Culture Category RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Culture RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network World of Warships' History Is Leagues Deep: Behind-the-Scenes Access to this Naval MMO https://www.gameskinny.com/yfn1v/world-of-warships-history-is-leagues-deep-behind-the-scenes-access-to-this-naval-mmo https://www.gameskinny.com/yfn1v/world-of-warships-history-is-leagues-deep-behind-the-scenes-access-to-this-naval-mmo Fri, 15 Dec 2017 14:13:37 -0500 Jonathan Moore

World of Warships isn't your typical MMO. Where most massively-multiplayer online games firmly plant themselves in the worlds of fantasy or science-fiction, Wargaming's World of Warships puts players in more realistic scenarios revolving around the harrowing naval battles of World War I and World War II. 

Striking a fine balance between fun and historical authenticity, where many of the game's ships are "authentic down to the rivet", Wargaming has spent hundreds of hours researching and developing the ships and maps that comprise the oceans of World of Warships.

We recently sat down with Trevor Smith, Wargaming's Community Manager, to talk about how the company got into the free-to-play online scene, how the team infuses World of Warships' gameplay with strategy and authenticity, how real-world ships and operations influence the development process of World of Warships, and how Wargaming is preserving history through charity events, such as their current Battleship Texas in-game event. 



G
ameSkinny: Wargaming’s been around for a while now -- almost 20 years. As a company that has roots in the turn-based and real-time strategy genres, how did the company get into the free-to-play online scene?

Trevor Smith, Community Manager, World of Warships: So, Victor Kislyi [CEO of Wargaming] was part of the original game group where he and a couple of his friends were making video games in a really small sense. Their initial idea was, ‘Hey, we should make a game we can easily access with all of our friends. Something we can all have fun with.'

Kislyi has come out and said that he loved the concept of chess and military strategy games, and he thought it would be sweet to make a game of chess but with tanks -- and basically make it super impressive and amazing. And with those sort of small ideas and the historical background they had as a culture -- with World War II tank battles and that sort of thing -- that was where they started, where they went through and a lot of tinkering went on. Then World of Tanks and the free-to-play genre that followed it sort of was born.

GS: World of Tanks released around the same time that the free-to-play genre sort of took off it, didn’t it?

TS: In my impression, I would agree so. Maybe not so much for the mobile market, because there were some mobile games floating around at that point that were free or low-barrier to entry. But for the PC market, that’s one of the first few games that I remember being as high quality as it was.

Anecdotally, I didn’t start at Wargaming and then learn about World of Tanks. I was actually playing World of Tanks before joining Wargaming. I had been playing for over a year and had gotten super deep into the community and went from a manufacturing job to working with a video game company. Which is fantastic.



GS: Playing off of that, there’s quite a bit of strategy and tactical awareness that goes into playing World of Tanks and World of Warplanes. And that’s also true in World of Warships. However, the speed at which World of Warships plays out is inherently slower because of how true-to-life naval warfare also unfolds. How does Wargaming’s history in strategy subgenres fit into the game’s original and ongoing development processes?

TS: So, the concept of World of Warships being a slower, more strategic game -- I don’t know is 100% intentional on our part. You’re right, it is a naval combat game, and naval combat is slower and takes place over greater distances. It’s all very impressive in its scale. The distances you can fire with a single naval cannon are insane -- you can fire something like 20 miles. So having the compression of space [found in Tanks] just isn’t really doable. When you look at World of Tanks, for example, you’re talking about a map that’s maybe a kilometer square. Now, when you’re looking at World of Warships, you’re talking about maybe 20 kilometers square. So it’s huge.

I think that the development process and making it strategic are a focus of our map design, as well as the different ways we build out new and interesting flavors for ships. I would say that the different types of abilities the ships have inside their own classes -- such as a cruiser being sort of a jack of all trades and the Royal Navy cruisers maybe being special because they have the ability to use a smoke generator -- makes them have this little tactical flare so that you can use them and support your team in special ways.

GS: You touched on something there with the map design, I think. What is the process of looking at the maps you currently have and how they’re set up and developing new maps that employ new strategies? What is that development process like?

TS: I know our map team looks at it in a way that goes from a very rough cut, where you have the idea of, 'Here are some islands. Here’s something else. And here's a general aesthetic for it. Where do you polish it? Where do you put the individual spawns for ships? And how do you make this a space that will be good for certain capture points? Is it a two-base sort of thing where you capture the enemy base? Or is it domination mode, and it has to be in flux over the entire match?'.

So it’s really about how we want to influence the style of gameplay in that specific map. Do we want it to be more aggressive? Do we want it to be a sneakier, stealthier, pokey kind of way? It’s not a snipey type of thing -- because the ships that already do that will keep doing that -- but for the shorter-range ships that have to go through a lot of water, certain maps can be rough.

And from a historical standpoint, a lot of people ask why we don’t have more historical accuracy in this game, and we always have to refer them to the fact that a majority of naval combat happened in the open ocean. And we have a map that’s just open ocean -- and that map is supremely boring to play. So there’s a lot of gameplay aesthetic being put into [World of Warships] as opposed to historical aesthetic.

GS: I was actually going to ask if the team ever took a historical battle and built a map around it. But since most of those battles happened in the open ocean …

TS: Yeah, what would you do? Color the water differently? (laughs) Yeah, ocean while kind of stormy ...

Now we do have some, like Okinawa, which has that historical feel to it, and it’s loosely based on that section of the Pacific Ocean, but not all of it is conducive to plopping down a square map on a gameplay surface. So we do our best to try and marry both when we say this is going to be pseudo-historic.

GS: And there are a lot of other factors, too, such as aircraft and aircraft carriers, that may not always translate as well into -- I won’t say an arcadey deathmatch -- but a typical deathmatch scenario.

TS: I think arcade style is a pretty fair statement. We do have an arcadey feel. It’s not 100% simulation. That would be boring as all get out. Not just for the maps, but when you consider taking a ship from full stop to full steam, it takes something like 30 minutes. So there’s no way you would want to sit through that.

GS: So we’ve talked a little bit about historical authenticity already, which can be seen in World of Warships for sure. Obviously, getting it right is a big deal when you're able to incorporate it. Can you talk a little about the research process behind the ships themselves and how that ties into balancing ships and developing things like Commander Skills?

TS: Sure. We have a very delicate balance we need to strike. We want to be as authentic as possible, while also being fun to play. Sometimes that can be really rough. A great example is when we were talking about Royal Navy cruisers. To fit into a tech tree, the existing, already-made ships were actually very similar, but the differences between technologies in those ships were leaps and bounds. So it’s hard to knock out a 1-through-10 ranking system that makes sense in the rest of the game. So, there are times when we have to go and find particular ships that may have only been concepts but fit into the tech trees.    

For the most part, however, our development teams -- the guys who make the actual ships -- visit different Navy offices and ships (if they exist) and use all of the photos and blueprints they can to knock together a ship that is as accurate as they can possibly make it. A lot of those ships are actually accurate down to the rivet … you have to understand what year you’re picking the ship from and then how you’re going to make it fit into the game with that specific loadout.   

A great example is the U.S.S. Kidd. She's currently in a very WWII setup, but she was modified by removing some torpedoes and adding AA guns because aircraft were doing terrible things to ships at that point. So in the game, she’s missing a set of torpedo tubes that a Fletcher-class ship should have. So the other Fletchers [in World of Warships] are a little bit more powerful. By removing those torpedoes, we’re able to sort of downclass the U.S.S. Kidd and make it a more acceptable ship in the tier she was put in. So a lot of that goes into balancing and getting ships in the game.

GS: What I like about World of Warships is looking at the ships and saying, ‘These are authentic ships.’ And it’s a testament to your R&D because none of the ships really feel overpowered, especially considering these ships are over different timelines. How long do you playtest ships when balancing them?

TS: A lot of times it depends on how close our initial developments are. With ships, the developers knock together a basic idea of a ship: HP, Damage, Rate of Fire, etc. They then go through a QA process internally, and once the ships start functioning in game -- i.e. they don’t crash, for example -- they hand the ships over to our group of volunteer super testers … and those super testers put the ships through their paces.

We then parse feedback through a lot of different people -- we read through all of it. We have not just the NA region, but EU, Asia, and RU all doing this testing, and then based upon all that feedback, we might make some small tweaks. But then we put it on the live servers to test it even further, again with the super testers and some of our contributors, the guys who make videos for us, just to see how it performs in a live setting. 

We study all the statistics from the servers: how it’s doing in terms of damage, in terms of survival rate, all of that sort of thing. The amount of information we have on our ships’ performances is really quite astounding … there are a myriad of changes we can make that affect how good a ship is. And then after we make all those changes and we feel really comfortable with the ship, that’s when it gets released.

GS: How do you go about determining what ships are premium ships?

TS: Usually, that determination would work with an interesting ship that may or may not fit a line. Usually, it won't fit a line because it’s just not good enough or it doesn’t quite meet the characteristics we’re trying to add to a line of ships. Then we determine the best thing we can do for that ship is turn it into a premium ship.

For example, we don’t currently have any Italian battleships in the game as a line, but we have Roma coming out soon [which would be a premium ship]. All of our lines are named after the lead ships. So you have the Cleveland class, the Farragut class, the Fletcher class … those are all ships in their respective lines that you can grind to. Speaking of Fletcher specifically, the U.S.S. Kidd is a ship you can spend some real money on getting, and it’s slightly different than the Fletcher you would [grind] to in the game.

Conversely, there are also ships that totally don’t fit at all, and we distribute them in different ways. The U.S.S. Missouri is an Iowa class, but she’s not different from the Iowa itself, which is a Tier IX ship, and we don’t sell Tier IX premiums. So we decided that we’d give this premium ship away for free, but you would have to grind to it using free experience, which is one of our in-game currencies.  



GS: Al King has talked about Wargaming’s relationship with tank museums for World of Tanks and that Wargaming’s Lesta Studio in St. Petersburg, Russia, overlooks the Neva river, where historic warships can be found. Can you talk a little about Wargaming’s relationships with maritime museums or community historical societies and how they might tie into World of Warships?

TS: That’s actually one of the things we’re working on almost all the time. The U.S.S. Kidd is a great example. We actually just created some community videos on our channels that basically bring awareness to the fact that the ship exists and is a real thing you can visit. Our ship team that did all the measurements for the U.S.S. Kidd actually went out to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the museum to take pictures of everything. They documented that ship from stern to bow.

But one thing that we’re working on right now that’s really big is the Battleship Texas Foundation. Battleship Texas is not in good shape. She’s actually sinking -- and water has to be pumped out every day. She is the last Dreadnought in the world. So Battleship Texas out in Houston is in a really rough way and needs a lot of help, a lot of monetary and PR help.

So we recently launched our Project Valor Campaign, where we created bundles in our premium shop that ranged from $5 to $30, and 100% of those proceeds went to Battleship Texas. When we first launched the campaign in November, a lot of people from EU, Asia, and RU found out and [wanted to help]. Overall, we raised over $280,000 for Battleship Texas.

Outside of charity work, we make a lot of video series that look at the history of ships and the actions they've partaken in. Because Wargaming definitely sees themselves -- ourselves -- as shepherds of history … those men’s lives and women’s lives deserve to be remembered.       

GS: You talked a little about this already, but backing up just a bit, the battleships, cruisers, aircraft carriers, and frigates in WoWs are all ships from the WWI and WWII eras. Why focus on that period of naval warfare and not, say, the modern era or perhaps the Napoleonic era?

TS: I can only speak to this from a personal standpoint. Napoleonic naval combat would be great, except the problem is those ships move very, very slow, and those encounters occurred very close to each other. Plus, a lot of times you’re going to be dealing more with boarding than you are firing. That’s an entirely different game to play. We don’t have boarding aspects. Would that be a cool game? Absolutely. But is World of Warships that game? I don’t think it was ever intended to be that game.

Conversely, with modern warships, so much is accomplished now by an aircraft carrier or missile boats -- there are no operational battleships anymore. Your navy is mostly comprised of aircraft carriers and destroyers. Having big, dramatic hunks-of-steel warships -- that’s just not a thing anymore. So being in the modern era, I don’t know if it would really appeal to a lot of different individuals because a lot of your battles are being fought at such great distances.

GS: Over the summer, Wargaming released update 0.6.8 for World of Warships, with much of the content revolving around Operation Dynamo and the harrowing rescue at Dunkirk during the Second World War. What goes into pulling something like that off from an R&D perspective? What differentiates it from other in-game operations, such as Operation Ultimate Frontier, for example?   

TS: Operation Dynamo was made with the express intent of working alongside the movie Dunkirk. We were releasing content with Warner Bros.' blessing, getting information from them, and of course, doing our own research as well. In terms of the creation of that and the R&D, that was a true undertaking. It differentiates from the other operations because a lot of things we did [with Operation Dynamo] didn’t exist in [World of Warships] before Operation Dynamo.

For example, the concept of a minefield was just alien. It only exists in that operation, but it’s something we could use in other operations as well. The little Schnellboots from Germany, those don’t exist in the game. We work with nothing smaller than a destroyer. So having those designed and designing how they interact is very interesting -- specifically leading up all the different A.I. questions. It was a tremendous amount of effort to make that new and exciting thing you could turn into a gamified version of Dunkirk, which has a very serious undertone.

How does this differ from other operations? This one differs in that it got a specific collection, a group of items that get added to your player account, which are basically like trophies and achievements you get for completing certain matches. Those collections had historical items from that era -- and a lot of historical information attached to them.

It was intricate and deep, but also very good for us. Using those various technologies and those inferences, they influenced a lot of the operations we have now. For the most part, we can take those learnings and systems and copy/paste them into the ones we have, which will make them better.

GS: America and Japan were the first two nations in World of Warships. How did the development and research teams decide on those two nations? What about their historic fleets led to that focus?

TS: From what I remember [about that time in Warships' history], Wargaming and Lesta Studio wanted to work on a game that would be a little bit more popular and geared toward American naval historians. And for Americans, we think of the War of the Pacific more than the War of the Atlantic. Having ship-to-ship interactions with, for example, Germany -- Americans remember more of the war with the Japanese in terms of naval engagement.

Plus, the Japanese had the most well-known battleship ever, the Yamato. It was the biggest, baddest battleship … If you were releasing a naval combat game, you would definitely release Yamato as soon as you possibly could.

GS: Can you talk about your upcoming initiative with the Battleship Texas Foundation?

TS: Today, December 11, we’re launching a new initiative that goes through April 1, 2018. In this initiative, you can refer a friend and get them to Tier VI in any line, and for every account that does that, we’re going to donate $25 to the Battleship Texas Foundation. That’s going to be something where we don’t ask players to contribute any money at all -- we just want them to find someone new and get them into the game.

---

Rounding out Wargaming's trifecta of historically based MMO titles, World of Warships is poised to continue its domination of the seven seas by providing both maritime enthusiasts and casual players some of the most realistic yet fun naval combat in modern gaming. And through Wargaming's charity efforts, the company is one of the few in the gaming sphere that's taking action to preserve some of the most iconic pieces of history the world has ever seen. 

You can pilot some of the most fearsome battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and aircraft carriers of WWI and WWII by checking out World of Warships on Steam or over at Wargaming.net.  

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6 Great Gaming YouTube Channels for Tweens https://www.gameskinny.com/q5lqu/6-great-gaming-youtube-channels-for-tweens https://www.gameskinny.com/q5lqu/6-great-gaming-youtube-channels-for-tweens Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:09:43 -0500 ESpalding

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So there you have it! A handful of YouTubers who are great for young gamers. Of course, I've only skimmed the surface here; there are many others out there who would be equally suitable.

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If you are unsure as to whether or not a YouTuber might be suitable for your tween to watch, then have a look at the list of videos the host has uploaded to see what games they are playing. Obviously, some games are not suitable for children of any age, so you'd probably be right in thinking that they wouldn't be very child-friendly. You could also talk to your child to see what games they are interested in, and do the legwork for them by searching for suitable YouTubers yourself. At least then you will know who your child is watching!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-pokemon-gothumb-28325.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-pokemon-gothumb-28325.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176026","description":"

YouTuber: AliA

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Currently playing Pokemon GO
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I first came across AliA when Pokemon GO was a new thing, just curious about who was catching what and any techniques I could follow. Since then, I have told all sorts of people to check out his videos because they are fun, informative, and perfect for younger gamers. His MoreAliA channel is the one you need to watch for the more child-friendly games such as Pokemon GO and Super Mario Odyssey, but he does have another channel with more mature content that features games for older gamers, including Fortnite and Call of Duty.

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AliA's main channel has been around since 2006, but his younger channel has only been going since 2013. In total he has a subscriber base of about 13 million. 

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YouTuber: ZackScottGames

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Currently playing various titles
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Even in the about section of his YouTube channel, ZackScottGames makes a point of saying that his videos are in line with the rating of a game. If it has an E rating, then all his solo commentary videos are suitable for all. However, this does mean that with any unrated or mature games, his commentary will be in line with that.

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Recent games that he has covered on his channel include Splatoon 2The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildMario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Mario Odyssey. 

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His channel has been going since 2010, and his cumulative total video views are well over 1 billion.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/d/m/tdm-54faa.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/d/m/tdm-54faa.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175973","description":"

YouTuber: DanTDM

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Currently playing Minecraft and Let's Plays
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Unveiled this week, DanTDM (TheDiamondMinecart) was announced as the highest paid YouTuber of 2017, and it really doesn't come as a surprise. Dan has been doing Minecraft and Let's Play videos since 2012, and his videos have amassed well over 11 billion views. From The Escapists 2 to recent releases such as A Hat in Time, his videos attract gamers of all ages because of his quirky personality and other fun content.

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Dan always watches his language and doesn't make videos featuring the more mature games on the market, and that is why he is one of the most popular gaming YouTubers in the business!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/o/b/roblox-00ecd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/o/b/roblox-00ecd.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175879","description":"

YouTuber: EthanGamer

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Currently playing Roblox, Minecraft, and mobile games
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In an article about YouTube channels that are good for kids, it might be a good idea to actually look at some of the kids out there who already have their own channels. EthanGamer is one such kid, and his channel is huge. He mostly plays Roblox and Minecraft, but he also dabbles with mobile games and other kid-friendly titles such as Slime Rancher and Nintendo Switch games.

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For someone who is a lot younger than most of the gaming channel hosts out there, his YouTube channel is going from strength to strength, and the channel stats reflect this. He currently has 1.7 million subscribers and over 1 billion views across the board!

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Being a child himself, all his videos are suitable for kids of all ages, and his channel is policed by his parents to make sure that their child and yours are safe.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/h/o/ghostz-b25fe.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/h/o/ghostz-b25fe.png","type":"slide","id":"175052","description":"

YouTuber: Blitz

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Currently doing different Let's Plays every week
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Blitz has a whole host of great Let's Play videos on his YouTube channel. From little-known browser games to bigger indie games, there is something for everyone! 

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His channel started in 2009, and since then he has amassed a staggering 350 million views and currently has 1.1 million subscribers. 

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Any tween who is interested in finding out about some of the lesser-known games should really go and check him out. His videos are lighthearted, clean, and he keeps the bad language down to a minimum. But do be cautious because he does have an "after dark" channel which may contain more adult language.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/e/w/new-leaf-508e2.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/e/w/new-leaf-508e2.png","type":"slide","id":"175046","description":"

YouTuber: chuggaaconroy

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Currently playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf
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On his standalone channel, chuggaaconroy joined YouTube in 2006 and has since uploaded video covering all sorts of games. From his first videos about Earthbound, through The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and all the way up to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, he tends to focus on games from various Nintendo DS gens.

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He does have a second channel called The Runaway Guys, which is a collaboration between himself, ProtonJon, and NintendoCapriSun. They also love making videos based on DS games, and are currently uploading content about The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes.

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The reason chuggaaconroy is on this list is because his content is always happy, clean, and to me, it is clear that he makes an effort to appeal to younger gamers. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/w/e/tweens-header-783bd.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/w/e/tweens-header-783bd.png","type":"slide","id":"175045","description":"

"Oh no! An article about YouTube channels for kids! It's just going to be about Minecraft, isn't it?"

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You might be happy to learn that no, there are many things more interesting than watching Minecraft on YouTube. Kids aged between 8-12, or "tweens" as they are sometimes referred to, are gradually wanting to break away from making and watching videos centered around the building game, and there are a whole host of great channels out there which cater to that.

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As a parent, it is important to me that kids of this age watch videos that are suitable for them in content and how the hosts present themselves. Although he is the most famous of gaming YouTubers, I wouldn't want my kids watching some of PewDiePie's videos -- especially given some of his recent faux pas

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Check out some of these great YouTube channels that we have found! All are suitable for tweens, and I've tried to steer clear of videos solely about Minecraft -- okay, so there might be one.

"}]]]>
Merry Gaming! Your Guide to Christmas 2017 In-Game Events https://www.gameskinny.com/vj1cv/merry-gaming-your-guide-to-christmas-2017-in-game-events https://www.gameskinny.com/vj1cv/merry-gaming-your-guide-to-christmas-2017-in-game-events Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:31:58 -0500 ThatGamersAsylum

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League of Legends Snowdown

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Runs from December 13 to January 1. 

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Champion Skins
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There are going to be 3 new champion skins: Ambitious Elf Jinx, Santa Draven, and Snow Fawn Poppy. Each one will set you back 1350 RP.

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Naughty or Nice Missions
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There are also Naughty or Nice mission variants that will be available during the Snowdown Showdown event. These missions will also have exclusive rewards such as emotes, limited-time poro skins. The website also teases "and more", but never specifies what that might be. Once you complete the “Be Naughty” or “Be Nice” mission, the other path and its rewards disappear. You’ll earn the Dravenbread emote for completing the Naughty missions and Braumbread emote for the Nice ones. Only matchmade games count for missions.

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Gifting
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During the event, you will also be able to gift your friends a Santa Baron 2017 icon for 1,000 blue essence. While you cannot buy this icon for yourself, you can self-mystery gift champions or skins to yourself.

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Snowdown Capsules
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Stock up on Snowdown Capsules for a limited time. Inside you’ll find two or more random skin shards, a guaranteed Epic+ skin shard, bonus Orange Essence, and an increased chance for bonus skin shards and/or a gemstone.
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Emotes
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Grab new emotes and flash them all year! If you already own the Re-Gifted Amumu, Snowbells, or Poro Snax Lover icons, their corresponding emotes will automatically appear in your collection. Missed out on these hard-earned emotes last year? You can grab them for a limited time with gemstones.
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New Game Mode: Snow Battle Arurf
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This holiday-themed reimagining of ARURF features League's coolest champions.
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Poro icons and their corresponding skins will return for both game modes. And all Snowdown and winter-themed skins will be free to play in this game mode.
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\n

---

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That's all (for now), folks! There's plenty of other games in the woodworks that we're keeping an eye on whose devs have not announced clear plans, so be sure to check back often to see if any of your favorite titles are having holiday celebrations worth returning for. 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/s/o/eso-newlifefestival-bed03.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/s/o/eso-newlifefestival-bed03.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176054","description":"

Elder Scrolls Online's New Life Festival

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As of December 14th, Elder Scrolls Online will be celebrating its in-universe holiday: the New Life Festival. Much like our world's New Year's festivals, the New Life Festival celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of another. This event will run until January 2.

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Joining The Festivities
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According to ESO's official website,"In order to join the festivities, acquire the free New Life Festival Scroll from the Crown Store. Use the scroll to find the New Life Herald Breda in a tent just south of Windhelm, Eastmarch. She will give you the initial quest, “The New Life Festival", which will unlock a series of nine uniquely festive daily quests."

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Bonus XP
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Each of the 9 unique quests represents the festivities of one of the nine races. Completing one of these quests for the first time will unlock Breda's Bottomless Mead Mug, which will confer a 100% XP boost for 2 hours; this boost can stack with other boosts. In addition to the mug, you will also receive a New Life Festival Gift Box.

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New Life Festival Gift Box Goodies
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While these usually give assorted random items, like crafting materials, consumable mementos, and Wolfsbane Incense (the Skinchanger style item), this time they will also have a small chance to impart rare items:

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  • Skinchanger Motif chapters
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  • New Life recipes
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  • New Life collectibles:\n
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    • Sword-Swallower's Blade memento
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    • Juggler's Knives memento
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    • Fire-Breather's Torches memento
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    • Mud Ball Pouch memento
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    • Nordic Bather's Towel costume
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    • Colovian Filigreed Hood hat
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    • Colovian Fur Hood hat
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    \n
  • \n
  • A wide variety of lights, lamps, and lanterns for your home to celebrate the Signal Fire Sprint
  • \n
  • Roguish Draughts of Stealth and Escape to celebrate the Trial of Five-Clawed Guile
  • \n
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Holiday Furnishings
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Lastly, there will be some new home customizations you can purchase to get it into fit shape for the holiday mood, both of which can be purchased from Heralda Garscroft, the Holiday Achievement Furnisher.

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    \n
  • The New Life Bonfire – Costs 10,000 gold; available once you complete the “Snow Bare Plunge" achievement
  • \n
  • The New Life Celebrant's Standard – Costs 2,500 gold; Available once you complete the “New Life Celebrant" achievement
  • \n
\n

If you're curious to know some extra specifics, like the few places that bonus XP does not apply, then feel free to check out the official blog post, here.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/h/r/christmas-event-screenshot-14cc1.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/h/r/christmas-event-screenshot-14cc1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175822","description":"

Rocket League Frosty Fest CHristmas and Holiday Event

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Rocket League's Frosty Fest will start December 11 and run through January 2. This event will work similarly to the Halloween event in that it will have its own currency -- and this time, it will be Snowflakes.

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Snowflakes will be earned by playing matches and can be used to buy event items, decryptors, and the new Frosty Fest event crate (as of this writing, no details were offered on specific rewards).

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Note: the stand-alone items you can buy are not the same items that will be available in the crate. The Frosty Fest event crate will be available as an occasional drop after matches, purchasable using snowflakes, or available using real-world money.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d5d6c14be8bdfec708c94ece0a73fc3a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d5d6c14be8bdfec708c94ece0a73fc3a.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11731","description":"

Call of Duty: WWII -- Winter Siege Holiday Event

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While previous Holiday events took place in Infinite Warfare, the new title has been released and as such, all the Winter related content will be taking place in Call of Duty: World War II. This event will run from December 8 to January 2.

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The Winter Siege Holiday event will feature:

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  • Double XP Playlists
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  • A new map: Winter Carentan (free for the duration of the event)
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  • A new game mode: Gun Game
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  • One free Winter Supply Drop each week that contains winter gear. 
  • \n
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There will also be five free new weapons that you can unlock by completing special orders (presumably missions or goals) during the siege. Each weapon has its own variants and collection rewards. The trailer details three guns: the Gewher 43, the Sten, and the GPMG. It also seems to imply that there will be 2 new melee weapons: a pickaxe and a knife that has brass knuckles on the handle. 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e0b1284921de4293577182261f9326ab.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e0b1284921de4293577182261f9326ab.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11730","description":"

Splatoon 2 Christmas and Holiday Updates

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For the holidays, Splatoon 2 is having another Splatfest, which pits two ideas against one another and forces you to vote for them by playing for them. 

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In one corner, we have ugly holiday sweaters weighing in at way too many because they've become an ironic trend that's intriguing yet only mildly entertaining for like one day a year -- so it's really not worth it.

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In the other corner, we have ugly holiday socks. The underdog that most people don't even remember exist until that one cousin who is way too comfortable at your house takes off his shoes and takes the phrase, "Make yourself at home" a little too seriously.

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In addition to the Splatfest, there was a recent update at the end of November that added new maps, gear, and quality of life features like swapping gear between matches. Later in December there will also be a new game mode added, which has not yet been detailed. 

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Interestingly, in Japan, this competition is winter outerwear vs winter innerwear. And in Europe, it is films vs books. While it makes sense that ugly holiday sweaters and socks are Amero-centric, at least Japan is still centered around the winter season. But films vs books?

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/m/i/smite-1280x640-d733d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/m/i/smite-1280x640-d733d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"175819","description":"

SMITE Christmas and Holiday Chest

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From what we can tell, SMITE doesn't seem to be throwing any large event this year. However, they do have the Holiday Chest returning. 

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Perhaps what makes SMITE's Holiday Chest stand out amongst other similar chests offered for other similar titles is that the devs are donating $1 to the Child's Play charity for every chest purchased. 

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The Holiday chest costs 400 gems (roughly $8) and has 15 different items available. 12 skins -- 10 returning and 2 new -- along with a snowman ward, a winter loading frame, and a snowman avatar. The two new skins are Ice Mage Agni and Snow Day Scylla, pictured above. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4c9c79aa40eda4b029f78a9af9f1c4db.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4c9c79aa40eda4b029f78a9af9f1c4db.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11729","description":"

Overwatch Christmas and Holiday Event: Return to Winter Wonderland

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Overwatch, Blizzard's preeminent character-based shooter, celebrates most holidays and this year is no different with the Return to Winter Wonderland celebration.

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Skins
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Hanzo, Junkrat, and Roadhog are confirmed to be receiving skins, but there will also be other legendary skins. However, at this time, the developer is playing coy and wants to "leave surprises for you when you log into the game". 

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Seasonal Maps
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King's Row, Hanamora, The Black Forest arena map. Mei's Global Snowball Offensive is still available in Antartica and now in Black Forest as well. 

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New Novelty Game Mode: Mei's Yeti Hunt
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Asymmetrical "boss" fight. One team has five Mei's and the other team has one Winston starring as the Yeti. Takes place in Nepal Village.

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At the start of this map, the Mei's are hunting down Winston. Winston, however, is searching for powerups, which put him into a primal rage mode once he has obtained enough of them. If Winston manages to get into primal rage mode, then the hunted becomes the hunter and the five Mei's are then tasked with escaping the map. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/m/a/xmassss-header-a1f67.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/m/a/xmassss-header-a1f67.png","type":"slide","id":"175824","description":"

It's that time of year, ya' know, the time of year where everyone keeps starting their holiday articles with "It's that time of year". Yeah, that time. It's during this time that Christmas washes over everything and paints it a green and red veneer. Half the radio stations are playing Christmas music. Half the TV channels are showing Christmas movies. It's insurmountable size only continues to grow, not to be outdone by ol' Saint Nick's waistline.

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And now, the video game industry has succumbed, too. Not just to the Black Friday gift giving craze, but also to the arbitrarily dress-up-your-favorite-characters-in-Christmas-clothes craze. It's wonderful, it's terrible, it's all encompassing. But most of all, it's profitable overwhelming, just like everything else about the season. That's why we're here with a compendium of all the holiday-oriented video game events going on this season. Let's jump into the list.

"}]]]>
Wanna Run Your Own Game Studio? Insider Tips from an Expert https://www.gameskinny.com/3iukk/wanna-run-your-own-game-studio-insider-tips-from-an-expert https://www.gameskinny.com/3iukk/wanna-run-your-own-game-studio-insider-tips-from-an-expert Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:07:03 -0500 Loptr Sigyn

The Georgia Game Developers Association invited award-winning game developer Jesse Schell, author of The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, as a keynote speaker to the Association’s 11th annual Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo. Schell Games, whose I Expect You To Die is one of the most acclaimed VR games to be released, was founded by Jesse.

The skills needed to manage a company are not necessarily the ones needed to develop a successful game.

The video is over an hour. However, it's packed with really informative insights on the day-to-day realities of owning your own game studio. He starts at the very beginning of his journey, where he was a professional circus performer -- specifically, a juggler. After traveling with several different troupes, he then became a programmer -- shocker, right? Schell's first gig was as a software engineer for the phone company. It's how he paid for graduate school.

How Did Jesse Get Started in Gaming?

I got a position at Walt Disney Imagineering, where I started working in the Disney virtual reality studio, and I worked there from about '95 to 2002. After being there for about seven years, then I moved to Pittsburgh, where I did two things at once. One, I started teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, at the Entertainment Technology Center, where I still teach, and I also started a game studio called Schell Games. 

The rest of the presentation includes wonderful insider bits of knowledge, funny true stories, and reflections on what Jesse feels needs to happen for future game developers and the people who will run them. I realize the video is a bit long; however, by the end, you'll find yourself wanting to rewind it.

Don't believe me?

Well then be sure to tell me how long you watched and what you think could improve it in the comments below.

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What's On Your (Game) Playlist for December? https://www.gameskinny.com/bj8f7/whats-on-your-game-playlist-for-december https://www.gameskinny.com/bj8f7/whats-on-your-game-playlist-for-december Mon, 11 Dec 2017 16:26:32 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Another month has gone by, bringing with it the chance to tackle that backlog or get stuck in something new. Between penning the content that keeps you occupied, the good folks behind GameSkinny have been busy with a wide variety of games this past month. Here's just a sampling of what we've all been up to.

El Conquistadork

Contributor and self-proclaimed geek enthusiast El Conquistadork has been sampling some of the most recent blockbuster releases. Why stop at just one, after all?

Assassin’s Creed Origins: I’m only a few hours into this one, but it’s succeeded in being the first AC game that hasn’t royally annoyed me to death. Part of that has to do with how much better the controls feel. The other part has to do with [Ubisoft] keeping the Abstergo crap to a minimum. I’ve always found modern day subplots in AC games to be boring, time-consuming, and completely superfluous. I’m also loving the protagonist. A surprisingly good entry so far: hopefully, it keeps up the pace.

Call of Duty: WWII: I’ve never been much of a CoD guy, but I will say that this one is pretty great. The campaign is fun, the multiplayer is engaging, and even the loot drops aren’t that distracting (compared to other loot boxes, that is).

Hand of Fate 2: I’ve only just begun this one, but damn, is it good. All the excellent combos of action, card playing, and choose-your-own-adventure gameplay, combined with a big graphics upgrade, and a much larger overworld.

Stephen Johnston

Stephen Johnston, site founder, is also mixing some well-known and niche games, with two in particular that are probably on a lot of people's lists.

  • Horizon: Zero Dawn expansion because HZD is the game of the decade.
  • Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance -- this game is basically my version of solitaire. I just play it to kill time.
  • Dungeons III -- A great little strategy game and dungeon builder, maybe a touch easy, but good humor and fun.
  • Super Mario Odyssey -- Because it's amazing. Easily top three Mario game.

Thomas_Wilde

Contributor and freelance writer Thomas Wilde is also balancing some old and new -- not always an easy task.

I'm constantly wrestling with my backlog, which goes back roughly 12 years and spans across 20 platforms. I managed to knock Oxenfree off my list on Halloween, which I liked; it's a short, genuinely creepy game that's a bit hamstrung by its characters never seeming to act like they're in as much danger as the narrative suggests.

Every so often, I still check in on World of Warcraft to chase achievements or run a mythic dungeon. I'm one of the people who's not really satisfied by the new expansion, Battle for Azeroth; I like the idea of warfronts and procedurally generated mini-dungeons in the form of uncharted islands, but Legion opened with both the Horde and Alliance being crippled by their losses at the Broken Shore. As per the current narrative, they just shouldn't have the resources for yet another hot war.

(Yes, I'm a lore nerd.)

The next thing I play is likely to be more horror. Right now, I'm eying ObScure, a title for the PS2 and Xbox, which is a self-conscious homage to '90s-style horror. I got almost to the end back in the day, but its sequel is really bleak and killed a lot of my momentum at the time.

Then again, I really ought to finally start The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Decisions, decisions.

Zach Hunt

Editor Zach Hunt is the newest edition to the GameSkinny team, and he, too, added Mario's latest outing to his catalog, along with some other big hits.

Most of my time is being spent collecting moons in Super Mario Odyssey (think I'm at 235 right now, so I have a lot of work to do). I'm not a completionist by any means, but any excuse to keep PLAYING in that world works just fine for me. I really love this game. Like, REALLY love it.

I downloaded Rocket League for my Switch recently, but I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. I was pretty terrible at it on PS4 and considered skipping this version, but the $20 price point and the mobility factor won me over. It'll be fun to get murdered on the go.

Aside from the Switch, I've been having fun with South Park Phone Destroyer and trying to get back into Starcraft 2 (since Blizzard kindly gifted WoL owners with Heart of the Swarm).

I'm going to try and be disciplined and not buy Skyrim (for the third time) when it hits the Switch, but somehow, I already know that I'll bite. BoTW really scratches that open-world exploration itch for me, but those bow and arrow motion controls look pretty sweet. And, you know, Link and the Master Sword. I mean, c'mon.

Ty Arthur

Featured contributor (and Destiny 2 guide guru) Ty Arthur has been indulging in some high fantasy goodness of late.

On the mobile side, I just got into Battleheart and feel like I was really missing out. It's got a fantasy style that will strongly appeal to RPG fans while taking the typical dumb, mobile timewaster elements and really using them to the game's advantage. The simple tap and drag mechanics are elegant, but still make you feel like you are actually playing something substantial. I haven't had this much fun with an Android game since Pocket Mortys, and it's not often I actually want to play a tablet game, instead of it being something you do when you need to pass some time and would prefer to not sit in silence doing nothing instead.

On the full game front, its been a whole lot of Shadow Of War for me lately. That first game in the series is still one of the Xbox One's best entries, so I was stoked beyond belief for the sequel. There are a few things I'm not crazy about (the much bigger world and areas leads to a lot of repetition, some of the wall pathfinding is awful when trying to climb, and I wasn't a fan of how the Balrog basically becomes Godzilla with a fire whip), but on the whole, this is a game you can lose yourself in for a stupid number of hours. I'll be conquering fortresses, riding drakes, and commanding orc armies for weeks to come before getting tired of the experience.

PurplePocketPirate

Community writer and RPG enthusiast Greyson Ditzler (aka PurplePocketPirate) added a bit of retro to his catalog recently, with one game, in particular, that might be rather familiar to some of you.

I've been playing a lot of different games lately, but I'm usually juggling a lot of them at once, so that's not all that different. I've been playing a lot of Battle Chef Brigade, and It's been a lot of fun. It gives you a lot more freedom to be creative than most cooking games, and the art is pretty nice, even if there isn't a lot of movement. I'm replaying it on Hard mode right now and making different story choices, so I can get the most out of it.

I also recently got a Sega Genesis, and that's been an interesting learning process. I bought it to play Rocket Knight Adventures -- which is Konami hard so far, but a lot of fun and really charming -- because it's never been ported, but looked like it would be right up my alley. Getting used to a button scheme with three primary buttons instead of two or four has been a surprising bump in the road for me, and I've had to adjust to the stiffness of the Genesis D-Pad, but other than that, I'm having a blast. Rocket Knight has a lot of surprises, a cute, bumbling protagonist, and boss fights every five minutes or so. Hard, but creative, and lots of fun. Also, it has a possum with a jet pack and a sword, so of course I had to try it at some point.

I've also been playing a lot of Streets of Rage 2 on my Genesis. I picked it up because I heard that it was one of the best beat-em-ups you can find, and so far, they're pretty right. Slick, pixelated graphics, tons of combos, and a wonderfully robust and bright '90's radical aesthetic. And the music. Oh sweet lord, the music. A lot of Genesis games can have flat out awful music, made of nothing but bubbling blips and chips with no direction, but this stuff is Grade A classic. The theme of the first level is so good I would seriously blast it out of my car's windows if I was driving downtown... You know, if I had a car. Yuzo Koshiro knows what's up. Check out the soundtrack if nothing else.

Super Mario Odyssey has been great, but there's not much point going in to that, since most people have heard about that already. Though I will admit that I've been playing it a lot when I've got a spare minute--just picking it up to collect a few moons before I leave for a class or whatever. Fantastic game; still not sure if it beats Galaxy for me, but it's damn good.

I also replayed VA-11 HALL-A recently on the Vita for the sake of my review on GameSkinny. Nothing much to say here I haven't said already. It's just a really pretty, compelling, well-presented visual novel with unique gameplay and a great cast of sci-fi and manga misfits, in a world of Bladerunner meets Cheers.

Lastly, during the Thanksgiving festivities I played a lot of Jackbox Party Pack 3 with my friends and family. I seriously think Jackbox might be the best names in Party games right now. They make cheap, easy to understand, fun and funny games that basically anyone can understand and play without a lot of complicated set-up. If you haven't played Quiplash 2 or T.K.O. with a full group of people at least once, then you haven't lived.

That's most of the interesting stuff I've been playing. The list will grow after Christmas, I can tell you that much.

Kat De Shields

Kat De Shields, our Journalism Training Program coordinator and communications manager, found some excellent mobile indies to keep her company during her holiday travels.

This past month, mainly due to travel, it's been all about games I can play on my phone or iPad.

Milkmaid of the Milky Way is a gorgeous, point-and-click adventure game set in western Norway in 1929. Ruth lives on a farm alone and makes butter and cheese from the milk her cows produce. When an alien ship abducts her beloved cows, it sparks the adventure she was waiting for. The soundtrack is lovely, and the game displays just how gorgeous pixel art can be.

Old Man's Journey is more of a story than a game with puzzle elements. If you're a sucker for atmosphere, this game has a lot of it, with wonderful artwork and a charming soundtrack. As an old man, you travel through the French countryside and stop at locations packed with memories to discover what sparked the spontaneous journey in the first place. It's bittersweet, in the best way possible, and is a lovely illustration of the love, loss, and hope we all experience as humans.

I'm also sinking more hours than I should into Game Dev Story (not to be confused with Game Dev Tycoon). It provides an entertaining glimpse into the world of game development, encompassing hiring/outsourcing work, how decisions are made as consoles are released, and how genre popularity and your fan-base changes.

Jonathan Moore

In between gear reviews, our Senior Editor Jonathan Moore has been playing quite a few games in different genres over the past month -- some new and some old. 

As a self-proclaimed Star Wars nerd, it was inevitable that'd I'd be playing a lot of Battlefront 2. And over the last month, for better or worse, that's exactly what I've been doing. Sure, the game has a ton of things wrong with it and its MMR leaves a lot to be desired (that's not to mention the loot and progression system ... but I won't get into that cluster here). But at its core, BF2 is a fantastically fun game -- and that's what we're all here for anyway: fun. If you're not sure if you should pick it up yet, I'd say let the price come down a little and bite. The mechanics are solid, the story is great fun, and StarFighter Assault is hands down my favorite gameplay mode of any shooter this year -- to be melodramatic: it saves the game. 

On top of that, I've been rummaging around the world of Fallout 4 quite a bit. I never played when it first came out -- it was one of those games in my backlog that just sat on a digital shelf for about a year. But man, am I glad I jumped in. The base-builiding aspect of F4 put its hooks in me and I can't stop scavenging to build walls, workshops, and turrets. I've put in around 42 hours so far and have barely scratched the surface of the story. Help -- I have a problem. 

Stephen keeps saying I need to play Horizon: Zero Dawn (which I really do). But these two games are going to carry me well through December.

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What are you playing this month? Let us know down in the comments!

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Warface Gets New Battle Royale Mode https://www.gameskinny.com/uk7lz/warface-gets-new-battle-royale-mode https://www.gameskinny.com/uk7lz/warface-gets-new-battle-royale-mode Fri, 08 Dec 2017 11:00:50 -0500 Caio Sampaio

Fifteen armed participants and only one winner. The prize? Staying alive. To claim it, there is only one choice: scavenge your surroundings, find a weapon, and fight for your life. But do it fast. The battleground constantly shrinks, converging every contestant in one location for a final shootout. The last man or woman standing wins. This is the premise behind the Battle Royale game mode, which is now part of Crytek`s free-to-play FPS title, thanks to its latest update. The publisher My.com made the announcement through a video (above) uploaded on the official YouTube channel of Warface

To fit the gameplay style of Battle Royale, developers built the largest PvP map in the game`s history and placed over 70 different weapons on the battlefield for you to discover and upgrade your equipment. However, the location of each gun is random, meaning that you need to handle a different arsenal in every match. Apart from the firearms you find in the map, there also are supply drops, which provide better gear, but they grab the attention of other players. Should you expose yourself and go after the supply drops? It is up to you to decide whether the risk is worth the reward. 

The location chosen for Battle Royale in Warface is the Mojave Desert, USA. This choice makes sense, considering the goal of the developers. According to a press release issued by My.com, "Crytek has painstakingly crafted the Battle Royale mode to combine the special atmosphere of its survival warfare with Warface’s original gameplay." Moreover, this location has the benefit of featuring large open areas, while also containing small buildings, thus giving you a vast number of tactical possibilities. These facts bode well for the future of Battle Royale in Warface, but the number of titles featuring this mode continues to increase, which leaves a question begging for an answer. 

Why Has Battle Royale Become Popular?

This game mode exploded in popularity after PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) became available, as evidenced by its record of most concurrent players on Steam, set on September 16th, after reaching 1,349,584 users. Other games, including Fortnite and now Warface, have implemented this game mode, but why are players so attracted to it? On November 1st, the YouTube channel Extra Credits uploaded a video that answers this question. Read the conclusions in the paragraphs below. 

First, it is important to understand the type of experience that Battle Royale creates. Some players may reckon that it focuses on action because its core gameplay mechanic consists of shooting. This logic, however, is incorrect, according to Extra Credits. As the YouTube channel says, the Battle Royale mode is a "multiplayer thriller," and the secret for its success lies in a single word -- suspense.

To understand this conclusion, it is crucial to comprehend what a "thriller experience" means. "It aims to put the audience in a heightened state of adrenaline," states Extra Credits. However, contrary to most online shooting game modes, Battle Royale builds adrenaline through suspense and hooks players with an almost overwhelming amount of apprehension. To accomplish this objective, it employs thriller storytelling techniques, which consist of the following four items:  

1- Clear stakes

2- A continuous sense of threat

3- Time pressure

4- Escalating danger

If you have played any game featuring the Battle Royale mode, you can probably recognize these four traits. It contains clear stakes, as you know that your life is on the line. On top of that, you feel a continuous sense of threat, because, thanks to the size of the map, it is impossible to be 100% aware of your surroundings. Therefore, there is always the chance of you being on the crosshair of another player, who is just waiting for the right opportunity to take you down. You also have time pressure, as the map constantly shrinks.

Finally comes the escalating danger. As the area gets smaller, so does the distance between players, meaning that every second you spend alive increases the chance of encountering an enemy. With these four elements, Battle Royale became a success, using thriller storytelling techniques to build suspense and create an experience that leaves you sweating with tension. But there are other factors that play a significant role in the popularity of this multiplayer game mode.

A Big Payoff:

If you survive through most of a Battle Royale match, the moment to face the remaining soldiers will inevitably arrive. If you triumph over the enemies and become the lone survivor, you will experience "fiero." The author and game designer Jane McGonigal describes this term in her New York Times best-selling book Reality is Broken: Why Games Makes Us Better and How They Can Change the World

"Fiero is what we feel after we triumph over adversity. You know it when you feel it -- and when you see it. That’s because we almost all express fiero in exactly the same way: we throw our arms over our head and yell."

What Jane McGonigal calls "fiero" is described by science as your reaction to dopamine. This is the neurotransmitter responsible for you feeling pleasure upon achieving a desired outcome. It is important to observe that you receive more dopamine for getting what you want when you anticipate the reward or event. Therefore, activities that provide you with anticipation tend to be more engaging. This is the conclusion of the psychologist Jamie Madigan in his book Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact on the People Who Play Them:

"It turns out that what really excites us is not so much the loot as it is the loot drop. And, if you want to get really specific about it, it's the anticipation of the loot drop."

Jamie Madigan comments on the use of anticipation to increase your satisfaction when obtaining new loot, but the principle applies to Battle Royale as well, because expectancy is a crucial part of the experience. When the end of the match starts to draw near, you see the player count drop. Once you realize that you have a real chance of winning, you start to build anticipation, as every enemy neutralized gets you a step closer to your goal -- one by one.

When you finally win, you reach your desired outcome, which gives you dopamine, making you feel happy. Anticipation boosts this effect and causes an abundance of this neurotransmitter. In other words, it causes "fiero.” Of course, it is possible to have this effect with other online game modes, but Battle Royale is a unique experience. It combines anticipation with thriller storytelling techniques, thus becoming a multiplayer thriller, as explained by Extra Credits. It is all a mind game. 

A Changing Game:

The last factor that contributed to the rise of Battle Royale is the fact that you can only expect the unexpected, thanks to the randomized nature of the weapons that spawn on the map. In one round you may find an assault rifle, while you may discover a shotgun in another. This fact prevents you from using a dominant strategy. Matthew O. Jackson describes this term in his Stanford research paper A Brief Introduction to the Basics of Game Theory:

"A dominant strategy for a player is one that produces the highest payoff of any strategy available for every possible action by the other players."

The random weapon spawn ensures the lack of a dominant strategy, thus keeping players from exploiting a single modus operandi. This ensures that the experience continues fresh, because you constantly need to change your style and adapt to the different firearms that you pick up from the battlefield. With a vast map containing a plethora of areas to explore, you will be able to play the Battle Royale mode for a long time before it becomes tiresome.

Conclusion: 

The popularity of the Battle Royale game mode is undeniable. To ensure that new and innovative ideas make their way into the video game industry, we must understand what makes the current ones compelling. Using the analysis from Extra Credits and the authors mentioned herein, it is possible to shed some light on why Battle Royale became a success.

Using thriller storytelling techniques, it deploys the four factors necessary to craft an experience that leaves the audience on the edge of the seat. On top of that, Battle Royale also provides great satisfaction once you conquer the battlefield, giving you dopamine after several minutes of anticipation in heart-stopping tension.

These two factors, combined with gameplay that changes every match due to the different weapons you find, ensure that a game of Battle Royale will have you hooked, whether you are playing PUBG, Fortnite, Warface or any other game that includes this feature. If you wish to experience Battle Royale with graphics powered by the same engine that brought Crysis to life, make sure to sign up today on Warface's website. 

 

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What Makes Destiny 2's XP Gaf So Dirty? https://www.gameskinny.com/6i95c/what-makes-destiny-2s-xp-gaf-so-dirty https://www.gameskinny.com/6i95c/what-makes-destiny-2s-xp-gaf-so-dirty Thu, 07 Dec 2017 17:33:54 -0500 Sarah Elliman

Monetization of video games is nothing new in the modern world, with multiplayer being the easiest place for a company to capitalize on the market. As gamers, we assume that we know when companies are being upfront about their dealings and when they are hiding content behind a paywall. But this is not always the case.

Reddit user and Destiny 2 grinder, EnergiserX, decided to investigate the XP system within Destiny 2, finding that there are considerable drops in the amount of XP that is retained while playing the game. EnergiserX found that the quicker you earn XP, the more diminishing returns you receive, recording as much as a staggering 95% XP loss. Even if you play casually you can still expect to lose anything up to 50%, although you will continue to gain XP, just at a much slower rate. This means that your progression speed towards unlocking Bright Engrams, which are earned by filling your XP bar, is significantly decreased the more you play the game.

It's worth noting that Bright Engrams are conveniently available to purchase in the Eververse store using Silver, Destiny 2's premium currency. You can receive cosmetic items such as shaders, sparrows, and ships from these engrams, which don't impact gameplay in any way.

After seeing the extensive amount evidence put together, Bungie released a statement explaining that they had now deactivated the system and would be taking another look at how they could improve upon it.

It is evident from the explanation given by Bungie that they knew the system was flawed, as the game's developer rightly should, and it seems that Bungie hoped that the system would go unnoticed. It therefore encourages players to purchase Silver, to obtain Bright Engrams quicker than they could by simply playing the game. This is purely speculation, but it doesn't look good for Bungie, who have been struggling to maintain good relations with their vocal fan-base since Destiny 2's launch.

EnergiserX stated that "over the 3 hours (he) should have earned 1.5 more bright engrams than (he) did (129,825 XP)." He even worked out how much money he had technically lost, which was the "equivalent of AUD$3.96 lost across 3 hours of gameplay." It's clear what Bungie were trying to achieve by capping the XP gained, and quite frankly, it's unacceptable. 

Many players have been incredibly vocal in airing their disgust with Bungie, considering that Destiny 2 was meant to be a game where you could earn all content through good old-fashioned gameplay. When there is so much of this evidence stacked up against Bungie, it unfortunately paints them in an unflattering, corporate light that players just can't get behind.  

It's also alarming that this was only rectified as a result of being called out on the issue. Why wasn’t it changed before it became public knowledge? There is no logical response other than the fact that they wanted to make a little more money and hid the system from players to do so. So kudos to EnergiserX for collecting such damning evidence against Bungie that shows the extent of their misguided attempt to make a few extra bucks.

This controversy has also come at the worst possible time -- right after the controversy surrounding Battlefront 2’s inherently unfair loot box based progression system has come to light. Considering Bungie's subterfuge with this system and other companies doing similar things, it makes us gamers feel disconnected with these companies who we at one point had great affection for. And with this being the case, it seems that more and more people are favoring indie titles, as smaller studios seem to be much more candid and open with their player-base. 

Ultimately, although the situation was resolved quickly, it was something that should have been solved without community intervention. It feels underhanded, makes gamers feel cheated, and Bungie has lost even more credibility with it's waning fan-base. The rampant monetization of the gaming industry is turning its fans against these companies, and if you don't have the fans on side, who are you making games for? People want to enjoy and cherish games, not feel like they have to hand over their wallets to publishers, that feel more like soulless corporations everyday.

I want to finish by giving shout-out to people like EnergiserX, who make gamers aware of things like this and are helping to push the industry as a whole away from these shady practices. It goes to show how powerful our collective voices can be, which is an inspiring thought.

What do you think of Destiny 2's EXP cap? Do you think Bungie were underhanded? Let us know in the comments below!

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Gift Guide: Best Gifts for World of Warcraft Fans https://www.gameskinny.com/9ap3d/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-world-of-warcraft-fans https://www.gameskinny.com/9ap3d/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-world-of-warcraft-fans Tue, 05 Dec 2017 12:38:27 -0500 Wizard of Warsaw

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Hopefully, this list of World of Warcraft themed gifts will make it a bit easier to shop for any gamers you know. There's a ton of World of Warcraft paraphernalia out there, so let us know in the comments if you've come across any other awesome WoW gifts.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowposter-3581e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowposter-3581e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173753","description":"

Fine Art

\n

Price: $20+

\n

Buy it on: Blizzard Store

\n

Finally, if you're looking for some nice decorations for the house, the Blizzard Store offers posters and canvases with amazing World of Warcraft art for each expansion. If the Blizzard Store doesn't quite have what you're looking for, then you can always find a freelance artist to create something unique on commission. For the player that wants to plaster the walls with their obsessions, there is an untold number of paintings to be found for World of Warcraft. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowkeychain-dfc75.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowkeychain-dfc75.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173752","description":"

Accessories

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Price: $10+

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Buy it on: Blizzard Store

\n

If you're looking for something a little smaller you can always aim for World of Warcraft accessories. The Blizzard Store has got some awesome key chains with the different faction logos, as well phone cases decorated with World of Warcraft artwork. If you can't find anything on the Blizzard Store, then you should check out websites like Etsy or Amazon, where you can often find handmade items or even contact someone directly for a personalized World of Warcraft accessory.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowclothes-b992b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowclothes-b992b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173751","description":"

Clothes

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Price: $15+

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Buy it on: Blizzard Store

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World of Warcraft themed clothing makes a great gift option, with plenty of different styles and designs to choose from. I know, younger players don't tend to enjoy receiving clothes as gifts, but if you plaster their favorite World of Warcraft insignia across the front of a hoodie, they'll love it forever.  You can find a lot of great options for World of Warcraft clothes on the Blizzard Store. In addition, there are a ton of great choices across the internet, even handmade items like scarves and hats on websites like Etsy.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowtcg1-7e3fe.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowtcg1-7e3fe.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173750","description":"

World of Warcraft Trading Card Game

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Price: $10+

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Buy it on: Amazon

\n

No gamer sticks to just one game forever. If the World of Warcraft player in your life is looking to branch out, but doesn't want to stray too far from their favorite MMO, you might want to consider getting them a deck of World of Warcraft trading cards. A separate game from the well-known MMO, the World of Warcraft trading card game features many of the same characters and creatures giving a familiar feel to a whole new game. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/a/n/dano-wow-shattering-331-5004-8d347.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/a/n/dano-wow-shattering-331-5004-8d347.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173749","description":"

World of Warcraft Media

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Price:  $10+

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Buy it on: Amazon

\n

World of Warcraft is filled with a rich in-game history, and many players are incredibly fond of the stories and characters involved. There are a ton of books written by various authors, and more recently, a movie. These alternate forms of media delve into some of the events of the world, often filling in gaps that the game might have skipped over. If you've got a lore hound player in your life, you might consider picking up one of the many World of Warcraft books. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowplush-14cfa.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowplush-14cfa.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173748","description":"

Stuffed Animals

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Price: $10+

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Buy it on: Blizzard Store

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If your World of Warcraft player is a fan of plushies, there are plenty of options, modeled after various animals from the World of Warcraft games such as Murlocs (a kind of cross between a frog and a fish), Dragons, and even the different pets that players can tame. Since there are a ton of plushies modeled after pets, they're a great gift for any player that enjoys playing as the "Hunter" class. While the Blizzard Store has a lot of options for stuffed animals, it wouldn't hurt to check out some other websites and look for some more personalized plushies. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowlvlboost-16f3f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowlvlboost-16f3f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173747","description":"

Subscription Continuation and Game Services

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Price: $10+

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Buy it on: Blizzard Store

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If you're not sure what World of Warcraft swag to get, you can always head to the Blizzard Store and grab some in-game rewards. When players have put in hundreds of hours of gameplay on characters, sometimes they want to just skip all the effort and jump to the end of the game. For players that are looking to skip ahead there are level boosts that will bring you all the way to the maximum level. Alternatively, since World of Warcraft requires a monthly subscription, you can always purchase an extra month of play time.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wow-pve-mount-infinite-time-reaver-453ce.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wow-pve-mount-infinite-time-reaver-453ce.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173746","description":"

Aesthetics and Mounts

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Price: $25

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Buy it on: Blizzard Store

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In massive multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, mounts and certain aesthetics can act like status symbols. They show other players that you've put in the time and the money to get the most impressive stuff. Mounts especially are a great gift, since they have practical use, helping players get from place to place a bit faster. If you're looking for a good gift for a World of Warcraft player, head over to the Blizzard store and look at some of the items available as in-game gifts. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowmouse-1bd36.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/o/w/wowmouse-1bd36.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173745","description":"

Peripheral Devices 

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Price: $100+

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Buy it on: Amazon

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For a lot of players, the peripherals they use are just as important as anything in the game. If you're looking for a truly practical gift for the World of Warcraft player in your life, picking up a new keyboard, mouse, or headset could be an excellent option. There are a ton of options when looking at peripherals, and a lot of it boils down to the gamer's personal preference, but if you can figure out what they're looking for then you're in the clear. Once you pick something out you can start looking at getting some World of Warcraft designs added to it.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/a/u/tauren-male-53959.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/a/u/tauren-male-53959.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173744","description":"

Custom 3D World of Warcraft Figures

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Price: $129.99

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Buy it on: FigurePrint

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While it's not uncommon for players to have multiple playable characters, everyone always has a favorite. And they'll spend weeks getting together all the best-looking armor and weapons to make that character look as incredible as possible. If you're looking for a great gift for a World of Warcraft player, then think about immortalizing their favorite character as a 3D miniature. With just a few pieces of information, sites like FigurePrint can take a snapshot of a character and turn it into a 3D replica of that character. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-480-dcf50.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-480-dcf50.png","type":"slide","id":"173743","description":"

Merry Christmas, Azeroth! Christmas time is closing in, so it's time to start shopping. We know that it can be hard shopping for gamers, especially for people who aren't all that interested in games themselves. Not to worry though, we've come up with some great ideas for World of Warcraft themed gifts.

"}]]]>
Love Trivia? You Need to Check Out HQ: A Live iOS Trivia Game https://www.gameskinny.com/ika3i/love-trivia-you-need-to-check-out-hq-a-live-ios-trivia-game https://www.gameskinny.com/ika3i/love-trivia-you-need-to-check-out-hq-a-live-ios-trivia-game Tue, 05 Dec 2017 12:30:42 -0500 Allison M Reilly

Hey HQ-ties! You know who you are! If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you've clearly never participated in a game of HQ Trivia. HQ is a live (yes, live) trivia game show where players participate to win a cash prize. Yes, real American dollars. Think Jeopardy! but multiple choice. Think Alex Trebek but younger and funnier. And all of it in 15 minutes on your phone.

How HQ Works

Here are the basics:

  • Games start at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST on weekdays
  • On weekends, games start at 9 p.m. EST
  • Every game has a pot of money in the prize pool
  • Each game is 12 questions
  • You have 10 seconds to answer each question from the moment the host starts reading the question
  • Answer all 12 questions correctly to win a portion of the prize pool

The questions start off easy and progressively get harder. The topics range from history to music, from TV to medicine. If you answer a question incorrectly, then you're eliminated from the game, but you can keep watching and play along unofficially. If you're able to answer every question correctly, then you win the prize pool! If multiple players win the prize pool, then the pool is split among all the winning players.

The nice part is that you can ask anyone around you for help. The not-so-nice part is that if you win, then you may need to split your prize even more among your helpers.

Is It Really Live?

Yes, and it's pretty easy to tell. First of all, the game has a chat feature that's nearly impossible to read because thousands of people are typing something in at any given point in the game. One of HQ's hosts will call out players by their screennames as they scroll past in the feed. Second of all, the host mentions throughout the game how many people are still left playing or how many people got a specific question right or wrong. That can't be scripted in a game involving live, real-time participation the way the questions or the jokes could be scripted. Third of all, during the Dec. 4, 2017, night game, one of the questions didn't pop up onto the screen as prompted. The host stalled for a full minute, joking about how the question was "fresh from the oven" and needed to cool. The question finally did pop up, and we continued on with the game.

Is It Worth the Hype?

The biggest downside to HQ is the lag. Hundreds of thousands of players join every game, an incredible number for an app that only launched in August 2017. The livestream does lag from when it starts to about the second question, when players have left the app because they've already been eliminated from the game. Players have complained the lag has caused them to miss questions, losing their chance to win the prize pool. HQ says improving the lag is their top priority.

Overall, HQ is a lot of fun and takes only 15 minutes of your time at most. If you love trivia, then you'll love HQ. The variety in topics is great, and some of those multiple choice answers are really meant to trick you. Scott Rogowsky is a witty, high-energy personality, but he's no longer the only one. Journalist Sharon Carpenter has joined the squad, and there are hints that more new faces will appear in future games. Right now, there's quite a bit to be excited about with HQ, and it will be interesting to see where the app goes from here.

HQ is free to play for the iPhone. No Android version now, but one is currently in the works.

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If You Have to Choose Between Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania, Choose Mania https://www.gameskinny.com/ewnrp/if-you-have-to-choose-between-sonic-forces-and-sonic-mania-choose-mania https://www.gameskinny.com/ewnrp/if-you-have-to-choose-between-sonic-forces-and-sonic-mania-choose-mania Sun, 03 Dec 2017 19:47:27 -0500 Allison M Reilly

Sega released two Sonic games recently: Sonic Mania, in August 2017, and Sonic Forces, in November 2017.Sonic Mania is much more of a throwback title, reminiscent of the Sega Genesis while Sonic Forces includes modern graphics and new mechanics like character creation. All four games are available on Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, and PS4, which leads to the question "Which one should I get?"

The choice between the two would seem like one of preferences, but that's presuming the two games are equal, with graphics and mechanics being the main differences. That's absolutely not the case, and despite Mania having a few quirks of its own, it's superior by far to Forces

Sonic Forces

The Story

If the release of both games was meant to showcase two different visions for Sonic's future, then Sonic Forces is the "we're going to try new things and push the boundaries" vision. It's a wonderful, astounding vision, but the vision wasn't the problem. Sonic Forces just wasn't the best vehicle for this bold, forward-looking vision. Forces feels like a bad action movie, where the producers emphasized the wrong aspects, including some of the action. The story, the dialogue in particular, is really cheesy. Stories can be cheesy, and Sonic games are no stranger to cheesiness, but the game could've done a better job countering the corny plot and exchanges with cooler action sequences.

