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2014-05-03
Sony has an overarching goal for its upcoming zombie-themed postapocalyptic PC MMO H1Z1--and that's to scare you--Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley says."If you watch Walking Dead, you will be right at home in terms of the kind of zombies we have and the atmosphere we're trying to create," Smedley told GameSpot in a recent interview. "We want you to be afraid of the zombies and of other players."Sony announced H1Z1 earlier this month. It is a free-to-play PC MMO with a day/night cycle, a dynamic weather system, crafting system, and a destructible world. The game's zombies are described as "unpredictable," which is probably why Smedley thinks they'll be so scary.Also in our interview, Smedley revealed that the arrival of competing PC zombie game DayZ spurred Sony to make H1Z1 in the first place. "It's definitely fair to say that DayZ is inspiration for it, absolutely. And, I'll be honest, there's a lot of other games out there that were inspiration for it, too. I would say DayZ was sort of a catalyst kind of thing.""DayZ did a brilliant job imagining the apocalypse. Now, the way I view it, that's their apocalypse. We've got our own ideas" -- John SmedleyThe DayZ standalone has sold over 2 million copies not even six months after its in-development version went on sale late last year. Smedley was quick to praise DayZ, but also made clear that H1Z1 will most definitely be its own game."If you're a zombie-loving PC player, you better be playing DayZ, because it's fun as hell," Smedley said. "DayZ did a brilliant job imagining the apocalypse. Now, the way I view it, that's their apocalypse. We've got our own ideas. Our game has got a lot of its own features; not just features but it's got its own feeling. We're going for a very, very zombie-heavy [feel]."We also quizzed Smedley about why he thinks the zombie genre has remained so popular while other horror tropes, like vampires, have seen their popularity wane in recent years."I think [it's] this idea of an apocalypse with some weird virus that we don't know about. There's this little thing in the back of your mind...there's this consciousness; zombies just seem to be part of our DNA as people and it just seems to immediately click with people."Smedley went on to say that the success of The Walking Dead is feeding the frenzy for zombies in popular media, and that he hopes H1Z1 can capitalize on this enduring interest in the undead. "We're really happy about it because it gives us a background to tell our apocalypse stories in our own way," he said.H1Z1 launches later this year on PC, first through Steam Early Access, and then as a final product sometime later. But could the game also come to the PlayStation 4 some day? Smedley hasn't ruled it out."We're focused on getting it out on the PC first. As a Sony company we're really excited about PS4 and the opportunities we have there," Smedley said.Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuchGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.comInfo from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
Three years before it would become known as Blizzard Entertainment, the company now famous for creating the Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft series was making games as Silicon & Synapse. Three of the games from Blizzard's early years--The Lost Vikings, Rock N' Roll Racing, and Blackthorne--can now be yours for free.As discovered by BlizzPro, Battle.net members who check out the list of games associated with their accounts will find all three now listed under the "Classic Games" section that is home to titles like StarCraft and Diablo II. Even without a Battle.net account, they can be downloaded by going here. All three are available for download on Windows computers; Blackthorne is the only one also available for Mac users.It would appear this promotion is intended for gamers in the United States (though exactly why these games are suddenly free is unclear, as Blizzard has made no announcements). However, gamers from outside the U.S. can get around this restriction, as BlizzPro notes you can manually change your region at the very bottom of the page--the one you want is "Americas - English (US)."Both The Lost Vikings and Blackthorne are single-player 2D platformers, the former of which incorporates puzzles. Rock N' Roll Racing, as you might imagine given the name, is a combat racing game. All three were released on computers as well as consoles, and were eventually brought to Game Boy Advance under the Blizzard Classic Arcade label.Have you ever had the chance to play any of these games, or will this be your first opportunity to try them out for yourself? Let us know what you think of them in the comments below.Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManXGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.comInfo from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
