
Survey: What do you think of the iPad?
by Niero Gonzalez

The iPad2 was released two days ago and is not without critical acclaim. Some have even gone as far as calling it the Holy Grail of computing.

Praise comes easy: It's thinner than an iPhone4 (WTF!), lighter than its predecessor, loads and runs games twice as fast, has two cameras, and is priced the same as its debut model. Prior to the new iPad, the device was doing just fine. There is no ongoing shortage of high quality free iPad games and many of its premium games like Infinity Blade have won numerous awards and sold more than many console releases. NUMBEROUS, EVEN!

In terms of investment it seems to hold its resale value well: even generation one iPads are selling for only a hundred dollars less than retail on eBay. That said, the device is not cheap and not for everyone. Hell, I'm personally allergic to iPhones.

If you own an iPad (either model), how do you like it? If you don't own an iPad, do you plan on buying one? Why not?

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App Attack: Infinity Blade, Game Dev Story, N.O.V.A 2 photo
App Attack: Infinity Blade, Game Dev Story, N.O.V.A 2
by Jim Sterling

Many of you will have learned by now that I've started to become quite a spokesman for mobile gaming this past year. I think it's important, and I've been frustrated that I haven't been able to cover it properly. Hence, App Attack!

This is the pilot episode of what I hope will be a new Destructoid series. The editing is rough because I did this whole show on my own and I don't have much in the way of video talent. If it's considered worthwhile, I'll hopefully get someone with skills to help me. 

Anyway, check it out and see if you like it. I'll really appreciate constructive feedback, so feel free to let me know what you liked and despised!

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