For example, after the player defeats Zavok, there's a short scene to explain that the place is crumbling and that "now is the time for running." The scene really issn't needed. Instead, to illustrate the consequences for defeating Zavok, the game could've showed the crumbling at the beginning of the next level. The player then has to figure out, on their own, they need to start running. Or, instead of a scene, it could have utilized the NPCs and their background chatter to let Sonic/the player know the place is falling apart and y'all need to get out now.

The Levels

Players have complained the game, and each of its levels, are too short. Short games and short levels aren't necessarily bad, but if the idea is to present what future Sonic games could be, then brevity doesn't really give players a chance to experience fully that vision for the future. For example, Stage 7 is a neat level with the Sonic/Avatar combo, the double boost, and the skydiving portion. But the whole thing takes about two minutes to complete. Another minute of play, especially another minute of the double boost or another skydiving portion with trickier obstacles, would've been so much fun to play and could have shown off the new mechanics even further.

Sonic Forces really seemed to emphasize Sonic's speed. Again, that's not a bad thing by itself, and it's what the games are known for. However, nearly every level feels like an adrenaline rush cut off at the knees. They are fun, but the end is more like running into a brick wall, versus the slow down period of a hard, solid workout that could have helped them feel more natural and provide a fulfilling arc and rhythm for each level.

Sonic Mania Isn't Perfect Either

It's easy to point out all the flaws in Sonic Forces and then to say choose Mania, but Mania isn't a perfect game either. When I first saw the Mania trailer, I thought it was a remake of one of the Sega Genesis games. Mania does emulate what fans love most about the Sonic games of old, but it emulates it so faithfully that there is some lack of originality in concept and design.

When going through the levels, I felt much of the same frustration I felt playing Sonic on the Genesis. Sometimes, I didn't have a clue of where I was supposed to go next and ended up going in circles. Perhaps I'm not as a good as other players in finding my way around, but levels can have puzzles without being puzzling. In a way, Mania's vision for the future is to stick with the past and the formula that's worked before. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it might not be something that will work forever, and it can't drive the series forward.

The Winner Is...

Overall, if you have to choose between Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania, then choose Sonic Mania. Between the two, Mania is a higher quality game, where everything comes together much more smoothly. It also has the "throwback" charm and emphasizes many series aspects long-time Sonic fans love. Forces has great ideas, but perhaps there needs to be another game or two to flesh them out and get those ideas where they need to be for an enjoyable playing experience.

Now that both games are out, what do you think about them? Which one do you think is better: Sonic Mania or Sonic Forces? Let us know in the comments!

]]>
Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Final Fantasy Fans https://www.gameskinny.com/l2qk0/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-final-fantasy-fans https://www.gameskinny.com/l2qk0/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-final-fantasy-fans Fri, 01 Dec 2017 04:12:02 -0500 bazookajo94

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And that was out gift guide for Final Fantasy fans

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Hopefully you found the perfect gift for the person your life who hasn't stopped playing Final Fantasy for the past 30 years. Whether it's in the form of a jewelry, upholstery, or tomfoolery. 

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And if all else fails, just get them Kingdom Hearts which has a ton in common with FF, including a whole bunch of characters. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/q/e/sqe817729-9cd8b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/q/e/sqe817729-9cd8b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173290","description":"

Chocobo's Crystal Hunt

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Price: $19.99

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Buy It: Miniature Market

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Why get another Monopoly set featuring beloved characters when you can get a whole new board game about them entirely? Like this chocobo board game, Chocobo's Crystal Hunt. You get to try to steal some crystals from the other chocobos before they get to yours first. Seems fun, cute, and competitive.

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How great is that? Your very own Final Fantasy board game surrounding the cutest creatures around. Now if only Popocho could be there...

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It's affordable too, so grab this game for a list price of $19.99 and go crazy.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/6/4/l640-77acd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/6/4/l640-77acd.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173289","description":"

A Final Fantasy Periodic Table 

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Price: $6.99

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Buy It: eBay

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For the gamer who likes both Final Fantasy and paying attention in science class, get them this awesome silk poster depicting the periodic table as Final Fantasy characters. I don't know why this exists or why I haven't found it before, but it doesn't matter anymore -- I once was lost, but now I'm found. 

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Display all your nerdy tendencies with this guy for a list price of $6.99.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1094280171-k2jc-65eb4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1094280171-k2jc-65eb4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173288","description":"

Final Fantasy IX Playing Cards

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Price: $27.00

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Buy It: Etsy

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You know what's just as fun as video games? Card games. And though you could settle with the old, bent cards you rummaged up from the bottom of your grandma's junk drawer, why not try something newer. Something fresher. Something fresh as heck, like these Final Fantasy IX playing cards. They're beautiful, they're $27.00, and they will be the talk of the party if you bust them out and make all your friends play Go Fish (because at least everyone knows how to play that game...).

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Also if you think you've got what it takes to design your own Final Fantasy deck, head over to this website and go crazy. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/1/o/41o-ola4r7l-d6fd7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/1/o/41o-ola4r7l-d6fd7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173287","description":"

The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy Book 1

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Price: $29.99

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Buy It: Amazon

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Don't try to look me in the face and say that you don't think the art in Final Fantasy is beautiful. Just try saying those words. I dare you. 

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For the people in your life who enjoy looking at art outside of the video game, this art book is the perfect gift. It's like giving them an art gallery they don't have to go outside of their house to visit.

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What's more, there's three of these bad boys. Get the bundle of all three for $76.68 or buy the first book in hardcover for a list price of $29.99. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/1/w/41wb47xizl-0c192.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/1/w/41wb47xizl-0c192.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173286","description":"

NES Entertainment Flask - Final Fantasy Edition

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Price: $19.99

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Buy It: Amazon

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No, this is not an NES cartridge (though what kind of audacity would I have if I was like, "Oh, you're at a Final Fantasy gift guide? Here's 10 gifts. Number 1: Final Fantasy.")

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This is actually a flask. Like, for drinking. Fun, right? There are a few parody titles to choose from, but this is the Final Fantasy—excuse me, Fine Ale Fantasy—though personally, I'd go for the Double Flagon one...

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Pick your poison today for only $19.99.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/g/img-0103-7b289.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/g/img-0103-7b289.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173285","description":"

White Mage Hand Warmers

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Price: Your precious time.

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Buy It: 8-bit Knits

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Y'all like knitties?

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Sorry -- sometimes when I get excited I start speaking in tongues. And discovering the knitting wonders of 8-bit Knits has got me very excited. Sometimes you just want to hand-make a present for someone, and there aren't always a lot of nerdy patterns readily available.

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Thankfully, 8-bit Knits has created their own nerdy patterns -- like a Princess Leia buns hat or a Phoenix Wright hat -- and shared them with the world. And most of them are free, including this dope pattern for White Mage hand warmers.

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So warm your best friend's hands this season with only the cost of yarn and your fortitude (too bad there's not a spell to increase patience).

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/d/d/ddd-eb0ec.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/d/d/ddd-eb0ec.png","type":"slide","id":"173284","description":"

The Great Ultros Off Kanagawa Throw Pillow

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Price: $27.00

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Buy It: Redbubble 

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Maybe you like your video game merch to be subtle. I know I do. I love that rush when someone who doesn't play video games says, "This is cute", and you get to drop the, "Thanks, it's from a video game!" bomb. So let's get subtle with this mashup pillow of Ultros and the painting The Great Wave off Kanagawa. It wouldn't even matter if someone didn't know this was a Final Fantasy villain -- they'd just think it was a neat twist on the classic painting, and you'd get to sit on your couch in smug satisfaction just knowing what it really was.

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You can buy the pillows in various square sizes ranging from 16 inches to 36 inches, with the choice of buying only a  cover or including a pillow.

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Snag your 16" x 16" pillow (with insert) today for $27.00.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-47854.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-47854.png","type":"slide","id":"173283","description":"

Cactuar Scarf

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Price: $24.92

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Buy It: Redbubble

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Is there anything in this world that can keep a cold heart warm? Probably not. And I doubt this Cactuar scarf would suffice as it's more decorative than functional in cold weather, but hey -- it's super cute. So bundle up your bae's aesthetic this holiday season for only $24.92.

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Maybe the thoughtfulness of the gift will warm something. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/0/4/6044cfbdc53e969c8f1836e7f934ab85-738-389ce.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/0/4/6044cfbdc53e969c8f1836e7f934ab85-738-389ce.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173280","description":"

NieR: Automata Red Agate & Onyx Bracelet

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Price: $97.99

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Buy It: Square Enix

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If you're not frightened by expensive price tags, then venture your heart and wallet directly to the Final Fantasy source -- the Square Enix Store. You can find a lot of great merch there, such as items from NieR Automata. Or, more specifically, this red agate and onyx bracelet. Like, how cute is this?

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However, the NieR products are only available for pre-order right now, with an unofficial release date of February 2018. So, in addition to the cash you're gonna have to drop for this gift, you'll also have to write a heartfelt "IOU" or a heartfelt "hope you can wait two months, lol."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1233634458-9b2c-e5b76.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1233634458-9b2c-e5b76.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173279","description":"

Final Fantasy X - Yuna Pendant Necklace

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Price: $47.50

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Buy It: Etsy 

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Sometimes when you wear the right necklace with the right outfit, it starts to feel like the planets have aligned and the sun's rays shine solely on your face. Just think of the power you could project if you paired a killer cosplay with the actual necklace the character wears.

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So grab the necklace of Final Fantasy X's beloved Yuna, and finally know what it feels like to be the master of your own fate.

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Alternatively, if you have a wallet bigger than a Titan, there's another Yuna necklace on the Square Enix website that you can purchase for $220.99.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-65f0e.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-65f0e.png","type":"slide","id":"173291","description":"

It's a scary world out there. Just when you think you've got your bearings on all the monumental changes happening around you, suddenly something new happens, throwing you off balance once again.

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Despite all the unpredictable changes that can happen at any given moment, at least there's one thing in this world that is inherent for everyone -- Final FantasyIt's been there for as long as you can remember, and you can't recall a time when you've ever thought, man, sure wish Final Fantasy would just leave my life forever.

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In fact, you want more Final Fantasy in your life, and what better way to do that than to give great gaming merch to friends and family! Maybe they're not prepared for the changes in their life either, so here's a way to give them another reminder of that constant presence in their life.

"}]]]>
Gift Guide: Best Board Games Based on Video Games https://www.gameskinny.com/ak7kg/gift-guide-best-board-games-based-on-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/ak7kg/gift-guide-best-board-games-based-on-video-games Thu, 30 Nov 2017 15:04:15 -0500 Wizard of Warsaw

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Hopefully this list leads you to some excellent gifts. Let us know in the comments what you think about these games and if there are any others out there that are even better.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/a/starcraft-box-bb153.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/a/starcraft-box-bb153.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174598","description":"

Starcraft: The Board Game

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Price: $64.99
Buy it on: Amazon

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Coming in with a much more expansive board game experience, Blizzard's Starcraft: The Board Game comes with over a hundred figures, a modular board, and a ton of cards for combat and unit upgrades. Players can choose any one of six factions, each with its own special win conditions, and even unique units for combat. Players travel from planet to planet, gathering resources and slowly expanding their area of influence until they can wipe the competition through clever strategic play or the infamous "Zerging." 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/i/v/civiliationboardgame-81a17.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/i/v/civiliationboardgame-81a17.png","type":"slide","id":"174597","description":"

Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game 

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Price: $53.48
Buy it on: Amazon

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Based on the successful video games, Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game uses a number of the video games' mechanics to propel its analog version forward. With different civilizations to play as and different paths to victory, no two games will be the same. The game board comes in multiple pieces that can be moved around and fit together in a variety of ways, making the game even more unique every time you play it. Take control of your favorite empire, and embark on a quest for world domination. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/t/batmanarkhamescape-a59a7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/t/batmanarkhamescape-a59a7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174596","description":"

Batman: Arkham City Escape 

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Price: $49.00
Buy it on: Amazon

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In Batman: Arkham City Escape, players take part in an epic fight for Gotham. One player becomes the Dark Knight, while the other takes control of up to 20 of Batman's most impressive villains. While Batman moves around the city, he must stop the Arkham inmates from escaping while dodging the villains that swarm around him.  Each villain has its own special abilities, forcing Batman to remain cautious as he plots his next moves. Each time Batman comes into contact with a villain, a fight breaks out. Using combat cards, the Dark Knight can work to capture his rival and return them to their jail cell. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/i/o/bioshockinfiniteboardgame-c04e2.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/i/o/bioshockinfiniteboardgame-c04e2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174595","description":"

Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia

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Price: $39.99
Buy it on: Amazon

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The legendary Bioshock Infinite embraces the world of analog games in The Siege of Columbia. Players must take objectives and earn points on their way to victory, all while dealing with characters from the original game. With only two factions to choose from, players can go head to head with just two players or pair up into two-person teams and start their war for control. The first team to reach 10 points wins the game, so pick your faction and use whatever means necessary to take control of Columbia. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/s/s/assassinscreedarena-cc86d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/s/s/assassinscreedarena-cc86d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174594","description":"

Assassin's Creed: Arena

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Price: $38.99
Buy it on: Amazon

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Assassin's Creed's introduction of competitive multiplayer gave rise to a pretty interesting board game, similar to other adventure games. In Assassin's Creed: Arena, gameplay, from fighting to sneaking, requires the use of cards, and only through clever management will you find a way to outwit the other players. Your objective is to find and assassinate a target, but guards and players abound to interfere in your schemes. With each turn, the city changes as guards make their rounds and players attempt to outmaneuver one another. If you're looking for a tense strategic battleground of deception and stealth, Assassin's Creed: Arena might be the game for you. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/r/portalboardgame-a7112.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/r/portalboardgame-a7112.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174593","description":"

Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game

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Price: $35.26
Buy it on: Amazon

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The Portal series is an unforgettable entry in the world of video games, and its board game counterpart, The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game, is equally unforgettable. Up to four players take part in a quest for scientific progress by performing various experiments around Aperture Laboratories. As you attempt to survive the experiments, the lab falls apart around you, forcing you to claw desperately for survival. Try to be the last man standing, and earn the most cake for your hard work. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/h/e/thewitcheradventuregame-d4534.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/h/e/thewitcheradventuregame-d4534.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174592","description":"

The Witcher Adventure Game

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Price: $84.99
Buy it on: Amazon

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Based on CD Projekt Red's phenomenal series of Witcher games, this adventure-style board game lets players utilize four distinct characters from the series. Each character has its own strengths and weaknesses that help to determine how you interact with the tons of unique quests that you'll run into. With development cards and custom dice for each character, it's possible to specialize your character and create an entirely new experience every time you play. 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-dc747.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-dc747.png","type":"slide","id":"174591","description":"

Sometimes gamers need a break from their screens to enjoy games the old-fashioned way. Classic board games like Monopoly might not always appeal to traditional video game players, but there are plenty of options that involve some of the more well-known digital games out there. For this holiday season, we've taken some time to put together a list of board games with video game counterparts.

"}]]]>
Anime and Their Video Game Counterparts: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly https://www.gameskinny.com/1wvlr/anime-and-their-video-game-counterparts-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly https://www.gameskinny.com/1wvlr/anime-and-their-video-game-counterparts-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly Thu, 30 Nov 2017 13:01:27 -0500 Brandon Janeway

Anime has inspired numerous video game counterparts that allow fans the opportunity to play some of their favorite characters. Unfortunately, this does not always mean that the games do justice and provide fans with an enjoyable experience in their anime universe. While some games rise to the occasion by bringing a fun and memorable experience, some quickly turn into a headache for the player. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of anime inspired video games.

The Good

Some games do an amazing job of merging what makes an anime great with video game functionality that provides an overall enjoyable experience for the player.

One franchise that has managed to achieve this is Naruto, which, in recent years, has developed a successful line through its Ninja Storm titles. As a fighting game series, the Naruto games allow players to become some of their favorite characters and live out some of the most iconic moments from the TV show. The series did not start out the best, but over time has developed a good balance of style and substance that make it a fresh and fun fighting game with the anime setting that fans love. The roster of characters is one of the largest ever seen in a video game which can feel overwhelming, but it does allow a player to use their favorite character even if they were not that important in the show.

Another franchise that blends game and anime well is Danganronpa. Now this is a video game series that inspired a successful anime but nonetheless it does a great job doing both. The game is a point and click mystery adventure that puts players in a the role of a grim detective trying to figure out who is the mastermind behind the evil plot. It is unique story that somehow fits very well in the game universe. The art style is fantastic and there are many parallels between it and the show which is a good fan service. The game seems simple but offers enough intrigue to feel rewarding to the most observant players.

The Bad

Now some games do not do as well of a job at crafting a video game with anime world, which can leave players with an unsatisfying gaming experience. Usually these games try so hard to make the anime world come to life, that they miss the mark for good gameplay.

One such example of this is Dragon Ball Xenoverse. Taking place in the Dragon Ball universe, Xenoverse is a fighting game that looked great. It was very flashy and offered a unique story but that was essentially all that it had to offer. The combat of the game felt very unfair which bogs down a fighting game, where fairness can determine the outcome of a match pretty quickly. Now the game is still a fun time and does enough to satisfy fans wanting to play a Dragon Ball game but this game does not stand out without its anime elements.

One Piece: Burning Blood faces similar issues. This game offered a lot as far as fun 3D combat is concerned, but does not do a lot outside of that. If you are not a longtime fan of the series, this game is not for you. The combat is fun and wacky, which is very much One Piece, but makes little sense to anyone that is not familiar with the series. The story is also an arc of the show but does little to make the player feel as though they are living the One Piece story and are instead just watching a different format of the anime.

The Ugly

These games got the mix of anime and game all wrong. They make an attempt to provide a video game experience to an anime world and end up delivering something very far from that.

A franchise with a history of this is Sword Art Online. Sword Art Online’s universe is literally a video game so it would make you think that there is a lot that can be done, but that has yet to be the case. Fans of the series have been left with games that are repetitive and do little to build off the universe. Most are repetitive and feature frustrating combat mechanics that leave many people doing the same moves over and over again. The games have not brought the anime to life and lack any real development for the overall story. There has yet to be a saving grace in the series and we do not know if we will see one to come.

Another franchise with similar hiccups is Attack on Titan. The first Attack on Titan game, Humanity in Chains, was a disaster. The visuals were muffled, the gameplay was lackluster, and overall the game was a disservice to the anime world many fans love. It is a frustrating experience to see a world you love get bombed with an ugly video game. On a lighter note, the franchise did improve itself by offering a new PS4 title which was a much better game though still not spectacular. In the newer game, the combat was much better and visuals were cleaner but it suffered from a generally unsatisfying plot.

Some anime games know what to do and some should just stay out of games. Let us know in the comments which anime games are favorites and your worst nightmares

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The Race to Speedrun and Break Super Mario Odyssey Is in Full Swing https://www.gameskinny.com/4urf5/the-race-to-speedrun-and-break-super-mario-odyssey-is-in-full-swing https://www.gameskinny.com/4urf5/the-race-to-speedrun-and-break-super-mario-odyssey-is-in-full-swing Wed, 29 Nov 2017 11:54:58 -0500 ThatGamersAsylum

Speedrunning is a simple concept: try to beat a game as fast as possible. And on its surface, this seems like a very straightforward idea. You play the game and try to beat it -- except by going really, really fast. Ya know, skipping all the cutscenes and extra side missions, that sort of stuff. But it is not until you realize just how fragile and fallible the fabric of reality is in our favorite game worlds as well as the lengths to which human ingenuity can go that you can truly begin to comprehend speedrunning.

Where Did It Start?

Speedrunning’s roots can be traced back to the early 90’s. Doom offered options to record your gameplay, which led to websites cropping up around this feature. In fact, it is thanks to the accessibility of screen capturing technology and the ability to upload and stream large amounts of high-quality footage that speedrunning has become so popular in recent years.

Why Nintendo? 

Nintendo’s properties have always held a special place in gamers’ hearts and in our culture. We grew up with them, so there's a lot of nostalgia. Back in the day, when stuck between games that were relentlessly difficult and games that were often turn based, Nintendo found the sweet spot in testing our skills without breaking us down. They managed to do this all while being endearingly adorable but never patronizingly so. Combine this with the fact that many of Nintendo’s titles have aged extremely well, and you have a recipe for success.

Fabric of Reality

While many speedruns depend largely upon great skill, such as Super Mario 64's 120-star run, others actually take advantage of numerous glitches, which are often hard to pull off. Super Mario 64’s "any percentage" run, which has you completing the game as fast as you can regardless of how much of the game you actually complete, has actually been worked down from requiring 70 stars to beat to requiring none. This is thanks to a handful of glitches that were found over the years, most of which center around glitching through various doors that block your progression.

Perfect execution and taking advantage of obtuse, even impractical and sometimes glitchy strategies is where speedrunning sets itself apart from merely playing a game fast. Speedrunning delves into an entirely different side of our favorite games that we’d most likely never know about if it weren’t for the odd curiosity of human beings.

2D Mario has also stayed popular in the speedrunning community. 

Odyssey's Burgeoning Legacy

Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, Super Mario Odyssey has already started to form a robust speedrunning community. In fact, before it had even released, people were speedrunning playthroughs of the in-store demo. Yes, that means someone had to go to a GameStop, stand there for lengths of time that made employees scratch their heads, practice the demo over and over, and then whip out their phone or recording device to take care of business. And considering Jacob Babione uploaded at least six videos of himself speedrunning while at a GameStop, I think it is fair to say that some GameStop employees came to know him well, if only as “the weird guy that comes in and plays the Super Mario Odyssey demo for two hours, then records it and leaves without buying anything.”

I'm in love with the mental image of this whole scenario.

Just looking at SMO’s leaderboard shows how much it is constantly changing and just how much diversity there is among the competing countries. Of the top 100 completed times, the oldest time is only a week old, with most of the times being younger than three days old. Surely by the time this article is published, all of the numbers listed will be out of date, possibly by a significant margin. It is the youth of this vivacious community that makes it so interesting.

Half of the top 10 active games are Super Mario titles. 

On the forums you see topics cropping up that range from how to make certain types of speedruns more interesting for your average viewer to new glitches that can be used to shave time off your run. You see new first-place record holders nearly daily. And, of course, SMO is consistently the most popular among active speedrunners. If one thing has become clear, the legacy of Super Mario 64 speedrunning isn’t anywhere near dead. And from the looks of it, Super Mario Odyssey's fast start out of the gate bodes well for its ability to follow in Super Mario 64's footsteps.

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Data obtained from Speedrun.com

And a huge shout out to Summoning Salt, a YouTuber who has taken to making videos that go over the history of many popular, classic speedrunning games. His videos were a huge asset when researching this article.

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Video Game Canon: Is There Such a Thing? https://www.gameskinny.com/rbrjs/video-game-canon-is-there-such-a-thing https://www.gameskinny.com/rbrjs/video-game-canon-is-there-such-a-thing Mon, 27 Nov 2017 17:58:15 -0500 Allison M Reilly

When you hear the word canon, you probably think about what lore from a particular book, story, movie, or video game actually contributes to the larger narrative. For example, in the Super Mario universe, Mario and Luigi are brothers. They’re not lovers. They’re not father and son. They’re brothers. Although there’s room in the canon to conjecture on some things, like what Luigi does when Mario goes on all his adventures, Mario and Luigi’s familial ties have much less room for interpretation. And this familial tie helps inform our thoughts on the characters. For instance, we know they are brothers so that excludes the possibility that they are lovers. 

But the canon of truth is not the only type of canon. In a literary sense, "canon" is defined as, "a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works." This is usually used to describe books that define a genre, a time period, an author, etc. If you want to be well-versed in early American literature, for example, then there is a set of books you must read in order to begin to be considered "well-versed." The canon for Shakespeare isn't difficult to imagine.

The canon of “good” is much more than whether or not a title is quality or popular. It encompasses whether or not a video game is crucial to the development or the understanding of a genre, which I’ll explain further in a bit. It includes the game’s impact on video game history and/or development. It considers whether or not a video game is one all gamers should play or is defining the video game medium as a whole.

But, is there such a thing as video game canon? If so, then what games are part of that canon? Does it need to be broken down by its publisher, system, generation, and/or genre? Sure, there are lists like the 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die and the Top 100 SNES Games of All Time. But thinking of great video games and arguing why they are great is only half of the picture. A video game can be excellent, but is that enough to make it canon?

Looking to RPGs for Guidance

I'm pulling out RPGs because, earlier this year, Game Informer released its list of the Top 100 RPGs of All Time. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim took the top spot, to the ire and confusion of many. There's no denying that Skyrim is amazing. But the best of all time? And more importantly, is it video game canon? Is Skyrim representative of RPGs? If you had to introduce someone to 5 or 10 video games so that they understood what the RPG genre is about, then would you include Skyrim on that list?

To answer the last question, probably not. If I had to pick an Elder Scrolls game, then I'd likely choose Morrowind for its wide variety of weapons, armor, and spells to illustrate role-playing in a world teeming with choices.

I would include Chrono Trigger due to the large number of endings, where the player has to play different roles and make different choices to see all of the endings.

The Pokemon series showcases role-playing in a fixed setting very well. You're a Pokemon trainer and you train Pokemon. The player can't deviate from that role, however, the role-playing is in the team you set up versus the character you create or the story you follow.

Early titles like Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior (now known as Dragon Quest) helped translate the stat-driven affair that is Dungeons and Dragons into a palatable experience you could boot up on your home console.

And the Mass Effect trilogy, despite its lackluster ending, displays the ability to tell a large story that involves choices while remaining focused on a central narrative.

This is where things get tough. We already have at least 5 games-- assuming you count the Mass Effect trilogy as one game-- and that's while having largely left PC based RPGs untouched (Ever heard of this game called Wow?). Oh, and which Elder Scrolls game do you choose? Which Pokemon? Should we use Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior? And which Final Fantasy, or other RPG, first truly displayed the storytelling potential of the genre? What place do hybrid games, like action and strategy RPGs, have in the canon, or should they have their own canon?

There are no easy answers to any of these questions. In fact, we could fill up many forum boards just trying to answer the few above questions. But the good news is that's okay because...

Video Game Canon is Brand New

I think video game canon and all its sub-categories is still very much in its infancy. Not only are video games a young medium compared to books and movies, but video games have also undergone a ton of technological change during its relatively short tenure. The video games of 2017 do not look anything like the video games of 1977, and the consoles and computers they run on certainly don't look the same either. The changes do make creating and settling upon video game canon difficult since there's argument for a Sega Genesis canon or a Gameboy Advance canon.

The definition of video game canon may also change as the technology changes because it gets harder over time to play older games on the original technology. For example, Asteroids came out in 1979 in a giant arcade console. Although you can play Asteroids now through an emulator or through a retro game bundle on Steam, playing the game on a computer is not the same as playing it on the giant arcade machine. Moreover, there are many games that have been lost to time thanks to their original cartridges deteriorating. And while emulators are incredibly helpful for keeping older games available for new generations, they not only fail to capture the original context of the game, but all games have not been emulated.

Video Game Canon Will Constantly Change

Overall, it's not enough for a game to be popular or to be fun and memorable years and years after release. But the other "things" a game would need hasn't really been defined. The titles included in video game canon will be a fascinating discussion in the years to come. As more and more games are developed, more and more games also become a part of history and pop culture. The definition of being "well-versed" in video games will emerge as that history and discussion happen.

Now it's time for you to join the conversation. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Skyrim's place in video game RPG canon? What games do you think constitute video game canon as a whole? Let us know in the comments.

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Bluehole's Fear Realized as Fortnite Reaches 20 Mil Players Before PUBG https://www.gameskinny.com/908bz/blueholes-fear-realized-as-fortnite-reaches-20-mil-players-before-pubg https://www.gameskinny.com/908bz/blueholes-fear-realized-as-fortnite-reaches-20-mil-players-before-pubg Mon, 27 Nov 2017 17:43:09 -0500 bazookajo94

Some of the most relatable memes on the internet are the ones that start, "Man, sure is nice minding my own business," followed by a vague mention of some juicy dish, or "hot goss" as the kids call it these days, paired with a picture of someone clearly not minding their own business. Apparently there's a lot of people in the market for the next big controversy-- even those in the video game industry.

One such controversy is the feud happening between game developers Bluehole and Epic Games over their respective battle-royale type games: Fortnight and PUBG. In a previous GameSkinny article, the merits of both games are detailed along with the possible fallouts and legal actions Bluehole could take on Epic Games, ending on an ominous "time will tell which company comes out on top" note.

In short, PUBG was the first big battle-royale game on the block. But Fortnite came along, with their aptly named F2P mode: Battle Royale, and disrupted the whole market. With such similar mechanics, PUBG's developers were none too pleased.

Despite Bluehole's PUBG and its largely Chinese demographic-- though, according to PC Games News, many of these accounts are suspected of being fake and mainly used for farming-- Epic Games's Fortnite has reached its 20 million player mark. Though there are no specific statistics stating that the majority of the 20 million are playing the game because of its battle-royale mode, since the mode is free-to-play without having to own the main game (which does cost money), doubtless many players entered the ring because of this. 

On the other side of the arena, PUBG only has about 10 million players actively playing, but just as people are prone to seek out gossip, they are more likely to get a game that says "Free" rather than "$30," regardless of content and quality.  

Bluehole feels cheated, no doubt, and their press release criticizing Epic Games has garnered a lot of attention. They feel conned, stolen from, and now they're losing a battle they didn't think they had to be a part of, with only half the audience as another game that's almost exactly the same, but which released months later. And what if Fortnite makes its way to China? What will happen to PUBG's demographics then? Will they have loyal fans, or will they be abandoned?

All of this being said, PUBG hasn't had its official release yet. It's still in early access. Come December when it officially releases and the statistics could change. Come December and Fornite gamers could want more of the battle-royale style and eventually venture into buying PUBG if they haven't already. 

Regardless of what happens, I can't escape the feeling that Bluehole is handling this wrong. Not to be the bearer of contrite expressions, guys, but if you want people to play your game, remember that you catch more flies with honey. Then again, no publicity is bad publicity, right? Oh no. What have I started? 

In my eyes, the great thing about video games is that if it's good, people will buy it, whether it's free or $60. Sure, free games garner more downloads (tell me you've never heard the term "free pizza" and didn't immediately hunger for pizza--even if it's Dominoes), but if enough people say, "Yo, this game is fun," others are going to be like, "Yo, maybe I should check out this game that people say is fun." 

PUBG might be feeling the heat right now, but 10 million players isn't anything to sneeze at, and the players still have the opportunity to praise the game before December. Once the drama dies down, perhaps both games will be able to stay on the market and be talked about as fun games with an intense game-mode instead of fun games with tense publicity and allegations associated with their titles.

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Cyber Monday Deals You Don't Want to Miss https://www.gameskinny.com/qmmhp/cyber-monday-deals-you-dont-want-to-miss https://www.gameskinny.com/qmmhp/cyber-monday-deals-you-dont-want-to-miss Mon, 27 Nov 2017 14:14:04 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Cyber Monday is upon us, and  retailers are beginning to post their Cyber Monday deals. Many are adopting an Amazon-like strategy and will be hosting different deals throughout Cyber Week, but some sales are already available, just waiting for your hard-earned cash. This list of deals will be updated as more information becomes available, but here's what's on offer as of now:

 

Nintendo eShop

Following on from somewhat underwhelming Black Friday offerings, Nintendo published a list of Cyber Monday eShop deals valid until 11:59 am EST on December 11th. A good majority of them are for the 3DS, but Switch and Wii U owners aren't left out in the cold either.

Switch Games
  • I Am Setsuna: $23.99
  • 1-2 Switch: $39.99
  • Disgaea 5 Complete: $49.99
  • LEGO City: Undercover: $39.99
  • And more...
3DS Games
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove: $19.99
  • Bravely Default: $27.99
  • Star Fox 64 3D: $19.99
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney--Spirit of Justice: $14.99
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse: $29.99
  • Story of Seasons: $14.99
  • Mutant Mudds: $4.49
  • Blaster Master Zero: $6.99
  • And many more...
Wii U Games
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove: $19.99
  • Axiom Verge: $9.99
  • Bit Trip Presents...Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien: $3.74
  • Castlestorm: $4.99
  • Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition: $7.49
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens: $9.99
  • And more...

 

Best Buy

Best Buy has multiple sales across different categories, including PCs, gaming accessories, and, of course, games themselves. They aren't as comprehensive or well categorized as the Black Friday sales, but here they are nonetheless:

PlayStation 4 Games

Best Buy has several new and popular older PS4 games on sale:

  • Nioh: $19.99
  • Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition: $29.99
  • The Last Guardian: $19.99
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End: $19.99
  • Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD: Final Chapter Prologue: $29.99
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: $49.99
  • And many more...
Xbox One Games

Xbox One fans don't get quite the selection, but there are still some good ones on offer:

  • Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition: $29.99
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: $49.99
  • Quantum Break: $29.99
  • And more...
PC Games

PC gamers don't get too much variety for now, unfortunately, but if you've yet to purchase Overwatch, this is a good chance to do it.

  • Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition: $29.99
VR

There are a couple of good deals for those looking to get into VR as well.

  • Oculus Rift+Touch Virtual Reality Headset Bundle for Compatible Windows PCs: $399.00
  • HTC--Vive Virtual Reality System and Deluxe Audio Strap Package for Compatible Windows PCs: $599.00
  • And more...
Console Deals

From PS4 bundles to PSVR and discounts on consoles themselves, there are some decent offers here:

  • PlayStation 4 1TB Console, Black: $199.99
  • XBox One S 500GB Madden NFL 18 Bundle with 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray, White: $229.99
  • PlayStation VR: $199.99
  • XBox One S 1TB Assassin's Creed: Origins Bonus Bundle with 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray, White: $299.99
  • Any many more...

 

Target

Just like last year, Target is offering 15% off everything on the site. Specific deals are thin on the ground right now, but the retailer is offering a few between now and Cyber Monday itself, including this PlayStation VR Gran Turismo Sport bundle for $300 (normally $400). As practically every other retailer is doing this year, Target will have deals throughout Cyber Week, but here's what is live now.

PlayStation 4 Hardware and Games
  • PlayStation VR The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Bundle: $349.99
  • PlayStation 4 1TB: $199.99
  • Overwatch: Origins Edition: $34.99
  • The Sims 4: $39.99
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration: $19.99
  • World of Final Fantasy: $19.99
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: $29.99
  • And more...
XBox One Hardware and Games
  • XBox One S 500GB: $189.99
  • XBox One S 500GB Minecraft Complete Adventure Bundle: $229.99
  • Overwatch: Origins Edition: $34.99
  • Injustice 2: $29.99
  • Battlefield 1: Revolution Edition: $39.99
  • And more...
Nintendo Switch Games

Switch fans don't have as much to choose from, but the 15% discount applies all day for all Switch games too.

  • Monster Jam: Crush It!: $29.99
  • Cartoon Network Battle Crashers: $29.99

Walmart

Walmart's Cyber Monday deals aren't as exciting as the ones for Black Friday, but if you're in the market for a new console, it's certainly not the worst place to look.

PlayStation 4 Hardware and Games
  • PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB: $349.00
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: $33.88
  • Destiny 2: $49.88
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: $29.00
  • LEGO Worlds: $19.00
  • Kingdom Hearts HD: 1.5+2.5 ReMIX: $19.00
  • The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series: A New Frontier: $12.88
  • And more...
XBox One Hardware and Games
  • XBox One S Ultimate Halo Bundle (500GB): $229.00
  • XBox One S Assassin's Creed Origins Bonus Bundle (1TB): $299.00
  • XBox One Wireless Controller Minecraft Creeper: $54.00
  • Madden NFL 18 Limited Edition: $39.82
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: $15.00
  • Destiny 2: $49.88
  • Resident Evil 7: $28.49
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: $29.00
  • And more...
Nintendo 3DS Hardware and Games

Nintendo fans may want to look elsewhere for Cyber Monday deals, but there are a few good offers.

  • New Nintendo 3DS XL Galaxy Style: $179.00
  • Pokemon Sun: $29.00
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Nintendo Selects Edition: $15.00
  • Mario Sports Superstars: $29.00
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia: $30.00
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes: $15.00

Square Enix Store

The Square Enix Store is offering a variety of deals on its physical games. Shipping is another matter, but there are deals enough to make it worthwhile.

PlayStation 4 Games
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Collector's Edition: $29.99
  • Dragon Quest Builders: Day One Edition: $24.99
  • Final Fantasy Type-0: Day One Edition: $13.38
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: $29.99
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood: $19.99
  • Kingdom Hearts HD: 1.5+2.5 Remix: $19.99
  • Just Cause 3: $14.99
  • Life is Strange: $9.99
  • Nier: Automata: $24.99
  • And many more...
Xbox One Games
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Collector's Edition: $29.99
  • Final Fantasy XV: Deluxe Edition: $30.59
  • Life is Strange: $9.99
  • Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition: $13.38
  • And more...
PC Games
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood: $19.99
  • Front Mission: Evolved: $4.99
  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris: $7.49
  • And more...
Nintendo 3DS Games

Not as much on offer for the 3DS, but you can find them here.

  • Bust a Move Universe: $13.38
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance: $20.08
  • Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: $20.08
PlayStation Vita Games

The Vita gets even less for it, but if you've been waiting to pick these two up, you could do worse.

  • Army Corps of Hell: $7.49
  • World of Final Fantasy: $19.99
PlayStation 3 Games
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut: $4.99
  • Final Fantasy XIII: $9.99
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Collector's Edition: $9.99
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2: Collector's Edition: $39.99
  • Hitman Trilogy HD: $9.99
  • Nier: $13.38
  • Saint's Row IV: Gat out of Hell: $4.99
  • And more...
XBox 360 Games
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut: $4.99
  • Final Fantasy XIII: $9.99
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Collector's Edition: $9.99
  • Supreme Commander 2: $7.49
  • Thief: $6.79
  • And more...
Nintendo DS Games
  • Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen: $20.08
  • Exit DS: $4.99
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales: $13.38
  • Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light: 13.38
  • And more...
PlayStation 2 Games

Those looking for a deal on some of Square Enix's most popular and well-loved games from yesteryear won't be disappointed.

  • Final Fantasy X: $4.99
  • Final Fantasy XII: $4.99
  • Kingdom Hearts: $4.99
  • Kingdom Hearts 2: $4.99
  • And more...
PlayStation Games

Looking for some retro goodness straight from the source? Some of SE's finest are on sale for the original PlayStation as well.

  • Chrono Cross: $5.09
  • Final Fantasy IX: 7.49
  • Final Fantasy Anthology: $ 7.49
  • Final Fantasy Origins: $5.09

GameStop

GameStop is running several sales and promotions until December 1st. Free value shipping on orders over $35.00 is one, along with Buy 2 Get 1 Free on all retro items, and 25% off collectibles when you purchase $100 or more.

PlayStation 4 Hardware and Games
  • PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console: $349.99
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War: $25.00
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: $25.00
  • Destiny II: $49.99
  • Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 ReMIX: $20.00
  • Assassin's Creed Origins Deluxe Edition: $54.99
  • BioShock: The Collection: $20.00
  • Yakuza 0: $30.00
  • And many more...
XBox One Hardware and Games
  • XBox One S 500 GB Console: $189.99
  • XBox One S 1TB Middle Earth: Shadow of War Console Bundle: $299.99
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War: $25.00
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: $25.00
  • Destiny II: $49.99
  • Assassin's Creed Origins Deluxe Edition: $54.99
  • The Evil Within 2: $25.00
  • Forza Horizon 3: $29.99
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard: $19.99
  • Final Fantasy XV: $19.99
  • And many more...
Nintendo Switch

Like with other retailers, Switch fans aren't getting as much for Cyber Monday as they did for Black Friday.

  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2: $24.99
  • Sonic Forces: $29.99
  • Has-Been Heroes: $10.00
  • FIFA 18: $39.99
  • Super Bomberman R: $29.99
  • Troll and I: $19.99

ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek started celebrations a bit early with free shipping on orders of $50 or more using the code FREESHIPTO. They're also continuing the 12 days of deals this week with daily doorbusters, which we'll be posting as they become available.

Doorbusters: 11/28
  • Bob Ross's Happy Little Blanket: $19.99
  • Jumbo Unicorn Meowchi: $34.99
  • Legend of Zelda Master Sword: $16.99
  • Five Nights at Freddy's EarBuds: $6.99

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Check back soon as more deals and savings are posted!

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Best Stocking Stuffers for Gamers under $5 https://www.gameskinny.com/6hfnl/best-stocking-stuffers-for-gamers-under-5 https://www.gameskinny.com/6hfnl/best-stocking-stuffers-for-gamers-under-5 Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:06:43 -0500 Stephanie Tang

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/i/n/nintendo-christmas-stockings-56cdc.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/i/n/nintendo-christmas-stockings-56cdc.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"174339","description":"

That's it for now!

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Happy holiday shopping, and hope you've found something perfect for the special gamer friends in your life!

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(Yes, the above image includes a pretty incredible-looking 8-bit stocking, but unfortunately I don't think Think Geek makes these anymore. Sorry!)

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1152162078-4ujc-35b58.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1152162078-4ujc-35b58.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174337","description":"

Horizon Zero Dawn Watercolor-style Game Art Poster

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Price: $5 - $27 (shipping charges may vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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For the fan who firmly believes that video games are art, this is the gift for their living room wall. Gorgeously rendered, and printed on thick photo paper and ink quality.

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(Only the 4.1" x 5.8" size fits our price tag, but if you're feeling generous, you can always size up. The store also has an ongoing buy 3, get 1 free deal, so if you've had a fairly well-behaved gamer this year...)

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/t/b/htb1hkdsmvxxxxbiaxxxq6xxfxxxa-d0dbf.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/t/b/htb1hkdsmvxxxxbiaxxxq6xxfxxxa-d0dbf.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174335","description":"

Still Loading Gamer Wall Decal / Sticker

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Price: $1.99 various colors (free shipping)
Buy it on: Aliexpress

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Ah, waiting. The bane of our existence. For the gamer that always needs a reminder what kind of hellhole they've accepted into their lives, this is the stocking stuffer for them. Waterproof, non-fading colors, it'll stay on their wall longer than their flat-screen. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1369905295-afb8-273e9.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1369905295-afb8-273e9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174333","description":"

Xbox One Elite Controller Vinyl Skin Wrap Decal Sticker

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Price: $4.10 (shipping charges may vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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While the Destiny franchise finally made it to PC this time around with Destiny 2, we still know and remember it first as a console game. For the fan who's currently running raids in the living room instead of in front of the monitor, this is for them! 

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A controller skin to wrap around their existing controller, ideally if they're running a warlock (don't worry, this store also has the other classes available in controller skins too). Don't give this to anybody who can't handle a hairdryer or heat gun for application, though. Just sayin'.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn642258329-7dv6-aef34.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn642258329-7dv6-aef34.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174331","description":"

Legend of Zelda Piece of Heart Soap

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Price: $2/piece (shipping charges may vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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This is for the gamer friend who isn't nearly as interested in digging through graveyards and/or mucking about with Skulltulas just to get to the good stuff. Let 'em take a pass on the questing this season with a handful (two counts as a handful, right?) of these lightly scented beauties.

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Bonus points? These are made with glycerin, which is gentler than regular soaps and helps your skin retain more of its natural moisture. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1202173868-e6u8-5c415.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1202173868-e6u8-5c415.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174328","description":"

Kirby Laser-cut Character Pins 

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Price: $3.99 each / $10.99 for a set of 3 (shipping charges may vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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If nothing else, Kirby has taught us that you can make a long, star-studded career out of stuffing your face with everything in sight. Choose from one of these super-cute laser-cut pins (Kirby, Waddledee, or the Metamato), made from two layers of 1/8"-thick opaque and mirrored laser-cut acrylic. The piece is hand assembled and features a tie-tack and clutch-style pin affixed to the back plate. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1324968671-3czr-6d477.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1324968671-3czr-6d477.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174320","description":"

Overwatch D.VA-inspired Mini Candle

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Price: $4.11 (shipping charges may vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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For the Overwatch fanatic who possibly doesn't have as big of an addiction to butts but does have an affection for burning things!

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This mini D.VA-inspired candle comes scented like Parma Violet, which, okay, is a little bit of an odd stylistic choice since that particular scent doesn't scream Korean StarCraft badass to me, but I can't say it's not a nice scent!

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This is also made of soy wax instead of the more commercially available paraffin wax, which means less fumes and longer burning.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1103747677-sp12-18841.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1103747677-sp12-18841.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174315","description":"

Pokemon's Vulpix with Stainless Steel Stud Earring 

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Price: $2.60
Buy it on: Etsy

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So cute! Fab baby fox Vulpix has always looked like the most cuddly Pokemon in the world. She isn't nearly as cuddly when she comes in a set of stainless steel stud earrings, but she is nickel and lead-free for that gamer friend who has metal sensitivities. The designs are 8mm in width and height, and the hypoallergenic posts are backed with a butterfly stopper. 

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(Note: Bonus! There's a Christmas sale going on right now, so if you spend $5+ you can also get 10% off. Heck yeah!) 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1195955498-j7lq-440d0.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1195955498-j7lq-440d0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174296","description":"

Overwatch BUTTon set

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Price: $2.02/pin; $8.89 for the set (shipping charges vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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This is for the gamer who likes to get a little (ahem) cheeky. Overwatch femme fatale Widowmaker may have the most canonically asstastic official artwork, but that hasn't stopped the fandom from trying to help even up the score. 

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This set does go over the stocking stuffer cash limit if you want to spring for the entire set, but it certainly doesn't stop you from picking your two favorites out of the five.  

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1223885886-esib-955ba.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1223885886-esib-955ba.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174292","description":"

Pokemon 5-inch Plush Cyndaquil PokeDoll

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Price: $5 (shipping charges may vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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Yeah, you read right. Fire-type Cyndaquil is one of the three Generation II starter Pokemon in Johto and (in my completely and utterly unbiased opinion) the cutest of the bunch. 

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Any Pokemon lover is bound to go crazy over this little guy in their stocking on Christmas morning. But if Fire Types just aren't your thing, this seller has over 200 different plushie designs (many of them Pokemon) in a similar price range. Go crazy! Buy ten!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/t/b/htb1ojuxspxxxxa6xpxxq6xxfxxxj-44474.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/t/b/htb1ojuxspxxxxa6xpxxq6xxfxxxj-44474.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174291","description":"

League of Legends Red Hair Miss Fortune Mouse Pad / Play Mat

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Price: $1.65 - $3.31 (free shipping)
Buy it on: Aliexpress

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You'd probably know better than I do what the perfect size for your gamer friend's mouse pad should be -- and that's only right, isn't it? Bigger may be better these days, but not everyone has the desk space to sport the giant play mats that have jumped in popularity. (Everyone always has room for a redhead though, right?) 

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This is for the League of Legends gamer in your life -- a durable anti-slip rubber mat with non-overlocking edges, available in several different sizes. 

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(And hey, you don't need Miss Fortune if you don't want her; this seller has a ton of other character mats that might be more suited to your lane.)

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1377325337-ilmp-c989f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1377325337-ilmp-c989f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174325","description":"

Legend of Zelda Rupee Bags - Adult Wallet (Silver) / Giant Wallet (Gold)

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Price: $3.95 / $4.95 bag only (shipping may vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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Breath of the Wild may have taken Zelda fans by storm, but there's a damn good reason why Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask just keep coming back. For the fan who waited to get a limited-edition Zelda 3DS for one of these games, these are small wallets intended to hold shiny glass Rupees, but they're also great for money, pins, jewelry, keys, or other small items as well.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1061844801-8h5k-018a6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1061844801-8h5k-018a6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174286","description":"

Kawaii Pastel Gamer Controller Phone Charm

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Price: $1 (shipping charges may vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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It feels like phone charms have fallen a little to the wayside in the last few years. First, our phones lost the telltale holes to hang them from, and then the cases that went on over top disappeared too. It's hard to believe that it was a decade ago that I had about four different charms and a fur bobble hanging off my flip phone.

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For the gamers who still love having cute danglies on their phones and who still prefer controllers to mouse and keyboard, this controller charm is the cutest.

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Besides, if your giftee simply doesn't have anywhere to hang it, you can also get it as a dust plug -- and in four different colors.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1322863049-j6nt-6c2b6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn1322863049-j6nt-6c2b6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174275","description":"

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS Battle Royale Gaming Key Chain / Charm

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Price: $2 (shipping charges may vary)
Buy it on: Etsy

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If you're an FPS player at heart, it's not difficult to have gotten swept up into the PUBG craze. This gaming key chain is made in the USA from high-quality birch panel board and comes engraved with a helmet and the game's winning headline Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! in Battle Royale-inspired vector design. 

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The backside comes blank, but for an additional fee, you can customize it with your giftee's gamertag so that they know it was made just for them. Not a bad way to take your gamer cred on the go!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-design96-c5744.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-design96-c5744.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174285","description":"

With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, most holiday shoppers (especially online shoppers) are already well aware that Christmas is only five weeks away.

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In this passionately frantic time of "Will it or won't it ship soon enough?" the earlier you start, the better. And if there's anything the Humble Bundle's taught us over the years, it doesn't have to be expensive to be awesome.

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If you want to get a head start on shopping for the video game crazy in your life, here are some pretty nifty gift ideas for the gamers at heart.

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Gift Guide: Best Gifts for RPG Fans https://www.gameskinny.com/8xpwx/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-rpg-fans https://www.gameskinny.com/8xpwx/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-rpg-fans Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:00:02 -0500 ThatGamersAsylum

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slime-7d32b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slime-7d32b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173519","description":"

Alas, our list has come to an end. From Pokemon to Dark Souls (what a natural segue that was) to World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy, I have covered all types of RPGs. Western and Eastern RPGs are represented in equal measure. Easy to Souls-crushingly brutal. Social to leave-me-alone-for-a-week-while-I-soak-in-every-last-bit-of-this-game! From "Dude, you expect me to drop nearly $200 on a Snorlax beanbag chair?" to shirts off of clearance, I got your back, fam. Almost every facet of the RPG experience has been covered as far as I can tell.

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To finish things off, I leave you with the cutest RPG -- no, video game -- enemy of all time: Dragon Quest's Slime. Its design is simple and so is its brain. Its face is cute and wide-eyed like a child yet smashable like a pumpkin made out of jello. It's the perfect plush for a certain author writing a list of items you might love for the holidays, and it's only $23.99 ($39.99 for the large version).

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d4f99f8b0120aad4649c66bf216b45a0.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d4f99f8b0120aad4649c66bf216b45a0.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11623","description":"

Final Fantasy

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Final Fantasy isn't just one of the oldest ongoing video game franchises, it's also one of the most popular RPG franchises of all time. Regardless of how you feel about that, the series has always been driven by its art, and that's why there is perhaps no better place to start discussing products for this game than chocobos.

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That's right, there are not only traditional playing cards that are ridiculously expensive at $12 just because there are chocobos on them, there are also whole board games dedicated to the crazy adventures that I never knew chocobos went on, which are available for $19.99. Even better, there is an expansion game that builds further upon the (hopefully) crazy adventures I never knew they had, which only costs an extra $9.99.

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Past that, we have some great shirts featuring Final Fantasy mashups. First, we have "Fellowship of the Fantasy," which is very clearly a reference to a scene from Lord of the Rings that I am completely drawing a blank on. Not only is it a cool-looking shirt, but it is also on clearance right now, so it is only $9.95.

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Then we have an epic series of shirts that mash up various Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy logos. Pictured below is Skyward Sword x FFVIII (left) and Majora's Mask x FFVII (right). There's also a Link's Awakening x FFXIII shirt and an Ocarina of Time x FFX shirt. Each of these shirts costs $19.99. 

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Last up is in service to all those dank meme lords out there, the brilliantly named "Ha ha ha ha" for $19.99. Enjoy. 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/878c2fc8b2d18c6299bafe85ae1dd633.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/878c2fc8b2d18c6299bafe85ae1dd633.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11620","description":"

World of Warcraft

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If you're a fan of WoW, then you are already well aware of the upcoming expansion -- Battle for Azeroth -- which is set to pit the Alliance and Horde factions against one another. This means there is no better time than now to start investing in some merch to show off your side's colors. Thankfully, I've been able to find just what you're looking for in the form of sharply discounted faction-themed gamer merch. 

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First up are these two WoW Faction banners. While I don't actually play WoW, these are some of my favorite items on the entire list. Despite currently costing only $6.99 (down from $24.99), they perfectly encapsulate your dedication to your chosen faction while looking awesome, being unique, and costing little. There's not a lot else you could ask for from a gift. 

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Next is a pair of WoW chests: one for the Horde, and one for the Alliance. They're basically identical except for their theming. They both currently cost $23.99 after being discounted down from $40.00. They also both contain the same contents: a mug, lanyard, leather bracelet, keychain, and wax seal marker for all those letters you're sending all the time.... Overall, it is a decent price, considering that the mug alone would often set you back $15 - $20.

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A couple other faction-themed items are these lounge pants ($12) or this bi-fold wallet ($10), both of which are down from their usual $30 price point. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/6d465a951317e64e1a4bb28aa265ce78.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/6d465a951317e64e1a4bb28aa265ce78.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11619","description":"

Dark Souls

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If you're a fan of Dark Souls' music and you also love vinyl, then ThinkGeek has the perfect gift for you: selections of music from each Dark Souls game available on vinyl. There are 3 sets of Double LPs, one for each Dark Souls game, with each one setting you back $34.99. 

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Next up we have a couple of really nice Dark Souls-themed shirts, both of which cost $19.99.

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On the left is the "Flask Ale" shirt, which functions as an old-timey ad for an Estus flask. On the right is "The Great Wolf," featuring one of the most beloved bosses from the franchise's history. 

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Last but not least, we have the extremely pricey Dark Souls board game.Yes, it costs $119. But it also comes with absolutely gorgeous miniatures, which somewhat reduces the sting while you're getting your ass kicked.

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/237aecdd0f23d4b3854c7ada3f877e74.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/237aecdd0f23d4b3854c7ada3f877e74.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11618","description":"

Mass Effect and Dragon Age

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Look, I know these games are vastly different from one another, but the fact of the matter is they are made by the same studio, and frankly, that is enough for me to put them on the same slide together. 

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With that out of the way, I know that Mass Effect: Andromeda was one of the largest video game flops we have seen in recent years. But despite that, the franchise itself is still a beloved one and for good reason. 

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The first item on this slide is actually specific to said flop: the Nomad, or, in this case, a remote-controlled 1:18 scale version of the Nomad, which can be seen above. While it is a bit pricey (usually it costs $199, but currently, it has been cut to $179), it's also really cool to have a functional recreation of an item from a game as opposed to the tradition of completely useless video game statues. In this way, it has a bit of life.

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It should be noted that this also comes with a limited-edition SteelBook case for Mass Effect Andromeda, which is also part of the reason the price is so high; SteelBook cases are always expensive.

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The second item is perhaps one of my favorites: a replica omni-blade that costs $29.99. Sure, it is meant for cosplaying, but my inner ten-year-old is screaming out, yelling at me to buy this so I can pretend to kill things with it. 

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Lastly, we have a Dragon Age adult coloring book that costs $14.99, which honestly isn't that bad of a price for a high-quality adult coloring book. And from the looks of the preview images, I would have to say that this is definitely high quality.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/f7e5c960d24230842dddb43fb135f478.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/f7e5c960d24230842dddb43fb135f478.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11617","description":"

Pokemon

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That's right, to start the list off we are going to delve into perhaps one of the most popular RPG series of all times. A series that is beloved by children and adults alike across a generation or more. And the first item on our list is ...

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... a giant Snorlax beanbag chair. As one would expect, this is not particularly cheap, as it will set you back about $149.99 prior to taxes and shipping charges (which GameStop listed as $30). But it's also awesome.

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Continuing with the Snorlax theme, we have his pre-evolution: Munchlax. Except in this situation he is actually in lunchbox form. Not only is this little guy adorable, but -- unlike his evolved form-- he won't do nearly as much damage to your wallet since he only costs $19.99. Even better, he is currently on sale for $11.99, which is practically a steal. 

\n

 

\n
\n

 

\n

Lastly, I present to you an awesome, if completely novel and useless, Pikachu piggy bank that costs $29.99. Is it useful in any sort of way? Well yes. It holds your coins, or more accurately, snatches the coins you place in front of it and stores them away for you. Does it accomplish anything that a normal box wouldn't? Well, that depends on how much value you place on 200 unique, presumably adorable, Pikachu noises. 

\n

Ultimately, these are merely a few of the thousands of pieces of Pokemon merchandise. When you are one of the world's largest, most child-friendly brands, especially as it pertains to video games, being included here is just an inevitability. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-3ec71.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-3ec71.png","type":"slide","id":"173481","description":"

The RPG Gamer Gift Guide -- or RP-Quadruple G -- is here to help bring you all the goodies you need this holiday season for the gamer in your life. Whether it's Pokemon, World of Warcraft, Dark Souls, or Final Fantasy, we've got you covered. 

\n

Each slide will have a few different items from a series, culminating in the best gift on the list (aka the one I want someone to buy me). Gifts range from T-shirts, which are sort of the low-hanging fruit, to more unique items such as vinyl LPs, board game adaptations, and adult coloring books. All in all, we tried to gather unique items that you might not find every day. So here's a list of some of the best items we found.  

"}]]]>
Cyber Monday Deals You Don't Want to Miss https://www.gameskinny.com/v7qea/cyber-monday-deals-you-dont-want-to-miss https://www.gameskinny.com/v7qea/cyber-monday-deals-you-dont-want-to-miss Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:43:01 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Cyber Monday is upon us, and  retailers are beginning to post their Cyber Monday deals. Many are adopting an Amazon-like strategy and will be hosting different deals throughout Cyber Week, but some sales are already available, just waiting for your hard-earned cash. This list of deals will be updated as more information becomes available, but here's what's on offer as of now:

Nintendo eShop

Following on from somewhat underwhelming Black Friday offerings, Nintendo published a list of Cyber Monday eShop deals valid until 11:59 am EST on December 11th. A good majority of them are for the 3DS, but Switch and Wii U owners aren't left out in the cold either.

Switch Games
  • I Am Setsuna: $23.99
  • 1-2 Switch: $39.99
  • Disgaea 5 Complete: $49.99
  • LEGO City: Undercover: $39.99
  • And more...
3DS Games
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove: $19.99
  • Bravely Default: $27.99
  • Star Fox 64 3D: $19.99
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney--Spirit of Justice: $14.99
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse: $29.99
  • Story of Seasons: $14.99
  • Mutant Mudds: $4.49
  • Blaster Master Zero: $6.99
  • And many more...
Wii U Games
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove: $19.99
  • Axiom Verge: $9.99
  • Bit Trip Presents...Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien: $3.74
  • Castlestorm: $4.99
  • Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition: $7.49
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens: $9.99
  • And more...

Best Buy

Best Buy has multiple sales across different categories, including PCs, gaming accessories, and, of course, games themselves. They aren't as comprehensive or well categorized as the Black Friday sales, but here they are nonetheless:

PlayStation 4 Games

Best Buy has several new and popular older PS4 games on sale:

  • Nioh: $19.99
  • Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition: $29.99
  • The Last Guardian: $19.99
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End: $19.99
  • Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD: Final Chapter Prologue: $29.99
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: $49.99
  • And many more...
Xbox One Games

Xbox One fans don't get quite the selection, but there are still some good ones on offer:

  • Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition: $29.99
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: $49.99
  • Quantum Break: $29.99
  • And more...
PC Games

PC gamers don't get too much variety for now, unfortunately, but if you've yet to purchase Overwatch, this is a good chance to do it.

  • Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition: $29.99
VR

There are a couple of good deals for those looking to get into VR as well.

  • Oculus Rift+Touch Virtual Reality Headset Bundle for Compatible Windows PCs: $399.00
  • HTC--Vive Virtual Reality System and Deluxe Audio Strap Package for Compatible Windows PCs: $599.00
  • And more...
Console Deals

From PS4 bundles to PSVR and discounts on consoles themselves, there are some decent offers here:

  • PlayStation 4 1TB Console, Black: $199.99
  • XBox One S 500GB Madden NFL '18 Bundle with 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray, White: $229.99
  • PlayStation VR: $199.99
  • XBox One S 1TB Assassin's Creed: Origins Bonus Bundle with 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray, White: $299.99
  • Any many more...

Target

Just like last year, Target is offering 15% off everything on the site. Specific deals are thin on the ground right now, but the retailer is offering a few between now and Cyber Monday itself, including this PlayStation VR Gran Turismo Sport bundle for $300 (normally $400). As practically every other retailer is doing this year, Target will have deals throughout Cyber Week, but here's what is live now.

PlayStation 4 Hardware and Games
  • PlayStation VR The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Bundle: $349.99
  • PlayStation 4 1TB: $199.99
  • Overwatch: Origins Edition: $34.99
  • The Sims 4: $39.99
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration: $19.99
  • World of Final Fantasy: $19.99
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: $29.99
  • And more...
XBox One Hardware and Games
  • XBox One S 500GB: $189.99
  • XBox One S 500GB Minecraft Complete Adventure Bundle: $229.99
  • Overwatch: Origins Edition: $34.99
  • Injustice 2: $29.99
  • Battlefield 1: Revolution Edition: $39.99
  • And more...
Nintendo Switch Games

Switch fans don't have as much to choose from, but the 15% discount applies all day for all Switch games too.

  • Monster Jam: Crush It!: $29.99
  • Cartoon Network Battle Crashers: $29.99

Walmart

Walmart's Cyber Monday deals aren't as exciting as Black Friday, but if you're in the market for a new console, it's certainly not the worst place to look.

PlayStation 4 Hardware and Games
  • PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB: $349.00
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: $33.88
  • Destiny 2: $49.88
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: $29.00
  • LEGO Worlds: $19.00
  • Kingdom Hearts HD: 1.5+2.5 ReMIX: $19.00
  • The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series: A New Frontier: $12.88
  • And more...
XBox One Hardware and Games
  • XBox One S Ultimate Halo Bundle (500GB): $229.00
  • XBox One S Assassin's Creed Origins Bonus Bundle (1TB): $299.00
  • XBox One Wireless Controller Minecraft Creeper: $54.00
  • Madden NFL 18 Limited Edition: $39.82
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: $15.00
  • Destiny 2: $49.88
  • Resident Evil 7: $28.49
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: $29.00
  • And more...
Nintendo 3DS Hardware and Games

Nintendo fans may want to look elsewhere for Cyber Monday deals, but there are a few good offers.

  • New Nintendo 3DS XL Galaxy Style: $179.00
  • Pokemon Sun: $29.00
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Nintendo Selects Edition: $15.00
  • Mario Sports Superstars: $29.00
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia: $30.00
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes: $15.00

Square Enix Store

The Square Enix Store is offering a variety of deals on its physical games. Shipping is another matter, but there are deals enough to make it worthwhile.

PlayStation 4 Games
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Collector's Edition: $29.99
  • Dragon Quest Builders: Day One Edition: $24.99
  • Final Fantasy Type-0: Day One Edition: $13.38
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: $29.99
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood: $19.99
  • Kingdom Hearts HD: 1.5+2.5 Remix: $19.99
  • Just Cause 3: $14.99
  • Life is Strange: $9.99
  • Nier: Automata: $24.99
  • And many more...
XBox One Games
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Collector's Edition: $29.99
  • Final Fantasy XV: Deluxe Edition: $30.59
  • Life is Strange: $9.99
  • Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition: $13.38
  • And more...
PC Games
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood: $19.99
  • Front Mission: Evolved: $4.99
  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris: $7.49
  • And more...
Nintendo 3DS Games

Not as much on offer for the 3DS, but you can find them here.

  • Bust a Move Universe: $13.38
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance: $20.08
  • Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: $20.08
PlayStation Vita Games

The Vita gets even less for it, but if you've been waiting to pick these two up, you could do worse.