City of Steam: Arkadia is an industrial age fantasy MMORPG from Mechanist Games. It transports players to a world where clockworks, steam power, and arcane technologies suffuse every aspect of existence, from the half-organic, half-mechanical dwarves to the giant gears of the World Machine itself. U.S. servers launch on May 4 at 9PM EDT (US East) and European servers will be up on May 5 at 10AM CEST (EU). Enter your email in the module below and receive a code that's good for a host of awesome in-game items for City of Steam: Arkadia. Here are just a few of the perks you'll unlock by activating this code: 5x Keys - To unlock chests in the dungeons10x Alloys - Alloys are consumed when smelting weapons50x Metals - This resource is required to upgrade equipment2x Level 1 Mod Box - Contains a random level 1 Mod5x Mechanist Pyroflare - This canister fires a small burst of energy in the shape of a toiler's face a few seconds after being lit10x Potent Health Quaff - Restores 5,000 Health over 10 seconds10x Potent Steam Quaff - Restores 100 Steam over 6 seconds1x Spiked Goggle - Cool cosmetic item1x Vented Goggle - Another cool cosmetic item1x Drum Tophat - Yet another cool cosmetic item     /*   /*     How to redeem your code: 1. After obtaining your pack code, go to the City of Steam: Arkadia official website here. 2. Register an account (or sign in if you already have one) and click on the "Play Now" button when servers are up. 3. Select the "Promo Code" option in the "Rewards" window. Copy and paste your code into the box, claim it, and check your backpack for the goodies! 4. Enjoy and wreck havoc! Always remember to visit the official website and forums for more information. Note: One account can only redeem one Promo Code. Servers will go live in U.S. and Europe on May 4 and May 5 respectively.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
As we learn more about what will be new and different in this year's Call of Duty game, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, we've discovered one thing that won't be changing is the arrangement that sees downloadable content released on Xbox platforms first. Since Black Ops in 2010, downloadable content has been delivered to the Xbox 360 (and Xbox One, in the case of Ghosts) versions of Call of Duty games before coming to other platforms a month later. Advanced Warfare won't be the game to reverse that trend when it's released on November 4. Mentioned briefly in an Xbox Wire post about the new game (the eleventh main title in the series) is the fact that it "again brings all add-on content first to Xbox." That doesn't clue us in on whether non-Xbox platforms will again be waiting exactly a month for the same DLC, but it seems a safe bet. The newest Call of Duty was set to be revealed this Sunday, but a number of leaks have resulted in Activision unveiling it early. So far, we've learned it will be set in the future, features things like hoverbikes and energy weapons, and focuses on the role of Private Military Corporations, one of which is led by a character played by actor Kevin Spacey. We also know what kind of preorder bonuses will be available and that, if online retailer listings are accurate, it's coming to the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC. Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManXGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.comInfo from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment today released the first images and details for the Runoff multiplayer map, one of three new maps included with this month's Expedition DLC. Designer Geoff Smith writes on the game's website that Runoff was originally planned to ship with Titanfall, but it had to be cut due to time constraints.He explains that the core concept of Runoff is that is has multiple layers: concrete canals with water and trash on its lower levels and upper levels that are cleaner and more industrial."I thought the canals would be cool for Titans to fight in, with Pilots able to jump across them," Smith says. "I also set out to make more choke points in the level, something that is pretty hard to do in our game, at least for Pilots with their enhanced mobility."The first sketch for Runoff. Runoff is set around three main buildings, the largest of which houses two inlet tubes in its center. The other two buildings are connected with sky-bridges and billboards that you can wall-run across."The trench below these buildings is the central artery of the entire map. If your Titan falls down into these trenches, you will have to travel back to either end of the map to find a ramp back up," Smith says. "The trenches also serve to help you escape quickly when your Titan gets into an unwinnable fight."For more on how Runoff is set up for Titanfall's CTF and Hardpoint modes, check out the full post on the game's website."Runoff ends up being a pretty fun level that plays very differently in each game mode," Smith said. "You'll find yourself using different areas of the map depending on what you choose."Runoff is one of three new maps coming to Titanfall through the upcoming Expedition DLC. The other two are called Swampland and War Games, the latter of which Respawn detailed at length last week. We're still waiting to hear more about Swampland.The Expedition DLC, launching sometime this month, is included with the $25 Titanfall DLC Pass and can be purchased separately for $10. A new 2v2 Last Titan Standing mode is also coming to Titanfall sometime in the future and will be available as a free download for all players.Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuchGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.comInfo from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