  • Army Corps of Hell: $7.49
  • World of Final Fantasy: $19.99
PlayStation 3 Games
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut: $4.99
  • Final Fantasy XIII: $9.99
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Collector's Edition: $9.99
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2: Collector's Edition: $39.99
  • Hitman Trilogy HD: $9.99
  • Nier: $13.38
  • Saint's Row IV: Gat out of Hell: $4.99
  • And more...
XBox 360 Games
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut: $4.99
  • Final Fantasy XIII: $9.99
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Collector's Edition: $9.99
  • Supreme Commander 2: $7.49
  • Thief: $6.79
  • And more...
Nintendo DS Games
  • Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen: $20.08
  • Exit DS: $4.99
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales: $13.38
  • Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light: 13.38
  • And more...
PlayStation 2 Games

Those looking for a deal on some of Square Enix's most popular and well-loved games from yesteryear won't be disappointed.

  • Final Fantasy X: $4.99
  • Final Fantasy XII: $4.99
  • Kingdom Hearts: $4.99
  • Kingdom Hearts 2: $4.99
  • And more...
PlayStation Games

Looking for some retro goodness straight from the source? Some of SE's finest are on sale for the original PlayStation as well.

  • Chrono Cross: $5.09
  • Final Fantasy IX: 7.49
  • Final Fantasy Anthology: $ 7.49
  • Final Fantasy Origins: $5.09

GameStop

GameStop is running several sales and promotions until December 1st. Free value shipping on orders over $35.00 is one, along with Buy 2 Get 1 Free on all retro items, and 25% off collectibles when you purchase $100 or more.

PlayStation 4 Hardware and Games
  • PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console: $349.99
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War: $25.00
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: $25.00
  • Destiny II: $49.99
  • Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 ReMIX: $20.00
  • Assassin's Creed Origins Deluxe Edition: $54.99
  • BioShock: The Collection: $20.00
  • Yakuza 0: $30.00
  • And many more...
XBox One Hardware and Games
  • XBox One S 500 GB Console: $189.99
  • XBox One S 1TB Middle Earth: Shadow of War Console Bundle: $299.99
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War: $25.00
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: $25.00
  • Destiny II: $49.99
  • Assassin's Creed Origins Deluxe Edition: $54.99
  • The Evil Within 2: $25.00
  • Forza Horizon 3: $29.99
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard: $19.99
  • Final Fantasy XV: $19.99
  • And many more...
Nintendo Switch

Like with other retailers, Switch fans aren't getting as much for Cyber Monday as they did for Black Friday.

  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2: $24.99
  • Sonic Forces: $29.99
  • Has-Been Heroes: $10.00
  • FIFA 18: $39.99
  • Super Bomberman R: $29.99
  • Troll and I: $19.99

ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek started celebrations a bit early with free shipping on orders of $50 or more using the code FREESHIPTO. They're also continuing the 12 days of deals this week with daily doorbusters, which we'll be posting as they become available.

Doorbusters: 11/27
  • Light-up Pikachu Slippers: $19.99
  • Shark Attack Bowl: $6.99
  • Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter: $19.99
  • Star Wars Geeki Tikis--Series 2: $49.99

---

Check back soon as more deals and savings are posted!

]]>
Top 7 Xbox One Games for Kids in 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/iposo/top-7-xbox-one-games-for-kids-in-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/iposo/top-7-xbox-one-games-for-kids-in-2017 Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:38:45 -0500 Stephanie Tang

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That's it!

\n

I'll admit, it was some tricky hunting because many of the really good family-friendly games available on Xbox One (or at least the ones that I knew!) just weren't ones that came out this year. 

\n

What other titles do you think should have made the list, and is it a travesty that I couldn't think of them first? Let me know!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/u/s/just-dance-2018-listing-thumb-ps4-21jun17-4facf.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/u/s/just-dance-2018-listing-thumb-ps4-21jun17-4facf.png","type":"slide","id":"174577","description":"

JUST DANCE 2018

\n

Released October 24, 2017

\n

Be you man, woman, child, or dancing panda, this is the get-up-and-dance game for you -- no questions asked.

\n

Following in the grand tradition of highly rated rhythm music games, Just Dance 2018 brings you a mind-blowing selection of American Top 40 chart toppers and mixes them in with the super-fun choice of bopping out to K-Pop. Just to make partying even easier, new to 2018, there's an entire section dedicated entirely to kids with a selection of songs both new and old. 

\n

This game is a must if you like loud music, foolish dance moves, and posting videos of your kids grooving to 24K Magic by Bruno Mars on Snapchat. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/s/disney-e3764.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/s/disney-e3764.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173774","description":"

The Disney Afternoon Collection

\n

Released April 18, 2017

\n

With this release you technically six games for the price of one!

\n

If we're being completely honest with ourselves, it's the adults and not the kids who are are boosting the customer ratings for The Disney Afternoon Collection sky-high. Many of these were originally released on the NES and have long since passed into the realm of classic gaming. 

\n

One more grasp at the nostalgia train, these games have been updated a little to adapt to the change in controllers but don't do much else -- essentially giving you a polished and functional emulator without the frustration of setting it up. It definitely beats rummaging the NES out of the closet and hunting up old connector cables just to bring a more 80s/90s arcade feel back into the living room this season.  

\n

Besides, if your kids are cartoon buffs, this collection can't be missed. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/e/g/lego-marvel-super-heroes2-371eb.JPG","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/e/g/lego-marvel-super-heroes2-371eb.JPG","type":"slide","id":"174575","description":"

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2

\n

Released November 14, 2017

\n

Hot off the press and following in the footsteps of critically acclaimed LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, this game is bursting at the seams with over 200 different comic book characters in the base game alone, with even more promised in upcoming character packs. 

\n

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 answers the eternal question, What's a little time travel between friends? ... and then proceeds to answer a few more. What happens when Spider-Man meets Spider-Gwen? What happens when he runs smack into Spider-Man 2099? Why doesn't Tony Stark like Asgardian vol-au-vents? 

\n

Charming, cute, occasionally frustrating, and challenging to 100% complete, this game is a must for the kid who needs to stay occupied this holiday season. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/04beffc7117847c28b06d19b4d1db47c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/04beffc7117847c28b06d19b4d1db47c.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11629","description":"

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

\n

Released March 7, 2017

\n

Here's another one that feels like it's just barely squeaking into the list on a technicality -- but I have a soft spot in my soul for crossovers of almost any sort, and the Marvel vs. Capcom series has managed to evolve somewhat since my first taste of it on the Dreamcast. 

\n

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in particular has been lauded for improving on gameplay issues present in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and for a better online experience in general. Every holiday season needs at least one game that can be played with a friend -- and what better way than to see how you fare pitting cat girl Felicia against web-slinging Spider-Man? 

\n

Bright, flashy, and pretty fun to watch even if you're not the one with your hands on the controller, this is a great way to get into a more visually appealing fighting game without the extra violence and gore factor of, say, Mortal Kombat

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/eb1c123e74c2dc4a89f90d84624987a9.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/eb1c123e74c2dc4a89f90d84624987a9.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11628","description":"

LEGO Worlds

\n

Released March 7, 2017

\n

Following in the footsteps of the Minecraft global phenomenon, LEGO Worlds dumps its usual legacy of traditional story-driven premises so that players can do with bricks what LEGO players do best -- build whatever they want!

\n

This one's a bit interesting because it attempts to blend the fun of adventuring through a million different procedurally generated 3D worlds in a spaceship with the fun of being the omnipotent overlord of creation. Admittedly, a somewhat clunky interface gets in the way of a purely fun and frustration-free play experience, but it is a fantastic way to challenge a kid's creativity. 

\n

Whether you approach a problem by puzzling through the available quest or simply by deleting the walls that stand between you and the objective, the possibilities are actually limitless. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-70df4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-70df4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173770","description":"

I Am Bread

\n

Released: Jan 20, 2017

\n

Your mission ... to become toast! Ridiculous, over-the-top simulation games with a rather cavalier attitude towards the laws of physics might be a little played out by now, but the holidays are coming on fast, and there's something to be said for a game that does best with an audience and active commentary. 

\n

It might be cheating a little to include I Am Bread on the list since it initially appeared on PC and other consoles way back in 2015 and only made the jump to Xbox One early this year. Certainly it hasn't garnished rave reviews in its time on PC, but this charming little slice of silliness was never intended to match up against triple-A titles. 

\n

What it does have going for it is a history of gut-bustingly funny Let's Plays (see Markiplier's attempts to play it for further proof), and if you've got the right crowd around you, it's bound to keep you guys talking and shouting out suggestions. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/28cb771cfd472439a8c491d92f09a61e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/28cb771cfd472439a8c491d92f09a61e.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11626","description":"

Sonic Mania

\n

Released: August 15, 2017

\n

I'll be the first to admit that I live my life with one foot permanently stuck on the nostalgia train. Almost any new game featuring this spiky blue hedgehog is bound to bring me back to my early days sneaking a few hours on my cousin's Genesis. But I'll also be the first to admit that many of the newer iterations of Sonic the Hedgehog, particularly attempts at 3D Sonic, just aren't memorable in quite the same way. 

\n

Sonic Mania is a nostalgic trip back to the side-scrolling Genesis years. Is it a cash grab and blatant nostalgia pandering? Eh, probably. It's certainly not perfect, but it is handily one of the best updated iterations of a 90s game that we've seen to date. 

\n

Besides, you have excellent on-the-surface gameplay, just enough of a balance between challenge and frustration, plus a golden opportunity ahead of the upcoming Ready Player One movie release to give your kids a glimpse at how fun an "old" game can be.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/b/o/xboxonegames-kidsfamily-e7775.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/b/o/xboxonegames-kidsfamily-e7775.jpg","type":"slide","id":"174431","description":"

What a year! 

\n

There have been tons of games that hit real and virtual store shelves all throughout 2017, and the time for a yearly roundup is nigh. With so many titles bridging that gap between "made for kids" and "games that adults still want to play if they've got kids around," it's been a great year for family-friendly titles.

\n

Admittedly, many of the biggest kid-friendly titles have graced the Nintendo Switch, Wii U, and PlayStation 4 platforms as exclusives, but there have still been a fair number of games that make an Xbox One plenty worthwhile this year.

\n

Let's have a look at some of them!

\n

(Note: This article specifically focuses on games that were released this year, so a number of great games that would probably make top gifting lists such as Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and Minecraft: Story Mode just don't feature.)

\n

Header image courtesy of Xbox One UK

"}]]]>
Gift Guide: Best Gamer Gifts for Tricking out your Desk https://www.gameskinny.com/0mnd3/gift-guide-best-gamer-gifts-for-tricking-out-your-desk https://www.gameskinny.com/0mnd3/gift-guide-best-gamer-gifts-for-tricking-out-your-desk Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:14:25 -0500 Lauren Harris

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/3/8/4/38452hd-4c8e4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/3/8/4/38452hd-4c8e4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173372","description":"

When you get a gift for a gamer it can't be just any gift, it has to be the best gift out there. With over a million and counting gifts for gamers to buy for their desks, its possible for anyone to get the best product from any of these reputable sites. Go ahead, go on a gaming shopping spree and trick out your desk. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/g/j/jgjg-vault111-steelseries-headset-mouse-9b1f0.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/g/j/jgjg-vault111-steelseries-headset-mouse-9b1f0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173313","description":"
Vault 111 Steel Series Headset and Mouse
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Price:$59.99-$99.99

\n

Available on ThinkGeek

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Fallout 4 brings gamers the Vault 111 Steel Series Headset and Mouse. These accessories are perfect for those long nights of gaming and listening to your game with clear surround sound. The mouse and headset are compatible with Windows and Mac (mousepad not included). The mouse has rubberized coating for better grip so game hard and get through the wasteland with these amazing accessories for your gaming cave.

\n

 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/i/l/jillv-77fc0.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/i/l/jillv-77fc0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173312","description":"
Resident Evil: Jill Valentine Pop Toy
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Price:$8.98

\n

Available on Walmart

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Resident Evil fans would love the Jill Valentine PopToy. At only 3-3/4 inches tall it's a perfect desk buddy, sitting neatly on any gamer's desk. The vinyl toy is one of many collectibles so collect as many as you can.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/b/2/cb20caf9ee1f56f2ab0b08b7219f6963-1920-af395.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/b/2/cb20caf9ee1f56f2ab0b08b7219f6963-1920-af395.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173311","description":"
Nier Automata Bring Arts 2B and Lifeform Machine
\n

Price:$80.99

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Pre-order on Square Enix

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Nier Automata Bring Arts 2B andLifefrom Machine set and she is crafted thoroughly with every detail. The statue can do multiple poses and has a variety of accessories like different heads, swords, and pods. Save the Earth with this delicately durable figure, available to buy on May 2018.

\n

 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/1/h/81h8xqui3zl-sl1500-b4d83.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/1/h/81h8xqui3zl-sl1500-b4d83.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173310","description":"
Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable Gaming Mouse
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Price:$44.90

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Purchase on Amazon

\n

Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable gaming mouse is a gamer's best friend and right or left hand man for gaming. It has an optical sensor for the best tracking performance. There's eleven programmable buttons and very comfortable. This is an excellent gift for any gamer looking to upgrade their mouse.

\n

 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/u/n/junr-pokemon-pikachu-coin-bank-5efc5.gif","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/u/n/junr-pokemon-pikachu-coin-bank-5efc5.gif","type":"slide","id":"173305","description":"
Pokemon Pikachu Coin Bank
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Price:$29.99

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Available to purchase on ThinkGeek

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This Pikachu coin bank is a cute and simple gamer gift. It actually saves the gamer pennies and dimes so it's a 2 for one deal. On top of the adorable money grabbing, Pikachu says up to 2000 different phrases.

\n

 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn921370252-cnkq-6955b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/7/0/570xn921370252-cnkq-6955b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173302","description":"
Wooden Engraved Gamer Coasters
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Price:$22.00

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Available to purchase on Etsy

\n

Need somewhere to place your gamer juice? Look no further, these wooden engraved coasters are the perfect accessory to your gaming lifestyle. Made from bamboo for increased durability, you can purchase these handmade coasters as a six piece set.

\n

 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/s/p/jspt-leg-zelda-master-sword-letter-opener-771f4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/s/p/jspt-leg-zelda-master-sword-letter-opener-771f4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173300","description":"
Legend of Zelda Master Sword Letter Opener
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Price:$19.99

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Available to purchase on ThinkGeek

\n

With this Legend of Zelda Master Sword Letter Opener you can wield its magic as you open your mail. It can save you from the darkness of evil and also paper cuts. Fans of Zelda will enjoy opening their mail like heroes, all while wielding the holy power of the sword.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/u/l/fullxfull1246964293-7vg3-817a5.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/u/l/fullxfull1246964293-7vg3-817a5.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173299","description":"
Fire Emblem Clay Portrait
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Price:$75.00

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Available on Etsy

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This cute Fire Emblem clay portrait is a nice accessory to your desk.  Bring your favorite characters to your desk. This handmade portrait can fit anywhere in your home. You can also contact the seller if you want him to create different characters; just message him with what you want and he can create your own personalized clay portrait. 

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Size: 3.5 x 3.5

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/2/0/120218b-4d953.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/2/0/120218b-4d953.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173298","description":"
BB-8 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Desk Lamp
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Price: $39.99

\n

Purchase it on GameStop

\n

This BB-8 lamp brings a piece of Star Wars: The Force Awakens home. There are three different lighting modes: natural white, warm white, and amber. The product is felt based so it won't scratch your desk. Touch and hold to dim the light or tap BB-8's head to turn it on/off. Bring a piece of The Force Awakens home and bring the right atmosphere to your gaming desk with this cool BB-8 desk lamp.

\n

 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/1/e/71eh0w1zf6l-sl1500-27dd1.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/1/e/71eh0w1zf6l-sl1500-27dd1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173296","description":"
Ergonomic Computer Desk Extender
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Price: $5.00

\n

Available on: Amazon

\n

Being an avid gamer sometimes means you'll need comfort and support. Look no further, this Ergonomic Adjustable Computer Desk Extended Arm support is here. It reduces pressure on the wrist and minimizes strain to the muscles and tendons on the neck, arm and shoulder. Any gamer would enjoy this stress-reducing gift for the holidays. 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-e45fa-cf0d2.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-e45fa-cf0d2.png","type":"slide","id":"173889","description":"

Gamers need their own space and they also need gaming merchandise to spice up their lair. Like most gamers, the collectibles and the limited edition merchandise is what drives them to keep buying what they want. Merch is important, so upgrading that computer or improving your desk is a big deal to a lot of gamers everywhere.

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Here's a list of some game gifts to purchase for gamers who want to trick out their desk.

"}]]]>
Best Mobile Games of 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/bjs5s/best-mobile-games-of-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/bjs5s/best-mobile-games-of-2017 Mon, 20 Nov 2017 10:11:18 -0500 Lauren Harris

Sifting through the vast number of mobile games can be a chore these days. There are so many great titles on the platform, represented across the action, adventure, mystery, and puzzle genres. There really is something for everybody.

There have been a lot of new, creative, and challenging mobile games released in this year alone, and with so many to choose from, it's difficult to narrow down the best of the bunch. But we've given it a shot, so here are Game Skinny’s 10 best mobile games of 2017.

Layton's Mystery Journey

Platforms - iOS, Android

This exciting puzzle-adventure game takes place in Chancer Lane in London. You play as Katrielle Layton, daughter of the infamous Professor Hershel Layton, who has been the protagonist in previous entries of the series.

Layton's Mystery Journey sees Katrielle establishing her own detective agency where she finds herself solving many cases throughout London. But the one case Katrielle has yet to solve is the one that means the most to her -- the whereabouts of her missing father. This game generously offers players new puzzles every day for a whole year from its release date. 

 

Monument Valley 2

Platforms - iOS, Android

Three years after the original Monument Valley took over our phones, the sequel is here to do so once again. Throughout the game you'll explore vibrant environments and architecture, along with constantly-changing landscapes.

Monument Valley 2 brings you a whole new adventure to enjoy, with Ro being joined by another playable character this time around -- her child. Together they embark on a journey of discovery as Ro teaches her child about the mysteries of the valley, which forms a lasting bond between the two. 

To the Moon

Platforms - iOS, Android

To the Moon is an interesting RPG adventure that focuses on two doctors -- Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts. They have found a way to give artificial memories to patients on their deathbeds, which they use to help dying people do all the things they didn't do in their lifetime.

The patient in this game is an elderly man named Johnny. The doctors want to fulfil Johnny's dying wish before he takes his last breath, which is of course, to go to the Moon. Together they journey back through Johnny's memories in order to discover why his dying wish is what is, and with each puzzle they solve, another piece of the past is revealed.

Old Man's Journey

Platforms - iOS, Android

This indie-puzzle adventure game is a story about hope, life, and loss. The core mechanic of Old Man's Journey lets you change the landscape in order to create a path forward for the titular old man. 

Old Man's Journey is visually stunning and gives players a glimpse of the world through the eyes of an old man who has lost almost everything yet remains brave and determined. The atmosphere and story unfolds in a way that gives players a true sense of heartache, regret, and hope.

Card Thief 

Platforms - iOS, Android

Card Thief incorporates stealth elements and applies them to a dark Solitaire style game that’s played with a deck of cards. The player has to sneak through the deck (which represents a dungeon) as a thief and try to steal valuable items from guards without being seen.

You can then use what you've stolen to unlock more powerful cards, which can help you become a master thief when used in Heists. It's a game of risk versus reward, which can be very satisfying when you pull of a daring Heist. It's certainly no risk buying Card Thief, that's for sure.

Mushroom 11

Platforms - iOS, Android

Mushroom 11 is an award-winning anti-platformer where the only way to grow is through your own destruction. This mind-twisting adventure lets players transform into any shape by destroying your own cells to perform various actions.

Players navigate treacherous landscapes full of mutations and intense puzzles over seven stages, each more challenging than the last. Mushroom 11 is one of the best examples of how innovative mobile gaming can be.

Silly Walks

Platforms - iOS

The hilarious Silly Walks allows players to play as everyday household-items and foods such as a pineapple, a cupcake, a hot-dog, and loads more.

Confront the Evil Blender, who has kidnapped your friends, by navigating obstacles and avoiding getting smashed by meat hammers. Save your friends from certain doom in this quirky adventure-platformer. 

Arkanoid v Space Invaders

Platforms - iOS, Android

Square Enix and Taito have combined two of the most popular arcade games ever made into a surprisingly fun arcade-puzzle game. Using the Arkanoid paddle you must bounce balls around an arena to destroy both blocks and the Space Invaders who are trying to shoot you. There are a ton of puzzles to solve, with up to 150 stages, 20 different powers to acquire, and 40 unlockable characters.

The cherry on top is that after paying the initial purchase price, Arkanoid v Space Invaders has no micro-transactions. What more could you ask for?

Ninja Pizza Girl

Platforms - iOS

Ninja Pizza Girl strikes the perfect balance between silly humour and telling an emotionally charged story that focuses on bullying, emotional struggles, and ninjas with pizzas. Set in a dystopian future where high-quality pizza is a delicacy, Gemma is a teenager who works as a pizza delivery ninja for her father's pizza company.

In order to keep the 20-minutes-or-less guarantee alive, you’ll have to free-run across the rooftop slums in this neo-noir inspired 2D platformer. Follow Gemma as she struggles to keep her family business afloat while dealing with self-acceptance and other teenagers being teenagers.

Rainbow Unicorn Attack Forever

Platforms - iOSAndroid

The latest entry in the series, Robot Unicorn Attack Forever does away with the multiplayer that plagued RUA2 in favour of a more in depth single-player experience. The core gameplay of this hyper-stylized endless-runner largely remains the same -- run as far as you can, avoiding obstacles, and accumulating points.

Now you can use those points as currency to buy new unicorns and upgrade them, as well as upgrading your citadel which is your ultimate goal. There are also loads of challenges to complete which net you even more points to upgrade your growing stable of mythical robot horses. As always, the same rule applies -- try not to crash your unicorn!

---

There you have it -- our best mobile games of 2017. With mobile games being as convenient and easy to play as they are, it's no wonder they're so popular. So give one of these games a try, I'm sure you'll enjoy every minute of it. And if you do -- let us know in the comments below!

]]>
Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Minecraft Fans https://www.gameskinny.com/1m83b/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-minecraft-fans https://www.gameskinny.com/1m83b/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-minecraft-fans Sat, 18 Nov 2017 15:49:12 -0500 Kieran Desmond

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/u/n/lunch-bag-9d61c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/u/n/lunch-bag-9d61c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173176","description":"

Minecraft Dirt Block Lunch Bag 

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Rating: 4.9 out of 5

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Price: $20.28

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Buy it: Amazon

\n

This insulated Minecraft lunch bag is styled akin to a Dirt Block from the game and is a great gift for any fan, young or old.

\n

There are two hook-and-loop closure tabs featured on the back side that allow the lunch bag to attach to any backpack configured with Gear Hangars, making it an ideal pairing with the Diamond backback from earlier in the list.

\n

---

\n

And that'll do it! Those are some of the best gifts to buy for a Minecraft fan this holiday season. I hope the recipient enjoys whatever you get for them, regardless of whether it came from this list or not. Happy Holidays!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/e/creeper-mug-4f4b3.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/e/creeper-mug-4f4b3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173175","description":"

Minecraft Creeper Mug 

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Rating: 3.7 out of 5

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Price: $11.50

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Buy it: Amazon

\n

Enjoy getting the ultimate revenge against the relentless Creepers -- by drinking a nice, hot drink from one of their heads. This creepy, green ceramic mug is officially licensed and created by JINX.

\n

This is a perfect decorative piece for any Minecraft fan's desk or for use as an actual functioning mug. The creeper face is also printed on the opposite side of the mug, so you can never escape that terrifying gaze.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/n/c/enchanted-bow-bba28.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/n/c/enchanted-bow-bba28.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173174","description":"

Minecraft Enchanted Bow & Arrow 

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Rating: 4.3 out of 5

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Price: $27.67

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Buy it: Amazon

\n

Take aim with this pixelated bow & arrow based on the Enchanted Bow from Minecraft. This isn't just a cool collectible to display -- the arrow can actually be loaded and fired up to about 20 feet.

\n

You only get one arrow, though, so it might be best if you save it for a tough enemy or an annoying friend.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/x/p/exploding-creeper-0a477.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/x/p/exploding-creeper-0a477.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173171","description":"

Minecraft Exploding Creeper

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Rating: 3.7 out of 5

\n

Price: $24.95

\n

Buy it: Amazon

\n

This Exploding Creeper toy is so simple yet so satisfying to use. Just one press of the button on the Creeper's head and it springs up, breaking into pieces. It's super easy to reassemble, making it great to keep on a shelf for a quick smile whenever you walk past or for a younger fan to continuously play with over and over again. 

\n

This is the closest you'll get to a real exploding Creeper without losing everything in your inventory. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/o/r/torch-9c20c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/o/r/torch-9c20c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173170","description":"

Minecraft Wall Torch

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Rating: 4.2 out of 5

\n

Price: $24.99

\n

Buy it: Amazon

\n

This is an awesome, functional torch inspired by the torches in Minecraft that players heavily rely upon to light up dark areas and keep the monsters away.

\n

This officially licensed torch can hang up on your wall or stand up on a table, just like in Minecraft. Wherever you decide to put it, it's sure to add a touch of style to the space.

\n

You'll also feel safer at night knowing that no monsters will spawn in your bedroom.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/a/diamond-backpack-45681.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/a/diamond-backpack-45681.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173166","description":"

Minecraft Diamond Backpack

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Price: $19.99

\n

Buy it: Amazon

\n

This fully licensed Minecraft Diamond Backpack by JINX is the perfect school backpack for any young Minecraft fan. The subtle yet stylish design is inspired by Diamond Ore from the game, which is a very highly coveted and rare material.

\n

This high-quality backpack features a ton of compartments and pockets to keep your things nice and organized, and most consider it to be very comfortable to wear and sturdy when stuffed full of heavy items.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/a/m/gameband-62700.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/a/m/gameband-62700.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173162","description":"

Gameband for Minecraft

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Price: $29.99

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Buy it: Amazon

\n

This nifty wristband isn't just a fashion statement -- it allows you to save your Minecraft Worlds and carry them around with you wherever you go. It's only compatible with the PC version, but it means that you can play your Minecraft Worlds on any PC, even if it doesn't have Minecraft installed.

\n

Whenever you save your Worlds, the Gameband automatically backs up your save to the cloud. So if you lose or break it, all is not lost, as you can get a new one sent out to you fully loaded with all your data.

\n

You can also fully customize the LED display using some clever built-in software. You can set it to just tell the time or display an elaborate animation that you have created. It's totally up to you.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/o/story-mode-0eb99.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/o/story-mode-0eb99.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173159","description":"

Minecraft Story Mode: Season Two

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Rating: 4.3 out of 5

\n

Price: $29.99

\n

Buy it: Amazon

\n

Most Minecraft fans will already be aware of the fantastic Minecraft Story Mode: Season One Telltale game. But what they might not know is that Story Mode: Season Two has just been released.

\n

Continuing the adventures of the bizarre but wonderful cast of characters, Minecraft Story Mode: Season Two should be at the top of every fan's list of games to play.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/i/g/pig-ed1e1.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/i/g/pig-ed1e1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173158","description":"

Minecraft Pig Xbox One Controller

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Rating: 4.9 out of 5

\n

Price: $70.88

\n

Buy it: Amazon

\n

Along with the Creeper controller, which can also be bought separately for around the same price, Microsoft also released this super-cute pink controller based on the pigs in Minecraft

\n

Complete with a little curly tail on the back, this adorable controller is sure to put a smile on the face of any Minecraft fan.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/b/o/xbox-one-54892.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/b/o/xbox-one-54892.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173149","description":"

Limited-Edition Minecraft Xbox One S Bundle

\n

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

\n

Price: $499.99

\n

Buy it: Amazon

\n

This is the creme de la creme of Minecraft gifts. It's not a cheap purchase, but it's a beautifully designed 1TB Xbox One S made to resemble a Dirt Block, complete with a Redstone circuitry design on the bottom of the console. 

\n

If you have 500 bucks to spend on that huge Minecraft fan in your life, and they haven't upgraded from a standard Xbox One, this is guaranteed to make you their new favorite person. 

\n

Here's what's included in the bundle:

\n
    \n
  • Xbox One S with 1TB hard drive
  • \n
  • Creeper Gamepad
  • \n
  • Minecraft digital code
  • \n
  • Minecraft Redstone Pack bonus content digital code
  • \n
  • Xbox One S Vertical Stand
  • \n
  • 1-month Xbox Game Pass trial
  • \n
  • 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial
  • \n
"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/g/img-3699-425d6.PNG","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/g/img-3699-425d6.PNG","type":"slide","id":"173147","description":"

The holiday season is upon us once again, wrapping up a sensational year of gaming. And what a year it’s been for Minecraft fans.

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In February it was announced that Minecraft had sold over 121 million copies across all platforms. That makes Minecraft the best-selling PC game of all time and second only to Tetris in all-time sales across all platforms.

\n

So to help you and that special blockhead in your life celebrate a great year in Minecraft, here are some awesome Minecraft-inspired gifts!

"}]]]>
Best Gaming Deals for Black Friday 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/e2yys/best-gaming-deals-for-black-friday-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/e2yys/best-gaming-deals-for-black-friday-2017 Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:10:49 -0500 ThatGamersAsylum

It's that time of year, folks, the time when Black Friday consumes the lives of every department store employee and post-Turkey Day consumer to the extent that they forget they have families. Coincidentally, this is also the time of year that we turn a blind eye to all of that because, "Ah, holidays! Must buy gifts for myself. Look at all these great deals!"

So in the spirit of the season, here are some of the best Black Friday deals coming our way this year.

Sony and PlayStation Store Black Friday Deals

These deals, running from November 19 November 27, are related to Sony products across all retailers, from Best Buy to Amazon and beyond. 

The 1TB standard slim PlayStation 4 will be on sale for $199.99 this year, alongside Dual Shock 4 controllers for $40 (that's compared to their normal $60 price tag).

For anyone interested in virtual reality gaming on the PlayStation 4, the PSVR Gran Turismo Sport Bundle will cost $299, while the PSVR Skyrim VR Bundle will retail for $350.

PSN will also have a special Black Friday sale. PlayStation Plus subscribers will get special, early access to these deals on November 17; everyone else will have access to them on November 21. The sale will end on November 28. 

The games that are currently on sale for the PlayStation Store Early Access Black Friday Sale: 

  • Call of Duty: WWII Digital Deluxe Edition -- $89.99
  • Destiny 2 -- $41.99
  • FIFA 18 -- $35.99
  • FIFA 18 Icon Edition -- $59.99
  • FIFA 18 Ronaldo Edition -- $47.99
  • Madden NFL 18 Standard -- $29.99
  • Madden NFL GOAT Edition -- $39.99
  • NBA 2K18 -- $41.99
  • NBA 2K18 Legend Edition -- $59.99
  • NBA 2K18 Legend Edition Gold -- $119.99
  • NHL 18 Standard Edition -- $29.99
  • NHL 18 Young Stars Edition -- $39.99
  • NHL 18 Young Stars Deluxe Edition -- $49.99
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 -- $29.99
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 FC Barcelona Edition -- $34.99
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole -- $41.99
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole Gold Edition -- $62.99
  • Assassin's Creed: Origins Gold Edition -- $69.99
  • Assassin's Creed: Origins -- $41.99
  • Assassin's Creed: Origins Deluxe Edition -- $48.99
  • Destiny 2 Digital Deluxe Edition -- $74.99
  • Destiny 2 Expansion Pass Bundle -- $67.49
  • Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Deluxe Edition -- $89.99
  • Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Standard Edition -- $41.99
  • Overwatch Game of the Year Edition -- $29.99
  • Project Cars 2 -- $41.99
  • WWE 2K18 -- $35.99
  • WWE 2K18 Digital Deluxe Edition -- $53.99
  • Need for Speed: Payback Deluxe Edition -- $47.99
  • Need for Speed: Payback -- $35.99

Nintendo Black Friday Video Game Deals

Sadly, Nintendo's Black Friday Deals are largely underwhelming this year, but if you're looking for a 2DS or Nintendo Switch Black Friday deal, there are currently two options: 

  • The Legend of Zelda-themed 2DS with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D pre-loaded onto it for $79.99. Note: This is the standard 2DS, not the NEW 2DS. 

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Explorer's Edition, which includes the original Nintendo Switch game, a 100-page explorer's guide, and a two-sided map, all for $59.99. Note: This release does not include any of Breath of the Wild's DLC.

Nintendo does have a handful of other deals that are available outside of the scope of Black Friday, which you can check out here

Microsoft Black Friday Deals

Microsoft has a few decent console offers for Black Friday 2017:

  • A $189 500GB Xbox One S, along with a free game of your choice and a free month of Game Pass.

  • An Xbox One X 500 GB bundle for $249, which is similar to the Xbox One S bundle above, except you get two free games.

    • The first free game can be one of the following: 
      • Assassin's Creed: Origins
      • Call of Duty: WWII
      • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War 
      • Forza 7 
      • FIFA 18
      • Destiny 2
      • Madden 18
      • NBA 2K18 
      • Overwatch: GotY Edition
      • Forza Horizon 3
      • Star Wars: Battlefront 2
      • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
      • South Park: The Fractured But Whole 
      • Just Dance 2018 
      • The Evil Within 2
      • WWE 2K18
      • NHL 18 
      • Need for Speed: Payback
      • Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2
      • Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite
    • The second free game can be one of the following:
      • The Crew 
      • Hasbro Family Fun Pack 
      • Just Dance 2016
      • The Division
      • Watch Dogs
  • The third console bundle Microsoft comes in at $369 and includes a 1TB Xbox One S Minecraft Edition console, which also features two free games (the same games from the above list). The special Xbox One S Minecraft Edition console also includes: 
    • Creeper Xbox Wireless Controller 
    • Minecraft digital code 
    • Minecraft Redstone Pack bonus content digital code 
    • Xbox One S Vertical Stand 
    • A one-month Xbox Game Pass trial

Gamestop Black Friday Deals

Gamestop has a ton of great Black Friday deals this year. All offers are valid November 23 through November 26. Doors open at 4 p.m. on November 23. Moreover, many of the publisher-specific deals above should also be available at Gamestop this Black Friday.

Note: The Gamestop Black Friday deals listed below are only some of the store's highlighted deals. There are over 12 pages in Gamestop's Black Friday Deals brochure

Buy 2, Get 1 Free

This deal usually extends past just Black Friday sales.

Gamer Gear Sales

A lot of gamer gear, such as shirts and smaller plushies, will be on sale for $10. Many of the larger items will also be discounted, but not as heavily. Here are just a few of the deals: 

  • FUNKO Mystery Box: $20
  • All TOMY Plush: $10
  • Large poseable Pokemon plush: $32.99
  • Buy 2, Get 1 Free Pokemon TCG Booster Packs: $3.99
  • Apple/Android mobile fans: $5.99
  • Assassin's Creed: Origins hidden blade replica: $20
  • Call of Duty: WWII Wings for Victory T-shirt: $10
  • Destiny 2 Cayde-6 snow globe: $13.99
  • Mario or Yoshi 24" plushie: $29.99
  • And much more
$40 Gamestop Black Friday Video Game Deals
  • Just Dance 2018 (including Nintendo Switch) 
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole 
  • Forza 7
  • Need for Speed: Payback
  • Guitar Hero Live Ultimate Party Pack 2 ( comes with two guitar controllers)
$30 Gamestop Black Friday Video Game Deals
  • Fallout 4 GotY
  • Overwatch GotY
  • Persona 5
  • Yakuza 0
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Forza Horizon 3
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2018.
 $27 Gamestop Black Friday Video Game Deals
  • NBA 2K18
  • Destiny 2 (only Thursday and Friday) 
  • Madden NFL 18
  • FIFA 18
$25 Gamestop Black Friday Video Game Deals
  • The Evil Within 2
  • Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Injustice 2
  • The Witcher 3: Complete Edition
  • Nier: Automata
  • Tekken 7
  • And many more
$20 Gamestop Black Friday Video Game Deals
  • Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 Remaster Pack
  • Kingdom Hearts 2.8
  • Dishonored 2
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Uncharted 4 
  • Uncharted: Lost Legacy 
  • Prey
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Resident Evil 7
  • Outlast Trinity
  • Dying Light: The Following
  • LEGO Worlds
  • LEGO City Undercover (also on Switch)
$15 Gamestop Black Friday Video Game Deals
  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Jack Collection
$10 Gamestop Black Friday Video Game Deals
  • The Last of Us Remastered
Gamestop Black Friday Pokemon Deals

Pokemon Gen 6 games (X, Y, Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire) are available for $20 apiece, or $40 for 3.

Toys-r-Us Black Friday Deals

Toy-r-Us will open their doors at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will have Black Friday deals running until closing time on Saturday, November 25. 

Note: Toys-r-Us has actually somewhat recently filed bankruptcy, so there is a good chance that a store near you might be closing, in which case, there might be some "going out of business" sales, soon. 

  • $30 for Ghost Recon Wildlands and Watch Dogs 2.

  • Grand Theft Auto V and Persona 5 are also available for $30, while Just Dance 2018, Forza 7, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole are available for $40. 

  • Toys-r-Us is also having a large sale on many of their board games, as most of them will cost anywhere between $5-15.

Shark Robot

While Shark Robot technically sells gaming related gear, they have some decent deals going on that may be worth your time to check out. 

  1. Site wide 15% discount when you use the code "BLACKFRIDAY17" at checkout. This runs from November 11 until the 17. 
  2. BOGO free when buying items from clearance. Supplies are limited. Most shirts in clearance cost only $5.
  3. Free Shipping on US orders over $60 and International Orders over $100.

Best Buy

As would be expected, Best Buy has a ton of tech and gaming related products on sale for Black Friday. There are over 20 pages of deals, so if you want to check them all out, you can here. However, below are the biggest gaming related deals. 

  • Same, basic console deals as mentioned elsewhere:
    • $189 Xbox One S 500GB
    • $199 PS4 1TB
  • PS4/Xbox One Controllers for $40 (Usually $60)
  • Turtle Beach Recon 150 Gaming Headset for $40 (Usually $70)
  • Nintendo Switch Pro-Controller for $20 (Usually $30)
  • Save Up to $50 on Turtle Beach Headsets
    • (Advert doesn't specify which headsets are discounted and by what amount)
  • Save up to 25% on Astro Gaming Headsets
    • (Advert doesn't specify which headsets are discounted and by what amount)
$40 Deals
  • Call of Duty World War II
$35 Deals
  • Assassin's Creed Origins
  • South Park Fractured But Whole
  • Forza 7
  • Need for Speed Payback
  • Call of Duty Black Ops 3
$30 Deals
  • Destiny 2
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Madden 18
  • NBA 2K 18
  • Fifa 18
  • WWE 2K 18
  • Just Dance 2018
  • Overwatch GotY Edition
  • Battlefield 1 Revolution
  • Persona 5
  • Final Fantasy XII Zodiac Edition
  • Fallout 4 Game of the Year Edition
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
$25 Deals
  • Nier: Automata
  • Tekken 7
  • Crash Bandicoot Remaster Collection
  • Call of Duty Infinite Warfare
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Wolfenstein 2
  • The Evil Within 2
  • Forza Horizon 3
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
  • Super Bomberman R (Switch)
  • Sonic Forces Bonus Edition (Switch)
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
$20 Deals
  • Uncharted: Lost Legacy
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • Disgaea 5 Complete Edition (Switch)
  • Rayman Legends Definitive Edition (Switch)
  • Pokemon Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire, X, Y
  • Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
  • New Super Mari Bros. 2
  • Uncharted 4
  • Resident Evil 7
  • Injustice 2
  • And Many More
$15 Deals
  • Last of Us Remastered
  • Uncharted Collection (containing Uncharted 1-3)
  • For Honor
  • Mass Effect Andromeda
  • Halo 5
  • Mafia 3
  • Borderlands: Handsome Jack Collection (Borderlands 2 and Pre-Sequel plus all DLC for both titles)
  • DOOM
  • Gears of War 4
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • Dishonored: Death of an Outsider
  • Bioshock: The Collection (Bioshock 1, 2, & Infinite + All DLC)
  • Titanfall 2
  • And Many More...

Walmart

 

Walmart, like all of the other largest retailers, has extensive Black Friday sales running from Thanksgiving Thursday and on into the coming days. Walmart in particular will open their doors at 6pm on 11/23.

Walmart's website says you can buy online and pickup in store, but I am not exactly sure how this system works, so you will definitely want to look more into it prior to Black Friday.

  • Like Best Buy, PS4 and Xbox One Controllers will be on sale for $40
  • Switch Pro Controller will also be on sale for $17; $3 cheaper than Best Buy
  • Turtle Beach Recon 50P Gaming Headset Available for $25 
  • Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Special Edition (includes 100 page mini guide and 2 sided map) is on sale for $50 compared to $60 everywhere else
  • While Call of Duty World War 2 is $43 ($3 more expensive than most places) they also have a Call of Duty World War 2 + Infinite Warfare Special Edition Bundle, which is exclusive to Walmart, for $60

It should be noted, that the way that Walmart's advert and website are laid out, that some of the available games are not exactly clear. 

$30 Video Game Deals
  • Mario + Rabbids
  • NBA 2K 18
  • Assassin's Creed Origins
  • Fifa 18
  • Madden 18
  • Destiny 2
  • WWE 2K 18
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole
  • Grand Theft Auto V (PS4 & Xbox One)
  • Uncharted Lost Legacy
  • Overwatch Game of the Year Edition
  • Battlefield 1
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
  • Crash Bandicoot
  • Forza 7
  • Need for Speed: Payback
  • The Evil Within 2
  • Pokemon Sun and Moon
  • Super Mario Maker 3DS
  • And many more... 
$20 Video Game Deals
  • The Show 17
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • Tekken 7
  • Edler Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Call of Duty Black Ops III
  • Just Dance 2018
  • Rayman Legends Definitive Edition (Switch)
  • Forza Horizon 3
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Grand Theft Auto V (PS3 & Xbox 360)
  • Dragon Ball Z Xenoverse 2
  • Knack 2
  • Minecraft Story Mode
  • Injustice 2
  • And Many More...
$12 Video Game Deals
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Titanfall 2
  • Dishonored 2
  • Deadpool
  • Mafia III
  • Just Cause 3
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • And More...
$9 Video Game Deals (Mostly Last Gen)
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Skate 3
  • Fallout New Vegas Game of the Year 
  • Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
  • Fallout 3 Game of the Year

Target

Target opens their doors at 6pm on Thursday, close at midnight, and reopens at 6am on Friday. Much like Walmart, Target also did a terrible job displaying which games will be on sale and at what price, so the below lists are incomplete. 

  • PS4 and Xbox One Controllers Discounted to $40 (usually $60)
  • Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One and Turtle Beach Stealth 400 Gaming Headsets on sale for $45.
  • 50% Off Skylanders Imaginators and All Lego Dimensions Starter Packs 
$35 Video Game Sales
  • Assassin's Creed: Origins
  • Need For Speed: Payback
  • Sims 4
  • WWE 2K 18
  • NHL 18
  • And More...
$30 Video Game Sales
  • Madden 18
  • NBA 2K 18
  • Fifa 18
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
  • Just Dance 2018 (Switch)
  • Wolfenstein II
  • Destiny 2
  • The Evil Within 2
  • And More...
$25 Video Game Sales
  • Injustice 2
  • Just Dance 2018 (Wii)
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • Crash Bandicoot HD Collection
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare 
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
  • Kirby Planet Robobot
  • Yoshi's Wolly World
  • Super Smash Bros 3DS
  • Super Mario Maker 3DS
  • And More...
$15 Video Game Sales
  • For Honor
  • Forza Horizon 3
  • Lego Worlds
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • Resident Evil 7
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • And More...

---

If all of these deals have you excited, then stay tuned, because we will keep updating this Black Friday guide up until the big day.

]]>
7 Scary Games You Can Play on Your Mobile Phone https://www.gameskinny.com/smjwb/7-scary-games-you-can-play-on-your-mobile-phone https://www.gameskinny.com/smjwb/7-scary-games-you-can-play-on-your-mobile-phone Sat, 18 Nov 2017 12:05:07 -0500 bazookajo94

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So there you have it: 7 games to give you spooks for days, free, popular, or otherwise. Whether you're into the meta feel of SIM, you're looking for a VR experience to set your hair on end, or if just a good ol' bloody thriller is what you're after, there's something in this list for everyone.

\n

But if none of these games leave you with that feeling like you've just been abandoned in a haunted asylum and you've got to get out before you turn into one of the patients, there are countless other horror games just waiting for you, more than enough to make you sleep with the light on for the rest of your life.

\n

Have you played any of these yet? What's your favorite mobile horror game? Let us know in the comments!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-45930.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-45930.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173991","description":"

Hidden Agenda

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An interesting trend on PlayStation 4 is that players can now buy games that they play simultaneously on their PlayStation and their phone. Recent thriller release Hidden Agenda gives you what you've always wanted, ever since you played Until Dawn in room with all your friends and only one person could make the choices: the chance for everyone to play in a multifaceted, choices-matter game, where one small decision could ultimately lead to the ruin of everything. 

\n

Players can download the Hidden Agenda app on their phone (free in the app store, but the game on the PlayStation costs $19.99), and then up to six people can join the game, uncovering clues and making choices as they chase down the "Trapper" murderer. A character's choices can affect the life or death of other characters, so you might lose some friendships in this game. But that's a risk you should be willing to take to have this much fun.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-c5c6f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-c5c6f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173957","description":"

SIM - Sara is Missing

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If you haven't stopped thinking about Tap since I mentioned it earlier, then maybe the type of game you've been searching for is SIM - Sara is Missing. As soon as you download the app (which is free), it acts as if it is Sara's phone, with its own in-app apps and files. These all serve as a starting point for whoever "found" Sara's phone to solve the mystery behind her disappearance. 

\n

\n

Though the horror of this game doesn't fall into haunted houses or spooky monsters, this game does remind players that not all fear stems from jump scares and that sometimes, what's around us every day can be the most frightening of all.  

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/o/r/horror-house-b1d52.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/o/r/horror-house-b1d52.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173956","description":"

VR Haunted House 3D

\n

Like the thrill of haunted houses, but hate the prospect of having to go outside? Have I got some great news for you, buddy. There are some excellent VR games on the app store, one of them being the free-to-play game VR Haunted House 3D.

\n

I don't think it's possible for me to sound any less like an infomercial, so let's go all out. In VR Haunted House 3D, your goal is to defend the haunted house from its dead(ly) inhabitants, including zombies, ghosts, and other uninvited guests.

\n

Sure, you're basically just standing in one place as you experience an abandoned house full of monsters you can shoot. But the best part of VR horror experiences is that even if the graphics don't look entirely true to life, just the fact that you can't see the real world out of your peripherals makes the fear suddenly very real and very intense. So dive in, if you dare. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/n/unnamed-968f0.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/n/unnamed-968f0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173954","description":"

Slendrina

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If you've been waiting for Slender Man to make the list, fine: here you go. It's free, it's fun, you've probably already played it. What you probably haven't played is Slendrina

\n

Slendrina sounds like someone's Slender-sona name, or the name someone would pick for Slender Man's wife in some risque fanfiction; nevertheless, Slendrina is here, she lives in the cellar, and she doesn't like it when you look at her. And any game that models itself the Godfather of horror games himself is bound to deliver like a little shop of horrors (er, a little cellar of horrors?)

\n

Slendrina has got something special that can only be experienced by playing the games. Yes, plural. Currently, Slendrina has about 10 games to her name, but people can't get enough of Slendrina: The Cellar for its movie-quality thrills and nail-biting tension.

\n

They're all free on both iOS and Android, unless you don't want ads. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/2/0/1200x630bb-23559.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/2/0/1200x630bb-23559.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173953","description":"

Lights Off

\n

If you can't get away from (or enough of) the eyes, then you might like Lights Off, developed by Henry Sorren and released by Inky apps. In this free game on iOS and Android, players try to solve a mystery in a haunted house, as they follow a blood trail and run away from scary monsters. 

\n

Sounds familiar. But, hey, if you like scary stuff, you like scary stuff, meaning you like searching through haunted houses and running from monsters. There's nothing wrong with liking a certain genre and never getting sick of its tropes, so there's no surprise you might like this game, too Embrace your obsessions. Explore another haunted house. Get spooked--and have a ton of fun in the process.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/q/d/hqdefault-41130.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/q/d/hqdefault-41130.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173951","description":"

Eyes - The Horror Game

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Now that the big guys are out of the way, let's fall deeper into the dark, dank, depths of the app store. Let's talk about horror games that are lesser known and cost less money (as in "free"). Let's talk about Eyes - The Horror Game, available on iOS and Android. 

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How does playing as a thief sound? A thief who explores a haunted mansion in search of money--and clues--while trying to discover the truth about the mysterious ghost constantly in pursuit. 

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 (Spoiler alert: it's not a benevolent ghost.) 

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You don't usually see horror games with this type of graphic quality and true jump scares, especially not on your phone, and most definitely not for free. So you certainly wouldn't be wasting your time and money checking out this game (as you won't be wasting any money at all).

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If you solve the mystery and beat the game, but hunger for more, fear not: there are plans for the game to expand, with even more maps in the future. So go ahead. Download the free horror game...feel the eyes watching you...don't be scared. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/1/p/61ptki3e0kl-135f3.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/1/p/61ptki3e0kl-135f3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173949","description":"

LIMBO

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Why must every horror article I write include LIMBO? Probably because it never leaves me. It's always lurking--on the PlayStation 4, the Xbox 360, the computer, and now, the phone. 

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Yes, that's right, you can buy LIMBO for $4.99 on iOS and Android and relive the dark and dreary delight of a young boy searching for his sister through limbo. Spiders abound, lightening strikes, and blood sprays in this award-winning indie horror game that forces players to solve puzzles and hope for the best, as they navigate a landscape barren of hope. 

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If a game this good and potent is available on almost every console, why not play it on your phone, too? Keep it closer to home--and closer to your face--than ever before. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/y/e/eyes-horror-game-video-reactions-3d247.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/y/e/eyes-horror-game-video-reactions-3d247.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173950","description":"

Tired of surfing through Netflix for your next late night flick of the worst horror movie you can find? (......damn, you're right; that never gets old.)

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Regardless, if you're looking to add even more horror to your life, try your phone. Of course, you could always download Tap, a story-telling app where the majority of members post horror stories written in SMS format. But if reading isn't so much your thing (and let's face it: this is a game site) then I've got you covered. Here are just a few worthwhile games among many in the app store waiting patiently to prey on your fears.

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(And before you start fearing that I'll give a whole section to Five Night's at Freddy's, I'll just mention briefly that it's also available on iOS and Android for $2.99.)

"}]]]>
Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Pokemon Fans https://www.gameskinny.com/peo73/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-pokemon-fans https://www.gameskinny.com/peo73/gift-guide-best-gifts-for-pokemon-fans Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:34:18 -0500 Allison M Reilly

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/a/r/partner-power-fleece-pokemon-gifts-b2734.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/a/r/partner-power-fleece-pokemon-gifts-b2734.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173306","description":"

First Partner Power Fleece

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Rating: No reviews

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Price: $39.95

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Buy: Pokemon Center

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The First Partner Power Fleece is for Pokemon fans of the current generation, Sun and Moon, as it features Decidueye, Incineroar, and Primarina from the Alola Region. It's a comfy blanket suitable for all genders that will keep Pokemon fans warm during the cold winter nights.

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The fleece measures 50" x 60" and is made of 100 percent Polyester. It's machine washable and dryer friendly.

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Hopefully, this gamer gift guide gave you a few ideas for the Pokemon fans in your life. It's best to have ideas now and to get started on the shopping early. Don't hesitate to pick anything from the list!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/w/mew-tote-bag-pokemon-gifts-dbd53.gif","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/w/mew-tote-bag-pokemon-gifts-dbd53.gif","type":"slide","id":"173304","description":"

Galaxy Mew Tote Bag

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Rating: 4/5 stars (44 reviews)

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Price: $20 to $28, depending on size

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Buy: Redbubble

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Who couldn't use a good, new tote bag? A Pokemon fan who already has the Galaxy Mew Tote Bag, that's who. For those fans who don't, this tote bag would make a fantastic addition to their tote bag collection. For those fans who don't have this bag and don't have a tote bag collection? Well, they just need this particular tote bag.

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The Galaxy Mew Tote Bag comes in three sizes: 13" x 13", 16" x 16", and 18" x 18". The design is printed on both sides and the bag is made out of  Polyester poplin fabric. The strap is 1 inch wide and is 14 inches in length.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/e/v/eeveelution-wallet-pokemon-gifts-a8f63.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/e/v/eeveelution-wallet-pokemon-gifts-a8f63.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173301","description":"

Eeveelution Wallet

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars (20 reviews)

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Price: $15.99

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Buy: Amazon

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So, we may have already included the Eeveelution Stone Soaps for the Eeveelution Pokemon fan, but soaps aren't really for everyone. Nearly everyone uses a wallet. Also, the Eeveelution wallet will make an excellent gift for younger Pokemon fans who are just starting to handle their own money for the first time.

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The wallet is a bi-fold wallet made of 100 percent vegan leather. It has five card slots and an additional windowed ID holder. It isn't machine washable.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/o/unofficial-pokemon-trackerss-guide-pokemon-gifts-0967c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/o/unofficial-pokemon-trackerss-guide-pokemon-gifts-0967c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173269","description":"

The Unofficial Pokemon Go Tracker's Guide

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Rating: 4.3/5 stars (7 reviews)

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Price: $11.70

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Buy: Amazon

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For the Pokemon fan who enjoys traveling and playing Pokemon Go, the "Unofficial Pokemon Go Tracker's Guide" is an adventure guide describing notable sites around the world where players can catch Pokemon. The book does more than pointing out popular tourist spots like the Pyramids of Egypt and the Pentagon. It also showcases cool places that are home to gyms and rare Pokemon, like Area 51, famous mountain tops, and abandoned mental asylums.

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It can seem like we've found all the hacks for catching rare and legendary Pokemon, but this book gives fans a new challenge and an interesting way to find new Pokemon.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/e/v/eeveelution-stone-soap-pokemon-gifts-c4a03.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/e/v/eeveelution-stone-soap-pokemon-gifts-c4a03.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173268","description":"

Pokemon Eeveelution Stone Soap

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Rating: 5/5 stars (2,446 reviews)

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Price: $3.50 each

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Buy: Etsy

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Clearly, the Pokemon Eeveelution Stone Soap isn't for the Pokemon fan who needs a shower. Although the soap can be used for cleaning, it's best if the soaps are given to a Pokemon fan who loves Eeveelutions or wants the soaps for cosplay.

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Each soap is made with a glycerin soap base and has a unique scent. Each one weighs about 2 oz. and is about the same size as a normal bar of soap.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/k/pokedez-iphone-case-pokemon-gifts-72f90.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/k/pokedez-iphone-case-pokemon-gifts-72f90.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173266","description":"

Pokedex iPhone Case

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Rating: 5/5 stars (195 reviews)

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Price: $38.99

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Buy: Etsy

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For the high-tech, crafty, particular Pokemon fan, this unique Pokedex iPhone case is sure to please. Yes, it's not the only Pokedex iPhone case out there, but this one is the coolest because it has both the design and the functionality. Just have the giftee download a Pokedex app and it's good to go.

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Note: the Etsy purchase is just for the raw 3D case. Sanding, painting and decorating are up to you or the giftee. When purchased, the case is made to fit any iPhone from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 7+.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/i/n/winter-sweater-pokemon-gifts-74c10.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/i/n/winter-sweater-pokemon-gifts-74c10.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173257","description":"

Pokemon Winter Sweater

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Rating: N/A

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Price: On sale for $29.99, usually $49.99

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Buy: ThinkGeek

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Sure, the Pokemon winter sweater isn't the most "Pokemon" gift out there. But, if you know a Pokemon fan who needs an ugly holiday sweater, then you're set. The winter sweater is also a decent choice if you really don't have any other good ideas i.e. a new significant other or a Secret Santa in the office.

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The sweater ranges in size from XS to 3X. The pattern is on both sides and features Pikachu, snowflakes and pine trees. The sweater is 55 percent cotton, 45 percent acrylic. If green isn't the right color, then check out the red winter sweater.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/y/m/gym-badges-pokemon-gifts-75745.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/y/m/gym-badges-pokemon-gifts-75745.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173223","description":"

Pokemon Gym Badges

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Rating: 4.7/5 stars (159 reviews)

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Price: $11.98

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Buy: Amazon

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For the Pokemon fan who loves the anime or is dead set there are only 150 Pokemon, then these Pokemon Gym Badges are a good choice. The lapels each come with a gold trim and a butterfly pin attachment. They're an awesome collector's item as well as a nice detail to a Pokemon trainer cosplay.

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If the Indigo League badges aren't enough, then consider the 58-piece set, which includes the gym badges from Generations one through six.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/o/f/koffee-mug-pokemon-gifts-c1f65.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/o/f/koffee-mug-pokemon-gifts-c1f65.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173208","description":"

Koffing-Themed Coffee Mug

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Rating: 5 stars (14 reviews)

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Price: $15.99 (11oz); $18.99 (15oz)

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Buy: Society6

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Koffing isn't the most appetizing Pokemon around, but the pun is just too cute. You read the word "koffee" and you can hear it in Koffing's voice. This "Koffee Mug" is great for the Pokemon fan who loves coffee, who loves Koffing, and/or who just needs a new Pokemon-themed mug.

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The mug is available in two sizes: 11 oz. or 15 oz. It's also dishwasher safe and microwave safe. Even if the Pokemon fan in your life only likes tea or hot cocoa, nearly every Pokemon fan will enjoy or find a use for this coffee mug.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/y/r/gyrados-scarf-pokemon-gift-30e10.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/y/r/gyrados-scarf-pokemon-gift-30e10.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173207","description":"

Crocheted Gyarados Scarf

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Rating: 5 stars (78 reviews)

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Price: $30.00

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Buy It: Etsy

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The crocheted Gyarados scarf is the perfect gift for Pokemon fans young and old. It's approximately four feet long and is made entirely of yarn. With colder weather on the way, even Pokemon fans could use another scarf.

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As the picture shows, you can get the traditionally colored, blue Gyarados scarf or the shiny variant, red Gyarados scarf. But wait there's more! If that wasn't already cool enough the scarf is customizable and custom-made upon ordering. So, if you'd like different colored eyes or a different colored Gyarados, then ask away.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-65aa5.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-65aa5.png","type":"slide","id":"174946","description":"

It's that time of year again, where we make our lists and check them twice, so we don't forget to give anyone a present. And just about everyone has a Pokemon fan on their list, whether kids aged one to ninety-two, a friend, coworker, or significant other.

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It may seem like there's plenty of time before Christmas, but since some of the items in this gamer gift guide are made-to-order or running low in stock, you won't want to wait until the last minute. Here are some of the best and most practical gifts for Pokemon fans!

"}]]]>
Gift Guide: Best Gamer Gifts Under $20 https://www.gameskinny.com/n6ln8/gift-guide-best-gamer-gifts-under-20 https://www.gameskinny.com/n6ln8/gift-guide-best-gamer-gifts-under-20 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:45:29 -0500 Kieran Desmond

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/a/p/happyspaceinvaders-37cd1.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/a/p/happyspaceinvaders-37cd1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173850","description":"

Those were ten of the best gamer gifts to buy for under $20 this holiday, but they are by no means all of your options. So if something on this list seems like something the gamer in your life would enjoy, awesome! But if not, just keep looking. You're bound to find something that they'll love sooner or later. 

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Make sure you take of advantage of Black Friday this November 24th, and don't forget about Cyber Monday a few days later. You never know what kind of deals you may find.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/h/o/phone-stand-4c2bf.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/h/o/phone-stand-4c2bf.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173832","description":"

Lamicall Playstand

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Price: $18.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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There's no doubt about i t-- the Nintendo Switch is an amazing console. However, it's not without its flaws. In this case, I'm specifically referring to the built-in stand and its location in relation to the charging port.

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The issue that arises is that when you want to play your Switch in tabletop mode, you can't charge it. This is a big problem in games such as Super Mario Odyssey, which encourages you to play in this mode.

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This stand solves that problem and is a cut above most of the other stands on the market in terms of build quality, flexibility, and portability. A must-have for any Switch owner.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/n/pong-shirt-7c8fa.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/n/pong-shirt-7c8fa.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173847","description":"

Retro Pong Tee

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Price: $15.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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Show off your love for video games history by wearing this T-shirt tribute to Pong, one of the grandfathers of gaming.

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Released in 1972, the table tennis-inspired Pong is credited as being the first commercially successful video game, arguably kicking off the gaming world as we know it today. Never forget where it all started by picking one of these up this holiday season.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/n/mini-arcade-7ec45.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/n/mini-arcade-7ec45.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173791","description":"

DreamGear Retro Machine

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Price: $19.88

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Buy it on: Amazon

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This miniature throwback to the glory days of arcade cabinets is packed with 200 video games. There's nothing licensed on the Retro Machine, so it's mostly clones of popular games, but when you get games similar to classics like Galaga, Space Invaders, and Dig Dug, this mini-machine is nothing to balk at.

\n

This is a great item to keep on your desk at work for some quick gaming when you get a break ... or when the boss isn't watching.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/m/i/amiibo-storage-5c83f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/m/i/amiibo-storage-5c83f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173836","description":"

Donkey Kong-Themed Amiibo Display

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Price: $19.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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If you know someone who has a bunch of Amiibo characters just sitting on a shelf, they'll go bananas for this Donkey Kong-inspired Amiibo stand. Not only does does this stand tidy up and organize Amiibo, it's also just a really cool design.

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The stand holds up to nine Amiibo figures and is super easy to assemble. This is a no-brainer gift for any self-respecting Amiibo collector.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/l/o/aloy-plush-5712a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/l/o/aloy-plush-5712a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173616","description":"

Aloy Stubbins 6" Plush

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Price: $12.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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Pluck Aloy out of The Frozen Wilds and into the warm home of a Horizon: Zero Dawn fan this holiday season. She may not be able to fight giant robot dinosaurs, but she can bring a smile to the face of even the most stone-hearted gamer.

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The adorable Stubbins Sony Plush line features other iconic Sony video game characters such as Uncharted's Nathan Drake, both of the titular characters of the Ratchet & Clank series, and many more. So if Aloy isn't the right character for your gift recipient, you should check out the rest of the Stubbins toy line.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/c/a/ocarina-aa2f8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/c/a/ocarina-aa2f8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173621","description":"

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Ocarina Replica

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Price: $13.99

\n

Buy it: Amazon

\n

If you thought that the ocarina from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was an instrument created for the game, then think again.This totally playable ocarina is a recreation of the titular wind instrument.

\n

The ocarina is fairly easy to pick up-and-play, and it even comes with a songbook and finger chart to help you learn to play classic songs from The Legend of Zelda series.

\n

Disclaimer: Be wary of causing storms, sudden shifts in time, or the random appearance of horses.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/headphones-7c8eb.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/headphones-7c8eb.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173792","description":"

BlueFire Gaming Headset

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Price: $19.99

\n

Buy it on: Amazon

\n

This headset is great for the price you pay. It's a given that it won't be the best headset you can buy, but if you're on a budget, it'll do the job.

\n

With a removable microphone for when you just want to relax with a movie, a lightweight frame for more comfort during longer play sessions, and a nice seven-foot cord length, this BlueFire gaming headset is a great gift for any gamer.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/r/mario-joycon-grip-d698b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/r/mario-joycon-grip-d698b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173618","description":"

Super Mario Odyssey Joy-Con Grip

\n

Price: $19.99

\n

Buy it on: Amazon

\n

This Super Mario Odyssey-themed Joy-Con Grip is an awesome addition to any Switch owner’s collection. Released in conjunction with the game, this grip is the perfect accessory with which to embark on Mario's latest adventure.