Developer Sledgehammer Games today released three new images for its just-announced Call of Duty game, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Sledgehammer shared the images through its Facebook page.The images show off some of the characters (complete with ability-boosting exoskeletons), environments, and weapons that you can expect when the full game launches on November 4. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will also include some form of energy-based weapons, but we don't see those here.You'll notice that the hat-wearing soldier has the name "Atlas" written across his suit. That's short for the the fictional Atlas Corporation, whose leader is Jonathan Irons, played by actor Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.Activision planned to announce Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on Sunday, but their reveal was moved up to today, when we saw the game's first trailer, learned some vague story details, and got confirmation that the game's DLC will arrive first on Xbox platforms.We're still waiting to hear what platforms the game is coming to, though retailers have listed it for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuchGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.comInfo from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
Welcome back to Free Games Friday, our weekly feature looking at games, demos, and betas that will cost you the princely sum of exactly zero dollars to play and that we think are worth your time playing. This week, we're recommending a free shooter with an outstanding pedigree, a PC card game that's giving the likes of Magic and Hearthstone a run for their money, and a mobile version of the much-lauded Trials franchise. And we're also giving away some free stuff, so make sure to check out the video below.   Check out the links below to find all of the games mentioned in our show. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms Trials Frontier Card Hunter Our free giveaway this week   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
Are games coming to Comcast's X1 service? According to a report today from Reuters, Electronic Arts and Comcast are close to finalizing a deal that would bring EA-published games to Comcast's X1 TV operating system through cloud-powered streaming. Five separate sources told Reuters that this was the case.According to Reuters, Comcast and EA have tested such a streaming service for more than two years. Games from the Madden, FIFA, Monopoly, and Plants vs. Zombies franchises were called out as those being available for streaming. The report goes on to say that you'll be able to use a tablet you already own as a controller to play the games, suggesting the games on offer will be smaller, mobile games rather than bigger, console-level titles. The list of available games is reportedly still being hashed out.Sources told Reuters that Comcast will focus on casual and family games first, before later considering FPS and action games. It will all come down to user preference, the report says.Comcast has more than 22 million customers in the United States, which would (potentially) make the company a major player in the home gaming space if the deal goes through. An EA representative declined to comment when approached by GameSpot, while we've yet to hear back from a Comcast representative about this reported deal.Sources told Reuters that EA and Comcast want to make buying games as easy as ordering a pay-per-view movie. "This could create a new distribution model that circumvents console and video-streaming device makers," Reuters points out.Both EA and Comcast were featured in this year's Worst Company In America poll from consumer affairs blog The Consumerist. After "winning" two years running, EA was knocked out in the first round this year, while Comcast "won" it all, taking home the Golden Poo award.Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuchGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.comInfo from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
Forgiveness is not a rational choice. Emotions are what cause us to waver in our beliefs, to brush aside a questionable act from a loved one or to put blinders on when the truth overwhelms us. The idea of forgiveness is endemic to what The Amazing-Spider 2 is. Peter Parker is a grounded guy despite his extraordinary powers, and his innate relatability makes him likable. The way he insults his enemies while knocking their heads together, and makes wry observations while swinging through the city, have always made me laugh. But I find it hard to accept his morally challenged choices. Is it all right for him to beat the stuffing out of ordinary criminals considering how much stronger he is? To steal information from a police officer's laptop or bug wireless towers to spy on citizens? At what point does Spider-Man stop fighting for the greater good and start becoming a menace in his own right?Such questions are never answered in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But the question of forgiveness stayed with me throughout the adventure, and not just in regard to Spidey's questionable acts, either. You see, to enjoy the game, you have to forgive it for its many problems. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is as flawed as its sure-headed protagonist, equal parts enjoyable and aggravating, which made my feelings waver as I smacked down evil-minded foes in the well-realized Manhattan that Peter Parker calls home.Spider-Man is at his best when he's soaring above the congested streets of New York. Firing webbing at skyscrapers creates an incredible sense of locomotion in part because of how well it represents the way I imagine it would feel to be in Spider-Man's tights. By independently shooting webs out of each hand, you guide yourself around buildings with speed and precision, and once you're accustomed to the rhythm of movement, you can deftly scoot around corners without breaking a sweat. When there aren't any buildings, you fall to the ground, which is a little restrictive, but made me choose my path smartly. I didn't want to be stuck walking like a sucker. Still, movement only has that freeing rush when you're not acting with a purpose. When I would stop to collect a floating comic book, or try to wall-run up the side of a skyscraper, I would often clip through surfaces as the camera jittered and shook. Such problems broke my immersion in a snap.At what point does Spider-Man stop fighting for the greater good and start becoming a menace in his own right?There's similar problems in the combat. Spider-Man spends a lot of time fighting enemies, and much of it is blandly enjoyable. It's easy enough to latch on to faraway enemies, pulling yourself toward them in a frenetic burst of violence as you teach them the follies of their ways with your fists. Dodging enemy attacks and retaliating with incredible force makes you feel like the purveyor of justice Spider-Man wants to be, and there were times when I was caught in the simple pleasure of making digital people squeal with pain. But it is very simple, and after a while it becomes too predictable for its own good. Combat is closer to an elaborate quick-time event than a test of skill. Attack when your foe's guard is down, dodge when he flashes red, and repeat until everyone is squirming at your feet.Cops don't mind when you photograph their laptops, right?Granted, such simplicity exists in boss fights as well, but those battles do demonstrate how interesting this system can be when the challenge is ratcheted up. Squaring off against the lightning-fast Black Cat, who hides in the shadows and then strikes with sadistic glee, tested my reflexes and my hunting ability. And then there's the markedly different showdown against Kingpin, who's so fat he was arrested for having 10 pounds of crack...butt crack (at least according to Spider-Man). This was a fight of endurance as I had to withstand the attacks of his henchmen while avoiding his rumbling charges. As I punched Kingpin, he would ask questions that made me even more leery of my actions. Why does Spider-Man spend so much time fighting petty thieves when there are real villains out there?Villainy is one of the major framing devices in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The city views you as either a hero or a villain based on how much crime exists, so you must stop the many evildoers to keep everyone happy. To do so, you complete side missions, such as rescuing people from burning buildings, stopping high-speed chases, and fighting street toughs. Measuring how much the city trusts you is a good idea, and does compel you to keep the streets clean, but in practice, it feels artificial and pointless. Is all of Manhattan really going to hate me because of one robbery? Or swing their allegiance when I do public good once more? Are they really so fickle?At first, I did complete every side mission, because I am a completionist. It didn't take long for me to stop. The side missions aren't remotely fun, so spending hours doing the same few tasks over and over sounded like a penance I didn't deserve. Squaring off against ordinary toughs in optional fights when I have to do so much of that in story missions just isn't appealing. And navigating smoke-filled buildings highlights how clumsy Spider-Man is in enclosed spaces. But the thing that made me turn my back completely on side missions is how the story plays out. No matter how much good you bring to the city, you're invariably painted as a villain, so it wasn't worth pleasing people to begin with. If the people of New York can't appreciate me, then they can deal with their own problems.Spider-Man isn't the stealthiest superhero around.There are definitely issues that go deeper than mere annoyance. But there are still enough bright spots that I enjoyed my time with the game. Spider-Man is well developed, carrying his trademark snark like a torch, and I laughed frequently at his many jokes. Yeah, listening to the same few phrases repeated over and over again got a little much, but I appreciated the happy vibe of the game. Plus, there are tons of goodies to examine. I don't read comics in real life, but I did flip through one here, and it was nice finding out a little more about Uncle Ben before he cooked his last pot of rice. And there are figures to gaze at in the comic book stores complete with biographies about the characters. Immersing myself in all things Spider-Man for a few days made me smile, and the game does a great job of bringing the characters to life.The biggest failing of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is how familiar it feels. In fact, there have been other open-world games starring Spider-Man that walk a remarkably similar path. So there weren't many surprises, nothing that jumped out and made me take notice. Still, being able to spend time with Spider-Man was enough for me to stomach the various problems, just because he's a fun character to listen to. There's nothing majorly wrong with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, after all. There's just not a lot right with it, either.Info from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