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Gameplay-wise, this Joy-Con Grip doesn’t add anything to the Switch experience, but let’s face it -- we all love owning stuff that has Mario’s face plastered over it.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/e/b/beboncool-ea4a7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/e/b/beboncool-ea4a7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173617","description":"

BEBONCOOL Bluetooth Phone Gamepad

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Price: $19.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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Most gamers don't enjoy phone games because of the less traditional control method of using a touchscreen. It's not hard to see why, as touchscreen controls can be clunky and unpleasant when your fingers are covering half the screen.

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With massively underrated phone peripherals such as this BEBONCOOL controller, you can change the way you play games on your phone forever. All it takes is a Bluetooth connection and some compatible games, and you're all set.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/g/megaman-17652.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/g/megaman-17652.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173803","description":"

Pixel Pals - Mega Man Lighted Figure

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Price: $14.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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The Pixel Pals Lighted Figure Collection hosts many popular video game characters as well as popular characters from other mediums. But this Mega Man figure in particular really captures the essence of the classic Capcom character using awesome pixel art.

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At 6 inches tall, this figure would look great on a desk to add a little fun to your workspace or on a shelf to instill some nostalgic personality into the room.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/a/m/gamer-guide-26b1f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/a/m/gamer-guide-26b1f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173619","description":"

As the holiday season rapidly approaches, now is a better time than ever to start buying gifts for your friends and family. If you're looking for a budget gift for that gamer in your life, then you're in the right place.

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Being a gamer doesn't mean enjoying just the games themselves; gamers also love collectibles associated with their favorite games as well as other aspects of gaming culture as a whole. So this list is video game-free, looking instead at some items the average gamer is less likely to buy for him or herself.

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Whether you're on a budget or you're after some cool stocking-fillers, there's sure to be something on this list for any gamer to enjoy.

"}]]]>
Gift Guide: 9 Fragtastic Care Packages for Call of Duty Fans in 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/ditq8/gift-guide-9-fragtastic-care-packages-for-call-of-duty-fans-in-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/ditq8/gift-guide-9-fragtastic-care-packages-for-call-of-duty-fans-in-2017 Tue, 14 Nov 2017 15:28:23 -0500 Jonathan Moore

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/d/cod-ending-806dc.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/d/cod-ending-806dc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173281","description":"

Whether you're looking for stocking stuffers or something a little meatier, there are plenty of awesome gifts out there for the Call of Duty fan in your life. This list of gift ideas only scratches the surface of the options at your fingertips, with Amazon, ThinkGeek, Etsy, RedBubble and other physical and online retailers stockpiling tons of great choices. 

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From the games themselves to durable backpacks, jackets, drones, and more, Call of Duty has expanded from a $5-rack PC-shooter to a multi-billion dollar household name. As you prepare to storm the beaches on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, make sure to keep some of these gifts in mind -- they very well could be the linchpin in your gift-giving strategy. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/d/cod-shirt-46d4c.PNG","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/d/cod-shirt-46d4c.PNG","type":"slide","id":"173278","description":"

Call of Duty: WWII -- War Zone Front Line T-Shirt 

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Price: $19.99
Buy it on: Amazon

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Sure, you don't want to be that guy (or girl) that gives your special someone socks for the holidays -- but gifting them a kick ass Call of Duty shirt is another thing entirely. Made of 100% cotton, this unisex T-shirt comes in five different colors and an array of sizes. 

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Of course, there are a ton of other Call of Duty inspired clothing options out there, but few of them are as elegant as this particular shirt (if you can ever actually be elegant wearing a T-shirt ...). The design is subtle, yet emblematic of the CoD franchise as a whole, and it comes in at an affordable price. It might not be as flashy as some of the other gamer gift ideas on this list, but it's a nice addition to any Call of Duty fan's warchest. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/s/t/astro-headset-c00bc.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/s/t/astro-headset-c00bc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173277","description":"

ASTRO Gaming A10 Headset -- Call of Duty 

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Price: $64.99
Buy it on: Amazon

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Finding a reliable gaming headset for console players can be a long, tough journey. There's a plethora of budget brands and models that just don't get the job the done -- and sifting through the detritus to find the headsets that are worthwhile can be a time-consuming process. 

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Luckily, you can pretty much always count on ASTRO to bring the big guns. Outside of Turtle Beach, ASTRO is one of the best manufacturers of console headsets you can currently find. And the company's Call of Duty branded offering is no different.

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Hearing your enemy before you see them -- or they see you -- is a huge advantage even in casual Call of Duty play. You can't rack up killstreaks and get care packages if you don't have the jump on your adversary. And with ASTRO's A10 Call of Duty headset, you can rest assured that you'll hear every movement two steps ahead. 

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Not only is it comfortable for extended multiplayer frag fests, but it's used by pro CoD players the world over -- so it's well worth the $65 price tag this holiday season. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/u/n/funk-cod-1e8e5.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/u/n/funk-cod-1e8e5.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173121","description":"

Call of Duty -- Woods Funko Pop Figure

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Price: $7.50
Buy it on: Amazon

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Leading the charge in the Call of Duty: Black Ops trilogy, players saw Frank Woods go from a marine in the Korean War to an SOG special agent -- becoming a veritable bad ass in the process. And the only way Woods could be even more badass is taking up a post on your desktop. 

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Funko has been making figures and bobbleheads of your favorite gaming characters for a while now. The company's catalog is constantly growing, while the quality of its products only gets better. As someone who has far too many Star Wars Funko figures, trust me when I saw that these guys are as tough as MSGT. Frank Woods looks. 

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Of course, Woods isn't the only Call of Duty character to grace the CoD Funko line. You can also find Nazi zombies, Modern Warfare's Capt. Price, a Juggernaut soldier, and much more. Affordably priced, Funko figures and bobbleheads are great stocking stuffers for any Call of Duty fan this holiday season. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/a/y/ray-gun-d597f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/a/y/ray-gun-d597f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173120","description":"

Call of Duty Zombie Mode Replica Ray Gun

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Price: $176.87
Buy it on: Etsy

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Another holiday gift straight from Call of Duty's zombie horde mode, this replica ray gun brings one of the franchise's most powerful weapons to life in flawless form. Any long-time CoD fan will immediately recognize the gun that helped them defeat wave after wave of relentless undead. 

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Measuring in at about 15", this piece is perfect for both a desk accent piece or for cosplayers that need to complete their Call of Duty look -- and stand out while doing it. The ray gun comes with authentically-branded batteries and can shoot its included two-painted ammo. Just be sure to go ahead and order this bad boy if you're considering it -- shipping from the United Kingdom, the ray gun typically takes a three to five weeks to ship. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/u/g/juggernog-2c58f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/u/g/juggernog-2c58f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173119","description":"

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Juggernog Soda LED Light

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Price: $20.99
Buy it on: Etsy

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There's little (read:no) doubt that every Call of Duty fan knows what Juggernog is and what it can do for them in the heat of battle -- especially when they're staring down a ravenous zombie horde, Nazi or otherwise. But they may not know that they can get their hands on this magical elixir in real life. 

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Sure, they might not actually be able to drink this Juggernog and gain unbelievable superpowers, but these true-to-form LED lights will make any war room look even more authentic.

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The hand-crafted, 12oz. glass bottles use three A76 Cell batteries to power the wireless LEDs inside. But even though you can't run down to the store and pick up new ones if they run out, these batteries are rated for more than 100,000 hours of use. That means this Juggernog's got legs. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/s/poster-set-9b26a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/s/poster-set-9b26a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173118","description":"

Call of Duty Six-Poster Set

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Price: $60
Buy it on: Etsy

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Although not official artwork from the Call of Duty games, this six-poster set from PSRDesign elegantly captures the raw aesthetic of the franchise. Inspired by some of the best games in the series, from Call of Duty: Ghosts and Modern Warfare to Black Ops III and Advanced Warfare, these handmade art pieces are the perfect accents for any CoD fan's command center. 

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Each poster measures 18x12in and takes up to three to five days to ship once ordered. There are, of course, other CoD-inspired prints and posters out there, but these are some of the most true-to-the-series pieces currently available. Just keep in mind that you'll also have to buy frames for these grunts -- no pre-framed options are provided by the seller.  

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/d/cod-death-adder-46622.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/d/cod-death-adder-46622.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173116","description":"

Razer DeathAdder Chroma Call of Duty: Black Ops III Edition

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Price: $45.95
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (82 reviews)
Buy it on: Amazon

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Sure, Call of Duty: Black Ops III is a few years old at this point, but it's one of the more popular entries in the franchise, with thousands of gamers still playing it on Steam each and very month.  

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Sure, the design on this mouse is pretty killer, but more important than its design is its functionality. Razer is well-known in the PC world as a top-tier mouse manufacturer -- and the DeathAdder is one of its most popular gaming mice ever made. It didn't quite make our list of best gaming mice for hardcore gamers in 2017, but don't let that fool you: the DeathAdder is an accurate and precise mouse plenty of gamers would love to have in their peripherals arsenal.  

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/o/n/kontrol-freek-95e42.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/o/n/kontrol-freek-95e42.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173114","description":"

KontrolFreek FPS Freek Call of Duty: WWII

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Platforms: Xbox One, PS4
Price: $19.99
Buy it on: Amazon

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There's little doubt about it: Kontrol Freek makes some of the very best performance thumbsticks there are. Manufactured with high-quality materials, these emblazoned, high-rise (12.2mm) sticks give Call of Duty players the advantage not only in campaign modes, but also in multiplayer modes such as team deathmatch and free-for-all. 

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These sticks are meant for high-speed gunplay, where accuracy is an absolute must, and they allow CoD players to adjust their controller sensitivity to pull off the necessary kill shots to win the match. On top of that, the concave design of these thumbsticks better helps players secure their grip on each stick -- and gain better control of their in-game movements and actions. 

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Of course, that won't mean players will have the accuracy of a gaming mouse on their console, but it does mean they'll be decidedly deadlier than their console compatriots. And if these thumbsticks don't suit your fancy, there are dozens of other Kontrol Freek thumbsticks for a variety of playstyles.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/d/cod-ww2-14fe2.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/d/cod-ww2-14fe2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"172928","description":"

Call of Duty: WWII

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Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Price: $59.88
Buy it on: Amazon

Call of Duty: WWII takes CoD players back to the beaches and hedgerows of Western Europe during the Second World War. It's a return to the series' storied roots and sees the reappearance of health packs and jetpack-less multiplayer. Players will still find in CoD: WWII the huge, sometimes unbelievable set pieces that have come to define the franchise over the years, but things are much more anchored in reality this time around. 

The gritty campaign lasts between five and eight hours, but the series' vaunted multiplayer adds to that dozens of hours with modes like team deathmatch, headquarters, and free-for-all. On top of that, the popular Nazi Zombies mode makes a terrifying return, adding classic horror elements to the horde mode experience. And you can get even more play time if you also purchase the Season Pass for $49.99. 

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For those CoD players that don't already have WWII for their console or PC, it's the perfect Nazi-bashing holiday gift. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-e45fa.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-dark-kelly-e45fa.png","type":"slide","id":"172852","description":"

Whether they're fighting Nazis on the beaches of Normandy or intercepting bioweapons in the skies above Antarctica, Call of Duty players are tenacious, dedicated, and fervently loyal to the FPS series that reinvented the genre. And the best way to commend their continued service this holiday season is to send them a care package full of Call of Duty loot and gear. 

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From the games and their expansion passes to bobbleheads, art prints, clothing, and more, there's a plethora of gifts in the CoD commissary for any and all fans of the series. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approaching, now's the time to start looking -- and securing -- those coveted supply drops. 

"}]]]>
Gift Guide: Best Secret Santa & White Elephant Gifts Under $10 https://www.gameskinny.com/9o1l5/gift-guide-best-secret-santa-white-elephant-gifts-under-10 https://www.gameskinny.com/9o1l5/gift-guide-best-secret-santa-white-elephant-gifts-under-10 Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:18:30 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/o/meowth-e879c.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/o/meowth-e879c.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"173442","description":"

Pokemon Plush 8"

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Price: $9.74

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Buy it on: Best Buy

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The Pokemon franchise's unique position in pop culture makes these 8 inch plushes ideally suited for white elephant or secret Santa exchanges. If you put a group of people together in a room, chances are they're familiar with some of the most popular Pokemon, like Pikachu, Meowth, and Jigglypuff.

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If you order these online, there's no guarantee which one you'll get, but the pool of possibilities includes all the staples, with Psyduck, Hoopa, Sylveon, Zygarde, Togepi, and Wobbuffet rounding off the bunch alongside those already mentioned. Being the series mascot, though, Pikachu naturally gets the most attention, with three different forms. But really? That's okay.

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---

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White elephant and secret Santa don't have to mean throwaway, and you certainly don't have to throw away a ton of money to buy something decent. With these picks representing all that popular gaming culture has to offer, you're sure to be the envy of your holiday gathering.

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Let us know in the comments what you plan on picking up, and be sure to check out our other gift guides as well!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/c/r/screenshot-2017-warrior-dragon-photographic-print-likelikes-e3866.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/c/r/screenshot-2017-warrior-dragon-photographic-print-likelikes-e3866.png","type":"slide","id":"173441","description":"

Dragon Warrior/Quest Monster Poster

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Price: $6.60 for an 8x8

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Buy it on: Redbubble

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While we all have to continue wait for Dragon Quest XI: In Search of Forgotten Time to finally make its way west—along with the 3DS Virtual Console versions of the original trilogy—this poster might just make the wait a bit easier.

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It's a gathering of the series' well-known monsters, including the golem and dracky, and even a slime, among others, all positively oozing classic 8-bit charm. It comes in three different sizes as well, all of which are measured in inches, but the larger are a bit pricey for a white elephant gift. No one is stopping you from playing secret Santa for yourself, though.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-381b9.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-381b9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173438","description":"

Crash Bandicoot Necklace

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Price: $7.23

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Buy it on: Etsy

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This year finally saw Crash Bandicoot return to his classic roots with the HD remaster Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, and what better way to share the enthusiasm than with this fantastic handmade necklace?

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The pendant is made of plywood and sports a Crash icon taken almost straight from the game, capturing the wild energy characterizing the original trilogy. It's sure to evoke a bit of nostalgia, but it's more than suitable for the platformer fan in general too.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/o/t/botw-42e94.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/o/t/botw-42e94.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173435","description":"

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Poster

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Price: $5.12 for a 5x8; $10.24 for an 8x12

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Buy it on: Etsy

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Sometimes, everyone needs a good reminder that what's on the inside counts more than anything. There aren't many better ways of getting that reminder than this print inspired by Breath of the Wild. What immediately catches the viewer's eye is the staple shot of Link overlooking Hyrule that's quickly becoming a modern classic.

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The modest black font next to it forms a subtle complement to the overall image, with its message (appropriately placed above Hyrule Castle) that no amount of strength substitutes the courage it takes to wield it.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/a/n/kanto-puzzle-a9a4c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/a/n/kanto-puzzle-a9a4c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173434","description":"

Pokemon: Map of Kanto Puzzle

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Price: $6.97

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Buy it on: GameStop

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For a while, rumors swirled of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon sending players back to Kanto. Whether they do, or if it lives up to fans' expectations, is almost irrelevant with this excellent puzzle. It's a 550 piece puzzle of the original Kanto map, one of the most well-known maps in gaming history.

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When complete, the puzzle measures 18x24 inches and also uses the well-known color palette and aesthetic from Generation II to help give it that extra fuzzy touch of nostalgia. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/a/coaster-82f31.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/a/coaster-82f31.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173433","description":"

Gaming Themed Coasters

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Price: $7.00

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Buy it on: Etsy

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The best gifts are practical and stylish, and these gaming themed coasters are both. From Halo to the original Final FantasyMega Man and Kirby, almost every major genre is represented with these coasters. It's all done in a retro, 8-bit style, like Pixel Pals, but for half the price (cat leg not included).

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Better yet, the seller offers custom colors, so if you want a different background from what is shown, that's no problem. If you're buying for a Final Fantasy fan, there's even more to love about this, since you can choose from Black and White Mages, the Fighter, and a Chocobo.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/3/5/735a09ab89ec97a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/3/5/735a09ab89ec97a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173432","description":"

Shovel Knight Magnet Set

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Price: $10.00

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Buy it on: Fangamer

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Simple understatement often wins the day over big and flashy, and that certainly holds true with this official Shovel Knight magnet set. The four magnets each feature character art of the four core characters: Shovel Knight himself, Black Knight, Shield Knight, and, of course, the Enchantress.

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They measure 1.25 inches—big enough to be noticed without getting in the way. The magnets are ideal for bags or (naturally) the fridge, according to the designer, making it super simple for you recipient to show off their love of retro and indie gaming.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-84097.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-84097.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173436","description":"

Kingdom Hearts Wall Art

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Price: $10.00

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Buy it on: Etsy

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Kingdom Hearts fans were treated to a new trailer for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3 this year, but for many, it still seems worlds away. This wall art is a good reminder of why that wait is worth it, though.

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It captures the intriguing paradox of whimsy and philosophical seriousness the series is known for and trims it down to the core characters (no sea-salt ice cream here). The 5x7 size poster is the same as your average picture, so whoever receives it will have no trouble finding the perfect spot and frame for it too.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/n/minecraft-bank-71e1d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/n/minecraft-bank-71e1d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173431","description":"

Minecraft Bank

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Price: $10.00

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Buy it on: Etsy

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People have been burying money underground for centuries. This Minecraft inspired block bank continues that tradition, albeit with the twist that your underground is above ground…and isn't made of ground.

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Anyhow, the block is a 4 inch cube and uses pegged beads to achieve its mimicry, looking as nifty up close as it does from a distance. The sides detach, allowing for easy coin retrieval should the temptation to break the bank be too much to handle, but note that it's designed not to be taken apart very often.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/u/g/mug-3541e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/u/g/mug-3541e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173430","description":"

Super Mario Heat Changing Mug

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Price: $9.99

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Buy it at: GameStop

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If you know someone looking to enhance their game first thing in the morning, this Super Mario heat changing mug might just do the trick. It's ideal for NES and Mario lovers, but Mario has become a key figure in pop culture in general, so it works just as well for even non-gamers.

\n

When cold, the mug depicts a level scene with the black background that looks like it's straight out of world 3. Add hot liquid, though, and the scene explodes with detail. Along with the background turning blue, smaller things like coins, enemies, and clouds appear, in addition to an invincibility star. Pour coffee, get invincibility star. Coincidence? Definitely not.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-header-aeb18.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-header-aeb18.png","type":"slide","id":"173443","description":"

The year has zoomed past, and the holidays are almost upon us once more. Cold nights, snowball fights, and colorful lights await you--but so does the dreaded company party with that white elephant or secret Santa gift exchange you never know what to buy for. Fortunately, we've got you covered with this handy guide!

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From retro gear to home decor, there's plenty of quality to be found without having to spend a fortune to get it. The best part? Almost everything is suitable for gamers and non-gamers and is sure to crack a smile on the face of even the coldest Scrooge.

"}]]]>
Games Any Studio Ghibli Fan Should Know About https://www.gameskinny.com/phy6e/games-any-studio-ghibli-fan-should-know-about https://www.gameskinny.com/phy6e/games-any-studio-ghibli-fan-should-know-about Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:48:33 -0500 Brandon Janeway

Studio Ghibli is a beloved franchise for its outstanding anime movies that capture a sense of peculiar wonder. They have given us many faces that we know and love, which is why many of us would love to see some variation of them in a video game. There are a few games out there that may spark the interest of a Studio Ghibli fan. Let's take a look. 

Cliff Hanger

This arcade game uses scenes from the animated films: Mystery of Mamo and The Castle of Cagliostro. The characters in the game do not go by the same name as the characters in the films but they have many similarities. Now Studio Ghibli may have not been involved in the creation of the game, but Miyazaki did play a directing role in the Cagliostro series, which also gave him the notoriety he needed to start Studio Ghibli. So while the game may be an odd mashup of these two films, it does take many of the most iconic scenes and use them for its story. Unfortunately, Cliff Hanger isn't available to play because it's an arcade game.  

Lynn and the Spirits of Inao 

Another game that may entice Studio Ghibli fans is Lynn and the Spirits of Inao. This game is not made by the studio but it is a Kickstarter that is inspired by the films and has parallels to some of the films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. It is a 2D platformer game that sees the main character Lynn trying to bring peace back to her land of Inao. She must learn the secrets of the evil spirits and encounter some demons along the way. So while this is not a Studio Ghibli project the art style and story elements are reminiscent of Miyazaki.

Unfortunately, this game is not available to play because the game's Kickstarter was canceled after hitting 1695 backers due to allegations against Bloomylight Studio. The allegations are from interns that worked on the game, who claimed that the studio had not paid them for months of work. After the cancellation, the game was put in to a developmental stalemate due to conflict within the team. It is sad that we may never see what could have been a great Studio Ghibli inspired game. 

Ni No Kuni

The other games that fans need to have a look at is the Playstation exclusive franchise, Ni No Kuni. Many are familiar with the popular Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch that received enormous critical praise and has a sequel on the way. The game was directly made with Studio Ghibli and even though Miyazaki was not involved, the game managed to capture everything Studio Ghibli is in one unforgettable gaming experience.

It has a fantastic JRPG combat system and more than 100 hours of content to satisfy even the most hardcore fans. The story focuses on a young boy, Oliver, who is forced to deal with the burden of his dying mother when he is sucked into a fantasy universe. He must stop the lurking evil and save his mother at the same time. The game is available on PS3 here

The game's sequel Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom offers everything that made the first game great with a whole new story. Taking place several years after the events of the first game, King Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum must reclaim his kingdom from the mouse kingdom. The game comes out January 18th, 2018 and you can pre-order it for PS4.

Forgotten Anne

This game is a platforming puzzle experience that offers a unique cinematic experience. The game centers around Anne,  an enforcer in the Forgotten Lands, where she works to quell an ongoing rebellion. The game's art style provides a beautiful anime appearance and is very reminiscent of Studio Ghibli movies like Howl's Moving Castle.

Choice is a driving factor of the game and part of what makes the game an interactive adventure. Rather than only using big decisions to affect the game's course, they also include numerous decisions that involve player emotion. The aspect of emotion is very much a theme of Studio Ghibli and allowing players to make decisions that are emotionally based promises to provide a Studio Ghibli experience. The game has no release date but the game is expected to be out soon for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu

Jade Cocoon is a JRPG with a unique pet system that uses the game's environment. This game was developed with collaboration from Studio Ghibli's Katsuya Kondō, who worked on Kiki's Delivery Service and I Can Hear the See. The game follows the protagonist who wants to follow in his father's footsteps and become a Cocoon Master. As a Cocoon Master, he purifies the game's monsters called Minions, who can then fight for him. Jade Cocoon is available for PS1.

These games are sure to provide some sense of joy for any Studio Ghibli fans. Let us in the comments what game reminds you the most of Studio Ghibli's iconic work.

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GOP Arcade: Turning Political News into Playable Games https://www.gameskinny.com/uhgrb/gop-arcade-turning-political-news-into-playable-games https://www.gameskinny.com/uhgrb/gop-arcade-turning-political-news-into-playable-games Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:11:30 -0500 ThatGamersAsylum

Many of us gamers play video games as an escapist outlet to get away from all the stresses of the world. This has become perhaps no more important than now, when we are in an interconnected world where everyone is willing to share #FakeNews stories, whether from Russian Trolls or the "Failing" New York Times, to your Facebook wall or Twitter feed. All of this is precisely why you came to a video game website: so that you could escape all of that. And yet my editor hates me, so here we are talking about the GOP Arcade instead.

The GOP Arcade is a set of 12 satirical games created to lampoon the GOP during last year's presidential election cycle. Some of these titles, like Trump’s Pu**y Grabber, reflect specific events, in this case the Access Hollywood tape. Others, like Trump Toss, reflects policies and the attitudes behind them, specifically immigration policies concerning Mexicans and the border wall. And yet others still, like Angry Old and Thoughts and Prayers: The Game are as much about a reflection on the GOP as our society at large. While I won’t inundate you by talking about all 12 games, I would like to go over a few of them here.

Beware: We are legally required to make sure that you’re aware that this is a trigger zone. If you are susceptible to being triggered by satire, flashy lights, or -- dare I say -- facts, then you might want to turn back now. But be sure to share this first!

The Voter Suppression Trail

The Voter Suppression Trail is brought to us by a partnership with what our President likes to call the “Failing” New York Times. From the onset, it tasks you with, "Finding out if your vote can survive the adventure of American democracy” all tied up in a neat little package influenced by the classic edutainment game Oregon Trail, a game the GOP can truly appreciate since it was based during the times when America was still great.

First, you choose which character you will play as.

I choose to role play as myself; I played as the white guy.

The game hints at potential challenges on your way to the polling station, but I merely entered the voting facilities and was in and out in a little over a minute. While I didn’t play as either of the people of color, I can’t imagine it’d be any different. This lack of struggle really makes for both an uninteresting story and gameplay. I can’t help but feel like the message was lost somewhere in the mix.

I'd like to note that I’m not racist, I merely enjoy pretending to be willfully oblivious to the plights of anyone that is not myself while I write articles.

Angry Olds

Angry Olds stars the disembodied heads of several old, white guys in an Angry Birds style game. Except, instead of overthrowing the pigs, you are overthrowing all of the things that old people hate, like Obamacare, Gay Rights, and Civil Rights. The one thing I can't help but wonder is where are all the grannies? Is it propositioning that grannies are just woke? 

The metaphor comes across strong in a slap you in the face sort of way. You literally launch these grandpas from a slingshot, with the word "VOTE" plastered along the side, into buildings made of blocks with the names of government programs and movements etched into them, such as Obamacare, Gay Rights, and Immigration. The pigs are replaced by children. TNT boxes function the same, except now they say "Trump" on the side. Presumably because Trump's leadership is explosive, which I think is a statement both sides can agree on in some form or fashion.

Just in case the message wasn't clear enough, when you complete a level it is capped off with a sarcastic, congratulatory quip like,"That'll teach 'em to hide behind social justice!" as your dying wishes cast immigration reform, gay rights, and civil rights into a pile of rubble. 

All that being said, somehow a poppy rendition of “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone”, which is tucked away on the victory screen, makes all of your injustices melt away. Suddenly I look forward to being able to do just the same when I get old. You know what they say, every grandparent looks forward to the possibility that their generation is the one that ensures there are no other generations. 

Bomb The Right Place

The name of Bomb the Right Place is relatively on point; it'd be like if Call of Duty was named, "Run around like a chicken with your head cut off and shoot anything that moves", or RALACWYHCOASATM for short. From the onset, you are informed that America is viewed as weak and that the only way to solve this is by bombing your way to respect. (Also how I got my girlfriend's parents to like me.)

You are then informed of enemy movement and given the option to either seek diplomacy or BOMB THEM! If you choose diplomacy, you instantly get a game over while being ensured that your enemies will walk over you. Choosing to BOMB THEM places a map of the Middle East in front of you without any country labels and only the name of a target country to assist you. 

You know what this means, right kids? It’s better to have bombed and accidentally hit a civilian hospital 1,000 miles away from your desired target than to have not bombed at all.

It’s like my grandpa always said,”You lose 100% of the wars you never start!” and “You can’t win a war unless you give it 110% of your budget!”, and,”You need to keep your woman in her place. She needs to be washing dishes, not discussing war at the dinner table!” Such a wise, sexist old man. I'll always respect how he tried to ensure the destruction of any chance for me to have a nice life. A truer Angry Old has never lived.

Get Trump’s Taxes

GOP Arcade's load screen says it all. They will forever be lamented.

Irony is sometimes the most powerful tool. And the fact that Get Trump’s Taxes always failed to load, no matter how many times I reloaded (many), how many different days I tried it on (three), or how many computers I tried it on (one), spoke volumes about this situation.

I feel like this should bother me, but a friend once told me to think about it like this. "Your job as a lowly, yet glorified intern doesn’t even require you to reveal your tax returns to employer's," he started,"Just because you don’t have tax returns because you don’t make money is beside the point", he continues, his words cutting deep. "So why should a position like that of the President require it?" If you really overthink it and try to pigeonhole it into your worldview like my friend, then I guess it makes sense. I'm just sad about being poor. 

Trump Toss

Perhaps my favorite title on the list, Trump Toss has you tossing (ie deporting) illegal immigrants by throwing them over Trump's proposed border wall. This sounds easy enough, but you must avoid accidentally deporting American citizens, such as border patrol officers. 

Sadly, this game's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: difficulty. It is the only game that is challenging and fun enough to actually warrant you playing it over and over in an attempt to earn victory. But it is also nearly impossible because the game doesn't spawn enough illegal aliens to actually facilitate your success. In a way it is almost like the game's poor balancing is an allegory that's possibly suggesting that it'd be impossible to deport enough people to make a border wall that costs billions of dollars seem financially viable. Take from that what you will.

Ultimately, what the game lacks in detail-- it doesn’t even allude to Mexico paying for the border wall-- it more than makes up for with the fun pick and throw gameplay.

Enough is Enough

Overall, the games on this website which I bothered to actually acknowledge were relatively bad, except Trump Toss; that was fun. I guess maybe they weren't supposed to be fun, they were supposed to tell a satirical message, but at times, much like the original draft of this article, it was hard to tell the difference between satire and actually backing a position. If you changed a couple lines in Angry Olds, then it could easily be seen as aggrandizing that position. Maybe that's the point though. Looking at the same situation from very slightly different angles can show drastically different feelings. With material like that you best not blink while consuming satire, you just might miss it. 

What do you think of GOP Arcade? Do you have a favorite game? Let us know in the comments!

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Kitchen Must-Haves for Gaming Fans https://www.gameskinny.com/hvq6v/kitchen-must-haves-for-gaming-fans https://www.gameskinny.com/hvq6v/kitchen-must-haves-for-gaming-fans Tue, 14 Nov 2017 07:00:01 -0500 spacechaser

Want to show off your love for games in all areas of your home? We've rounded up 10 kitchen items that'll help you do just that! 

1. Poké Ball Pizza Cutter from ThinkGeek - $14.99

You probably shouldn't use this in an actual Pokémon battle... just saying.

2. Tetris Sandwich Cutter by Fred & Friends - $8.51

Send your kids to school with a puzzle in their lunch bag.

3. Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker by Pangea Brands - $39.99

Unlike its evil counterpart, this waffle's weak point is... all of it.

4. Triforce Emblem Cheese & Sushi Cutting Board by LetsEngrave - $22.00

If you combine that cheese with other ingredients, I bet you can make something yummy!

5. Overwatch Grill Master 76 Inspired Apron by SewGeekAustin - $24.00

Team, drink up here!

6. Pikachu Reversible Apron from ThinkGeek - $14.99

Pikachu'll catch 'em all so your clothes won't have to!

7. SuperMario Hexagon Coasters by PiDesignPrints - $8.00 

These'll give your tables and countertops a 1-Up, for protection!

8. Overwatch Tracer Mug from Blizzard Gear Store - $20.00

They also have Winston and Widowmaker ones, if they're more your style.

9. GameBoy Inspired Fridge Magnets by Swagasaurus Rex - $19.99

A neat and practical way to add some flair to your fridge!

10. Super Mario Ice Cube Tray by Paladone - $9.99

If only that star would give you invincibility in real life...

These are just a few of the many treasures sites like Etsy hold. Treat your gaming loved ones to some silly yet functional knick-knacks this holiday season! 

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Best Reddit Posts and Reactions From the Star Wars Battlefront 2 Microtransactions Controversy https://www.gameskinny.com/nnp9e/best-reddit-posts-and-reactions-from-the-star-wars-battlefront-2-microtransactions-controversy https://www.gameskinny.com/nnp9e/best-reddit-posts-and-reactions-from-the-star-wars-battlefront-2-microtransactions-controversy Mon, 13 Nov 2017 18:07:20 -0500 Jonathan Moore

We're just hours away from the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2, and the internet is blazing brighter than the fires of the Second Death Star. The ire stems from EA's mind-numbing stance on the game's loot crates and microtransactions and how those systems tie into BF2's progression and credits structure. Much of it currently relies on ridiculously laborious grind mechanics and/or hefty real-currency investments for in-game credits, the latter of which relies on even heftier loot crate RNG. 

The fervor came to a head earlier today when the game's early adopters via EA Access and Origin Access discovered over the weekend that the grind to unlock Battlefront 2's heroes and villains was extremely steep -- that those heroes and villains were still locked behind laughable, 40-hour or more progression walls or expensive microtransactions.

In a nutshell, EA was incentivizing players to dip into their pockets and pay extra for unlocking characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker faster. 

Undoubtedly, Redditors the world over didn't take kindly to the information that buying a $60-$80 game wouldn't give them access to all the content within that game, typical progression mechanics aside. As the fires grew, EA's Community Team Reddit released the following statement: 

The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.

As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the open beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we're looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily bases, and we'll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding and of course attainable via gameplay.

We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.

Of course, that only added fuel to the already raging inferno. And Redditors responded accordingly. Currently, the EA's retort is the most down-voted Reddit comment in the history of the platform -- receiving thousands of downvotes every minute. As of this writing, the post stands at -456,000 points. 

Some of the following contains NSFW language. 

Note: EA has since released a statement that they are drastically slashing the in-game prices of unlockable heroes and villains by 75% in response to the outcry. 

Best Reddit Reactions to BF 2's Microtransactions for Heroes and Villains So Far

Crotalus_Horridus

Mariozilla

Vancity

Xiofar

Komali_2

Jabnin

Wipfenfels 

DPSnacks

Stormesp

CreamyGoodness

PlagueofMidgets

ScienceofSpock

ImMufasa

Kudosbudo

Bananagoo

Dancing_Cthulhu

SuperSonicsNotOKC

JonRedcorn862

Moronotron

Gaged105

Heisenberg747

ObiMemeKenobi

Best Reddit Memes to BF2's Microtransactions for Heroes and Villains So Far

Hun_Alex

 _PettyOfficer117_

Kingeryck

Tost3

McJock

This Reddit thread started by Seutossic:

Led to these witty responses from: 

UnderlordFox

DirtyUncleRon69

donquixote1991

--- 

Currently, the in-game credit cost of the six locked Battlefront 2 heroes and villains after the recent update are: 

  • Luke Skywalker: 15,000 credits (previously 60,000)
  • Darth Vader: 15,000 credits (previously 60,000)
  • Emperor Palpatine: 10,000 credits (previously 40,000)
  • Chewbacca: 10,000 credits (previously 40,000)
  • Princess Leia: 10,000 credits (previously 40,000)
  • Iden Versio: 5,000 credits (previously 20,000)

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on Battlefront 2's microtransactions as it develops. 

Header image: Pretty Good Gaming

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Best Free-to-Play PC Games Released in 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/515so/best-free-to-play-pc-games-released-in-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/515so/best-free-to-play-pc-games-released-in-2017 Mon, 13 Nov 2017 16:12:07 -0500 Brandon Janeway

This year gave us some amazing games, including a handful of free-to-play games for PC. We came up with 7 games that we think are the best free-to-play PC games released in 2017. 

Hand of the Gods

Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics is for anyone who is a fan of Hearthstone or who wants to play a strategic card game. Mixing the style of SMITE with that of turned-based card games, the game itself is free and only has players pay for additional content if they want to. Additional content comes in the form of card packs and exclusive items, but otherwise, the game can be played without spending a penny. Hand of the Gods is available here.

Fortnite

Fortnite is a co-op multiplayer survival game with PvE and PvP modes. The PvE campaign requires payment, but Fortnite is at its best in its PvP survival mode. This is a 100-person battle royale on a single map, with unique combat mechanics and environmental features. The PvP alone makes it a great game. You can play Fortnite here.

Dauntless

Dauntless is a co-op, action role-playing game where players team up to battle fearsome monsters and reap rewards. You can craft powerful weapons from your hunts and use them to take down your next kill. There are numerous weapon types to chose from, and the grim setting does a lot for the game's atmosphere. Dauntless is currently in open access, and you can access it here.

Total War: ARENA

If you are looking for a strategy game that utilizes team mechanics, Total War: ARENA should be on your radar. It thrusts two teams onto an ancient battlefield to take part in large-scale warfare. Your team will need to make use of all its resources in order to take down the enemy army. Total War: ARENA is available in early access here.

Lost Ark

Lost Ark is a new action-oriented MMO with a beautiful fantasy setting. The game utilizes a non-targeting combat system and a quarter-view angle to intensify the action and provide a more dynamic feel. If you are a fan of Diablo, or if you're looking for a new MMO, this game may be for you. You can play Lost Ark here

Black Squad

If you want a free-to-play first-person shooter, then check out Black Squad. The game has a standard premise of CIA vs terrorist cell, but it's a nice break from typical first-person shooters. Black Squad is very free-to-play friendly and very easy to jump into, even if you have never played an FPS before. To play Black Squad, go here.

GWENT: The Witcher Card Game

If you are a fan of The Witcher franchise, then GWENT may be calling your name. A strategy-based card game set in the fantasy world of The Witcher, GWENT has a promising eSports field and deep mechanics that allow for a lot of player freedom. The game is currently in open beta, and you can access it here.

These were our top picks for the best free-to-play PC games released in 2017. Let us know in the comments what free-to-play game you are playing this year.

 

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Indie Releases to Look for on Nintendo Switch https://www.gameskinny.com/17yh8/indie-releases-to-look-for-on-nintendo-switch https://www.gameskinny.com/17yh8/indie-releases-to-look-for-on-nintendo-switch Mon, 13 Nov 2017 16:09:23 -0500 spacechaser

So far in the Switch's first year, Nintendo has been releasing a stellar indie line up, resulting in a plethora of titles to choose from. Here, we've rounded up a few of the most notable ones to help whet your indie appetite and listed some you can look forward to in the rest of 2017 and 2018!

Indie Games Out Now

Fall & Holidays 2017

2018

Needless to say, if you're an Indie fan that owns a Nintendo Switch then you have plenty to look forward to in the coming months. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more game announcements and Nintendo Switch news!

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7 Best Games for Music Lovers https://www.gameskinny.com/u4bz0/7-best-games-for-music-lovers https://www.gameskinny.com/u4bz0/7-best-games-for-music-lovers Sun, 12 Nov 2017 17:05:07 -0500 Lauren Harris

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Music plays a huge part in most video games. Finding the right game that gets you moving is very important to music fans. There's many genres to choose from  these days but finding that perfect sound in a really fun game keeps music fans begging for more ways to jam out alone or with their friends.

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Whats your favorite video game soundtrack? Let us know in the comments below. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/f/8/9f831f60e46201ff168cd7cc570838fb2438e5e5-70931.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/f/8/9f831f60e46201ff168cd7cc570838fb2438e5e5-70931.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173024","description":"

Beat the Game 

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This indie-adventure created by Worm Animation allows the player to find sounds that bring about cut scenes as the story unfolds. Your character is equipped a Sound Scanner to help you track down sounds. Players will have to search the desert with a "Roboball" device for hidden objects within the game. 

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Finding and creating sounds that you can bring together to perform a live show at the end of the game is an exciting experience for music lovers. This strangely beautiful game brings the player a chance to create many sounds and mixers to use in their show; it allows players to enjoy searching and finding characters to give them items to use. Music lovers could enjoy this mysterious game that brings music and adventure together in one twisted and alluring way. Get it for yourself or read GameSkinny's review of Beat the Game.

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Price: $9.99

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Purchase the game on Steam.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/l/e/elekds00b-c0916.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/l/e/elekds00b-c0916.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173023","description":"

Electroplankton

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Nintendo created another portable game for music lovers. The player gets to choose from a variety of monsters called Electroplankton, with the different monsters having their own unique sounds. By placing them together you can create an array of different sounds when you touch them.

\n

Electroplankton can be a good game for music lovers. Especially if they are playing gigs. Music lovers could even create full albums of soothing - electronic music.

\n

Price: $14.99

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 Purchase Electroplankton here.

\n

 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/a/m/jamsess-abd6c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/a/m/jamsess-abd6c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173022","description":"

Jam Sessions

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This on-the-go type of guitar player let's you play guitar by strumming the string on the screen of the Nintendo DS as well as selecting chords using the control pad.

\n

The sound of the guitar is authentic, just like if you were playing a real guitar. Music lovers would really enjoy this portable games as it is an exciting way to play guitar.

\n

Price: $6.65

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Purchase Jam Sessions here.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/i/p/lipspromo2-2fe3a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/i/p/lipspromo2-2fe3a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173021","description":"

Lips 

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 Karaoke has been around for a long time. Every now and again people want to sing, even when they can't. Lips provides just that, in the comfort of your own home.

\n

The game lets you sing pop, rock, and many more genres of music. Music lovers would enjoy this game because it lets you pick what you want to sing. The players have choices and everyone loves choices especially when it comes to music. We all have different preferences in music so why not enjoy what you like in your own home or with a group of friends. 

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Price: $2.99

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Purchase the game here.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/e/3/4e335916160a9e7437f1765af64b70a09d8be7d0-9a302.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/e/3/4e335916160a9e7437f1765af64b70a09d8be7d0-9a302.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173020","description":"

Brutal Legend

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This has got to be one of the most popular music games for RPG. This action-adventure brings the combat and open world freedom. The Demons want to take over the human race and to permanently erase heavy metal music forever.

\n

The characters are played by an All-star cast like Jack Black and Eddie Riggs. This heavy metal action RPG is a music lovers dream. If metal is your forte, this game would be the perfect rock session for friends to enjoy together. Fighting demons and commanding the power of rock in exhilarating band battles will keep any music lover’s attention for hours.

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Price: $14.99

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Purchase this rock sensation on Steam.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/n/o/gnog-bc30a.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/n/o/gnog-bc30a.png","type":"slide","id":"173019","description":"

GNOG

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This visually stunning 3D game sends the player on a musical  and mechanically beautiful journey. GNOG takes you through a 3D world beyond the imagination. The player explores this mechanical toy land while enjoying the intricate designs and puzzles along the way.

\n

The soundtrack is very playful and exciting. It really makes you want to dive deeper into the game. Because of how well the music flows with the gameplay, GNOG appeals to all sorts of music lovers. 

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Price: $14.99

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You can purchase this exciting music adventure here.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/t/metronomicon-screenshot-featured-47d99.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/t/metronomicon-screenshot-featured-47d99.jpg","type":"slide","id":"173018","description":"

The Metronomicon

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There's a lot of video games that are popular for making you get up and dance. Rock Band has been the most popular throughout the video game universe for just that, but there are many other video games that bring dancing and fighting together.

\n

One of the best is The Metronomicon, dancing to a tune is one thing but fighting monsters with the power of music is something a lot more interesting to see. This funky-RPG lets you take control of eight newly graduated masters of the "rhythmic combat arts." Using four tracks at a time you can control the spells and other abilities of your eight characters. Good-timing and excellent performance will determine the effectiveness of those funky moves. 

\n

The Metronomicon appeals to all types of players. Music lovers would enjoy the newest electronic and synth wave soundtracks, bringing exciting music to a groovy game would make anyone want to dance. The game also allows music lovers to use Rock Band guitars. This funkadelic RPG game would be a hit to music fans everywhere.

\n

Price: $19.99

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Buy it on: Steam

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/b/c/bbc6ae20-30b7-44f6-b2fa-6976e5b4ef7f-42ba2.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/b/c/bbc6ae20-30b7-44f6-b2fa-6976e5b4ef7f-42ba2.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"173108","description":"

Most music lovers understand the importance of a good tune, but video game music lovers have their own taste in music whether its rock, electronic, or pop. Some have to actually enjoy the music as they play and indulge their ears in the beautiful tunes. Music lovers can enjoy a good game but the music has to grab their attention. If you're a fan of game soundtracks, then check out seven of the best games for music lovers.

"}]]]>
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Legendary Exclusives https://www.gameskinny.com/8iqfn/pokemon-ultra-sun-and-ultra-moon-legendary-exclusives https://www.gameskinny.com/8iqfn/pokemon-ultra-sun-and-ultra-moon-legendary-exclusives Thu, 09 Nov 2017 20:31:23 -0500 Allison M Reilly

Every new generation of Pokemon games adds several new legendary Pokemon to the roster, and if you happen to miss one installment, it makes catching 'em all rather difficult. If that sounds like you, then you'll be pleased with the Pokemon Company's latest announcement. Every legendary Pokemon from previous games will be available in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon, with each version having its own exclusives.

In both games, all legendary Pokemon will be found in Ultra Wormholes, which are found in the Ultra Space. Here are the exclusives for each version.

Pokemon Ultra Sun-Exclusive Legendaries

  • Ho-oh
  • Raikou
  • Groudon
  • Latios
  • Dialga
  • Heatran
  • Reshiram
  • Tornadus
  • Xerneas

Pokemon Ultra Moon-Exclusive Legendaries

  • Lugia
  • Entei
  • Kyogre
  • Latias
  • Palkia
  • Regigigas
  • Zekrom
  • Thundurus
  • Yveltal

Conditional Legendary Pokemon

Some legendary Pokemon can only be captured once you have a specific one in your party.

  • Suicune (must have Raikou and Entei)
  • Rayquaza (must have Kyogre and Groudon)
  • Giratina (must have Dialga and Palkia)
  • Kyurem (must have Reshiram and Zekrom)
  • Landorus (must have Tornadus and Thundurus

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will be released Nov. 17 for the 3DS family of systems.

Does this news influence which version you'll be picking up? Let us know in the comments!

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What is the State of VR Gaming? https://www.gameskinny.com/dczs6/what-is-the-state-of-vr-gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/dczs6/what-is-the-state-of-vr-gaming Thu, 09 Nov 2017 11:28:05 -0500 Brandon Janeway

Virtual Reality was the talk of E3 2016, with Sony dedicating a large chunk of its conference to the new and exciting technology. Even HTC and Oculus made some big splashes at the event with showcases of their own VR headsets. But a year later at E3 2017, that same excitement had almost completely dissipated. 

Before the mass market's loss of interest, however, the hype for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive was out of this world and PSVR made the idea of Virtual Reality gaming seem easier to access than ever. But following an all too frequent trend of over-hyped products, it seems that VR was not the new best way of gaming that we were promised. Let's take a look back at how the state of VR came to be how we know it today.

Sales

VR systems were supposed to be the hot ticket item for fall/winter of 2016. Reporting sales of 1 million headsets, Sony had the biggest market share. They're not bad sales figures but it's no where near what Sony was expecting. In February, CSS Insight predicted that VR sales would increase by 800 percent by 2021, so maybe the future is brighter than we think for this new technology.

High expectations for the new devices were set and they didn't perform how we imagined. Ultimately, that hurt the sales worse than anyone expected, based on the positive reaction to their over-hyped marketing. The low sales figures were then mostly interpreted as Virtual Reality being a failed idea. But since VR is still a fairly new, and continuously developing technology, it needs time to grow and find its place in the market.

Marketing

A possible hiccup for VR was the marketing. Every company, first and foremost, is trying to sell you a product. Because of this, it's easy to over-hype something in marketing materials and press conferences, setting an incredibly high bar in terms of expectations.

While the gaming community was focused and fixated on VR, the general public did not share the same enthusiasm. This is possibly because there was too much variety, too soon into the life-cycle of Virtual Reality. 

The average consumer may not know the difference between the $598 Oculus Rift and the $15 Google Cardboard. Therefore it can be hard for the general public to wrap their heads around what VR actually is, and this confusion is enough for most consumers to forego early adoption in favour of a wait-and-see approach.

Virtual Reality Software

In the gaming community, it seems there is just a dissatisfaction with the content that has been produced so far for VR headsets. Early on there was not a high diversity in their game library. EVE: Valkyrie and Batman: Arkham VR were a couple of big titles, both receiving mixed reviews. EVE received complaints because of its overuse of microtransactions and Batman: Arkham VR was said to have clunky controls that were frustrating at times. While there have been some VR indie gems to come out of this, they're not system selling titles that each of the headsets needed to stand out.

To wrap this all up, VR is not dead but there simply isn't the same hype around it any more. There are still some promising games coming out such as Skyrim VR and numerous indie games like The Climb, but nothing truly exciting. That being said, it is still a unique gaming peripheral that can provide a very engaging experience for the player, but it is up to developers to figure out how to make that experience a truly unique and wonderful one.

If you invested in a headset, you will certainly get some use out of it but perhaps not in the same way that was thought back in 2016, before the decline in popularity.

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Let us know in the comments what you think we will see from VR in the next few years, and for more VR related content, check out some of our other VR articles:

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5 Video Game Worlds that Should be Expanded into Novels https://www.gameskinny.com/w1att/5-video-game-worlds-that-should-be-expanded-into-novels https://www.gameskinny.com/w1att/5-video-game-worlds-that-should-be-expanded-into-novels Wed, 08 Nov 2017 16:35:33 -0500 Lauren Harris

Video game stories and adventures are just as good as any book we’ve read or are currently reading. For some of these games, I think their story should be continued or created into heart-warming and courageous novels. Most video games stories deserve to be written and expressed meticulously to the reader and these are some of the best RPG adventures about survival, mystery, and hardship that should be published in a good book.

Firewatch

Firewatch was one of those first-person RPGs that stayed with me after I completed the game. The intense fear of being by yourself in the Wyoming wilderness with only a walkie-talkie to communicate with your supervisor is a compelling premise. The game really gave you the feeling of actually being the character. Creating a book around Firewatch would be a good way to expand the story and bring out a lot more detail. It would be exciting to display to the reader how scary it can be when you're on your own in the wilderness and highlight the story of survival and friendship found within the game.

Gone Home

This nostalgic mystery exploration game gives you that classic 90's feel. The player returns home after a year overseas. You get home, and no one’s there. This interactive story lets you comb through each part of the house to pick up objects and find clues. You discover the events of the lives of your family members in the items they left behind. A book adaptation for this game would really bring out the story of the characters. It’s a story about discovering one’s self. Books bring out detail in every story, and a book for Gone Home would bring the story to life on another level. This game would be an amazing mystery book for all ages to enjoy.

Heavy Rain

Quantic Dream has created some of the best life-like games that I've ever seen. Their video games should be made into movies if you ask me. Heavy Rain was one of the most emotional games I've ever played.

This action-adventure and cinematic psychological thriller revolves around multiple characters. Each character has different agendas in the story. The player's decisions affect how the game progresses. This could be a good interactive book. This game covers the struggles and consequences associated with the decisions each character has to make. Readers could relate to some of their stories and feel the pain of the result of their actions. The story of Heavy Rain is heartbreaking, but it has profound potential to be written into multiple stories or become one thrilling novel.

Horizon Zero Dawn 

This exciting action/adventure RPG takes place in a vast post-apocalyptic world where deadly machines have taken over what’s left of the ruins. The civilization of humans is primitive and almost extinct. 

The game has great potential as an in-depth fantasy book if written by a good author--someone who can bring the ruins of this once thriving world to life and illustrate that surreal feeling to the readers. The story is an exhilarating action adventure about survival--the struggle to survive and co-exist with machines. Writing a book about this game would be a new chapter to keeping the video game's story alive and it could also build more stories from the game to extend the adventure. 

Infamous:First Light

Sucker Punch created a standalone game which allows the player to control Abagail Walker. Abagail and her brother Brent ran away from home because of an accident in school that involved injuring a student. They both turned to drugs to deal with their struggles, but Brent eventually got clean. He wanted Abigail to get clean as well, so he would hide her stash. He even ended up working for gangs to get enough money to cross the border to Canada by boat.

First Light could be a novel about the struggles that both siblings had to face from society and in their everyday life. Although the story-line of the game was short, it has the potential to become a powerful fantasy novel. This story could be expanded to delve deeper into the characters' lives and show how resourceful they both had to be to survive. The story of this game could definitely be an interesting novel. 

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Everyone has their own opinion about video games and how they’re portrayed in movies. I have to say most movies don’t do the video games they are based upon any justice because they don’t stick to the story or the characters they portray. Extending the story in a good book gives the game life and actually takes the reader on a journey into the life of the characters. We all know books are far better than any movie. So, to create a novel about any of these amazing characters would be an exciting adventure I’d want to be a part of. 

Do you think video games should also become novels? Which video game stories would you like to see in a book? Let’s hear your opinions in the comments below. 

 

 

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East to West: The Major Differences in Game Releases Based on Geographic Locations https://www.gameskinny.com/w75lm/east-to-west-the-major-differences-in-game-releases-based-on-geographic-locations https://www.gameskinny.com/w75lm/east-to-west-the-major-differences-in-game-releases-based-on-geographic-locations Wed, 08 Nov 2017 15:40:40 -0500 Sarah Elliman

Ever since video games started being released internationally, developers have been changing or removing certain pieces of content. These changes usually end up being cosmetic only, with some larger changes required depending on the region,and the most common things to be changed are depictions of violence, sex or nudity, and religious content. However, it's not just games released in the US that end up changed. Japan, Europe, and some Middle Eastern countries adapt releases to suit their particular cultures or needs as well.

Censorship or Localization?

Many games go through a variety of changes when they are released for different areas. These are often minute changes to fit the cultural differences between the areas they are being released. The changes do not mean that a game is censored, however; it's more that they are localized for that specific region.

Censorship means that there is a suppression or prohibition of parts from a game and other forms of expression, such as books or films, whereas localizing a game is the process by which a company adapts something to be local in character. So, in other words, "localisation is not outright censorship, but merely adapting a piece of work," while censorship deals more with the suppression of thought and ideas.

With that in mind, a lot of games that move between regions fall under the category of localization, rather than censorship. These changes are typically made because of cultural differences, tragic circumstances in the region, or for religious purposes. Some regions may have issues with nudity, with North America being one of the major regions where this change is made, alongside Middle Eastern areas, such as Saudi Arabia.

Or the culture could have issues with certain religious depictions, and these are changed in the localization process to fit that region's perspective. It doesn’t restrict free speech, as it doesn’t tend to restrict ideas, but change certain cosmetic effects to fit the sensibilities of the region.

Nudity and Sex

This is one of the major aspects of video games changed for all sorts of launches. It is especially true of releases in North American and Middle Eastern nations, since they tend to have a greater aversion to nudity, rather than other things like violence, but other nations aren't always happy with certain depictions of sexual content.

Cover-Ups

You can find numerous examples of localization changes made for American releases when it comes to sex and nudity, especially with a series like Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI were games that were changed for American releases by removing anything risqué. For example, the town dancers in bikinis were covered up with leotards in Final Fantasy IV, and all nudity was covered up for the Espers in Final Fantasy VI. More recent games were localized for nudity and sex too. Games like Indigo Prophecy and The Witcher had graphic sex scenes removed, and most of the nudity was removed as well, unless the scene happened to be integral to the story.

The FFIV remake, however, stuck to the original intention for the dancer's design.

Although countries such as Japan are more open about nudity and sex in video games, that doesn't mean every instance is permissible. GTA V, for example, was changed for Korean and Japanese launches, removing or modifying a lot of controversial sex and nudity. However, the examples and instances where this is changed for Japanese audiences are fewer by far compared to North America.

Why Bother?

So why is there a massive difference between places like North America and Japan when it comes to sex and nudity? 

There is a substantial cultural difference between Japan and America, which explains the frequent level of localization between the two countries. Culturally, Americans are more sensitive to nudity, and sex is a particularly sensitive topic. The 2015 Parents Ratings Advisory Study showed that 80% of Americans studied were more concerned with sex scenes in films than violence. This was a study predominantly looking at films; however, considering the gaming medium's similarities with the film industry, the concepts involved are still closely linked.

There is not the same stigma in Japan and European countries, especially regarding female nudity. My own experience can attest to that. When I was working in a gaming store, a woman wanted to bring back a copy of GTA V that she had bought for her 8-year-old son. She told me she knew about the violence in it, but didn’t realize there was nudity and brought it straight back. Whereas traveling through Europe, I saw many of the beaches throughout Europe are topless, and the Scandinavian spas normally have a clothing optional policy. Being in Spain at the moment, I see even their advertisements featuring full-frontal nudity, as long as they air after the watershed.

Religion

Religion is another reason why games can be altered, because religion is central to lives of those who worship, regardless of the creed. Insulting or demeaning someone's religion, even without meaning to, can send people into a fury and cause backlash against the company.

Holy [Censored] Batman!

One issue that caused mass controversy was the design of Hindu gods in SMITE, especially Kali. The Hindu community in India was not pleased with the representation of their goddess and asked Hi-Rez to make changes. The developer eventually removed Kali from the website, but not much more. 

Kali is an important goddess within the Hindu community, and some sects worships Kali as the ultimate goddess or the true form of Brahman. She is the goddess of death, time, and sexuality, but has always had strong roots in motherhood too.  Hi-Rez didn't want to issue a statement on their removal of Kali from the website, but the Hindu community is still pressing for their other gods to be removed as well. 

However, Hi-Rez's Todd Howard believed that:

Hinduism, being one of the world's oldest, largest and most diverse traditions, also provides inspiration toward deities in our game. In fact, given Hinduism's concept of a single truth with multiple physical manifestations one could validly interpret ALL the gods within SMITE to be Hindu. And all gods outside of SMITE as well. Ponder that for a minute. Anyway, going forward SMITE will include even more deities, not fewer.

Although this opinion suggests that Todd Howard would have preffered not to remove the gods altogether, the Hindu community still wants their gods to be removed from the game. Rajan Zed, a Hindu statesmen and the President of Universal Society of Hinduism said that the removal of Kali from the website was "a 'step in the right direction,' thanking Hi-Rez Studios for being so understanding."

Games like CoD 4 have been banned in countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates because of the perceived negative presentation of Arabs, along with passages from the Qur'an being added into the game. Since the games are banned outright, these issues come under censorship, rather than localization. But the religion and culture of these places will not permit these offenses, so it also relates to localization and shows how the two are often closely connected. 

The Devil in the Details

It isn't just the Middle Eastern and Asian worlds affected by religious imagery in video games. Many localization changes from Japan to America change the religious imagery presented as well.

Religious imagery had to be removed in games like Final Fantasy IV and Super Castlevania IV. Any references to Christianity in FFIV were removed, including Holy, and religious imagery and all references to prayer were taken out or altered, such as the Tower of Prayer being changed to The Tower of Wishes. Even direct references to death were taken out.

The other early Castlevania games were no different, with a lot of crosses taken out of the North American release, among other things. The only piece of religious imagery to stay throughout Castlevania was a piece of rosary that was integral to the game and it's overall image.

There was also the infamous chanting debate surrounding the Fire Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. There has been some controversy about what happened with the Fire Temple and whether the chanting was removed from the game before release. It has always been argued that the chanting was removed to avoid religious controversy, along with changing the original Gerudo symbol--which resembled the Islamic crescent and star--over misusing religious elements. Continuing with the Zelda series, but on a smaller scale,the Bible was turned into the Book of Magic, even though Link's shield retained its cross.

Violence

Violence is another aspect of video games that is often changed for releases. However, we mainly tend to see  North American games being changed to accommodate European and Middle Eastern standards of what constitutes over-the-top violence.

Some interesting examples of these changes relate to North American games released in Japan. Games like Crash Bandicoot 2 and The Last of Us were altered for their gratuitous violence. One of the death scenes was altered for Crash, where he was just a squashed head and feet, as it resembled the work of a serial killer in Japan at the time. The Last of Us was mainly altered in multiplayer to remove any dismemberment or exploding heads. The change doesn't feature in the main story, and the dismemberment is obscured and covered by camera angles, rather then removed.

Other games, like Manhunt, were banned for their excessive violence in a variety of different countries, from the East to places like the United Kingdom.  Germany has strict rules for their games, as decided by the USK, that limit the amount of blood and gore that is visible in their video games. (The USK "is the officially recognized institution responsible for the classification of computer and video games in Germany.") For example, the German version of Team Fortress 2 has no blood or detached body parts shown as part of the required regulations for the game. The USK is responsible for the protection of children and youths particularly in the gaming industry and the content they are available to see.

One theory for Germany's censure of video games is that:

due to its history and a cohesive nation opinion, the legislature limits content severely, much more severely than the surrounding European nation.

This is why the USK exists, as the general consensus of those living in Germany is to limit profanity and violence in video games.

You Decide

Perhaps all these changes are limiting our gaming experience and we're putting too much pressure on the companies. Yet some also argue that many of these changes are purely cosmetic and do not alter the story. However, one anti-censorship opinion is "it is no one’s responsibility but yourself to determine what is offensive or not."  Video game development is a business, though, and companies, at all cost, want to avoid backlash, since it is much better for business if they aren't involved in a major scandal. In the end, there are multiple sides to the story that make it difficult to arrive at an easy answer. 

Do you think that games should be changed at all? Or is it not worth worrying about? Let us know in the comments!

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Super Mario Odyssey Fanworks Are Already Blowing Us Away https://www.gameskinny.com/y527w/super-mario-odyssey-fanworks-are-already-blowing-us-away https://www.gameskinny.com/y527w/super-mario-odyssey-fanworks-are-already-blowing-us-away Wed, 08 Nov 2017 15:09:49 -0500 KatherineZell

As Nintendo continues to release consistently top-rated Mario games, the fandom for Mario only grows. Within that fandom are a lot of artists creating wonderful content. Take the gorgeous header image for this article; that was created by DeviantArt user VegaColors. The Odyssey is such a wonderful ship, and that blue sky makes me want to fly right into Tumblr user p1aceho1der's recreation of the Sand Kingdom:

Sand Kingdom

After this, maybe I'll run into arkestar's Pauline in New Donk City.

Pauline

Or discover Pauline has saved Princess Peach already, bringing this alternate ending by DeviantArt's theskywaker to fruition.

Peach And Pauline

Pauline sure is somebody's 1-Up girl.

Speaking of Pauline, New Donk City and Frank Sinatra inspired this wonderful piece by Manguinha, also on DeviantArt.

Mario Odyssey in the New Donk City

Mario holding Cappy instead of a cigarette is nice and kid-friendly. Cappy is just all around great, and this version of that nearly iconic picture of Mario with Cappy floating above him is probably one of the cutest things I've seen. 

super mario odyssey

That was by DeviantArt user Rainmaker113, who has a whole folder dedicated to adorable Mario photos.

Speaking of adorable, look at this Cappy and Tiara by Diana-del-Barrio.

super mario Odyssey - cappy and tiara

Unfortunately, those are not for sale from her. Although Cappy can easily be found on ThinkGeek and other websites, but not Tiara. It kind of makes me want to cry that a little bit of googling does not turn up a Tiara for sale.

Wedding Princess Peach

Though if I looked like Enmanuelart20's version of Peach crying when I cried, I would cry all the time. But I don't, so I might instead want to just become really tough and never cry. Maybe like Darksilvania's Mariosaurus Rex.

Mariosaurus Rex

Or Bowser by omegalife, also DeviantArt.

Pimp Koopa - Mario Odyssey

Now that we're on the topic of bad guys, here's Harriet, one of the Broodals (Bowser's wedding planners), by risenshiner from Tumblr:

Harriet

Those Broodals do their best to keep Mario away from Bowser and Peach, so at least Bowser can happily get married, but I think Tumblr's beetlebaine does a much better job than the Broodals at putting the giant Koopa and beautiful Princess together:

Bowser & Peach

HonoluluJoe on DeviantArt (lukevalentineart on Tumblr) also does a good job putting those two together in the alternate ending way:

BowserxPeach

But I think most of us just want this sort of ending by windpriest from Tumblr:

Mario and Peach

Thank you, artists! All us non-artists look forward to seeing more and more of your wonderful work!

What do you think of these? Have you seen great fan art inspired by Super Mario Odyssey? Let us know in the comments!

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15 Top Handcrafted Gifts for Gamers Under $36! https://www.gameskinny.com/4wc2j/15-top-handcrafted-gifts-for-gamers-under-36 https://www.gameskinny.com/4wc2j/15-top-handcrafted-gifts-for-gamers-under-36 Wed, 08 Nov 2017 12:00:52 -0500 Sarah Elliman

A lot of us gamers love to collect items that mean something to us and the games that we play. The best gift I ever received was a Dragon Age hoodie! Well perhaps not THE best, but it was pretty awesome. We have picked out 15 handcrafted gifts that are perfect for gamers. As a bonus, all of these gifts are less than $36! Whether you’re buying for a gamer or you want to purchase a little something for yourself, take a look at what we found.