In a press release this afternoon, Activision formally announced Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and revealed that two studios are working to bring the game to market this November. Sledgehammer Games is working on the Xbox One/PlayStation 4/PC versions, while a separate studio to be named later is handling the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 versions. Multiplayer shooter Titanfall was developed in a similar way; Respawn Entertainment handled the Xbox One and PC versions, while Bluepoint Games developed the Xbox 360 iteration.There's no mention of a Wii U version for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the first entry in the blockbuster series developed as part of Activision's new three-year, three-studio development cycle. That's not the only first. It's also the first game in the franchise where characters will have super-abilities through an exoskeleton suit. Activision also promises a "riveting" new story, led by Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey, who plays Jonathan Irons, the leader of a fictional private military corporation."It's been a lot of fun working with the team to bring Jonathan Irons to life. The technology is truly remarkable and unlike anything I've done before. I'm excited to see where this goes," Spacey said in a statement.Here's how Activision sets up the story for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare:"Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare jolts players forward in a groundbreaking experience that's ripped-from-the-headlines-of-tomorrow, envisioning a future where both technology and tactics have evolved to usher in a new era of combat for the franchise. Set in the year 2054, a private military corporation (PMC) has emerged with the power to rescue humanity from a devastated world struggling to rebuild after a global attack on its military and infrastructure. You are the advanced soldier. Empowered with new, cutting-edge exoskeleton abilities, technological advancements, and high-tech gear, players join the ranks of a highly-trained, specialized unit committed to restoring order in a state of advanced warfare."According to to Activision, the new three-year Call of Duty development cycle meant that Sledgehammer Games was able to create a "near photorealistic world unlike any Call of Duty before.""With the expanded production capabilities, Sledgehammer Games is able to create an astonishing new, next generation experience, featuring an array of technical advancements from the sights and sounds that create a near photorealistic world unlike any Call of Duty before, to new performance capture and facial animation technologies that deliver lifelike characters, to a rich and immersive story that brings the fiction to life," Activision said.For more on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, be sure to read GameSpot's previous coverage.Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuchGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com Info from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
Activision has finally unveiled more details about this year's Call of Duty. The game--Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare--is being developed by Sledgehammer Games, and is set in a future where private military corporations (PMCs) have become ultra powerful. The game's first trailer notably features actor Kevin Spacey in a key role as the head of one of these PMCs, but it also showcased plenty of footage from the game. So after watching the trailer, what details can we infer about gameplay in Advanced Warfare? GameSpot's Chris Watters and Erick Tay combed through the footage to bring you their thoughts. First up, here's the official trailer: And here are Chris and Erick with their best guesses as to what Advanced Warfare will bring. What are your thoughts? What type of new elements will Advanced Warfare bring? Tell us in the comments below! Info from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
There are many beloved video games, but only a rare few manage to permeate mainstream awareness and become cultural icons, and even fewer do so on an international scale. Usually, it's the identity of a main character that average folks latch onto. What about Tetris? The most recognizable imagery from Tetris is a tetromino: a geometric shape composed of four squares, connected orthogonally. Yet, Tetris is one of the most well-known games of all time, and since its inception, it has appeared on almost every device capable of playing games.The man responsible for creating Tetris is Alexey Pajitnov, a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union, who in 1984 created the legendary puzzler. From there, Pajitnov's colleague, Vadim Gerasimov, developed a port for the IBM PC, which was later licensed to US publisher Spectrum Holobyte. It was Gerasimov's port that engrained Tetris into American culture, but the game also made its way to other countries, and other platforms, at the hands of cavalier programmers, leading to wild licensing of the Tetris brand in different countries.The most memorable mishandling of the Tetris license took place in America, where publisher Tengen (Atari's console division) released a version of Tetris for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo was none too happy; Tengen licensed Tetris from a party without the rights to sell it, and Nintendo itself had appropriately and legally secured rights to its own NES port. The dispute led to a lawsuit that would eventually end in Nintendo's favor, and Tengen was forced to recall all copies of its game. The takeaway: Tetris is a valuable property with global appeal, and people are willing to lie, steal, and sue in order to wield its popularity. For the players, none of this mattered.Here's what Tetris means to us.Chris WattersTetris in space!Tetris entered my life on the Apple IIGS, my family's first computer. The "family" distinction is important here, because one look at the leaderboard would tell you that I wasn't the only one who developed an obsession with the burgeoning classic. Though Tetris was primarily a struggle against myself--the version I played wouldn't stop until the ever-increasing drop speed made it impossible to keep up--striving to best my mom or my dad gave me my first taste of the competitive thrill of gaming. Going to bed with a chart-topper gave me such sweet satisfaction, though it irked me that my dad didn't have an enforced bedtime keeping him from playing one more round.That "one more round" impulse is indicative of just how engrossing Tetris can be. Getting into the flow of spotting the piece, analyzing the matrix, moving the piece into place, and then dropping it to bring on the next one becomes an almost meditative exercise. A good Tetris round is an utterly absorbing experience in which you tune out the world around you, which makes it even more remarkable that it can also give rise to such cutthroat competition.Fast-forward to college, and The New Tetris has arrived on the Nintendo 64. My friend has four controllers and a penchant for trash-talking, so I rise to the challenge and step in to show off my formidable skills. My first match is a total debacle as I get snowed under by the new block-fusing mechanic and by my friend's own formidable skills. I was hooked. The challenge of individual performance and the thrill of competition from my childhood came rushing back, reborn for a new period in my life and a new crop of competitors. Tetris had changed, but the joy that it brought into my life was as bright as ever. And my friend? A decade later, I married her.Peter BrownTetris in your pocket!My first taste of Tetris was on the Nintendo Entertainment System, but it belonged to my older brother, so I spent most of my time just watching him play. It wasn't until I received a Game Boy for my sixth birthday (in 1991) that I had a copy of my very own. It came into my life along with Mega Man's first portable outing, but Dr. Wily was too much of a challenge for 6-year-old me, so it would be Tetris that I played night after night, cloaked under my bedsheets with whatever source of light I could muster. I can still recall the playful sounds of "korobeiniki," or to most of us, "the Tetris song," and the rewarding tones that played when you cleared four lines in a row, appropriately enough referred to as a "Tetris." My fondness for tetrominos led me to Daedilian Opus--another Game Boy puzzle game that happened to use similar geometrical shapes, but it didn't hold my attention like the real deal. It didn't take me long to revert back to my old ways, and frankly, to the better game.Tetris played a different role in my life during high school, where it was once again a clandestine activity. By our sophomore year, everyone was required to carry a TI-82 graphic calculator, and the great thing about that was that with the right cable, you could install a wide array of free software from a connected computer, and as you can probably guess, installing Tetris was priority number one for a lot of us. Some teachers would eventually catch on to the fact that most of their students were busy assembling blocks rather than plotting curves and graphs, but for the most part, almost everyone spent some amount of time playing Tetris in secret on a daily basis. Leaderboards didn't exist, either online or on paper, so we ranked one another via word of mouth. Like a game of telephone, word of high scores spread through the hallways, changing a little bit with each new messenger. It came as no surprise to me when I finally learned about national Tetris competitions, but the reflexes of champion Tetris players made our attempts at greatness look like child's play.Now, Tetris is everywhere. Every computer, game console, and telephone that has crossed my path since seems to have its own version, and it will probably go down in history as one of the most popular video games ever created. Having grown up with Tetris, seeing it succeed on such a large scale is nothing short of gratifying. Who knew 6-year-old me had such good taste!Randolph RamsayCould Tetris be the greatest game of all time? There have certainly been plenty who have claimed that in the past, and if you measure these types of things in terms of cultural impact, then few games can match Tetris. Ubiquity is certainly a key part of this--since 1984, versions of Tetris have appeared on countless devices in countless forms, so much so that it doesn't feel like hyperbole to say that everybody--everybody--has played Tetris before.But there's a reason the game is so ubiquitous. Tetris is, quite simply, one of the most welcoming games ever made. It's simple and complex and shallow and deep all at the same time. It takes a minute to learn everything you need to know to play the game, but weeks or maybe months to become skillful. And the game is simply fun no matter how much you put into it, whether that's a few minutes on a bus, half an hour on the couch at home, or hours on a long plane ride.I first came across Tetris in 1990, when a friend managed to score himself a nifty new Game Boy. He had plenty of other games that we played, but the only one I remember to this day is Tetris. Since then, I've played it on multiple platforms, and I'll likely continue to go back to it for many more years to come. Long after the likes of Angry Birds or Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto or other recent games that have hit mainstream consciousness have faded, Tetris will still be around. And there's good reason for that.Does Tetris hold a special place in your heart? When was the first time you hummed korobeiniki without realizing it? Let us know in the comments below.Info from Gamespot.com