1. Skyrim Minimalist Poster ($2)

This particular gift can range from $2 upwards, depending on the size and whether you want the gift on a canvas. With this poster, you get an amazing piece of Skyrim art with a badass dragon on it. The sizes range from A6 to A1 and are available on both poster paper and canvas. Depending on your style and space there are plenty of options out there for you. 


2. Overwatch Keyboard Stickers ($3.80)

If you want to purchase a gamer a gift the recipient will always have in sight, then these stickers are perfect. They are available for a range of Overwatch characters, such as Mercy, D.Va, McCree, Hanzo, Genji, Symmetra, Mei, Reaper, Ana, Pharah and Sombra. These keyboard stickers are available in a variety of colors that match the characters, and they aren’t mapped to certain keys. This means,  you have the option to put the stickers wherever you want!


3. Undertale Asriel Wooden Figurine ($10)


Undertale has become a massively popular game, more than anyone could have ever expected. This wooden figurine is fantastically made and is small enough to fit on your desk. There are two gestures for the Asriel figurine and it is beautiful. The colors and the expressions are so accurate, it looks like it came straight out of the game.

4. Assassin’s Creed Locket ($10)


If having gaming merchandise in your home isn’t enough, why not buy something you can take with you? This is a charming antique-esque locket with the assassin symbol emblazoned on the front. It can be a fantastic conversation piece with people, and you can carry your favorite game with you wherever you go. It comes with the chain and opens, so you can use it as a regular locket as well. You’ll be able to put a photo of your partner, family or friends in a sweet gaming orientated locket. The same seller also produces Zelda lockets as well, so if this one isn’t to your taste there are others available for the same price.


5. Sans Beanie ($12)


Another Undertale item makes its way onto the list, but can you blame me? When you see a Sans beanie it is hard to resist. The default is San’s serious face, but you can also request a different face in the notes for this beanie. This is an especially cool item if you’re buying it for Christmas as the recipient will be able to keep their head and ears warm, while having a Sans on their head. The seller of this item also has other Undertale character beanies such as Papyrus, Flowey and Asriel. You’ll be able to have your favourite Undertale character with you wherever you go. Or if Undertale isn’t your style there are Pokemon beanies available as well!

6. Solas Vhenan Pendant ($15)


Another item you can take with you everywhere is this wonderfully crafted, Dragon Age inspired pendant. It is a wonderfully formed brass piece with a lot of detail put into the design. You can also buy Sera, Kadan, Anders and Fenris pendants from the seller in their Dragon Age range. They also offer Overwatch inspired pendants as well, so you can take your favorite games with you wherever you go.


7. Blue Glow in the Dark D&D Dice ($16)


There is an absolutely fantastic range of D&D dice on Etsy, but these were my personal favorite. The gradient between colors within the dice is beautiful and merge together so well. The color is soft and the numbers on the dice are clear and well-engraved. You can choose the secondary color, either white or yellow, although yellow will cost you a dollar more. This seller has a wonderful range of dice from rose gold to chrome and healer dice as well. However, when you have glow in the dark dice what more could you want?


8. Wooden Gaming in Progress Sign ($17.15)


One of the only items that isn’t specifically related to an individual game, but it's still another fantastic addition to your home. This gift is wonderful for anyone who is a massive gamer as it comes in a variety of colors for both the background and the text. It is a large sign and would work fantastically outside of someone’s room. So perhaps if you have a teenager who is into games, this would be a great gift to  to give them. 

9. Fallout Nuka Cola LED Light ($17.56)

It’s late at night, you’re still on a massive gaming binge, but it’s been progressively getting darker and darker until your eyes can’t stand it anymore. You turn around and switch on your Fallout lamp: how cool is that? You can turn your house into a gaming haven with this bright addition to your home. 


10. Yen’s Pendant ($17.82)


The last gift on our list that you’ll be able to wear is inspired from Yennefer’s pendant in The Wicther 3. This is a fantastic item for anyone who wants to cosplay, or simply wear it out and about. The item isn’t in your face about being a piece of gaming merchandise and might even tie together that gothic outfit you’re dying to wear. This is a high-quality piece that is perfect for cosplay or for everyday use, anybody who is a fan of Yennefer and The Witcher will absolutely love this gift.


11. 5 Zelda Stained Glass Window Decal’s ($19.99)


This is an incredible gift for anyone who is looking to spruce up a room with some gaming decorations. These decals are inspired from the Windwaker games and are absolutely stunning--you would think they came from a church if Zelda was a religion. The five decals have different designs and colors, so you don’t have to worry about having multiple of one decal. They come in two sizes, either the 8”x4” which is priced at $19.99 or the 7”x13” priced at $39.95.


12. Skyrim Rolling Pin ($19.99)


Do you have a friend who both loves cooking and video games? Well this is the perfect present for them, whether you’re making cookies and want some Skyrim images in them or just want an awesome rolling pin. There are a variety of different images on the rolling pin, so you can get really creative with this item.
The item is made from wood and is 100% safe to use with food. 

13. Handmade Final Fantasy Phone Cases ($20.58)

These Final Fantasy inspired phone cases cover iPhones from the 7 to 4 and Galaxy 7 to 4. The cases are really well made, and the designs are incredibly cute. A personal favorite is the Chocobo design, but you can also get Moogle designs and Cactuar designs for your device as well. Let everyone know your love for Final Fantasy with one of these phone cases, or show someone you love that you know what they like. 


14. Geralt Pillow ($23.90)


When I next get my paycheck this is going to be one of the first things on my list. These pillows are incredibly adorable and who doesn’t want to snuggle with Geralt on the couch? Both the front and back are fully printed, and he even has his swords on his back. Also, this pillow is one of the only times you'll get to see Geralt smile.
There are a variety of other pillows available that are made after popular shows, movies and games. From Spock to Leia and even a Daryl Dixon pillow. Starting to think I’ll need two instead of just getting the Geralt one.


15. Custom Ghost Life-Size Replica ($36)


Last, but not least is this incredibly badass replica of Destiny’s Ghost, which lights up and comes in a variety of colors. You get a stand well. There are a wide range of colors for the LED light, from amber to red and even a colour changing LED.
The item is $36 if you want a mystery colour for your replica, however if you want the colour exactly the way you want it, it’ll cost you $40.50. There are 20 colours available which includes glowing green, so whatever you want is available with this item.

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That was our list of handcrafted video game gifts that should definitely make your Christmas list. There is so much out there--being a gamer has never been so good. There is so much out there to explore, but you can start with our list here. Remember all items will go up and down in price, so always keep an eye out for bargains.

What  do you think about the gifts we've picked out? Have you got any favorites? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

 

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Thinking Outside of the (Cat)Box: An Interview with The Gentlebros https://www.gameskinny.com/vop4h/thinking-outside-of-the-catbox-an-interview-with-the-gentlebros https://www.gameskinny.com/vop4h/thinking-outside-of-the-catbox-an-interview-with-the-gentlebros Wed, 08 Nov 2017 11:46:59 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

The RPG genre is known for some of the most sweeping, epic stories, memorable characters, and intuitive gameplay mechanics. However, there is one area even the RPG greats have yet to cover: the world of cats. That's where The Gentlebros' latest outing, the award-winning Cat Quest, comes in, seeking to address a gap in the RPG market in more ways than simply providing an irresistibly adorable protagonist and charming world. Desmond Wong of The Gentlebros was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to discuss the open-world game in detail, including its inspiration and where it fits in the current RPG market.

Joshua Broadwell: The Gentlebros website mentions that the studio is made up of veterans in the industry. Would you be able to provide some titles or companies you are associated with to give the reader a better idea of the studio?

Desmond Wong: This may be a slight shocker considering that we developed Cat Quest, but all of us were from Koei Tecmo! Our experiences include games like Dynasty Warriors, Fatal Frame, Nioh, and Dead or Alive, just to name a few. It's a huge departure from what we used to be doing, but the lessons we learned there definitely helped shape the games we make today.

JB: According to the development blog, making a game centered around a cat was always a central focus. Why was that, and did you find it more difficult to come up with concepts that would fit with a cat hero more difficult than if it were a more traditional protagonist?

DW: It's actually the opposite. A very large majority of games and RPGs are centered around human characters, and for good reason! Human characters are instantly more easily relatable, and, hence, more likely to be enjoyed by a greater number of people. However, this also means that the type of stories you can tell would be less fresh and probably done a million times before. 

The good thing about choosing a cat protagonist and world is that suddenly everything feels new again. Cats would have different problems from humans, and the way they speak or the way they would name their cities and towns would be different as well. This gives us a chance to tell new stories and, hopefully, give players new experiences as well.

JB: The game was partly inspired by a lack of 2D open-world adventures on mobile. What other inspirations were there for art style and gameplay?

DW: For the art style, we were really inspired by old medieval maps. We really liked the sketchy look and how the location names were on the map itself. We also really liked the overworld of older JRPGs (mainly because we grew up with them) and wanted to create an open-world overworld game, if that makes sense. 

Gameplay-wise, we were inspired by titles like Skyrim, Zelda, and Final Fantasy. We wanted the exploration in Skyrim but the simplicity of combat in Zelda. We designed Cat Quest to be a really rapid-fire RPG. You can play the game for five minutes or for hours and still feel like you're constantly accomplishing something. We really love open-world games but feel some of them have gotten so bloated through the years, and Cat Quest is our way of trimming down the fat to give a really concise and concentrated experience. For us, this is an open-world RPG condensed to what makes them fun, and we hope we managed to succeed in doing that!

JB:  How do you balance being inspired by a certain game or style and still making it something unique?

DW: I think on some level, all designers are inspired by the games they've played. Every game we play subconsciously influences our design and perception of what is fun. However, we always try to make sure we give our mechanics a twist. We're constantly asking ourselves, "Is this mechanic too similar to something else?" and "What can we do differently?" Sometimes it's okay to be influenced, because why fix something that is proven to work? But other times, you'll want to introduce your own little quirk that makes your game stand apart from the rest. 

For Cat Quest, that mantra was simplicity. For better or worse, we wanted to take existing mechanics in RPGs and see in what ways we could simplify it. Take our quests for example. We really hate how in open-world RPGs you can unintentionally take a dozen side quests at one time and feel so bogged down and overwhelmed. So we decided it would be interesting if we forced players to only take one quest at a time (a la GTA). 

JB: Many players, unfortunately, have a negative opinion of mobile games. Was there ever a concern that Cat Quest might be dismissed for being on mobile first?

DW: Actually, Cat Quest came out on Steam and iOS simultaneously. But disregarding that, yes, there was obviously that concern. Mobile games have been getting a very bad rap through the years, mainly due to the F2P genre. When people hear of a mobile game, they instantly write it off as a "bad" game, and that was something we were definitely concerned about.

However, what we found was that this was the vocal minority. A lot of people actually don't really care, and if it's a good game, they will be interested in it and eventually buy it if it's up their alley. We've had people who told us they bought both the mobile and Steam versions because they wanted to play on the go and at home. This was really awesome to hear for us!

We think that at the end of the day, your game has to feel like it's designed for the platform you're going to release on. This is why we redesigned the control from the ground up for both PC and mobile. If you're playing on PC, you will feel the game was designed for it, and likewise if you're playing on mobile. Do that, and the players will appreciate that and support your game.

JB: The cat puns are an integral part of the game and are pulled off very well. How difficult was it to get them to work right, or did it just flow naturally?

DW: In some ways, we had to create our own "cat language." Right from the get-go, we made a decision that our cats would speak differently from humans and that they would speak exclusively in puns. This means everything in the game, from the town names to the items to the spells, would all be in puns (because that's the cat language we created). With this in mind, we made a term base of normal words and their cat alternatives. So words like "very" would become "furry." "Awesome" would become "Pawsome," etc. Then it was just a matter of keeping our dialogue consistent and making sure we followed the rules set by our cat language.

JB: What was the process like porting Cat Quest to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, and was there an easier platform to work with?

DW: We think that both consoles had their pros and cons for sure. Overall, though, developing on the Switch was more fun because, honestly, we really like the hardware!

JB: For the RPG player used to somewhat more serious outings, what would you say to convince them to give Cat Quest a try?

DW: Play Cat Quest if you want a new, fat-free, condensed experience of what an RPG could be. Cat Quest is a rapid-fire RPG and feels much faster-paced and different from the more plodding open-world RPGs out there. The more traditional RPG experiences aren't going away, but if you want to try something new, give Cat Quest a shot! 

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Cat Quest released earlier this year on iOS and Steam, and the Switch and PlayStation 4 versions are out November 10th. If you're interested in learning more about the game's origins, including the hero's transformation from cat dancer extraordinaire to full-fledged cat warrior, check out The Gentlebros' development blog here.

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What's On Your (Game) Playlist This Month? https://www.gameskinny.com/tjgi2/whats-on-your-game-playlist-this-month https://www.gameskinny.com/tjgi2/whats-on-your-game-playlist-this-month Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:36:42 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Have you ever wondered what the awesome writers and techies at GameSkinny play in their spare time? Well, wonder no more! We've asked everyone that same question and compiled some of their responses for your viewing pleasure. Don't think this piece doesn't include you, though. We want to know what you're playing this month, too!

Stephen Johnston

GameSkinny founder Stephen Johnston found an October-appropriate outlet for his love of strategy gaming.

I'm playing Dungeons III quite a bit. Good solid game, a tad easy, but it has  funny, if a bit childish, banter, fun gameplay and dungeon builds, light RTS elements, and quality graphics.

Ty Arthur

Halloween also helped featured contributor and lover of shooters Ty Arthur's choice of game.

The Ashes Of Malmouth DLC has me back into indie ARPG Grim Dawn again, freezing and electrocuting Chtonian horrors from beyond and Aetherial ghost creatures by the thousands! Couldn't ask for a better Diablo 2 style game, and it fit my October preferences for horror games perfectly, with its heavy focus on the Cthulhu mythos and a grimdark, post-apocalyptic setting. Enjoying trying out new Necromancer builds in the base game and taking my Arcanist / Soldier combo through the new game acts added with the expansion.

Jonathan Moore

Senior editor Jonathan Moore took the opportunity to check out one of the year's biggest releases -- purely for professional purposes, of course.

I'm currently indulging in Destiny 2, much to the sheer surprise of anyone around the office. Having put some 300 hours into the original, I'm finding more and more that Bungie mostly learned from their mistakes and corrected course into what we currently have in Destiny 2. My primary takeaway after a solid month of playing is that the game respects your time, which is increasingly important for me. Sure, there's grinding and sometimes-"unfair" RNG, but overall, it's a game that I can pick up and play and then put down when I need to, not feeling as if my clan is going to leave me behind because of it. The gunplay is tighter this time around and activities more varied. It's a solid improvement over the original in almost every way.

KatherineZell

Katherine Zell, contributor and fan of 3D exploration games, also found herself pulled into another highly anticipated release.

I bought Super Mario Odyssey for my husband for his birthday. I played it with him for a little while, but then he continued without me, since I was busy doing other things ha. But the bit that I played was awesome.
Two player mode is great fun as well. My husband doesn't like using the Joy-Con sideways, but I think it is just fine. For those of you who haven't played it in 2 player mode, here's a breakdown of how it works. As Mario in two-player mode, it is a bit of a pain to deal with the camera angle, especially if you've already gotten used to playing the Switch normally. But if you are just jumping in as a spare and controlling Cappy, it's a blast. As Cappy, you don't have to worry about the camera angle as much, so the awkwardness of controlling that is irrelevant. You also feel like you are still useful, and you don't get bored. The boss battles we did do were really easy because whoever was controlling Cappy could focus just on projectiles and getting the enemy ready for Mario's attack, and then Mario just attacks. there are a few things Cappy can't help with, though, not to mention he gets kidnapped for a short time, and that is really sad if you're playing as Cappy. Suddenly useless, ha. Anyway, it has been a lot of fun. Both one-player and two-player are great. It has met all of my expectations of a 3D Super Mario game.

Brandon Janeway

Destiny 2 is proving to be quite popular among the site's writers, with contributor Brandon Janeway also enjoying it -- if not so much as the original.

I am playing Destiny 2. The game just has visuals that I love, and I like the RPG and FPS mix as well. The story is the not the same as the first and does not strike the same grand atmosphere I got with the first but nonetheless, it is still very satisfying.

Kieran Desmond

Mentor and contributor Kieran Desmond's choice of new release is more on the lighthearted side of things.

I just finished South Park: The Fractured But Whole. It 100% lived up to the hype and my expectations after theThe Stick of Truth blew me away when it came out. Clocking in at 26 hours, I felt that it maybe went on a little long, considering it's essentially just a long South Park episode. Also, after hearing it was a little easy, I cranked it up to the highest difficulty from the get go and still never lost a fight. But it was hilarious all the way through. Awesome game.

Rothalack (Brian Schaaf)

There's still plenty of enjoyment to be had in older games as well, as bug master and support guru Rothalack shows.

I've been playing Factorio. It's a rabbit hole of complexity that makes me feel exhausted after playing. 10/10.

Spacechaser

Site contributor Spacechaser is balancing new and old, while also planning on working through a sizeable backlog.

I was replaying Ocarina of Time, but that was cut short with Super Mario Odyssey's release. I'm enjoying it so far; Nintendo heard the term "open world" and really ran with it! I'll probably finish up my OoT playthrough after I'm done, and after that, I have a couple more games I need to, ahem, finish up. Mainly Hyper Light Drifter, Cave Story+, and Song of the Deep.

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From the biggest and best of the year to some hidden gems and classics of days gone by, if you've got a favorite genre, chances are, a GameSkinny writer is playing it too.

Drop a comment down below and tell us your favorites and what you're playing this month too!

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Don't Act Surprised When Sonic Forces on PC Comes with Denuvo https://www.gameskinny.com/pchfr/dont-act-surprised-when-sonic-forces-on-pc-comes-with-denuvo https://www.gameskinny.com/pchfr/dont-act-surprised-when-sonic-forces-on-pc-comes-with-denuvo Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:26:45 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Back when Valve first listed Sonic Mania on Steam, the listing gave no mention of the game utilizing Denuvo or any other Digital Rights Management (DRM) save what Steam normally has. Imagine players' surprise, then, when they found they could not play the game offline as a result of Denuvo requiring it to run online for verification purposes. Players complained to Headcannon, who then passed the complaints along to Sega.

After investigating it, though, Sega said Denuvo wasn't the cause of the problem, and Denuvo remains part of the game—even though it's been cracked. Now that Sega announced Sonic Forces will come with Denuvo at launch, players at least have fair warning of what's ahead--even if that just means they can get their pitchforks ready early.

One may wonder why Denuvo was targeted immediately as the cause of gamers' misery and what the big deal is with it being included with Forces. The answer? Well, that's not so easy to say.

What Even Are DRM and Denuvo?

A good majority of gamers go about playing their games in the legitimate way: purchasing and using them within the boundaries set out by the company, whether that be not sharing it so others can access without paying or something along those lines.

However, the pirating community likes to find ways around that. Some cite cost as a reason, some just like the thrill, others believe they should have unlimited rights with their games, and still others only want to try the game as a demo, planning to buy it later if they like it.DRM is meant to keep a pirate from having their way with a game, and Denuvo is supposed to be one of the toughest DRMs around at this point.

What's the Problem with It?

Yet a large number of players, including those who purchase a game legitimately, claim that DRM, and Denuvo in particular, hamper their enjoyment of the game. The Sonic Mania example is just one among many. Ubisoft's notorious DRM is another. They didn't use Denuvo, but for a time, their DRM required players to remain online for the duration of their play session. Any lapse in connection meant the game—and progress—was gone, and there was really no hope for portability or ease of use in that setup.

Then there was RiME. Players loudly complained about Denuvo ruining the experience. The constant pinging that Denuvo performs to verify the game and user was supposedly slowing the game down. However, it was mostly noticeable during loading times, not the game itself, and apart from a few vocal (and coarse) complaints, no one else really seemed to find the game unplayable. Grey Box, like Sega, also found that Denuvo wasn't the cause of the problems.

More to the point, though, there isn't any concrete evidence to support either side's arguments about Denuvo.

Opposing Viewpoints

Those who don't like DRM don't care, though, and despite Denuvo allegedly being the best in town, it has been hacked several times. In many cases, developers remove it via update after the cracking anyway, leading to the question of why bother implementing it to begin with.

For big companies, the answer is fairly simple. Developers lose an estimated $74 billion due to piracy, with approximately 2.5 billion pirated games downloaded per year. DRM is a way to try and prevent that loss, and it's an extra layer of protection alongside Steam's much lighter and-easier-to-crack DRM that relies on players wanting certain features enough to pay for the game.

Unlike smaller companies, most larger developers, like Sega, have fanbases willing to put up with DRM—or who don't have a problem with it—in order to play the game. Also, it's believed that if Denuvo is cracked within a certain timeframe after release, developers may be able to get a refund for it. If that is true, developers have very little to lose from implementing Denuvo and a good bit to gain.

Image via YouTube

Some  developers have a different view. Super Meat Boy's Tommy Refenes argues that DRM hurts developers much more than piracy does and thinks it should no longer be utilized. He says companies should "respect their customers, and they may, in turn, respect your efforts." (Of course, that argument works in reverse: if players respected developers' efforts enough, they wouldn't have to implement DRM). However, it is worth pointing out that smaller companies stand to gain from eschewing DRM for the fact that it draws in more fans, something especially necessary for indie developers without big backing.

It's not just small developers who promote this new approach to DRM, though. Avalanche Studios echoes Refenes's argument and cites paying customers inconvenienced by poorly implemented DRM who as the reason why it ultimately harms developers more than it helps them. CD Projekt Red--the developer behind The Witcher--provides a more practical reason for this concept. Not only does it turn players away; it doesn't protect the game anyway. That's definitely true of Denuvo as well.

Conclusion

The problem ultimately centers around how well the DRM is implemented. One can hardly fault developers for protecting their material. It's true that they make plenty of money and are big corporate entities. But it's a business—and that's kinda their reason for existing. Denuvo, so far, hasn't turned out to be as problematic as EA's or Ubisoft's disastrous attempts at using DRM, even though some believe otherwise.

However, considering the legitimate problems DRM can cause players, it falls to the developers to ensure they are responsible and reasonable when they do implement DRM, including Denuvo. How that will all play out with Sonic Forces remains to be seen, though hopefully whatever issues there were with Sonic Mania—real or otherwise—have been ironed out. At the very least, players know what to expect, since Sega already announced it for Forces.

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Horizon Zero Dawn Fanworks That Will Blow Your Mind https://www.gameskinny.com/86pg6/horizon-zero-dawn-fanworks-that-will-blow-your-mind https://www.gameskinny.com/86pg6/horizon-zero-dawn-fanworks-that-will-blow-your-mind Tue, 07 Nov 2017 10:53:39 -0500 bazookajo94

Being a part of a gaming fandom is great. You can choose to interact with the community by commenting in the forums, watching or creating streams, or talking non-stop about your favorite game to someone who doesn't even know what it is until they're either forced to play the game themselves or vow to never play the game as long as they live. 

Another great part of having a wide variety of people being a part of a fandom is that at least one of them is bound to be an artist. Though sometimes that aspect can get a little weird (here's looking at you, Sonic), for games like Horizon Zero Dawn, fans don't have to be so apprehensive. 

Horizon Zero Dawn, released in February 2017 by Guerrilla Games, is a post-apocalyptic survival game that blends hunter-and-gatherer tribe culture with really cool robots. A game so aesthetically pleasing on its own is bound to have just as beautiful fan art, and this article sets out to show you the best fans have created in homage to this game. 

What better way to start out a digital game than with some digital fan art? Take this portrait of the main character Aloy by tumblr user shalizeh. I can't get over how good the lighting is in this. Unfortunately, shalizeh doesn't take commissions or requests, so it's lucky she likes video games or else we would never know how good her Horizon Zero Dawn art would look. 

 

It's fun when people create a contrasting piece of work to its original medium. Take this pixelated Tallneck from AstraGalactica. Usually it's the pixelated games that get rendered into a realistic photo, so it's a treat to see the opposite. 

In fact, it's so cute, here's the rest of the pixel creatures this artist has on their DeviantArt. 

 

But if digital art isn't your style, check out this Watcher by DeviantArt user BlackbubbleArt. The artist inked this creature with a pen and marker and captured perfectly the sinister yet endearing qualities of this little tyke. 

You know what else is just as fun as realistic drawings? Comic book renditions. Take a look at Eleonora Carlini's drawing from Horizon Zero Dawn. The splash of red in an otherwise black and white piece gives the same amount of contrast as the futuristic-yet-tribal game seeks to present. 

 

Or maybe you want some crossover art, like this tumblr user created of Aloy and Ciri from The Witcher series, or their piece of duo Lara Croft and Aloy. 

 

Yes, I have also noticed the abundant amount of Aloy pictures for this game. I can't blame anyone: Aloy is a beloved main character. 

But for those of us who want to see some other characters, here's a piece by zanephiri of the Sun-King Avid

Slaaaay, Sun-King, slay. 

But art isn't just confined to the use of ink and paper or pens and tablets. Cosplay is just as creative and worthy of spotlight. 

Especially if they're as good as this cosplay of Aloy.  

Like, bruh. Are you seeing this right now? It is not a painting. It's a production from duo Lina and Alex, cosplayers from Russia who own Lucky Strike Cosplays. They design costumes from a variety of different fandoms and have their work available to buy on Etsy.

I'm still not entirely convinced these aren't paintings.  

But Lucky Strike aren't the only cosplayers on the Horizon Zero Dawn horizon. Here's Kamui Cosplay who also created an Aloy cosplay, but with different armor. 

Seeing something so beautifully crafted always makes me wonder if I'll ever amount to anything so inspiring in my life.

It's true: this game is so beautiful, and people are so talented, it's sometimes hard to tell what's a screenshot and what's fan art. For those who need more, you can buy The Art of Horizon Zero Dawn on Amazon at a listed price of $39.95, put together by Guerrilla Games, and enjoy being in a fandom that is as passionate about art as you are. 

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Games to Look Forward to in November 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/vvh1r/games-to-look-forward-to-in-november-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/vvh1r/games-to-look-forward-to-in-november-2017 Mon, 06 Nov 2017 17:33:11 -0500 Kieran Desmond

After a stellar October for video games, including the much anticipated October 27th video game buffet of Wolfenstein 2, Assassin's Creed: Origins, and instant classic, Super Mario Odyssey, the games industry is in no way ramping down as we head into November.

There's such a variety of awesome games coming up in November and there really is something for everyone. So check out this run through of which games are coming out, to help you make the big decision -- what to spend your hard-earned cash on.

Call of Duty: WWII - November 3

PS4, Xbox One, PC 

Call of Duty's reinvention of itself/return to its gritty, boots on the ground roots is definitely going to help it be the biggest seller this month -- if not the entire year. Peeling back from their more futuristic themes has certainly paid off the franchise, with Infinite Warfare just last year becoming the most disliked video game trailer of all time.

Serving up its tried and true multiplayer focused gameplay, set in the grim World War II setting, and featuring far less parkour elements this time around, fans of the franchise will not be disappointed with Call of Duty: WWII. And with Sledgehammer Games back behind the wheel in this iteration, I think we're in for a treat when it comes to the single-player campaign.

.hack//G.U Last Recode - November 3

PS4, PC

A fully restored and remastered collection of the PlayStation 2 ARPG, .hack//G.U. trilogy, released in celebration of the beloved franchise's 15th anniversary. As well as the original three titles, Rebirth, Reminisce, and Redemption; in Last Recode, CyberConnect2 are including an all new and exclusive fourth chapter, Reconnection, continuing Haseo's adventure from where Redemption left off. 

If you were into these games back when they released, then it's a no-brainer to check out this definitive version. If you're unfamiliar with the series, the premise is essentially that you're controlling a character who is playing an MMO called The World. Think Sword Art Online, but without the part about being trapped in the game by a psychopathic game developer. 

Steven Universe: Save the Light! - November 3

Xbox One

A direct sequel to mobile game Steven Universe: Attack the Light, Save the Light expands upon everything the first game did in almost every way. Save the Light is a beautiful recreation of the popular Cartoon Network show and really nails the tone, which is really the main draw.

Assuming that you're a well versed Steven Universe fan, which Save the Light most certainly does, I'd suggest picking this one up.

Xbox One X Console Launch - November 7

It's not a game, but this is definitely something to look forward to. "The Most Powerful Console Ever Made" is finally hitting store shelves to compete with Sony's PS4 Pro. Boasting "true 4K" gaming, a sleeker design, and a six-teraflop AMD Radeon GPU, the Xbox One X lives up to it's claim, shadowing the PS4 Pro's performance capabilities.

It's a hefty investment at $499, but if having the best performance and visuals is what you care about, then it'll be worth the price of admission.

Nioh - November 7

PC

Good news for PC gamers -- the PS4 console exclusive, NIOH, is making its way to PC. Set during the fictionalized Sengoku period of Japan, you play as William, battling evil yokai (spirits) who are growing in power due to the chaos of civil war. If you're into Dark Souls-likes, don't miss out on this unique take on the genre.

Sonic Forces - November 7

PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

Sonic Forces has a lot to live up after the fantastic Sonic Mania which released earlier this year. Featuring character customization and three different stage types (modern, classic, and avatar), it's shaping up to be a sort of all-in-one version of Sonic, taking inspiration from past mechanics and adding some new things too. 

Taking a crack at another 3D Sonic game that I guess someone, somewhere is asking for, the pressure is on for Sega to deliver something that none of us are expecting -- a good 3D Sonic game. Sonic Team are trying to do something different with the once hugely popular series, so it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.

Horizon: Zero Dawn - The Frozen Wilds - November 7

PS4

Guerilla Games' robot dinosaur hunting game is getting its first DLC expansion this month in the form of The Frozen Wilds. This DLC pack adds an estimated 15 hours of extra content, which includes a new area for Aloy to explore in the far north of the map, new mid-game story content, a new tribe, and some new robot beasties to hunt.

Possibly the best new addition, however, and just in time for the holiday season, you can now make snow angels in Photo Mode. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. 

Super Lucky’s Tale - November 7

Xbox One, PC

A cutesy 3D platformer exclusive to the Xbox One, Super Lucky's Tale has you guiding the adorable fox, Lucky, through a series of levels to collect four-leaf clovers while solving a variety of puzzles.

The release date, overall premise, and even the inclusion of the word "Super" in its title, suggests that Super Lucky's Tale is meant as Microsoft's answer to Super Mario Odyssey. But I suspect that it's going to take more than a lucky fox to topple Nintendo's moustached mascot.

Mario Party: The Top 100 - November 10

3DS

Drawing from a whopping 21 Mario Party installments, the folks over at Nintendo have painstakingly crammed 100 of the best Mario Party mini-games, into one fun-filled experience in Mario Party: The Top 100.

It's a shame this didn't make it onto the Switch, as it would be the perfect party game to play with a group of friends. I'd wager that we're not far off from getting a fully fledged Mario Party game on the Switch for this very reason.

Doom - November 10

Nintendo Switch

If you thought that the Nintendo Switch was just for little kiddy games, think again. Released in 2016 to critical acclaim, the fast paced, first-person gore-fest is a must play for any fan of the genre.

With a great single-player mode full of awesome level design, cool guns, and a kick-ass soundtrack, Doom is a difficult one to say no to.

Need For Speed: Payback - November 10

PS4, Xbox One, PC

Need for Speed: Payback is the latest entry into the arcade-style street racing game. Heavily story focused this time around, you play as former street racer Tyler Morgan, who after being betrayed and exiled, is looking for some...you guessed it -- payback. Build up a crew, collect cars, and take down "The House", the cartel in control of the city.

Payback sounds like the most RPG-ified Need for Speed yet, with cars belonging to one of 5 classes, having the most amount of customization ever in a NfS game, and finding and collecting abandoned vehicles. If you're bored of real-life simulation racing games then Need for Speed: Payback should be a good one to try out.

Football Manager 2018 - November 10

PC

Live the dream and take a team from League 2 all the way up to become Premiership champs, or push out the manager of Manchester United and use their insane budget to create your dream team. There's so much you can do with this mindbogglingly deep management sim.

Popular as ever, the latest Football Manager debuts a new graphics engine, boasting improved lighting and better stadium and player models than ever. 

The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs - November 10

PC

Nearly three years after The Sims 4 came to PC, it's finally getting a much requested pets DLC. As the title of the DLC suggests, the Cats & Dogs update allows you to create your own cat or dog, choosing between different breeds, fur colors and patterns, and outfits to dress them up in. 

Your new pet will develop it's own personality as you interact with them and you'll even be able to open your own veterinarian business. Another cute addition the bizarre world of The Sims.

Batman: The Telltale Series - Season 1 - November 14

Nintendo Switch

First Minecraft: Story Mode and now Batman: The Telltale Series. It looks like Telltale Games are going all in on their support for the Switch.

Take control of Bruce Wayne, as you deal with juggling his public persona as head of Wayne Enterprises, along with his Caped Crusader alter-ego. Decisions will be thrown at you that will affect both of Batman's identities, and it's up to the player to decide when its best to keep up appearances by playing nice with shady villains as Bruce, or how far Batman should go in service of justice.

L.A. Noire - November 14

Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

The Rockstar developed 40's detective game that faded into obscurity is getting another chance in the spotlight. L.A. Noire was well received back in 2011, with particular praise for it's facial animations gameplay that helped you determine a suspect's true intentions. Using a combination of evidence and your own judgement based on how you perceived a suspects expressions, you attempt to solve a few gritty crimes.

The Switch version will feature motion controls and HD rumble support, whilst the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions will run at 4K for enhanced visual experience.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 - November 14

PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

According to TT Games, the sequel to Lego Marvel Super Heroes promises to be bigger in every way. Featuring new (and more obscure) playable characters, a bigger open-world to play around in, and a longer story, it's clear that TT intend to honor that promise.

The villain this time around is Kang the Conqueror who will be bringing different times and realities together, which rallies Marvel's greatest heroes to save all Lego reality as we know it. 

RiME - November 14

Nintendo Switch

Once upon a time, RiME was set to be published by and exclusive to Sony. Thankfully for us Switch owners, Tequila Works reacquired the rights to their game and it was picked up by Grey Box. Now after it's May console release, this beautifully-styled adventure-puzzle game is coming to Switch.

Regularly drawing flattering comparisons to Wind Waker and Ico, RiME stands out as more than just an homage to these genre giants. With a wonderful story full of little discoveries and emotional beats, RiME is a joy to play through and is recommended to all Switch owners looking for something a bit different.

Rocket League - November 14

Nintendo Switch

Finally! Football Cars: The Video Game is coming to Switch. Rocket League is one of those games that's great for killing 5 minutes, because that's usually how long it takes to open up and get through a match. Combined with the whole concept of the Nintendo Switch, I think Rocket League will retain it's world-wide popularity for a long time to come. 

Also, think of the sweet Nintendo themed cars and accessories that will inevitably come to the game! 

Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon - November 17

3DS

Featuring new Ultra Beasts, altered island trials, and some new story elements, Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon look like familiar re-releases of the most recent Pokemon adventure. At least that's what we thought before November.

Now it's been revealed that Team Rocket will be making a come back in the form of a new organization called Team Rainbow Rocket, with no other than Giovanni himself at the helm. It also looks like other lead villains from previous games, such as Archie of Team Aqua and Lysandre of Team Flare, have been incorporated into the biggest criminal organization in Pokemon history.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, is that Legendary Pokemon from previous games will be obtainable through Ultra Wormholes, each having their own Ultra form which changes a Pokemon's stats and appearance in some really cool ways. A perfect send off for the main Pokemon series on 3DS.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 - November 17

PS4, Xbox One, PC

After a financially successful but heavily criticized first attempt, DICE's second bout with the Battlefront series looks to have addressed many of the main concerns had by fans. 

Introducing a 6-8 hour long campaign mode, more offline multiplayer modes, and more weapon and class variety, Star Wars Battlefront 2 could well be the droid you're looking for. 

Including heroes, vehicles, and planets spanning the prequel, sequel, and original trilogies fans, won't be short on content for good while. But when the time comes that you've had your fill, DICE will be releasing free DLC expansions including new planets, vehicles, and heroes. It sure is an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - November 17

Nintendo Switch

Nearly six years to the day since its initial release, Skyrim is making its debut on yet another new platform. Featuring motion controls and some exclusive Zelda-inspired gear, Skyrim for Switch is the best and only way to slay dragons on-the-go. 

The Sims 4 - November 17

PS4, Xbox One

After being available on PC for 3 years, Maxis has delivered the ultimate life simulation game to consoles. The vanilla console version features some content that was missing from the PC version at launch such as pools, ghosts, toddlers, and dishwashers. So don't worry, you can still trap your Sims in a pool and have their ghosts torment their remaining family members. Because that's what you do in The Sims, right?

 

Resident Evil: Revelations Collection - November 28

Nintendo Switch

Including both RE: Revelations 1 and 2 this Nintendo Switch re-release comes with a few extra features -- mostly in the form of tabletop-mode motion controls.

By holding ZL on the left Joy-Con, you aim your gun by moving the right Joy-Con around. You can also quickly reload you weapon by simulating putting a magazine into a gun with the left Joy-Con and use your knife attack by slashing horizontally with the right Joy-Con.

The Revelations Collection also supports local mulitplayer across two Switch consoles.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp - Late November

iOS, Android

The highly anticipated Animal Crossing mobile game isn't what a lot of us expected, but I for one am glad. Nintendo changing things up and subverting expectations is one of the reasons they've managed to successfully re-invent their roster so many times over the years.

Now with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, fans will be able to run a camp site from your phone -- along with all the usual Animal Crossing activities. That includes fishing, finding shells, befriending lovable guests of the site, and of course, paying off debt. I haven't seen any sign of Tom Nook yet, but the slightly suspicious looking Giovanni seems like he may be the slime ball giving players grief this time around. 

It's available in Australia right now, but the rest of us will unfortunately have to wait, though there are ways to play Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp early

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And that's every game worth mentioning that's coming out in November. Man, it is good to be a gamer right now. Like I said, there's so many awesome games coming out this month that it's going to be tough to choose how to spend my limited free time.

How are you going to spend yours? Let me know in the comments section below!

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11 Force Sensitive Star Wars Gifts for Holiday 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/wl1t0/11-force-sensitive-star-wars-gifts-for-holiday-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/wl1t0/11-force-sensitive-star-wars-gifts-for-holiday-2017 Thu, 02 Nov 2017 11:53:01 -0400 Jonathan Moore

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X-Wing Miniatures Game

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Price: $24.99
Buy it on: Amazon

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When it comes to Star Wars gifts, Fantasy Flight Games’ X-Wing Miniatures tabletop experience might just be the most involved -- and ultimately, the most expensive. If your favorite Star Wars fanatic is a tactician and strategist alongside a connoisseur of all things science-fantasy, you can’t do much better than this in-depth tabletop experience.

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This starter set will get you two Tie-Fighters and an X-Wing, as well as the necessary cutouts and dice needed to get your first matches off the ground. And don’t think that aerial combat in a tabletop setting isn’t frenetic and stressful; X-Wing Miniatures is one the most fun, yet most strategic tabletop games currently on the market. Games can be lightning fast or develop over the span of an hour. Sure, there are tons of (worthwhile) expansions that can get relatively pricey, but the rush of commanding your fleet in galactic combat or running missions as Han Solo or Poe Dameron more than make up for it.  

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While this definitely doesn't cover the gamut of Star Wars gifts that you can get your special someone this holiday season, these are some of the most unique and interesting ones they'll see all year. 

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Which one do you plan on picking up? Let us know in the comments below! 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/a/d/vader-25f9d.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/a/d/vader-25f9d.png","type":"slide","id":"172303","description":"

Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume 1

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Price: $13.59
Buy it on: Amazon

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When Disney bought Lucasfilm and did away with the old Expanded Universe, millions of Star Wars fans cried out in terror. Countless critically acclaimed stories were seemingly struck from the record and banished into the unknown regions of space. But then something somewhat unexpected happened: Marvel started producing new Star Wars comics. Good Star Wars comics. And one of the best of that initial lot is Star Wars: Darth Vader.

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Taking place between the events of Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader Volume 1 finds Vader in a peculiar place following the events of A New Hope. On a solo mission to defeat the Alliance, Vader finds himself in the company of new companions on a very dangerous mission. Collecting issue 1-6 of the eponymous Marvel comic, Vader Volume 1 comes in at 160 pages and shows Vader in all of his dark power. This collection shows Vader for the menacing Sith he truly is.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/t/battlefront-8f5a9.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/t/battlefront-8f5a9.png","type":"slide","id":"172302","description":"

Star Wars Battlefront 2

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Price: $59.99 (Standard Edition)
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Buy it on: Amazon

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 is one of the most-anticipated first-/third-person shooters of 2017. Developed by DICE and published by Electronic Arts, BF2 expands on the formula of 2016’s Battlefront, letting players experience all current Star Wars eras. From the Clone Wars to the Galactic Civil War and the struggle between the Resistance and The First Order, players will fight for the future of the galaxy on an unprecedented scale.

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On the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, Star Wars Battlefront 2 is available is two separate editions. The Standard Edition will get you the base game … and that’s about it. But the $79 Deluxe Edition will get you the base game plus exclusive skins and powerful unlockables for weapons and more. What Star Wars fan doesn’t want be a stormtrooper on the forefront of a 40-man skirmish, pit Rey against Darth Maul, or pilot a Trade Federation Droid Fighter?

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/o/crochet-6c1bf.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/o/crochet-6c1bf.jpg","type":"slide","id":"172301","description":"

Star Wars Crochet (Crochet Kits)

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Price: $19.96
Buy it on: Amazon

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The Star Wars franchise is one of the most robustly creative and imaginative franchises on the planet. Outside of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, you’d be hardpressed to find another mythos so full of life and color.

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This Star Wars crochet kit is one of the more unique gifts on this list, but it’s also one of the more creatively challenging gifts you might buy this holiday season. This full-color paperback comes with everything you need to get started crocheting, from in-depth instructions and patterns to yarn, a needle, stuffing, and more. With a dozen Star Wars characters to create, this gift is sure to keep giving well after its been gifted.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/l/millinium-falcon-a5a78.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/l/millinium-falcon-a5a78.png","type":"slide","id":"172300","description":"

Millenium Falcon Decorative Night Light

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Price: $18.00
Buy it on: Amazon

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What Star Wars fan hasn’t dreamt of piloting the Millenium Falcon? Sure, she’s a hunk of junk, but that didn’t stop Han from outrunning dozens of Imperial frigates and completing the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. And although this night light won’t technically get you into the pilot’s chair, it is a sleek accent piece for work or home.

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Powered by a USB cable, this night light is capable of illuminating in seven different colors and alternating between single color mode and multi-color mode. The best part is that it won’t take up too much room no matter where you put it: measuring in at 12” tall and 3” wide, you’ll be able to fit this between your Chewbacca coffee mug and Luke Skywalker bobblehead without a problem.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/w/i/xwing-airhogs-63ed2.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/x/w/i/xwing-airhogs-63ed2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"172299","description":"

Air Hogs -- Star Wars X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter Drone Battle Set

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Price: $84.85
Buy it on: Amazon

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There’s something that doesn’t get enough attention when people talk about Star Wars -- the franchise’s epic dogfights. George Lucas studied the devastating aerial combat of the Second World War to construct some of the most exhilarating space battles the movie world has ever seen. Up until now, fans of those epic Rebel and Imperial naval conflagrations had to get their fix through video games such as EA’s Star War: Battlefront II and LucasArts’ X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter. And although those games are heralded as some of the best Star Wars games of all time, nothing compares to getting that rush in the flesh.

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While you may not be in the cockpit, this Air Hogs Star Wars set is one of the only ways to experience a true Star Wars dogfight IRL. Sporting (mostly) authentic SW detailing, this drone set uses 12 AA batteries, an infrared tracking system (which helps you keep track of your hit tally), and state-of-the-art gyro stabilization. And the best part is that this set has crazy-good range: you can take your battle up to 200ft in the sky. That’s ⅔ of a football field of tactical aerial combat.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/r/o/fromacertainpointofview-530db.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/r/o/fromacertainpointofview-530db.png","type":"slide","id":"172298","description":"

Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View

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Price: $24.48
Buy it on: Amazon

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Forty years ago, Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope revolutionized film and storytelling for a generation of moviegoers. Over the years, that mythos has grown to encompass some of the very best fantasy stories ever told -- and it only helps that the lore surrounding Star Wars is full of memorable, endearing, and tragic characters. But until now, audiences and readers have predominantly seen the Star Wars universe through the eyes of its primary heroes and villains.

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Enter From a Certain Point of View, a new Star Wars anthology that brings some of the very best science fiction and fantasy writers together for a celebration of A New Hope. Told through the eyes of supporting characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Greedo, Aunt Beru, and even a stormtrooper, From a Certain Point of View retells key moments from Episode IV in new and sometimes poignant ways. This anthology is a must-have for any Star Wars fan, and just as the original film reshaped the way we tell stories, From a Certain Point of View reimagines everything we already thought we knew about this watershed film.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/c/swclock2-cb94e.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/c/swclock2-cb94e.png","type":"slide","id":"172297","description":"

Vinyl Star Wars Clock

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Price: $22.00
Buy it on: Etsy

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Coming in on the cheaper side of things, this Star Wars vinyl wall clock is the perfect gift for that special someone who loves music and a galaxy far, far away. Understated, yet elegant, each of these clocks is handmade from a discarded record, measures 12” in diameter, and runs off a single AA battery.

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The perfect home or office accent, this unique clock will help you keep track of the parsecs, err, hours, in style.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/r/o/prodigal-son-lightsaber-98c94.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/r/o/prodigal-son-lightsaber-98c94.jpg","type":"slide","id":"172296","description":"

Prodigal Son Lightsaber

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Price: $199.00
Buy it on: Saberforge

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There’s no other way to say it: If you’re looking for an authentic lightsaber, you want to shop Saberforge. Since 2008, their engineers have been manufacturing some of the best, most realistic lightsabers on the market. And this particular model is, of course, a replica of Luke’s saber from The Return of the Jedi.

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Made with meticulous detail, Saberforge’s lightsabers make perfect display pieces -- and are sturdy enough to wield, too. The Prodigal Son lightsaber is only one of over 60 different models you can purchase from Saberforge’s eclectic catalog that has many of the blades found in world of Star Wars, as well as those fashioned after real-life weapons such as katanas, broadswords, and battleaxes. And the best part for Star Wars lovers? You can customize everything from the hilt to the blade length and the blade color. Give your chosen one an elegant gift from a more civilized age this holiday.  

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/a/r/dark-jedi-renegade-princess-86b35.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/a/r/dark-jedi-renegade-princess-86b35.png","type":"slide","id":"172295","description":"

A Dark Jedi and a Renegade Princess Digital Print

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Price: $30
Buy it on: Etsy

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Etsy has some of the best Star Wars art on the planet. I can attest to that because I’ve spent more time than Grand Admiral Thrawn staring at pages and pages of dazzling, awe-inspiring Star Wars prints. But in all my ogling, I’ve not seen a print more entrancing than A Dark Jedi and a Renegade Princess by ArtofJeronimoGomez.

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The colors and lighting are absolutely spectacular and exude a seedy vibe not often seen in the mainline Star Wars films -- especially for characters like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2. But what is particularly stunning about this Star Wars print is that it’s the perfect melding of two sci-fi/fantasy powerhouses: Blade Runner and Star Wars. Not only is it reminiscent of the neo-noir fluorescence of Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi drama, but it makes you wonder if Han Solo was really Rick Deckard all along.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/b/swblurayhero-46b87.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/b/swblurayhero-46b87.png","type":"slide","id":"172293","description":"

Star Wars: The Complete Saga Episodes I-VI

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Price: $87.00
Buy it on: Amazon

\n

Sure, this is an obvious choice for any Star Wars fan, but no Star Wars gift list would be complete without the films that started it all. You won’t get The Force Awakens or Rogue One in this package, but you’ll get Episodes I-VI, as well as a menagerie of extra goodies, including documentaries, deleted and extended scenes, Star Wars spoofs, and 40 hours of special features.

\n

Coming in at nine discs and 805 minutes, this Blu-ray set is the penultimate theatrical Star Wars experience. Even better, some of George Lucas’ most derided changes to the franchise don’t make an appearance here -- including Vader’s infamous (and objectively chuckle-worthy) “Noooo” from Revenge of the Sith. That in and of itself is a gift to any true Star Wars fan.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/h/swhero3-b1331.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/h/swhero3-b1331.png","type":"slide","id":"172305","description":"

It’s not quite the holidays yet, but as Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approach, it’s the perfect time of year to snag the perfect gift for the scruffy-lookin’ nerf herder or rebellious princess in your life. Although these gifts come from a galaxy far, far away, picking them up just in time for Christmas, a holiday birthday, or that much-anticipated midnight showing of The Last Jedi is no more than a click away.

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From lightsabers and air hogs to books and art, this list of stellar Star Wars gifts is strong with the force, whether that special someone is a fan of the original trilogy, the new trilogy, or even the prequel trilogy. Strap in, kid, we’re going to light speed.

"}]]]>
Indies and Industry: An Interview with Jump https://www.gameskinny.com/90ar3/indies-and-industry-an-interview-with-jump https://www.gameskinny.com/90ar3/indies-and-industry-an-interview-with-jump Wed, 01 Nov 2017 11:19:30 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

After slowly trickling onto the scene a number of years ago, the number of indie games and development studios in the market has exploded in recent years. They've changed the way people play, and businesses deliver, video games, and one site in particular aims to improve the delivery of indie games while getting developers the recognition they deserve.

You'd be forgiven if you haven't heard of Jump yet, since it launched only last month. To find out more about the goals behind the venture, I recently got the chance to speak with Mike Fischer and Anthony Palma, two of the key figures behind the new indie gaming platform, and they spoke about the platform itself, the curating process, and how they believe it fits in the current gaming market.

Background and Origins

Fischer and Palma are no strangers to the gaming industry. After graduating with an economics degree and getting his start "going door-to-door...to developers in Japan," Fischer has been involved in the business side of companies ranging from Sega to Square Enix USA. Palma received a graduate degree in Entertainment Technology, and after a stint as an Imagineer, tried his hand at starting a small game development studio, but that wasn't quite working out either.

The commonality in these seemingly disparate backgrounds was the challenge faced by developers in getting their material out in the world. Fischer remarked that he:

"...couldn't count the times he saw an interesting project with a lot of potential fail to get the green light simply on account of not meeting the AAA marketing expectations of developers and retailers."

As a developer himself, Palma's experience was more direct. Particularly in the past ten years or so, he says, it's "almost impossible" for developers to get their material noticed. Since "the democratization of development" means the industry is full of startup developers.

"We want this to be good for developers financially, but we also want to make this a platform where great games can get discovered…It's incredibly hard to get discovered now, with the flood of games on mobile, consoles, and especially desktop."

What is Jump?

That's where they believe Jump fits in.

Jump is for a specific kind of consumer…the Laggard Gamer. The idea behind it is to benefit consumer and developer by providing a "platform that connects developers to the gamers interested in their games" and also giving gamers a chance to try out something new with little to no risk.

Jump is for a specific kind of consumer…the Laggard Gamer--Anthony Palma

The way Jump works is similar to a streaming platform, almost like the Netflix of video games, but Palma is quick to point out "it's not streaming." Streaming involves dodgy connections and lag and is generally inconvenient for the end user. However, the other end of the spectrum—downloading a game fully onto your hard drive—means you quickly run out of space.

Jump is something in between. Using the HyperJump technology developed specifically for the platform, a portion of the game is installed on your computer so you get the same convenience of streaming the game without having to deal with the hassle of lag or space issues.

Jump's delivery is designed to benefit gamers and developers alike as well. It's a curated platform, with games "chosen based on high ratings, industry recognition, or staff recommendations based on their experience playing the game." It's meant to filter out shovelware and ensure deserving developers have a chance to get their names and games known, since, as Palma says, industry recognition doesn't always translate to "the masses" knowing about a game.

Over time, players get a list of recommended games built up based on what they like, and they're encouraged to try new things too. The subscription fee is a flat $9.99 per month, with no penalties for trying and not liking a game.

Where Does It Fit?

Fischer and Palma say Jump occupies a unique place in the gaming industry. Tools like Unreal Engine and Unity make it exceptionally easy for anyone to make games, and the quality of many of these games merits attention. Despite the huge influx of indie developers, Fischer and Palma don't believe mainstream, traditional gaming is going anywhere or is in much danger of being diminished. Instead, they see indies as "a creative compliment to big developers," and Palma says there is the possibility existing of indies correcting negative trends, as fans make their preferences and wants known through supporting smaller developers:

"There's going to be an interesting struggle over the next five years to make the money back from these AAA games…they are going to have to adapt…to reach their customers, and indie games are pushing AAA developers to think outside the box."

The complimentary nature of indies is another way Fischer and Palma see Jump fitting in with the industry. According to Palma, "most gamers are likely to make maybe two big game purchases in a year, like Destiny 2 or Breath of the Wild...Jump is for a specific kind of consumer who doesn't have to buy a game on day one, what we call the Laggard Gamer."

"I want this to be an 'and' situation, not an 'or'"--Mike Fischer

Indies serve as the perfect way to fill out a gaming library in between those big purchases," and Jump in particular is a cost effective way of expanding a gaming library without breaking the bank. Rather than the situation between indies and Jump being mutually exclusive, Fischer was keen to say "I want this to be an "and" situation, not an "or"--in other words, an extension of their normal gaming habits that fits into their other platforms and interests, rather than vying for attention.

---

If you're interested in learning more about Jump, you can check out our review here.

A big thanks to Cindy, Mike, and Anthony for their time!

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The Realities Behind Ubisoft's Eden's Gate Cult in Far Cry 5 https://www.gameskinny.com/szs8y/the-realities-behind-ubisofts-edens-gate-cult-in-far-cry-5 https://www.gameskinny.com/szs8y/the-realities-behind-ubisofts-edens-gate-cult-in-far-cry-5 Wed, 01 Nov 2017 11:09:44 -0400 KatherineZell

On February 27th, 2018, Ubisoft invites you to join them in Hope County Montana to free the citizens from The Project at Eden’s Gate, a cult run by charismatic and insane Joseph “The Father” Seed.

Yes, I’m talking about Far Cry 5.

Ubisoft knew they wanted to bring Far Cry to the United States, but they spent a few years mulling over exactly how they would go about this. In 2014, they started working with this character: “The Father,” a charismatic leader who believes that the world is about to end and that he must "save"—forcibly or otherwise—as many people as possible.

Ubisoft then began building a cult around Joseph with the help of cult expert Rick Alan Ross, founder of the Cult Education Institute. Ross has been working for thirty years to educate people about cults, deprogram former cult members, and illegitimatize cults. He is also the author of the book Cults Inside Out.

Here’s Ubisoft’s video about fabricating The Project.

In the video above at 1:25, we get this quote from Far Cry 5’s narrative director, Jean-Sebastien Decant:

"... often, and that’s what’s really scary, was saying, 'Yes, this exists, and actually it was worse than that,' so we’re realizing that, then again, reality is far stronger than fiction, and we could go actually way further than what we were doing."

Now, let us consider that quote in the context of the trailer: fanatics drowning a person, holding others hostage, and mutilating people by cutting words like “sinner” and “greed” onto their bodies. Was this before or after Ubisoft’s team realized, from consulting with cult expert Rick Alan Ross, that “this exists, and actually it was worse than that”?

This is where the discomfort begins for some Americans. Far Cry has been in Africa, the Himalayas, a tropical island. Players have fought pirates, Africans from an ambiguous failed state, Neanderthals, wild beasts. Now, it’s in Montana with a twisted religious sect of zealots.

Many themes from Far Cry are realities—disease in Africa, for instance—but it is so far removed from the United States that citizens brush it all off as “just a video game.” However, Far Cry 5 is different. It’s like the Waco siege in another dimension with some Scientology on top, so, yes, some people are uncomfortable—perhaps even fearful. Far Cry 5 is in our backyard with characters who could be our neighbors.

Some people feel as though Ubisoft is harmfully stereotyping citizens of Montana. Others praise them for bringing Far Cry to the United States and vilifying a white American. Whatever your opinion, Far Cry 5 is sparking controversy and conversations months before its release. With the care Ubisoft took to create Hope County and Eden’s Gate, I hope we can have meaningful conversations and not forget where fear has lead others and where it could lead us.

What do you think of Far Cry 5’s cult and location? Let us know in the comments!

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Warface Celebrates 4th Anniversary With a Glimpse of its Future https://www.gameskinny.com/2tuu1/warface-celebrates-4th-anniversary-with-a-glimpse-of-its-future https://www.gameskinny.com/2tuu1/warface-celebrates-4th-anniversary-with-a-glimpse-of-its-future Tue, 24 Oct 2017 15:50:39 -0400 Caio Sampaio

48 million players, 179 countries and more than 70 updates. These are some of the numbers that display the growth of Crytek`s free to play competitive FPS game. Released on October 21st 2013, the title has just gone through its fourth anniversary.

To celebrate the occasion, the publisher My.com uploaded a video (above) on the official Warface channel on YouTube, displaying what players can expect from the game's next expansion, which will become available in December.

The Pripyat Update:

The developers expect it to bring a unique experience to the Warface community. In an exclusive interview with GameSkinny, Michael Khaimzon, the creative director of the game, spoke about the new content and shared some insights: 

“It has been in production for almost a year, so there are lots of new things coming. New environment, new enemies, new boss fights, and a new chapter in the Warface- Blackwood duel. Let’s not forget, though, that, in addition to this mission, the update will also include new weapons, achievements, and many other things."

Apart from the items listed by Michael, the package will also feature a new narrative-driven cooperative mission (above) held in Pripyat, Ukraine, at the heart of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. After decades of isolation, players will explore the ruins left by the worst nuclear disaster in history.

The mission will mark the next chapter in the conflict that drives the universe of the game, wherein the world is facing its most severe financial crisis. While most people on the planet dive into poverty, a group of capitalists holds most of Earth's wealth. They hired the paramilitary group Blackwood to protect their facilities worldwide. Players join the Warface squad to take down the monopoly.

With this premise, the expectations from developers to deliver a unique experience are high. While they give the final touches to the Pripyat mission, the material My.com has shared online allows us to start having some thoughts about the arrival of the Warface arsenal in Chernobyl.

First Impressions: 

The trailer shown previously in this article is not the first media My.com has shared about the Pripyat mission. In the past month, the publisher uploaded three other videos: Soon in Warface: Special Operation in Chernobyl, Next in Warface: Welcome to Chernobyl and Pripyat: Behind the Scenes.

Through the footage available, we can have a glimpse of what type of experience the developers of Crytek have created. 

Chernobyl may seem as a familiar environment to some players, thanks to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007)but the developers of Warface made sure to add new elements to the old formula. 

As the image above displays, players of the Pripyat mission will travel through environments that combine the desolation of a post-apocalyptic setting with the high-end technology of Blackwood. The result is an interesting contrast of old versus new, which can create unique and memorable locations, as Horizon: Zero Dawn (2017) and the Fallout franchise have proved.

It is also worth mentioning the effort Crytek put into bringing Pripyat to life. The company sent 30 developers to the real-life location to study how to best reproduce it in Warface. As consequence, the team added to the mission 230 furniture models, 6 kilometers (approximately 4 miles) of terrain, 800 objects and 400 textures, along with 30 buildings and constructions from real life.

These numbers show that Crytek emphasized the ambiance and the immersion of the new mission, staying true to the source material, while adding new elements to the world, such as the Blackwood buildings. Whether Crytek will hit the right balance between old and new, we will only discover in December.

However, we can claim that, by creating a version of Chernobyl we have never seen, the Pripyat mission has the potential to become one of the grandest experiences a player can have in a Free to Play shooter, thanks to its unique setting.

Apart from releasing new footage on the upcoming mission, My.com and Crytek also found other means to thank the fans of Warface for their continued support throughout these four years.

Player Rewards:

On October 19th, My.com announced (above) that players would receive many bonuses during the four days in which Warface celebrated its anniversary. According to a press release, the giveaway included: 

  • Four gift cards, one for each day Warface celebrates its anniversary, with the chance to get various prizes, including the Black Hawk axe;
  • From October 19th through the 22nd, players can obtain a golden random box every day for accumulating 100 kills in any game mode. The boxes may yield various items and even permanent weapons. Only one box can be obtained per day;
  • Special anniversary skins for the Fazil UE3, AP-84 Custom, Anatolia RK-102, S60B3 and Abada 266 mm for players in every day that they play;
  • From October 19th through the 22nd, every player will receive a 400% bonus to all their gains, including Warface dollars, Crown Points, XP, and VP.
  • Increased VIP booster on October 22nd to wrap up the celebration.

As Crytek and My.com celebrated the fourth anniversary of Warface, it is normal to look back at accomplishments from the past, but we must also wonder about what lies ahead.

What the Future Holds:

In this regard, Michael Khaimzon claimed that his team is studying methods to bolster the storytelling of the game. Therefore, it would be no surprise to see future missions of Warface featuring deeper plots.

However, the Creative Director pointed out that this is not an easy task. Due to the fast pace of the game, it is difficult to find a mean to convey a narrative without interrupting the action.

Storytelling, however, is only one of the aspects that Michael and his team aim at perfecting. Crytek's free to play title will continue to expand, with new missions, features and weapons. To stay updated on the progress of Warface, as it marches forward, make sure to join today on the game's website.

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Create a Twine Game for NaNoWriMo https://www.gameskinny.com/cdde1/create-a-twine-game-for-nanowrimo https://www.gameskinny.com/cdde1/create-a-twine-game-for-nanowrimo Mon, 23 Oct 2017 17:21:40 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, starts November 1st and challenges writers of all levels to write a 50,000 word novel before the end of the month. It's quite an endeavor, to be sure, but many of us simply don't have the time to devote to such an undertaking or would take as long to develop a suitable idea to stretch across that many words. Thanks to Twine, that's not a problem, though. Instead of writing a full-fledged novel, you can combine your love for video games with your creativity and create a unique, interactive story all your own.

What is Twine?

Twine is a unique, HTML based platform that allows you to create your own interactive, choose-your-own-adventure type games. Absolutely no programming knowledge is required, though it can help add some extra flair to your game. Otherwise, Twine places no limits on you or your game, save that you must title the first page "Start." In short, if you can put together a PowerPoint slide, you can build a game in Twine.

Image via CCTVCambridge

Everything is saved in an HTML folder and can become its own webpage upon completion, streamlining the process of publishing your game and making it available to a wide audience of interested players. You can also customize it however fits best with the story you want to tell, adding music, sound effects, images, and GIFs, among other things. If this still sounds intimidating, there's a handy little guide, complete with visual examples, to help get you started here.

That's Great, But What Can I Do?

You can make essentially anything with Twine, whatever story you may want to tell. Is there a pressing issue on your mind that you want to explore? Build your game around it. Have an idea for something lighthearted and fun you want to share with the world? That works too. It can be as heavy and symbolic as you want.

Making your Readers Think

The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo is one well-known example of such a Twine game, created by Michael Lutz; you may know of him from his previous game My Father's Long, Long Legs. Lutz uses storytelling to try and present complex or controversial issues via somewhat paradoxical methods, methods that force the player to engage with the ideas, but subtly, and then to reconsider them from different angles through attaining the many different endings.

Of course, as with all writing, authorial intent is only part of the story, and Lutz's work is a good example of this as well. He originally wanted to highlight the potential dangers present in gaming culture that held the ability to wreck individual relationships. Yet, as with Long, Long Legs, each user found something different in the story, ranging from darker things like child abuse to the way people interact with each other in general. The way individuals interpret and interact with your material means the one story you start with can become as many different stories as there are people who read it.

Giving Your Readers a Voice

Naturally, you're not limited to social commentary. Brave Mule's The Domovoi is a particularly compelling example of the power of storytelling simply as a social and cultural act and perfectly illustrates the interactive nature of it. It draws heavily on Slavic folklore, focusing on the titular (plural) domovoi and their interactions with the owners of their home.