2014-05-03
The world of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is absolutely insane. It's a twisted mash-up of Western glam rock style and Eastern anime influences, all wrapped around the ongoing, globe-trotting tales of the Joestar bloodline. Its characters dress in eccentric outfits, strike eccentric poses, and fight using eccentric attacks and techniques. In short, it's the perfect candidate for a fighting game. Drawing from over 25 years of JoJo's story arcs, developer CyberConnect2 (Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3) has put together a fighting game that faithfully re-creates the spirit of the JoJo's universe. At times, however, the developer's devotion to authenticity causes the game to stumble.Just like its source material, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle features a cast of characters with a strange sense of what's vogue. While this does create some entertaining combatants, it is also a double-edged sword. Because the game spends so much time showing off the eccentricities of its fighters, the fights themselves are rather sluggish. Simple acts, such as moving around the arena or performing heavy attacks, take a bit too long to perform, and these minor annoyances quickly add up. Some fighting games can use the slower pace to build tension, but All Star Battle more often leaves you anxious to hurry up and get to your next attack.The art of fighting in All Star Battle is pretty simple compared with most other modern fighting games. There are three main attacks--weak, medium, and powerful--which can be linked together in sequence to form a basic combo. Combos can then be topped off with certain special moves, most of which use the standard, circle-based inputs seen in Street Fighter and countless other games. You can also mash the light attack button to perform a Persona 4 Arena-style auto combo, ending in a powerful super move if you have the energy to spend. And then there's the dodge button, which lets you sidestep around attacks if timed correctly.While this does create some entertaining combatants, it is also a double-edged sword. Because the game spends so much time showing off the eccentricities of its fighters, the fights themselves are rather sluggish.Most important, however, is the style button. Style does different things depending on the fighting style of your character. Stand fighters summon colorful allies to fight alongside them in battle, while hamon fighters can perform powered-up versions of their special moves, similar to the Street Fighter series' EX attacks. Vampirism, mode, and mounted fighters behave in different ways still with the style button, and together these styles offer a good variety between the cast members within the game's simple fighting framework. But the cadence of the fights themselves still feels off, and it's an issue that impacts the entire roster.Yes, you can fight on horseback, and yes, it's amazing.For those of you not already familiar with JoJo's lore, All Star Battle's Story mode brings you up to speed, albeit in the most basic way possible. Here, the visual splendor of the JoJo's manga is condensed into a few simple text snippets that you can scroll through during loading screens between fights. But while the story aspect may be lacking, the fights themselves have an interesting twist. Individual fights in Story mode come with some special conditions layered on top--such as the enemy's health automatically refilling or your attack strength being cut. You can give yourself an edge by spending in-game currency to purchase power-ups that can negate these penalties or boost your own stats. This simple metagame between battle conditions and power-ups adds some variety to the standard versus match, and I would have loved to see these items and battle conditions expanded even further.This simple metagame between battle conditions and power-ups [in Story mode] adds some variety to the standard versus match, and I would have loved to see these items and battle conditions expanded even further.While Story mode is pretty straightforward, All Star Battle's Campaign mode is not. In this mode, you start with 10 blocks of energy, which are spent to search for opponents to fight. By defeating these opponents, you unlock new customization items--such as taunts and victory poses--for the roster. Theoretically, when you run out of energy, you can't fight anymore; however, the game trips over itself to make sure you always have more blocks to spend. You can also spend real-world money to purchase more energy blocks or the sorts of power-ups found in Story mode, but in my time with the game, I didn't have the need to do so. As it exists now, the whole energy system feels unnecessary, making this an odd variation on the