You might know a domovoy (singular) better as a brownie, or for an even better known example, think of it like a house-elf, one with the potential to be as good as Dobby or as terrible as Kreacher. Your task in the game is to advise the storyteller how best to tell the tale they have to tell via the different options you can pick to advance it, directly involving you in the story's creation in a fantastic way that mirrors just how such stories have evolved over time.

Your Materials

You could spend hours searching through Twine to find other inspiration, and it certainly doesn't have to be profound. But there are two main points these two games illustrate. Anything can be an effective story, whether it be an old urban myth from the '90s or a story about the gremlin you encountered on the way to the grocery store. And you're creating it as much for yourself as for your readers, so make sure to engage them too in one form or another. Game elements such as branching paths and multiple endings are perfect ways to develop your own story and encourage players to return to it and interact with it as much as possible. Things like images and sound might help create a particularly evocative atmosphere, but then again, you might find that a minimalist approach works best for conveying your ideas.

What's in It for Me?

Either way, there are more benefits to this kind of writing—or writing in general—then simply sharing a story. A recent study examined short and long-term mood and general performance in people writing three different types of content—about a traumatic event, about their goals, and something completely unemotional. Initially, the results showed the traumatic group experienced greater emotional distress (no surprises there), but over a period of a several months, the trauma group and the goals group showed substantial benefits in their overall well-being and productivity compared to the other group. So in other words, writing about a topic that means something to you, even if it is something fun, helps improve all areas of your life.

It doesn't hurt the brain any, either. Several studies show that different areas of the brain are prone to light up throughout the entire writing process, along with different groups of neurotransmitters becoming more active. The latter is especially good, since those transmitters help create new neuropathways in your brain, which ensures you stay sharper for longer.

The End

Making a Twine game is more than combining your two great loves--creativity and video games. It's a way to reach deeper into yourself and connect with the world around you using video games as your medium. And thrown into the bargain, you get the happy benefit of a stronger, brighter mind. What's there to lose? If you're interested in seeing what other users have created through Twine, you can check out some of the top-rated Twine games on Itch.io here.

The world is waiting...Go tell your story!

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Fighters Block: A Gaming Platform for Writers or a Writing Platform for Gamers? https://www.gameskinny.com/5tm7g/fighters-block-a-gaming-platform-for-writers-or-a-writing-platform-for-gamers https://www.gameskinny.com/5tm7g/fighters-block-a-gaming-platform-for-writers-or-a-writing-platform-for-gamers Thu, 19 Oct 2017 17:34:22 -0400 bazookajo94

Writers hate having writer's block almost as much as they hate the phrase "writer's block." Most already know the usual advice: "write what you can" or "write what you know", but sometimes that isn't enough. Instead, writers are left with blank pages that have been stared at for hours, or work that they're not proud of. But, hey, at least they wrote something.

There's little doubt that many writing websites try to help, like One Word and Write for Ten, but sometimes, having fun and imaginative prompts just isn't enough.

So it's a good thing a website/game like Fighters Block exists. Fighters Block, a writing website for gamers (or a gaming website for writers?), aids writers in their journey of simply getting started by giving them an actual entity to fight other than their own lack of motivation or inspiration. Writers select an avatar -- although there are only a few to choose from their first time playing -- and then they set a word count, say 500 words, that they have to reach in order to defeat their adversary.

After selecting who they are and what they fight, the site takes them to a blank text screen with their avatar and enemy "Not-A-Block" as a header. The battle begins as soon as the writer (player?) starts typing. As the word count decreases (read: the writer starts putting words on the page), their foe's life force depletes, but the longer the player spends not typing, the faster their own health bar depletes.

Pressing backspace relieves health, as does just writing any combination of letters with a space between, meaning if a player still struggles with what to write but fears their 50/100 HP, they can just bust out the good ol' "blah blah blah, kldjfkljd lkdjflkdj lkdjfljd," which still counts as words and regenerates their vitality. 

But at what cost? Just writing letters with a few spaces in between doesn't count as writing (wow, did I just hit something deep here?). But sometimes, people are more gamers than writers and just want to defeat the monster than face why they searched for the website in the first place.

For the writers who want to game casually, Fighters Block has a pause feature, where the player's health won't decrease when they stop to think about what they're writing, but the word-count still depletes their foe's health. This feature remove some of the anxiety from the writer who panics and writes less when they see their health bar going down 1 HP every second. As soon as the player reaches their word-count goal, that's how much experience they gain. 500 words = 500 XP, which will help them increase level as they go. Players can change the difficulty of the monster, so that HP depletes faster, and the higher level the player is, the faster the monster (writer's block) attacks. 

It's still difficult to say if Fighters Block is a successful solution to the pesky problem writers face. Certainly, it's satisfying to watch Not-A-Block fade as the text box fills with words as a sign of progress, but if it's easier to write nonsense than to surpass the root of the problem, Fighters Block hasn't solved anything other than giving people another game to play -- or another way to avoid writing.

On the other hand, some writers and gamer perform better when achieving small goals on the way to ultimate victory. In games like Resident Evil 7 and Outlast, players know that they have to escape the "prison" the game places them in. But instead of having a singular objective ("Get out of the creepy asylum, dude", or "Maybe I should just leave this house, like, now"), the games provide players with smaller objectives that distract them from the looming end-task.

Of course, there are people who prefer the single-objective style. Learning -- and playing -- styles are different for everyone, and that's okay. The same goes for writing. But no matter the style in which someone learns or has fun, Fighters Block at least gives people the opportunity to do both: surpass the evil within themselves -- and defeat the evil Not-A-Block on their screen. 

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The Problems with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and Why the FGC Hates It https://www.gameskinny.com/4wcc0/the-problems-with-marvel-vs-capcom-infinite-and-why-the-fgc-hates-it https://www.gameskinny.com/4wcc0/the-problems-with-marvel-vs-capcom-infinite-and-why-the-fgc-hates-it Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:20:07 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite (MvC:I) has been available for a month, and one thing has become clear -- it's one of the most divisive fighting games to hit the market in a while. The fighting game community (FGC) either doesn't mind it, or totally hates it.

There are a lot of strong feelings among fans about this game. A considerable number of them are calling MvC:I the worst game in the series. This might sound like a baseless accusation, but closer examination reveals a number of glaring issues with Infinite that make it a significantly less satisfying fighting game than its predecessors. 

But what happened, exactly? Where did this iteration of Marvel vs. Capcom go wrong? Let's break down this game to see if we can find out why it's become the target of such deep loathing among the fighting game community. 

Deadly Sin #1: A Roster Missing Notable Characters

When Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was introduced, one thing was very clear: the roster was...different. It didn't feature any X-Men or Fantastic Four heroes -- meaning no Dr. Doom, Magneto, or Wolverine.

These characters have been part of the MvC crossover titles even before the Marvel vs. Capcom titles as we know them today were developed. From X-Men vs Street Fighter in 1997 and Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter in 1998 to Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes a few years later, characters from the X-Men and Fantastic Four have been a staple in the series that's almost as recognizable as someone like Ryu. So it's understandable that fans were concerned about not seeing them featured in this iteration.

 

Why didn't these legacy characters get to make an appearance in MvC:I? It's a little bit complicated, and has a lot to do with the franchise rights.

Although Marvel (and by extension, Disney) owns the rights to almost all of its characters, 20th Century Fox owns the film and TV rights to the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and Deadpool.

Credit goes to fans but it's been brought to my attention that the videogame rights are owned by Marvel (Disney). So these characters can make appearances within the game. The issue however is Fox's control of these movie franchises.  

It was in Marvel's best interested to have MvC:I advertise their MCU (Marvel cinematic universe) heroes first and foremost. Now, Marvel would love nothing more that to gain control of those film rights from Fox. The relationship between these two studios as we speak isn't...nice, thus the additions of these characters seems unlikely. So we may not see Gambit or Doctor Doom on the roster...ever.

Regardless of the circumstances, though, the omission of these fighters was very off-putting for fans of the franchise. You'd be hard-pressed to find a MvC player who wouldn't list at least one of the X-Men as a recognizable mascot for the series. In fact, fighters like Wolvering have been consistently top-ranked in character tierlists because they are just so good

To be honest, Marvel and Capcom probably could have recovered from this. But Capcom pulled a major PR blunder when a GameSpot journalist asked about the missing characters during an interview. Associate Producer Peter Rosas tried to sidestep the issue by saying that the specific mechanics which made those characters beloved had been embedded in other characters:

"If you were to actually think about it, these characters are just functions. They're just doing things. Magneto, case and point, is a favorite because he has eight-way dash and he's really fast, right? So our more technical players, all they want to do is triangle jump and that kind of stuff. Well guess what, Nova can do the same thing, Captain Marvel can do the same thing. Ultron can do the same thing. Go ahead and try them out."

But the real insult came when Producer Michael Evans tried to imply that the X-Men weren't recognizable to current audiences:

"Then the third one is obviously the popularity of these characters. X was one we had to get in there. A lot of fans wanted to see X, so we brought him back. Then also we talked with Marvel very closely about their future roadmap, about what's gonna be happening. Your modern Marvel fan, maybe they don't even remember some of the X-Men characters, but they know some of the Guardians characters or Black Panther. You know what I mean?"

This developer actually tried to sell the idea that the X-Men weren't recognizable characters for current Marvel fans. I'll just let that idea sit for a minute. 

Has it started to sink in? Good. Now let's analyze that statement a little more. The reign of the X-Men started with a popular 1990s cartoon that a lot of comic book fans watched and enjoyed. The franchise's roster of mutants then went on to appear in a number of films of varying quality, from 2000's eponymous X-Men film to 2014's critically acclaimed X-Men: Days of Future Past. To imply that the modern Marvel fan wouldn't recognize characters from a franchise that's released iterations as recently as 2016 is one hell of a statement -- and some fans found it downright insulting. 

It's possible that these missing heroes may appear later on as DLC, but nothing has been confirmed thus far. So for now, fan backlash over the limited roster of characters is understandable. A Marvel vs. Capcom game that doesn't feature at least some of the X-Men is incredibly alienating for long-time players. 

 

Deadly Sin #2: Failure to Diversify Characters

The omission of legacy heroes from the MvC:I roster is one issue, but character diversity among the heroes that did make the cut is another. Out of the 30 fighters that players have at their disposal, only four of them are female characters. 

If you ask me, and a lot of other fans, that's pretty tone deaf for a game in 2017. It has "boy's club" written all over it -- and puts MvC:I in the long list of titles that prove the gaming scene has some serious representation issues. Under-representing female characters in this iteration of the franchise not only hurts its appeal to an increasingly diverse market, it also ignores the history of the series itself. There were significantly more female fighters present in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, so the lack of them in MvC:I feels like a step back. 

Sure, we've got Captain Marvel, Gamorra, Morrigan, and Chun Li. Those are some badass ladies. But it's not nearly enough. 

Some might say that licensing issues have a lot to do with the poor representation in Infinite's character roster. But to be blunt, that's a pretty weak excuse. Both Marvel and Capcom have plenty of other recognizable heroines who could have made an appearance here.

On Capcom's side of the equation, the Darkstalkers character pool alone has five women to choose from, two of which made it into UMvC3. And aside from the multiple female characters that could have been reused from UMvC3, there are also plenty of newcomers from Street Fighter V that could have made an appearance as well. 

As for Marvel, there's almost no excuse for how few female characters made the list. Many fans are wondering why Black Widow is nowhere to be found, especially since nearly all the other Avengers are in the game. The same is true for Scarlet Witch. Heck, now that Sony has loosened their grip on the Spider-Man franchise, perhaps Spider Gwen could have even made her premiere for the series. 

To summarize, there's really no shortage of female characters that both Marvel and Capcom could have chosen from. So the idea that it all had to do with licensing is pure nonsense -- cuts were made to the roster, and a lot of female characters never made it past the chopping block.

It's certainly possible that more diversity will come with DLC characters (like the female Monster Hunter who is set to join the MvC:I roster down the line), but the lack of representation at launch is an unfortunate and rather embarrassing business decision. 

Deadly Sin #3: Poor Character Design

If the representation and notable omissions from the fighter roster wasn't enough to put a wrench in MvC:I's machine, another glaring issue with its characters is how the fighter models are actually designed. To put it simply: they don't look good -- and it wouldn't be a stretch to say they're downright unappealing. 

Don't get me wrong. Some characters in the game look decent enough. Captain Marvel, for example, has some solid animation and looks alright overall. It's just too bad the same can't be said for other characters. 

Though it's hardly a surprise, many models and assets featured in MvC:I were reused from UMvC3 and other games. And the resulting clash of aesthetics has made most things, especially the character design, look...off

The FGC was quick to point this out and make a mockery of it. 

In the transition between the series' predecessors and Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, its comic book aesthetic was lost along the way. The visuals included in this iteration of the franchise is less of a graphical style and more like a Marvel film. But that sort of realism doesn't really work when half the cast doesn't look right in an art style that doesn't closely mimic comics and animation. It creates a weird aesthetic dichotomy, a la Mega Man X

Both the original MvC and MvC2 capitalized on 2D sprite work to create exaggerated visuals. Every fall, super move, taunt, and so on popped on the screen and made those games wonderful to look at. Though some of this distinct style was lost when MvC3 started using cel-shaded characters, even that art direction had a distinct look to it. All the models were detailed, but not realistic -- and more importantly, they still had most of the comic book aesthetic.

The same was true for UMvC3. In that game, everything from the user interface and story scenes to the character select screen and actual combat UI was flamboyant and unique. If you need a refresher on what it looked like, check it out below:

When you compare the graphics of UMvC3 with the graphics of Infinite -- and let's face it, most fans have by now -- it's obvious that one just looks better than the other. And surprise! MvC:I definitely doesn't come out on top in that regard. 

In addition to the granular details of character design that simply doesn't work in the game's favor, many of the body proportions in these designs seem suspect as well. The titan Thanatos looks a bit weird, for example, because his upper torso is way too short for his massive frame. And during previews of the game, internet commentors mocked Chun Li's face relentlessly -- so much so that the developers actually went in and changed her character model accordingly. 

It's a shame that MvC:I looks a step backwards in the looks department. When you compare it to something like Injustice 2, these characters look bad no matter how you slice it.

Deadly Sin #4: Poor Production Value

On the production front, it's not just character design that's an issue in MvC:I. The game's overall production value leaves a lot to be desired, from voice acting to animation and beyond.

Starting with one of the game's most egregious production sins, the voice acting in MvC: I is inconsistent at its very best. At worst, it's flat and completely unbelievable. Some heroes sound (kind of heroic), while others sound completely uninspired. And if you sit down to listen to the voice tracks for Jedah and Morrigan, it's easy to see why there were so many rumors circulating about the game having a relatively small budget. 

On top of that, many of the game's characters have strange, janky animations during a lot of MvC:I, whether that be in matches or during cut scenes. This makes a lot of the fighting uninspired and just plain hideous to look at. Add to that the lack of cohesion between character models and it's a perfect storm of half-assed aesthetics that make the game significantly less engaging than many of its predecessors. 

It's really strange that the production value is so ridiculously poor considering the game's pedigree. If you look at the production values in a game like Dragon Ball Fighter Z, the difference is night and day. DBFZ is clearly the superior game in that regard -- and it hasn't even launched yet.  

So what gives?

Budget. In a video Liam Robertson posted (based on unconfirmed sources), he reports that the budget for MvC:I may have been around half of the budget spent on the DLC for SFV. If true, that would go a long way in explaining why the presentation of this game looks so backward when compared to those classics that came before it. 

Robertson also mentions in his report that MvC:I uses a number of assets from past titles. These elements were reintegrated into the new game with a number of touchups -- but not quite enough. This could explain the game's weird animations and unusual-looking character models. 

Deadly Sin #5: No 3v3 Crossover Combat

One of the largest and most noticeable design changes in MvC:I is the omission of 3-versus-3 gameplay. Capcom insists that this change was meant to be one that appealed to new fans in an effort to grow the game's playerbase. Sure, that's a reasonable answer, but the thing is that MvC has never really been casual-friendly. 

Yes, the original MvC:Clash of Super Heroes featured 2-versus-2 teams, but the decision to return to that is adhering to something diehard MvC fans didn't want. A more casual friendly game invokes the message; "that we're ignoring our fans". 

Three-versus-three gameplay reinforces the hectic nature of Marvel vs Capcom. In fact, the series has been welcomed and celebrated for this "chaos". Consequently, the community had to ask the simple question: If your series has held onto a gameplay style for over a decade, why abandon it? 

Deadly Sin #5: Public Relations Debacles

You may or may not have noticed but this hasn't been advertised much. This was likely due to small budget...allegedly. Naturally, to promote this, game it was shown at events and tournaments. Logically, Capcom worked with FGC personalities and professional players. Whom better than the most well known and hardcore of fans to help you show off a new fighter?

Eventually...a few questions arose. Were these individuals being honest for the game's hype? I mean, why wouldn't they be honest? Then fans asked why should they believe that they're being genuine? Part of the FGC began to call this praise shilling and we quite adamant about it. 

As discussed by The Nameless Fighting Game Show (seen above), we simply have to look at Street Fighter V, which was released in 2016. Practically everything surrounding its launch, post launch, and business plans were messy. Promises were made to make it better and to this day they haven't made good on them.

Now, we know they will make good on SFV...in January of 2018. Now, considering how MvC:I was released while SF is still being fixed...that's not exactly reassuring. Understandably, the community had little to no reason to believe if Infinite will be ok. Sure, we could give Capcom the benefit of the doubt however they've been in business for ages. They've given people more than enough reasons to be leery.

Now as for the other reason why the PR surrounding MvC:I is sketchy. After an accidental upload to youtube, we learned that MvC:I maybe a part of the 2018 Capcom Pro Tour. It missed that window this year due to its September release. The tour is a year round event that begins in January.

The tour is an opportunity for competitors to earn monetary prizes. If SFV's tour is any indication, the cash pool is quite attractive.

So, these same professional players (who could win big) were given the chance to sing the game's praises. As well as get their hands on it during development. Capcom is a big part/sponsor of eSports, so it appears like a "you help me, I help you kind of deal". 

The thought process generally speaking is this: as a pro, it's beneficial to me get a leg up on a game that I can win money on later. Also having a good relationship with a big sponsor means more opportunity in the future.

It should be noted that if the pro tour gains another game, then more support for the qualifying tournaments would be gained. A new game means new players and they in turn would add more entry fees for tournaments. Thus, tournaments would grow in size and importance -- So it's a win-win for everyone involved. 

Is This A Bad Game?

The FGC at large is still torn on Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. We are now a month post launch but some things are already very clear. It's main support has been mainly from professional players...for obvious reasons. It still remains to be a subject of mocking by members of the FGC.

I never really imagined there would be a "bad" Marvel vs Capcom game, yet here we are with weakest entry in the series. Honestly, at this point I'm not sure how long it will remain relevant either. Having a portion of the FGC harboring loathing and contempt for this game definitely doesn't help. The game we have again plays fine but is marred by poor production values. 

Maybe you think all this hate and lack of support is extreme. Well, people have legitimate reasons to not like this and question its quality. 

Its unfortunate but Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is a definitely victim of it's publisher's bad business practices. Marvel vs Capcom you're a shell of your former self. Hopefully we'll see you return to form. Or maybe not? Series long fans and fighting aficionados whom are hurt, I feel your pain and share your sentiment.

Do you think Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is a bad game? Do you disagree? Do you have more to add? Let us know in the comments below.

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Armada Designs: Video Game Merchandise for Gamers with Old-Lady Hobbies https://www.gameskinny.com/gumx7/armada-designs-video-game-merchandise-for-gamers-with-old-lady-hobbies https://www.gameskinny.com/gumx7/armada-designs-video-game-merchandise-for-gamers-with-old-lady-hobbies Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:47:02 -0400 bazookajo94

Merchandise for videos games used to be non-existent, but with the gaming industry morphing into a multi-billion dollar industry, contemporary consumers have an easier time finding cool shirts and cute figmas without having to traverse the underbellies of the internet to find them.

Still, most of the merch costs the Macklemorian “Fifty dollars for a T-shirt,” or the designs grow stale after they've been slapped on every item in every store. Some overcome the herculean hurdle by making their own video-game inspired items, while others accept the fate of three overused shirts with different variations of Link saying, “Call me Zelda one more time.”

But not all video-game inspired merch needs to be laminated or emblazoned. Some of it can come from hobbies older than video games themselves. For those who like to or are fans of cross-stitching or latch-hooking, video game merchandise isn't (really) widely available. They have to rely on their own creativity to design something -- or they can check out Armada Designs.

Armada Designs started in 2002 on Etsy and has since expanded to a proprietary website. The company even had a panel at Salt Lake City’s 2017 ComiCon. 
 


Customers can buy cross-stitch kits that include everything needed for any of the projects the store provides -- even the needle and hoop. But the best part is most projects and items from the shop are video game-related. From classic Pokemon to Dragonball Z to Final Fantasy sprites, Armada Designs appeases cross-stitcher enthusiasts so they no longer have to stare despairingly at a piece of blank grid paper in hopes that if they just believe hard enough, the vision in their head will appear on the page.

Though there aren’t a lot of Pokemon to choose from -- not even 150 -- most of the classics are present (Haunter, anyone? Dratini? You’re gonna make me say it -- Pikachu?), and the shop mentioned at ComiCon that whatever they didn’t have, they’d be happy to design upon request, although they did say that may take a while. 

Most of their designs range from $6 to $11, with their biggest projects costing around $30, but considering they ship everything needed with the package except a pair of scissors, that's a decent price for the solid 4+ hours of stitching. That's not to mention the awesome video-game inspired piece you'll have on your hands when you're done. 

So sure, maybe cross-stitch isn’t as practiced among the younger generation as the older -- but one day, that younger generation will grow up, and instead of spending hours playing video games, they are going to spend hours wishing they could be stitching those video games.

And Armada Designs will have probably reached 802 Pokemon by then…right?

You can visit the Armada website here.

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5 Easy DIY Overwatch Halloween Costumes https://www.gameskinny.com/f3e79/5-easy-diy-overwatch-halloween-costumes https://www.gameskinny.com/f3e79/5-easy-diy-overwatch-halloween-costumes Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:19:03 -0400 Stephanie Tang

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And that's all for now! 

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With some extra effort, there are a ton of different Overwatch and Overwatch-inspired ideas that you can DIY but how many of them can you fit in the usual time- and money-crunch of pre-Halloween madness. 

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What are some other ideas that you've come up with yourself? Let us know!

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Happy Halloween!

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How to DIY Officer D.Va 

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The only thing that might give you some trouble is constructing a fairly believable looking Asian police hat, but even that shouldn't be too hard to do!

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What You Need: 
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  1. Baby Blue Dress Shirt: Ideally with two front pockets. This should fit you pretty well, since you're going to want to be wearing a tie with this one and won't just be letting it flop open in all the usual stress areas of temperamental button-downs.
     
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  3. Navy or Black Dress Pants: High waisted ones fit the bill nicely, belted at the top, with shirt tails neatly tucked in. 

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  5. Bunny Patch: You can find plenty of Etsy sellers like this one where you can buy a D.VA bunny patch, but you can always make your own and just pin it to the front of your shirt.

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  7. Wig (optional): Even if you're a brunettte with long hair, it helps to have the bangs just so. Thankfully, D.Va is super easy to style, and this kind of wig you can find almost anywhere.

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  9. Tie: Black and blue diagonal stripes make up the original, but as you can see above, you can play around with this color scheme without too much adverse effect. 

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  11. White Gloves: These are crazy plentiful during this season in costume stores and dollar stores, but you can also find them in accessory stores as well (try to look for cotton gloves instead of shiny satin if you can). 

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  13. Police Hat: Honestly, even if you nabbed a western police hat and wore it with the rest, you could still find yourself very identifiably D.Va. If you don't want to do this, take a look at your local teeny accessories store (here in Canada, I like looking up Ardene's) for a hat where you can modify the brim (felt hats are really easy to work with), add some braid, and draw the rest of the designs to pin to the front.

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  15. Makeup: What makes D.Va instantly recognizable are the marks on her face. Make sure these little triangles pop! You can use makeup or you can use face paint (this might be easier for those of you without a steady hand). If you need to, buy yourself a triangle makeup sponge from the dollar store and use it as a stamping tool.
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(image credit @kiyocosplay)

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Officer D.Va

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Getting D.Va's hair right may be the easiest for all of Overwatch's ladies (except Symmetra, but Sym's more recognizeable head accessories make her a bigger challenge). And while you can find D.Va's original jumpsuit almost anywhere (including the officially licensed version at Spirit Halloween), this jump-through-my-hoops skin that you receive if you played a certain number of games during one of Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm events is far easier to pull off and make up yourself. 

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Since Officer D.Va's uniform is so similar to Judy Hopps's from recent Disney hit Zootopia, it makes it even easier to find the essential parts of the costume. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/g/digh-6lv0aasgke-5a9cb.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/g/digh-6lv0aasgke-5a9cb.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170893","description":"

How to DIY Grillmaster 76

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Unfortunately, Grillmaster 76's epic combat apron doesn't look like it's actually for sale (although Blizzard did make a few for giveaway purposes). But that shouldn't stop you from being able to make you own!

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What You'll Need:
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  1. Red Hawaiian Shirt: Collared with short sleeves! If you check out the design, he also has a 76 on the back that you can just make a cutout in red fabric for, paint on it in white fabric paint, and either sew or glue it to the back of your shirt. 

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  3. Tan Cargo Shorts: With pockets. Extra pockets. You can bet Daddy 76 has optimal storage capacity for all that beer. 

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  5. Blue Apron: You can try and fancy it up with extra combat pockets and carabiners, but the most important part is that you stencil on and spray paint "RAISE THE STEAKS" on the front, and keep a pair of tongs and spatula handy. 

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  7. Wraparound Mirror Sunglasses: Considering how popular these shades are these days, you should be able to find a low-cost pair at your local gas station or dollar store.

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  9. White Dishcloth: Leave it hanging out of one of your pants pockets for easy access.

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  11. White Hair Color: Temporary color sprays are super easy to find at this time of year so check out your local stores to get that grayed out Daddy hair.

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  13. Beer Armband: At the very least, if you're having trouble finding something leather that you can make this with, use duct-tape and/or electrical tape to simply tape it all together and to your arm!
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Don't forget your water gun!

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(image credit @playoverwatch)

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Grillmaster 76

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Long after Dad 76 became a meme, Blizzard finally broke down and played to what the fans really wanted out of Soldier 76 in the recent rendition of the Summer Games event. A number of details stand out to make this skin a gem among Soldier skins, but it's the pure simplicity of it that will make it a hit at your Halloween party. 

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Soldier 76's original design isn't too fancy of course, but it is a lot trickier to mock up and make everything that identifies him (e.g. his visor, jacket, enormous gun). With this skin, you could ostensibly tote around a Super Soaker or a coffee mug as your weapon of choice and no one would bat an eye. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/p/t/6ptouom-0b37f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/p/t/6ptouom-0b37f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170877","description":"

How to DIY Doctor Mercy

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Admittedly, Victory Mercy is an easier prospect, especially since the Greek Goddess is a staple in cheap adult costumes that you can pretty much hack together without a great deal of finesse or sewing skill. But the wings might give you a bit more trouble. So if you wan to forgo them entirely, here's what you'll need to cosplay as Doctor Mercy instead.

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What You'll Need:
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  1. Halo Headdress: You can skimp on a lot of things, but you won't get out of wearing Mercy's distinctive halo headdress if you really want to make a Mercy. You can follow Chrix's design from her tutorial above, or hunt around for a round plastic jug that you can cut up (like a large bleach bottle) and which will keep its shape. Elasticize the bottom to fit comfortably around your head, and don't be afraid to pin it into place. 

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  3. Wig (Optional): Even if you're naturally a bombshell blonde, it will generally take a wig (or a lot of styling) to really make Mercy's hair pop.
     
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  5. Lab Coat: The key with simple costumes lies in the details. You could have a perfectly plain, serviceable lab coat (costumes stores will likely have them, if not, infiltrate your local college campus bookstore, they're likely to stock them for $10-15) but I suggest sewing/ironing on a Mercy sleeve patch like this onto one shoulder. You can also find other methods of making your own iron-on transfers.

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  7. Stethoscope: You can try and just check pulses with your fingers, but who doesn't love an extra prop or two? Drug stores will have fairly inexpensive functional stethoscopes, but you can find fake ones in dollar stores, costume stores, and your local Walmart-type store for less. 

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  9. Business casual: While the majority of Dr. Mercy's styling comes from fanart and usually features dark pants and a gray turtleneck, how you do the rest is entirely up to you. Why not burnt orange to play on her original costume coloring, while also invoking the color of the season?  
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If you want a closer look at the patches that Mercy uses on various parts of her original costume, you can take a look at the official Mercy reference kit. 

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(image credit to imgur)

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Doctor Mercy

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Having just lent out my own lab coat and stethoscope for a coworker's daughter's upcoming Halloween costume, I have a fair idea of how easily you can pull together a doctor costume. While this is not exactly an official costume or skin of Mercy's by any means, the Dr. Ziegler cosplay idea has spread in the wake of busy con-goers who wanted a more casual way to represent the most popular support character in the game. 

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So while you could deck yourself out in full regalia, either by dropping ~$1200 for it by buying the full costume (with no guarantees that they could make it for you/ship it to you by Halloween) or by trying to make it yourself a la Chrix Design's tutorial, you're probably not going to.

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(image credit to Ta-bam on DeviantArt)

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How to DIY Child Reaper/El Blanco

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When it comes to Reaper, you've got the opportunity of a lifetime to go as crazy or as cool or as casual as you want. Large hoods are a staple at this time of year, so you shouldn't have any problems getting your hands on one. Aand if you go the hoodie route, it ends up being even easier!

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What You'll Need:
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  1. Mask: Which one depends entirely on you. Making a good-looking original skin mask might be a little difficult, and you might want to shy away from the kindergarten paper plate mask. But if you wanted to make the mask from the El Blanco/Marachi skins, skull masks are easy to find at this time of year, and you can add the extra designs and embellishments yourself with a permanent marker. 

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  3. Hooded coat: Or hoodie, if you're doing Halloween Kid Reaper. Either way, you'll want a big black hood to hide your head in. Ostensibly you'll want a duster for the full effect -- but if you grabbed a Grim Reaper cloak and wore that instead, no one would fault you. 

  4. \n
  5. Guns, guns, guns! Sure you could try and use Coke bottles like the cosplayer above, or you could make something quick, easy, and light out of both cardboard/foam and paint. Keep a few more in your cloak so you can just drop them nonchalantly everywhere you go. 

  6. \n
  7. Shotgun cartridges: No, not the real ones (although I guess that's always an option). Making the little red canisters and stringing them together won't be difficult with a little bit of spray paint (or even construction paper and glue if you want to go super low-tech) and they'll definitely help the casual observer realize just what kind of gamer badass you really are.  
  8. \n
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If you want to add to your armor, you can cut and shape black foam to the front of your shirt, and use duct tape, cardboard, and spray paint to outfit yourself in his giant knee-high boots. They can look even nicer if you have Worbla available to shape around the framework you've already made.

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You can take a look at some of the finer details in the official Reaper reference kit.  

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(Image credit to Low Cost Cosplay)

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/v/e/overwatch-halloween-srpay-reaper-c8d59.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/v/e/overwatch-halloween-srpay-reaper-c8d59.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170887","description":"

Child Reaper/El Blanco

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There are a number of things that make Reaper so easily identifiable, but you can most likely narrow it down to the original skin's mask and his twin shot guns. Making your own mask might be a somewhat daunting prospect, but if you're too late to purchase your own mask (painted or unpainted) from a variety of online sellers, you can take a look at some of the other mask designs Reaper sports throughout the game. 

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This particularly super-casual spray combines the original mask with a blank hockey mask -- a super easy find during this season's love affair with classic Jason horror. 

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And trust me, if you're planning on doing a Halloween costume of Reaper, nothing is too silly. Even the officially licensed version you can buy from Spirit Halloween falls pretty short of our dark, soulless edgelord. So if you want to spare your wallet and wear something just as good, check out the DIY instructions on the next slide. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/1/20160514091211a0eeo7d4zint6qii-2170d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/1/20160514091211a0eeo7d4zint6qii-2170d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170825","description":"

How to DIY Casual Mei

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Mei's cosplay popularity is what it is because her stripped-down costume design is easy enough for a filthy casual -- and between the original design and her dozens of different skins, you can ramp up in difficulty to something even a pro would stoop to making. 

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Accept it. Embrace it. The beauty of Mei (and D.Va, see later) lies in the fact that her hair is that of a real human being -- and if you're a brunette, a bun and bangs is something you can do yourself with a bare minimum of fuss.

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What You'll Need:
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    \n
  1. Wig (if needed): Even if you needed to buy a wig for the cause, Halloween quality wig-wear can get you a good approximation without a great deal of work, cost, or time.
  2. \n
  3. Hair Stick: A chopstick, some polymer clay, a wooden bead, some paint, a short piece of jewelry chain, and a snowflake charm will produce a perfectly serviceable hair stick. With Christmas already creeping into craft stores, finding a wintery charm won't be very hard at all. 
  4. \n
  5. Glasses: If you want to be super accurate, visible rivets on the frame front are a must. And even if you aren't, the classic Ray-Ban look has been around so long that you're bound to find something at your local dollar store/teeny accessories store to fit the bill. 
  6. \n
  7. Blue Spaghetti Strap Tank Top: Belly-baring is totally and completely optional. You can jazz it up like Eclair (pictured above) did with some lace, or keep true to the more athletic style of the original.
  8. \n
  9. Drawstring Sweatpants: Gray and/or blue is the key here. The originals are gray with a blue waistband and stripes down the sides. 
  10. \n
  11. Bracelet: Light blue/teal bracelet with a snowflake charm. If you can't find something in an accessories store post-Frozen, I guarantee you can easily make your own.
  12. \n
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As a bonus, you'll probably already be keeping your datapad-sized phone with you at all times anyway, this time it'll do double duty as a prop. And you'll get to show up in sweatpants and still get away with being in costume. 

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My advice? Bring a big fuzzy blue sweater too, just in case!

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If you want a closer look at her character design (it won't help you much with your accessories, but that leaves a little room for your own creativity), you can take a look at the official Mei reference kit

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(image credit to @theawakened_)

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Casual Mei

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It's probably a good thing that temperatures stateside have been fairly high these days and may still hold out until the end of the month -- at least if you're planning on stepping out as casual Mei from the Overwatch artbook/spray. 

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The face that launched a thousand knockoff Ray-Ban sales, "Mei is bae" is source one for the eternal online in-fighting about her waistline and a million closet cosplay selfies. 

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And yet... who cares? Head to the next slide for instructions on how to get this look yourself!

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(image credit to Sakimi-chan on DeviantArt)

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/d/d/addtext-com-mtixnzuzmzc3ma-c0b77.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/d/d/addtext-com-mtixnzuzmzc3ma-c0b77.jpg","type":"slide","id":"171002","description":"

It's that time of year again! The leaves are changing, the temperature's dropping, and pumpkin spice everything is back on the market. Spirit pop-up shops are taking over, and fake skeletons are vying with Christmas trees for retail space at Walmart.

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It's October, and Halloween is just around the corner. Which of course means the advent of the annual hunt and scramble for new costume ideas -- and Overwatch has a great cast of characters to use. But their costumes can also be pretty complex at times. While it would be awesome as hell to show up for game night (or any night) fully decked out in a Blizzcon-worthy costume, we don't always have the budget, the skill, or even the time to really make that happen. 

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So don't! The secret to a good Halloween costume is that you're having fun wearing it, and whoever sees you recognizes you for who and what you are.

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Here are 5 different ways to DIY your own Halloween Overwatch costume! 

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(Image credit to Low Cost Cosplay)

"}]]]>
Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links: Chatting with Takashi Suenaga About the GX Series Update https://www.gameskinny.com/yt24m/yu-gi-oh-duel-links-chatting-with-takashi-suenaga-about-the-gx-series-update https://www.gameskinny.com/yt24m/yu-gi-oh-duel-links-chatting-with-takashi-suenaga-about-the-gx-series-update Tue, 10 Oct 2017 12:08:58 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Last year at New York Comic Con, I was able to get a hands-on preview for Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Links, a mobile game that allows players to have Yu-Gi-Oh battles on their phones. In the year that has followed, the game has been updated with lots of new features -- including the newest GX Series update that released at the end of September. 

While at NYCC this year, I was lucky enough to pay another visit to the Yu-Gi-Oh corner to talk with Duel Links producer Takashi Suenaga about the new update and what fans are getting excited about. 

One of the biggest additions in the GX series update is a new hub world for Duel Links. This includes new characters, card packs, and missions for fans to complete. The more days you log in, the more gems you'll receive so you can unlock more card packs for your deck. 

Speaking of card packs, there will be a whole new set of cards based on the GX series as well. But even though the roster of cards will get larger, the size of your deck will not. According to Suenaga, card maximums will not be increased because Duel Links is a "speed duel tournament". Adding more cards would make the matches longer than they're intended to be, which would impact the pick-up-and-play nature of the game as it is right now. 

The new characters mentioned above are also noteworthy. When Duel Links first launched, it only had a handful of characters on its playable roster -- including Joey Wheeler, Seto Kaiba, and Yami Yugi. Now, the new GX series will add Aster Phoenix, Alexis Rhodes, and Jaden Yuki to that lineup. 

But of all the things the GX Series update is bringing, a few questions are still unanswered. The Duel Links subreddit is especially interested in finding out if you'll be able to team up with a friend and take down computer opponents in a new co-op mode. Suenaga told me that while this feature wasn't a guarantee, it is currently "under consideration" as an addition to the game. 

The GX update is currently available for all Duel Links players. If you haven't downloaded this Yu-Gi-Oh mobile experience already, it's available on the App Store and Google Play if you want to check out the game with these shiny new additions. 

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Interview: Smosh Games Talks Operation Open World and Team Dynamics https://www.gameskinny.com/ekyer/interview-smosh-games-talks-operation-open-world-and-team-dynamics https://www.gameskinny.com/ekyer/interview-smosh-games-talks-operation-open-world-and-team-dynamics Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:57:57 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Do you ever wonder what it's like to sit 6 best friends on a couch and give them a video game controller, just to see what's going to happen? If you said yes, you will love watching Smosh Games

Winner of the Best Gaming Channel award at the Streamies, Smosh Games is a popular YouTube gaming channel where they play games like Friday the 13th, PUBG, and even Tetris. They also produce Honest Game Trailers, where they take your favorite games and tell you what they are really about. 

I was lucky enough to sit down with Flitz, Boze, Damien, Josh and Creative Producer Matt Raub of Smosh Games to talk about their upcoming show, "Operation Open World". We also got to chat about how they choose what games to play for the channel and what their guilty pleasures are.

Operation Open World brings Smosh to Egypt to promote the new Assassin's Creed: Origins. It is their job to compare the Egypt in the game to modern-day Egypt. When asked about their thoughts on this new adventure, Josh said:

"Very exciting. When you look at the evolution and roller coaster that Smosh Games has been, to now say we have a travel show is great. It's going to be fun."

While Josh may not be excited about his 10-hour plane ride, he said that he has his Switch with him to make the time pass. He is currently playing Stardew Valley and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

On their channel, the Smosh team plays a whole variety of games -- but how do they select the games they decide to play? There are a few factors that go into the decision-making process, according to Creative Producer, Matt Raub:

"Do we want to play the game? Are we a fan? Top-down games don’t do as well but fan favorites like PUBG or Friday the 13th where you can jump in and yell at each other is just fun."

But perhaps one of the biggest draws for new Smosh viewers and subscribers alike is the channel's Honest Game Trailers series. If you are a fan of the Honest Game Trailers like I am, you know how hilarious and ridiculous they can be -- like the Pokemon Sun and Moon trailer the team uploaded recently. 

But aside from the hilarious trailer itself, the story behind the Pokemon Sun and Moon HGT demonstrates the dynamic among the members of Smosh. Towards the end of the video, the team creates new names for all the Pokemon that were featured in the teaser. Matt Raub told me the story behind that"

"We will sit with pizza and soda pop. We'll order 10 pizzas and just have like a mini party where we just sit there. It's almost like that scene in Animal House where you have like a projector and put up one of the Pokemon. We're just yelling out dumb names."

How does this tight-knit team choose which game they'll rip on next? It's mostly a matter of which games are popular, or which games each creator is currently enjoying. Smosh doesn't hate the games it makes fun of -- the team just wants to make jokes in good fun. According to Matt, it's a form of flattery that makes the show as enjoyable as it is:

"That's the most fun of that show. We can totally pick apart on stuff."

The cast is really what seals the deal, though. Matt gave them plenty of props for keeping the Smosh channel fresh and making engaging content: 

"The benefit to what we do on Smosh Games is because there are 6 different cast members and they're all into something very different."

Smosh Games takes everyone's passions and makes videos based on them. The Halloween Just Dance videos, for example, were created because both Flitz and Mari are professional dancers.  

One topic that punctuated a considerable portion of the interview was how Boze loves Tetris and would love to shout-cast a competitive Tetris tournament one day. Though Boze wouldn't describe her love of the block-puzzle game as a guilty pleasure, I did get everyone else to indulge their guilty pleasures. 

For Damien, it's JRPGs and Dance Dance Revolution. But before he could feel too embarrassed about his love for an arcade style dancing game, Matt came to his defense:

"But that's not embarassing unless you're bad at it. You just look cool."

Boze chimed in with her two cents as well:

"As a person that could play any song on doubles heavy, I do not look cool playing that at all."

Meanwhile, Josh admitted that his guilty pleasure was the Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius mobile game -- and Flitz's is Marvel Future Flight (though he has a computer to do all the hard work for him while he naps). 

What's Next for Smosh?

The Smosh team has a lot of ideas about projects they'd like to work on. Most of them (Matt excluded) are particularly keen on a series where Matt gives Boze his own personal money and lets her spend it on anything. But that likely won't appear in their lineup anytime soon. 

What Smosh fans can look forward to is Operation Open World -- a three-part series that will premiere on October 19. In this saga, Jovenshire and Mari will team up to "explore the world and take fans inside the games they know and love". The duo will bring a camera out in to the most open world of all -- the real world -- while traveling to notable events like Tokyo Game Show in Japan and Oktoberfest in Germany.

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I'd like to thank Smosh games for taking the time to chat with me and giving me a peek at the team that makes the magic happen. If you'd like to keep up with the team to catch the next Honest Games Trailer or check out their upcoming projects, you can follow them on Twitter (@SmoshGames) or visit the official Smosh YouTube channel.  

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Interview with Marvel Contest of Champions Producer Luke Takeuchi https://www.gameskinny.com/txjku/interview-with-marvel-contest-of-champions-producer-luke-takeuchi https://www.gameskinny.com/txjku/interview-with-marvel-contest-of-champions-producer-luke-takeuchi Mon, 09 Oct 2017 16:19:46 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

At New York Comic Con this past weekend, fans were able to get their hands on some new characters headed to Marvel: Contest of Champions

Marvel: Contest of Champions is a free-to-play mobile fighting game where your favorite Marvel heroes go up against each other in battle. Some heroes include Captain America, Spider-Man, The Punisher, Star-Lord and many more, with new heroes being released throughout the year. 

I was lucky enough to sit down with the Producer of the game, Luke Takeuchi, and chat about what fans can expect in future updates and how important the fans are to the game.

Joey Marrazzo: Are there plans for quality of life updates for the game?

Luke Takeuchi: "In terms of user experience improvements, we are rolling out a lot of stuff. Coming out in next build, one of the things we’ve talked about is, we’re going to make some improvements to how the user sees and accesses their currencies and energies.

It’s probably going to be one of those things that's a nice user experience, quality of life improvement. Also moving forward, we are investigating what some of the more quality of life improvements we want to keep making, so we want to keep doing that on a consistent basis for our users."

JM: Do you plan on updating older heroes that came out when the game first launched?

LT: "We don’t have any specific dates right now but one of the things we’re always talking about is more consistent meta updates for champions going back to some of our launch champions and earlier ones that haven’t really seen a lot of love

We want to update a ton of champions, we’re looking through a list right now. We don’t have exact dates on when this is going to start, but when you look at the entire lifetime of the game so far, every year champions have gotten more and more complex, now with some of the characters we’ve released this year like Doc Oc, Goblin, and Morning Star.

With the new variable system, characters are more complex now and they can do a lot. Versus going back to some of the old champions when we launched the game.

If you go to their info page its like 3 lines long. Some of those champs are still usable, but back in the day we didn’t have the tech we have now so we are certainly keeping our eye what are some of those champs we want to go back and update, give a facelift, and kind of revitalize the use of the new system we have now. Whether its improve synergies or abilities, it’s something we’re looking at on an on-going basis."

JM: For the veteran players that want more challenging modes, is there anything they can look forward to?

LT: "Yup. In terms of modes, there's stuff in the works right now but it’s a while out. It’s something we’ve been evaluating, and over the coming months, players will see a lot of cool stuff coming out. In this month alone, we have some challenging content that’s going to be coming out. Thor: Ragnorak is coming out so we always pair our champion challenge in.

Next week we will be announcing another hardcore challenge mode. This is all more in the PvE solo challenges. What players want to see is more cooperative or competitive game modes for a challenge, we’re looking at how we could release that in the future, but players should know we are looking at that stuff."

JM: What is the strategy when it comes to nerfing or buffing champions?

LT: "In terms of our strategy, we have different strategies for different things. With the character updates, we want to get to a point where we are doing more consistent meta updates in the game as opposed to once every two years have massive changes because players get used to them and use them in strategies.

One thing we want to get into the process of is doing more regular updates to characters and masteries. That’s something we are working on right now is getting into a place where we can do them. When it comes to our strategy for buffing or nerfing if something is overpowered, we have to nerf it.

It depends on the characters on a character by character basis for sure, but the one thing we always want to look at is, instead of directly nerfing one character, are there ways we can buff up other ones to make good counters."

JM: Lastly, do you have a message you want to send to your fanbase that loves playing your game?

LT: "We love our players and honestly, this year has been a crazy year for us in terms of the number of releases and we’ve had some rocky releases. The big thing is that we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our fanbase. We read the forums, we read Reddit, we read all our social media, we see what gets posted.

But the biggest thing is we want to let players know we are striving to do better. Whether its features and content we are rolling out or the stability performance for the game overall. This year for us internally has been a lot of focusing on stability and performance, and of course our build last week was not up to the par we wanted it. So we'd gone over the weekend, got a new build up and running, and now we've hot fixed some of the gameplay issues that got introduced."

Marvel: Contest of Champions released an all-new Marvel character Morningstar in the game along with classic Marvel hero Blade. These new characters will be making their in-game debut later this month. 

I would like to thank Luke for spending the time to talk to me. You can download Marvel: Contest of Champions on your iOS or Android devices.

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Denuvo Couldn't Even Protect Total War: Warhammer 2 for a Day https://www.gameskinny.com/hmrwy/denuvo-couldnt-even-protect-total-war-warhammer-2-for-a-day https://www.gameskinny.com/hmrwy/denuvo-couldnt-even-protect-total-war-warhammer-2-for-a-day Tue, 03 Oct 2017 10:38:50 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Once upon a time, hackers and developers alike thought Denuvo signaled the end of video game piracy. Fast forward through a few years and several additional versions of the anti-pirating software, and now it's about as intimidating as a newborn kitten. Earlier in the year, hackers managed to cut down the time it took to break Denuvo in a game from a month or so to a few days -- and recently, Sega's Total War: Warhammer 2 was cracked in just 10 hours. 

Games cost a lot of money to develop, especially AAA titles like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Total War. So it's little wonder developers want to limit piracy as much as possible. However, now that Denuvo seems pretty much pointless because it's getting cracked on every game that features it, one has to ask why developers continue to use the software at all.

There are a couple of answers to that. In the end, it may very well be that it's time for developers to move on to other ways of combating piracy, but the current methods of doing so (Denuvo included) offer the most benefit -- for now.

What the Heck is Denuvo?

Denuvo is an anti-tampering technology developed by the eponymous Austrian company. It is and isn't DRM in itself, being a type of rights management. But instead of being a standalone program, it works with a game or platform's existing DRM to help make it secure.

For example, Sonic Mania didn't have two types of DRM -- Denuvo was just there to make Steam's notoriously light DRM difficult to get through.

It's rather expensive for developers to use Denuvo, so you'll mostly find bigger name companies like Sega, Ubisoft, or Capcom employing it. But that's not always the case, as Grey Box used it for a time with RiME.

Beyond the obvious reasons of wanting to demo a game or not wanting to pay for it, there are a couple of reasons why gamers loathe the sound of Denuvo's name as well. Some claim it negatively affects a game's quality, either through slowdown or something along those lines.

Developers are always quick to say Denuvo as nothing to do with a game's performance though, just as Sega did with the Sonic Mania offline-play controversy. A more pressing issue, at least from a developer's viewpoint, is that a lot of players are quick to say that DRM of any kind just shows that developers don't trust consumers.

To that end, some notable figures in the industry, including Super Meat Boy's Tommy Refenes and the developer behind The Witcher, refuse to implement Denuvo or DRM, arguing that trusting the consumer and developing quality games will go further in preventing problems. The boost in popularity from such a move wouldn't hurt either.

The Benefits

In spite of all the hubbub around it, Denuvo continues to be used. Why is that? There has been some chatter around the Internet that developers are entitled to a refund if Denuvo gets cracked within a certain timeframe. Kotaku spoke with a Denuvo representative and posed that same question. The representative's response was slightly ambiguous, saying he couldn't speak about arrangements with individual clients but that refunds were not offered as part of the deal. If these arrangements with individual clients do include refunds, then it's not a difficult decision for a developer to make -- since one way or another, that developer wins.

So where does that leave Denuvo? After first claiming to be impenetrable, Denuvo now claims that the product will last a couple of days or a week, and that still means it fulfills its purpose. The rationale behind that claim is that most games, especially highly anticipated ones, are pirated shortly after the launch period. In that view, even 10 hours of protection might translate into a significantly lower number of pirated games than no hours of protection.


Image via YouTube

Additionally, Denuvo has gone through several versions in its lifetime so far -- each claiming to be tougher to crack than the last. The fact that Denuvo is unique for each game means that cracking one won't automatically allow a pirate to crack another. So if another update is issued, then it could be back to taking a longer time for hackers to break through again. Perhaps developers are banking on that as an extra layer of security that will prevent their specific game from getting cracked quickly and letting pirates have a field day.

Is It Worth It?

Whether using anti-piracy software like Denuvo really translates into higher numbers of legitimate purchases and more profit is another matter. A European Union Special Commission recently investigated the effects of piracy on video game developers. The result? Profits showed no negative effects as a result of piracy, and there tended to be a positive relationship between higher numbers of pirated games and higher legitimate sales. What that means is people who pirated games ended up wanting to buy a copy of the real thing, for one reason or another.

However, it's also important to note that the Western European countries examined for this investigation have historically low numbers of pirated games compared to the rest of the world. TinyBuild, developer of Punch Club, experienced this firsthand when it came to localizing their game for a global audience. France and Germany were more likely to buy legitimate copies of the game once it was translated into their respective languages -- with 46% of downloads being legitimate. Meanwhile, legitimate downloads for localized versions in the the US were between at 26.2%. In Brazil, after the game was translated into Portuguese, only 373 out of over 11,000 copies of the game were purchased legitimately -- that's a mere 3.3%.

This has led to the proposition that perhaps punishing regions more prone to piracy when it comes to localization might be an effective way of handling the problem, rather than resorting to expensive DRM like Denuvo. But that's not likely to work either. For example, Chinese hackers extensively pirated the English version of Punch Club -- so if pirates want it badly enough, they'll find a way to get it. Moreover, that kind of punitive action is exactly what Refenes warns against as far as turning away potential consumers.

What Does the Future Hold?

Will Denuvo disappear completely? Denuvo itself probably does bring some benefit or other to developers as well, whether through encouraging legitimate sales for as long—or short—a time as possible, or through the shadowy possibility of refunds for cracked products. The prospect for updated versions doesn't hurt either.

It's not likely that Denuvo will be replaced by some other DRM-free approach to anti-piracy any time soon, given the fraught nature of that approach. And any DRM-focused replacement for Denuvo would likely just end up with the same problems and payoffs as Denuvo.

In the end, it seems likely the reason developers continue to use Denuvo is that, for now, it's the most effective way of combating piracy, even if it does lead to some embarrassingly quick cracks and general fan outrage.

Header image via WordPress

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20 Years With Final Fantasy: Looking Back at FF7's Impact on Today's Gamers https://www.gameskinny.com/2e5gm/20-years-with-final-fantasy-looking-back-at-ff7s-impact-on-todays-gamers https://www.gameskinny.com/2e5gm/20-years-with-final-fantasy-looking-back-at-ff7s-impact-on-todays-gamers Sun, 01 Oct 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

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Looking Back to Look Forward

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These reflections certainly demonstrate Final Fantasy VII's quality and enduring strengths. But they do more than that. They show how influential good games (like good books) can be. Whether they shape the way we view and evaluate other games, sit snugly alongside some of our happiest childhood memories, or continue to affect our lives in the present, they leave their mark and shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us.

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Image via Final Fantasy Wiki

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What are your memories of when you first played Final Fantasy VII, and how did it change your approach to games and gaming? Share your story with us down in the comments!

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Amy Turnbull

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Community contributor Amy Turnbull's experience with FF7 was similarly formative, though she is not quite so reticent about crediting it with shaping the course she took in life.

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"The Final Fantasy games were my introduction to the world of JRPGs (and RPGs in general). Though FF7 wasn’t my first game in the series (that credit goes to FF9), it is the one that left the longer-lasting impression, and solidified my love for the genre to this day.

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The first time I played FF7, I found that I was very soon drawn into the individual characters’ storylines. I wanted to know more. Who were these people? What were their histories? Where would they – and I as the player – be headed together? I even found myself experiencing another first – that I was just as invested in the antagonist’s storyline as the protagonists’. Instead of my usual attitude surrounding the bad guy in games (basically, beat that bugger then relish in the subsequent glory), I wanted to know everything I could about this alluring being. I craved Sephiroth’s story just as much as I craved Cloud Strife’s. There was just something very intriguing about all of these characters that left me wanting to learn more, and so I was quickly hooked in my need to experience this game in its entirety.

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FF7 is a huge game (multiple discs huge!), and I found myself playing it at every spare opportunity. It was a little overwhelming at times, as I was still not used to the vastness of RPGs. There wasn’t just the main storyline to complete, but all the wonderful little side-quests, and so many random battles along the way. I’d played video games for a good 10 years before finding FF7, but this was the first time I was bitten by the completionist bug. I couldn’t get enough of it!

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From that moment on, the Final Fantasy games became a favourite series of mine, and though I’ve continued to play many of the newer releases as they’ve come out, there is something very special about FF7 that just can’t seem to be topped.

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It’s also the game that propelled me into the online gaming community. Never before had I thought to seek out other gamers online, but after a little Googling, I found a rich fan community with discussions, fanart, articles, and so much more dedicated to this rich game. And just like that, I came to find a seemingly endless world of content dedicated to every game you could think of. I guess, in a way, FF7 paved the way to the point I’m at today – contributing to that very same community as a games journalist, something teenage me never could have imagined as a possibility. Yep, this game definitely deserves the very special place it holds in my heart."

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Image via YouTube

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Ashley Gill

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Guide Editor Ashley Gill reminisced about how Final Fantasy VII's epic story not only introduced her to a new style of game, but also offered her a new way of interacting with other people.

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"Final Fantasy 7 was my first console RPG and my first PlayStation game. We were really poor when I was growing up, so I basically just played NES at home until 1998. My mom started making more money and got married, so I made the jump to Genesis and then to PSX pretty quickly. We got FF7 from a pawn shop, not sure if it was used or not.

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I'd played PlayStation games before at friends' houses, but nothing prepared me for the overall experience of FF7. It completely blew me away.

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The funny thing was, I didn't have a memory card for a good two weeks after I got my PlayStation. I'd come home from school or spend the weekends just playing the first few hours of the game again. For a couple days I just let it sit overnight, you know, as we did in the cartridge eras. I got pretty good at rushing through Midgar by the time I got my memory card.

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I didn't know spanning stories existed in games before FF7, and it completely changed my taste in games. I went from FF7 to Xenogears, FFT, Legend of Legaia, Tales of Destiny -- those were my first real non-text-based RPGs. And of course, I wandered to the AOL message boards for many of these games and ingrained myself into their communities. That set the stage for my social life moving forward, though whether that's good or bad is subjective.

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I don't like to say something as cheesy as 'Final Fantasy 7 changed my life', because I'm contrarian to a fault and that's just not my style. But if not for it, I never would have found their communities and forged the years-long relationships I did. Not to mention experiencing some pretty ace games."

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Image via NeoGaf

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Justin Michael

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For others GS community members, Final Fantasy 7 had an even more transformational effect -- ranging from opening the door to new game genres, all the way to establishing a whole way of life. Staff writer Justin_Michael's time with the game fits in with the former and takes into account every minute detail of the game.

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"The first time that I played Final Fantasy 7, I was around 13 and had never played a JRPG before. Up until that point, I played mostly platformers or shooter titles -- so when my friend lent me his copy, I had no idea what I was in for. I remember how impressed I was with the cinematics and how immersive the story was.

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...I felt like I had a connection with the characters, so much so that I actually got a Fenrir tattoo! And man, was I pissed when Sephiroth killed Aeris, as I had spent hours upon hours leveling her up.

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The minigames were also a great touch, my favorite being the Fort Condor minigame where you had to buy troops to fend off waves of Shinra forces. All-in-all, FF7 was my gateway to RPGs -- one of my favorite genres to play now."

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Image via RPGsquare

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Kengaskhan

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A game with these qualities does not easily fade from memory . Alongside a sense of nostalgia -- a powerful force of its own -- games like FF7 often create powerful emotional connections between the player, characters, and story, as writer Kengaskhan discovered.

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"I was pretty young when I first played Final Fantasy VII...I was in middle school at the time, so I would've been around 10 or 11 years old. To be honest, I only had a superficial understanding of the plot, but it was one of the first times I actually paid any attention to a game's story, and there are some things about the game that I don't think I'll ever forget. I'm not going to say that FF7 is my favorite game (though it certainly was at the time), but I firmly believe that it's why I got into gaming.

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You'd probably guess that I'd beaten FF7 multiple times by now, but I've actually only played through it twice. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to play the game a second time until very recently, as the game CDs were lost when we renovated our basement...So for over a decade, all I had for FF7 were these very fond memories for a game that I only sort-of-remembered -- an undying nostalgia that slowly intensified as the years passed.

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I remembered watching my dad play, and [him] quitting the game when he got stuck like 15 minutes into the game when he couldn't climb a staircase (I picked up where he left off). I remembered wandering through the Sector 5, 6, and 7 slums and thinking, "Wow, this place is pretty charming despite being a total dump," although maybe not quite that articulately. I remembered that feeling of dread when I had to fight those inexplicably alien creatures Sephiroth left in his wake at the Shinra Headquarters. I remembered not understanding how to navigate Gold Saucer. I remembered calling Red XIII "Red 7" and how I always made sure to include him in my party. I remembered the music.

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During my second playthrough a few years back, something pretty peculiar happened -- I realized that, of all the things I could forget about FF7, I forgot about Cloud's own struggle with his memories, about all the mundane things he did remember, and the few crucial things he couldn't.

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I'm not usually sure how to describe the feeling of immersion or personal investment we get when playing games, but that moment of realization for me was the most a game had ever resonated with me."

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Image via Well-Rendered

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/i/i/vii-0dfb2.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/i/i/vii-0dfb2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"169962","description":"

ActionJ4ck

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ActionJ4ck's experience with Final Fantasy 7 is a similar testament to the game's quality of design. For this GS Senior Mentor, encountering the game almost 15 years after its initial release didn't diminish any of its great qualities.

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"Unlike a lot of people, I actually played Final Fantasy VII for the first time on PC in 2013. I had been a big Final Fantasy fan for a while at that point and had obviously heard all the fanfare surrounding the game, but I went in unsure of whether I was about to experience a timeless classic or something that was surely impressive at the time, but has not aged well.

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I ended up completing it in about a week of very dedicated play. I wouldn't say that I was blown away by it or that it was even my favorite Final Fantasy game, but I also couldn't deny that it was a fantastically-crafted game that held up very well -- and if I had first played it back when it was initially released, it probably would have changed my perspective of gaming. The pacing was excellent for a JRPG, the story was better written and more coherent than most of its genre counterparts, and the graphics were much better than most of what I played back in the day. All in all, I felt that even with the passing of time, Final Fantasy VII truly exemplifies the best that a JRPG can be."

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Image via Twinfinite

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/i/i/vii-46925.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/i/i/vii-46925.jpg","type":"slide","id":"169960","description":"

Lucky Jorael

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For Senior Mentor LuckyJorael, Final Fantasy 7 was the perfect combination of story, world-building, and character -- all coming together to create something unique and inspiring.

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"I switched off playing FF7 with my best friend at the time...We were both in utter awe as we watched the cinematics, and loved every single second of it. We did every side quest and killed every Weapon, gathered all the Materia we could find, and bred Chocobos until we finally got a black one. We totally didn't cry when Sephiroth killed Aeris -- and argued later about why we couldn't just use a Phoenix Down to revive her. Once we beat the game, we both just kind of sat back on his old couch, absorbing the adventure we had just gone on, and the fact that it was over.

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Then we played it again from the start.

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FF7 really set the stage for my love of RPGs. From 7, I went on to play Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, as well as FF8 and 10, and I've spent thousands of hours playing Final Fantasy Tactics -- the original on PS1, War of the Lions on my PSP before I left it on a plane, and War of the Lions again on my iPad. FF7 guided me to what a good game was and what games could achieve. Even as a kid, I knew that sensationalist news about games making kids violent and games not being art was complete crap. I had proof that both statements were wrong."

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Image via Well-Rendered

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/i/i/vii-header-9c265.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/i/i/vii-header-9c265.png","type":"slide","id":"169956","description":"

Final Fantasy VII just just started celebrating the 20th anniversary of its international release on October 2, 1997. Widely regarded as the best game in the Final Fantasy series, FF7 is also proclaimed as one of the best RPGs of all time. That's high praise for any game -- let alone one in a series that essentially made the RPG genre what it is today.

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But what about this game makes it so special for so many people? Is it the mold-breaking story, the grand scale of the entire game, or the memorable characters? We asked our GameSkinny staff and community writers that same question, and here is what they had to say about how FF7 impacted them as gamers and shaped their gaming passions moving forward.

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Image via Download Wallpaper

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Finding Out Whats New in Project CARS 2 with Slightly Mad Studios COO Rod Chong https://www.gameskinny.com/b2vvf/finding-out-whats-new-in-project-cars-2-with-slightly-mad-studios-coo-rod-chong https://www.gameskinny.com/b2vvf/finding-out-whats-new-in-project-cars-2-with-slightly-mad-studios-coo-rod-chong Wed, 27 Sep 2017 16:26:56 -0400 ESpalding

EGX, the UK's biggest video game expo, has come and gone and during the event, we got to sit down with the COO of Slightly Mad Studios, Rod Chong, to discuss the release of Project CARS 2 and what changes have been made from the original game.

The Project CARS games are racing simulators designed to give players the best racing experience from a game -- hands down. Where the game differs from arcade racers is that players are able to customize and tailor the experience to their particular driving style. They can even modify their cars to deal with inclement weather and specific track conditions so that they are as prepared as possible to win any and every race.

The original game was released in May 2015 and received generally high praise, selling 1 million copies in its first month. But it became clear that there were many changes that could be made when developing a sequel, so we wanted to chat to Chong about what had been done to improve the game both aesthetically and mechanically.

GameSkinny: Many thanks for giving us this interview. Let's cut to the chase: I'm sure our readers and fans of Project CARS are eager to know what is new in Project CARS 2 -- so could you tell us?

Rod Chong: When we looked at Project CARS 2, we could have done something really obvious, which would have been adding some cars, some new track locations, and come up with one new feature. That would be the obvious thing to do, but I think there is a reason why we are called Slightly Mad Studios. We set ourselves a fairly big, ambitious project and one of the first things we came up with was a concept that drives a lot of game features, which we called Anytime, Anywhere.

GS: That sounds interesting. So, what does that mean?

RC: Well, the "Anytime" builds upon the 24hrs of lighting that we have in the game, with all the different track locations. They all have 24hrs of lighting and fully dynamic weather, which we did have in the original Project CARS, but to that, we added four seasons of the year now. So you can go back to any track and tell it what date you want it to be and it could be snowing or really windy. The thing to note, though, is that it is not just a graphical trick. That's a complete condition change. 

We've also added a feature called LiveTrack 3.0 which is a continuation of our environmental conditions technology. So, every track has a living breathing environment. Like I said, it's not just a graphical trick, it is a simulation of environments. The end result of that from a gameplay perspective is that the way you drive and what you experience when you are driving changes considerably with these changeable conditions.

If you're driving while it is daytime and you have accelerated time on and suddenly the sun goes down and you are driving in the dark, the track will get cooler and that will affect the way you brake. The way that you would have been driving around the track will shift. But that can go from anything from whether someone has gone off and pulled gravel onto the track to whether puddles have formed after rainfall. It affects all aspects of the game's physics and gameplay.

GS: It sounds like it's a never-ending learning curve, where you have to know how your car behaves in certain types of weather just to be able to get by! So what does "Anywhere" mean?

RC: "Anywhere" refers to the different types of surfaces that you can race on. With Project CARS, you raced on tarmac -- normal race tracks and a couple of roads -- but now we have ice racing, snow, gravel, dirt and again, they are all changeable conditions. Also, Rallycross is a new discipline, so if you are racing on a clay track and all of a sudden it starts to rain, the conditions change.

GS: Ice racing?! That's an interesting one! Other than the dynamic weather, how else have you gone about improving the realism of the game?

RC: We have updated the physics quite a bit so they are more realistic, but, at the same time, they are more forgiving. The end result of that is that it is more fun but you can also push harder and can slide the cars around in a more realistic fashion. If you decide you want to drift or if you lose control of the car, you can catch it and pull back harder meaning you can drive in a most aggressive fashion.

GS: And what about the driving system? Have you made any changes to that from the original Project CARS?

RC: We've made a lot of updates to the tire physics systems. The drive trains are updated quite a bit as well. We've made considerable changes to the environmental elements e.g., how the cars react to the rain. We've done a lot of work on that making it less of an ice skating rink now. You can now control the car in a more linear and expected fashion in the rain.

GS: One thing I need to ask is what have you done to make Project CARS 2 more accessible? I mean, I love racing games of any sort, but I'm not a driver, nor do I have much of an interest in cars. Am I going to feel daunted by a number of settings and variables you need to understand to make the experience more enjoyable? 

RC: We've tried to make a game which is wide in that it is a mainstream title, and is very deep. The thing we say to players is that they should spend the first 20 minutes setting the game up to their level. You can set it up so that it's relatively casual. Put on driving aids and steering help, etc. if you feel like you need a bit of a hand to begin with.

There are a lot of help systems which we feel make it more accessible. You can then turn up the AI in new ways. You can control their speed and aggressiveness separately. So if you want take things a bit easy, you can turn them right down so they don't bother you that much or if you want to really test how fast you can drive, you can turn their speed up but keep their aggression down so that they aren't trying to nudge you off the track etc. Our goal was to make it quite accessible.

I should mention that we put a lot of time into revisiting the gamepad controls. So, underneath the hood, it is still a full simulation but we've laid driver help on top of that and given players the ability to customize the game for their own experience -- whether it is casual or very serious racing.

GS: So to what lengths did you go too to get the cars looking, feeling, and sounding right?

RC: We spent a lot of time ensuring that the cars drive, feel, and have the characteristics of the real thing. To that end, we had seven racing drivers that were part of the development team. They come from different disciplines, for example, GT racers, Le Mans champions, a champion drifter from America, 2 rallycross stars -- one of which is an ice racing champion and one of the top sim racers in the World. They would drive the real cars for us and then test them out in the game.

We also asked all the car manufacturers to have their drivers test the game as well. We spent a huge amount of time scanning and getting CAD data for the cars, even getting technical data from cars as they went around a track which we then compared to data from in-game. 

GS: Are there any cars that you wanted to get in the game but for some reason couldn't?

RC: I think we did quite well. We are greedy people. There is always more that we want to do. We'd love to have every famous racing car ever made in the game but there are always production limitations. But we are very happy. We signed Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and then there are a lot of people that are not interested in those brands, they are more interested in Japanese brands. So we got Honda, some Nissan race cars, etc. So we are very pleased. But, yeah, there are still a couple of brands that we want to get for the next game.

GS: Speaking of cars, what is your dream car and is it in the game?

RC: I really love this one race car since I was a small kid. I saw it race when I was very young and that is the Porsche 935. It's a 911 based race car. I probably have over hundred little models of it. I even own a replica and so I was very happy that we put this car in the game. When you drive the car in-game, the sounds you hear are actually sampled from my car.

GS: Finally, what would you say has been the hardest part of the development of Project CARS 2?

RC: I think the toughest part is always finalizing. When you're in the last four months of any game production, for any studio, it is a very challenging time. Sometimes it feels like you are walking on the edge of a cliff. You know that the finish line is over there somewhere but it feels like at any moment wind could come and just blow you off the cliff. But if you are experienced enough in game development, you know a game will be made.

You just have to stick to your guns, remain confident and work really hard. But that's always the most challenging thing is. Finishing a game, polishing it, getting the efficiency of the engine working well. Always chasing better and better performance with the game engine because you are pushing it to the maximum. If you aren't pushing the technology, you are not trying hard enough.

GS: Well, Rod, thank you very much for talking to me today. Sounds like Project CARS 2 has come on leaps and bounds from the first game! I wish you all the best with this game and I hope that becomes as successful as the first!

Project CARSis out now on PC, Xbox One and PS4. You can buy Project CARS 2 on Amazon here

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Creative Director of Warface Talks About the Game's New Mission; the Future of Shooters and More https://www.gameskinny.com/0c8vl/creative-director-of-warface-talks-about-the-games-new-mission-the-future-of-shooters-and-more https://www.gameskinny.com/0c8vl/creative-director-of-warface-talks-about-the-games-new-mission-the-future-of-shooters-and-more Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:15:01 -0400 Caio Sampaio

No soldier can win a war alone. This is the premise behind Warface, a free-to-play FPS game developed by Crytek, which combines the intense combat with mechanics that foster cooperation between you and your allies. Released worldwide on October 21, 2013, the game will soon live through another birthday and players will receive a gift from the developers a couple of months later.

During this year’s Gamescom, held on August 22 through 26, Crytek and the
publisher My.com announced additional content for the game, which is set to release in December. The latest content will mark a new chapter of the conflict that drives the universe of Warface

According to the developers, the update will feature a new narrative-driven co-op mission held in Pripyat, Ukraine. Located right next to the epicenter of the Chernobyl catastrophe, it once was a vibrant location, but now, it is a setting reminiscent of the post-apocalypse. Watch the trailer below:

Crytek’s free-to-play shooter takes place in a world devastated by the greatest
recession in history. Amidst the turmoil, a group of capitalists controls most of the global wealth, and to preserve their interests, they fortified their ivory tower with the might of a paramilitary force known as Blackwood. Players join Warface, an elite squad that fights back against the worldwide dominance of Earth’s resources.

During the story, you will face new enemies, bosses, and enjoy newly refined gameplay mechanics. With new additional content on the horizon, this is an opportunity to reflect on how the game became what it is today and where it will go next.

The Future of Warface:

GameSkinny had the opportunity to hold an exclusive interview with Michael
Khaimzon (above), the creative director of Warface, to have a better understanding of what the upcoming content will bring. Apart from the future, he also discussed the past and the present of the game, ending our conversation with some predictions for what innovations might be in the making for the FPS genre. As for the new mission of Warface, he said:

“This will definitely be one of the biggest updates in our history. The Chernobyl mission is going to be epic. It has been in production for almost a year, so there are lots of new things coming. New environment, new enemies, new boss fight, and a new chapter in the Warface- Blackwood duel. Let’s not forget, though, that, in addition to this mission, the update will also include new weapons, achievements, and many other things.

December, traditionally, is the most important month for us, as many players prepare for holidays; they have a lot of free time. So, we like to release especially enticing content in this time period. This year is not an exception. Having said that, there is also a new experimental mode coming to Warface, more like an event thing, in which we will test something that we actually started over 7 years ago. We really wanted to do this mode, but never got the chance, so now is the time.”

From the answer provided by Michael, we can assume that the new update will significantly change how you experience the game. On August 28, the official Warface account on YouTube uploaded a video showing behind the scenes footage of the new mission, allowing you to take a better look on what the expansion will bring to the table. You can watch it below:

The video gives you a glimpse of what the expansion will deliver and
displays the effort Crytek put into developing the content, even sending developers to study the location personally. While we will only be sure once we can actually play the new mission, it is possible to speculate that ambiance and immersion will be two of its strongest attributes, as a consequence of their hard work and research.

We can claim this due to the fidelity of the levels, which are almost identical to the real locations they are based on. With the future of Warface covered, Michael continued to discuss Crytek’s free-to-play shooter.

Warface Today: 

One of the main challenges for any game is staying relevant through the years. Some titles pass the test of time with excellence, such as World of Warcraft, while other productions are not as fortunate and their player base shrinks over time, as seen with Evolve. Michael commented on how Crytek works to retain its community for the long run:

“I think the key is listening to the community, understanding them, and releasing regular updates. We did 70+ updates so far - that is literally an update every single month. Thus, our players see that the game is truly live. It is changing, evolving, and they can influence that evolution. All of us, the developers, have to play the game, really play it every day, face the issues, and deal with them first hand.”

Apart from creating ways to keep an audience, the free-to-play model brings
another challenge. The game is always under development, meaning that the stream of new ideas must be constant.

Designers must always craft new features, maps and fine-tune the ones that already exist. Having new ideas is an appealing process for the developers and, once the ideas are approved, the team must bring them to life. This brings us to our next topic.

Designing a Game That is Constantly Growing: 

Throughout the life of a competitive FPS title, developers often continue to expand the game by releasing new maps. To give an optimal experience to players, these levels are usually asymmetrical, meaning that both sides of the battlefield are different. The objective is to provide the player with a sense of novelty when crossing from one side to another, but this also raises a concern.

It is necessary to ensure both parts of the level have the same tactical opportunities; otherwise, a team will have an advantage, thus breaking the balance of the game. Creating two different sides for a map, while making sure they are fair to both teams is an enormous challenge, and Michael provides us with some information on how this process works:

“It’s definitely a know-how that took us years to develop. We have a very detailed level design “bible,” that teaches certain rules relevant to all levels. There are tons of things to consider – timing, positions, slides, coop climbs, and best places for each class. This is really a topic that deserves its own article.”

Level design, however, is only one of the parts that creates the experience of the player. A developer must pay close attention to the dynamics of the game modes the title offers.

In a game such as Warface, which contains a plethora of modes for PvE and PvP, a question begs for an answer; How do the creators split their attention across distinct types of gameplay while ensuring they are all fun? Michael discussed the matter:

“Well, some are more fun than others, but it’s a natural process – you have to try different things, some will work, some will not and it depends on the player’s own preferences. It’s OK, no one can predict with 100% certainty what will happen. We make assumptions based on what our players like and then go ahead and try these ideas. One thing we are definitely proud of is our Blitz mode.

We tried to take the typical Plant the Bomb mode to a different level - make it more casual and fast paced, while still quite tactical. It worked out really well. We can definitely say that Warface players prefer very dynamic type of game-play where you engage an enemy just a few seconds after the spawn or when the round doesn’t take longer than a couple of minutes - and that’s what we always strive to achieve.”

As Warface changes with each new update, by delivering new maps, modes and missions, the game continues to make its path towards the future. With the largest mission in its history set to release in December, it is time to look back and recall how it all started. On this subject, Michael offered some insights on the initial moments in the development of Warface.

Where Everything Started:

The video above shows the first trailer of Warface and it displays how much the game has changed over the years. Prior to its release, Crytek had already developed other successful titles, such as Crysis and Far Cry, which scored 91 and 89 on Metacritic respectively. After the success of these productions, then came the moment for the studio to plan their next move.

The next step for them involved beginning development on a free to play competitive FPS game. For a company that had thrived developing paid AAA experiences, the shift in the payment model may seem as an audacious move. But, according to Michael, the decision came naturally. On this matter he claimed:

“We already had a team in Frankfurt dedicated to AAA titles such as Ryse and the Crysis series, so we wanted to try a different approach – take a smaller team, and launch a title as fast as possible in a completely different way. It was also obvious to us that we were in a unique position. There was, and still is, not much competition on the F2P market for a high quality PvE COOP shooter. We knew that we had unique experience and a tool-set to get this out before others.”

Once the decision to develop a free to play FPS game became official, it was time to start planning the title. According to Jason Schreier in his book Blood, Sweat and Pixels, during the pre-production phase of a project, the developers must make decisions that will determine the future of their game; and that's just what Crytek did.

Through these preliminary stages, it is paramount to set priorities. Considering that Crytek had created successful FPS games in the past, the developers needed to decide whether they would transfer gameplay elements from Crysis (above) and Far Cry to Warface. According to Michael, the right choice was clear:

“Not much was carried over. When working on a typical box title, your main objective is to sell the game to the players. You do not have to worry about the churn rate or the playtime. In F2P there is no second chance. If you do something wrong – you lose the player forever, as he can simply delete the game. At the same time, it is easier to get people in, because there is no pay wall. In a nutshell, there is little to carry over, unless you are releasing a sequel with a different payment model.

As far as the other areas go, there is also a big difference. For example, in Crysis our objective was to make the most beautiful game, no matter the time and effort. In Warface, the focus is on performance, comfortable navigation, and map balance, as it’s - first and foremost - a multiplayer title, as opposed to FarCry and Crysis, which were about cinematic single player experience first.”

Considering Crytek’s approach of creating a brand-new design for Warface, the development team worked under the pressure of crafting innovative ideas that would resonate with the audience. The first step to developing a new game is delineating the goals of the project, and Michael spoke briefly on the subject of Warface's objectives at the start:

“Our priority was to deliver the first AAA F2P COOP title with a balanced,
cybersports ready PvP mode, and over time we managed to deliver pretty much exactly what we wanted.”

According to Michael, Crytek is happy with the product Warface has become.
Reaching the milestone of 48 million users -- according to the publisher My.com -- proves that the game has developed a strong audience.

However, the FPS genre is a competitive market and studios must fight to stay at the top. This scenario entices competition between companies, as developers constantly innovate to get an edge over their rivals, and players benefit from this as more new and interesting games pop up.

The Future of FPS Games: 

Gamers enjoys spending time with innovative technologies; and one of the biggest developments of the video game industry in recent years is the push to create experiences in Virtual Reality (VR). While this hardware still needs to be refined, many players worldwide are already enjoying it, as evidenced by the 915,000 users who purchased the Sony PlayStation VR as of February 19. However, if you think this is the future of gaming, think again, because Michael believes that another innovation may be in store:

“One thing that will probably happen sometime soon is eye control. We will no longer need the mouse to move the cursor around and it will definitely affect the speed and precision of gameplay. As for VR, it is a very specific platform; it’s great for certain games, but not as much for fast-paced shooters. It is definitely cool, and Crytek has released some amazing games for VR, but in order for it to become mainstream, there needs to be significant hardware improvements.

No one wants to move around with heavy goggles on the head, trying to not be stuck in cables. May be once the glasses are wireless and as light as regular sunglasses, the VR will take off. But again, chances are it’s not going to replace PC for fast paced shooters.”

According to Michael, VR is still a long way from being the future of FPS video games. This is okay, because while players do wish to see developers experimenting with new tech, studios can still create innovative and enjoyable experiences with today’s hardware.

Game makers are constantly conceiving new concepts to deliver unique productions. One of the departments in which they are investing is narrative design.

Story in a Free to Play Competitive FPS Games?

On October 31, 2013, the YouTube channel Extra Credits released a video (above) discussing whether or not it is possible to implement a narrative in a competitive multiplayer game. Storytelling in gaming continues to become more mature and complex, and as this process unfolds, developers continue to bolster their skills to create more compelling narratives.

An example of this trend is Ken Levine’s presentation during 2014’s Game Developers Conference, when he pitched a concept for a story that can only be told through video games. With this scenario, some questions emerge: can game makers successfully implement a story in every genre? Can a free to play FPS game provide players with a meaningful narrative? Michael shared his thoughts on the subject:

“In F2P, the main issue is, probably, the resources – cut scenes and realistic acting is very hard to do, and it’s always a matter of priority. You ask yourself: what is the best way to utilize our time and effort? In F2P games, players want primarily action, so this has always been our focus.

Another thing to remember is that Warface is a coop game, there are five players who are not at the same place, looking in different directions, and doing different things, so it’s much harder to play a cut-scene that everyone will see. We definitely want to improve storytelling in Warface and are looking for the most efficient ways to do it without interrupting the gameplay.”

This statement from Michael may shed some light on the future of Warface, as
developers at Crytek try to discover new storytelling techniques that suit their game. Considering that their goal is to have a narrative that does not interrupt gameplay, it is possible that they decide to invest more in environmental storytelling. Whether this prediction will be accurate remains to be seen. 

Conclusion/Summary:

Our conversation with Michael provided us with a glimpse into the future of Warface. The narrative-driven mission to be released in December will significantly change how players experience the game, according to the developer. From the behind the scenes footage, it seems that ambiance and immersion will be two strong attributes of the expansion.

Another note-worthy point of our talk was Michael’s perspective over the future of FPS games. Unlike what some people may think, the Creative Director of Warface does not believe VR will be the future of the genre. He reckons this role will fall on the shoulders of eye tracking technology.

Concerning the future of Warface, he claimed that his team is studying how to create stronger narratives in the game. However, due to the characteristics of a free to play title, the team would prefer to avoid relying on cutscenes to convey their story. This may lean them towards the use of environmental storytelling to strengthen the narrative of Warface.

To stay updated on how the game will continue to evolve and to play the upcoming Pripyat mission in December, grab your rifle and enlist today on Warface.

 

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Hands-On Demo Impressions: All Bethesda Games on Nintendo Switch and VR https://www.gameskinny.com/vjbuu/hands-on-demo-impressions-all-bethesda-games-on-nintendo-switch-and-vr https://www.gameskinny.com/vjbuu/hands-on-demo-impressions-all-bethesda-games-on-nintendo-switch-and-vr Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:01:36 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

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If you are an owner of a Nintendo Switch,  HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR, then Bethesda will be your home this holiday season with its surplus of games coming out. 

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While some of the games they showcased for demos aren't as polished as you'd want them to be, they all had their own element of fun that really makes it all worth it. Check out all of the games featured here when they come out before the end of the year. 

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Which of these games are you most looking forward to? Let me know down in the comments!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d832ecdc55d1e3566578a6bd1d566b6a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d832ecdc55d1e3566578a6bd1d566b6a.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11412","description":"
Doom VFR (PlayStation VR & HTC Vive)
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This demo was a ton of fun -- and easily the best VR game that was available to test. DOOM's graphics are really good for a VR game. And although the controls take a little bit to get used to, the game plays just like the console version that was released last year. 

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When Doom comes to PSVR and HTC Vive, it will be about a 5-hour experience. The Bethesda representative I chatted with didn't mention any DLC, but this demon-addled shooter is definitely worth checking out if you own either one of the VR headsets it's been optimized for.

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Doom VFR releases for both PSVR and HTC Vive on December 1.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/b960be1846f568d9c3b66479175faccd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/b960be1846f568d9c3b66479175faccd.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11410","description":"
Skyrim VR (PlayStation VR &  HTC Vive)
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Entering the world of Skyrim on the PSVR was insane. Being able to take down enemies with a sword in one hand and burning enemies with fire in the other was incredibly cool while totally immersed in the world. 

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The controls are simple once you get the hang of them. The VR version of Skyrim isn't as fluid as its non-VR counterparts, since the game's VR movement is based on teleports rather than walking. That said, swinging a sword and extending your hand to burn things was a lot of fun. And although using the bow and arrow did take some getting used to, I was able to get a few good shots in before my demo was finished.

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The graphics aren't the greatest, though. Skyrim VR looked very blocky -- not at all what you'd expect from one of the gorgeous games released in the last decade. Of course it's understandable that graphics will take a hit in a VR port, this was more like a few uppercuts and a solid punch to the jaw. 

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Is Skyrim VR worth picking up? If you like Skyrim and have PlayStation VR, sure. If you just want a new game to play on PSVR and don't feel that strongly about Skyrim, wait for it to go on sale or use the Amazon Prime discount to get it for a little less. I really wanted to be blown away by this game, but the graphics really impacted the experience. 

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Skyrim for PlayStation VR will be released on November 17.

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Fallout 4 (HTC Vive)
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This was one of the better VR experiences I was able to try out. The graphics for the Fallout VR port aren't on par with the graphics you'll find on console or PC, but they aren't as bad as the graphics in Skyrim VR. 

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Much like its fantasy counterpart, Fallout 4 VR has you teleport to move around. Using weapons in the game feels smooth and natural, making for an overall satisfying combat experience. I would definitely recommend picking this on up if you have been wanting to get into Fallout 4 or love it enough to play it again on your VR rig.

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All DLC will be included when Fallout 4 for the HTC Vive is released on December 12 of this year.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/2fba37a3a12f259820252c67eb670b9d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/2fba37a3a12f259820252c67eb670b9d.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11409","description":"
Skyrim (Nintendo Switch)
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When the Switch was first revealed to us last year, there was footage of Skyrim running on the console. But a port of Skyrim was never confirmed until E3 this year, when its November 17 release date was revealed. 

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One of the questions that's come up frequently is: What version of Skyrim is it? The vanilla game, or the special edition that came out for Xbox One and PlayStation 4?

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After speaking to the Bethesda representative, I learned that this version of Skyrim is more like the Game of the Year edition. It does include all DLC that has been released in the past but does not have the remastering that made the game look incredible for current generation consoles.

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Although I imagine this choice was based on the graphical capabilities of the Switch, the fact that this isn't the remastered version of Skyrim does show when you're playing on the portable console and hurts the experience a little bit. The graphics aren't all that great -- probably comparable to the Xbox 360 graphics moreso than those on current-gen consoles. 

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But despite the graphics not being up to par, the game does run really well. It's smooth and has all the quests, exploration, and looting that you'd find in every other version of the game. 

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If you enjoyed Skyrim on the other consoles and want to be able to play it everywhere you go, you'll probably enjoy the Switch version. But if you've never played the game before and want to try it out, I'd recommend picking it up for PC or a current-gen, since the Switch just doesn't do this game's beautiful graphics enough justice. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/o/o/doom-8ba18.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/o/o/doom-8ba18.jpg","type":"slide","id":"169999","description":"
Doom (Nintendo Switch)
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When this title was announced at the most recent Nintendo Direct, I was shocked that it was being ported -- and nervous about how this game would play on the portable console.

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But after getting to see it for myself, I can assure you: DOOM plays really well on the Nintendo Switch. 

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The graphics are comparable to the console version, but might look a little fuzzy to those who have played the game already. I played my demo using the Pro Controller, and it felt really nice. If you played the game on console or on PC using a controller, the controls are exactly the same -- so you won't feel lost when you play it on the go.

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I made several attempts to get the release date out of the Bethesda representative, but she did not budge. I did, however, get confirmation that the game will include DOOM's full campaign and arcade mode. The multiplayer modes and every map released so far will be available as a download, and not on the Switch cartridge.  

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DOOM will release for the Switch around the 2017 holiday season.

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/e/t/bethesda-5dc28.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/e/t/bethesda-5dc28.jpg","type":"slide","id":"169998","description":"

Bethesda has a number of big titles releasing this holiday season -- from Fallout 4 in VR to DOOM on the Nintendo Switch. Fans of the company's RPG and shooter games have a lot to look forward to as the end of the year draws closer. 

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This week, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of these upcoming games to try them out before they hit store shelves. After spending time with DOOM and Skyrim on the Switch, and the VR ports for DOOMSkyrim, and Fallout 4, here are my thoughts about what's on offer from Bethesda this year.

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If you want to skip to a specific demo, you can use the links below:

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LawBreakers: What Went Wrong? https://www.gameskinny.com/zz8at/lawbreakers-what-went-wrong https://www.gameskinny.com/zz8at/lawbreakers-what-went-wrong Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:56:53 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

LawBreakers is the offspring of Boss Key Productions and respected developer Cliff Bleszinski. It aims to be a return to classic skill-based arena shooters of old, with a few modern twists thrown in -- and anticipations were high for its success around launch time. But things haven't gone according to plan. Despite initially high player counts, the number of users playing the game has dropped off sharply, which can spell disaster for a game that requires an active user base to work properly.

Bleszinski blames his brash nature and lack of basic social skills for the game's decline -- but there's more than a hint of ego in that reasoning, since it relies on the assumption that anyone and everyone who could possibly want to play the game follows him closely and reacts to his behavior accordingly. The real situation regarding LawBreakers' decline is more complicated, and centers around both flaws in the game's design and problems with its community.

I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face

A cursory glance through the Steam reviews for LawBreakers suggests there really isn't anything wrong. The game received thousands of positive reviews and an overall positive recommendation on Steam. However, if you stop to look through the reviews, you'll notice a few things stand out.  There are far fewer negative reviews, but they are consistent in their complaints. Moreover, many of the positive reviews share the same opinions about the game's drawbacks.

Chief among them is the lack of variety. Boss Key Productions tried to navigate a fine balance between adhering to modern shooter standards by adding various characters to choose from and focusing primarily on skill. Yet the overall view -- even among media outlets -- is that the characters lack enough distinguishing features to make them worthwhile inclusions or to justify return play after a while. Even the different Law and Breaker forms of the same character are largely the same.

The game modes compound this situation. There are five, but only a few seem popular enough to warrant continued play. The problem with that, however, is that you cannot choose your mode when you log in to play; instead, you're automatically put in a random match queue for whatever comes up.

On the surface, that shouldn't be too much of a problem -- regardless of game mode, you still get to experience the gravity defying fun of a classic skill-based shooter. But that's the thing: a sizeable amount of what sets LawBreakers apart from its numerous competitors is the anti-gravity mechanic. Many maps don't utilize this feature, though. Or if they do, it remains limited in use.

According to players, this combination of circumstances has resulted in a fairly stale set of interconnected areas that feature the same combat with the same characters. Some loot containers and other collectibles pop up every now and again, but they contain hardly anything that might encourage a player to log more time with the game.

A good majority of these reviewers, even the positive ones, have logged only between approximately 10 and 30 hours with the game, with a few showing longer periods of time. This suggests that despite enjoying the game, most people truly aren't playing it all that often -- lending credence to the criticism regarding its staleness and lack of replay value.

Entry Barriers for New Players

There is another significant problem that's led to this game's decline, though: the player base. LawBreakers has a noticeable learning curve, but no tutorials. If you missed out on the beta version, it puts you at a definite disadvantage compared to other players. In an ideal world, everyone would understand this situation and be accommodating. Yet that's apparently not the case with the LawBreakers community.

In addition to feeling overwhelmed at the mechanics, newcomers have been repeatedly put off by harsh teammates and unwarranted criticism through a chat system that cannot be turned off. No one wants to be publicly humiliated, even at the best of times -- but expecting someone to pay $30 to be embarrassed in a game that's really supposed to be about fun…? That doesn't seem like a good plan. 

Expect to feel like this poor red fellow quite often.

Added to these difficulties is the unbalanced nature of the class system. The game relies on skill, and it doesn't hide any particular benefits behind its rather uninspiring microtransaction program. Yet a few classes, namely the Assassin and Wraith, possess skills with the anti-gravity mechanic that make countering them almost impossible -- especially if you're facing more than one of them. If you're a newcomer, then you're even more likely to just give up in frustration.

What happens when a player does give up, or "rage quits," makes for an even less enjoyable match. In many cases, the system throws a new player into a match that only has a few minutes or less remaining. Or if it doesn't, then the match becomes completely skewed as a result of uneven team numbers.

When you consider that the servers mostly support North American and European regions, causing rather long wait times for, say, Asian and Australian players, there is little incentive to endure those times simply to spend a couple of minutes getting flattened by veteran players. As the number of players dwindles, the wait times become longer, and the cycle continues.

Game Over?

Bleszinski has planned future content updates for LawBreakers and says he is genuinely going to try and keep the game alive. Whether these updates and his view of what needs fixing meet fan expectations is another matter, though. Without addressing the problems that really keep gamers from coming back for more, it may just be game over for Bleszinski's brainchild after all.

If you've played the game, let us know in the comments what keeps you queuing up or why you haven't come back for more!

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Lust for Darkness Promises A Sexy, Horrific Experience https://www.gameskinny.com/9bp0t/lust-for-darkness-promises-a-sexy-horrific-experience https://www.gameskinny.com/9bp0t/lust-for-darkness-promises-a-sexy-horrific-experience Mon, 18 Sep 2017 15:35:58 -0400 Kat De Shields

*Before we dive in, this preview and the trailer linked in the header are NSFW. 

In the horror genre, it's not often that you get sex to go along with your jump scares, but Lust for Darkness manages to do just that. Though this game is bound to offend some with delicate sensibilities, Lust for Darkness pairs Lovecraft, cults, and the taboo to create a new type of horror experience.

According to the Kickstarter pagethe game is: 

An FPP psychological horror of seeking satisfaction on the border of two intertwining worlds. An intriguing plot with erotic and occult themes guides the player's character through the Yelverton's victorian mansion and a perverse land inspired with Lovecraft's works and paintings of Zdzisław Beksiński.

One year after Jonathan's wife, Amanda, goes missing, he receives a letter from her inviting him to a secluded mansion. Upon his arrival, it's clear Jonathan is on the cusp of a cult ceremony, and the crowd is counting down the minutes until midnight. 

In playing the alpha, the game lives up to its name. The demo is full of nudity, sex toys, masked debauchery, and glimpses of the off-putting and terrifying. Otherworldly scenes appear in wet purple and black hues only to disappear upon a second glance. Jonathan dips between the world he knows and portals to the perverse underbelly inspired by Lovecraft's works.

The demo ends with the mother of all cliffhangers, and the image of a Cthulhu-like giant looming over the castle is one that lingers in the mind once the screen fades to black. Should the full release mirror the mechanics and mystery displayed in the demo, Lust for Darkness will be a gorgeous and grotesque game that occurs when you pair the erotic with the occult. 

At the time of this writing, Lust for Darkness has achieved more than 400% of its fundraising goal and is on Kickstarter until Saturday, Sept. 30. You can wishlist the game now on Steam

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Want Indie Games On-Demand? You Need to Check Out Jump https://www.gameskinny.com/6zso1/want-indie-games-on-demand-you-need-to-check-out-jump https://www.gameskinny.com/6zso1/want-indie-games-on-demand-you-need-to-check-out-jump Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:14:27 -0400 Kat De Shields

It's no secret that good indie games get buried. With hundreds of game releases each day and platforms that support a massive amount of games, there's only so much one person can sift through to find that next, undiscovered gem. 

Jump, an on-demand, video games subscription service, aims to fix that problem. 

For $9.99 a month, subscribers have unlimited access to a curated library of indie games. If it's in the library, you can play it when you want, where you want -- all you need is a computer and an internet connection. With more than 60 titles currently playable on the site, Jump is set to become the Netflix of the gaming world. 

If you want to know how Jump measures up against the likes of Steam and GOG, you may be surprised to know the team at Jump are carving out a niche market in the gaming industry all on their own. 

 

 Look at all those lovely indie titles. 

Aesthetics and Mechanics

Much like Steam and GOG, users have the option of downloading the Jump client to their computer or accessing it via the web. The major difference is this: games are available to play immediately and take up little to no storage space to run. 

Once you boot up Jump, you're greeted with gameplay videos from featured games and have the option to see more information or hop right into the game. Browse by featured categories like "Award Magnets" or "Off the Charts", or go the more traditional route and peruse by genre. You can also hover over individual game cards to see a short description of what you're about to get into (though some of them get cut off from time to time). 

The game pages on Jump may feel a bit sparse compared to what you see on Steam or GOG. However, all of the essential information is there, such as videos, screenshots, descriptions, dev studio, publisher, rating, platform, supported controllers, and genre. At the time of this writing, there aren't any community options or review capabilities -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing. You get to play staples in the indie arena and explore unheard-of titles without anyone's two cents to sway your opinion. 

Game data and nothing else. (Game pictured is Balthazar's Dream)

Once you select a title and click on "Play Game", it takes less than a minute to load before you're on your way. How's it so fast? Jump uses special tech to keep you gaming without frying your computer's RAM or storage. According to the Jump website:

Using its HyperJump game delivery technology, the Jump service provides players with the same latency-free, high-quality experience as a game that is fully installed onto their device, but without long download times and without requiring large amounts of disk space.

Furthermore, there aren't any in-game ads or microtransactions to interrupt your gaming experience. When you're done, save your progress and rest easy knowing that you can pick up right where you left off. 

Jump's Game Library

I was pleasantly surprised to see a healthy mix of games from well-knowns like Always Sometimes Monsters and Pony Island to sleeper hits like Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor and Life Goes On: Done to Death. There's plenty to play or rediscover with the ability to game nearly anywhere you go. Right now, Jump has more than 60 titles to play to your heart's content. 

If you're new to the indie scene, Jump is a great way to get a feel for what makes indie titles so different from AAA games -- and explore a solid selection of them. If you're an indie aficionado, Jump presents an opportunity to easily jump in and out of your favorites and inexpensively sample new games. 

The Jump Windows client at full screen during gameplay.
(Game: The Bridge)

We all know indie games can be hit or miss, but the curation factor adds to Jump's value. According to the Jump website, 6-10 new games will be added each month. Games currently in the catalog have a shelf life of at least 12 months before they disappear -- though developers do have the option to leave their games on the site for longer periods of time.

Our Verdict

If you're comparing Jump to Steam or GOG, you're making a mistake. At its heart, Jump is a wonderful discovery tool for indie enthusiasts who have a desire to explore them all without breaking the bank. Since each game is curated by the Jump Team, you don't have to sift through the clones and dregs that occasionally work their ways into Steam. You can instead focus on playing solid indie titles. For the $9.99 per month price tag, it's well worth the cost. 

Users can try Jump free for 14 days before the monthly subscription fee kicks in. It is currently available on PC, Mac, and Linux, and supports Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR devices. 

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The Brainchild of Homestuck, Hiveswap, Is Finally Here! https://www.gameskinny.com/96ypf/the-brainchild-of-homestuck-hiveswap-is-finally-here https://www.gameskinny.com/96ypf/the-brainchild-of-homestuck-hiveswap-is-finally-here Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:04:09 -0400 Joshua Harris

As someone who actively read "Homestuck" by Andrew Hussie back in the early 2010s, I am beyond excited that Hiveswap: Act 1 made its debut today. This was a huge deal back in 2012 when the Kickstarter campaign had met its goal within 2 days of launching. Set up as a point-and-click adventure game within the comic's universe, the story follows the journey of siblings Joey Claire and Jude Harley. 

Immediately, the player is thrown into a world full of monsters, mystery, and mayhem as Joey and Jude set out to a world that is not unlike the webcomic that inspired its creation. Writing this as someone who not only read the comic ferociously -- but also met a lot of the people that I know today through the fandom -- this game is not just for people who consider themselves staunch fans. It stands on its own merit for those who are not familiar with the source content. 

Filled to the brim with easter eggs and callbacks to the famous webcomic, Hiveswap instills an eerie feeling nostalgia that inspires the spark of creativity that "Homestuck" brought to thousands of its readers. The What Pumpkin Games Team has put a ton of work into making this look and feel what players have been expecting since the Kickstarter was completed. 

Whether you are goofing off and exploring to your hearts content, or you decide that sticking to the story is the way to go, Hiveswap wont penalize you for wandering off the beaten path. The player is encouraged to click on every object or even combine them to progress to the next section of the story, making the fun seemingly endless!

If that wasn't enough, "Homestuck" and What Pumpkin will be partnering with Viz Media to collaborate with for more awesome projects. First, they will be working together to produce printed copies of the webcomic in its entirety through a variety of volumes.

What Viz Media will do now that they are partnered with What Pumpkin studios is up for speculation -- but after taking a look at the products they've created thus far, the future of the "Homestuck" franchise looks bright. 

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Final Fantasy XIV Players Raise $21,510 for Hurricane Relief https://www.gameskinny.com/uxhbl/final-fantasy-xiv-players-raise-21510-for-hurricane-relief https://www.gameskinny.com/uxhbl/final-fantasy-xiv-players-raise-21510-for-hurricane-relief Sun, 10 Sep 2017 12:47:47 -0400 Kumotaru

For close to 12 hours on September 9th, 2017, hundreds upon hundreds of Lalafells invaded the Siren server of Final Fantasy XIV and caused some chaos. The goal was to raise awareness and money for hurricane relief. Streamers and content creators got together on Twitch and hosted for several hours a Lalafell march across Eorzea while collecting donations for Direct Relief. The FFXIV community blew the original goal of $1,000 out of the water.

Between 10 AM and 4 PM players leveled to 15 so they could gain airship access to the other cities in the game. Starting at 4 PM they gathered at Revenant's Toll (a level 50 zone) and marched (not ran) all across the game world to raise awareness and money. Hundreds and hundreds of little potato people in lumpy clumps marched as regular server players were baffled as they watched them go by. 

An after-party was held at the in-game beach resort Costa Del Sol, where Lalafells and others joined in a conga line, floated in the surf, and relaxed on the docks while listening to one of the streamers read fan-fiction about himself. By the end of the event, $21,510 was donated to Direct Relief.

Take a look at the photos below to see what you missed. Big shout out to Denmo Mcstronghuge (@Mcstronghuge) for organizing this event. 

 

Direct Relief is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing essential medical resources needed for their care.

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Absolver Guide: How to Unlock Stagger Early On https://www.gameskinny.com/2jvmz/absolver-guide-how-to-unlock-stagger-early-on https://www.gameskinny.com/2jvmz/absolver-guide-how-to-unlock-stagger-early-on Fri, 08 Sep 2017 16:31:23 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Absolver has many styles and combat moves for you to learn. A lot of it takes time, but we all we know time is a limited commodity. And if you're trying to unlock the stagger ability, getting it early on will give you a decent advantage over some of the opponents that you encounter.

Also known as "drunken fist", stagger is a special ability that involves a little bit of stumbling, and grants your attacks several unconventional defensive capabilities. While attacking foes, you use movements that appear to make your character stumble -- fooling your foe so you can strike them uncontested.

How to Unlock Stagger Quickly: Absolver Cheat

The standard means of gaining stagger is time-consuming and rather boring. It requires you to reach at least level 15 and defeat the mini-boss Jiin Mesca, who appears randomly in various locations:

  • Along the bridge connecting the Tower of Adal altar to the courtyard near the Oratian Quarter
  • On a roof next to the Central Harbor river
  • On a path leading to the Tower of Adal from the Adalian Columbary
  • Under a tree along the Hunting Path

Kicking his butt will open a door near the altar of the Raslan Coliseum with a new NPC named Rakkio, who can grant you attendance to the stagger school. But if you don't feel like going through all of this, there's another way to acquire this teeter-tottering special ability.

Untested Ways to Unlock Stagger in Absolver

Depending on your skill level, you may be able to acquire stagger within any time frame from 10 minutes into the game to 5 hours. The key to this shortcut is PvP. All you have to do is block, defend, and dodge enemy attacks. Player versus player mode allows you to learn special abilities more quickly because your character is constantly learning and growing. 

You can also join co-op sessions to learn the skill. When adventuring with a player on a stagger school mission, you'll automatically be enrolled with the school. This will then give you access to the style and the combat deck. Again, a lot shorter than the conventional method.

Once you unlock the skill you can relive your favorite martial arts films!

Have you found other ways to unlock stagger in Absolver? If so, leave them in the comments below. And make sure to check out our other Absolver guides!

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Magic The Gathering Arena: Five Facts We've Learned From the World Premiere https://www.gameskinny.com/dg9mq/magic-the-gathering-arena-five-facts-weve-learned-from-the-world-premiere https://www.gameskinny.com/dg9mq/magic-the-gathering-arena-five-facts-weve-learned-from-the-world-premiere Fri, 08 Sep 2017 15:38:47 -0400 Sergey_3847

On September 7th Wizards of the Coast presented their newest digital product – Magic: The Gathering Arena. This is a stand-alone game that is not replacing Magic Online or Magic Duels, but offers a much more fulfilling experience for those who not only like to play Magic, but also enjoy watching it on live streams.

Magic: The Gathering Arena offers an authentic Magic experience with excellent new animations, sounds, and voiceovers. After the world premiere that WotC streamed through Twitch, we've gotten a pretty good taste of what the Magic players can expect from this new digital game. Here are the five most important details that were revealed regarding MTG Arena.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is Free-To-Play

The business model for this new MTG venture was one of the most discussed issues prior to the game's world premiere. Now we know for sure that it is actually a free-to-play CCG in the vein of Hearthstone that offers daily rewards, a ranked ladder, and booster packs that can be bought using either in-game currency or real money.

Since MTG Online is not affordable for every fan of the game, MTG Arena will offer a similar kind of experience that makes some important changes. According to Chris Cao, the Executive Producer of MTG Arena, players will be able to play the game without spending any real money.

This opens up the door for millions and millions of people who would never be able to fork over their hard-earned cash for Magic cards -- thus giving Magic even more exposure as a card game that it's been missing in the last few years.

Magic: The Gathering Arena Supports Constructed and Limited Formats

MTG Arena is currently focused on the Constructed Standard format -- with Limited formats, such as Draft and Sealed, coming later on in the game's life cycle after further development. If the game strikes the right chords and players enjoy how it pans out, then even more formats will be added.

It is important to note that there are about 20,000 playable cards in the entire history of Magic, so implementing all these cards and their respective mechanics would be a gargantuan feat for any game development company.

Here’s what Jeffrey Steefe, the Vice President of Digital Game Development for Wizards of the Coast, mentioned in his latest press release about how MTG Arena will gradually receive new cards:

“By the time we go into full launch, MTG Arena will feature the full card sets in Standard, with around 1,000 new cards added every year. That means deeper gameplay, more experiences to discover, and more room to explore.”

Taking this into account, it can be assumed that we will not see the full-fledged Modern or Legacy formats for years to come, since they utilize cards that have been printed as long as 25 years ago. This means that MTG Arena may not appeal to the older players who mainly play Modern.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is Perfect for Streaming

Playing games and watching games are two different experiences. It is super fun to play Magic Online, but is it as fun to watch? Well, as the Twitch statistics say -- not really! If we compare MTG Online with Hearthstone, it becomes evident that Hearthstone is much more fun to watch. And that's exactly the reason why MTG Arena was created in the first place.

WotC wants to make Magic look more appealing to the new players, and the new interface that includes various animations and sound effects should bring in more and more of those sweet Twitch views. At the same time, the game will not be simplified, but will retain all the characteristic aspects of the Magic experience, such as priorities, stacks, instants, etc.

This is a perfect opportunity for old and new Magic streamers to attract bigger audiences, and thus increase their own and Magic’s popularity.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is eSports Compatible

Playing, streaming, and watching are not the only priorities aimed at by the digital products development team at WOTC. eSports will play an essential part in the game's eventual growth, with online tournaments running worldwide.

Just like tabletop Magic: The Gathering that continually proves to attract hundreds of thousands of people to its Grand Prix and Pro Tour events on a weekly basis, MTG Arena is destined to follow the same circuit... but in a digital environment.

If all this turns out the way WotC envisions it, then MTG Arena will definitely become huge. But don’t hold your breath just yet -- the game is only in its alpha stage, so all the potential future champions will have to wait \for at least another year or so before any competitive events drop .

Magic: The Gathering Arena is Open for Closed Beta Registration

If you liked everything you’ve read about MTG Arena prior to this, then you can go to PlayMTGArena and register for the closed beta that should start by the end of this year (as announced by Chris Cao).

The game will be available only on PC for now -- but since it was built on the Unity engine, it will be possible to port the game to other platforms and mobile devices. You can also try and test the game prior to the release during the upcoming Magic events (see the schedule above).

The initial test period of the game will include all 279 cards from the upcoming Ixalan expansion that is set for release on September 28. The theme of the expansion revolves around dinosaurs and pirates, so it will definitely be a fun adventure for all involved.

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Magic: The Gathering Arena is truly the next step for Wizards of the Coast in their search for the most optimal digital Magic experience. Magic Online will always appeal to the older audiences, and Magic Duels could never really blossom to its fullest potential. But it looks like MTG Arena has hit home in all possible ways, so there is almost no doubt that the game will become very successful.

What do you think about Magic: The Gathering Arena? Will you consider signing up for the closed beta? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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3 Ways YouTubers Can Conquer Demonetization https://www.gameskinny.com/9cbpg/3-ways-youtubers-can-conquer-demonetization https://www.gameskinny.com/9cbpg/3-ways-youtubers-can-conquer-demonetization Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:20:26 -0400 LumpztheClown

For some time, let's players and YouTube personalities like Lazy Game Reviews and Cygnus Destroyer have been able to use YouTube's monetization system with moderate success. Both feature family-friendly content that covers epic moments in video game history -- but recently, they've come under fire from the overlords at YouTube, who began demonetizing a select few of their videos seemingly at random.

Unfortunately, even with subscribers numbering into the hundreds of thousands, both of these channels are feeling the negative financial and professional impact that comes with demonetization. When compared to bigger and profitable channels with coarser content intended for mature audiences, it really begins to feel like YouTube is cherry-picking who they want their stars to be.


YouTube: "This guy's better than you."

For example, despite the recent Internet backlash and sponsorship smackdown that Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg endured, he's still worth $20 million. And how did his subscriber count fare after his most recent controversy? 57 million, up from 53 million reported in February 2017 by TechCrunch.

Not a bad payday. But what about other large YouTube personalities like Markiplier and Jacksepticeye? Well, Markiplier has 18 million subs and a $9 million net worth, while Jacksepticeye has 16 million subs and a similar $9 million net worth. 

 

With that kind of subscriber count and net worth, both of those channels would still continue to be profitable even with the occasional demonetization flag due to perceived "offensive content". However, YouTube would be absolutely foolhardy to completely remove any of them from their network given the amount of traffic both bring.

But this isn't the case for smaller channels that haven't reached the superstar level of notoriety that some of the aforementioned personalities have achieved. These channels have suffered a lot more at the hands of YouTube's demonetization tactics than their bigger counterparts.

Luckily, though, there are some alternate routes that such channels can take advantage of that will allow them to keep creating content while monetizing their work to keep the lights on and continue growing. 

 

Start a Patreon

Already employed by multiple YouTubers, Patreon has helped many content creators monetize their work. Founder Jack Conte started the company in 2013 to help him do just that -- and as of May 2017, is on track to pay out over $150 million to its over 50,000 active creators.

Patreon pays its creators on a monthly basis, and gives users the option to include reward tiers based on monthly contribution amounts. This could be anything from pre-release sneak peeks to content collaboration between creators and viewers.

There's no need to worry about advertiser pullout, and the success of the campaign lies solely in the hands of the creator. Take a look at the Patreon pages for Jim Sterling and AngryCentaurGaming to get an idea of what works for YouTubers who create game-centric content.

Set Up a Paypal

An alternative to Patreon, PayPal gives would-be backers the opportunity to donate to the cause through a one-off payment as opposed to a monthly recurring one. Moreso, there's little pressure to deliver exclusive content to tiered backers, which is an attractive option for those who work for a living and create videos in their limited spare time.

PayPal users can elect to use either a single payout system or even a full-on crowdfunding campaign. Spanish developer Locomalito has utilized a PayPal account to accept donations on his site's download pages since I first met him over three years ago, and it's allowed him to fund his efforts, while providing him the freedom to create on his own time.

Become an Affiliate

What if you just got done writing a review of the best Atari plug and play system no one seems to talk about, or posting a video of you and a buddy trying to defend the ultra-shitty NES title Snake's Revenge that somehow got over 1,400 views? 

Whether you just discovered an unmet need that like-minded gamers are seeking out or simply talking about a specific game, consider joining an affiliate program and linking to that product to help generate passive income.

Video descriptions and on-site reviews are perfect for inserting a relevant affiliate link that sends your users to the best deals from reputable sellers. There's no pressure to buy from site visitors, your earning potential is limited only by your creativity, and you can focus on creating content that attracts them in the first place by providing actual value, not spam!

Freedom or Conformity: Taking Control of Your Content

In case you forgot, this recent spate of demonetization is not YouTube's first snafu. In fact, spurned uploaders have been saying that YouTube is dying since as early as 2009, and the conversation has reignited again and again through the years, with another bump in 2016.

One thing all of these so-called controversies have in common is that creators themselves are:

  • Not made aware of YouTube's consideration prior to demonetization.
  • Left powerless to do anything about it once a final decision has been reached.
  • Left to do the footwork of mediating research and outreach to correct any issues.
  • At risk of receiving a strike if a dispute falls through.

On that last note, once three strikes are accumulated, your account is terminated outright. Sure, you can dispute any strikes you may receive before you get to that point -- but how many success stories have you read about strike disputes recently?

Ultimately, these behind-the-scenes practices are affecting content creators who have essentially no idea that changes are even happening until they see flags on their videos or revenue drops.

YouTube will not warn you about policy changes prior to demonetization, but it will provide plenty of vague and general responses on why it did so, while directing you to dead Q & A forums. This mean that YouTube's big wigs -- and no one else -- have the power to determine who is successful on the platform, and what's deemed as being offensive by any given demographic. 

If the monetization fight with YouTube becomes too stressful for you as a content creator, keep in mind that there are other video sharing platforms out there (such as Dailymotion and Vidme) that can be used as alternatives. The latter even provides its users with a built-in tipping system that's powered by viewers, not faceless corporations who'll ding you for making 100 dick jokes in a row.

It's time to make a decision on who controls your fate (and your funding): you or YouTube? 

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Has a New Fire Emblem Anime Been Revealed? https://www.gameskinny.com/fucq4/has-a-new-fire-emblem-anime-been-revealed https://www.gameskinny.com/fucq4/has-a-new-fire-emblem-anime-been-revealed Mon, 04 Sep 2017 16:00:42 -0400 Rena Pongchai [Kazurenai]

Fire Emblem has only seen one anime adaption in the years, having a two-part OVA in 1996, based on a small chunk of Marth's storyline. You can check it out on YouTube here.

But since then, despite having so many entries that would be perfect for an anime, Nintendo has kept the series in the shadows. It didn't help that the game was largely unknown up until the last 4 years, with the release of Awakening (2013). 

Since then, the series has garnered many new fans and even a mobile game which, despite not having much news surrounding it, has a large fan-base and regulars who play the game.

And it is that mobile game, Fire Emblem Heroes, which has revealed not only new official character art - but also, a bit of good news regarding an anime series.

Lucina game art

The art in question, is featured above - of Lucina's upgraded design with her wielding a spear, instead of the Falchion. At a normal glance, apart from her new design, there doesn't seem to be any hint of any thing.

But a Redditor on the Fire Emblem subreddit posted that they had flipped and translated the text on Lucina's spear, which is written in an ancient language used in Awakening

Image taken from Reddit thread.

This image seems to be verified from a variety of Fire Emblem fans, and honestly, having the language translating to those exact letters can't be a coincidence. So if this does turn out to be true and Nintendo did plan for this - then kudos to them, because it was a heck of a clever way of doing it. 

Even then, even if it is true, the problem then lies on whether it'll be a good adaption - as many adaptions of games are always used to capitalise on their trending popularity and end up being terrible. But that's a whole other issue. 

What do you think? Do you believe in the rumours? Would an anime adaption intrigue those who watch - or don't anime?

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Why People Are Upset Over Denuvo in Sonic Mania (Spoilers: It's Not Just Piracy) https://www.gameskinny.com/q6xwo/why-people-are-upset-over-denuvo-in-sonic-mania-spoilers-its-not-just-piracy https://www.gameskinny.com/q6xwo/why-people-are-upset-over-denuvo-in-sonic-mania-spoilers-its-not-just-piracy Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:04:32 -0400 Ashley Gill

DRM and its effectiveness are always a hotly-debated topic among the PC gaming community. The debate over whether it actually does what it's intended is one that started well before this generation and will continue into far into the future.

Sonic Mania's inclusion of the DRM Denuvo is the latest dramafest over DRM, but the community's outrage over it isn't solely based on what the peanut gallery says is the PC community (yet again) having a fit because they can't pirate the game. It's a little more complicated than that, and it has to do with:

SEGA's lack of transparency

This is a three-pronged issue overall, but this is the one prong that needs to be brought to light first.

The PC release of Sonic Mania saw a two-week delay, which was announced a mere four days before it was set to release on PC alongside its PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch counterparts. Many speculated it was because SEGA decided to add DRM to the PC version, but SEGA themselves did not make an announcement one way or the other.

In fact, SEGA did not reveal that Sonic Mania would contain any DRM at any point in time leading up to the PC release, and the Steam store page for the game didn't even mention Denuvo until several hours after release. The people who bought it certainly noticed, though -- many who had bought the game on the first day could not play it due to "connection issues".

SEGA ironed out the authentication issue and "enabled" offline play (enabling offline play for a singleplayer game is ridiculous in itself) yesterday, but the fact remains there was a clear lack of transparency on the inclusion of Denuvo. Sonic Mania is certainly SEGA's property -- but when requesting money for a product, the publisher should have the responsibility of keeping the consumer informed of changes.

You may be thinking to yourself that those who purchased the game could just get a refund and be done with it if Denuvo rustled their jimmies so much, but there's a catch to that, too.

Some pre-order holders could/can not get a refund

This is where things get sketchy. All of the above is generally enough to send a number of PC gamers into nuclear meltdown, but this specific part of the problem continues to be one of the biggest agitators to this whole fiasco.

To make up for the PC delay, SEGA granted Steam pre-order holders a free copy of Sonic 1 to be played in the Sega Mega Drive & Genesis Classics Collection. This was granted exactly two weeks before Sonic Mania released on Steam.

If you're familiar with Steam's refund system, you're probably aware of the two big criteria for refunding a game:

  1. You have to have played the game for less than two hours
  2. You have to have owned the game for less than two weeks

Those who pre-ordered Sonic Mania on Steam well in advance got their copy of Sonic 1 exactly two weeks before Mania was to be released. This normally wouldn't be an issue (I've certainly never heard of this being an issue), but it seems Steam is mistaking Sonic 1 and Sonic Mania when processing refunds, which is locking the aforementioned early pre-order holders from refunding the game.

This problem in particular is likely unintentional, but it's only fueled the hate-fire over the past few days, as many unhappy with the addition of Denuvo are unable to refund the game.

If you are one of these people and still would like a refund, it's worth noting that some Steam users have had success going into Steam support and choosing the "I have a question about this product" option and inputting your grievance in the optional box. It's not perfect, but it's worth a shot.

Denuvo's servers aren't going to last forever

Whether Denuvo is actually harmful or not is a topic still up for discussion. The most passed-around link on the anti-consumer nature of the controversial DRM is heavily out of date, and most of the complaints surrounding these days have to do with its limited lifespan, online checks, and unreliability. When was the last time a game with Denuvo didn't get cracked? It's been a while.

The biggest issue the community faces with Denuvo isn't one of the now, but of the future. No server lasts forever, and in time Denuvo will fade from relevance and take all the games its meant to "protect" with it.

Because Denuvo requires online checks to allow a user to launch and continue to run a game it is attached to, any games using Denuvo will no longer be able to run once the servers are taken down. This won't happen this year or next year, but it will happen. And a lot of games are going to fall with it.

There have certainly been examples of games that have had their restrictive DRM torn from them once it's known their DRM servers will be going down, but those examples are not indicative of the norm. Plenty of titles have fallen and been lost in the wind due to their DRM's eventual folding -- and the same will happen to Denuvo, just as it did with its predecessors.

The Sonic Mania DRM fiasco is a failing on SEGA's part, primarily due to their lack of transparency on what exactly buyers would be installing onto their computers. Is it really worth this, when the game is going to get cracked in two weeks time despite the implementation of Denuvo? Sonic Mania has become yet another example of DRM causing legitimate consumers more hassle than their non-paying counterparts.

It's a shame, since the game is undoubtedly one of the best Sonic games to come out in the past decade, if not longer.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Disney Afternoon Collection https://www.gameskinny.com/15l09/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-disney-afternoon-collection https://www.gameskinny.com/15l09/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-disney-afternoon-collection Tue, 29 Aug 2017 14:07:13 -0400 daisy_blonde

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And that's it! We hope these interesting facts about some of Capcom’s Disney games has got you hyped to play the old NES classics again on your modern system. The most well-known games in the collection seem to be those which are connected to the cartoons we remember the most, like DuckTales. 

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It’s interesting which games inspired Capcom’s other franchises and which games took inspiration from said franchises. Check out our review of The Disney Afternoon Collection here

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TaleSpin Plays Very Differently Depending on the Console

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Like the cartoon, TaleSpin is the least well-known and probably least popular title on this list. The game released on a number of platforms, including the Sega Genesis and Game Gear. Despite being developed by Capcom, the game plays very differently on each console. 

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The Game Gear version, which I owned growing up, is a traditional side-scrolling platformer with flying sections between certain stages. However, players almost always fly in the NES version. Consequently, the controls are a bit tricky, making each version frustratingly difficult instead of challenging.

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Chip and Dale 2 took inspiration from Mega Man

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Chip and Dale and its sequel were also produced by Tokuro Fujiwara. However, unlike the aforementioned titles, this game is quite easy, as it’s appropriately aimed at a younger market. It even got a port to the Nintendo arcade system, the PlayChoice 10.

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An image of the PlayChoice 10 from the
International Arcade Museum website.

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Later zones in Chip and Dale 2 will be familiar to those who have played Mega Man. Capcom, of course, developed both franchises, and the mechanical zone pictured above is extremely similar to Mega Man 3 (with the exception of the gopher sprites!). Chip and Dale 2 also takes inspiration from Mega Man in its gameplay. Unlike the rinse and repeat ball-throwing strategem of Chip and Dale, the sequel switches up boss patterns, making things a bit more like Mega Man

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Darkwing Duck was Produced by the Same Person Who Created Ghosts n' Goblins

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Aesthetically, you don’t need to look far to see that this game (and the original cartoon) is a Disney interpretation of Batman. With his grappling hook moves, sharp wit, and brooding tone, Darkwing could comfortably hold the title of Caped Crusader. And no one would be able to deny that he couldn't hold his own in today’s superhero brawlers like Marvel vs Capcom.

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As a platformer, this game was notoriously hard. You only have two hit points, the controls can be a little fiddly, and your jumping and grappling have to be pixel perfect. The difficulty curve is most likely because of its producer, Tokuro Fujiwara, who also created Capcom classics like Ghosts and Goblins.

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Fujiwara went on to create his own studio, Whoopee Camp, which made the Tomba platformers for PlayStation. These were very well received, and helped to cement Fujiwara’s reputation as a developer of very hard games!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/u/c/ducktales1-2542f.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/u/c/ducktales1-2542f.png","type":"slide","id":"168212","description":"

Capcom’s DuckTales Staff Went on to Create Mega Man

\n

Many key Capcom staff members who worked on Mega Man also worked on DuckTales. Indeed, a key artist in the DuckTales game, Keiji Inafune, produced Mega Man Zero. This installment of the game featured a Triple Rod weapon which let the player attack in up to eight different directions, while also allowing them to bounce on top of enemies. Like Shovel Knight, it seems almost directly inspired by Scrooge McDuck’s pogo jump.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/h/o/shovel-knight-0caea.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/h/o/shovel-knight-0caea.jpg","type":"slide","id":"168211","description":"

Scrooge McDuck’s Pogo Move Inspired Shovel Knight

\n

The first DuckTales game, released in 1989, is remembered as a classic partly due to Scrooge McDuck’s pogo-jump move. Not many platformers around at the time gave their main character a unique move like this – for example, Mario’s special abilities in Super Mario Bros 3 came through temporary power ups while Scrooge's came naturally. 

\n

Shovel Knight, which is openly inspired by NES classics platformers like Ghosts n' Goblins, Darkwing Duck, and Duck Tales, was developed by Yacht Club Games. Interestingly, Yacht Club Games was set up by Sean Velasco, who used to direct WayForward Technologies. In turn, WayForward was behind 2013's remaster of the first NES DuckTales. Their involvement seems to reveal how Sean Valseco cut his teeth learning the intricacies of these old titles -- and how Shovel Knight came to be. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/s/disney-afternoon-collection-cover-94ff8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/s/disney-afternoon-collection-cover-94ff8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"168210","description":"

During the 90's, showing cartoons at the same time kids were getting home from school was a trend. Disney was at the forefront, and releasing a selection of shows with new takes on classic characters was a large part of their strategy. There was Baloo, of The Jungle Book fame, starring as an ace pilot in TaleSpin, or the chipmunks, Chip and Dale, from the old 1940s and 1950s shorts taking up badges as crime solving detectives in Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers. This block of cartoons was known as the Disney Afternoon, which is why this compilation is called the Disney Afternoon Collection, a collection that attempts to recreate that afternoon magic on the video game consoles of today. 

\n

Capcom had the rights to make games with Disney characters in the 1990s, and they tried to encapsulate the fun of the cartoons into a series of games for various platforms of that era, ranging from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to the Sega Game Gear. Some were fantastic experiences, while others were much less so. 

\n

However, The Disney Afternoon Collection, which includes the NES compilations of DuckTales 1 & 2Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers 1 & 2, Darkwing Duck, and TaleSpin was not one of the latter. Because of that, this collection was recently released as the Disney Afternoon Collection on PS4 and Xbox One.

\n

Despite being games based on cartoons, they have a rich history that the average gamer doesn’t know. So without further ado, here are five things that you probably didn’t know about this little collection.

"}]]]>
No, History Isn't Repeating Itself With Nintendo's SNES Classic Pre-Order Debacle https://www.gameskinny.com/vosrp/no-history-isnt-repeating-itself-with-nintendos-snes-classic-pre-order-debacle https://www.gameskinny.com/vosrp/no-history-isnt-repeating-itself-with-nintendos-snes-classic-pre-order-debacle Sun, 27 Aug 2017 12:51:29 -0400 Steven Oz

Welcome to Nintendo -- home of Mario, Link, and a supply management chain that can hardly meet demands. I love Nintendo, but the company definitely has some work to do when it comes to distribution of its products. It seems like we go through a supply/demand shortage almost every time that a new console, game, or Amiibo comes out. 

Flashback to about a year ago -- the NES Classic was coming out, and people were losing their minds. It was portable, simple, and very cute. At the great price of $60 (the standard price for a AAA game) you'd get a handful of nostalgic games. The perfect gift for the lapsed gamer in your life.  

When pre-orders came out, they were gone in seconds. Retail stores could not keep them in stock, and some managers even said they would only receive two units per store. Then the retro console was discontinued, with a few hundred thousand sold.

In the case of the NES Classic, supply definitely did not equal demand. Nintendo created demand for the miniature console, and they could not (or chose not to) meet it. It's possible that the company believed it would be a gimmick collectible and didn't realize people would actually want it. It's also possible that Nintendo knew full well how popular the console would be, and generated hype around a product they never intended to make widely available.

No matter what the true cause was, the whole debacle ultimately resulted in more unhappy fans than it did satisfied consumers, and made players wary of Nintendo's ability to meet demand for the products it marketed heavily. 

Enter the SNES Classic

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last several months, you probably know that Nintendo has announced yet another miniature version of a classic console -- the Super Nintendo Classic. It has been slated to come out September 29, 2017 (just over a month from now). But so far, the only information Nintendo has given is the following statement on its Facebook page:

"We appreciate the incredible anticipation that exists for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition system, and can confirm that it will be made available for pre-order by various retailers late this month [August]. A significant amount of additional systems will be shipped to stores for launch day, and throughout the balance of the calendar year."