otherwise sufficient Story mode.With its wide assortment of fighting styles and character gimmicks, All Star Battle desperately needs a mode that teaches you the nuances of its cast--a mode that is sadly absent. Instead, you get a few tooltips in each character's move list, but these are insufficient teaching tools for learning the full complexities of certain characters. Case in point: Jotaro Kujo has a special attack called star finger. This is an unblockable attack with a very long startup animation performed by Kujo's stand. The skill description for star finger says it's "a corresponding skill for stand rush." Stand rush is something that is not explained in Kujo's move list, the controller layout, or seemingly anywhere else in the game. As it turns out, stand rush lets Kujo attack while his stand winds up for star finger. This is a pretty significant improvement for an otherwise unsafe attack, but you are simply left to your own devices (read: YouTube) to figure it out.Each stage has its own hazard--such as poisonous frogs that rain from the sky--to watch out for.One way or another, when you feel you've mastered your chosen fighter, then it's time to head online. The online offerings for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle are minimal. Player matches have room for only you and one other person, and there is no spectating or replay support. Not being able to watch others play within the game is especially bitter since watching others is a great way to learn more about how to play your favorite characters, and as previously noted, the game lacks a dedicated education mode. In terms of online performance, the game plays well in online matches with optimal connections. Anything below that results in significant and noticeable lag, which hamstrings the fight.For those of you out there who are JoJo's fans first and fighters second, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is, despite its flaws, still very fun to play. The game is a fantastic vehicle for re-creating the iconic scenes and match-ups from its source material, is easy to pick up and mash out combos, and is every bit as stylish and emotive as the original manga. But once the glitz and glamour fade and you dive a little deeper into this game, the cracks begin to show. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is packed with style, but simply lacks the substance to back it up.Info from Gamespot.com
2014-05-02
[UPDATE] A new video from Activision and Vice offers more information about this year's Call of Duty game. "In the next Call of Duty, the world's most powerful military is not a country," the video says. "It's a corporation.""In the last 20 years, global combat has seen a steady shift towards the use of private military corporations, or PMCs. What happens when the highest bidder becomes the world's next superpower?""A new era of Call of Duty is coming," the video closes with.The original story is below.Activision today launched a teaser website for this year's Call of Duty game, in development at Modern Warfare 3 co-developer Sledgehammer Games. The website tells fans to "Get ready for a new era" of Call of Duty and that the game will be revealed on Sunday, May 4.Image credit: Game Informer A countdown clock on the teaser website ends at 1 p.m. EDT on May 4. The rest of the website features an indiscernible flickering image. The website's source code reveals the image below, which appears to showcase San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.Earlier this month, we got our first look at a character model for this year's Call of Duty game. We don't know anything about the plot or features for the game, but Activision has high hopes for the project, labeling it "ambitious" and "creative," as well as "perhaps the best Call of Duty game ever created."Game Informer will showcase this year's Call of Duty game for its next issue. The magazine has also obtained the game's first screenshot, which shows off a soldier in some kind of mech-suit. The magazine also says the game's first trailer will go live May 4 at 1 p.m. EDT. We will have all the Call of Duty news for you this weekend as it happens. Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuchGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com Info from Gamespot.com
2014-05-02
Bethesda has published the "necessary" system requirements for Wolfenstein: The New Order, and they're a bit hefty: you'll need an Intel Core i7 or equivalent AMD processor, the publisher says.The rest of the required PC specs are far more modest, asking for a GeForce 460/Radeon 6850, 4GB RAM, a 64-bit installation of Windows 7 or 8, and 50GB hard drive space."If your PC matches these requirements, then you’re good to go!" says Bethesda. We've dropped Bethesda a line to see if they'll clarify whether the i7 requirement is a bare minimum, or just recommended.Can your PC run it, then?Bethesda also announced that the PS4 and Xbox One version of Wolfenstein: The New Order will require a minimum of 8GB of hard drive space, and 47GB for a total install. The PS3 version, meanwhile, takes up 17GB as a download and 8GB for the disc version, whereas the Xbox 360 version will require an 8GB install and will ship on four discs.Wolfenstein: The New Order will be released on May 20. Martin Gaston is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @squidmaniaGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.comInfo from Gamespot.com


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