As soon as pre-order was announced, the warning bells began to toll for many on the internet. And everyone was wondering....would Nintendo actually be able to meet consumer demand this time around, or would we see a repeat of the NES Classic drought?

Unfortunately, fans got more of the same from the Big N.

Even though Nintendo assured us that there would be significantly more SNES Classic units made than the NES Classic...that doesn't actually seem to be the case. Store are still sold out everywhere, and supplies still seem to be far more limited than the demand that Nintendo is surely aware of by now.

Because of this, fans like myself are really starting to wonder whether it's true that Nintendo is faking its limited supplies. But if we take the time and really crunch the numbers, it starts to look less like a shady business practice and more like a pragmatic way of testing the waters before investing fully in a product.

This sort of behavior was understandable when it came to a unique flagship console like the Nintendo Switch. The company couldn't afford to overproduce this machine on its first run, because that would cost a significant amount of money. If each unit costs around $257 to make, making a 10 million units to sell would run somewhere around $2.5 billion. And misjudging the demand when you're forking over that kind of production cost can be devastating -- even missing the mark by a million units could lose the company nearly $300 million in revenue. 

At the end of the day, Nintendo isn't a parent that has to provide us with everything we ask for. It's a company that has a bottom line to meet, shareholders and profits to keep in mind, and a business plan that simply cannot make every fan happy.  Unfortunately for those of us who really want to get our hands on these products, it seems like part of the Big N's plan is to limit its production until there's real proof that a product will sell at the rate it needs to. 

Maybe Nintendo Isn't Crazy or Careless At All

It's certainly possible that Nintendo is just pulling the wool over our eyes in an effort to make itself look better to investors. But really, it seems more and more like the company is just trying to protect itself by not over-producing anything that isn't guaranteed to fly off shelves.

The NES Classic was a dumb mistake on Nintendo's part -- a case where it greatly underestimated demand and didn't create nearly enough supply. The company thought it was just a gimmick, but it turned out to be an extremely sought-after product that had tons of nostalgic value. Though this doesn't quite explain the decision to discontinue the NES Classic after its first run, at least it looks like Nintendo is sort of learning from its mistakes. 

When the SNES Classic arrives in fuller force, hopefully we'll see a second and third run of it to serve those fans who really want to get their hands on this revamped piece of their childhoods. We've created another wave of demand this time around, and now it's up to Nintendo to meet that demand with a real supply that will do right by its fans. In the end, it'll be a smart business move that'll raise their bottom line. 

The SNES Classic Edition goes on sale on September 29, and it costs $79.99...if you can get your hands on one. 

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Everything You Need to Know About Minecraft's Better Together and Graphical Updates https://www.gameskinny.com/bm8ii/everything-you-need-to-know-about-minecrafts-better-together-and-graphical-updates https://www.gameskinny.com/bm8ii/everything-you-need-to-know-about-minecrafts-better-together-and-graphical-updates Fri, 25 Aug 2017 11:50:50 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

Everyone knows Minecraft. It's the biggest phenomenon we've seen in many years, even beating out the likes of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Unlike most games, Minecraft has pierced through the gaming world and into pop culture at large. This is all thanks largely to its mass appeal to people of all ages.

In the last several years, Minecraft has spread from PC to consoles and mobile device, spawning a number of different editions for nearly every device out there. But this hit builder is about to see some big changes soon, as Microsoft/Mojang is making some moves to consolidate all these versions of Minecraft and make various other updates that will bring it into the current generation of gaming. 

In a timeframe that has only been described as “Autumn”, Microsoft will be releasing an update they are calling Better Together, a couple of different graphics enhancements, and a new Xbox One S console bundle for good measure. Here's everything you need to know about these big changes and how they might affect your Minecraft game.

Minecraft Better Together Update

The Better Together update is going to be changing a lot -- including whether or not your version of the game will continue to be supported. It's intended to unite most of the versions of Minecraft across various platforms into one common experience going forward.

This means that people who are playing Minecraft on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile devices (iOS/Android), and the Windows 10 version of the game will be able to play together and get dev updates at the same time.

For years now, Minecraft has had various versions out in the wild. But unifying the player experience means that everyone will need to have the same version of the game, so to speak. This means that people playing on some platforms may have more growing pains than others.

It is also important to note that old versions of the game -- like those on PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U -- will still work, but they will not be receiving updates going forward. 

What does this update mean for your specific version? Here's the rundown on what's changing for each platform. 

Mobile

Minecraft: Pocket Edition is available on the App Store and Google Play for $6.99. If you already own the game on mobile, all you'll have to do for the Better Together update is download it and continue to play like normal. You should see very few changes to your play experience.

Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

Digital Editions

If you own a digital copy of the game, then you're in the clear when the Better Together update launches. You will be given a free download of the new version of the game -- all you have to do is download it. This is presumed to be through a voucher code, that's not 100% clear. We'll update this article when definite information has been released. 

If you don't own the game but you want to check it out now with all the new updates coming, you can download Minecraft on Xbox One for $19.99 and Nintendo Switch for $29.99. 

Physical Editions

Fans who have a physical copy of Minecraft will be disappointed to learn that they'll might have to purchase the title again to continue receiving developer support after the Better Together update. 

How it works is a little bit complex. If you've played the game for at least 5 hours within the last year, then you'll be given free access to the updated game when it releases -- and you'll get it on the console of your choice. (And yes, you can go play for 5 hours right now and it will still count.) 

This access is only available for a limited time, but the actual window of opportunity for players hasn't been disclosed.  

PC

There will technically be two different versions of Minecraft on PC. The Windows 10 version will receive the Better Together update. But the original version of the game, which will now be called Minecraft: Java Edition (because its programming language is Java), will not be getting the update.

Both versions are currently available for $26.99.

PS4

As of the writing of this article, the PS4 is not going to be receiving the Better Together Update since Sony has not yet agreed to allow it on their platform. But hope is not lost, as Sony and Microsoft are currently in negotiations. 

The bad news, however, is that the old version of Minecraft will no longer be purchasable after the update has been released -- meaning that the PS4 might not allow you to purchase any version of Minecraft unless a settlement is reached.

You can buy the digital version of Minecraft: PS4 Edition now for $19.99.

If you have any other questions that were unanswered by all of this, then you can also check out the official FAQ

Minecraft Better Graphics Update

Minecraft's graphics will also be seeing an improvement during the same vague time frame of “Autumn”. Basically, all the platforms that receive the Better Together Upgrade will also be receiving this graphical update to enhance the look of the game and make it compatible with higher-resolution devices. The update in question is promised to include:\

  • 4K HDR Graphics
  • Improved lighting
  • Enhanced shadows
  • Realistic water effects
Super Duper Graphics Pack

In addition to this graphical overhaul, current-gen console and Win10 users will also have access to a free DLC called the Super Duper Graphics pack. This pack will add:

"Dynamic shadows, lighting that streams through fog, movement in leaves and grass, new textures for mobs and villagers, directional lighting, edge highlighting and more!"

This DLC will be available on the Xbox One and Windows 10 versions of the game. It is said to perform best on the Xbox One X and high-end PCs. There is no news as to whether this will come to the Switch.

Note: Microsoft has confirmed that players will not be forced to upgrade their graphics. If you like the old graphics, then you are more than welcome to keep them.

Xbox One S Bundle

Lastly, there is a new Minecraft Xbox One S Console bundle that was just announced alongside these multiple updates. Set to release on October 3, 2017, this 1TB Xbox One S will set you back $400.

It will include:

  1. Xbox One S Limited Edition 1TB Console
  2. Limited Edition Creeper Xbox Wireless Controller
  3. Minecraft digital code
  4. Minecraft Redstone Pack bonus content digital code
  5. Xbox One S Vertical Stand  
  6. 1-month Xbox Game Pass trial
  7. 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial 

If you are interested in this bundle, then you can pre-order it from Microsoft's website.

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So there you have it folks! All the biggest, most important details you need to know about the upcoming changes to Minecraft. I hope this helped you out! If you need any more help don't forget about the FAQ that should be able to answer some of your more specific questions. And as always, don't be afraid to leave a comment down below if you want more information!

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ProjectMQ: A Platform Built for the Indie Game Community https://www.gameskinny.com/yiot1/projectmq-a-platform-built-for-the-indie-game-community https://www.gameskinny.com/yiot1/projectmq-a-platform-built-for-the-indie-game-community Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:19:15 -0400 Kat De Shields

It’s no secret that the indie development scene is taking the gaming world by storm. Small dev studios are producing noteworthy and wildly popular games that rival some titles coming out of AAA studios. As the indie scene continues to grow, it’s important to take notice of the organizations and sites that work to support them. 

Enter ProjectMQ.

This is much more than a social platform dedicated to indie games. It’s a thriving community of indie fans and indie developers that seeks to educate as well as elevate.

According to the ProjectMQ website:

Game discovery/visibility is terribly broken on many computer, mobile, and console marketplaces. This frustrates gamers that are trying to find quality interactive experiences. It also makes indie developers/studios struggle to build a social audience and sell their games. ProjectMQ fixes the game discovery problem with a global community for indie game studios and fans.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Malcolm and Marcus Howard -- twins and creators of ProjectMQ --  about how they plan to connect, support, and grow the global indie gaming community. 


Malcolm and Marcus Howard, creators of ProjectMQ.

GS: How did the idea for ProjectMQ come about?

Malcolm: Playing video games has always been a big part of our lives. We’ve been playing since we were six years-old -- Super Mario Bros 3. In college we’d watch YouTube videos and think, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to share memories and have an easier way in general to watch media for games?” At the time, there wasn’t a platform that existed like that.

GS: What is your vision for ProjectMQ? How will it work?

Marcus: Project MQ is comprised of two pieces. The first is a public brand on social media channels. Our goal is to expand our active presence on platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, where millennials, gamers, and developers live. Our website offers public resources for developers, like tips for marketing on Twitter, how to start and run a Kickstarter campaign, PR best practices, and other information. The second piece of ProjectMQ is an invitation-only exclusive area where we handpick indie games from across the world to be featured on the site. People who are passionate about indie titles can access the site and check out what’s up and coming or new, too. We will use both of these pieces to offer support to the indie game community.

Steam is in business to make sales, not necessarily to promote quality indie games. With things like Steam Sales, consumer expectation is that they should only buy games at the lowest possible price or when a sale is going on. Unlike AAA studios, indie development studios don’t pad their budgets. They add in just enough to make a profit that will make their next game. Unfortunately, many consumers are conditioned to not appreciate any game unless it’s $0.99. Indie devs are small business owners and entrepreneurs in their own right. They can’t afford to make a living off of $0.99 games.

The games we select are polished and unique. Our goal is to grow ProjectMQ to support a larger number of indie developers, but we have to keep that number small now due to limited resources.

Malcolm: It’s not that we don’t want to support all indie devs -- that’s why we have the Twitter marketing aspect -- it's that we’re focused on the middle tier of the indie scene. You have a group of mid-tier devs who are spending years making a game and investing money in the games they make. It’s important that this group of people can continue to make their games.

Marcus: We aim to establish a public brand where indie devs and fans can connect around the world. We also want to provide actionable, high-value advice. Our site is exclusive to people who truly want to move the indie community forward.

Malcolm: “A rising tide floats all boats.”

GS: How are indie development studios responding to ProjectMQ?

Malcolm: We’ve received overwhelming, positive support for what we’re doing. All of our efforts are volunteer based. We don’t charge developers for the promotions we run, like #indiefeaturemonday and #indiefeaturefriday. Indies are thankful for what we’ve done; there aren’t a lot of places where they can get this level of support. Many of them don't have a marketing budget whatsoever. ProjectMQ is a platform where they can promote their work to an active audience that wants to engage with them.

Marcus: So far, we support more than 300 independent development studios across more than 25 countries.

GS: I know you’ve been presenting at investment incubators, what other successes have you had thus far?

Malcolm: In 2016, we won the Hatch House Open competition in Pennsylvania, which included a cash prize and networking/consulting services.

In April of this year, we won Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Savannah’s Bootcamp Demo Day -- a SharkTank-style pitch competition. We received a cash prize from the Savannah Economic Development Authority. We also participated and were selected as a winner in the Neighborhood Start Fund Pitch Competition in Chicago. In May, we completed the Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) Accelerator Program and placed as a finalist in the Accelerator Awards for cash prizes.

GS: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered?

Malcolm: We missed our first scheduled launch date of January 2016. Ultimately, one of our biggest challenges is time. This is a bootstrapped effort for us, and we’re completely self-funded. A lot of early mornings, late nights, and weekends. We’re trying to build a brand/audience that is global and has content available for all of the time zones our gamers live in.

Marcus: 30,000 followers in two years. We’re excited for the growth, but thousands of people have access to us at any given time. My phone dies a lot. We want the brand to be approachable and human. It takes a lot of effort to provide that experience.

GS: Project MQ has its own Slack Channel. How does this work into the larger social media platform?

Malcolm: Our Slack channel started as a temporary solution, but it’s worked out really well and it’s something that is scaleable. The community is great, and it’s a great way for us to interact with supporters and get feedback on a regular basis. One of the things we love about our Slack community is that everyone is positive and helpful. They share advice and support each other. There’s the occasional debate, but it doesn’t devolve into mudslinging.

GS: How can people get involved with or support ProjectMQ?

Malcolm: Follow us on Twitter and keep up with the ProjectMQ dev blog -- it’s the place where we share backstories, successes and challenges.


Marcus: If anyone else wants to support what we're doing, support indie games. A lot of people don't realize that making games takes an incredible amount of work. Even if you don't’ have money to spend, telling someone you like their work goes a long way. Share something if you think it’s cool. Every little bit helps.

GS: If you could go back to the beginning and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Malcolm: Scale down. Not in our efforts but in the features. That’s part of the reason why launch has been delayed. We were building out stuff like chat features from scratch, but they are better suited via the platforms we’re using now. It cost us development time.

GameSkinny would like to thank Marcus and Malcolm for taking the time to speak with us and for all their efforts to support the indie dev community. ProjectMQ is live and in pre-alpha. To see what ProjectMQ is up to, check out their website, their Twitter page or dev blog.

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No Man's Sky: How to Get Star Bulbs https://www.gameskinny.com/n6af7/no-mans-sky-how-to-get-star-bulbs https://www.gameskinny.com/n6af7/no-mans-sky-how-to-get-star-bulbs Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:56:43 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

No Man's Sky has a seemingly has an endless well of resources for players to craft with, but some of those resources can be pretty touch to find. And the recent Atlas Rises update has added tons of new materials that players can collect -- including Star Bulbs. 

This beautiful item is naturally located on lush planets. These planets are usually hotter in temperature than others. If you need Star Bulbs for yourself, you can only obtain them in two ways -- mining them from the environment or farming them.

How to Mine Star Bulbs in No Man's Sky

Star bulbs can only be harvested from Star Bramble. The good thing is that Star Bramble grows wild in its natural habit. So you'll find these plants growing like weeds on lush planets.

How to Farm Star Bulbs in No Man's Sky

If you don't want to spend all your time hunting down Star Bulbs and mining them, you can also farm Star Bramble to have a more reliable supply of this resource at your disposal (with the help of an NPC).

Once you build agricultural terminals, you can hire a farmer to tend to a Star Bramble crop. A farmer can grow Star Bramble in 30 minutes of real-world time. Then you can harvest it for Star Bulbs just like you would out in the wild, but from the comfort of your own home base. 

If you land on a planet that's tropical and lush, then chances are you've found yourself a Star Bulb gold mine. You can search for them in the wild and or set up shop to have them farmed painlessly. Enjoy the tropics as you collect those stars!

Want more help exploring and gathering resources in this procedurally generated space adventure? Check out the rest of our No Man's Sky guides for everything you need to know!

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No Man's Sky: Where to Find Frost Crystals https://www.gameskinny.com/ya16b/no-mans-sky-where-to-find-frost-crystals https://www.gameskinny.com/ya16b/no-mans-sky-where-to-find-frost-crystals Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:03:11 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

No Man's Sky has a lot of resources that players can come across and use in various ways, though many of them are fairly hard to come by. One of these resources is the Frost Crystal. Previously known as Coryzagen, this crystal is used to create glass and a few other things.

But when it comes to actually finding this frosty resource, a lot of players are getting stumped. Frost Crystals are naturally located on chilly planets and moons colored black, blue, and purple. These colors indicate that the environments have sub-zero temperatures. Once you're in the right location, Frost Crystals can only be obtained via mining or farming. 

How to Mine Frost Crystals in No Man's Sky

To mine Frost Crystals, you'll need to hunt down a plant called Frostwort. It's shiny in appearance, and can be found in any cold location. Harvesting Frostwort will yield you Frost Crystals. But be careful, because this plant can be quite deadly -- mining it is impossible unless you have hazmat gauntlets to protect yourself.

How to Farm Frost Crystals in No Man's Sky

Though you can harvest Frostwort for Frost Crystals as you traverse colder worlds, you can also farm Frostwort for a more reliable supply of this resource with the help of an NPC. 

Once you build agricultural terminals, you can hire a farmer to work in them. A farmer can grow Frostwort in 15 minutes of real-world time. This will produce 20 Frost Crystals for each Frostwort plant that's grown. You can continue this process as long as you like to earn however many Frost Crystals you need. 

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That's all there is to it! If you find a planet that's cold, you've found yourself a Frost Crystal mining spot. But if you don't want to search for them in the wild, you can set up shop and farm them instead. Either way...stay frosty, and stock up on those crystals!

Need more help navigating worlds and collecting resources in this procedurally generated galactic adventure? Check out the rest of our No Man's Sky guides for more tips and tricks!

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Is the First Total War Saga Going to Be Set in Viking Age Ireland? https://www.gameskinny.com/9e2cc/is-the-first-total-war-saga-going-to-be-set-in-viking-age-ireland https://www.gameskinny.com/9e2cc/is-the-first-total-war-saga-going-to-be-set-in-viking-age-ireland Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:13:48 -0400 Skrain

Ever since developer Creative Assembly originally teased its new Total War Saga series, fans have eagerly been awaiting more information about when and where its games will be set. Though the developer has remain tight-lipped about specific info so far, fans have started uncovering evidence of what they might be able to expect. 

Some astute members of the Total War subreddit pointed out that CA's teaser image for Total War Saga (above) depicts the Eastern Coast of Ireland, just north of Dublin. This has led them to speculate that the first game in the series might focus on Ireland and Britain during the Viking Age.

Below is a comparison image that puts the teaser image side-by-side with a map rendering of the Irish coast it supposedly depicts:


Click to Enlarge

There hasn't been any confirmation of this, and there isn't much more teaser information for fans to dig into and try to unpack. But even the notion of visiting Viking Age Ireland has a number of people excited. 

Why might this era of Ireland be the perfect inaugural setting for Total War Saga? Because the series is intended to be a series of standalone titles that focus on far more specific points in history. Creative Assembly has confirmed that the gameplay will ultimately be the same, but series will not be introducing any new eras. Instead, it will expand on the timelines already set up by the main series titles, focusing on events that span from a few months to several years. If the standard Total War games is a sword slash, Saga will be more like a dagger strike. 

Ireland (and possibly Britain) could indeed be the setting of the first Total War Saga, and the chances that it could take place during the Viking Age is pretty high. This could serve as an expansion of the timeline in Total War Attila, especially the Celtic Culture Pack. Creative Assembly has shown some interest in the region before, so it's definitely feasible that the developer will revisit it. 

What Do You Think?

While I think that Viking Age Britannia sounds interesting enough, I'd rather see a more obscure subject highlighted in the first Total War Saga, like the Hussite Wars. This was one of the earliest European Wars to involve handheld firearms, and the first use of field guns in battle rather than just a siege. The political and religious impact of this skirmish was massive as well, and one could make the argument that the Hussites set the stage for further Papal reformation. 

There isn't currently a release date set for the first Total War Saga, but perhaps we can look forward to more information being revealed after the developer has launched Total War Warhammer 2 later in September.

Are you hoping this first Saga game will be set in Ireland? Or would you rather see Creative Assembly focus on something else? Let me know down in the comments!

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The Advantages of The "Teen" Rated Video Game https://www.gameskinny.com/cbcee/the-advantages-of-the-teen-rated-video-game https://www.gameskinny.com/cbcee/the-advantages-of-the-teen-rated-video-game Sat, 19 Aug 2017 19:00:01 -0400 Greyson Ditzler (PurplePocketPirate)

In a market where both younger and more mature audiences equally contribute to sales, there exists a middle-ground in terms of mechanical complexity and emotional maturity that is less-often explored -- "T for Teen". 

 

It's important that we understand exactly what a Teen rating means. According to the official ESRB website, a Teen rating means

 "Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language."

Teen-rated games are interesting because they exist in a middle-ground between games made for everyone and adult games. This middle-ground puts them into a niche genre all on their own. Teenagers are unique, and they may feel too old to play "kids games" but often aren't allowed to play games for adults.

This creates a massive audience for games that find a happy average between the two age groups. The kind of games that respect the intelligence of the player, and challenge them, while still appealing to their craving for an overall fun and perhaps whimsical experience. Metroid Prime is a perfect example.

 

Metroid Prime is a Teen rated game that has every reason to be Teen rated and takes full advantage of it. It has elements that appeal to both teenagers looking for something more adult and adults themselves.

On one hand, the game has an enormous world to explore, colorful and interesting locations full of secrets, and accessible gameplay boiling down to shooting bad guys with lasers. On the other hand, by also providing deep combat, an ominous and alien atmosphere, and the occasional dark and cerebral story element, it has an adult appeal.

Mature themes and concepts don't need to be hidden behind an M rating. Plenty of E and E10+ games have shown this, but Teen rated games have the slightest extra advantage. Games like Fire Emblem Awakening, Xenoblade Chronicle,  and Skies of Arcadia show that mature themes and deep, compelling stories don't need a stamp on the box saying "17+".

Games like these effectively show that less is more, and the limitations of a Teen rating can be used to a story's advantage. PG-13 movies limit their use of graphic violence and profanity and use them smartly when they can. Teen rated games are no different. If you can only show blood once, or only use the word "damn" so many times, then you'd better make them count -- and a great number of developers understand this. 

The first of few bloody deaths in Xenoblade Chronicles...

... And the depressingly destitute living conditions of Valua's Lower City in Skies of Arcadia are all the more effective for their limited use and tonal contrast.

The Dark Knight is a great example of the same Teen game principle of balancing whimsicality with ground realism and a dark tone. It's a film that expertly weaves a narrative equal parts superhero fantasy and the moral ambiguity of real-world vigilante justice. If it leaned harder in either direction towards more adult or more childish it would be ruined.

A scene with imagery this silly could only be as believable and dramatic as it is through a careful balance between gritty realism and escapist fantasy. I argue that only a PG-13 movie could have pulled this off. 

The most interesting part about this particular comparison is the difference between the clarity of each system's age ratings. The criteria for a PG-13 movie is a little unclear, as the official description a little vague. The MPAA's official description of PG-13 is:

"Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers."

When I first learned that The Dark Knight was a PG-13 movie, I was actually surprised. It seems like such a dark, disturbing film to aim at teenagers, but nobody acknowledges its PG-13 rating, and more often discuss its high quality as a film. At the end of the day, that's more important than who it's supposedly "made for". 

Some games, however, couldn't be suited by any rating other than Teen. Psychonauts gameplay, for example, is well-suited for the "E for Everyone" audience, however, the game places itself in the Teen rated territory with a well-written story with a number of dark jokes and serious character moments.

The major appeal to younger audiences would be lost if the game went too mature with its subject matter, but at the same time, the down-to-earth nature of the game would suffer if it had to compromise it's writing. 

seriously doubt that an E rated Psychonauts would have been able to make Napoleonic warfare as funny as it did.

To delve deeper into this point let's compare Beyond Good & Evil and the upcoming Beyond Good and Evil 2. While the latter hasn't released yet, a number of fans felt the trailer gave off a rocky impression of the final product. One common criticism was the drastic shift in tone between the two games, with the newest entry focusing heavily on a mature setting.

Beyond Good & Evil had an overall tone that balanced itself between light-hearted adventure and sinister conspiracy theory. It was T rated, but the trailer for the sequel had noticeable amounts of cursing, blood, and violence, and will quite likely be rated M. The actual rating and quality of the final product are yet to be seen, but the concerned and confused fans raise a fair point; does a game in this series, with the subject matter it is already known and loved for, need to have such a mature shift in tone and rating? 

You can spot the discrepancy between the two games by comparing their trailers. While Beyond Good and Evil 2 could still be a great game with a compelling story, the question still remains, why limit the audience when the subject matter is perfectly suited to be more family-friendly? 

One sells itself as an adventurous - if a bit dramatic - action adventure game in space.

The other is basically the same thing... with some added blood and a few too many curse words.

There are disadvantages to every age rating, but games that are rated T also have the greatest advantage -- they can be classics in more than one category. They're a category of game that can deliver the best of both worlds with mechanical depth, emotional investment, and childlike whimsicality. Despite their intended age rating, in the end, well-made Teen games really are the games that end up being for everyone. 

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Are "Life Sim" Games RPGs, or Its Own Genre Entirely? https://www.gameskinny.com/e5amj/are-life-sim-games-rpgs-or-its-own-genre-entirely https://www.gameskinny.com/e5amj/are-life-sim-games-rpgs-or-its-own-genre-entirely Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:45:01 -0400 Rena Pongchai [Kazurenai]

Everyone has their own favorite game genres, whether it's strategy, horror, platformers, or just plain "action", you can usually find a middle ground to the kind of games you enjoy. For me, it's JRPGs, preferably mixed with strategy, but as long as it has a good plot and battle mechanics, I'm not too picky. However, there is one game I particularly love that I felt didn't really "fit" with the rest.

And that game was Animal Crossing.

Usually when the term "RPG" comes to mind, people think of games that follow the trend of fighting monsters, travelling across lands while honing your skills -- and basically partaking in some epic journey that bards will sing tales of for generations. Animal Crossing, however, is limited within the realm of your new town and the player partakes in social events with the other villagers. Doesn't really fit the RPG description, does it? 

If you take RPG literally, then doesn't the genre essentially mean to "role-play" as a character? In Animal Crossing, you "role-play" as a new villager that starts a new life, making friends and generally enjoying life in the process.

The Harvest Moon series, which is a farming simulation at its core, and its more RPG inspired spin-off, Rune Factory fall into a similar middle ground between well defined genres. Rune Factory was even initially marketed as "A Fantasy Harvest Moon" For instance, you farmed monsters instead of animals. It also offered similar traditional RPG gameplay elements and introduced combat mechanics - which was a big part of the game. Perhaps most importantly, it offered a storyline, as opposed to the open-ended storytelling present in Harvest Moon. All of this only further serves to blur the lines between genres. 

You can already tell from the cover art which is more fixated on farming and which seems to have a more fleshed out story. 

What makes a game an "RPG?" Is it fighting? And since so many modern RPG's have employed almost non-existent stories, can that even be said to be essential anymore? And what about the travelling to faraway lands and honing your skills?

Both Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon take place in a fictional world, both of which require the player to explore and discover new things. While Harvest Moon does actually have skills that you level up (such as walking, sleeping, farming, mining), Animal Crossing doesn't necessarily have skills but allows for a sense of personal achievement through collecting fossils, fish, bugs, furniture. While it's not the tried and true EXP based progression system, it follows a very similar structure. 

Some "goals" you can strive for in Animal Crossing include filling up the aquarium, collecting fossils for the museum, or getting badges from special events. 

Personally, I feel what prevents them from ultimately entering the realm of the RPG is the fact that the player is essentially doing what I would call, "Virtual Chores". Anything that can be done in the game, such as talking to your neighbours, catching bugs, or planting crops, can easily be done in real life. Even Stardew Valley, which is also in a similar vein as these titles, has caused many reviewers to joke about how addicting these normally mundane tasks are in-game.

Yes! After 13 in-game days, I'll harvest these babies and earn me some mad money in-game which I could do in real life but eh, who has the time for that?

So ultimately, while you can say that these games do have RPG elements, they're probably better suited to their own brand of gaming. Genres are supposed to help you understand what a book, movie, or game are about in short form and it doesn't any justice to the term RPG to just lump Harvest Moon in with Final Fantasy and call it a day. It's like comparing horror films with thriller films: just because they both shock and fill you with suspense, doesn't mean you're going to feel the same about both of them by the end. 

And that's the thing. By the end of an RPG, the story will conclude with the hero completing his main goal, leaving the player to feel accomplished in the journey that they have travelled. Whereas with Animal Crossing and life simulation games in general, you feel accomplished everyday, yet it just goes... on. You can "complete" everything you possibly can, but it never really ends and it lets you continue on indefinitely.

As games get more ambitious it doesn't seem fair, or even possible, to categorize certain games anymore. Nowadays so many games represent mashups of several different genres and it seems almost no game is safe from the addition of at least a few superfluous RPG elements, like unneeded crafting systems and skill trees that offer uninteresting perks. Sometimes all we can do is try to explain games as best as we can, and enjoy them the rest of the time.

What do you think? Are there any other games you know that fall into different, sometimes poorly defined genres?

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Q&A -- Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics Designers Talk Community, Game Design, and More https://www.gameskinny.com/3prlt/qa-hand-of-the-gods-smite-tactics-designers-talk-community-game-design-and-more https://www.gameskinny.com/3prlt/qa-hand-of-the-gods-smite-tactics-designers-talk-community-game-design-and-more Thu, 10 Aug 2017 10:11:21 -0400 ActionJ4ck

After successful ventures into the MOBA and Arena Shooter genres with SMITE and Paladins, Hi-Rez Studios is now breaking into the crowded CCG space with Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics. With HotG recently moving into open beta after several months of closed beta, we were eager for the chance to chat with designers Scott Lussier and Austin Gallman about the importance of community feedback, their design process, and competitive play. 

GameSkinny: Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics entered open beta a few weeks ago and has been in closed beta for a while now. How important has player feedback been for the development of the game during that time?

Scott Lussier (Lead Designer): All Hi-Rez games have made the community a factor in the development cycle and on Hand of the Gods, we have taken it one step further by giving the community direct ways to contact us through Discord. As the lead designer, my job is to ensure the best playing experience, both competitively and casually, and if I were to remove the community from the equation, I would be missing out on very critical feedback and input. This is why I asked the community to create a channel inside of our Discord called “Ask-Gandhi,” where I answer questions every week day.

GS: HotG recently added the Mayan pantheon, bringing a bunch of new cards and an interesting new zombie focus to the game. Can you tell us a little bit about the process for designing a new pantheon? Do you start with a pantheon that you want to add and try to design mechanics that fit into it, or do you take a more bottom-up approach? Is it challenging to avoid overlapping the new gameplay with existing pantheon cards or carve out a unique role for the new set?

SL: The goal of adding a new pantheon to Hand of the Gods is to create a unique play style for players to learn and master, so the first step of selecting a new pantheon is to assess the current state of the game and the competitive meta. Fortunately, Hand of the Gods currently only has six pantheons, so it is a little bit easier to discover deck archetypes we are missing. For example, our next pantheon that will be adding to the game is Hindu. The Hindu pantheon will be our first control-centric pantheon, which we have yet to add to our game.

After our deliberation, we narrow our options down to one or two pantheons and that’s when the real fun begins, AKA the research! During my free time, I spend about a week or two putting together a presentation for the entire Hand of the Gods development team. This helps the team get a feel for the pantheon so we can capture the spirit of the pantheon in special effects, design, and animation. At the very end of the presentation, I hold a round-table discussion where everyone gives feedback for mechanics or themes for the pantheon and I take down every single suggestion. With the conclusion of the meeting, Austin [Gallman] and myself review my notes from the presentation and we start designing all of the cards inside of the pantheon.

GS: Obviously, Hand of the Gods spins off from one of Hi-Rez Studios' already existing IPs, SMITE, an action MOBA. What are some of the challenges of adapting elements from an existing game into a different genre? Does it feel limiting at all? Liberating?

Austin Gallman (Designer): It is interesting really. We will typically kick off discussions about gods we plan on adding to the game by asking ourselves, “Is there a mechanic for this god that exists in SMITE that will actually transfer over to Hand of the Gods?”. Sometimes there are mechanics that can fit well with just a few modifications, such as Ymir who freezes units with his attacks. Other times, it is much trickier and we will have to think outside of the box. I have found that the gods that do not translate cross-genre as well are typically the most fun to design. We get to explore areas that we couldn’t in SMITE and that is very exciting for us!

GS: The online CCG genre has really risen in popularity lately, with games like Hearthstone, Elder Scrolls: Legends, and GWENT earning themselves some pretty devoted players. How has the presence of these games influenced the development of Hand of the Gods, if at all? Do you find yourselves trying to emulate certain aspects of these games? Do you try to steer clear of any common tropes or mechanics?

AG: We are definitely influenced by many other games in the genre. This includes new and old games alike. There are many features that players have come to expect in online CCGs and we do our best to include those -- as well as leaving our own mark with new and exciting ways to play. The key for us will always be to try and strike the right balance of fun and familiar mechanics with new and intriguing ones.

GS: HotG recently had its tournament debut at DreamHack Valencia, so it seems like there's some intention to bring the game into the competitive eSports scene. What are some of the added challenges of developing a game tailored for competitive players in addition to casual players? Do you find yourselves having to weigh whether certain mechanics or changes would benefit one but not the other? Or is there no difference at all?

AG: CCGs are inherently competitive, so we are always designing with the highest level of play in mind. With that said, it is important to not forget about the casual player. It is very critical to us to make sure that the game is very accessible to players across all skill levels while still having enough depth to create a compelling competitive experience. This is no small task and is something that we work hard to improve over time.

GS: Finally, we're obviously going to be seeing more additions and improvements as the game progresses through open beta. What upcoming changes are you most excited for players to experience in the coming months?

AG: The Hindu Pantheon! This pantheon gets me very excited for two reasons: One, it is our first control-centric pantheon, which is long overdue, and two, this pantheon features brand new mechanics that alter the entire way you currently play Hand of the Gods.

Players can gain access to the Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics open beta through HotG's official website and can look forward to the release of the Hindu Pantheon as the open beta continues. PAX West attendees will also be able to get an early taste of the game's competitive side at a $5000 open bracket tournament organized by the Hand of the Gods team. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for all of your HotG news.

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What's In A Name? How Digimon Story Stole the Digimon World Name for Western Audiences https://www.gameskinny.com/r9vea/whats-in-a-name-how-digimon-story-stole-the-digimon-world-name-for-western-audiences https://www.gameskinny.com/r9vea/whats-in-a-name-how-digimon-story-stole-the-digimon-world-name-for-western-audiences Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:05:37 -0400 Erroll Maas

Digimon, short for Digital Monsters, started as a spin-off of Bandai's Tamagotchi virtual pet toys. But the franchise took on a life of its own -- spawning multiple anime series, a handful of movies, video games, toys, and even several different card games.

The first and perhaps most well-known of the Digimon video games is the Digimon World series, originally developed for the Sony PlayStation. While most players in the West might assume that the majority of Digimon games are part of the World series, this isn't actually true. In fact, many of the games that the West knows to be part of Digimon World's lineup are actually other series that were simply published for Western audiences under the Digimon World name. 

Some western fans still don't realize that Digimon World and Digimon Story are two separate series -- so let's try to clear up some of the confusion by looking at the perplexing history of the Digimon World series in the West and why they took the different monikers they did. 

Four Very Different Games

The first four Digimon World games -- which are all under the Digimon World name worldwide -- all have distinct differences from each other. Though they keep certain gameplay features intact, there's a lot of variation in the experiences between them. So it's sort of intriguing that they all share a series name. It's difficult to determine whether the distinction between these World games was due to experimentation with different gameplay formulas, an effort to create or coincide with other Digimon trends, or a combination of both. 

The original Digimon World, released in 2000 for America, tried to capitalize on the success of the franchise's toys and anime series. The gameplay revolved around raising a single Digimon from egg form, then engaging it in battles in order to evolve its forms. The forms a player's Digimon would evolve into depended on how it was raised -- closely following the caretaking of the original virtual pets that spawned this game. Paying attention to your Digimon was the central aspect of gameplay in this entry, as players needed to feed, rest, and otherwise tend to their pocket companion.

Oddly enough, Digimon World 2, 3, and 4 abandoned this style of gameplay, and fans didn't see it again until Digimon World Championship released in 2008.

New Digivolution in Digimon World 2

When it was released for North America in 2001, Digimon World 2 was the first game in the series to launch after the anime began airing. With gameplay that was vastly different than its predecessor, the player's initial experience felt rather similar to Pokémon or Monster Rancher, both of which had their first sequels released just a year earlier. 

Digimon World 2's gameplay saw the player exploring dungeons with a team of up to three Digimon. They could still evolve and be trained, but no longer needed to be rested, fed, or taken to the bathroom like the original game. The exploration and combat encounters took center stage here, rather than the more nurturing aspect that Digimon World relied heavily on.

This sequel also added a new digivolution concept known as DNA Digivolution, which allowed the player to combine two Digimon into one -- but the resulting Digimon would be one level lower than its parents. This also allowed the resulting Digimon to level up further than either of its parents. 

Digimon World 3 Makes Digivolution Temporary

The next entry in the series kept the DNA digivolution element, but changed pretty much everything else about the formula once again. 

Oddly enough, this game released in North America first in 2002, then came to Japan and Europe later that year. Unlike the first two games, this third entry in the series was more of a traditional RPG that took place in an MMORPG in which the players and other friends could get trapped (a popular concept at the time, as evidenced by the Bandai-published title .hack). Though the player still had three Digimon partners, battles were fought one-on-one, and creatures could be switched out, much like a Pokémon game. 

Digimon World 3 was the first in the series to feature random encounters as opposed to running into Digimon on the map. Although normal digivolution and DNA digivolution were still included in the game, the way these systems worked was changed once again so that each Digimon was allowed to bring three forms into battle. 

It was also the last Digimon World entry to appear on the original PlayStation. 

Digimon World 4 Ditches the Turn-Based RPG Formula

The successor to Digimon World 3 was a considerable departure from the gameplay of any past games in the series. Digimon World 4 was released worldwide in 2005 for the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox. It was based on the Digimon X-Evolution animated movie -- and even went so far as to reuse a few scenes from the film. 

Instead of being a monster-raising RPG like its predecessors, Digimon World 4 was a four-player co-op hack-and-slash adventure where players took the role of certain Digimon. These playable Digimon used weapons and elemental magic rather than the special attacks fans were familiar with, and could gain a digivolution after meeting certain requirements. 

In spite of its name implying that it's another entry in the main series of games, Digimon World 4 is actually a spin-off rather than a true numbered successor. The stark departure in gameplay was a shock to Western fans who were totally unaware of the Digimon X Evolution film at the time of the game's release.

So What's With The Shared Names?

If these Digimon World games were all so different, wouldn't they have warranted different names? Perhaps so, but Bandai didn't seem to think so. 

Carrying the World name across these four distinct entries might have been an effort to keep fans flocking to a more familiar name in spite of each game not being a true sequel to its predecessors. This sort of decision isn't unprecedented -- and is similar to what we've seen in series like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. So this may have been Bandai's justification for putting a few more titles under the same name in the West, despite prodigious differences between each game. 

 

More Confusion for the West

Though some Western players were jarred by the starkly different gameplay of the Digimon 4 spinoff/main series entry, but the real confusion began when the Digimon Story series began in Japan. 

If you look at the covers pictured above, you might think that you're looking at two different games that share a franchise name. But in fact, besides the language of each one, these games are exactly the same title published under totally different series names in different regions.

Released for Japan in 2006 on Nintendo DS, Digimon Story was published under the Digimon World name in the West, despite being part of a separate series.

Dubbed Digimon World DS, this game took a more Pokémon-like approach to its gameplay, while also implementing some unique elements. Players controlled a team of three Digimon -- similar to Digimon World 2 and 3 -- with three more as backup. Battles were either three-on-three encounters, or three-on-one for certain bosses. New Digimon could be obtained by battling them repeatedly until their data was 100% scanned. The game featured over 230 Digimon to discover, and those not in use could be stored in Digi-Farms (similar to the PC in Pokémon games). These Digimon could only evolve by collecting experience from defeating certain species of Digimon, achieving a certain aptitude level, or increasing friendship.

At the time of its release, Digimon World DS was praised as one of the best games in the Digimon World series -- even though it was technically part of another series entirely. Either way, it marked a true return of Digimon RPGs in the West.

The West Gets A Game Based on an Anime Series

The second game to adopt the Digimon World name in the West was Digimon World Data Squad, released in 2007 for PS2. Known as a spinoff called Digimon Savers: Another Episode in Japan, this game was based on the Digimon Data Squad anime series. 

This was the first Digimon game to feature English dubbed voice acting, and the only Digimon game to feature cel-shaded graphics. Digivolution in this title shared some similarities with the first true Digimon World game, as the form into which a Digimon would evolved was affected by how the player took care of it. But it also introduced a new method of digivolution known as the Galactica Evolution System -- which determined what Digimon the player's partner would digivolve into. 

Though this game is not an actual part of the Digimon World series, it's almost understandable that it would borrow the World name for the West, since the anime series didn't air in those regions until around a month later. As such, Digimon World Data Squad was able to continue the fandom around the World series, while also making Western fans aware of the new anime series. 

A Double Dose of DS Digimon

Several years after the release of the original Digimon World DS, a two-version sequel -- Digmon World Dawn and Dusk -- hit DS consoles in the West. However, this was part of the Story series in Japan, dubbed Digimon Story Sunburst and Moonlight. This entry in the franchise introduced several new Digimon, finished out previously incomplete or mixed-up digivolution lines, and reintroduced the DNA digivolution popularized by Digimon World 2 and 3

Because it was a sequel to Digimon World DS, it obviously would have been a mistake not to use the Digimon World name. Unaware Western fans probably would have been confused by the sudden title change, especially given the similarities between these sequels and their predecessors. 

These two DS games were the next-to-last Digimon games to release in the West before a long hiatus -- and they were the last Digimon Story games (though they didn't go by that name) that saw a Western release until 2016.

The End of an Era

The last game to release under the Digimon World moniker for Western audiences was Digimon World Championship. Known solely as Digimon Championship in Japan, this title was a bit closer in gameplay to the original game that spawned the Digimon World name. 

In battle, Digimon chose which attacks they used instead of being told. The game also introduced several new Digimon with the Dracomon digivolution line. 

But due to its departure from the gameplay of the two previous Nintendo DS games, Digimon World Championship saw relatively poor reception -- so maybe relying on the World name wasn't such a great choice in this case. 

Either way, Digimon World Championship was the last Digimon-raising game the West would see for many years -- and it was the very last Digimon game to ever receive a Digimon World name change for Western audiences.

The Names in the West Are Finally Fixed

Though the West saw a few Digimon games here and there after the sub-par release of Digimon World Championship -- like the Digimon All-Star Rumble fighting game or the Digimon Heroes! match-3 mobile game -- there were no other Digimon RPGs released until 2016's Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth for PS4 and PS Vita. 

This was the first game in the Digimon Story series that didn't get a name change to Digimon World for Western audiences, and it was also the first one to see a release on both handheld and home consoles. Cyber Sleuth borrowed from and built upon many of the gameplay elements from Digimon World DS and its sequels, Digimon World Dawn and Dusk. 

2017 saw the release of yet another Digmon World game, called Digimon World: Next Order. This was a true sequel to the original Digimon World series -- so much so that it kept the World name worldwide. The game provided a modern update to the playstyle and mechanics introduced in the original games that started the series, though this time with two Digimon partners instead of one.

At the time of writing, it's unclear whether there will be another Digimon World game. But another entry in the Story series -- dubbed Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Memory -- is slated for release on PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in Japan on December 14, 2017. It will make its way to the West sometime in 2018. 

Either way, with the release of Digimon World: Next Order and Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth, it seems like Western names for this popular series have finally caught up to their Japanese counterparts. But only time will tell if the trend will continue. 

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Preview: Rise of Insanity - Psychological Horror Done Right https://www.gameskinny.com/1tk5p/preview-rise-of-insanity-psychological-horror-done-right https://www.gameskinny.com/1tk5p/preview-rise-of-insanity-psychological-horror-done-right Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:03:50 -0400 Damien Smith

Psychological horror has always been something of a rarity within the video game industry. While most developers aim for the more known and popular horror sub-genres like survival horror, every now and then we get a psychological horror classic such as Silent Hill 2 or Sanitarium. And now Rise of Insanity is stepping up to take a shot at becoming the next classic in the genre.

Rise of Insanity is a psychological horror game currently in Steam Early Access. It is being developed by indie developer Red Limb Studio. Despite its early stages of development, the game is already showing plenty of promise. With a gripping and intriguing plot, wonderful visuals, great atmosphere, and well-designed horror sequences, there is plenty for all horror fans to enjoy.

Enter the human mind

You take on the role of Dr. Stephen Dowell, a psychologist who lost his wife and son. The death of his family remains a mystery, and the police have had no success in their investigation. Were they murdered or simply just lost? The only suspect is Dowell's latest patient, who suffers from multiple varying disorders.

You must venture into the human mind, an ever-changing place where anything is possible. It is only there that you can find the answers about what happened to your family. But some places, a man was never supposed to go -- and your greatest fears will stand in your way. Only through overcoming them will you finally be able to gain the closure you so sorely seek.

The plot to Rise of Insanity is one of mystery and intrigue. As you progress, it begins to give you answers, while also introducing more. It is a story that keeps you thinking as you begin to make your own theories as to what is going on and what happened to the Dowell's family.

The game's well-written and expertly paced plot  keeps you gripped from beginning to end. And while the current build of Rise of Insanity gives you just a taste of what is to come, it is a satisfactory one that makes you excited for what the developers will add later.

There are a few typo errors throughout the game, along with rough English translation in some areas -- but aside from that, it is a story that does the psychological horror genre justice.

A well-executed horror "walking simulator"

There is no mistaking that Rise of Insanity is essentially a "walking simulator" that plays a lot like Layers of Fear. But don't let that comparison fool you -- its design and execution isn't quite as similar, leading to a very different gameplay experience between the two.

While Layers of Fear bored me to death within the first 15 minutes of playing it, Rise of Insanity thrilled me from beginning to end (of the current build), and a lot of this was due to how the game handles its horrors.

Layers of Fear felt more like a horror mansion ride you would find in a theme park, with things jumping out at you every five seconds. But here there are well-designed horror sequences that have tension and excellent build-up. Sure, it has its occasional jump scare from time to time, but they are generally well-placed enough that they don't become predictable or obvious.

As for the general gameplay, it's basically what you would expect from a "walking simulator". You explore each area, searching for clues and evidence to the mystery at hand while solving puzzles in order to progress to the next -- all while trying not to get a case of brown trousers when things get weird.

Rise of Insanity also has a unique little feature where you take control of a crow flying through a cave system. While it is a minor feature, it is an enjoyable one that fits in with the strange and ever-shifting world. And it shakes up the gameplay just enough to keep things fresh and interesting.

You can technically die in Rise of Insanity, and it is always through your curiosity or stupidity that this happens. Any possibility of death in the game is made fairly obvious, and it's always avoidable. But if you are like me, you just won't be able to help yourself in finding out what will happen.

Overall, Rise of Insanity is a "walking simulator" that does things right, especially in the all-important horror aspects. It is well-paced, resulting in a good build up of horror sequences and a careful balance between that, relatively easy puzzle-solving, and consistent exploration. 

A great atmosphere that grips you

One of the biggest highlights of Rise of Insanity is its atmosphere. Throughout the entire game, there is always a lingering sense of dread and unease. Never do you feel particularly safe, nor does the game ever give you a real moment of ease.

No matter the location you are in, there is always a dark and foreboding feeling. You know you are somewhere that you aren't supposed to be, and anything is a possibility. It really helps to absorb you into the game, giving you an even deeper sense of immersion.

Indeed, there is still some work to be done with the atmosphere in certain places -- but overall for an early build of the game, it does a cracking job.

Potentially a psychological horror classic

Rise of Insanity has all the potential of becoming an absolute psychological horror classic. Its plot is everything you could hope for in a title of this genre, its atmosphere is great and the horror sequences are all really well-designed.

It has been quite a few years since a game genuinely scared me, and there were parts of this game that did just that. It may not appeal to players who are looking for jump scares galore -- but for the more hardcore horror fans who want scares with creativity, it is sure to thrill and well worth its price tag.

So far, Rise of Insanity is off to a great start in Early Access. It has me gripped and I can't wait to see the conclusion of the plot. I really hope that the developers up the ante with the horror, while maintaining that great balance between scares, exploration and puzzle solving.

Rise of Insanity is available in Early Access on Steam at $6.99 for Windows and VR. It is currently on sale at 10% off for $6.29.

[Note: A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purpose of this preview.]

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GFE Takes Rocket League by Force https://www.gameskinny.com/ozom1/gfe-takes-rocket-league-by-force https://www.gameskinny.com/ozom1/gfe-takes-rocket-league-by-force Thu, 03 Aug 2017 14:49:47 -0400 Lydia M

Rocket League has taken eSports by storm in the past few months, with Psyonix promising over $2.5m to Rocket League eSports, Gfinity adding it to their Elite Series, and FACEIT and NBC hosting a 2v2 Universal tournament --and we're only halfway through the year. With the influx of dedication to Rocket League eSports, organizations are taking note with familiar names like Cloud9, G2, NRG, Rogue eSports, and Renegades signing teams for the game left and right.

Gale Force Esports tops that list of teams, as they have vetted a European RLCS team since April -- and after some roster changes post-Season 3, they've been one of the teams to beat not only in their region but the world. Shortly after Northern Gaming took the crown of Season 3, GFE looked to reform anew as sights were set on the remainder of 2017 and Season 4 of RLCS.

Rebuilding

According to Jos "ViolentPanda" van Meurs:

"My old team didn't go that well. Gale Force and I decided to build a team around me. At first Kaydop was picked up because we wanted to team together, then Turbo came up and we tried him out at DreamHack: Summer in Sweden. It's been going very well."

Photo: Gale Force Esports

"Going well" is an understatement. GFE earned second place at DreamHack: Summer, with Pierre "Turbopolsa" Silfver as a try-out, first place at the second RLCS Summer Series, then second place at the and DreamHack Atlanta back to back.

"At the start of X Games I said three teams would be good: FlipSide, NRG and EnVyUs." ViolentPanda tells us, "I thought EnVyUs would be better than NRG but we kind of let it go in the finals. We should have won but we weren't focused that much."

Forever Second Place

While it seems they've been cursed with second place finishes, you have to consider the amount of work the Europeans have put in while only having a full roster for barely one full month. Considering travel to Sweden in June for DreamHack: Summer, then a small tour in the United States to X Games in Minneapolis and Atlanta for another DreamHack championship, earning second place seems like a pretty good takeaway from the latest competition.

Language Barrier

As a European team, all three members are from differently nationalities. ViolentPanda is Dutch, Courant "Kaydop" Alexandre is French and Turbopolsa is Swedish. With three different players and three different languages, you would think the team would have difficulty with in-game communication. But ViolentPanda says they've dealt with the language barrier due to little in-game communication:

"Turbo and I are pretty good at English, but Kaydop is a bit iffy sometimes. Most of the time you can understand him, but in game it doesn't really matter because you just shout out small things."

Photo: Gale Force Esports

Developer Dedication

"Rocket League is growing enormously and we didn't expect it to get so big"

Rocket League is unique in the eSports spectrum, so Psyonix doesn't really have much to go off of when organizing Rocket League eSports. That obviously hasn't set them back with the outstanding organization for the Rocket League Championship Series, along with countless amounts of third party tournaments announced fairly regularly. Moving into Season 4, Psyonix announced a minor league series would be competing week after week along with the RLCS.

ViolentPanda does't think the new format will effect the team going into the new season:

"Rocket League is growing enormously and we didn't expect it to get so big. I don't think the different format will effect us that much because they will still have the top eight in the RLCS. In the passed the teams split up a lot because the level of play kept growing. Players that were good four months ago might not be so good now.

We're going to practice a lot and we expect to get top eight for season four. We don't focus on other teams that much, we just prepare for ourselves. Of course we want the finals but I think there will be many more tournaments to focus on other than RLCS."


Photo: Gale Force Esports

 

Needless to say the future is looking extremely bright for the European Rocket League team. After they recently took the top spot in Nvidia's Best Buddy Tournament, the teams' focus is now set on Season 4 of RLCS, the Universal Open, and the many other tournaments to come throughout the year. It's safe to say if they stay on this track, Gale Force will quickly become a world contender in Rocket League eSports.

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You Ready for Sonic Forces to Bring Back the Edge? https://www.gameskinny.com/edpra/you-ready-for-sonic-forces-to-bring-back-the-edge https://www.gameskinny.com/edpra/you-ready-for-sonic-forces-to-bring-back-the-edge Thu, 03 Aug 2017 11:59:58 -0400 Adreon Patterson

With the previews of Sonic Forces coming out at lightning speed, it seems the game will be going the edgy route this time around.

This isn't Sonic Team's first foray on the dark side. Past releases like Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic 2006 have played with making Sonic's world bad and dangerous, complete with edgy rock music and dark elements. But the true bearer of this torch is 2005's Shadow the Hedgehog. Sonic Team used the game to explore dark and mature themes -- adding weapons, an action plot, and a strange dichotomy between hero and villain.  

While the reception for these games ranged from mixed to negative, players seemed to get a sadistic joy from turning Sonic's vibrant, fun world into a chaotic mess. But will this work out for Sonic Forces

It seems like Sonic needs this change after the combo debacle of Sonic Lost World and the Sonic Boom series. Those titles almost made the fanbase want to jump Sonic literally and figuratively. Going back to bright, irreverent Sonic seemed to be the right answer with the 25th anniversary of everyone's favorite hedgehog. But Sonic Team decided to go a different route with the 3D Forces. This release wants to capture the momentum gained from Sonic Colors and Generations while allowing Sonic to be in true peril for the first time ever. That's where new villain Infinite comes into play.

An Infinite Introduction

That intro would send any average being cowering in a corner. Infinite is the baddie Metal Sonic and Shadow wish they could be. The fact that he is impenetrable to the mighty Sonic's tactics and tricks makes him one bad dude. He's condescending. Egotistical. Dangerous. Evil. Everything players need in a good, challenging villain that our favorite blue hero has been needing since the introduction of Shadow.

Infinite will be a definite challenge for Sonic and his friends, as it will take the team of classic and modern Sonic to try and bring him down. The mind races with the dark, twisted "edge" Infinite brings to Forces.

Music Sets the Mood

While the intro was menacing, it's Infinite's theme that will leave players quivering with fear.  This electro-rap rock head banger from members of the band Dangerkids is a theme worthy for a menace like Infinite. The trade between angsty vocals and aggressive rap lyrics creates an uneasy tension and impending doom needed to introduce a new edge to the Sonic universe.

The theme characterizes "the edge" that Sonic Team is looking for in this latest entry for the Sonic franchise. The thought of Infinite entering every scene sends a tingle in one's spine.

--

All this edge might be too much for any player to handle, but Sonic fans are a different breed. They can definitely handle Infinite and his dark presence permeating Forces from beginning to end. Bring it on 4th quarter!

After reading this, stay at GameSkinny and look around for more news and information on Sonic Forces.

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Interview with Lyrical: Caster for Dota 2's The International 7 https://www.gameskinny.com/w3b35/interview-with-lyrical-caster-for-dota-2s-the-international-7 https://www.gameskinny.com/w3b35/interview-with-lyrical-caster-for-dota-2s-the-international-7 Thu, 03 Aug 2017 10:36:19 -0400 palpatine112

The Dota 2 International 2017 finals are almost upon us. The Seattle stage is set, the teams are beginning to arrive, and the fight for the $22 million prize pool is on.

Viewers from around the world will be tuning into live streams of the tournament, so it is imperative that the live streams replicate the excitement and intensity of attending the live event. Therefore, passionate and interesting commentators and streamers are a must for broadcasting the show.

Enter Gabriel ‘Lyrical’ Cruz. Gabriel is an English language Dota 2 caster from the United States, and this will be his first time ever working at a TI event. To say he is excited is an understatement.

Iain Fenton, Journalist for CompareLotto got the chance to chat with Lyrical in a pre-TI interview, and discuss how excited he is to be working on one of the biggest tournaments in eSports history, who he thinks will take home the grand prize, and even whether or not eSports can sustain its current level of popularity.

Iain Fenton: Firstly, how excited are you about TI7?

Lyrical: "I'm incredibly excited for TI7! It still doesn't seem real to me that I was invited and I have a feeling it won't until I am actually at the event and working it. But even if I wasn't invited TI is an incredibly special time of the year. I wrote a blog about this last year when I attended as a guest but for that week of the main event Key Arena and the surrounding area becomes like a Dota 2 amusement park. It's gives you a feeling of community like a big ol' bubble was placed over the area and everyone inside of it shares your interests. Not a very common thing for a gamer, but it's a huge part of what makes TI special."

IF: So the prize money this year is the largest for any sports tournament ever. How have Dota 2 and its eSports scene evolved from last year?

L: It's tough to say for me with regards to eSports as a whole. I don't keep as close of an eye on them except for the headlines. As far as Dota 2 is concerned there have been pretty monumental changes. In the casual gamer's experience we have had patch 7.00 come out, which fundamentally changed so many parts of the game. Dropping down to two majors and now the news that there will be a minor’s system implemented has altered and will continue to alter team’s choice of tournaments to attend.

The decrease in the number of majors has also opened the door for more third party tournaments to enter the scene. Overall the message from Valve seems to be the same that it was 2 years ago when we got Dota 2 Reborn, they want the game and the scene to thrive and they want that to happen via community feedback and iteration.

IF: Do you think Dota 2 has now caught up to League of Legends in terms of popularity?

L: "I don't know, I think comparing Dota and League is really tough because there are just so many different factors to consider. Popularity is sort of a tough word to compare the two as well.

I'll admit I'm not the most well versed in LoL's player base, but I know that Dota 2 has some of the most fickle players. I remember a few different articles that were released comparing popular games' fan bases and their other gaming habits, and Dota had one of the few groups of fans who basically didn't play any other games.

Also comparing the fan contribution to each game's respective prize pool... Worlds last year received 3 million if I am not mistaken, whereas Dota received around 19 million. There are other factors that might play into this, but I would guess Dota has more die-hard fans, whereas LoL has the higher player base on aggregate."

IF: What audience numbers do you expect at the event? And how many do you think will be watching online?

L: "I'm never really sure with this. I think it depends a lot on the teams that get through. The venue will be sold out; it always is, but there will be a lot of people watching on the jumbotrons outside as well so probably we will get to around 20-22 thousand live, maybe more.

Online viewership -- no idea."

IF: What will be your main role in the event?

L: "I'll be doing play-by-play casting."

IF: How do you get yourself ready to commentate/stream? Is it very natural for you or do you take the time out to do a lot of preparation beforehand?

L: "Streaming on my own channel is much more casual, so my only prep is getting giant vessels of coffee and water. Prepping for an event or a cast is an entirely different manner. I usually do practice casts of previous events either on my channel or off air with a local recording, then I'll listen back and take notes on things I want to change.

For team prep I've got a few different notebooks with a page or two per player and coach that lists recent heroes, former teams, former teammates, recent pub heroes played, and usually one or two notes that I find interesting in my research.

Besides that, just playing Dota whenever I get a chance. Since the game is so complex and there are an almost limitless variety of ways to play different heroes, you just need to feel out what’s good by playing it.

IF: How competitive do you think it is going to be this year? Is there a standout team already?

L: "This year is going to be incredibly competitive. All of the top teams now are getting to the stage where the differences in mechanical skill are negligible. It has felt for a while now that what determines success is team chemistry and decision-making in-game.

With that said, if you have absurd talent AND chemistry you will probably take the win and that's why I'm picking VP. If you look at what they did at The Summit picking a different hero EVERY game until the finals that’s got to give you some insane confidence. Plus, they are hungry for it. I think the other team that I expect to see in the finals with them is EG and they are a really similar story of talent and chemistry."

IF: The prize for first place is obviously phenomenal. Did you ever think eSports would become this big? Can it sustain this level?

L: "I never thought eSports would become this big mostly because I didn't imagine the connective power of the internet. I think most gamers to some extent feel like, or at least when I was growing up felt like, they were on the outside looking in. To see that in fact that's not the case and instead we have built a community that supports each other is amazing and I don't think it's going anywhere.

Whether it is Dota or some other game, I think it's here to stay.

IF: What kind of mentality does a champion Dota 2 player need? How important is it that the team get on with each other 100%? Do you think problems can arise if a team is made up of different nationalities?

L: "I think there have been a lot of different models for successful teams. Some run well with absolute compliance and a captain with an iron fist. Others take a holistic approach where everyone speaks their minds. Really it depends on the players to buy into whatever system is in place.

To me the most important quality a Dota 2 champion needs is the ability to build consensus and move on from whatever happened before be in the now and play your best. I don't think nationality has anything to do with team success at all. OG has a French coach and players from Denmark, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Israel -- and they have been the most successful Dota 2 team of the last year."

IF: Who are you backing to win? And who would you say is the dark horses to take the title? What kind of glory awaits the winning team?

L: "Like I said before, I'm taking VP as the winners. I don't have a dark horse to take the title. I think one of the OG, VP, EG, Liquid, Newbee will for sure win it, and none of those teams can really be classified as a dark horse. I will take LFY to go further than most of the public would expect -- I think that team is quite good.

As far as glory, it's TI and the Aegis -- there isn't a bigger trophy in eSports."

I'd like to thank Lyrical for taking the time to chat with me. To get a deeper look at his casting and Dota 2 play, check out his Twitch channel or follow him on Twitter @LyricalDota.

Be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more news about the Dota 2 TI7 as it gets underway!

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Will Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 Ever Be Localized? https://www.gameskinny.com/1ilr6/will-dragon-quest-monsters-joker-3-ever-be-localized https://www.gameskinny.com/1ilr6/will-dragon-quest-monsters-joker-3-ever-be-localized Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:25:42 -0400 Erroll Maas

Dragon Quest XI : Echoes of an Elusive Age was just recently confirmed for a Western release in 2018. All of the past main entries in the Dragon Quest series -- other than the MMORPG Dragon Quest X -- have been released in the West at some point, with certain spin-offs arriving in Western regions as well. One of the more notable spin offs, which was able to start a series of its own, is Dragon Quest Monsters

The goal in Dragon Quest Monsters is to recruit,  battle, and breed monsters, rather than just kill them -- expanding a concept which was originally seen in Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride.  The series started on the Game Boy Color and has since made its way to several other Nintendo handheld platforms, as well as the Sony PlayStation -- with the most recent being Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 for the Nintendo 3DS.

Despite positive reception, only some of the games in this series have been released in the West. But with localization of Japanese games on the rise, as well as the increase in popularity for the main Dragon Quest series and other recent spin-offs, will Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 be localized? Will this series ever come back to the west? Let's study the series' history and find out.

The Journey Begins on the Game Boy Color

The first game in the series, Dragon Quest Monsters (known as Dragon Warrior Monsters in North America) was released for the Game Boy Color in Japan in 1998, then came to Europe and America in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

Despite being called a "Pokémon clone" by some critics at the time of its release in the West, Dragon Quest Monsters has quite a few key differences. A notable feature which  makes Dragon Quest Monsters different from Pokémon, was that it has a strong focus on breeding monsters. 

Dragon Warrior Monsters released at a time when the Pokémon phemonenon was still at its peak, and right between the western release of Pokémon Yellow and Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, and even had reviewers suggesting it to fans anticipating the next batch of Pokémon titles. The game's relative success despite its strong competition helped pave the way for a sequel soon after.

Split Sequels

A two-version sequel, Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Coby's Journey and Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Tara's Adventure was released for Game Boy Color in March 2001 for Japan, then September 2001 for North America. Similar to Pokémon, each version contained slight differences -- such as which monsters appeared in each game. The well-timed release of the first game, as well as generally positive reception it received, makes it no surprise these sequels were also able to mak